Archive for the ‘Cool’ Category

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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

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June Challenge

June 18, 2010

Our hostesses this month, Evelyne of Cheap Ethnic Eatz, and Valerie of a The Chocolate Bunny, chose delicious pate with freshly baked bread as their June Daring Cook’s challenge! They’ve provided us with 4 different pate recipes to choose from and are allowing us to go wild with our homemade bread choice.

I was initially daunted, I’m not a pate person. I don’t like it, never had which is a shame because I do see the people enjoying it but then I was inspired by the 4 different pate recipes. It sent me on a search and I came up with a layered cheese pate which I loved!!

For the bread I went with a French Bread recipe from Crust and Crumb a bread that takes me 3 days to make!!! and I love it – despite my need to avoid yeast, this bread always destroys that I eat! and I enjoy! and its worth the pain!

The recipes I used follow, and I have no picture as of yet….its on the Husband’s camera, unprocessed and raw….I’ll add it as soon as I can! This was the 3rd time I’d made this dough, and the time that it was most successful. I must admit that I halved the recipe (the book comes with handy percentages so you can easily do this) but have provided it in it’s full form.

French Bread II (with Pate Fermentee)

Recipe By : Peter Reinhart, Crust and Crumb
Serving Size : 4 Preparation Time :0:00
Categories : Bread

Amount Measure Ingredient — Preparation Method
——– ———— ——————————–
454 gm Unbleached All-purpose Flour
454 gm Unbleached Bread Flour
1 tsp Malt powder
1 3/4 tsp active dry yeast
610 gm cool water(65-70F)
454 gm pre-fermented dough
2 1/2 tsp salt

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the flours, malt, yeast and water. Using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed for 4 minutes, or until a course dough has formed. Rest the dough for 20 minutes. (the autolyse)****

Cut the pate fermentee into small pieces. Add the salt, ascorbic acid and the pate fermente one piece at a time, with the mixer running on low speed. Mix for 4 to 6 minutes, or until the dough is soft and pliable, tacky but not stick. Mix in extra flour or water(a few drops at a time) if necessary to achieve this consistency. The dough is ready when it passes the window pane test and is between 25 and 26C(neutral to the touch). If your machine is not big enough to handle a dough this large, complete the kneading by hand.
Place the dough in a bowl large enough to allow it to double in size. Mist the dough lightly with a cooking spray. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise for about 30 minutes. It should just begin to swell.
Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured work surface and knead by hand for a few seconds.
Cut off 454gm of the dough for a future pate fermentee, if you desire. Put it in a bowl with a plastic wrap or in a plastic bag and refrigerate or freeze it.
Shape the remaining dough into a ball and put back in the bowl. Mist the dough lightly with the cooking spray. Cover with plastic wrap. Let it rise for about 90 minutes or until doubled.
Scale, bench and shape the dough into loaves or rolls as desired. Place them on sheet pans or in baskets. If using pans, line them with parchment paper and dust with cornmeal or semolina for texture; if using
baskets, mist them with cooking spray and dust them with rice flour or
bread flour to prevent sticking. Lightly mist the top of the shaped dough with cooking spray to prevent
sticking and enclose the pans or baskets inside a large plastic bag. Let the dough rise for 15 minutes and then retard overnight in the refrigerator.
Prepare the oven for hearth baking, making sure to place the empty steam pan on a lower rack. Preheat the oven to 250C. Make sure your water sprayer is filled.
Remove the pan of dough from the plastic 15 minutes before baking, to allow the surface of the dough to dry slightly. Just before baking, lightly score the bread( as desired) about half an inch deep at a
45degree angle(Before scoring, you may brush the bread with water with a touch of salt added, or with egg white mixed with water and a touch of salt). Fill a measuring cup with 1 cup of very hot tap water. Put the
loaves or rolls in the oven, either on sheet pans or by peel directly on the stone. Then pour the hot water into the empty steam pan(EXERCISE EXTREME CAUTION). Quickly spritz the oven walls and bread, and close
the door.
After 2 minutes, quickly spray the oven walls and the bread again. Repeat in 1 minute. Then lower the oven temperature to 230C. Wait 10 minutes and check the bread(check rolls after 5 minutes). Rotate the bread, front to back, if it seems to be baking unevenly. When the bread has developed a rich, golden brown color, about 25 minutes, for loaves, 15 minutes for rolls, turn off the oven (or lower it to 175C if you plan to bake again). Leave the bread in the oven an additional 5-10 minutes, until it seems on the verge of over browning.
Remove the bread to a cooling rack and allow it to cool thoroughly before eating: 60-90 minutes for loaves, 20 minutes for rolls. The bread will taste best if eaten within 2 hours of cooling

****Using a 20 minute rest period when mixing dough with a machine minimizes mixing time, thus decreasing oxidation. Oxidation, caused by beating air into the dough, bleaches the flour, nullifying the positive flavour and aroma of the beta-carotene in the unbleached flour. This rest period is called the autolyse. While the dough rests, the protein fragments, glutenin and gliadin, continue to bond into gluten molecules, giving the dough its necessary structure.
The salt is added after the autolyse to allow the dough to hydrate more quickly(salt slows down hydration as well as fermentation). the pre-fermented dough is also added after the autolyse because it is already mixed and developed. You want it to have only enough additional mixing to incorporate it fully into the final dough.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Serving Ideas : Add pate fermentee(old dough pre-ferment)
NOTES : Using pre-fermented dough allows you to achieve a great loaf without retarding. There is also the advantage of having a finished loaf on the same day. However, the long, slow rise of overnight
retarding produces a a more spectacular loaf, richer in color, with a dramatic blistered crust.
By cutting off one pound of the finished dough, you can still make four 14 oz baguettes, leaving the pre-ferment for the next batch.

Layered Cheese Pate

Ingredients
2 packages cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans
3/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, divided
1 package Stilton
How to make Layered Cheese Pate
Combine cream cheese, Italian seasoning, and pepper in a mixing bowl, beat at medium speed of an electric mixer until smooth.
Line 2 lightly oiled 3 x 2 inch loaf pans with plastic wrap, leaving a 1-inch overhang on each side.
Carefully spread about one-third of cream cheese mixture in loaf pan, smoothing to corners of pan.
Next, layer Gruyere cheese and chopped pecans, top with half of remaining cream cheese mixture.
Then layer 1/2 cup parsley and Stilton cheese, top with remaining cream cheese mixture, pressing mixture firmly.
Cover with overhanging plastic wrap, and allow cheese loaf to chill at least 8 hours.
To unmold, lift cheese loaf out of pan using the plastic wrap.
Remove plastic wrap, and I rolled it one in parsley and one in some chilli, then stacked them on top of each other.
Let cheese loaf come to room temperature before serving.

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Tiramisu

February 27, 2010

The February 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen and Deeba of Passionate About Baking. They chose Tiramisu as the challenge for the month. Their challenge recipe is based on recipes from The Washington Post, Cordon Bleu at Home and Baking Obsession

It was a bit of a rush job I must admit, I had to get it in and get it done before I went overseas (I type this entry covertly at 12:30am the 18th Feb….to self publish on reveal day) and so essentially started when it was revealed. There were 2 mandatory items for this challenge we had to make our own savoiardi / ladyfinger biscuits and mascarpone cheese with the given recipes. And, we had to make the zabaglione and pastry cream using the given recipes.

It was a lot of fun, I had never made mascarpone before so that was interesting. I toned down the coffee flavour a bit because I was serving it to my family and they aren’t big coffee drinkers but appreciate subtle undertones. It was a hit really and I will be doing it again just stronger flavours next time!

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Mezze

February 14, 2010


The 2010 February Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Michele of Veggie Num Nums. Michele chose to challenge everyone to make mezze based on various recipes from Claudia Roden, Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Dugid.


AND it was one of the most delicious things I’ve had in a long time! it was enjoyed by my whole family. It was perfect! my pita didn’t turn out the best not as fluffy as I would have liked, but taste wise it was brilliant! Even the gluten free pita I adapted for my Grandma worked out quite well.

I had a lot of fun making this, it was a lot of fun to have the different options to go with it. I was able to cater for the different tastes of the people I had. It was really great, my mum had flown over from the other side of the country to celebrate the Husband finishing university. My grandparents had come up because of this as well, but also to house sit for my impending European Holiday. So, I had to cater to the tastes of 5 people. We do have some similar tastes but not always with everything. So this was perfect! we all loved it!

Oh, and we are missing the tabouleh in this picture (made with couscous for the GF Gma). But, my mezze was a giant bowl of hummus, baba ganoush, falafel, 3 types of sliced meat, sweet corn, sun-dried tomato, olives, roasted capsicum, caramelised onion and 3 dolmades for my Grandma.

This will be my last Daring Kitchen for awhile now….I return to my home on the 5th April so will pick it up again then!

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Nanaimo Bars

January 27, 2010


The January 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Lauren of Celiac Teen. Lauren chose Gluten-Free Graham Wafers and Nanaimo Bars as the challenge for the month. The sources she based her recipe on are 101 Cookbooks and http://www.nanaimo.ca.

Daring Kitchen instalment!

I have been wanting to make these since I originally heard of them, but knowing that they sounded exactly like something I would have very limited will power or control over whether or not I ate them, had given me pause. For a number of months actually, however when I saw this challenge I knew it was time!

On a little side note, it amused me that the reveal date for something that is “quintessentially” Canadian was the day after we Australian’s celebrate being Australian. Australia Day! Where I might add, I spent the day in the company of 11 South Africans, and the closest thing to “aussie” food I had was some beetroot (which yes I was looked at oddly when I added this too my salad – the only thing that would’ve made it better was if it was in a burger!)

Anyway, after that little side note – I made these in batches. I started with the Graham Cookies, which were interesting to make to say the least. The dough was incredibly sticky and like some others have said, I used two layers of floured parchment paper to roll them out. I however could not get them too slice into appropriate square/rectangular shapes (or perhaps I just did not persevere enough) and ended up popping them in my Avanti Cookie Press and making delightful round crackers. I could not have been happier with the taste! I was nibbling away happily on them once baked, and I immediately bagged some up to take to work for my GF colleague, provided her with the recipe, whilst emailing on the recipe to my grandmother and a dear friend who are also GF. I then quickly ground up the amount I needed for the bars and sealed away the rest of them before I could eat anymore!

I then started the rest of the process a few days later, I was looking for a cooler day. Alas, Brisbane was not forthcoming in this and I had to rely on a few hours of chilling between each step as well as air-conditioning at full blast (ok…24 degrees, but that’s full!) I was taking this with me to the aforementioned Australia Day gathering of the Clan. In light of this I could not use coconut in the base (though for me this would’ve just made the bar that little bit more divine) as coconut and my SIL do not mix and whilst I was making another dessert to take as well, I wanted the option to eat this to be there for her. So, like a few others I used Rice Bubbles as a substitute – having read some other entries, I think my SIL would’ve been in eating heaven if I’d made the middle layer PB! Though I did happily have some Birds Custard on hand which I used instead and since this is her favourite (and I think actually the only custard she’ll eat) I still did ok I think. Also, because I had gone all out with the base and middle catering to my SIL, I figured I had to go the whole hog, and the chocolate that I used was Fair Trade Dark Chocolate, it actually is one of my favourite chocolates to melts so that worked out well.

I had some leftovers that I shared with some friends, who enjoyed it and the Clan were quite receptive (starting out with just one little piece before having just another little piece) so all in all I think it was a great challenge. It did melt rather quickly when left out to its own devices but I think that just encouraged us all to get into it that bit quicker! I think next time I would make it all a bit thicker though, so smaller size, fatter bar perhaps? And I also need to thank the Husband who was my avid photographer for the day (excuse the cling wrap) my knee was pushed to its limits doing this and I had to sit down and rest after!

Gluten-Free Graham Wafers
Ingredients
1 cup (138 g) (4.9 ounces) Sweet rice flour (also known as glutinous rice flour)
3/4 cup (100 g) (3.5 ounces) Tapioca Starch/Flour
1/2 cup (65 g) (2.3 ounces) Sorghum Flour
1 cup (200 g) (7.1 ounces) Dark Brown Sugar, Lightly packed
1 teaspoon (5 mL) Baking soda
3/4 teaspoon (4 mL ) Kosher Salt
7 tablespoons (100 g) (3 ½ ounces) Unsalted Butter (Cut into 1-inch cubes and frozen)
1/3 cup (80 mL) Honey, Mild-flavoured such as clover.
5 tablespoons (75 mL) Whole Milk
2 tablespoons (30 mL) Pure Vanilla Extract
Directions:
1. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, combine the flours, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt. Pulse on low to incorporate. Add the butter and pulse on and off, until the mixture is the consistency of a coarse meal. If making by hand, combine aforementioned dry ingredients with a whisk, then cut in butter until you have a coarse meal. No chunks of butter should be visible.
2. In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk together the honey, milk and vanilla. Add to the flour mixture until the dough barely comes together. It will be very soft and sticky.
3. Turn the dough onto a surface well-floured with sweet rice flour and pat the dough into a rectangle about 1 inch thick. Wrap in plastic and chill until firm, about 2 hours, or overnight.
4. Divide the dough in half and return one half to the refrigerator. Sift an even layer of sweet rice flour onto the work surface and roll the dough into a long rectangle, about 1/8 inch thick. The dough will be quite sticky, so flour as necessary. Cut into 4 by 4 inch squares. Gather the scraps together and set aside. Place wafers on one or two parchment-lined baking sheets. Chill until firm, about 30 to 45 minutes. Repeat with the second batch of dough.
5. Adjust the rack to the upper and lower positions and preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius).
6. Gather the scraps together into a ball, chill until firm, and reroll. Dust the surface with more sweet rice flour and roll out the dough to get a couple more wafers.
7. Prick the wafers with toothpick or fork, not all the way through, in two or more rows.
8. Bake for 25 minutes, until browned and slightly firm to the touch, rotating sheets halfway through to ensure even baking. Might take less, and the starting location of each sheet may determine its required time. The ones that started on the bottom browned faster.
9. When cooled completely, place enough wafers in food processor to make 1 ¼ cups (300 mL) of crumbs. Another way to do this is to place in a large ziplock bag, force all air out and smash with a rolling pin until wafers are crumbs.
Nanaimo Bars
Ingredients:
For Nanaimo Bars — Bottom Layer
1/2 cup (115 g) (4 ounces) Unsalted Butter
1/4 cup (50 g) (1.8 ounces) Granulated Sugar
5 tablespoons (75 mL) Unsweetened Cocoa
1 Large Egg, Beaten
1 1/4 cups (300 mL) (160 g) (5.6 ounces) Gluten Free Graham Wafer Crumbs (See previous recipe)
1/2 cup (55 g) (1.9 ounces) Almonds (Any type, Finely chopped)
1 cup (130 g) (4.5 ounces) Coconut (Shredded, sweetened or unsweetened)
For Nanaimo Bars — Middle Layer
1/2 cup (115 g) (4 ounces) Unsalted Butter
2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons (40 mL) Heavy Cream
2 tablespoons (30 mL) Vanilla Custard Powder (Such as Bird’s. Vanilla pudding mix may be substituted.)
2 cups (254 g) (8.9 ounces) Icing Sugar
For Nanaimo Bars — Top Layer
4 ounces (115 g) Semi-sweet chocolate
2 tablespoons (28 g) (1 ounce) Unsalted Butter
Directions:
1. For bottom Layer: Melt unsalted butter, sugar and cocoa in top of a double boiler. Add egg and stir to cook and thicken. Remove from heat. Stir in crumbs, nuts and coconut. Press firmly into an ungreased 8 by 8 inch pan.
2. For Middle Layer: Cream butter, cream, custard powder, and icing sugar together well. Beat until light in colour. Spread over bottom layer.
3. For Top Layer: Melt chocolate and unsalted butter over low heat. Cool. Once cool, pour over middle layer and chill.

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Mango Pannacotta

September 16, 2009

It’s very hard to satisfy my desire to bake and cook and what not when one is on a restricted diet! My body and it’s unfairness to me is cruel – hopefully it will balance itself out soon and I will be able to begin the slow and gradual reintroduction of all the things I miss now! In the mean time I bake and cook in sparing amounts because with only feeding myself and the Husband the products of my kitchen adventures call me and I eat and I pay the price!!! The Husband of course continues to ‘enjoy’ the benefits of his genetics (which I hope to one day pass on to our children) but just because he can doesn’t mean he should!

So in the hope of satisfying my ‘problem’ I unselfishly offered to begin to provide the dessert component of our weekly family dinners. Each Tuesday night the Husbands family (the Clan) show up after work to my mother-in-laws (MIL) house and enjoys an evening familial bonding which is lovely. With my family small and scattered about the country this opportunity to get together with the Husbands family is something I deeply appreciate. I thought though that perhaps it would be appreciated if my MIL doesn’t have to provide everything to satisfy 7 people!

It will be a challenge I’ve decided, one which I will thoroughly enjoy! My father-in-law (FIL) doesn’t like any berries but Strawberries (which the Husband hates, though actually he’s not a fan of berries really) whereas my Sister-in-law (SIL) and Brother-in-law (BIL) love berries. MIL likes all things chocolate, especially with orange, whereas BIL hates chocolate in any form but in its original state (well he will make exceptions for brownies I hear) and especially dislikes the chocolate orange combination. FIL doesn’t really like hot puddings – preferring things like trifles, whereas my SIL hates trifle. Now I’ve made no mention of Little E (my niece) but she’s often easily satisfied with some custard or ice-cream, and well at just over 2 it’s still an ongoing adventure to see what she does and does not like! I could go on, but needless to say everyone has different tastes, and I’m sure I’ll get it wrong sometimes. But, thankfully one thing I can count on is that at Clan gatherings there will always be ice-cream available for those who don’t want what is on offer.

This week was the first go around of me supplying the dessert, and I figured I’d start with something I was sure my FIL would enjoy. He was having some day surgery completed and I thought something made from his favourite fruit would be a winner. And, thus my mango pannacotta was born. It’s lovely creamy texture and subtle mango undertones always make me smile so surely it’d be a success – and I suppose one could say it was. With those of the family who enjoy mango. However, for my first go around I failed my SIL (sorry!) who likes neither pannacotta or mango…and the Husband, will eat mango but it isn’t his favourite so whilst he ate the dessert and said it was nice and thanked me for my efforts did make sure to remind me mango isn’t his favourite, in case perhaps I’d forgotten? Ahhh well, lesson learnt and FIL had made sure there were strawberries on offer for SIL so I don’t think she minded too much.

Mango Pannacotta

2 large mangoes
250mL cream
2t sugar
2T gelatine

With a serrated edge knife slice off both sides the fattest part of the mangos (the cheek). Score the cheek into little cubes and then with a spoon scoop out the flesh from the skin. Then with a paring knife cut around the pit with a paring knife, and remove the remaining flesh from the skin and trim around the pit to remove any remaining flesh.
Place flesh of mango into a food processer and let this process for 2 or 3 minutes until the mango is smooth.
Place the cream and sugar into a medium saucepan and over a medium heat, stir constantly until the sugar dissolves and the cream is almost at a boiling point. Do not allow this mixture to boil, and remove from heat.
Whilst whisking this mixture slowly add the gelatine until dissolved and absorbed and then stir in the mango. Keep whisking until well blended and then divide the mixture into 4 serving dishes (though I originally served mine into 5) and place into the fridge to set. To soak up any moisture from the hot mixture you can cover the tops with baking paper.

Maple Mango

1 Mango
1/4c of Maple Syrup

Prepare mango as directed above. Place in small baking dish, cover with maple syrup and bake in an oven at 180C for about 20 minutes. Allow to cool, and divide evenly over pannacotta.

Recipe adapted from a number of recipes (including Cook (almost))

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Apple & Rhubarb

September 6, 2009


I am not sure how this came to be my first use of Rhubarb this year? perhaps it hasn’t been and I just don’t remember cooking with it. I wouldn’t think so though, since I do so love Rhubarb.

I just couldn’t resist the long pink/red sticks when I saw them on Friday. They called me and I immediately knew what I’d do with them. This started out life as a compote. I follow a very traditional compote recipe I got from Gourmet Traveller some time back – but tweaked to include apple. And then, because I can’t help it, I blend it when it’s all done. Perhaps I should call it Stewed Apple & Rhubarb?

Apple & Rhubarb ‘Compote’

Approx. 600gms diced Rhubarb
2 diced Apples
155gms caster sugar
1/3 cup water

Combine Rhubarb and sugar in saucepan. Stand until moisture is drawn out of the rhubarb (takes about 15 minutes).
Add Apple and Water
Cook covered with a lid and stirring occasionally, over low-medium heat until rhubarb is tender (takes about 20 minutes)
Place in blender and blend until smooth
Serve warm or cool