My husband and I pretty much gave up on television a while back. No matter how many channels there were, there still didn’t seem to be anything worth watching. But there are still some shows we make time to watch religiously. At a risk of sounding like a couple of oldies who have nothing better to do, Mr. D. and I are addicted to culinary competitions which seem to be all the rage on television these days: Come Dine With Me, The Great British Bake Off, Masterchef, Next Great Baker… you name it, we watch it! In fact it’s more than watching it’s become a full scale obsession. We must tune in to see what happens next: who stays… and who goes. Oops! That’s Big Brother which we don’t watch!
We have a lot of fun watching these shows. They’re entertaining and informative but they can also be quite depressing. Why? Because after years of thinking that I’m a pretty good cook (I’m no Heston but I’m not bad either) I’ve suddenly realised that compared to the contestants who take part in these shows, my cooking skills leave a lot to be desired. I’ve come to this conclusion after realizing that:
- My pastry making skills are far from perfect (as explained by Mr. Hollywood and Ms. Berry.)
- I have no idea how to make sushi – even though I love to eat it!
- There is a tendancy for me to overcook food (as pointed out by Mr. D!)
- I can really only bake cakes when I have a little help from my friend Betty Crocker.
- Rare, medium rare, medium, well done… it’s all the same to me!
- I’ve lost the ability to poach a decent egg.
- I’ve never heard of half of the ingredients mentioned in the show.
- There is no way I can chop onions, apples, carrots etc. so that all the pieces are virtually identical.
- I have no idea how to debone a duck.
- There’s very little chance of me being able to adequately filet a fish.
- I don’t have the kind of palette where I can successfully identify every ingredient in a dish.
- It’s really not a good idea for me to attempt to flambé anything…
- Me and sharp knives are a dangerous combination so it’s really not a good idea for me to go at the speed of the professional chefs or the other contestants.
- I like to take my time in the kitchen – that probably explains why we never eat before 10pm.
- I probably don’t add as much seasoning as I should.
- I love eating shellfish – but haven’t got a clue how to prepare it.
- This may be an Anglo-Italian household but there is no freshly made pasta in this house as neither of us know how to prepare it!
- If I cook fish so that the skin is super crispy, it’ll be burnt.
- We like to drench our food in sauce – none of this ‘little smidgeon’ business.
- We also like large portions in this house!
- I haven’t got a clue how to make ketchup or barbeque sauce from scratch.
- I’ve never used most of the gadgets and kitchen appliances I’ve seen.
However, it’s not all doom and gloom. We’ve learnt a lot from watching these shows and have got lots of new ideas. We like to put what we’ve learnt into practice:
- I can make bruschetta better than I did before.
- I now know what goes into making honeycomb.
- I know how to remove bones from fish easily.
- I know the secret to a good pesto sauce.
- Seasoning is important!
- So is not overcooking food!
- Garnishes are important but there should also have a purpose other than just decoration.
- We come across lots of new flavour combinations.
- I know that you should never wash sea urchin (not that I’m likely to cook it!)
- we’re trying to put into practice that less is more!
- I know what’s meant by tunnel boning.
- I also know what a ballotine is.
- I know how to pronounce words such as ‘coulis’ and ‘melange’.
- I see the contestants mistakes and know what NOT to do.
I still have an awful lot to learn and I’m getting there slowly. There’s still hope for me. But I know that no matter how much I learn, I would never want a dressing down from Mr. Hollywood or Mr. Ramsay so there’s no chance of me ever entering one of these competitions. I know which side of the television screen is the safest for all concerned!
I’m not really much of a beauty gadget girl; until recently my hair straighteners and blow dryer were the only appliances I needed. But then I discovered the Veet EasyWax electrical roll-on kit which promised ‘salon wax results at home.’ “Yeah, right!” I thought rather cynically.
Shaving proved to be such a hassle that I stopped a decade ago and have been waxing – using hot wax – ever since. Like most women, I have waxing treatments done at salons, and as much as I love being pampered (it’s really not that painful!) visiting salons requires time and money I don’t always have. While living in the States, I was shocked to see the price of waxing treatments in salons. Things are usually much cheaper in America than they are in Britain – but not getting your pins waxed! I knew that this was something I wouldn’t be able to do regularly due to the expense – and I hated the thought of looking like a cave woman!
Of course, I tried waxing at home. I’d buy a tub of wax and a pack of cloth strips and although effective, it proved to be very messy and time consuming. It was all that running down the stairs to the kitchen to reheat the tub of wax that was going cold! In the end I gave up and just stuck to visiting the salon whenever I could. Though I did worry about what I’d do if ever we moved back to Oregon. I didn’t want to bankrupt myself just because I wanted silky smooth legs!
Then I heard about the Veet EasyWax. It sounded like the answer to my prayers but a lot of my local stores didn’t stock them. it was only recently, when I moved to a new area that I managed to find one. It had already been very reasonably priced but now it was on SALE!!! talk about a stroke of luck! So I snapped one up but it was about another two weeks before I could put it to use.
The EasyWax is a handheld gadget that looks like a larger than average lady shaver. You pop a wax cartridge into the EasyWax, plug it in and wait for the wax to heat up. Then just roll it on and whip it off with the wax strips! It comes with a super simple set of instructions and I was absolutely delighted with the results. Cartridges can be bought separately. Most of the gadgets I buy only get used once before they’re consigned to spending the rest of their days cooped up inside the box they came in. It won’t be happening with the Veet EasyWax.
Worth every penny. Veet – we salute you!