This post for my zucchini sourdough bread is in no way a reflection on Erin, my assigned blogger for the month, Debbi, the hostess for Group C, or April.
Today is the day after our May reveal day, and I am browsing Making Memories With Your Kids, my Secret Recipe Club blog for June. April and Debbi made a special plan to get my assignment to me as we leave for overseas on the 23rd of May and no sooner have we got back than my parents arrive. I have one Sunday to get my assignment done and this month I do not want time to be against me. I must confess to finding blogger a very unfriendly user portal and so when looking for more about my assigned blogger all I could find is that she is a single mum to two kids and a school counselor. It sounds like Erin has a super fun time with her kids! I did not know where to start with choosing a recipe. Erin has been blogging since February 2010 and has a long list of labels I could choose from. I did my usual browsing to see if I could find an original recipe and when that did not work I went back to my fail safe method and typed the word pasta into the search block. That did not result in an original recipe either and I nearly wept. I am struggling with this part of the Secret Recipe Club and I know not all of my recipes are original, but I do try and post one original recipe a week. Between this aspect and the use of ready made ingredients I am seriously considering my future in the Secret Recipe Club. I see a lot of Ranch Dressing being used around the American blogs, and so I looked to see if Erin had a recipe for that – sadly not. So, I typed bread in the search function as I am in love with my sourdough and decided that no matter what, I would choose one recipe from this category and make it. So, I will be making zucchini bread, or at least my adapted version of this recipe.
We returned yesterday from Italy and I while I was away I made the decision to leave the Secret Recipe Club. It is time for me to venture into new things and grow my blog in a way that excites me. I am venturing into new challenges and I hope that you all will pop in and visit every now and then. I am so glad to have made great friends along the way while I have been a part of the Secret Recipe Club! Since I first wrote my post Erin has migrated to wordpress and the site is so much more user friendly.
This weekend was nearly a disaster. On Friday I made the error of stirring the hooch into my sourdough starter. We have been away for 2 weeks and the hooch resulted in a strong vinegar smell taking over my lovely sourdough. I took a cup of this strong smelling starter out of my container and discarded the rest and hoped for the best. I fed my starter over a 24 hour period with one cup of bread flour and one cup of water and then took out another cup of starter and threw away what was left. I fed this batch again over the next 24 hours and I was so relieved that the starter smelled like sourdough rather than vinegar. I proceeded to make this bread, which is more like a banana loaf bread than a savoury bread and I must say it is very tasty with the most wonderful crust.
Time is not my friend most months as over and above work commitments I also have blogging commitments. This all has to fit in with going to gym, running a household, being a good wife and having a social life. Over and above that, house building is a priority most weekends. I try to schedule my blogging and my cooking to suit my life style. That means that I cook for my blog on one day of the weekend. I will spend the entire day in my kitchen and then write up one blog post each morning. However, in the month we go overseas (which is this month) I try and write two blog posts a morning in order to have posts scheduled for when we are away. I have an hour before work each morning to sit down and do this. This month my Secret Recipe Club assignment arrived in my inbox 14 days before it had to be posted. Our posting time is 7am South African time, which happens also to be the time I arrive at my office. So basically, this post had to be done and dusted within 13 days. Now I know that it might sound like a lot of time but actually it is not! I am a little miffed as I wanted to give Jamie from Cooking With Moxie a bit more of my attention. Jamie lives in Boston and my heart already goes out to her knowing that tragedy was so close to her doorstep not too long ago. I love her saying “Tutti Mangia”! Everyone who reads my blog will know that I am a secret Italian – it is my favourite country to visit, and the one European language other than English that I love speaking. This month all I had time to do was click the random recipe button and aimed to choose the first recipe that came up that was an original recipe. It also could not be a sweet recipe as I have too many desserts to test already this month. I clicked and clicked, in between reading emails, responding to queries and doing paperwork. However, all of the recipes that came up were not original and so I turned to my second option and chose a pasta recipe. I picked the first pasta recipe on the list when using the term pasta in the search box and chose the Fettuccine Marinara with Two Ricotta’s. I have not cooked much with ricotta so it was a good excuse to use a relatively unused ingredient in my kitchen. I then had to make the recipe on the first Sunday night after my assignment was received, and hope to high hell that it worked. Of course as my luck would have it, Sunday arrived and I did not have time to make the pasta dish as I was hosting a Spanish themed meal for friends and I had to make my pain au chocolat for the I Made It challenge. So I fluttered my eyelids, broke the diet, and had Dave make the linguine marinara con ricotta for me last Monday night. I was in Cape Town at a function and he did all the preparation. I am so lucky to have that extra pair of hands in the kitchen! We loved the tomato flavour of the pasta sauce and as we only used half I added some bacon to it the next night and served it as a side dish with some pork chops.
This month, my assigned blogger for The Secret Recipe Club was Sara from Cook with Sara. Sara loves to cook and eat and thankfully for us, share her recipes. I love her mom’s philosophy on cooking as it was the same philosophy my Gran had and my mom has. Sara uses every day ingredients which is perfect for me as I live in a small fishing village with very little access to anything exotic. Sara has an extensive list of recipes to choose from and I spent a long afternoon browsing her blog. I eventually turned to Sara’s list of favourites to choose a recipe to make. After much reading, I chose the pasta with garlic shrimp and broccoli, which I have adapted. We spend a lot of time crayfishing and I decided to use some crayfish instead of shrimp. Shrimp here are tiny little things as small as the tip of my pinky finger. Anything larger we call prawns. For this recipe even langoustine tails would do, so use what is available close to where you live.
I made banana crumpets as my choice for The Secret Recipe Club.
At the end of January, two things happened which were serendipitous. The first was that when I went to get my daily banana out of the fruit bowl, I noticed that all of them were over ripe. Our summer days are very hot, with temperatures well over 30 ºC (86º F). This means that fruit does not last very long when left open to the elements. The second thing that happened was that my Secret Recipe Club assignment landed in my inbox. This month I was given Our Eating Habits as the blog I had to find a recipe from. Jamie says “why waste time on bad food” – and I agree! While I was doing computer work I randomly selected categories and read the post titles. There was no doubt in my mind that the banana pecan pancakes were meant to be made by me! I have called these crumpets as in South Africa, pancakes are thin – more like crêpes. Crumpets are thicker and more like drop scones or pikelets. I have adapted the recipe to suit our tastes and what was in my fridge that needed using up! I am not particularly fond of cooked pecans so I left them out all together. I also had some yoghurt which was about to turn so instead of shopping for buttermilk, I made these with yoghurt. I also halved the original recipe and this made enough for breakfast for two days! Dave does not like cooked whole bananas so I was quite impressed when he liked these. We served them with some jam but you could serve them with fresh fruit like in the photograph.
Belonging to The Secret Recipe Club means that once a month I get to read a whole lot of new blogs. Some of them then become regular places to visit and others I might not see again for a while. In May of 2012 I found a recipe for raspberry jam with ginger and chilli on Mangia and I printed the recipe off and left it on my fridge. In my December holidays I worked through my pile of recipes in my to do ‘file’ and thisMixed Berry Jam With Ginger And Lime recipe was one of the first I made. I had bought frozen mixed berries to use for a photograph and decided to adapt this recipe and make the jam with them. I could not stop licking the spoon while making it. I like that it made one jar of jam as that means I get to enjoy this flavour and I can experiment with other flavours sooner rather than later.
These orange berry muffins are the perfect snack for before you go to gym. Or after training. Or even just because you feel like it.
This month for The Secret Recipe Club, I was assigned Christine’s Kitchen Chronicles. Christine’s real life job is as an engineer and she comes from a family of cooks. Even though she only started cooking at college, you can find a lot of diverse recipes on her blog. Christine’s dog Toby looks like it would be right at home in my kitchen as well! Christine still has Africa on her list of places to visit so I hope she will appreciate having a South African on her list of visitors to her blog. In choosing my recipe I clicked on the American tag as this is one type of cuisine I don’t do much of. I chose the chicken and roasted root vegetable pot pie after much searching through all her recipes. I used up some of my leftover pastry as my freezer needs a good clean out. I also adapted the recipe to suit our palates and our diet. It was only when I went onto my own blog to see how long to cook the pastry for that I saw I had already posted a recipe for chicken pot pie, and it was a SRC reveal recipe as well. Please pop in to see this recipe as I can really recommend it. The gravy is truly awesome. I used chicken stock as my poaching liquid and my choice of vegetables were butternut, carrots and fennel bulb. If I do this again I am going to blind bake the bottom layer of pastry first to make it extra crunchy.
So, with half a day left of leave I knew I had the time to make a second recipe. I decided to make muffins as this is something we can eat at work for a lunch time treat. As we both train quite extensively we need something to get us through the gym sessions. I chose the orange berry muffins as I did not think it would be a problem getting buttermilk, and I had one orange in the fridge that needed to be used up, as well as some frozen berries which I purchased for a photo prop. Sadly, our local store did not have buttermilk but I decided to make them using yoghurt and see how they turned out. They were super moist and stayed fresh the entire week. This will be a must have recipe to work with for me and I will make variations during the year to keep us well fed before gym.
This month, my SRC assignment arrived in my inbox during a very busy period. I had appointments with Doctors, Optometrists etc. for my annual check ups, and I left the email lurking until I had a few spare moments to peruse A Tale of One Foodie’s Culinary Adventures. At the same time, I had a lot of fun seeing what was being looked at on my blog, and I cannot wait to see what has been made. Erin loves cooking and baking and in her spare time experimenting! Erin and I both enjoy reading and drinking, so I was sure to find a lot of recipes I would enjoy making on her blog. It took me quite some time to settle on what to make. I chose Erin’s adaptation of Anna Olson’s Summer Fruit Flan as I have recently been shopping at the berry farm, and my freezer is full of lovely berries that were freshly frozen. I am running out of freezer space! I also used my own sweet pastry as I thought the orange zest would liven up the berries, and it did.
Debbi, our new hostess for The Secret Recipe Club is on the ball, and sent out our assignments the weekend after our reveal. This month I am getting to know Sara who blogs over at Cook With Sara. Sara cooks with everyday ingredients which means we are very similar in our approach to our kitchens. I browsed through Sara’s recipe index before deciding to make an adaptation of her Southwestern Potpie as I have black beans that I need to make use of more often. Dave is not really into my black beans as they change the colour of the food but he will just have to get used to that as I sill have quite a lot of them left. I adapted the recipe only because I had leftover buttermilk pastry that I wanted to use up. This was a very moreish recipe and we took the leftovers to work for lunch the next day.
The Secret Recipe Club is a monthly challenge that I really love participating in! I have been taking part since August 2011 and each month I am get to meet a new blogger! This month I got to visit with SteakNPotatoesKindaGurl – Desi is a psych major (I am too) and has just listed her 30×30 – 30 recipes she wants to make before she turns 30. I was hoping that one of these would have been done my the time I made my choice, but she has not yet started tackling her wishes. So instead, after much looking, I chose to make her Parmesan Meatballs With Fettuccine And Alfredo Sauce as I love pasta! Desi has adapted most of her recipes, showcasing other bloggers and I hope my showcase of her adaptation is just as good.
I love it when The Secret Recipe Club challenge arrives in my inbox! Even when I am very busy and think I might not have time to get it all done for the month. This month I was assigned Melissa’s Cuisine and I spent a morning reading through her blog. Melissa’s husband Mike is certainly very lucky that she enjoys spending so much time in the kitchen! I once again decided to make a pasta dish. This is a meal I can create over the weekend and both Dave and I can enjoy it on a Sunday night when we come back from our weekly wine tasting. As we have a great selection of exotic tomatoes at the moment, this recipe for pasta with roasted tomatoes stood out as the one I wanted to make.
I printed the recipe out the day after we got our assignments, and again, life got in the way of blogging. We went away for a long weekend, and I did not want to leave it to the Sunday night before our reveal date to make this dish. I went home early one day last week as we had no electricity at work, and used the time I had spare to make supper. Everything was ready to go when Dave got home from gym which was great. I have adapted the recipe as we don’t get ground turkey in South Africa and I can say it was lovely.