Recipe Testing

I’m trying to learn how to cook proper, healthy meals but sometimes it’s really hard. Many recipes are written with experienced cooks in mind. I think there should be a rule that says you must have at least 3 non-cooks check a recipe before you can share it. A totally unreasonable request, I know, but it would be nice.

The recipe I tried tonight was really hard to follow. I was making Cannelloni. I’d never heard of Cannelloni before so starting out I didn’t really know what the end product was supposed to be like.


Problem 1 – Spinach:

The ingredients list starts with “1 packet frozen spinach”. I’ve only ever seen one size packet but how do I know for sure that’s the only size available?



Problem 2 – Egg Yolk(s):

The ingredients list includes “1 medium egg, chicken, yolk, raw”. That’s nice and specific. Just how I like it. However, the instructions say to combine the egg yolks (plural) with other ingredients…


Problem 3 – Cheese:

Part A The first recipe step said to combine the spinach, ricotta, cheddar (and some other ingredients). The second last step is to sprinkle with the “extra cheddar”. The ingredients list simply said 120g low fat cheese and 200g reduced fat ricotta. How much goes in with the spinach and how much left over as the “extra” for on top?

Part B The preparation tips suggest grating both lots of cheese. How do you grate ricotta cheese?

Part C This wasn’t really a problem with the recipe per se but the ingredients list feeds into my weekly shopping list. I had cheese slices in the fridge, not a block that could be grated. I substituted grated parmesan that I already had in the freezer.


Problem 4 – Human Error:

Part A Step 2 requires a 20cm x 30cm baking dish. Oops. I don’t have one that size. I used the closest I had – 20x25cm.

Part B Hubby bought a 200g pack of Cannelloni Tubes instead of 250g.


Problem 5 – Cannelloni Filling:

“Push the spinach mixture into the cannelloni tubes and place in the dish”. Right. Do you half fill the tubes? Completely fill them? Should they go longwise or across the dish? It’s hard to look at a pile of tubes and a bowl of spinach and know how much should go in each tube… I filled most of them to the brim. I didn’t have enough tubes to do two full layers in the dish. Fortunately, I didn’t complain about the wrong size box of pasta tubes because I ran out of filling before I ran out of tubes. The grated parmesan wasn’t as bulky as the cheddar probably would have been. Typing this, I’ve just realised I never considered the ramifications of the substitution in terms of calories either.

cannelloni tube

Problem 6 – More Human Error:

Bake for 35 minutes. How can you mess that up I hear you ask. Well, it’s easy. You set the timer for 35 minutes and forget to press “start”. I went away and did some other things. After a while I went to see how long was left. 35 minutes. Oops.


I had absolutely no idea how long it had been. No idea what the finished dish was supposed to look like. So, I worked backwards from when I last remembered looking at my watch and decided to take it out of the oven. (Burnt my finger in the process- grrr. The same finger I slammed in a post box this morning.)

Served it up to the enticing aroma of tomato. The pasta was a bit on the chewy side so the 35 minutes probably wasn’t up but we ate it anyway. It turned out okay but I might try it again with the correct ingredients some time.


The recipe is not mine to share and is protected by copyright so I can’t give you all the information. I have only included sections of it here.


Do you struggle with recipes like I do? I keep thinking that if I had more experience cooking real food I wouldn’t find the instructions quite so confusing.


Something I forgot to mention the other day though, is that I spent 6 hours at Sydney Airport on Saturday after our cruise and I didn’t buy any Krispy Kreme doughnuts. I can’t remember the last time I was there and didn’t buy at least one. I tweeted it when I remembered and actually got a reply from “Mish”. Yeah, I know. It’s not like she would sit there all day every day just waiting for someone to tweet her. Still, I don’t often get responses to my tweets (since they don’t usually say anything worth replying to!).


Tomorrow morning I’ll be doing my fitness test and measurements for the week. Then, I’m meeting a lady from the Tamworth 12WBT 
facebook group to walk up to the lookout. I’ve never met her before. It will be nice to meet someone new. Who knows, maybe it’ll be the start of something like the Perth crew? Read about them here. Or maybe not. NB: I’m not the same Heather who wrote that post. At some stage over the weekend I’ll have to go for a swim to try out my new pull buoy. I’d also like to get out on my bike and make sure it’s working before I try to tackle the triathlon in 30 days.

Then Sunday I’m off to Newcastle so I can fly to Melbourne very early Monday morning for the competition. I’ll be home late Monday night.


4 thoughts on “Recipe Testing

  1. I consider myself a pretty good cook.. and that Cannelloni recipe was the worst!! I have absolutely NO idea how many calories were in each of my “serves” because the recipe was just all over the shop so there was a lot of guessing. I think they need to give them member recipes at least a once over before putting them up for everyone! Love the tweet though, it’s so exciting when she/they reply 😀

  2. This post made me smile. One of my best friends is always calling or texting me the same types of questions when she cooks. Sometimes I don’t even know how she thought of the question she’s asking. Like anything, it takes practice. For what its worth, I can’t bake to save my life.

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