Saturday, April 14, 2012

April 2012 DC challenge - create your own recipe

What an interesting month this was, our hosts David and Karen from Twenty-Fingered Cooking challenged us to create our own recipe (using one ingredient) from each of the following lists.

List 1: Parsnips, Eggplant (aubergine), Cauliflower
List 2: Balsamic Vinegar, Goat Cheese, Chipotle peppers
List 3: Maple Syrup, Instant Coffee, Bananas

Blog-checking lines: Our April 2012 Daring Cooks hosts were David & Karen from Twenty-Fingered Cooking. They presented us with a very daring and unique challenge of forming our own recipes by using a set list of ingredients!

I really loved this I was almost on the way to the airport when this was posted so I only had a short time to think and do the challenge I came up with the following which was a great meal.

I'm still on holidays so I could only do one versions this month, so the reason for the short posting this month.

Ploughman's Dinner
This is the dinner I had tonight super yum yum!
I had all day to wait for the delayed flight I was going on, I was looking at the ingredient lists and a brilliant idea came to me in a flash which used nearly all the ingredients it is the ploughman's feed bag which is a classic pub meal here in Australia and the UK. It consists of crusty bread with pickled vegetables and cheese, this meal can be very fancy or very basic depending on the quality of ingredients and the cheese used. I made the cheese from goat's milk a very easy and quick process (and a lot cheaper (1/3 the price) than packet goat's cheese) and then I coated it in powdered seaweed (ground nori sheets) to simulate ash since I couldn't find a good recipe for the ash coating. Then I quick-pickled the vegetables (carrots, cauliflower and small banana chillies) again a fast and simple process I already had a couple of onions and little cucumbers already made from a previous Daring Cooks challenge. Then I made the bread (parsnip, walnut and coffee) again quick and simple.

Here are the ingredients used for the ploughman's dinner
List 1: Parsnips, Cauliflower
List 2: Balsamic Vinegar, Goat Cheese
List 3: Maple Syrup, Instant Coffee

I have to say that home made goat's cheese is nothing like the packet stuff at all it is so white!!! (it glows whiteness), soft and mild with a wondrous tang that goes so well with the quick pickled vegetables which where smashing (not too strong a nice mellow flavour) the use of white balsamic vinegar/maple syrup really adds that touch of elegance instead of using harsh white vinegar and white sugar. And the bread was superb I eat one whole loaf myself. This was a real winner and so quick and simple yet so tasty, the contrast of textures and the balance of sweet sour and tangy is spot on. I will be making this again while I'm in Melbourne for my friends there.

Quick-Pickled White Balsamic Vinegar & Maple Syrup Ploughman's Vegetables
Adapted from this recipe
Makes about 2 litres (8 cups)
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
1/2 head of cauliflower
4 small banana chillies
3 carrots sliced in crinkle-cut
4 teaspoons coriander seeds
4 teaspoons fennel seeds
4 teaspoons mustard seeds
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 cup white balsamic vinegar
1 cup water
1/4 to 1 cup maple syrup (check the sweet/sour balance when you have added 1/4 cup of syrup then add some extra until you get a good balance)
2 tablespoons pickling or kosher salt
1. Toast the coriander, fennel and mustard seeds in a dry pan until they smell fragrant. Stir or toss occasionally. As soon as you hear the first seed pop, turn off the heat.
2. Meanwhile, break the vegetables into pieces you’d want to eat as a pickle — neither too big nor too small. Do this by cutting down around the stem, then breaking the clumps or florets into smaller pieces. You may want to trim the stem pieces as you go.
3. Boil the vinegar, syrup, salt and water until everything is totally dissolved.
4. Add the vegetables simmer 10 secs then let the liquid cool until room temperature. Can be used after a couple of hours (the vegetables will be crisp and spicy).
5. You can place the hot pickles and hot liquid into clean glass jars with new lids and store up to one year.

Homemade Goat’s Milk Ricotta Cheese
Recipe from Honest Cooking
Makes two 1/2 cup cheeses

4 cups / 1 litre goat’s milk
1 teaspoon sea salt
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 stainless steel or ceramic pot (non-reactive material, like aluminium)
1 large piece cheesecloth
1 bowl

1. In a large pot, add the goat’s milk and salt. Heat gently on low-medium heat, stirring occasionally to keep the milk from scorching on the bottom.
2. Just before the milk boils (no need for a thermometer, just watch carefully), take it off the heat, add the lemon juice and give it a gentle stir (you should see the milk split almost instantly). Let the pot sit undisturbed for 5 minutes.
3. While you’re waiting for the milk to become cheese, line a bowl with cheesecloth.
4. Pour the milk mixture gently into the bowl. Pick up the sides of the cloth, tie a string around the top and hang, leaving the curds inside the cloth, and letting the whey drip out into the bowl.
5. After 45 minutes to 1 hour, your ricotta should be ready to eat. If you prefer a richer, thicker cheese, let it hang for another hour or so. Remember the longer hanging time, the denser cheese. Store leftovers in a glass container in the fridge.

Roasted Parsnip, Walnut & Coffee Bread
3 cups bread (12%+ protein) flour
1 cup roasted parsnip purée (made from ½ kg/1 lb parsnips)
3 teaspoons instant yeast
½ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons walnut meal
½ teaspoons instant coffee
1/8 cup hot water (approximately)

1. Add all the ingredients except the water into a large bowl, combine using a kneading motion, add water a tablespoon at a time until the mixture looks like normal unkneaded bread dough.
2. Knead about 10 minutes until it has the feel of a baby's smooth bottom.
3. Place into a covered oiled bowl let it raise until doubled in volume (about an hour).
4. Punch down shape into 2 loaves.
5. Let the loaves rise until almost doubled (about 1/2 hour).
6. Bake in a preheated moderately hot 200C/400F/gas mark 6 oven for about 30 minutes - 40 minutes.