June 27, 2014

Daring Bakers' June 2014 Challenge - Cinnamon Rolls (no cinnamon required)

This month the Daring Bakers kept our creativity rolling with cinnamon bun inspired treats. Shelley from C Mom Cook dared us to create our own dough and fill it with any filling we wanted to craft tasty rolled treats, cinnamon not required! The recipe can be found here.

Well, that was fun! I made the rolls with a filling of quark (a kind of curd cheese, common in Switzerland) and cranberries, as I don't care for cinnamon. The dough didn't rise as much as I would have wanted to, but that might have been because I had not quite enough yeast left when I made the rolls. Also, the dough was quite wet so I had to add a lot more flour. I left out the glaze as the rolls were already quite moist from the filling. 

The rolls were delicious nevertheless :-)

Cinnamon free cinnamon rolls

June 11, 2014

Picknick "at the Beach"

A few years ago I prepared a picknick at the beach for some friends. Unfortunately, due to weather circumstances, we had to turn it into a picknick on the balcony. The food was delicious anyway and it made serving the different dishes a bit easier in the end.

So, here's the selection of dishes that I prepared. Most of them can be prepared well in advance, making them ideal for packing up and taking them to the your preferred picknick place (should you be luckier with the weather). 

Fruit Punch

To start the evening off, we had a fruit punch with strawberries, blueberries and mint. It's best to soak the chopped fruit for a few hours in some of your preferred alcohol of choice (e.g. half a bottle of white wine) with some sugar or syrup or fruit liqueur. I usually add some fresh lemon juice as well, because I like a little acidity in my drinks. Keep the infusion in the fridge and ideally transport it in a cold box. At the picknick, spoon some fruit and liquid into the glasses and top off with cold sparkling wine. If you want the punch to contain less alcohol, use lemonade or sparkling mineral water instead.

Tomato Salad with Almonds

For food, I prepared two different salads. Firstly, I simply chopped up various kinds of cherry tomatoes and topped them with toasted and chopped almonds and breadcrumbs. The dressing was a simple Italian dressing of aceto balsamico, olive oil, basil, salt and pepper.

Pea and Feta Salad

The second salad was a pea and feta salad. It's very simple to make. Just chop up a small onion and a clove of garlic and fry it in some olive oil until the dices are soft. Blanch some peas (ca. 300g) and immediately chill them in ice water to preserve their lovely green colour. Dice about 150g of feta and mix it with the peas and onions and some herbs (e.g. mint). Add some aceto balsamico, olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Salmon Ceviche

The recipe for the salmon ceviche can be found here. I left out the coriander because I don't really like the taste and the ceviche was great without it. This seems to be the most difficult recipe for a picknick, as the fish should not be brined in the lime juice for too long. It's probably best to keep the fish-mix and the lime juice separate until you've arrived at the picknick spot.

Cold Turkey Breast with Herb Vinaigrette

This recipe can be found here.

Pork Rolls with BBQ Sauce

I found this recipe in one of my many food magazines. Basically, it's pork neck steaks, marinated in garlic, mustard, honey, diced peperoncini, then spread on some pizza dough, seasoned with salt. The dough is then rolled up and cut into slices. Before baking, brush the rolls with some whisked egg.

Cheddar Cheesecake with Whisky Jelly

For dessert I made Tim Anderson's cheddar cheesecake with whisky jelly. As soon as I saw him prepare this cheesecake in the finals of BBCs Masterchef (and subsequently winning it), I knew I had to try it: I love cheddar, I love whisky, and there's certainly nothing wrong with cheesecake. And I'm so glad that I tried it. His cheesecake base is the best I've encountered in my baking life. The cheesecake itself isn't too sweet and has a nice, but not overpowering flavour of cheddar. The jelly is quite spicy because of the ginger beer, and it's definitely not something for people that don't like whisky. Actually, the whole cheesecake is probably more for the adventurous eater, so it was perfect for my friends and me. I've just discovered, that the recipe can no longer be found on the BBC Food website (it's been three years after all), so it's a good thing I still have my printout :-)

Actually, looking at the picture now, I wish I'd taken the time to tidy up the cheesecake a bit. But it was the end of the evening and I remember we didn't feel like waiting for dessert much longer. Guess I'll just have to make it once more - just for the pictures, of course