Just lately, I've had a little run of dishes that weren't quite right for one reason or another.
Take the Algerian Chakchouka that I served with Parmesan Pittas. The pittas were lovely (drizzled with olive oil, covered with grated parmesan and baked for 15 mins), but the Chakchouka (really, just paprika, onions, peppers and tomato with an egg cracked into it to poach in the tomato sauce) really wasn't great. I knew that hubby had a thing about eggs and was particularly leery of part-cooked eggs. So, I broke his egg in a teensy bit early, which meant it would be almost fully cooked when served. Hence, I was a bit surprised when he announced "I don't like hard-boiled eggs", and promptly removed his egg and sat it on the side of his plate, untouched. (It was a Burford Brown, too! ~weep~). I honestly thought it would be okay. ~gallic shrug~ Ah well, you win some, you lose some. Son, however, decided he liked his egg fine - he just didn't like the pepper/tomato mixture it had been cooked in. *sigh* Although, I had sympathies with him regarding that score, as I wasn't all that keen on it either. (I did eat mine, however!). So that was one of those nights when it would have been better to send out for chips.
The following evening, we had a Cheese, Leek & Ham flan. Now as you know, my pastry has been the subject of some considerable rudeness from the family, but this time, I followed a different recipe for an all-butter shortcrust pastry. It rolled out fine and baked to a lovely colour. I had a bit of an accident with it when I took it out of the oven (darned near dropped the lot, in fact), which resulted in one side of it becoming broken. Which was a pity, because it was looking quite lovely before that happened.
The recipe came from http://www.closetcooking.com/ and I had no reason to believe it would be anything other than extremely yummy. In fact, it was extremely yummy - it was just the texture that let it down.
The tart filling comprised pan-fried ham, leek and grated cheese, mixed together with a touch of garlic (inspired idea!), an egg, cream and whole grain mustard - and put in the oven to bake for around 20 minutes. Well, I'm afraid mine wasn't anywhere near ready at 20 minutes, it was still absolutely liquid in the middle. Another 15 minutes and it was still soggy in the middle. Another 10 minutes (that's 40 minutes in all) and it was sort of blobby, whilst accompanied by some sort of whey, or maybe it was leek juice - who knows? Either way, the flavour was lovely - it was just the horrible blobby texture that we found quite difficult to get along with. I can only think that somehow the egg/cream mixture had split during cooking - resulting in the blobs and whey. As to why - I have no idea but would be open to suggestions!
So, to end this tale of woe on a positive note, here's a photograph of a dinner which hubby put together for us. Yes, they are Chicken Kievs from the freezer, but if you can forgive that fact - doesn't it look edible? Those little potatoes were just YUM!