Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Fresh Fraisiers - Daring Bakers July 2011

Jana of Cherry Tea Cakes was our July Daring Bakers’ host and she challenges us to make Fresh Frasiers inspired by recipes written by Elisabeth M. Prueitt and Chad Robertson in the beautiful cookbook Tartine.

Yes, this was as good as it looks. A chiffon cake soaked with sugar syrup and filled with pastry cream and strawberries - pretty hard to go wrong here. Each of the compulsory components were simple to make, but you'll be pleased to hear that I made things a bit more challenging for myself. Firstly, by baking it on the last possible night and not starting until after 7pm. And secondly by transporting the finished cake over 90 kilometers on the train the next day to share with my colleagues in a regional office.

You can find the recipes here in the Daring Kitchen archive. I chose to make the chocolate flavored chiffon cake. I used syrup that was left over from poaching rhubarb, so it was infused with flavors of rhubarb, orange and vanilla.

My colleagues absolutely loved the cake. I have not baked for them before and it was a joy because they all went out of their way to thank me and say how much they enjoyed it. I thanked them in return for helping me not to eat the whole thing myself.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Homemade Noodles - Daring Cooks' Challenge July 2011

Steph from Stephfood was our Daring Cooks' July hostess. Steph challenged us to make homemade noodles without the help of a motorized pasta machine. She provided us with recipes for SpƤtzle and Fresh Egg Pasta as well as a few delicious sauces to pair our noodles with!

I have committed the cardinal sin of the food blogger. I forgot to take a picture of the completed dish. Ooops. We had friends over for dinner and I was quite stressed about the ravioli falling apart/sticking together/getting soggy/going cold. So you'll have to take my word for it that the spinach and ricotta ravioli you see above was cooked and served with a most delectable ragu and lashing of parmesan cheese.

Our host suggested that as an extra challenge we look for noodles from our own cultural background. I couldn't think of any particularly Scottish or North American noodles, but I did use my late Grandma's pasta machine to make the noodles.

I used two recipes from Marcella Hazan's Essential's of Classic Italian Cooking - Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli and Ragu Bolognese. This is one of very favorite cookbooks and has never ever failed me. The noodle making process was quite tricky and my ravioli were all different shapes and thicknesses. The end result was far from professional but it tasted good. I think I will let the pictures I did take tell (most 0f) the story. They don't show me swearing or cursing my decision to make ravioli or begging Tom for an extra pair of hands, but you can use your imagination.

Thanks to Steph for this challenge. I am sorry that I didn't get around to making spatzle because that looks really fun, but I intend to try that soon.