Monday, February 27, 2012

Daring Bakers' February 2012 Challenge - Quick Breads

The Daring Bakers’ February 2012 host was – Lis! Lisa stepped in last minute and challenged us to create a quick bread we could call our own. She supplied us with a base recipe and shared some recipes she loves from various websites and encouraged us to build upon them and create new flavor profiles.
I think I have mentioned before my crazy love of banana bread. "Toasted, no butter" is pretty much my catch-cry. At times I have eaten a slice a day for weeks on end. So I was pretty happy to see quick breads as the challenge and an opportunity for me to broaden my quick bread horizons.
I had high hopes to make many different breads, including a lime version of this lemon coconut bread and a proper high fat "cafe-style" banana bread. But once again I must plead the excuse of the new little baby in my life. In the end I made just two versions, one sweet and one savoury.
The sweet bread was this zucchini bread. Sadly it was not "the best" and in fact was not even very good, but I did omit the chocolate (because I ate it) and reduce the sugar (because we had run out) so I can't blame the recipe.

Zucchini bread - Papa loaf and baby loaf
The savory bread was a stout version of this beer and cheese bread. I happened to have some stout left over from making a most amazing stout and coffee ice-cream. (I would very highly recommend that recipe, but it's not part of the challenge.) The stout bread was interesting and livened up a few dinners, but it was a little too stodgy for my taste.
Stout bread - toasted, no butter 

Thank you to our host Lis. Without Lis there would be no Daring Kitchen. Imagine! It was great to have a challenge that allows us to see the amazing creativity of the bakers, I will never get tired of that.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Daring Cooks' February 2012 Challenge - Patties

The Daring Cooks' February Challenge was hosted by Audax and Lis and they chose to present patties for their ease of construction, ingredients and deliciousness. We were given several recipes, and learned the different types of binders and cooking methods to produce our own tasty patties.

Initially I was a little disappointed with this month. Patties. Not exactly daring and certainly not a challenge. But what it lacked in daring it made up for in deliciousness. Anything that leads to three yummy meals in one month can't be cause for complaint. I made two of the recipes suggested by the host and then free-styled a third.

The first was zucchini, prosciutto and cheese fritters. Thanks to my Mum's garden's zucchini abundance and to Costco's irresistibly cheap prosciutto, I already had all the ingredients in the fridge. These are technically a fritter and so are poured and fried like pancakes rather than pre-shaped. In any case, they were yummy. I served them with a fattoush style bread salad for a very pleasing dinner.

The second recipe was titled Basic Canned Fish and Rice Patties. Not the most inspiring sounding dish, but when host Audax said it was one of his favorite recipes and he makes it regularly, I knew it would be good. And good it was. Simple ingredients that you would almost certainly have on hand, easy to prepare and really tasty. This recipe is a keeper.

Finally I made my own rather special creation - Thai Fish Cakes. These were inspired by, but rather different to, traditional deep fried thai fish cake. The ingredients were simply the leftovers from two dinners made by my partner Tom. The dinners were the rather incongruous Hot and Sour Rice soup from a David Thompson recipe and red wine braised rabbit from a Julia Child recipe. So when I was emptying out the fridge on a Sunday night and found one container of leftover fish soup and rice, and one of leftover steamed potato and carrot I decided to (literally) mash them together and fry them up. Hey patty! As you'll see from the picture, my patties were too wet and my frying technique poor, so the end result looked like a hash, but it tasted fantastic. Served with a little Sriracha on the side it made a great lunch.

So that was my adventure in patty land. Thank you to our hosts, I really enjoyed the recipes you provided and got a kick out of making up my own.