Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Introducing Plenty & Valley

These are the two ladies who work so hard at giving me eggs at the moment. Their names are Plenty and Valley, and they live at our local community garden.

They are laying very well at the moment, and will be joined in the next couple of months by 5 chicks hatched at my son's pre-school, they are currently stinking up my laundry, teasing my cat and confusing Creme & Puff. But they are so cute!

Monday, October 29, 2007

To Bostini or Not to Bostini

Where has this month gone? Is anyone feeling the down hill slide to Christmas, oops sorry I mentioned the C word. But I am getting off track, you are here to read about this months Daring Bakers Challenge.

Well for me it was to definitely Bostini, I have many eggs at my disposal from my hard working and ever pooping hens and I love custard.

What is a Bostini, well its full name is the Bostini Cream Pie, the smaller but by no means less powerful than the more commonly know Bostini Cream Pie. Basically it consists of a Orange Chiffon Cake, on a layer of cholesterol enhancing vanilla custard, smothered in chocolate glaze. And this challenge has been handed to us on a plate by non other than Mary who's Blog Alpineberry is where you will find the recipe for this delicious dessert, among other tasty visual treats.

The whole process for me went like clockwork, as I am familiar with the three major process required, i.e. chiffon cake - requires folding of egg whites into a stiffer batter, custard - making sure it doesn't curdle and some double boiler work with the chocolate glaze.

Really deciding how I was going to present them was the hardest part, I have a set of 4 vintage blush pink cocktail glasses which I used (didn't let the kids touch) and a dash of my ever present edible glitter created a very up market dessert.

But what did it taste like, well it didn't blow my socks off, but my testers thought it was great. The chiffon cake was light in texture and flavour, as it should be. The custard was rich and moreish, but it was custard. And the chocolate glaze was chocolaty. But put all these together and you get what is really a great please everyone dessert, which can be made ahead of time, and it looks like you have slaved for hours.

So I can chalk another completed Daring Bakers Challenge, wonder what will be thrown our way next month. Oh, and did I mention its getting close to Christmas.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

crème & puff (bouffée)

My two excuses/distractions for staying away from the kitchen and the computer this month, aside from trying to loose some kilos. School holiday's are over and we only have a 10 week term so it's going to be really busy around here, especially with the many birthdays and the lead up to Christmas. And then next year my oldest starts big boy school, we are all so excited.

My new 12 week old Faverolle Chickens. Faverolle a French Heritage Breed originated in the mid 1800's. They they will lay the most deliciously fresh eggs for me to use in my masterpieces. This picture is not the best but they were so excited about being let out.

So, I am back in the kitchen as of 1400hrs today and will be baking solidly for the next 7 days. So there will be lots for you to look at soon. Wish me luck.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Ready to Rise - DB September Challenge

In August I got up enough courage to join the Daring Bakers and luckily they accepted me into their brave and wonderful ranks. Therefore I solemnly promise to extend my baking a try new techniques and boldly take my kitchen to places its never been before, and blog about my experiences. No I have to decide which colour logo to use, pink, blue or orange. Decisions, decisions. I think I'll use the pink one this month as it is Pinktober to support Breast Cancer

September has been a busy month, due to birthday's but as soon as I heard that this months challenge was Cinnamon Buns and Sticky Buns chosen by Marce from Pip in the City, I knew that I would be making them for my hubby's birthday, as aside from being addicted to cake and cupcakes, he is also up for a bit of bun (well to tell the truth he eats anything baked).

Well it turned out to be a huge weekend, with much BBQing and singing on his new PlayStation and not to mention the sampling of cake and champagne, so the prospect of waking up on Sunday to bake was not that appealing, but I was organised with all the ingredients ready to do in the pantry, so it all went really well. Especially since waiting for dough to rise allows time for catnaps. Also I am glad about this months challenge as it was easy on the wallet, no copious amounts of chocolate or out of season products to purchase, and for this I was very thankful due to purchases of said champagne and PlayStation.

So how did it go?, you may ask . . .

Well the dough was soft and light, smelling slightly of lemons, so therapeutic after all that champagne and it came together perfectly, with no need to curse at sticky fingers and pry it off of my bench. So it was kneaded for the requisite time and popped into the oiled bowl, covered in plastic and left in the warm sunshine to rise.

As you can see I managed to take photo of this stage, made the fillings and then I went off for a nap. 2 hours later woke up and punched down the dough before I remembered to take a photo. Bugger. So I rolled out the dough, decided to make the smaller buns, and made a half batch of each. Turned on the oven, and put the covered buns out for another prove, remembered to take photo. Then tripped off to bed again.

The oven buzzer went, I shot up, stumbled into the kitchen and saw the kids watching the buns rise, screamed in terror that they were going to touch my babies (the buns not the kids), checked the oven temp and popped the Sticky Buns in first, with a tray underneath in case the caramel overflowed. Then realised I forgot to take a photo, double Bugger.

Paced around, pretending to clean up whilst I waited for the beauties to bake and was very nervous about burnt toffee/caramel on the bottom of my oven, but not to worry, they can out perfectly. Then I popped the Cinnamon Buns in and let them bake.

Flipped the Sticky Buns, tried not to make a mess, dragged the Cinnamon Buns out and let them cool, OMG they smelt so good. By this stage the family were hanging around like bade smells. Don't blame them really. Whipped up a half batch of the icing, drizzled, let it set. Then remembered to take photos. Yay.

The verdict, the overall texture of the bun, as light and not chewy, almost melt in the mouth, would have been very happy if I had purchased them.
Me, I loved the Cinnamon Buns, not too sweet, lightly scented and flavoured with lemon, the cinnamon tempting me to take another bite, I am in love with this recipe. As for the Sticky Buns, they were good too, but too sweet, I omitted the nuts as we have allergies in the family and maybe this adds another dimension to them, but its the Cinnamon Buns for me all the way.
Hubby, falls in love with me time and time again, but I think he is in love with the Cinnamon Buns, couldn't really get an answer out of him as his mouth was constantly full, of, you guessed it, Buns.
Took some round to a NZ family and they loved the Sticky Buns, and I was asked over again, especially if I brought Buns. Its nice to be wanted.

So that is my first Daring Bakers Challenge completed. Thank you to all the Daring Baker for being so welcoming to the newbies, and I hope I am doing the group proud.

I wonder how well these would translate into cupcakes . . . . .