Sunday, November 14, 2010

Daring Cooks Challenge: November

Dave & Linda from Monkeyshines in the Kitchen chose soufflés as the November 2010 Daring Cooks challenge.  They gave us free reign with which recipe to use, so while they provided 3 good looking ones, I went with a doubly cheesy recipe  adapted from Stephanie Alexander:

Cheese Soufflé (For 2)
2 250-300mL ramekins (1 cup)

2 Tbsp Freshly Grated Parmesan
1 Tbsp flour
1/2 cup milk
1 Tbsp grated gruyere
2 eggs (separated) + 1 egg white
Salt & Pepper

Preheat oven to 200c.  (I have a fan forced oven)
Butter the two ramekins well, and coat with half of the grated parmesan.  Make sure the coating is consistent over the whole inside of the ramekin, and around the rim.  Melt a Tbsp of butter in a small saucepan, cook for a minute or so, add the flour, and stir, cooking over low-moderate heat, for 3-4 minutes.  Add the milk slowly, stirring constantly. (I used a whisk to make sure it stayed smooth). Cook until thick and creamy. Remove from heat, add cheeses, mix to combine.  Let cool for a little while (Now is the time to whisk the egg whites - you want them to be at the firm peak stage, which means lots of fun if you do not have an electric mixer).  Add the yolks, one at a time, to the cheese mixture, incorporating completely between each.  Taste, add salt and pepper until it is right for you.  Put the finished mixture in a large mixing bowl.  Take your whisked egg whites, add about half to the cheese mixture, and fold in until just combined.  Repeat with the remainder.  Do not over-combine.

Spoon half the mixture into each ramekin, and put them in a hot oven for 20 minutes. Don't open the door to look at them.  They should be risen and deep brown on top after this time, and ready to eat.  Eat asap, as they will rapidly sink once out of the oven.

Advice: Don't stress about soufflé, they hold up to punishment pretty well.  Folding the mixtures together is probably the hardest part, that and not peeking at them while they cook.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Halloween food

We have odd coloured pizza, a pearl barley risotto served in a hollowed out pumpkin, and a pumpkin shaped cake (Vanilla, cream cheese icing).

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


The October 2010 Daring Bakers challenge was hosted by Lori of Butter Me Up. Lori chose to challenge DBers to make doughnuts. She used several sources for her recipes including Alton Brown, Nancy Silverton, Kate Neumann and Epicurious.

I made a basic yeast donut recipe:

Yeast Doughnuts:

Preparation time:
Hands on prep time - 25 minutes
Rising time - 1.5 hours total
Cooking time - 12 minutes
Yield: 20 to 25 doughnuts & 20 to 25 doughnut holes, depending on size

Milk 1.5 cups
Butter 80gm
Active Dry Yeast 14gm (2 pkgs.)
Warm Water 1/3 cup
Eggs, Large, beaten 2
White Granulated Sugar ¼ cup
Table Salt 1.5 teaspoon
All Purpose Flour 4 2/3 cup
Oil for frying (I used rice bran oil, 1.5 ltr, in a 3.5ltr sized pot.)

  1. Place the milk in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat just until warm enough to melt the butter. (Make sure the butter is melted so that it incorporates well into the batter.)
  2. Place the butter in a bowl and pour warmed milk over. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and let dissolve for 5 minutes. It should get foamy. After 5 minutes, pour the yeast mixture into the large bowl of a stand mixer and add the milk and shortening mixture, first making sure the milk and butter mixture has cooled to lukewarm.
  4. Add the eggs, sugar, salt, nutmeg, and half of the flour. Using the paddle attachment of your mixer (if you have one), combine the ingredients on low speed until flour is incorporated and then turn the speed up to medium and beat until well combined.
  5. Add the remaining flour, combining on low speed at first, and then increase the speed to medium and beat well.
  6. Change to the dough hook attachment of the mixer and beat on medium speed until the dough pulls away from the bowl and becomes smooth, approximately 3 to 4 minutes (for me this only took about two minutes). If you do not have a dough hook/stand mixer – knead until the dough is smooth and not sticky.
  7. Transfer to a well-oiled bowl, cover, and let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
  8. On a well-floured surface, roll out dough to 3/8-inch (9 mm)thick. (Make sure the surface really is well-floured otherwise your doughnuts will stick to the counter).
  9. Cut out dough using a 2 1/2-inch (65 mm) doughnut cutter or pastry ring or drinking glass and using a 7/8-inch (22 mm) ring for the center whole. Set on floured baking sheet, cover lightly with a tea towel, and let rise for 30 minutes.
  10. Preheat the oil in a deep fryer or Dutch oven to 365 °F/185°C.
  11. Gently place the doughnuts into the oil, 3 to 4 at a time. Cook for 1 minute per side or until golden brown (my doughnuts only took about 30 seconds on each side at this temperature).
  12. Transfer to a cooling rack placed in baking pan. Allow to cool for 15 to 20 minutes prior to glazing, if desired.