Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The day before

So it's the eve of the wedding and its all still chaotic trying to prepare everything in time, but I just thought I'd share this little hint of whats to come before I'm  off and not back for ages to share. 

These little darlings were on the RSVP cards. 

Hens stepping out for a picnic at the Winery

Ok a little bit behind the ball here but the last weekend of October was time to gather my closed friends for a small and civilised Hens at the winery where they put on a Girls' Picnic. In the evening it was all piled onto my couch to watch the Marie Antoinette movie. 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Little break in the planning to cook...

Life has been hurtling along at such a frantic pace that I am fast being left behind in a dizzy daze. It is three weeks now till the wedding and there is so much to do still. 

I thought I'd be missing out on the daring bakers and cooks challenges for these two months but I have to say Dolmades are such a favourite of mine that I just had to have a crack at making them for myself after all these years. The results were delicious and have been easily demolished by friends and family. 

So for my filling I have started off with four kinds of rice: Wild rice, Basmati Rice, Aborio Rice and Brown Rice. 

I added in sparks of flavour with a little chopped tomato and mint, sautéed onions, preserved lemons, chopped dates and apricots, a sprinkling of raisins, pine nuts and pepitas and finally a small dash of cinnamon and garam marsala (or was it the chinese five spice bottle I grabbed - my mind has turned to mush so I shall leave you with images instead).

Our October 2010 hostess, Lori of Lori’s Lipsmacking Goodness, has challenged The Daring Cooks to stuff grape leaves. Lori chose a recipe from Aromas of Aleppo and a recipe from The New Book of Middle Eastern Food.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Kitchen Tea Party

Its getting close now... only a matter of weeks now to the wedding and it was time to gather friends around for my bridal shower - a traditional kitchen tea with a Marie Antoinette inspired theme of "Let them eat cake".

There were good games to play, a lolly jar guessing game, a masterchef inspired "Name that Spice" game and a board game that I designed and handpainted for the occasion.

The cake was decorated by myself including the sugar roses, the results of my cake decorating classes I've been doing recently. 

The table all looked very pretty with mum's fine china cups and tiered cake stands full of little delicate and yummy things to eat. 

As a final note the Kitchen Tea Party was the perfect opportunity to serve up some decorated cookies made for the September Daring Bakers Challenge. The cookies were cut in a variety of leaf shapes and decorated using my new piping nozzles courtesy of cake decorating classes. 

The September 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Mandy of “What the Fruitcake?!” Mandy challenged everyone to make Decorated Sugar Cookies based on recipes from Peggy Porschen and The Joy of Baking.

Monday, August 30, 2010

The challenge of getting through August

It's been a bit of a struggle this month, a lot of pre-wedding conflicts and issues to sort out so I've been disorganised in the kitchen. Things like dropping my mobile phone and wiping a lot of photos didn't help, I had made a second batch of periogi's with a steak and mushroom filling and fried them off in the pan at the end and they were yummy but my photos of them are lost forever courtesy of a knock on the technological head. Time was swallowed into black holes in the middle of things and slipped very much away from me. 

So what do I have to show for Augusts daring challenges. 

For the Daring Cooks Periogi challenge the first flavour I tried to make was prawns with coriander and tomato. I took some green prawns and simmered them in the pan with some diced tomatoes (a little larger than cherry tomatoes but not as big as your average one), chopped fresh coriander stems and olive oil. I only really got one or two successful dumplings out of this first batch as I didn't let my prawns and sauce cool down sufficiently before making them and I had a few issues with the heat melting holes in my dumplings.

Sticking with seafood for my Aussie periogi my second flavour was some slice golden shallots with more of the large cherry tomatoes simmered together with a tiny splash of marsala for sweetness and ras el hanout for a warm spiced note. Added to this was small little pieces of flathead fillet and then some fresh diced chives added at the end when wrapping the up. This time I waited for the mix to cool and didn't roll the dough out as thinly as before and pulled these ones up into more of a Chinese Dumpling style presentation that will need some more practice for sure.

For Daring Bakers I made my brown butter cake and caramel pear ice-cream sandwiched into little petit-fours. I tried making some chocolate fondant but had some issues working with it so only got one covered whilst the others waited in the freezer. I wasn't very organised and with the headaches of spans of time evaporating infront of me I didn't have much idea of what to do with my freezer abandoned petite fours which I wasn't sure would still be very tasty after three + weeks so I whacked on some leftover moscavado cream from another dessert and piped some icing over them without much thought really but its past the deadline and I just need to get something up however poorly styled it is. Hopefully I can revist something like this when things calm down.

I did however enjoy a nice big bowl of caramel pear ice-cream

The August 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by LizG of Bits n’ Bites and Anula of Anula’s Kitchen. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make pierogi from scratch and an optional challenge to provide one filling that best represents their locale.
The August 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Elissa of 17 and Baking. For the first time, The Daring Bakers partnered with Sugar High Fridays for a co-event and Elissa was the gracious hostess of both. Using the theme of beurre noisette, or browned butter, Elissa chose to challenge Daring Bakers to make a pound cake to be used in either a Baked Alaska or in Ice Cream Petit Fours. The sources for Elissa’s challenge were Gourmet magazine and David Lebovitz’s “The Perfect Scoop”.