Hay Hay it’s Donna Day!


I’ve been so involved in Christmas activities that I almost forgot about the latest Hay Hay it’s Donna Day challenge. Multiple HHDD winner, Manila urbanite and envy of me, Joey from 80 Breakfasts, picked pesto as theme for the 24th challenge. Although I love pesto I don’t make it nearly enough, but when I do I try to use different ingredients and variations. So when I saw the theme was pesto I knew immediately what kind of pesto I was going to make.

Throughout the years I lived in Asia I fell in love with cilantro. At first I could not stand it, but now I am kind of hooked and my refrigerator just smells right when there is a big bunch of fresh cilantro inside. It’s popular in many Asian dishes and accompanies almost everything in Vietnam and apparently it’s also much used in Mexican dishes. Since we’re leaving for a quick break in Mexico on Wednesday a cilantro pesto with something Mexican seemed quite fitting.

I based my recipe on the original one by Donna Hay, posted on 80 Breakfasts, changing some of the ingredients to suite what I had in the kitchen and what I remembered to pick up!

To make cilantro pesto gather:

1 cup and then some chopped cilantro leaves and stems

2 tablespoons toasted and chopped sunflower seeds (pine nuts or cashews also work)

1 clove crushed garlic

3/4 cup olive oil

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Making it:

Place all the ingredients in a blender and process lightly. Adjust the salt and pepper to your liking and serve. Easy-easy!

Alexander’s dad made awesome fish tacos the previous night and there were some leftovers and fresh soft taco shells (I love New Mexico!), so we decided to try out the pesto with some fish tacos for lunch. Delicious!

Now I have to go pack. I’ve never been to Mexico so I am pretty excited and hopefully I’ll have a picture or two to share when we get back.

Thanks to Joey for hosting, Bron for managing and Barbara for creating Hay Hay it’s Donna Day.

Hay! Hay! It’s Joey’s day. Again! She won the hearts of voters this round with Indian inspiration, creating a superb chai-spiced yogurt. In the spice mix were cloves, cardamom, pepper, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg, blended with honey, yogurt, and cream. Genius!

Congratulations Joey on winning another round of HHDD, your creation was brilliant. Can’t wait to see what challenge you are going to send our way this time round- especially since I will probably have access to a kitchen again soon.

Hay Hay it’s Donna Day is an event created by the darling Barbara of Winos and Foodies, and now being managed by Bron at Bron Marshall (she PICKS her own apples and makes wonderful things with it).

Finally some voting of another kind to get excited about. It has been a busy time for us, we’ve been island hopping around the Andaman. Quite literally. It sounds idyllic, but really, it is quite exhausting and frustrating at times. But we’ve been seeing pristine beaches, swimming in clear waters and, oh, weathered some nasty storms on a dingy long-tail boat!

Luckily we still get to stable internet connections from time to time so I have a moment to post the roundup to the yogurt challenge for Hay Hay it’s Donna Day. It was a small but exciting round. I am a big fan of yogurt, so receiving these innovative and tasty entries made me yearn to have a kitchen again to try them out. Well done, ladies, your entries were outstanding and I am curious to see who is going to this round and host the next one.

The first entry is from Tartasacher of Mil Postres over in Spain. Her blog is in Spanish, but it’s got this funky Google Translate device on her page, so you can read her entries in a variety of languages. Any Cyrillic readers out there? Tartasacher created one of my favorite kinds for her entry, honey yogurt. I usually just mix some honey in with plain yogurt, but she had a whole new process for creating a thick and decadent looking yogurt.

Bron, our lady in charge of Hay Hay it’s Donna Day in New Zealand, went a little un-seasonal for the Southern Hemisphere, turning out a pumpkin pie flavored yogurt. Never in a million years would I have thought of combining pumpkin puree and spices with yogurt, but Bron proved that it is doable and the results seem delightful, no matter which season you enjoy it in.

Joey, my Southeast Asian neighbor in the Philippines and the person who got me to enter my first HHDD had me grinning with delight at the thought of a chai spiced yogurt. Need I say more? Actually, yes, besides coming up with yogurt flavored with chai spices she went one step further and topped it all with pine nuts. Terrific as usual, Joey.

Lael of One Hungry Soul, a blogger from the US with a lot of brilliant baking going on, created a refreshing yogurt blending mint and rose water. And not content with just giving us an excellent yogurt, she included a family recipe for muesli to be enjoyed with the yogurt. Love it when people share a good thing!

Last of the entries is winner of the previous round, Suzana of Home Gourmets in Portugal. Suzana knows pretty and delicious and she clearly demonstrated it in her entry with pomegranate and pistachio yogurt, an excellent blend of fresh pomegranate juice, bits of the fruit and crushed pistachios. Brilliant!

And now you can start casting your HHDD ballots. I know it is going to be tough! You can email your votes to me at bordeaux76@gmail.com, I will announce the winner a week from too on November 11.  Be patient if I am a little late, I’m never sure where I will have a connection or not, but I’ll try my best.

Thank you for all you ladies who made time to enter such great creations and also to Bron for managing this fun event and to Barbara, the creator behind Hay Hay it’s Donna Day.

I’ve decided to extend the deadline for this round of Hay Hay It’s Donna Day for a couple more days until the end of the week, I’ll be away from the net for a few days doing some island hopping, so its only fair. So if you’ve been obsessing too much about the US elections or the global financial crisis recently, take a break and send me an entry before the end of the week. It’s good to get your mind of the bigger things every now and then!

I was a bit thrown off finding out that I was to host the next round of Hay Hay its Donna Day!, what with me not having access to a kitchen and traveling at the moment.

Suzana was darling enough to offer hosting on behalf of me, something I was considering as I really had no idea how I was going to manage. Still, I thought it would be fun if I could host from Vietnam and searched for a recipe that did not require a fully equipped kitchen (our friendly hotel management said it would be fine to use theirs).

The recipe I found, mint yogurt from the book Flavors, seemed perfect. It required only a stove top and a few ingredients, including the ubiquitous mint found in so many Vietnamese salads. So I set out to a local grocer and then the market to collect the ingredients and proceeded to make the yogurt.

To make Donna Hay‘s mint yogurt you need to gather:

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup shredded mint leaves

1/2 cup water

1 cup chilled plain yogurt

1 cup chilled cream

And to make it:

Prepare a syrup by placing the water, sugar and mint leaves in a saucepan and stir over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Let it simmer for another 4 minutes and then let it stand for another 5. When the syrup has cooled, add it together with the other ingredients in a mixing bowl and beat until light and creamy.

Serve on its own or with some fresh fruit or muesli for a refreshing breakfast or snack.

Of course the process was not without its hiccups. The kitchen was lacking a little in measuring cups and of course there was no beater, so I had to estimate a little with the amounts and ended up whisking the ingredients together with chopsticks instead of beating it with a mixer. But it came out very well in the end and I served some to Alexander and my friend Christel, who traveled with us for a few days, with that very tropical of tropical fruits, mango. Delicious!

For the challenge you can either make the same mint yogurt, or create a different yogurt using any other ingredients. I know the recipe is really simple, but in that lies the challenge to create something really exciting. Have fun!

RULES FOR HAY HAY ITS DONNA DAY:

Hay Hay Its Donna Day is open to all food and wine bloggers.

Entries submitted for HHDD must be made specifically for this event, although photos may be submitted to Does My Blog Look Good In This.

The host will select, make and post the original Donna Hay recipe without any changes. Participants may make the same recipe as is, or put their own spin on the recipe by altering the ingredients whilst remaining with the theme or if they prefer to share a well loved recipe within the theme. Entrants must include a link to the host in their post.

Entries can be made at any time once the event has been announced but must be posted and emailed to the host by the closing date.

Deadline for all posts to be up and submitted is October 27, 2008. I will be posting the round-up a week later (November 4) and voting will then begin!

Please email all your entries to bordeaux76@gmail.com. In your email, please include the following information: your blog name, your name, your location, your recipe name, and the permalink to your entry.

Hay Hay Its Donna Day is a food event created by Barbara from Winos and Foodies and now under the wing of Bron Marshall.

Can’t wait to see your entries!

I was totally surprised to find an email from Suzana of Home Gourmets telling me my entry won the pancake challenge for this round of HHDD. Definitely not expecting that, so it was a big and very pleasant surprise.

As we are on the road at the moment and will be for quite some time I have to figure out how to host the next round. Suzana offered her kitchen to me (thank you!) so hopefully we can figure something out. Watch this space.

Thanks to Suzana for hosting a very fun and challenging round. It was a very fun challenge.

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This is probably one of the wrong-est things I have ever made. And it will also be the last thing I make for the HHDD challenge for a long time. Or anything else in a kitchen for that matter. I will probably only have access again to one again around December, but more about that in another entry.

Suzanna of Home Gourmets, winner of the Tiramisu challenge, picked pancakes as the task for this round. To me, pancakes seemed quite a challenge! Sure it seems simple, but I think that is where the big challenge lies, making something so simple interesting and fresh.

While worrying about everything that needs to prepared for the next big move, I was racking my brain about what to do for this challenge. I thought I could try to draw some inspiration from where I live again, but I’ve done that for the Choux round.

On Thursday we went to Vanilla Industry for coffee and I decided to try the vanilla crepe cake. As I was enjoying the layers of pancake and vanilla spread I thought, maybe I will not exactly make pancakes, but make a cake out of pancakes! A Nutella pancake-cake covered in sweet and rich almond flavored cream. So there is a good chance I completely missed the plot here, but I had fun. And its very very decadent.

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Here’s what I did.

For the pancakes you need:

2 cups (250 g) plain flour, sifted

3 tsp baking powder, sifted

1/3 cup (85 g) caster sugar

2 eggs

1 1/2 cup (375 ml) milk

75 g butter, melted

pinch of salt

For the filling you will need:

a jar of Nutella

2 cups whipping cream

2 cups caster sugar

1 teaspoon almond essence

The pancake process:

Mix together the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet ingredients in another, combing them in the end and mixing well. I made the batter a little thinner to create a more crepe-like pancake. I also added some brown food coloring to the last third of the batter to make some darker pancakes. Cook the pancakes in a heated pan, slightly greased, and let them cool.

The filling process:

I whipped up the cream, essence and sugar until it was thick enough to serve as ‘icing’ for the cake. The I spread Nutella on the lighter pancakes and layer two light ones topped with a darker one. Spread a thin layer of the cream on the this one and cover with two Nutella spread ones again. Continue with this process and top it with a dark pancake. Cover the rest of the cake with a thick layer of cream and carefully move to the fridge to set. When the cake has set, slice and serve.

A warning, not that it’s not obvious I think, but this is extremely rich and heart-attack inducing. I think I actually gained weight while making it. Enjoy!

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On a completely separate note. Yesterday, after coffee, Alexander and I were walking around Siam Paragon when a girl approached us. It turns out she is a reader of both our blogs! Thanks for saying hi, it meant a lot to us even though we were both so surprised that we did not even ask your name or chatted a bit more. And thanks for reading!

And thank you to Alexander for the pictures.

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