Kitchen Disasters!

Yesterday I opened my first electricity bill. (Not that I haven’t opened electricity bills before. But this one wasn’t Mum’s. This one was mine. This one had my husband’s name on it. Which means we have to pay it.) And after opening it, I wished I hadn’t. It was terrifying. While the calculations assure me that we are well below the average two-person household’s daily usage, there are a number of strange charges that make it add up to quite a large sum! Someone shoot me now!

Anyway, opening said bill killed my happy mood for the day. So in an effort to cheer myself up, I read a few blogs. One lady mentioned  melting a potholder on a stove. Which reminded me of some of my kitchen disasters. (Apart from the casserole disaster, all of these occurred before I was married. Which means that if my husband doesn’t like my cooking style, he should have thought of that before he married me!)

My first ever kitchen disaster wasn’t so bad. I had been boiling an egg, and when I went to remove the shell it wasn’t quite done. No problem, I thought. Microwaves were invented for a reason. Ha! Don’t ever put a half-boiled egg in the microwave – it explodes! I ended up with egg all over the inside of the microwave. Fun. But I learnt my lesson, and I’ve never tried that again.

The next time I went near a microwave I was attempting to dry herbs. I had a herb garden and a few things like parsley and basil were growing out of control. So I figured that drying the excess would be a wonderful idea. I wasn’t sure on how to do it so I googled it. (Don’t ever listen to Google!) I found a whole ‘how to’ microwave method – quick and easy! Herbs on a sheet of paper towel for 1 minute. Anyone could do that! So I tried it. The first time it worked brilliantly – nicely dried herbies with no effort whatsoever! The second attempt was more disastrous. The paper towel went up in flames, and brilliant me grabbed it out of the microwave and tossed it on the kitchen floor. This burnt a hole into the lino. The herbs were dried alright – dried and burnt to a crisp! After that, I went and bought a food dehydrator.

I have a funny feeling I shouldn’t go anywhere near microwaves. Or fire. Or perhaps eggs, herbs, and casserole.

The Re-make of the Casserole!

Last night I finally worked up enough courage to re-attempt cooking a casserole. (If you recall, back here my last efforts were somewhat explosive!) The whole idea of trying again terrified me. That’s normal…isn’t it? I mean, wouldn’t YOU be terrified of history repeating itself and both casserole and dish blasting to smithereens all over the inside of the oven AGAIN?! Rather unnerving prospect. And so I kept putting it off.

It’s not that I didn’t want to cook. I like cooking…just not casserole! (Well, to be perfectly honest I like cooking casserole too. I just don’t like the explosions!) And I definitely wanted to EAT casserole. I was just terrified. Of what I don’t know. More cleaning perhaps? Or having to buy another casserole dish?

At any rate, I finally got up the courage to try again. I was actually almost as excited as last time I tried this. Except for the terror in the back of my mind. But I soldiered on anyway. Vegies chopped – check. Herbs chopped – check. Different casserole dish (this time a tried and tested one which so far has never exploded!) – check. I put the casserole in the dish and this time, as a precautionary measure, I put the casserole in a cold oven and then turned it on.

I was a little nervous at first and kept listening for an explosion. Fortunately it never came. When the casserole was nearly cooked I cracked a couple of eggs into it and waited for them to cook. And then we had casserole! Edible casserole! Casserole that was not blasted all over the inside of an oven! I was excited. And when my husband gave me a big hug and told me I am a really good cook, well, that kinda made it all worthwhile!

Edible casserole!

Edible casserole!

Here’s the recipe for anyone who is interested!

Casserole          (I had enough to serve 3-4 people)

4 tomatoes

1/2 a small onion (could probably have had a little more)

1 zucchini

1 carrot (next time I think I’ll put 2)

1 can kidney beans

3 stalks of fresh parsley

a couple of leaves each of basil and sage

1 tsp vegetable stock powder

1 tsp salt

Pinch of garlic powder (just couldn’t be bothered chopping fresh!)

About 1 cup of pasta sauce (not really necessary, but I thought it would help with flavour since I didn’t have time to cook it for ages)

3 eggs

Chop all vegies into small squares. Finely chop herbs. Add salt, stock powder, garlic powder, and kidney beans, and mix thoroughly. Pop into casserole dish, add a bit of water, and bake until done at 180 degrees. (Mine took about 90 mins.) Make small indents into casserole and add eggs 5-10 minutes before eating.

Serve on a bed of rice (I used Arborio but any rice could be used), and sprinkle with parmesan cheese to taste! Enjoy!

Voila!

Voila!

Also in breaking news, yesterday my blog got it’s first views from Canada! Yay!

The cleaning of the oven!

Last Friday I had no motivation to get out of bed. This is otherwise known as dread of cleaning an oven full of exploded casserole. (You can read that catastrophic story here). So I stayed snuggled in bed for as long as possible. And then I finally got up to face the worst.

The cleaning of the oven. Stupid casserole dish exploding. If only that hadn’t happened, I would never have had to clean the oven. (Alright, maybe I would have sometime. But there wouldn’t have been glass and casserole blasted to smithereens all over it!)

I got myself all organised and went to town to get oven cleaner. Half of them had to stay on for 12 hours or some such ridiculousness – too long! I wanted a clean oven! I wanted it right then! I finally found one that said to leave it on for at least a minute, or up to 4 hours. Perfect! So I bought it and numerous tubs of icecream. This was to help relieve oven-cleaning stress of course.

After several hours and much procrastination, the oven was finally clean. Well, relatively. When I say clean I mean that all the glass and casserole was removed and the oven somewhat cleansed. There is still grime on the oven, but I am pretty sure it is verging on prehistoric and may never come off! Anyway, it is clean enough for now. (Drumroll please!) Time to eat icecream!

While I was in the middle of cleaning and/or procrastinating, a couple of parcels turned up. My early morning online orders when I couldn’t sleep. Both presents for my husband. He has been dying to get golf clubs for some time. He even picked out which ones he wanted. But he decided we probably couldn’t afford them just yet. He has also suggested getting a guitar several times. So I got him both and gave them to him on Friday when he got home. (It’s the first time I’ve managed a surprise this big – usually he guesses or I have to tell him when he goes to buy something I already have for him! So I was rather proud of myself.) He was so excited that he started playing golf in our lounge room then and there! (I was a little concerned for the furniture – and my head!) And over Friday evening and Sabbath we had a great time together with the piano and guitar.

Sunday went by fairly uneventfully, except that we finally managed to clear the garden of weeds. We can now actually see plants!

On Monday I had a minor meltdown. I woke up at some ridiculous hour of the morning with abdominal pain. Consequently, by the time it was actually a reasonable hour to get up I was still dreadfully tired. Somehow I got the washing on the line, wrote a shopping list, and gathered everything for going to town.  When I got there, it started pouring rain. It never rains here. But it was too late to go back and save my washing. After finally getting most things done, I went to one last store. As I was going through the self serve checkout, I paid with my card and decided to get $20 cash out. Halfway home I realised that I had left the cash there! I rang the store and they had a look for me. The money was gone. (Some lucky person is now $20 richer!) I got home and got all my shopping in and then had a meltdown. My washing was soaking wet and I had lost $20 and I was tired and it was all too much.

By the time my husband got home, I had managed to pull it together. My washing was spinning in the machine and dinner was cooking and the shopping was unpacked. I was kind of dreading telling him about the money so I decided to get it out of the way as soon as possible. I nearly cried again telling him. But his response was just, ‘Oh well, its only $20’, followed by a hug.

And he’s right. It is only $20. We will not starve. And who knows, someone else may have needed it more!