Jam Tarts

Today has not been a good day.  I have to blame sleep deprivation.  Every time I set foot inside a kitchen I managed to mess up.  It started with a visit to my Gran where I made drinks for us.  It’s pretty simple.  Gran takes decaff with one sugar and milk, mum takes regular coffee black and I take tea with 3 sweeteners and milk (I used to have sugar until I realised how much sugar I was drinking!).  So what did I manage to do?  Well, first I forgot the milk in gran’s so I took it back to the kitchen and added milk.  When we were all getting to the bottom of our cups it turned out that I’d somehow managed to switch the drinks so that mum had sugar, Gran had milk and neither of them had the right coffee! 

I came home and decided that a little baking was in order so a quick poll was conducted and tollhouse cookies where the winner.  Given the rest of the day’s kitchen mishaps they actually turned out well.  Since I had the oven on I decided to use up half a block of pastry that had been in the fridge for a few weeks while I still could on Jam Tarts.  Jam Tarts are my nemesis.  How hard should it be?  It’s jam and pastry.  Just 2 things! 

The first time I made jam tarts I over filled them but this time I learnt from that and put half as much jam in as I hoped to have at the end.  Then I put them in the oven.  Thus far all was going well, the pastry was still workable and I was learning from my mistakes… until I discovered that the oven was still on Gas Mark 4 from the cookies and that was why the pastry was decidedly pale looking even though the jam on the top tray had already boiled over everywhere.  I hoiked that tray out, turned the oven up and hoped.  I suppose I should be greatful for the fact that one tray came out looking half decent at least?

The good, the bad and the downright ugly.

The good, the bad and the downright ugly.

I think that I made better jam tarts when I was five!  However, even though they look awful they still tasted good.  I feel that jam tarts will be a learning curve for me.  Next time I’ll try to have them in the middle of the oven at a temperature somewhere in between 4 and 7 and see how that goes.  The simple things always seem to elude me.  I was serving 3 course meals for 8 before I could boil a decent egg! 

 By this point having abandonned the tarts to their fate it was time for dinner’s pot roast to be going in the oven.  Luckily I had nothing to do with the prep for dinner tonight, however I did put it in the oven… still at Gas Mark 7.  Oopsie.  Luckily it hadn’t boiled dry so nothing the quick addition of more wine couldn’t fix. 

The final blow came, however when I picked up the oven glove only to find that the end had been singed off.  That’s right, I had escalated to setting fire to things!  I have no idea when I did this, luckily those gloves were relatively inflamable and just smouldered.  That’s when I called it a night and left the kitchen!

I usually have good kitchen karma so a day like this comes as a real knock back.  I hope my less culinarily enclined friends will forgive me for bemoaning what is a normal set of circumstances for them but every time I turned around in a kitchen today it felt like something else had gone wrong.  Some days it really is best to just stay out of the kitchen and stay in bed!

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