Wednesday, October 27, 2010

OCTOBER 2010 DARING BAKERS CHALLENGE: Let's Go Nuts for Doughnuts!

Oh my goodness, it's the end of October already! And it's time for another Daring Bakers' Challenge!
The October 2010 Daring Bakers' Challenge was hosted by Lori of Butter Me Up. Lori chose to challenge DBers to make doughnuts. She used several sources for her recipes including Alton Brown, Nancy Silverton, Kate Neumann and Epicurious.
When I first read the challenge I thought it would be so easy, after all, we've tackled ice cream, puff pastry, layer cakes, croquembouche and the like..boy was I wrong. I underestimated doughnuts. While my fellow Daring Bakers were uploading pictures of their lovely creations, I was slaving away in my kitchen--desperately trying to save mine. First of all, I didn't realize that I already ran out of flour, and when I was kneading my dough, it dawned on me that my flour was mixed in with some cornstarch. Instead of coming together after kneading for 10 minutes, it became more wet. I didn't have any choice but to go through with it--so I salvaged the mixture and went ahead. And then when it was time to roll it out, it kept sticking on the work table, and I couldnt find my round cookie cutters! So I just did my best to roll them into balls, proofed them for 30 minutes and fried them in hot oil. To my surprise, they came out alright--here's a cross section of the flour-cornstarch donuts.
I sprinkled them with some cinnamon sugar but I wasn't satisfied because of the free-form shapes so I melted bittersweet chocolate and dipped the tops. And they came out better looking. Good enough to post my finished products in the forums.

I had to redeem myself, I won't allow myself to be intimidated by these doughnuts so I bought some flour and did the whole thing again. And this time to my relief, the doughnuts came out more presentable. Here they are, made of all-purpose flour, no cornstarch. The dough was easier to knead and roll out, and I found my cookie cutters so they are really round this time. I glazed the tops with melted bittersweet chocolate, nutella and coffee and decorated it with some poured fondant icing (powdered sugar and milk). They got rave reviews at work, everyone said they tasted so good and couldn't get enough of the glaze.

Thank you Lori for this challenge, which taught me never to underestimate any recipe, be it simple or complicated!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Kulinarya Cooking Club October Challenge--Suman!

I have a confession to make, prior to October's KCC challenge, making suman never really appealed to me. I don't have a particular reason, it's just that cakes and pastries have always been easier and more practical to make (at least for me.) And when thinking of desserts, native kakanin or rice cakes don't automatically come to mind. But thanks to our hosts Sheryl and Divina I'm now compelled to flex my kakanin-making skills!
I wanted to make suman that was entirely mine, so I was racking my brain for inspiration as well as perusing through cookbooks and online recipes. Lo and behold, the answer was right inside the cupboard. I remember buying this variety of Ifugao Mountain Rice on the way back from our province last month and when we cooked it for dinner one night, we were pleasantly surprised to find out that it was actually more like malagkit or glutinous rice than ordinary rice. So we forgot all about it and kept it in the back of the cupboard until I found it the other day and decided to use it for making my suman.
I was winging the recipe so my measurements are not so exact...
Ifugao Mountain Rice 1 cup
Coconut Milk 2 1/2 cups
Sugar 1 cup
Calamansi Peel 1 whole
Calamansi Juice 1 tablespoon
Banana Leaves

Combine uncooked rice, 2 cups coconut milk, sugar and calamansi peel and juice in a pan. Stir over medium heat. Cook mixture until rice has absorbed the coconut milk and is almost dry. Cool Mixture.
Pass banana leaves over open fire to make them pliable. Lay the leaf and spoon enough cooked rice to wrap. Carefully fold banana leaves and tie with extra strips of leaf. Put the parcels in a pot and cover with enough water and the remaining coconut milk. Cook until the liquid has almost dried up, about 40 minutes. Take out the parcels and cool them.

LLook at that color--all natural, no food color added!

They say nice things come in wrapped packages

They are right--Ifugao Mountain Rice Suman!

After I cooked this, I brought it with me to work and shared it with my friends who found the color very appealing. It was different from the usual suman because the rice had a nutty texture to it, otherwise it was very delicious. Oh and when I looked it up, I think this type of rice is called Pirurutong.

Kulinarya Cooking Club was started by a group of Filipino foodies living in Sydney, who are passionate about the Filipino culture and its colorful cuisine.
Each month we will showcase a new dish with their family recipes, we hope you find the same passion and love for Filipino food as we do.
If you are interested in joining our Kulinarya Cooking Club, please feel free to drop by our foodblogs and leave a comment--we would love to hear from you!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Daring Cooks October, 2010 Challenge: WE ARE ON A ROLL!

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 Cuisine.
As much as I would have loved to try making dolmades or stuffed grape leaves, I couldn't find the time to comb through Manila looking for the elusive packed grape leaves that I may or may not find. But seeing the other Daring Cooks in my situation found stuffing cabbage leaves as much fun--I proceeded to do the same.
Lori gave as a lot of freedom with this challenge by allowing us to make our own filling. So to go with the cabbage leaves, I chose to make my mine Asian.
Ground Beef 250 grams
Dried Shrimps (hibe), pound finely 30 grams
Uncooked Rice 50 grams
Garlic, minced 2 cloves
Red Onions, minced 1/2 piece
Carrots, minced 1 piece
Combine all ingredients together in a bowl. Mix until blended. Set aside in the refrigerator.
Cabbage Leaves 1 small head
Carefully peel off the layers making sure they are not torn. Discard first two layers. Boil water and blanch the leaves for 1 minute until just pliable. Lay out on a tray, and finish all the leaves.
Lay one blanched cabbage leaf, roll out a small log of the filling. Carefully roll the cabbage, folding the sides as you go. Lay the rolled leaves packed tightly together in a plastic container and freeze overnight.
Thaw for 10 minutes. Lay them in a pot close together with the seam side down and fill the spaces with carrots. Aside from adding flavor, the carrots will keep the cabbage rolls from unraveling. Fill with chicken stock just enough to cover the rolls. Add in dried chilis. Weigh down with a plate and cook for 40 minutes.
After cooking for 40minutes. I carefully took out the cabbage rolls and set them aside on a plate. I simmered the stock and adjusted the seasoning with salt and pepper. When I was satisfied with the taste, I took out the chilis. I poured the sauce into a blender and pureed the carrots. Then I added the pureed sauce to the cabbage rolls--the sauce took on the orange color of the carrots and made the cabbage rolls more tasty.

I would have to say that cabbage rolls are a revelation to me. I've never made this before and was pleasantly surprised that it was delicious. I brought them to work and ate them for lunch and had more than enough for the next day!

Thank you for this challenge Lori! I really had fun with it and I discovered a new way of cooking cabbages. I may have to hunt down the elusive grape leaves and try making dolmades :)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Bread of Life

I just love this picture I took in Photography class. I'm inspired to strive, to do better when I look at it. It gives me a lot of inspiration and hope and somehow it just reminds me that I should keep on blogging, keep on practicing--taking pictures...Have a happy Monday!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Lemon-Raisin Bundt Cake

Did anyone notice it's just 85 days until Christmas? Time has just flown by this year! And you know what that means of course! It's baking season (well of course, it's always been baking season for me but you get my point.)

One of my all-time favorite cake pans is the Bundt pan, the shape just reminds me of all things Christmas-y. So I decided to bake this lemon-raisin cake in a bundt pan to remind me how close the holiday season is.

I believe this cake is called Tassenkuchen but of course I had to give it an easier-to-remember name. :) I got the recipe from another food blog but I tweaked it a little to make it mine.

This smells so delicious while baking and is a dense cake topped with a rich chocolate ganache, perfect for counting down until the Christmas holidays.