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Archive for February, 2012

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 flavour profiles.

The rules for this challenge were:

  1. No yeast.
  2. Can’t take more than 1.5 hours to prepare and bake through.
  3. Only loaves or muffins/popovers.

Lis also provided the following quick bread primer:

Quick bread primer

  • Quick breads can be sweet or savory, they are a modern innovation they became common after the introduction of baking powder and baking soda.
  • Baking powder is a combination of acid and alkaline that reacts together when moistened to form gases that raises the baked quick bread. Usage 1 to 2 teaspoons per cup of flour.
  • Baking soda (an alkaline salt, sodium bicarbonate) is used when the liquid is acidic, such as buttermilk, honey, molasses, tomato sauce etc. Usage ½ to 1 teaspoon per cup of acidic liquid.
  • Be sure your baking powder and baking soda are fresh.
  • Measure ingredients accurately, using the measuring tools and techniques suggested.
  • Preheat the oven to the correct baking temperature. Arrange racks so that the bread will bake in the center of the oven which has the best heat distribution in the oven.
  • To allow for good air circulation while baking, leave at least 1 inch of space between pans and between pans and sides of oven. Switch pan positions and rotate pans halfway through baking.
  • The two top secrets to moist, tender quick bread is 1)in the mixing always use a quick light technique so you don’t over-mix the batter 2) don’t over-bake since this cause dryness in the final baked product. .

I was a bit nonplussed about this challenge until I realised that what Americans call quick bread is what I call my standard, easy, pretty healthy everyday cakes. Hooray! What a perfect challenge!

I got a bit excited and ended up making:

  1. Banana bread.
  2. Coconut bread.
  3. Orange and poppyseed muffins.
  4. Pumpkin bread.

The husband thought it was fantastic!

Banana bread

I love banana bread, but I prefer mine really dense and basically unsweetened (other than with banana). But there’s no challenge in making the same thing I always make, so I tried a new recipe – Joy of Baking

I left the walnuts out but otherwise did not modify the recipe. This was a big hit with the family. Not my favourite due to the level of sweetness, but I appreciated the texture.

Banana bread

Then I made orange and poppyseed muffins, which were particularly popular with the small people. Unfortunately I can’t remember now which recipe I used – whoops!

muffins in the wild

muffins in captivity

Coconut bread

I’m trying to cut down on sugar and also experimenting with coconut flour, so I was delighted to find a recipe that used coconut flour and seemed adaptable to being sugar free.

I found the recipe here – Bites and Bliss – how good do those photos look?! I was a bit worried that switching from US to Australian cup measurements would cause problems, but it seemed to work out fine.

This was my adapted recipe:

1.5 cups plain flour
0.5 cup coconut flour
0.5tsp baking soda
1tsp baking powder
pinch salt
75g butter
3 tbs rice malt syrup
2 eggs
1/2 cup plain low fat yoghurt
1tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup+ milk
1/2 cup shredded coconut

Coconut bread

coconut slices

I will definitely be making this one again. It was delicious – moist, mostly healthy and the perfect level of sweetness (for me – husband would have liked me to follow the original recipe!).

Pumpkin quick bread

After that I got a bit experimental. So experimental, in fact, that I am not going to include a photo of the bread, which rose spectacularly before falling into a dense, pumpkinny heap. Good to eat, bad to photograph. You’ll have to take my word for it!

Overall, a good, consolidating challenge.

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I signed up for the Daring Cooks’ challenges months ago but I got confused about the reveal date then confused about how much time I actually had left over from family, working and running (not a lot, apparently) so this is my first active challenge. Happily, although I only ended up making 2 of the suggested recipes (and noting of course that there are millions out there to try), I happened to meet and fall in love with a zucchini fritter recipe, just in time for Valentines Day!

The Daring Cooks’ February 2012 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!

I have, at times, been obsessed with vegetables patties. The cabbage pancake phase was one example. That was a special time. I’ve tried to make zucchini fritters on several occasions but they’ve never been very nice. UNTIL NOW!

I used a slightly adapted version of a recipe suggested by Audax and Lis, as follows:

Zucchini, bacon & cheese fritters

Servings: makes about 8-10 two inch (five cm) fritters
Recipe can be doubled
adapted from http://smittenkitchen.com/2011/08/zucchini-fritters/

This makes a great light lunch or a lovely side dish for dinner.

Ingredients:
500 gm (½ lb) zucchini (two medium)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (7 gm) salt
½ cup (120 ml) (60 g/2 oz) grated cheese, a strong bitty cheese is best
3 slices (30 gm/1 oz) lean bacon, cut into small pieces
½ cup (120 ml) (70 gm/2½ oz) all-purpose (plain) flour plus ½ teaspoon baking powder, sifted together
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 spring onions, finely chopped
1 tablespoon (15 ml) green curry paste (the original recipe called for chilli paste but I didn’t have any)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (3 gm) black pepper, freshly cracked
2 tablespoons (30 ml) oil, for frying

Directions:

Grate the zucchini with a box grater or food processor. Place into large bowl, add salt, wait 10 minutes.
While waiting for the zucchini, pan fry the bacon pieces until cooked. Remove from pan.
When zucchini is ready wrap in a cloth and squeeze dry with as much force as you can you will get a lot of liquid over ½ cup, discard liquid it will be too salty to use.
Return dried zucchini to bowl add bacon, cheese, pepper, sifted flour and baking powder, curry/chilli paste, pepper, a little salt and the lightly beaten eggs.
Mix until combined if the batter is too thick you can add water or milk or another egg, if too wet add some more flour. It should be thick and should not flow when placed onto the frying pan.
Preheat a frying pan (cast iron is best) until medium hot, add 1/3 of the oil wait until it shimmers.
Place dollops of batter (about 2 tablespoons each) onto the fry pan widely spaced out, with the back of a spoon smooth out each dollop to about 2 inches (5 cm) wide, do not make the fritters too thick. You should get three or four fritters in the average-sized fry pan. Lower heat to medium
Fry for 3-4 minutes the first side, flip, then fry the other side about 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Repeat for the remaining batter. Adding extra oil as needed.
Place cooked fritters into a moderate oven on a baking dish for 10 minutes if you want extra crispy fritters.

It was a zucchini revelation. So, so tasty. I have already made them twice. I plan to make them many more times.

frying away happily

the calm before the eating storm


I next tried this recipe:

Basic Canned Fish and Rice Patties

Servings: makes about ten ½ cup patties
Recipe can be doubled
adapted from http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/17181/tuna+rissoles

Ingredients:
1 can (415 gm/15 oz) pink salmon or tuna or sardines, (not packed in oil) drained well
1 can (340 gm/13 oz) corn kernels, drained well
1 bunch spinach, cooked, chopped & squeezed dry or 60 gm/2 oz thawed frozen spinach squeezed dry
2 cups (300 gm/7 oz) cooked white rice (made from 2/3 cups of uncooked rice)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
about 3 tablespoons (20 gm/2/3 oz) fine packet breadcrumbs for binding
3 tablespoons (45 ml) oil, for frying
2 spring (green) onions, finely chopped
1 tablespoon (15 ml) tomato paste or 1 tablespoon (15 ml) hot chilli sauce
1 tablespoon (15 ml) oyster sauce
2 tablespoons (30 ml) sweet chilli sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
½ cup (60 gm/2 oz) seasoned fine packet bread crumbs to cover patties

Directions:
1) Place all of the ingredients into a large bowl.
2) Mix and mash using your hands or a strong spoon the ingredients with much force (while slowly adding tablespoons of breadcrumbs to the patty mixture) until the mixture starts to cling to itself about 4 minutes the longer you mix and mash the more compacted the final patty. Day-old cold rice works best (only needs a tablespoon of breadcrumbs or less) but if the rice is hot or warm you will need more breadcrumbs to bind the mixture. Test the mixture by forming a small ball it should hold together. Cook the test ball adjust the seasoning (salt and pepper) of the mixture to taste.
3) Form patties using a ½ cup measuring cup.
4) Cover in seasoned breadcrumbs.
5) Use immediately or can be refrigerated covered for a few hours.
6) Preheat fry pan (cast iron is best) to medium hot add 1½ tablespoons of oil and heat until the oil shimmers place the patties well spaced out onto the fry pan lower heat to medium.
7) Pan fry for about 3 minutes each side for a thin lightly browned crust about 10 minutes for a darker thicker crisper crust. Wait until the patties can be released from the pan with a shake of the pan or a light turning of the patty using your fingers before flipping over to cook the other side of the patty add the remaining 1½ tablespoons of oil when you flip the patties. Flip only once. You can fry the sides of the patty if you want brown sides on your patty.

It may have been because I didn’t have any spinach, or because I didn’t squish them hard enough, but I just couldn’t get them to stick together properly. I added more breadcrumbs, but then they were dry. Tasty, but not quite there. I will try this one again and try to make it properly but the zucchini is the clear winner for me.

the inner workings

Miss B: why are you taking photos of your lunch Mummy? Take a photo of mine!

Thanks Audax and Lis for the challenge!

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