Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Wednesday Words: The Longest Lunch

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On Saturday I took probably the longest time ever to cook my lunch... from a box. It wasn't intentional and I swear I'm not one hundred percent rubbish in the kitchen... but Saturday's cooking attempt was an epic tale I hope never to repeat again!

So... take one Old El Paso cooking kit. I went for the Enchilada kit, which I chose because it has a mild family friendly flavour. Or, in other words, I just fancied it because of the name. Enchilada, enchilada, enchilada. Nice. On the box it mentions the ingredients, chicken, onions, peppers, a bit of cheese. Easy stuff, right? I dug into the freezer and produced some Quorn instead. Mini chicken fillets are an expensive business, and I really needed to free up some space in our freezer... It took me about fifteen minutes in total after finding the vegetarian fillets to play freezer Jenga and to put all the frozen peas back in the bag after I spilled a handful of them in the process. Okay, two handfulls, alright?! Don't mention the balancing act with the gammon steaks and the pizza either. I managed to shut the freezer door in the end. Just about.

The box tries to create a really happy, This Is So Easy Anyone Can Do It atmosphere, it's Family Friendly (tm) and "The kids will love 'em!" apparently - I'm twenty four, so not exactly the target demographic here. Right... so let's stick the frozen Quorn in a pan and fry the crap out of it like the box suggests. Twenty minutes later I finally put a bit of oil in the pan. Nothing had happened yet, the Quorn was still frozen despite the hob being turned up to Mega Hot. I managed to find some big Quorn fillets but I couldn't cut them up as they were frozen solid. Avoiding the chance of a serious injury I decided to throw them in the pan whole.

Another ten minutes later nothing had changed. I was starting to feel a bit... confused. And a bit bored. On with the oven, then. I quickly shoved the Quorn into a casserole dish and threw it into the oven to cook for a while. In the meantime we chopped the veg while we waited. Then we chopped and peeled more veg for Sunday lunch. And cleaned up. I lost zero fingernails - a first for me as I'm always managing it with a vegetable peeler somehow. The Quorn had finally cooked (RESULT!) so it was back in the pan with the peppers and onions.

Ten minutes later the peppers and onions were refusing to soften. The Quorn was meant to be browning off like the box suggested, too. But it wasn't, so I threw in half of the tomato sauce like the box asks you to, and stirred, stirred, stirred, 'til everything was a blur. By now an hour had passed, so we made the decision of putting everything back in the casserole dish and cooking again for a while. After cleaning the kitchen I realised I needed a drink of orange juice, so I grabbed the carton from the fridge and filled a pint glass with it. I nearly had enough, so I went and grabbed a fresh carton from the cupboard. But... the 'easy open' lever wouldn't budge. I kept trying to lift it, with no result. DAMN YOU DEXTERITY. Until I finally flicked the lever up, knocking my full glass over with the carton. Orange juice everywhere. Everywhere. All over the dishwasher, the washing machine, the worktop, the floor, my hands... utter disaster. And a total detour from what I was actually meant to be doing. It was nearly half past two! And still no lunch. Stupid cook-from-frozen Quorn. Not cook-from-frozen at all. Cook-in-the-oven-from-frozen, maybe, but not in a pan.

I'll skip past the next twenty or so minutes. It involved cleaning.

Finally we pulled the Quorn out of the oven, it was hot enough so we stirred in some cheese and had a go at filling some wraps. Seriously, why are tortilla wraps so hard to roll together? They make it look so easy in photos. It's not though. Roll one side, the bottom end falls off, roll the bottom end up and the sides fall apart and the filling goes everywhere. I wished physics would be on my side for once and just let me wrap the damn things!

Once it was all wrapped up we put them together on a baking tray, feeling pretty hungry by this point, and adding some more tomato sauce on top and some cheesy sauce in another packet as well. Back in the oven for a third and final time. More tidying up. Apparently fifteen minutes or so "should do it," according to the box. After half an hour the enchiladas were finally done. Piling up four huge ones on a plate it felt very Man V Food worthy and I was seriously looking forward to chowing down on my lunch.

Which I did. At half past three. Thank you all that is holy. Jamie Oliver must be kidding if he thinks anyone can cook a full meal in half an hour, that's for sure.

Wednesday Words is my new attempt at writing a little bit every Wednesday documenting untold stories from my life and some of my own personal embarrassing moments.

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