I’ve been meaning all year to properly get back into the Daring Bakers Challenge… I can’t believe it’s taken me this long! I had a few months there where I even baked the challenge but just never get around to blogging about it. I was determined for this month to be different.
And what a month to jump back in: The August Daring Bakers’ Challenge took us for a spin! Swathi of Zesty South Indian Kitchen taught us to make rolled pastries inspired by kürtőskalács, a traditional Hungarian wedding pastry. These tasty yeasted delights gave us lots to celebrate!
Now that I’m up to my 41st cook book, it’s getting harder to remember what I have and haven’t cooked from. I’m really going to need to get some check list going on before I accidentally repeat one. This battered and bruised one was definitely one I hadn’t cooked from before. It’s a more recent addition to the collection. My dad has suddenly decided that every time he sees a Woman’s Day/Woman’s Weekly book in the op shop he’s going to get it for me, regardless of quality. There’s no date on this book, but the fact it boasts being printed in colour on the cover gives you some notion of how old it is.
Unsurprisingly it’s filled with all the classics. Many of which I’d tried, or tried some variation of, when I first started learning how to bake. It was difficult to find something I hadn’t baked before, until I came across the Yeasted Breads chapter. Being rather new to bread making, there’s quite a number of things I’m yet to try. Most of those on offer were basic breads, crumpets or muffins. But I eventually settled on the croissants. They’re something I absolutely love, have always intended to make at home, but just never got around to it. The cook book challenge is always the perfect opportunity to scratch another off of my list.
I’ve had a slight hiccup with the Jupiter cake tutorial: I have the video done but it just won’t save! All my attempts at troubleshooting haven’t worked so I’m having to sort that out. I’ll have it for you soon!
In lieu of that, it’s time to move on to the Daring Baker’s challenge this month!
This month’s challenge was entitled ‘Eenie Meenie Miney Moe!’ In a celebration of past Daring Baker and Daring Cook challenges, Lisa challenged all of us to search through the Daring Kitchen archives and pick any one we’d like. The real challenge was picking which delicious recipe to try!
I set about trying to find the hardest recipe I could. I was going to challenge myself to the most ludicrous challenge I could find. But I struggled to find something that scared me. The most fearsome challenges I’d heard about from other bakers were things I have or now regularly bake: french macarons, joconde, croquembouche. The desserts I hadn’t tried all used techniques I’m familiar with. It was actually a nice moment to reflect on how far I’ve come and how much I’ve learned over the last 3 years.
I couldn’t find something as challenging as I’d wanted, but there was one…
The chocolate marquise. It was the challenge from May 2011. I’d never heard of it before and it looked divine. But the recipe was massive and had a bunch of pressure points that seemed difficult, so I decided to take it on.
I discovered as I made it that it wasn’t that scary, but it does force you to plan ahead. You need to be organised and to think through the components, particularly during plating. You have to have a plan of attack and stick to it. I’m a hot mess in the kitchen so perhaps this was the biggest challenge of all…
The end of June is approaching, meaning it’s time to share another Daring Bakers’ challenge!
Rachael from pizzarossa was our lovely June 2013 Daring Bakers’ host and she had us whipping up delicious pies in our kitchens. Cream pies, fruit pies, chocolate pies, even crack pies! There’s nothing like pie.
Pies are something that I love but get really easily intimidated out of in the kitchen. It’s more to do with the crust than anything. When I first started baking I attempted a number of pies, and they were largely hit and miss. Mostly miss, for when I tried unmoulding them from the tin they would either stick or snap or crumble or all of the above. So I ran away from pies. This challenge was a good way for me to test the waters again and see how I’d go now that I have many more kitchen hours under my belt.
There were four pies on offer. I went from saying I’d do one to taking on three of them!
The next couple weeks of the cook book challenge are following on from the supermarket freebie theme. This one is another Leggo’s book, but unlike the pizza book I didn’t even catch this in the supermarket. This one was gifted to me from my partners mum. It’s called Fast Italian, and is the third volume in their Italian cook book series. The first book is called Cook Italian, and was featured in my 8th cook book challenge. The second volume, Love Italian, seems to have slipped my mind and will surely feature soon.
Fast Italian is, as the name suggests, all about the quick meals. It delivers 60 recipes that all promise to take less than half an hour to dish up. A time frame that suits my mid-week meal apathy.
I’ve made a few meals out of this book so far, and all of them have been received well. For the challenge, I’m sharing with you their ‘Pork with Tomato Salsa and Polenta Dumplings’. I hadn’t cooked with polenta before, though my assumption was that it shouldn’t be difficult. As promised, this recipe delivered a quick, easy, but flavorful dish I’ll definitely be making again.
I love shopping freebies. If there’s one way to get me to buy a product, it’s to include a free cook book with it. Especially if it’s a product I often buy anyway. Leggo’s and Philadelphia do this a lot. And that suits me just fine, because it gives me an excuse to stock up on their products more than I already do.
But this week did one better. It offered a free cook book, and a free pizza tray in exchange for buying three Leggo’s products. I’ve been meaning to get a proper pizza tray for so long, and to be able to snag one for $6 worth of tomato paste, one of my most used ingredients at meal time, was about as good as it was gonna get. Get in muh trolley.
Pizzas aren’t an especially difficult thing to cook. Especially if you’re anything like me and are happy to eat most anything shoved on a pizza. What is it about pizza bases that makes everything taste 3000 times better? I don’t really bother with recipes. I’ll make up the base and just throw on an assortment of ingredients I have on hand and voila! Dinner’s served.
Even still, the recipe book “Love Pizza” presents a bunch of delicious flavour combinations I hadn’t thought of before, and can’t wait to try. But for this week’s Cook Book Challenge, I chose one of the most unconventional pizzas of the bunch.
It's been a while since I've been able to participate in the Daring Bakers' Challenged for one reason or another. In fact, I think this might be my first challenge of the year. And what a challenge to jump back in on! This month, Korena of Korena in the Kitchen was our May Daring Bakers’ host and she delighted us with this beautiful Swedish Prinsesstårta!
One of my favourite things about the Daring Bakers' challenges is getting to try things you've never head of before. The Prinsesstårta was one of those things. Brand new, but my oh my it sounded heavenly. Sponge cake, custard, jam and whipped cream — let me at it!
When I described the challenge to my boyfriend, he said he thought the cake might be an appropriate treat for his dad's birthday cake.
The occasion warranted a couple of minor changes…