Don’t Panic!


Keep calm and carry on

Keep calm and carry on


I made ricotta gnocchi last night. I’d never made them before, so I followed a recipe given to me at cooking school. But the recipe was wrong. There was nowhere near enough flour, and I had to nearly triple the stated quantity before I could even think about shaping the dough.

This really irritated me. At woman&home, Jane and I are absolutely fastidious about testing our recipes. If a recipe isn’t perfect, we won’t publish it. This is partly a matter of personal and professional pride, but partly because I know how frustrating it can be if a recipe you’re following suddenly goes catastrophically wrong.

I’m sure we’ve all been in the same position at some point. It usually happens when you’re having an important dinner! But if something does go wrong, the trick is not to panic…

If your bread dough is too wet, add some more flour. If the cake mix looks very dry, add a little milk. Cookery is a fine balance between science and instinct, and if you think a recipe can be saved, it usually can be.

Of course, it’s easy for me to say. I cook all day every day, but some of my most useful discoveries were made in a chalet kitchen when I had 10 people to feed and the pudding had just exploded…

So the next time a recipe doesn’t go quite as planned, ‘keep calm and carry on’. There’s always a takeaway! Or just try one of our recipes – I’m sure you won’t be disappointed…



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2 responses to “Don’t Panic!

  1. Annie you poor thing! I’m afraid there’s not really a way to rescue it now it’s been cut open – you could possibly try removing the icing, then transferring it back to the tin with foil covering the sides and top, then cooking at 120C for another hour or two. But it’s a long shot!

    If it all goes to pot, our favourite supermarket cake was the Tesco Finest Poinsettia cake. But here’s hoping yours is rescuable!

  2. Annie Harper

    Sorry to hear about your disaster. I am trying to retrieve something from mine. Having cooked my Christams cake for 5.5 hours and thought I had tested it when I took it out of the oven. I was shocked to find it uncooked in the middle. I became suspicious as I was icing it and cut it open. Any advice other than feed to the birds!

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