Ginger Bread Depot

December 28, 2009

The December 2009 Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to you by Anna of Very Small Anna and Y of Lemonpi. They chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ everywhere to bake and assemble a gingerbread house from scratch. They chose recipes from Good Housekeeping and from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book as the challenge recipes.

 

Sorry sorry sorry I’m late. I know I always have an excuse, this time it’s working the 4 days around and on xmas and letting things get away from me. Can I be forgiven? It is Christmas 😀

Anyhow, either way I had fun making this challange. Building a gingerbread house was such a great idea. I loved hands on construction and a good way to practise decorating. Especially with a piping bag.

The gingerbread itself I used Y’s recipe, and as the recipe said, it’s not made for it’s flavour. But I don’t think it’s made for it’s ability to maintain shapes when baked either. Instead of spreading, all my shapes shrunk! So not only did I not have anything to cut neatly to the size of my house templates, I also had some very wonky looking, ill fitting shapes. I wasn’t sure they were going to match up, and just took one look at them and went Arrrgh. Hopefully  icing will save me. You can’t see it in the finished house, but the top section of roof is missing, as it didn’t meet in the middle. I found an off cut to slap on the front side, minus roof tile decoration. The other side had a big hole. I thought that might have worked well if I’d had dough enough to make up some little gingerbread men and couches and a tv to put inside, but then they may have shrunken to ultra miniature also!

The royal icing was easy to make, and I got by with only one batch and a few colours of dye, although I will be wishing for more piping bags next Christmas, it became a real pain getting up and down to wash and rewash the bag, dry it, then do it again. I didn’t have such a steady hand piping, but took another bloggers lead idea and used MnM’s to jazz up the joins of my roof tiles. I work as an ambulance officer and wanted to make a replica ambulance depot for my collegues to celebrate Christmas. I had made an ambulance cake for our grade 1 school graduation, so it was the next step, and I really love my job and co workers. So it is now proudly displayed in the central Perth depot for all the passing crews to see. Although some of the roof is missing, as some poor ambo found out, and yes he agreed it wasn’t a tasty cookie dough. Hehe.

The name of my ambulance company is St. Johns Ambulance Australia, and that title and the emblum are piped onto the front of the house, and also are on all the ambulance depots in the state. The little building next to the house has an iced roller door and is where the ambulance lives when not in use for driving fast and saving people etc. Although most of our calls on xmas were from people who felt sick from eating too much Christmas lunch! I even attempted to make a little ambulance. It has a pretty accurate colour scheme, but wasn’t really pieced together as well as I’d have liked. Altogether it took about 4 or 5 hours solid piping to decorate and erect the finished produce. I really enjoyed it, but it was a lot of time and effort. I liked doing it so much I want to make it a tradition and do it next year, but I will try and search for a gingerbread recipe throughout the year that’s sturdy and delicious. I also asked my boyfriend if he will get festive with me and help me in construction. It will be nice to share and won’t be so long when you’re not on your own. Maybe we’ll make a model of his office buildings?

Sorry for the one and only dodgy photo. I am split living between my and my boyfriends home, and so found myself in possession of only a camera phone and not my own camera when it was time for the photos on dropping the house off at work. I think it looks great tho, and got captured in the pic

Merry Christmas, thanks for being patient with me this year and all teaching me so much. X


Cheats way with two types of pastry

December 14, 2009

The 2009 Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Simone of Junglefrog Cooking. Simone chose Salmon en Croute (or alternative recipes for Beef Wellington or Vegetable en Croute) from Good Food Online.

 

I tampered with the aim of the DC challange above. I’m sure the idea was more to cook one piece of meat/fish etc, parcelled in pastry with flavourings. I cheated. Instead of a piece of meat and flavourings, I used sausage meat and added more flavour to make sausage rolls. I also made some mini quiche in filo pastry. What can I say, I had a housewarming to go to and needed something easy and crowd pleasing. As one of the main components of sausage rolls is the pastry roll, I thought I’d kill two birds with one stone!

 

The sausage rolls were made with grated carrot, cooked chopped onion, a squeeze of mayo and a good heap of mild indial curry powder, mixed into sausage mince from the local shops, then rolled in puff pastry, edges sealed in water, sliced and baked:

 

The quiche were a mich mash of extra vegies and cold cut meats I had lying around in my fridge. Basically use anything you want. I think I used all vegies I had grated, zuchini, carrot, capsicum. The important thing for the quiche is leaving enough room for the beaten egg mixture ( to which I added salt n pepper and a dollop of sour cream) and then putting a bit of grated or sliced cheese over the top for flavour and to go nice and brown in the oven. I also had some tomato salsa used with cornchips left over, and put a tiny teaspoon on each one of a nice bite, as well as some diced chorizo. Just make sure to pan cook all your ingredient, as in vegies and meats first before putting them in the pastry cases and covering with egg mix.

Then both were in the oven to pre cook before the final cooking at the house warming. They all wen so fast and I didn’t have any photos of the finished product. But I did save back three of each from the first cooking, just incase, so the photos are from that. The would have been more brown and crunchy on the second cook.

 

I like using pastry to cook. Things with an eddible container are great. My only regret is that I didn’t heavily grease the mini muffin tray when putting the filo pastry in. It stuck so fast, even after scouring (which I shouldn’t even be doing with a non-stick bake pan!) so sadly that was sacrificed in the effort…perhaps santa will bring me a new one for xmas? hehe