Polenta, Lemon & Thyme Quick Bread

Until last year I had no idea what Quick Breads were, but a Martha Mondays challenge meant that I made a wonderful quick bread involving pistachios.  I turned to Martha again for the Daring Bakers challenge this month.  A Polenta Quick Bread with Lemon and Thyme.  It spoke to me as soon as I saw it.  ‘Make me, make me’ it said.  And make it I did!

The Daring Bakers’ February 2012 host was – Lis! Lisa stepped in last minute and challenged us to create a quick bread we could call our own.  She supplied us with a base recipe and shared some recipes she loves from various websites and encouraged us to build upon them and create new flavor profiles.

As far as I can tell, quick bread is really, cake.  Like pound cake.  I didn’t really care for this recipe, it was a bit too sweet with the lemon and reminded me more of a lemon cake – which had gone wrong.

And now I have a box of polenta in the cupboard which is saying ‘use me, use me’ and use it I shall.  Recipes to follow soon.

~ Pru

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Cheddar Cheese And Buttermilk Scones

I haven’t participated in a Daring Bakers challenge since July (see all my previous Daring Baker posts here).  I’m so pleased to be back and joining in again.  When I first saw this month’s challenge I though ‘how easy’, but I was surprised to find that there is quite an art to getting perfect scones.

Audax Artifex was our January 2012 Daring Bakers’ host. Aud worked tirelessly to master light and fluffy scones to help us create delicious and perfect batches in our own kitchens!  I never knew about sifting the flour at a height to allow more air to circulate and Audax even suggested sifting the flour three or four times, although alas, I didn’t do that.

We had fruit scones on Christmas Eve which my mum made and it took two attempts to get them right.  Recently on BBC2 show ‘The Great British Bake Off’ scones were made and it was very interesting to watch the two professionals show how the scones had gone wrong, either by using too much butter, not grating the cheese correctly (you need to grate it on the coarse edge so that the cheese does not disintegrate when baking) or overworking the dough.  With my new found knowledge I got to work.

I decided to stick with British cook Delia Smith and the recipe is right here.  I have a love/hate relationship with Delia, but I love her at the moment because these scones were so good!

Combine until the dough just comes together.

Roll out until an inch thick.

A sprinkling of grated cheese and paprika.

Don’t overcooked the scones, the cheese was golden but the scones were still pale.

Simply served with butter, although mum ate then plain and loved every bite!

Be sure to check out how the other Daring Bakers did here.

~ Pru

Are you following me on Twitter or Pinterest?  If not, then click on the links.  It would make my day, possibly my week too!

Fraisier

I was quick off the mark this month. I had made and we had devoured the Fraisier within the first week of the challenge coming out. We loved it. I dream about it. It was wonderful. I love Fraisiers but would never have thought to make one as it seemed rather intimidating. In fact, it wasn’t. I’m already planning to make smaller individual cakes.

Jana of Cherry Tea Cakes (which is now one of my favourite food blogs) was our July Daring Bakers’ host and she challenges us to make Fresh Frasiers inspired by recipes written by Elisabeth M. Prueitt and Chad Robertson in the beautiful cookbook Tartine.

Here are the photo steps to making the cake.

This was a great pick. I macerated the strawberries in raspberry coulis and Chambord and they were lovely and soft. The sponge was also spoon-fed the same mixture. Next time I am going to drench the sponge more!

~ Pru

Daring Bakers Challenge – Baklava

Truth be told, I was ready to jack in doing the Daring Bakers. I was wondering whether it would be better for me to challenge myself to bake something that I actually wanted to eat rather than waiting for someone else to pick something which sometimes I didn’t fancy eating, let alone making. But HOORAY! This month’s challenge of Baklava has drawn me back into the fold. I couldn’t be happier.

This month’s Erica of Erica’s Edibles was our host for the June Challange. Erica challenged us to be truly DARING by making homemade phyllo dough and then to use that dough to make Baklava.

I had never made phyllo pastry before and I found this daunting. I wasn’t great at doing it either which each piece tearing so in the end I did use some store bought as well, as my own just didn’t cut it. I will have to keep practicing!

I used a combination of pistachios, almonds and cashew nuts and it was lovely. I will have to make this again it was an absolute winner in our house!

~ Pru