It's funny how different people are.
For me, the Daring Bakers challenges are terrifying to the point of paralysis. Even BYOB makes my chest tighten. But for loads of my fellow-food bloggers, these are a walk in the park. On the other hand, when I selected this month's Waiter, There's Something in My… theme of sweet/savoury swap, I was so excited and positively spoilt for choice as to what to make. But it seems that I have finally managed to select a theme for WTSIM that stumped a lot of people :( Or from comments I've seen on other participating blogs, it seems that peope were put off by the idea of sweet soups of savoury puddings and thought these were being different for the sake of it, rather then being tasty.
Oh well. I suppose you can't please all the people all the time. But there were a few brave souls who re-imagined sweet dishes as savoury dishes and vice versa, and you'll be amazed at how inventive they were. So without further ado, let's see who's in the round-up.
**STOP PRESS** In my haste to get the roundup out last night, I missed somebody! I hate it when I do that, so to make up for it, her entry gets star billing at the top of the post. Sweatha of TastyCurryLeaf in New Jersey, USA opens proceedings with a savoury snack after my own heart. When you think of shortbread, you think of sweet cookies, usually with a dusting of caster sugar, in a tartan box to hark back to their Scottish heritage, right? Not in Sweatha's kitchen… She gives us divine-sounding peppery feta shortbread instead – and how fabulous they would be with pre-dinner drinks!
First up was the lovely Deeba of Passionate About Baking in India. All her life, she's made sweet strawberries and cream for dessert… but today she turns this particular fruit salad on its head by dressing it the way you would dress a green salad: with balsamic vinegar and black pepper! Check out her beautiful balsamic strawberries with whipped mascarpone.
From there, we head down to Cape Town, South Africa and my friend Nina of My Easy Cooking. One of the dishes that first inspired me to nominate this month's theme is a dessert that I had at a restaurant in my hometown of Port Elizabeth: chocolate spring rolls. So I was particularly thrilled when Nina chose to make banana and dulce du leche dessert spring rolls! Crispy, soft, warm, sweet – what's not to like?
From there, let's pop over to the lovely Elra of Elra's Baking in California. Elra was soooo keen to take part this month, but was a little taken aback by the theme. Still, it wasn't long before she got her recipe books out and her thinking cap on and soon she presents us with strawberry-almond salty shortcake with a basil-spinach sauce. Sound interesting? Well check out her beautiful pics if you have any doubt as to the deliciousness – or her inventiveness!
From there, we return to Europe to pop into the kitchen of our multi-talented friend Meeta of What's For Lunch, Honey? in Weimar, Germany. I'm sure you'll all agree that bread & butter pudding is A Good Thing. Chocolate bread & butter pudding is An Even Better Thing. But have you thought of adding vegetables?? That's exactly what Meeta has done with her roasted pumpkin and chocolate bread pudding – inspired and totally delicious!
And then we're back in London with our first savoury dish this month – hurrah! The Gourmet Chick expressed the same reservations that many of you had – surely a savoury version of a dessert would be just plain wrong? But then she discovered a savoury "dessert" recipe with an impeccable pedigree – Yotam Ottolenghi's fennel, tomato and crumble gratin. And Ottolenghi does not disappoint as the crumble seems to taste as good as it looks. Yum!
We seem to have a disproportionate number of adventurous South African bloggers on board this month as we return to Cape Town to see my friend (and "blog Godchild" according to her!) Rosemary of Homemade Heaven. She pulls out all the stops to create a wonderful fruity dessert soup out of nearly-ripe mangoes, with sweet coconut "breadsticks" to complete the illusion of a normal soup course. You go, girl! I'm hoping for a dinner invite any day now…
Just outside Cape Town, my friend Kit of Food and Family also put on her thinking cap for this month's theme. Now a quiche is a crust filled with a baked mixture of eggs, cream and some sort of vegetable, right? And a clafoutis is a baked mixture of cream, eggs, sugar and some sort of fruit. Are you seeing the parallele here? Kit certainly does and presents us with a cinnamon-scented plum and apple dessert quiche that goes down a storm with her family. Hurrah!
Johanna of Green Gourmet Giraffe in Melbourne was another one who decided to use fruit to make a traditionally meaty dish. When you think of kebabs, what do you picture? A skewer with chunks of meat sizzling away on the barbecue? A huge chunk of meat on a vertical spike, waiting to be sliced, stuffed in pita and served? Well Johanna reimagines the humble kebab as a fruity affair – and even choc-dips some of the fruit! You need to check these babies out…
Now usually I insist that you make a new dish and don't accept older posts for WTSIM, but seeing as there were so few entries, and seeing as the lovely Bee of Jugalbandi asked nicely and added a link to WTSIM… I bent the rules, just this once ;-) And besides, you wouldn't have wanted to miss out on the fantastic savoury granola trifle that she came up with, would you?
My good friend and co-founder of WTSIM, Andrew of SpittoonExtra just outside London has been busy of late. So busy in fact, he mistook Waiter, There's Something in My… for the End of Month Cheese on Toast Extravaganza ;-) Yup, he heads into grilled cheese sandwich territory and presents us with his cheese on toast dessert – toasted fruited soda bread topped with goats cheese and dried fruits. Who knew a cheese sandwich could be dessert?
And what did my other co-founder get up to? Well, I know Johanna of The Passionate Cook has also been a busy lady, but she took time out to put on her thinking cap and re-imagine a classic combination. You'd usually order foie gras and some sort of fruit compote as a starter, right? Well, how about foie gras and pear compote creme brulee spoons? I'll let you decide where in the meal these belong – either way, they look super delicious, Johanna!
And last but not least, there's your charming hostess ME, the Cooksister :) Now as you'll know from my frequent references to the chilly, miserable days we've been having here, it's not really salad weather. But… what if you miss the flavours of a classic caprese salad so badly you just can't wait till summer? Well, it's easy: you transform caprese salad into a deliciously comforting savoury caprese bread and butter pudding. See – no need to wait for the sun
And that, as they say, is all folks! Thanks very much to the lovely, talented and super-creative people who participated. And if you missed out on January's edition of WTSIM, the good news is that Johanna has already announced the theme for February: hot puddings! Woo hoo!. So think self-saucing puddings, dumplings, crepes suzette… the possibilities are endless and you have until 28 February to get your entries to Johanna.