Monday, 2 July 2007

mixing and matching.

The weekly weekend bake-off write-up. It was a pretty mixed bag on Saturday: I made Beijing Dumplings from the Guo Yue book, rotkraut (red sauerkraut...kind of) from Heidi, plus my favourite Philip Johnson fennel salad, and some seriously buttery mashed potatoes. It was a pretty crazy dinner, but actually it all went together quite well.

The dumplings required a big trip to the Asian grocer. I came home with about 5 bottles of new sauces, but now that I have them, I should be able to make the dumplings again with minimal ingredients available locally (pork, bok choy, spring onions, eggs). They were pretty time consuming to make, but not difficult at all (although my wrapping technique leaves a little to be desired) and tasted convincingly like other Chinese pork dumplings I've had around the place (Mandarin House, Camy's...). Next time I will consider putting less garlic in the dipping sauce. I think it would taste the same with less, but would not leave me stinking for days. The recipe made a heap though - it said it would make 100 dumplings which I didn't believe. And it did. And unfortunately, they're not so good reheated. Oh well!

The rotkraut was good, although I guesstimated the sugar when all the tablespoons were in the dishwasher, and I think I was a little heavy handed. I think it would taste better a little sour-er, but on the whole it was a pretty (ha! pretty!) good substitute for regular sauerkraut which seems a little crazy to make (as far as I can tell: cabbage+ salt+squish+cellar). From 1/2 a red cabbage, I ended up with about 4 small family sized servings, 3 of which have been frozen for future roasts.

The fennel salad was great as always, and especially good since fennel is so cheap at the moment (it's so fresh tasting it always seems like it should be a Summer vegetable). I imagine the recipe is under copyright, so I probably shouldn't list it here, but suffice to say it contains sliced fennel and finely sliced red onion, with a dressing of lemon juice and wholegrain mustard, and a little olive oil, and garnished with chives. I don't bother measuring anything anymore, so you can probably guess it pretty accurately from that.

The potato was good - I know how much butter mashed potatoes want. A lot is not enough!

As you can see, I overcatered again. I realised about half way though that 4 very large dishes, is probably too much for five people (one of whom had had his wisdom teeth out that morning).

I also made scones on Sunday morning, using this recipe from the CWA. They worked out really well, but fyi: 750g of flour is not equal to 6 cups. I went with the weighed measure but kept everything the same (except I didn't use quite that much milk), and they were fine. Scones seem to be the ultimate in assumed knowledge though. I think you really need to learn to make them from your Nanna. This recipe seemed a bit lacking in detail about method, and when I asked Mum, she said 'Oh, scones are pretty hard to stuff up'. But then when I mentioned kneading it was 'NO! DON'T KNEAD! YOU WILL GET ROCK CAKES!'. Hard to stuff up, eh?!

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