Hollandaise and Flapjacks: My Nemeses

Everybody’s got one, even in the cooking world. More than one, possibly.

A nemesis.

I am no different.

So apologies for the lack of images in this post, but quite frankly it would be like posting pictures of a culinary car crash as it happened.

My first is something that I love – Hollandaise sauce. Delicious with poached eggs, asparagus, salmon, the list goes on. One weekend I was feeling confident, cocky even, about my cooking abilities. It’s only a few ingredients, I thought, surely I can do this. Well, apparently not.

I know you shouldn’t be defeated once never to try again, but the problem is, I don’t really know where I went wrong. I suspect that I burned the butter. There was also a very strong vinegar taste, so I was obviously a bit over generous there. Whatever the errors were, they were significant and it was inedible. Gutted!

The second, more recent failure was a classic baking recipe. A sweet treat which you would think is easy to make. So easy in fact, that I remember making it – successfully, I might add – in Home Ec at school. That’s right, the humble flapjack.

My mistake the first time round was that it didn’t bind. Too crumbly and not sticky enough. It looked happy enough in the oven, but when it was cool and I tried to cut it into slices, I quickly realised that it was more like a crumble than a tray bake. I ended up eating it with a spoon out of a bowl.

So on my second attempt, using a usually sure as eggs Mary Berry recipe too, I was determined not to make the same mistake. I think it’s safe to say that I didn’t…

There was plenty of golden syrup. I packed the mixture down in the baking tray. It bubbled away nicely in the oven.

And when it came out? It was so tough, I couldn’t even get a knife in to mark the squares! It was solid. Once it was cooled I lifted it out in one whole piece. It was not dissimilar to peanut brittle. I could have used it as an offensive weapon if I’d wanted to, and believe me by this time I felt like it! If I’d have thrown it to the ducks it would have been like that scene out of ‘About a Boy’ when he chucked the whole stale loaf of bread into the pond resulting in the demise of one of our feathered friends.

So, sadly, I think that’s the end of my very short, very catastrophic career as a flapjack maker. I think it’s best to know when you’re beaten. I’ll leave this particular recipe to the kids at school.

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