Thursday, September 27, 2007
This blog, which up til now had an audience of one (namely me), opened up when I joined the ranks as a Daring Baker! (Thanks Lis and Ivonne!) Someone said, a blog that's not public is a contradiction in terms, and I can see what that means, but I disagree. It's not really the opportunity to say what I want to say, but the opportunity for establishing relevant connections that interests me. Otherwise, I am quite happy logging my own cooking notes.
Well, that's not entirely true. I am not quite entirely happy just doing that, especially when I can be a culinary guerilla instead! Actually this is starting to feel a bit like my online gaming days. . .
So, what am I going to get to do as a Daring Baker? There will be a baking challenge once a month, where the Blogroll bakers will all participate by baking exactly the same thing AND then blog about it. I definitely have plans to get my baked goods tested.
I really like Mary of Alpineberry's description of the DBB: "Who are the Daring Bakers you may ask? Well, we're a group of rogue operatives strategically placed all over the world and secretly trying to conquer our baking fears one recipe at a time. At least that's how I see it. In actuality, we're a group of food bloggers who, once a month, make the exact same recipe and then blog about our experience on the same day. It's a fun way to try new recipes and techniques. Everyone has such a unique experience preparing the same recipe and the posts are always interesting to read."
Even as an avid experimenter, there are things I just won't be fussed enough to make unless something happens, like a mistake, that forces me to correct it (like macaroons).
I am far from an accomplished baker/cook, but I am so looking forward to the baking challenges that will be served up in October and the months to come!
Sunday, September 16, 2007
Made a small beef roast last night that turned out too salty even though the flavours were good, so I tried to correct it. Or, I corrected them through a series of variations.
1) Made a cauliflower puree (with milk). Shredded beef roast (marinated with salt, rosemary, thyme rub, cooked in fruit juice and a bed of soft onions) and heated it in the puree.
2) Added a tsp of black truffle oil, then tossed pasta in it. At this point, this is a very good pasta dish.
3) Then, I shaved Neudorf Richmond Red (a prize-winning Manchego-style New Zealand hard cheese), and it became an absolutely, utterly perfect pasta combination.
I realised today - having never EVER liked cheese from sheep's milk because they always seemed to carry an odd sea-urchiny taste - that perhaps I've simply never had good sheep's milk cheese.
And truffle oil - that's like a whole new taste dimension altogether!
Saturday, September 15, 2007
It was also at the old flat that I rediscovered mangos in a new way (eating them in a 100% concentrated way, slicing and eating them with my paring knife, feet up), beautiful salad dressing combinations, and eating watercress fresh (rather than in a Chinese style soup).
Admittedly these were too sweet for my taste, and I don't hardly get that sort of super-sweet cravings anymore that I used to in the past.
Sauted lemon peel, lemon juice, sundried tomatos and capers in oil - then added boiled cauliflower. Excellent combination, especially with capers. Capers added that zest to the mild cauliflower.
Would be terrific with toast, or something dry and starchy.
- blueberries+plums+thyme works. Added almond essence instead of vanilla. This was edible, but not good.
- Divine with KG's premium vanilla ice cream, but what it's really good for is toning down the acidity - which this compote really was (because I made it with leftover tamarillo-lemon jam).
- Substituted oil with walnut oil
- Added heaps of orange peel, some cinnamon, bran and wheatgerm
- Used super-ripe bananas and brown sugar. Super-ripe almost black bananas make a HUGE difference.
Great dense texture, like brown bread and great flavour. Definitely to be eaten not on the day itself. It hardly tasted low-fat at all.
Froze half the bread and it was even better the following week. The centre was incredibly moist and dense, a texture that's hard to find a parallel to. Good on its own, would be good fried. Must make again.
- Substituted honey and puree for 1 cup peach puree. Added lots of powdered ginger and almond essence
- Used butter as oil and brown sugar. Looked flat but had a wonderfully chewy, dense texture (the next day) - reminded me of the chewy little cakes (possibly with cornflour) I bought in a Japanese bakery in Singapore. Great combination of flavour. Definitely a make-again.
- Amazing with Killinghi's vanilla ice cream (good with ice cream alone) and tamarillo-peach syrup
*The ice-cream with the syrup is amazing!!!!
- Combination actually works, but I can't tell, because I've never liked tarragon much. Bitter of tarragon, sweet and sour of fruit and wine
- Surprised that nectarine worked so well with chicken, still ambivalent about tarragon working with chicken though.
- Mashed roast garlic in pumpkin with hazelnut oil. Roast garlic is such a great idea.
All cooked at medium to medium-low heat
*Carrot layered with the pumpkin mash is nice
- Don't know that I'd want all three in this combination this time, though each section worked in itself.
Asparagus might have worked better with the chicken.