Archive for July, 2010


July Daring Baker Challenge

July 31, 2010

I’m running a bit late, though I did take complete the challenge in time!

The July 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Sunita of Sunita’s world – life and food. Sunita challenged everyone to make an ice-cream filled Swiss roll that’s then used to make a bombe with hot fudge. Her recipe is based on an ice cream cake recipe from Taste of Home.

It was a lot of fun to make, and each component had its own little challenge. We regularly make icecream in our house hold (KitchenAid goodness), the Husband lives on the stuff but because of that consumption really started to occur before properly set. What can you do though?

Attached is the original recipe!

Swiss Swirl Ice Cream Cake


Yeasted Bagels

July 25, 2010

Another recipe from Crust and Crumb against using the poolish style pre-ferment.

Funnily enough this was the recipe I wanted to make that created all of the poolish in the first place. The Husband finally developed an appreciation for the wonderfulness of a good bagel whilst we were overseas. On two occasions he had bagels (I know that’s not a lot in a 6 week period) but both times they satisfied amazing hunger needs. First time around was just a plain bagel, with nothing on it. Which may not sound all together appealing but after a bout of food poisoning and nearly 2 days of not eating, this was the very first thing he ate. He was ravenous by that stage and he was able to keep it down. Tick one for bagels! The second time around we were in transit on our way home, we hit Heathrow with a little bit of time to get some food into our systems (we’d been offered egg sandwiches in flight…so never going to happen for him!. We arrived seeing TGI Fridays, think score! Only to be disappointed with the line, with little else on offer, we headed to the shortest line. The bagel place! Now you wouldn’t hold much hope in these sorts of establishments really but, as “luck” would have it, it was nearly 8 hours since our last meal, so again he was ravenous. He howed down 1 bagel, slathered with cream cheese and salmon, enjoyed it immensely and was still hungry so dived on another, bacon and chicken this time around. Oh how he enjoyed them. So two very positive wonderful food memories associated with bagels!

So since I’ve returned I have been purchasing bagels in store, making variations on the above, plus others. But I always knew in the back of my mind that I would have to give cooking them a go. Then this book entered my life, and all of its wonderful-ness just called out to have everything inside it made. So slowly but surely I began that challenge. With immense joy as you may have already figured out!

I enjoyed making these bagels a lot. I love the poaching step, and I will be doing this again, and next time around I think I’ll be trying some poppy seed, or perhaps flavoured dough. And, maybe just maybe, using the entire batch of poolish just for them! This time around they just got speckled with some almond meal I used because I didn’t have cornmeal!

I did poach one a touch too long as I was distracted reading the commentaries (for the next recipe I’ll write about) which are so very important in this book. Which resulted in this one bagel being a touch more…..chewy then the rest of them. But, still tasty, and I am yet to really find anything truly wrong with his formulas! It is a very dry dough, that uses lukewarm water to ensure no little specks of yeast speckle the surface of your finished product and its very important you follow this, because part of a good bagel is its looks! I also really liked his method of forming the bagel, instead of rope-and-loop he suggests shoving your thumb through the centre of a ball of dough, and it works well, its quick and is a lot gentler on the dough. One important thing to remember is that when poaching your dough, if they do not float to the surface within 15 seconds of dropping them in, they have not been proofed enough and when baked in the oven the hole will close up.

Yeasted Bagels

Makes 6 – 14 bagels depending on the size you make

1 cup poolish
½ t instant yeast
½ cup lukewarm water
3.5 cups unbleached bread flour
2t salt
1 ½ T honey or malt syrup

Meausre out the sponge and let it sit at room temperature for an hour before using it. Stir the yeast into the water to dissolve and let it sit for 3 minutes. combine the sponge, flour, salt and honey in the bowl of KitchenAid with a dough hook, add the water-yeast mixture.
Mix for 1 minute on a low speed and then for 10 minutes on medium speed – watching to make sure the machine is not struggling (you can of course knead by hand) when done the dough will be dense and fairly dry to the touch, and pass the windowpane test.
Immediately cut the dough into 6-14 pieces depending on the size you want. Roll the pieces into balls. Cover them with plastic wrap or a clean towel and rest for 5 minutes. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and dust it lightly with cornmeal.
To form the bagels, poke a hole in the centre of one piece of the dough with your thumb. Keeping your thumb in the centre, work your dough around, expanding the hole and making an even circle. Put your other thumb in the hole too and gently expand the hole to about 1 inch. If the dough resists or tears let it rest for a few more minutes.
Place the shaped pieces about 2 inches apart on the pan. Enclose the pan in a plastic bag and let the dough rest for 1.5 hours, until it increases about 25% – test the dough if you want, by drpping it in a pan of cold water. If it doesn’t float let it rest a bit longer and then try again.
Make sure the bag is closed and put in the fridge for at least 6 hours, if not over night.
Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 240C lightly grease a baking tray and line with parchment and sprinkle with cornmeal and then mist with spray. Remove the shaped dough from the fridge at least half an hour before you plan to bake them.
Fill a large pot of water with at least 4 inches of water and bring to a boil, then reduce heat so the water is simmering.
Working in batches, gently drop the dough in water. After 1 minute flip the bagels over with a slotted spoon and poach them on the other side for another 1 minute.
Remove the bagels with a slotted spoon, allowing the water to drip into the pot. Place them 2 inches apart on the tray. It is here you would sprinkle with seeds or toppings if you want.
Bake the bagels for 10-12 minutes, till lightly browned. Checking halfway through and rotating the pan front to back.
Transfer the bagels to a rack at allow to cool for at least 30 minutes before eating. To freeze bagels, allow to cool completely and seal tightly in a freezer bag, and its a good idea to pre-slice them at this point too!

Unbleached bread flour 100%
Poolish 50%
Instant Yeast 0.4%
Water 25%
Salt 3.1%
Honey (or malt) 6.2%



July 18, 2010

Crust and Crumb is an amazing book. I love it, I love bread so that’s probably why. Having said that the major problem is of course my intolerance of one of the most important ingredients. Yeast and I are not friends and yet I will not stop eating it!

I am slowly making my way through the different recipes, and today I started quite a bit today. I have made the Banana Bread, the French Bread II (with Pate Fermentee) and the White Sandwich Loaf. And have enjoyed every mouthful of all of them. I decided though that I wanted to make some bagels. So, I had to make some poolish style pre-ferment. This is a sponge made by combining yeast with a small amount of flour and a large amount of water. Due to the lack of resistance of dough, the yeast ferments and multiplies more quickly.

Like the recipe says due to the small amount of yeast that is already in this dish it makes it difficult to reduce the amount of fermentee you create. There is a suggestion of perhaps cutting the ingredients in half and using 1/8 t of yeast, but you can freeze the sponge if you want. Or you can just make the full batch and then make a lot of things! If you do decide to freeze the poolish you need to do so just before or after refrigerating it on the first night, otherwise it’s less reliable and take it out at least 24hours before you want to use it.

One of the many things I made with this pre-ferment is pizza dough.

Now the Husband makes a really good non-yeasted pizza dough that I love and actually prefer over this dough now that I’ve tried it. However, due to the fact that I had all this leftover poolish I wanted to give it a go. It is a nice flavoured dough but just didn’t have the same flavour that the Husband’s does. I would make it again if I had leftover poolish so it’s not a bad thing is it? There is 2 dough’s though so I could always try the other one as well.

The quantity of this was 3 pizza’s as I was catering for the parent’s-in-laws who came over to help the Husband mount our dryer so I could reclaim some space in my laundry, I needed to be mindful of tastes. So I went with a classic Hawaiian
a BBQ chicken
and pepperoni.

Poolish Style Pre-ferment

4 cups unbleached bread flour
4 cups cool water
1/4t instant yeast

Combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl large enough to hold the batter after it has doubled in volume. Beat or whisk for about 1 minute, until the batter is well mixed and quite smooth. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave it at room temperature for 3-5hours or till foamy and bubbly. Refrigerate the poolish, well covered, and overnight.
Makes just over 3 pounds

Pizza Dough I

3.5 cups unbleached bread flour
2t salt
¼ t instant yeast
2T honey
½ cup olive oil
¾ cup plus 1T cool water
1 ¼ cup poolish

Combine all the ingredient in the bowl of an electric mixer with a paddle attachment (not dough) or a mixing bowl. Mix on a low speed for 1 minute and then increase to a medium speed and mix for about 12 minutes until the dough is smooth and creamy. It will be very thick and like pancake batter. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise at room temperature for about 3 hours, till bubbly. Refrigerate overnight; it will thicken as it cools. Turn the dough out onto a heavily floured work surface and divide into 3 pieces. Toss the pieces one at a time in flour, gently round into a bowl and mist the tops of the dough with cooking spray and cover with a plastic bag. Let the dough rise for at least 30 minutes before proceeding. Preheat the oven to 290C (or as high as your oven will go) prepare the oven for heath baking. Line an inverted sheet pan with parchment and mist. Spread out the dough and make it as thin as possible without tearing. Dress the pizza with the sauce and toppings you want. Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown and cheese is bubbly. Remove from the oven and serve.


Egg & Cocoa

July 17, 2010

Short and sweet entry

I discovered some Van Houten cocoa at a local speciality store, which was I was quite excited about. It’s local and easy to access! And for those of you who don’t know C.J. VAN HOUTEN invented the process of manufacturing cocoa, in Amsterdam in 1828. This resulted in Van Houten’s cocoa and chocolate powders (and just cocoa in general) conquering the hearts of thousands of chocolate lovers around the world!

Further in my excitement of cooking and baking and what not this week I decided to give poaching an egg a go. What’s that I hear you ask? poaching an egg? but isn’t that easy! well I’d always done it in an egg poacher, but I wanted to give it a go in a pot! and I did! and it worked! I was very excited – silly I know, but its a basic cooking skill I now know I have.


Chicken Pie

July 17, 2010

Continuing with my desire to make pastry I decided I’d make my husband a chicken pie. Originally I wanted to make a Chicken & Leek Pie. However, I had no leeks, and actually I only had one onion. Terrible isn’t it? What’s a girl to do then? Improvise of course! That is of course what cooking is about isn’t it?

I used the recipe as a bit of a guide. A starting point so to speak. My improvisation consisted of a cabbage instead of leek. Bit of another way for me to get the Husband to eat more vegetables, which is very important to me. I also used some baby red capsicums that I had as well, they had been sitting in my fridge for awhile so into the food processor they went. The taste was surprisingly great! And it was sneaky enough that the Husband enjoyed it without any complaints and a healthy appetite.

I struggled a touch with the pastry as usual. I have a bit of pastry problem! I didn’t think about it completely, when assembling my pie. I followed the instructions, but obviously not properly. I put my lid on….after folding the edges down! Arg, these are simple things, but I don’t think of them until it’s all over red rover! So it didn’t look great, but it did taste good. So I guess perhaps I should focus on that? failures in looks aren’t really failures are they? The pastry was from How to be a Domestic Goddess

Chicken Pie

2 chicken breasts
¼ cabbage
3 baby red capsicum
1 bottle of dry white wine
1 can evaporated milk
70g feta – cubed
2 cloves garlic
1T dried onion (yes I know the horror)

250g plain flour
125g cold butter – cubed
2 egg yolks
2T cold water
1t salt
1T caster sugar

Slice chicken breast up. Put cabbage and capsicum in food processor and chop up. Pour wine into a saucepan and place all ingredients but the evaporated milk and feta in. Boil away until the wine is reduced. Once reduced, add the evaporated milk and feta, and reduce this. Allow to cool.
Whilst cooling make the pastry by putting the flour and butter in a dish and put the dish in the freezer for 10 minutes. Stir together the yolks, water and salt in a cup and put this cup in the fridge.
Then when the time is up tip the flour and butter into the food processor, add the sugar and pulse to combine – until it looks like something similar to sand. Bind with the egg yolks water and salt, and when it looks like its on the verge of coming together, tip the pastry out and work it together with your hands. Divide into 2 discs, one a little bigger than the other. Wrap in cling wrap and chill in the fridge for awhile.
Preheat the oven to 200C and butter a 22cm, springform tin. Roll out the large of the discs and place in the tin with an overhang. Sprinkle the bottom of this with some breadcrumbs and fill with the cold pie filling. Roll out the other piece of pastry and lay over the top, then fold the overhang and press down.
Glaze the pie with milk and egg and stab here and there. Cook for 10 minutes on the 200C before dropping it down to 180C for 45minutes.
Allow to sit for 10 minutes prior to serving.



July 16, 2010

I made this recipe from Nigella Bites before we went on our 6 week holiday. So it’s been waiting awhile to be posted, and sat here in my house watching soppy chick flicks, processing photos for the things I’ve done recently I thought I should probably work on some of the older stuff!
The original recipe was for Blackberry and Apple, but cooking for the Clan meant that I had to be mindful of tastes. And, blackberries do not comply with tastes. Now I have reached a point were I can be happy to put up a dessert that meats most people’s tastes instead of trying to comply with everyone’s. However in the case of Blackberries, we’d be split down the middle, half and half. So instead….I went with Pear. I had pears I needed to use before we went away and well, apple goes with pear yea?
I loved this! I think apple and pear go together, and well anything with apple is going to work for me. In terms of form, it wasn’t quite perfect. I will have to do it over again now that I’ve been reminded of its tasty goodness!

Apple and Pear Kuchen

for the cake base

400g strong white flour
½ t salt
50g caster sugar
3g yeast
2 eggs
½ t vanilla extract
Grated zest of half a lemon
¼ t ground cinnamon
125ml lukewarm milk
50g butter, softened

For the topping

1 egg beaten with a T of cream and a pinch of cinnamon
550g of stewed pear and apple
Zest of ½ lemon
50g SR flour
25g ground almonds
¼ t ground cinnamon
50g cold butter, diced
2T caster sugar
2 Demerara sugar (or dark sugar)
25g flaked or ground almonds

Put 400g of flour in a bowl with the salt, sugar and yeast. In another bowl, beat the eggs and add them, with the vanilla extract, lemon zest and cinnamon, to the lukewarm milk. Stir the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients to make medium soft dough, being prepared to add more flour as necessary. Work in the soft butter and knead by hand for about 10 minutes or half that time by machine. When the dough is ready it will appear smoother and springier. Cover with a tea towel and leave till doubled in size (an hour to an hour and a half – or overnight) then punch down and press to line a tin 30x20cm. When its pressed out, leave it to prove for 15-20minutes then brush with egg and cream mixture.
Preheat the oven to 200C. Mix the apple & pear with the zest. Set aside for a few minutes and make the crumble top. Put the flour, almonds and cinnamon in a medium-sized bowl, stir to combine, then add the cold, diced butter. Using tips of fingers, rub it into the flour. Stop when you have a mixture that resembles porridge oats. Fork in the sugars and extra almonds.
Tumble the fruit over the dough and sprinkle with crumble. Put in the oven for about 15 minutes then turn to 180C and cook for another 20 minutes or so until the dough is swelling and golden and crumble is set. Remove from the oven, wait five minutes, then cut it into slabs.


Two Giana’s sans photos

July 16, 2010

I’ve been a-hunting but do you think for the life of me I can find the photo’s for these two recipes? I’ve been searching and searching, and I know I would’ve taken them! Bit sad that I don’t have them too because both of these dishes were amazing in flavour. I could’ve devoured every single tiny morsel to myself!

I of course did not, I shared with the Husband, who also appreciated them as well. He loves pork in all its forms so the chops were always going to be a hit. I have a habit of always preparing the amounts the recipe asks for. It provides for leftovers – which isn’t always good as some foods just don’t taste better next time around. But, I don’t think these even made it to the next day. The Husband was making sneaky trips to the fridge through the night, so when I got up in the morning there was almost nothing left! not even enough for a full lunch. I shouldn’t complain though it means he enjoyed it, yes?

As for the veal….well it was me doing sneaky in the fridge visits, I love all good tomato based sauces. And this tomato based sauce packed a good punch in terms of flavour! I loved it, and it was fairly easy to make, didn’t take that long for me to whip it up, and it has featured on our menu a couple of times since I originally made it. Very happy!

Giada’s Kitchen – New Italian Favourites provides you two great recipes…again I really love this cookbook!

Pork Chops with Fennel & Caper Sauce
¼ cup olive oil
4 boneless pork chops
Salt and pepper
2 small fennel bulbs, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
2 large shallots thinly sliced
2/3 cup parsley
½ cup dry white wine
1 can of diced tomatoes
½ lemon, zested
2 T drained capers

Heat the olive oil in a large pan. Season the pork with salt and pepper. Then brown for about 4 minutes per side. Set aside and cover loosely. Add the fennel, shallots and 1/3 cup of parsley to the pan cooking over a medium heat until the fennel is browning. Add wine and stir in the tomatoes. Then return the pork to the pan, making sure the pork is nestled and mostly submerged. Cook until the fennel is tender – about 15 minutes. Take out the pork and place on a plate, add in the last of the parsley, the lemon zest and capers to the sauce. Stir and combine all of this before spooning over the pork to serve.

Veal Saltimbocca
4 boneless veal cutlets
Salt and pepper, to season
4 thin slices of lemon
4 sage leaves
4 large slices of prosciutto
3T olive oil
½ cup dry white wine
½ cup low sodium chicken broth
1 can whole tomatoes, drained and chopped
½ cup heavy cream

Season the veal. Place a slice of lemon on each piece and then top with sage and wrap in prosciutto. Warm a large pan with olive oil and place the meat lemon side up and cook for about 6 minutes. Turn this over and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes until the prosciutto is beginning to caramelise. Remove from the pan and tent with foil. Add the white wine to the pan to deglaze over a high heat. Add the broth and reduce by half. Add the tomatoes, cream and some more salt and pepper. Stirring until it is all combined and hot. Pour some of the sauce over meat and serve the tomato mixture next too.