This time last week I spent what felt like an entire afternoon wandering aimlessly around Tesco in search of ingredients for ‘Cher Week’. Father Christmas had kindly delivered both of Cher’s health and fitness books which I had spied on Amazon for just a few pence each. I have no idea how I came across them?! I think I had been browsing Youtube for ridiculous celebrity fitness videos to try out, and when I realised Cher had made one in the 90s, I immediately rushed off to search for a copy, but got sidetracked by her cookbooks!
My mission was to make sure every meal I ate this past week was a meal from one of her books. I can confess now, I failed on a few things: Firstly, I forgot to even photograph / document a couple of meals I ate (in my defence, it was because they actually tasted good and I was too hungry to remember to stop and snap). Secondly, the photos I did take are the crappest quality on Earth, and finally, I didn’t even make some of the meals I had planned to. Possibly because it was all rather exhausting, so I may have been guilty of eating leftovers on a couple of occasions instead of preparing a new meal. Whoops!
Without boring you with every single meal I ate this past week, I’ll skim over a few of the highs and lows! The first meals I whipped up were her ‘turkey chilli’, ‘spicy corn chowder’, ‘lemon bread’ and some ‘oatmeal-pineapple muffins’. All of which, I typically completely forgot to take photos of (I’m clearly not going to become a ‘food blogger’ any time soon). The chilli and chowder were actually really good! I have scoffed them on more than one occasion. The lemon bread had a really nice smooth crust to it, but the inside looked like ‘pork pie’ according to my boyfriend, and the muffins didn’t resemble muffins in the slightest and I ended up having to bin most of them as they ended up mouldy.
The first dinner I made was ‘Chicken Cacciatore’. I had never even heard of it before, and since both of these books have NO PHOTOGRAPHS of any of the meals (seriously, WHY do cookbooks not have photos of the food?! Both books had plenty of photos of Cher and her personal chef…) I really made all of these meals blind. I didn’t Google to see what any of them should have looked like, so Christ-only-knows if they were meant to look like how they turned out.
The cacciatore was meant to be served with linguine, but since I had none, I slopped it onto some spaghetti. Verdict: not horrendous, but disappointingly painfully average 4/10.
The next morning I attempted to make Cher’s ‘No syrup banana pancakes’. Once again, I cocked-up and didn’t ‘dice’ the bananas into tiny pieces and chose to slice them. I also made the pan far too hot and ended up with charred slop.
Verdict: Looked like cack, tasted…pretty damn good actually! I would make these again. 6/10
Next up was a dinner I was most nervous about: Scallops. I’m a big fan of fish, but anything other than a nice meaty fillet fills me with major food-poisoning-fear (and I have no idea why since I’ve never had food poisoning from sea food, but anyway…).
According to the recipe, her personal chef Andy Ennis says:
‘I serve this to Cher as a ring of scallops on top of a red bell pepper sauce, like jewels on a red necklace’.
As you can see from the image, I tried my very best to replicate jewels on a red necklace. I can’t say I’d eat this again but neither of us died from my efforts, so I’ll give it 4/10.
I thought I’d follow the recipe’s suggestion of serving it with a salad with the ‘Balsamic Vinaigrette’:
…which, I didn’t eat.
The next night I made the ‘Turkey Meatballs’ with spaghetti. Now, a lot of the recipes in her books use turkey mince as a more ‘healthful’ alternative. We’re pretty sure ‘healthful’ isn’t even a real word. I’m a fan of turkey mince and pretty much lived on it in my last year of university since I have a big problem with getting addicted to one food type and eating it ALL.THE.TIME. However, I found it really didn’t work as meatballs. They fell apart and tasted really bland. The only thing I didn’t do was add any bread crumbs as I didn’t have any bread in the cupboards, but considering it was such a small amount required in the recipe, I didn’t think it would make THAT much difference so I added a random fistful of corn flour. 2/10
The next night I was meant to make the ‘Baked garlic snapper’ but since I couldn’t find any snapper, I settled for some cheap fish fillets from Tesco which I can’t even remember the name of, so that ought to fill you with confidence. I chose to serve these with Cher’s ‘French Fries’ and a random dollop of some left-over chicken cacciatore from earlier in the week since it was lying around in the fridge, and we’re pigs who hate waste.
The recipe suggested I coat the fillets in an egg-white, parmesan cheese and garlic slop. Which I did. It didn’t warn me that it would end up looking like fried egg, so I assume I did something wrong here?
The ‘fries’ took ages in the oven to cook and ended up glued to the baking tray, but over all, not a complete disaster and we both cleared our plates. Don’t think I’ll be arsed making it again, but it was pretty good! 7/10.
Now, by the time I made it to Friday, I’ll confess I sort of gave up. I had planned to go to the Chinese supermarket in town and pick up ingredients to make Cher’s wantons and wanton soup, but since it was thick with snow outside I chose to be lazy and we ate a pizza for dinner which I found at the bottom of the freezer (I’m sorry!). I did prep loads of food for the weekend’s dinner party though.
So, last night was the grand finale of Cher Week! I invited over my best bud and her boyfriend to be my victims. I pulled a few bits from Cher’s book that would work together, so we ended up with a Mexican theme:
Spicy verde rice
Grilled corn and green chile peppers
Nectarine and Blueberry Cobbler
The starter had us all feeling anxious. Cher’s ‘Ambrosia’ is apparently a ‘well-known recipe’ but none of us had ever heard of it before. It is listed in the book as a starter but it sounded more like a dessert to us. It had grapefruit, nectarine, sour cream, coconut, walnuts and marshmallows in it. It was meant to ‘melt’ together into an ‘Angel Delight’ texture but it remained in-tact. Verdict: absolutely bonkers. It wasn’t completely horrific, but none of us were huge fans of grapefruit so found it really sour. It ended up half-eaten and abandoned by the sink. 4/10.
The cornbread was a success. I had never made it before, or even tried it. We decided it tasted like ‘scones’ or ‘Victoria sponge’ so I imagine this isn’t what it is meant to taste like, but it still got eaten and I wish I’d made more. The verde rice ended up being more like risotto despite me following the instructions. The enchiladas required a ‘shop bought ready made sauce’ which I refused to do (I mean come on, I’d come this far!) so I made my own. I thought my sauce was grim, but everyone else had seconds, so it couldn’t have been that bad?
This was my first attempt at a cobbler, which I dished up with a dollop of Carte-d’or vanilla ice cream (Cher suggested frozen yoghurt as it’s low fat, but I went with whatever was on offer at the Co-op because that’s how I roll…). I was pretty chuffed with this! The blueberries made it taste really ‘perfumey’ and it made a nice change from a classic crumble.
‘Some summers, Cher has me baking cobblers almost every other day’. I love this image of Cher DEMANDING cobblers.
All-in-all, this week has been pretty fun! No one got food poisoning. It has taught me a couple of things though: 1) If I was as successful as Cher, I’d definitely have a personal chef as this has been exhausing and 2) Food bloggers have it tougher than I thought. It’s really hard to take a good photo of food that’s steaming hot, I’d much rather just eat it.
What’s next on my culinary horizon? Well, I’ll be eating from one celebrity cook book every month this year. The ones I have lined up include: Jackie Collins, Coolio, Claude Monet, Little House on the Prairie and Miss Piggy to name a few!