Ready Steady Cook Challenge

readysteadycook

When I saw Tandy post this challenge, great memories of watching Ainsley on TV came flooding back over me. I use to love this show, it was a Saturday morning ritual for me and I always made a point to watch it. How those chefs would come up with these great dishes in such a short period of time, from a mystery bag picked up by a random person who knew nothing about food. It was always such great fun, my favourite chefs were Anthony, Ross and Lesley.

So when I saw this challenge, I jumped right to it and signed up, thinking somehow I would fit it in with the wedding, not long after I received my grocery list…and let me tell you, I was stumped. I knew this was going to be a big challenge; I was way out of my comfort zone. I had a list of vegetarian ingredients, and the biggest challenge is always trying to have a balanced vegetarian meal. Often in a restaurant, if you say you are vegetarian, you are given a salad or fries, I didn’t want to go that route.

My grocery list was as follows:
gelatine (or agar agar)
yeast
strawberries
cheese (I used goats cheese, being my favourite cheese)
bell pepper
soya sauce
banana

Along with my pantry items, I came up with this menu.

Starter
Summery grilled strawberry & Goats Cheese salad

Mains
Bellpepper & Goats cheese focaccia with lemon hummus

Dessert
Banana & Cardamom Panna Cotta

So with the wedding and honeymoon thrown into the mix, along with this 3 course meal, I decided to incorporate it all into the visiting guests and let them taste! Nothing like having some friends over who are not scared to tell you to try harder!! I started with my salad…and got some great feed back!

Summery Strawberry & Goats Cheese Salad

500g strawberries, halved
200g goats cheese
Fresh basil
Macadamia oil
White wine vinegar
Castor Sugar
seasoning

Heat a griddle pan over high heat, when hot, wipe with oil, and place strawberry down with cut half on the griddle pan. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
Roughly crumble the goats cheese and place in salad bowl
Stack fresh basil leaves on top of each other, and with a sharp knife, slice into thin strands. Careful not to bruise the basil to much. Toss with goats cheese and a pinch of sugar.
Toss in cold strawberries, drizzles with oil and white wine vinegar, and season to taste.

Bellpepper & Goats cheese focaccia with lemon hummus

Roasted Bell pepper
1 of each colour bell pepper
macadamia oil
soya sauce

Heat the oven to 200 C, cut peppers in half and place on baking tray. Drizzle with oil and soya sauce. Roast for 45 minutes.

Focaccia Dough
4 cups bread flour
1 packet instant dried yeast
50 ml macadamia oil
1 tbs soya sauce
50 g castor sugar
700 ml warm water

Make a well in the flour and add yeast, sugar and soya sauce.
Pour in the warm water in batches and draw the flour in from the sides to make a soft, workable dough. Add more water or flour as needed – the dough shouldn’t be too sticky.
Knead until nice ad smooth, around 5 – 7 minutes.
Cover the dough in a warm place to rise until doubled in size.

Focaccia
Roasted bell peppers
Goats cheese
Crushed garlic
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
Macadamia oil
soya sauce

Place the dough on a greased baking tray and press holes into the dough with your fingers, don’t press too hard. Sprinkle rosemary and oregano and garlic onto the dough and press in roasted peppers and goats cheese.
Drizzle with oil and soya sauce
Allow to rise for 10 to 15 minutes in a warm place, then bake in a 180° C oven for 45 minutes.

Lemon Hummus
1 can chickpeas
juice of ½ lemon
zest of half a lemon
macadamia oil
soya sauce
black pepper
crushed garlic
fresh ginger, finely chopped

Add all the ingredients into a blender and blitz until smooth. Check seasoning and adjust to taste.

Any dessert is always a challenge to me, simply because I am not a huge fan of desserts, and for me, a simple fruit platter, or a nice cheese board is always a great way to end off a meal. Instead…I concluded my meal with the following:

Banana & Cardamom Panna Cotta

340ml cold water
2 envelopes gelatine
250ml castor sugar
175ml water
1 banana mashed up
8 cardamom pods, split open, and only crush the little black seeds
500ml cream
500ml full cream milk

Place 340ml cold water into a bowl and sprinkle the gelatine over gently. Set aside
Mix the mashed banana and grinded cardamom seeds together
Place ¾ of the sugar and ½ of the water in a pot over high heat until the sugar has caramelized. Remove from heat and add the banana, cream, milk and the left over sugar. Place back on heat until the mixture is smooth.
Remove from head again and add gelatine and water, whisk in, place bowl in ice water and carry on whisking until the mixture is room temperature.
Place in moulds and refrigerate for about an hour and a half