The Real Struggle of Pastry-Making

My second attempt at this and it must go well. That is never the case with pastry making – your second, third and fourth attempts could be worse than your first and you’ll never know what went wrong.

You may have listened and watched all the tutorials, listed and purchased all the ingredients that goes with the recipe but boom – the results could be disastrous. Trying new meals could be an adventure but pastry-making could be a ride on a roller coaster. Brace yourself because anything can happen.

My second attempt at making puff-puff (a popular West African deep fried snack) and I felt I was properly armed this time. I called the commander-in-chief (my sister) who run me though the recipe again (for the purpose of revision). I made mental notes. I had no idea my brain was this sharp. I was able to memorise everything she told me without writing them down – flour, sugar, nutmeg, salt, margarine, flavour, yeast and baking powder. Mix dry ingredients. Mix the liquid ones. Put dry and liquid ingredients together and ‘beat it’ to introduce some air. If it’s too thick, add a little water and make it sit for about an hour. Cover it!

Truly, after an hour, the dough or batter had raised. Oil in pan, I allowed it to heat before dropping the spongy dough into it. That thing turned brown by soaking almost half of my oil. They came out looking like some soggy compact disks. Not today, I said to myself. Probably I did not give it enough time to raise. I allowed the mixture to sit for an additional hour and poured the oil into another pan. It was probably the pan. It did not make the puff-puff round. I heated the oil again and started dipping the dough into the oil. The results was even worse than the first.

I turned off the fire and called the commander -in-chief (my sister) after I had sent her photos of the disaster I was making in the kitchen.

“Did you allow it to raise,” she asked.

“It’s been sitting in that kitchen for two hours now,” I said.

“Sieve more flour into the batter. You probably made it too watery,” she diagnosed.

That was how I added more flour and fried again and this time, they actually came out looking a little rounder. I am not a failure after all.

Not the perfect puff-puff but a good attempt (in my opinion)

It’s amazing how this snack is common in our markets but very difficult for me to figure out how it is made. This lock down period has shown me how challenging it is to make pastries/snacks. The least mistake you and you’ll be preparing an inedible nameless substance.

**16th post of the 21 day lock down blog challenge and the writing prompt is: Document your experience trying something new or giving something up.**

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How to Make Plantain Frittata

I watch a lot of videos from Tasty, Food Network and other individuals with food channels on YouTube and Facebook and, I like to try out new recipes but these haven’t always been success stories.

Recently in this lock down period, I saw a number of videos on how to make bread pudding and when I tried it first, the bread did not soak well in the mixture. I tried it the next day and the result was even worse than the first. It was so bad that nobody ate it and I had to get rid of it the next day.

I tried making puff-puff the other day (also from videos I had seen online) and the results wasn’t the best either. It did not rise like what I saw in the video and I was later advised to add baking powder.

The few success stories I have had in my kitchen (from watching online recipes) are in the preparation of pancakes and plantain fritatta.

To make plantain fritatta, the ingredients required include:

2 ripe plantains

6 eggs (depending on the number of people eating)

6 sausages,

2 bell pepper,

2 large size fresh tomatoes,

A pinch of salt to taste,

Cayenne pepper,

Slices of onions.

Cooking oil

Method

In about about two table spoonful of oil, add slices of onions, bell pepper and tomatoes. Stir-fry till golden brown.

Deep-fry the ripe plantain separately.

Break the eggs into a bowl.

Cut and add your sausages to the eggs.

Add desirable quantity of cayenne pepper and salt

Pour the stir-fried vegetables into the egg mixture and whisk.

Oil your baking tin and pour the egg mixture into it.

Place the fried ripe plantain on top of the mixture.

Put the mixture into the oven and bake for 20 -30 minutes and that’s it.

Frittata is simple to prepare as the ingredients are easy to find, especially, in this lock down period. It can be eaten as a full meal or an accompaniment to a full meal. Try it and let me know what you think

Today marks Day 12 of the #21lockdownblog challenge and the subject is to provide a guide on how to do something.

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