Saturday, September 27, 2008

Virginal Attempt at the Daring Baker's Challenge

I remember reading about this Daring Bakers Challenge thing from a couple of blog, but the recent one that drew my attention was from My Food Safari, and upon enquiring, she sent me the contact details of the person in charge of this rather fun affair.



This here is the logo, which is supposed to be inserted somewhere in the blog, but since my HTML skills are .....don't qualify to be labelled as "skills", I shall just upload it as a normal photo.

With great anticipation, I waded through a set of instructions that was as lengthy as a Tolstoy novel, and discovered that the challenge for the month was LAVASH CRACKERS, an option of regular or gluten free, AND a VEGAN DIP.

At this point, I made an effort to scour the internet for information on these specialist food group people, and discovered Vegans are in a league of their own, trumping Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Mormons in their dietary restrictions. No dairy, no eggs, no leather, nothing that comes from an animal, basically. Coming from a carnivorous society such as ours, I was looking forward to discovering new frontiers. I wonder if yeast is considered a living thing.

I was reminded by Argus, about midway into September, if I had attempted my challenge yet. I found myself free and twiddling thumbs one Wednesday night, so I thought it was good a time as any. Furthermore, I was hosting dinner for my home group the following night, and if successful, I thought the lavash and dip would make a good starter.

Obviously, I went for the NON gluten free option. I don't even know where to start looking for the gluten free ingredients.

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I used the dough hook on my Kenwood Chef to mix the ingredients together, but followed up with kneading the dough manually for about 10 minutes, as per instruction. A few anxious moments did pass when the dough did not seem to be proofing, but as a watched kettle never boils, so too a watched dough never rises. So I left the yeast to their own devices while I pottered around with the kids, and computer, and TV. 90 minutes seems a long time to wait.

It was therefore greatly relieving to see the dough had risen to the occasion, and was ready to roll. You could opt for thicker or thinner bread, depending on how thinly you roll it. For better or for worse, for thicker or for thinner, it's really up to you. Also, you may sprinkle any topping of your choice, but obviously no bits of bacon or anything non vegan. I only had poppy and sesame handy. Had some cumin somewhere, but couldn't be bothered to forage the kitchen for it.

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The dough shrinks back immediately after rolling, so you need to be fairly patient, and let it relax, before rolling again. If not it would be like swimming upstream at the edge of a waterfall.

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To my horror, I saw these hugeeee bubbles forming as the dough was enjoying its heat treatment in the oven. However, when I visited the forum, (the daring bakers have this forum where they discuss the recipes, their trials and tribulations), it appeared to be quite a common occurence, so I was on the right track.

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I have never bothered to calibrate my oven, so MAYBE it was a bit too hot, as the bread seemed a bit too brown in certain areas. However, thankfully, it was not burnt, and in fact, those brown bits were extra crispy and rather tasty.

Forgive me Lord, for I have sinned. I know its supposed to be vegan, but I could NOT resist slapping on a slab of butter onto a warm piece of freshly baked lavash, for my OWN consumption. DEEEVINE!
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The following day, let's salsa. There were a couple of recommendations in the instructions, namely a honeydew peach salsa, and a almond butter dip. I actually bought ingredients for the almond butter as well, but the huge amount of salsa that was generated made me decide not to proceed with the latter.

Since peaches are not native to Malaysia, and they cost like RM6 each, (USD1.70), I decided to go with our own locally available fruit, and decided on a Honeydew, Red Dragon Fruit, Mango Salsa.
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First, I blended some garlic, and shallots. (the small red onions. The term shallots seem to cause confusion, coz over in Oz, they mean spring onions), and separately blended 2 large red hot chillies, deseeded. Mix them all together with some lime juice, and some sugar to taste.

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Dice a quarter honeydew melon, half a dragon fruit, two mangoes, and toss em all together, with a generous helping of chopped coriander at the end.

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Actually I was rather pleased with the result, because the colors I thought were rather stunning. The red from the dragon fruit, yellow and orange from the mango, pale green from the honeydew. And the taste!!! I was one step short of donning on a hawaiian grass skirt and shimmying!



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Of course, the guests oohed and aahed at this very unique starter. Most assumed the crackers were bought, and therefore solicited even MORE oohs and aahs, when they discovered it was homemade.

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The Daring Bakers challenge makes for great dinnertime conversation.

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One of my kids loved it so much, I decided to make another batch for a champagne brunch I was hosting a few days later. However, I shall not talk about that occasion, as it was as UNVEGAN as you can possibly get.

Thanks so much Lisa of La Mia Cucina for hosting this enjoyable challenge. I am sure she'll be posting up the recipe for do check it out at her blog.

40 comments:

Dana McCauley said...

Welcome to the DB! Nice work. I hope you'll stick around for many more challenges.

Life for Beginners said...

The vision of you possibly of donning on a Hawaiian grass skirt and shimmying has certainly brightened my day. Or, to be exact, really made me wide awake this snoozy Saturday morning. Hehe.

Your "buah-buahan tempatan" salsa looks brilliant, by the way. :)

Mandy said...

good job on your first challenge, and welcome to the Daring Bakers' community. Your crackers look good, as with the rest of your bakes.

Kenneth said...

I could almost picture you shimmying in a grass skirt to the Hula song LOL ... like Kenny, i'm now WIDE awake :P hahaha ... but I must say that the Salsa looks very interesting ... no oven yet :( so i can't bake the crackers ... store bought perhaps ... :)

thanks for sharing ;)

CUMI & CIKI said...

your posts are so humorous my hubs alwys asks me why i am laughing at the comp screen.. haha.. i wanna see the grass skirt shimmy.. u shld think bout recording it and uploading to utube:P who knows.. u may become famous! harhar.. also the colors in your localised dip look like something i would wanna wear in fabric! :D

My Food Safari said...

FBB, Congratulations on your 1st challenge. The colorful salsa looks yummy. I did not realised that posting date was on the 27th. I was going to make it tomorrow. The savoury is a great change from the sweet cakes.

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

I shall add that lavash with foie gras pate is absolutely amazing!!! Not sure how it rates against that gorgeous salsa, though. But well done, FBB..your lavash tasted excellent!!

Argus Lou said...

I love that you wrote as though the dough was having a spa in your red-hot eyebrow-singeing oven. And that rolling without waving the flattened dough in the air was like swimming against the current at the edge of a waterfall. My lavash are like Claudia Schiffer next to your Naomi Campbell ones. The oven in my flat must be under-hot, leh.

Ah, I see you bought the very violet-red dragon fruit - scary colour, I thought when I first saw it on my recent trip to M'sia. But your dip is beautiful like the united colors of Benetton.

Now I can't wait to see what the next challenge is. ;-P

creampuff said...

Congratulations on your first DB challenge! First of all your salsa was amazing! And I think your crackers turned out just fine ... bubbles and all!

Ruth said...

Great first challenge. Your lavash and your salsa looks great. Welcome cant wait for next months!

Simon Seow said...

Wow, a interesting twist to the salsa sauce.

Christy said...

You just keep getting better and better yea....*in awe*

And you're hilarious; Hawaiian grass skirt, hula song...:D

Lianne said...

wahhhh ... now you are IN the group. Should have done earlier lahhh, you are sooo qualified. No need shy, shy one .. hehe

fatboybakes said...

lianne, guffaw, what IN group? pleeez la.

christy, aww, thank you, so, sweet of you, made my day.

simon, it was suprisingly damn good. (actually original recipe had peaches, i just substituted it for our local stuff).

ruth, i'm glad i wasnt the only one using a dough hook. your guacamole looks soooo good. avocados cost an arm and leg here.

creampuff, thanks. you're one of the co-founders right, of this brilliant challenge idea?

argus, thanks for "pushing" me to join. i had fun. i am ambivalent about the color of the red dragon fruit normally, but i thought here it added a nice hue.

fatboybakes said...

AWOL, ssssh, hush, not supposed to PUBLICISE our little sinful soiree there, eating the lavash with FOIE GRAS. its supposed to be served with VEGAN dip ya hear.

My Food Safari, thanks for giving me the contact. I had fun.

CIKI, awww, glad you were amused. makes my day. yahor, the colors would look nice on you echerlly. (as in a fabric with those colors).

kenneth, ah, maybe next time i pass some through aunty hor.

mandy, thanks for dropping by. your pratha dogs sounds like something we can try here!!!

LFB, more liked shocked you out of your sat morning reverie...the very idea hor!! i shudder myself. well, ya missed the lavash boy, my 2nd batch was served at the champers brunch.

dana, thanks. your blog is gorgeous, looks like a donna hay book.

GFAD said...

Foie gras and champagne.. living the good life, eh?

Looking forward to more daring bakers exploits! :)

Eat4Fun said...

Congratulations on completing your first DB Challege. By the looks of it, it turned out great!

Argus Lou said...

It's funny. Just made lavash again. This time I thought I'd be silly and try to save on electricity by using the fan-assisted mode on the oven at 160 degrees C. The batch came out pale even after 20 minutes.
Then I changed to normal 180 degrees for the second batch - alamak! - at the 12th minute, they were already browner than yours. Very crispy though.

Someone had a great idea of pressing coriander leaves on a diamond-shaped piece. I did it with mint, sage and basil leaves but can only show you the picture another time.

bakinginoregon said...

I too, found that the slightly darker parts of the crakers were quite tasty. Your salsa looks fantastic. Welcome to the DB's, congrats on your first successful challenge!

FBB said...

argus, actually there are endless possibilities arent there, with the stuff. i bought pumpkin seeds to press into my next one. how does using a fan forced oven save electricity ah? i used fan forced at 160C for mine.

eat4fun, your lavash and tofu dip looks out of this world!!! fantastic. and yours browned so beautifully too.

GFAD, 12 bottles between 8 ppl. that was a LOVELY afternoon!

Argus Lou said...

Silly me thought 160 degrees fan-assisted would use less electricity than 180 degrees normal. Forgot to factor in the power used to turn the fan, leh. *blush* Wah, your oven really is super-hot, eh?

Lauren said...

Ooo, your lavash looks great! Congrats on your first challenge!

Henry Yeo said...

bravo.
still exploring vegans or trying others?

Jenny said...

The salsa has such beautiful colors, but my favorite picture is the side view showing all the bubbles in the crackers. Nice job!

Nic (KHKL) said...

woah, such an auspicious salsa! from the selection of ingredients to the colours! an interesting twist to the usual CNY vegan staples.

very classy-looking lavash there as well. ohhh, some sprinkling of garlic powder would be nice, eh? then again, i dunno whether garlic is vegan or not. :D

fatboybakes said...

jenny, thanks for dropping by. yours look wonderful.

henry, please la, we are carnivores. the vegan thing was a one off.

lauren, thanks, yours browned beautifully...so even! i'm so envious.

argus, actually i should calibrate the oven. i have no idea if the thermostat is accurate.

fatboybakes said...

bakinoregon, yes, surprisingly the darker bits didnt taste burnt and were actually rather delectable.

hairy, i think garlic is permitted. only the Kuan Yin vegetarian followers dont eat garlic right? in fact, garlic definitely can, coz its in the dip recipe, haha.

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

i prefer the guts of the goose anytime over the salsa..

Dharm said...

'Selamat Datang' to the DBs my fellow Malaysian! Good to see a 'saudara' here! LOL! Great job on your lavash to my bro.

Life for Beginners said...

Trust me, missing out on the champers brunch was one of my life's great regrets. On the bright side though, I managed a lil side of misadventure by smuggling a married couple across the Causeway, together with good ol' locally-pirated pornography.

(So much for Cuti-Cuti Malaysia.)

As for Henry's preoccupation with veganism, I might have to go down that path, at least for a few days, due to me doc's advice. Either that or another round of injections in the general area of my butt.

*ponders*

Screw veganism. Give me meat. LOL

Henry Yeo said...

*tells doctor to prepare syringes for injecting Kenny's butt*

steph- whisk/spoon said...

welcome to the group! looks delish, and i'm loving that salsa!

silverrock said...

Hahaha... I love that you slabbed butter onto a vegan cracker! Brilliant! And delicious I bet. Way to go on your first DB challenge, the crackers and salsa look delish!

fatboybakes said...

steph-whisk/spoon, thanks.

henry, oooh, you wanna play doctor? we can get lemongrass to dress up as a nurse.... and pass u the syringe. can film it ah?

LFB, nah, sudah tolong.

dharm, aitelyu, randomly going thru the DB blogroll, what are the odds of finding a saudara?!!! i was thrilled. must go buy 4D.

nipples, you ANTI VEGANIC YOU!!!

Life for Beginners said...

Henry: Leave my butt alone. Or for that matter, anyone else's butt. LOL

LL: You delicious thing, on the other hand, come hither, my dear... *attempts amorous wink*

Paprika said...

You really know how to lavash your guests with great food! guffaw. That dip looks amazing, the colours are fantastic and am sure it was tasty as it was gorgeous. Not just a pretty face hor you!

fatboybakes said...

paps, sarky sarky!!!! guffawwww.

LFB, you're welcome.

Jackson said...

am i in yr guest list?

fbb said...

what guest list jackson? can i just ask, who, WHO did i invite to IKETERU for lunch, with TWO WEEKS blank schedule, and WHO STILL cant fit me in? WHO? WHO? WHO?

Jackson said...

i dun care, i wan the champagne brunch