Daring Bakers May Challenge: Honey & Apple Challah

May’s Daring Bakers’ Challenge was pretty twisted – Ruth from The Crafts of Mommyhood challenged us to make challah! Using recipes from all over, and tips from “A Taste of Challah,” by Tamar Ansh, she encouraged us to bake beautifully braided breads.

You won't get anything special this month, because I used a already-exsisting recipe. I made exactly the same recipe some time ago when we visited my mother-in-law, and I remembered it instantly when I read the challenge. Despite of some minor changes, I kept to the recipe; and the tutorial which comes with it is really good, so I don't want to post it again (because I coulnd't have done better). It's from one of my favourite food blogs Smitten kitchen written by the ingenious Deb Perelman. She has got  a cooking book in the line (coming out soon) which I will definitively buy.
This time, I got a really soft and tasty dough (thanks to my changes I guess) compared to the last one I made. 

Honey & Apple Challah

My changes:
  • added 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin spice mix (cinnamon and apples go really well together)
  • used apple compote instead of the fresh apples and mixed it into the dough prior to rising

Foodie Month: May 2012

As I predicted, I got lazy really soon ... I nearly missed my goal for this month because all my weekends were crowded with work or events like a baptism, a congress or family matters; and the days in between were blurred by more work. So this are the results:

Magazine Mondays

Guiness & raspberry brownies (from the Jamie Magazine Issue March/April 2012)

Baking Tuesdays

Chocolaty Chocolate Mufins (from 'From my home to yours' by Dorie Greenspan)

Wednesdays with Jamie

Lentils with sausages & brokkoli (from the Jamie Magazine Issue March/April 2012)

Scandinavian Thursdays

Salad with thinnly sliced raw red beet, apple, horseradish; pickled herring, dill & sourcream

Fridays with Beatrice


Fridays with Beatrice: Verrine Nordique

It's really hot outside - I like temperatures around 15 to 20°C (one of the reasons I travel to Noway). So bubbling dishes are no option right now. Lena chose the right recipe for this situation - the Verrine Nordique (p. 117). The principle of making a verrine is easy - layer ingredients in a nice glas and enjoy. I've used it - under the name of trifle - a dozen times for desserts (which is good for using leftovers). This was the first time with savoury ingredients - and one of my favourites too: smoked salmon. Of course I liked the result! With the greek yoghurt sauce, the potatoes and the cucumber the balance between the different tastes was just right. 

While making the verrine I had to laugh - I usually salt my cucumber slices too before using them into a salad, a thing I learned from a Polish friend. I thought preparing them that way was something typicilly Polish - but maybe it isn't ... Instead of horseradish I used radish (it's to spicy for me).
I made a small portion fot the picture, one into a jar for my hubby (as a take-away, would be perfect for a picnic too) and one large into a tupperware container which I had at work for dinner. I even had some ideas for modifications - what about a yoghurt sauce with lime, some carribean spices and sweet potatoes (instead of the normal ones) and maybe melon slices insted of cucumber? Or an Asian version with wasabi, soy sauce and ginger slices?

Roundup:  Perfect recipe for hot summer days, quickly prepared and easy divided into individual portions. A potential candidate for the next picnic.

Daring Cooks May Challenge: Boeuf Bourguignon

Our May 2012 Daring Cooks’ hostess was Fabi of fabsfood. Fabi challenged us to make Boeuf Bourguignon, a classic French stew originating from the Burgundy region of France.

The moment I read the title, I had to think about THIS movie - did anybody see the movie 'Julie & Julia'? It's great, and I loved it. All of us food bloggers are some kind of Julie or Julia, aren't we? The scene I remember the most and vividly is the one were Julie is exspecting animportant visit (don't remeber of whom) concerning her blog and wants to make boef bourguignon for this occassion. It's getting late, she falls asleep and the boef burns in the oven. I really could feel with her. No idea how many of my dishes landed in the trash can. It's part of the process but I feel sad everytime. I have had meltdowns in the kitchen too. But I was fearless concerning the boef and I exspected  - and got the best. Meat melting on my tongue, flavoured with a symphony of herbs and wine. I ate it with some fresh baguette, and it was perfect. The smell attracted even the collegues of my hubby who ate his share at work. So make and enjoy too!
I halved the recipe and cooked it into the oven at 200°C for 2 hours. The remaining sauce in the pan was thick, so I just added the onions and mushrooms (no reducing required).

Fridays with Beatrice - Arugula risotto with basil & lemon

This time, Lena and me decided to cook the Aragula risotto. I am a fan of risottos, but not of aragula which tastes mostly bitter for me - a taste I do not like (I even cannot drink tonic or something containing grapefruit juice). The idea of a vegetarian risotto was compelling to try, because I tend to make & create risottos with meat or ham to enhance the taste of the otherwise plain dish.


Cherry-Fudge Brownie Torte alias saftiger Brownie-Kirsch-Kuchen

Heute gibt es mal wieder einen Post auf Deutsch, und das aus gutem Grund - nämlich um die amerikanische Backkunst zu huldigen. Ich gebe zu, dass das Meiste einfach nur süß ist und unverschämt kalorienhaltig, aber die besten Backbücher finden sich immer noch in englischer Sprache. Seien es kunstvolle Desserts oder raffinierte Kuchenkreationen, meine Lieblingsrezept muss ich mir immer aus dem Englischen übersetzten und (leider auch die Zutatenmengen umrechnen). Bisher bin ich nicht enttäuscht worden, wenn ich eines dieser Rezepte ausprobiert habe, wobei ich in weiser Vorausicht immer die angegebene Zuckermenge reduziere (entweder nur 2/3 oder die Hälfte). Eines meiner Lieblingsbücher ist von Dorie Greenspan. Die Rezepte sind einfach und lassen sich (je nach vorhandenen Zutaten) leicht abwandeln; und ich möchte gerne wie hier alle einmal ausprobieren. Na ja, fast alle ...
Wer also des Englischen nicht so mächtig ist, dieses Buch leider nicht besitzt oder einfach zu faul, umzurechenen, dem möchte ich heute meine Variante der Cherry Fudge Brownie Torte ans Herz legen. Die Inspiration zu diesem Kuchen stammt laut Dorie von der (ur)deutschen Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte, die ich nun überhaupt nicht mag. Dories Variante mit einem Brownie-Boden, darin Kirschen und der Mascarponecreme ist dagegen sehr gelungen, und als ich die Seite mit dem Rezept aufschlug, konnte ich mich sofort dafür begeistern (obwohl es auch kein Bild zu sehen gab). Der einzige Nachteil bestand darin, dass das Ganze Alkohol enthält. Da ich den Kuchen auf Arbeit mitnehmen wollte und einer meiner Kollegen keinen Alkohol trinkt, musste ich mir eine alkoholfreie Variante einfallen lassen. Das hieß auch auf den Vanilleextrakt verzichten, was dem Geschmack aber kein Nachteil war. Besagter Kollege hat dann ganz fleißig mindestens vier Stück verputzt, ein voller Erfolg also!