My Black and White Challenge: White Radish Cake

Have you seen "The Artist"? Frankly, I was a bit puzzled with the concept and it took me while to decide to go see it, and it was only the lack of other movie choice that made me. Though I give them credit for doing such a bold move in today's movie industry, I couldn't help feeling something is missing. As a friend of mine told me afterwards: language is a great thing! And is she right!

But the light and photograpy of the movie was beautiful, and in general even if it's not my forte I love black and white photography. So came the idea, that it would be a nice challenge to try to make a recipe with only black and white pictures. Because a blog post without writing didn't sound like such a good idea.

Now part of the problem, is food photography is about making things appealing, and colors are a part of that: a lucious red tomato, a sunny yellow lemon or a vibrant pink beetroot refers to what we know, our brain will connect it more easily to something diserable. No cookbook I own has black and white pictures in it for this very reason, I guess.

I did recently come across a very nice photographic blog called "From The Source", not only is the project very interesting, but the black and white pictures are fantastic.
For this first try (not knowing if there will be a second one) I may have made it easier by choosing a white vegetable, a daikon, that was in my weekly vegetable basket. I wanted a change from the traditional cold radish in a salad, and found this recipe with a nice asian touch.

You can check for the color version of the pictures on my flickr photostream.

White Radish Cake (based on this recipe)

Serves 4

1 White Radish, or Daikon (about 400gr once peeled)
125gr Rice Flour
180ml Water
2 Tablespoons of Chive, freshly chopped
4-5 Black Fungus Mushroom, dried
Salt, Pepper
Sunflower Oil

Peel and dice the radish, place in a pan and cover with water, add a bit of salt and cook it on a medium heat for about 40 minutes, or until tender.

In the meantime, mix the flour with the water in order to have some kind of paste. Place the dried black mushrooms in a bowl and cover with hot water to rehydrate for about 10 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 180°C.

Chop the chive and the rehydrated mushrooms quite finely. Check with a knife if the radish is cooked, and if so, drain the water.
Using a hand mixer or a blender, mix the cooked radish to a purée and add the flour and water to it to make it smooth. Now with a spatula, add the chive and mushrooms, season with salt and pepper to your taste.

Oil a rectangle or square oven dish (15x20cm in my case), pour in the radish mixture and cover it with tin foil. Put this in a larger dish and place both in the oven, once in the oven (door still open, obviously) pour some water in the bigger dish in order to cook it with steam.

Cook for about 1h20. Leave it to cool on a rack before placing it in the fridge for at least 2 hours, or even overnight. Invert it on a plate and cut squares.
In a non sticky frying pan, heat up some oil on a medium heat, and cook the radish squares or a few minutes on both sides, until they have a nice golden color. Serve with some sauce (like an egg roll dip sauce).

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