There is no denying that one has to learn quickly in Blog World! In a matter of two weeks I have gone from looking extremely perplexed and thinking, "Huh?" when hearing the term "MEME", to winking ever-so-smugly and thinking, "MEME? No problemo!"

This time, Rosa of Rosa’s Yummy Yums has tagged me for the "Cooking Challenges of 2006" MEME. (If you haven’t visited Rosa’s blog yet, do so immediately!).

Dear Readers … I present the five challenges that I am issuing to myself for 2006:

  1. Puff pastry. I have absolutely no problem admitting that my very first crush was puff pastry. Yes, that’s right, I fell in love with dough. You have a problem with that? I’ll never forget the day I fell in love either. It was a Sunday. And I watched, transfixed, as a pastry chef took an enormous block of butter and pounded it into a neat rectangle. Then he enveloped the rectangle in dough. And that beautiful package was turned into the most glorious sheet of silky, butter-flecked pastry … puff pastry. I remember thinking that if I could, I would wrap myself in it. I want to learn how to make puff pastry from scratch. Good puff pastry. And then I want to use that puff pastry to make the most glorious pastries. Challenge #1 … accepted!
  2. Fresh pasta. My mother is a pasta master. Her fresh pasta is incredible … and she can make it with her eyes closed. When I was a little girl, she would always give me a little piece that I would play with, pretending to make long fettuccine strands or thin sheets of pasta for lasagna. While I have learned to make a great many things from my mother, I have stopped short at pasta. I will admit that it intimidates me. Well no more! Every master needs an apprentice, so this year I shall endeavour to learn from the pasta maestro:  my mom. Challenge #2 … accepted!
  3. Bread. My father used to say that a meal could not begin until two items had been put on the table: wine and bread. Very few aromas excite me as much as freshly-baked bread. I want to smell freshly-baked bread more often. And the only way that will happen is if I start mixing water and yeast and flour. Challenge #3 … accepted!
  4. Pavlova. 2006 is the year that I make pavlova. Bank on it! Challenge #4 … accepted!
  5. Marcella Hazan. For several years now, I have read Hazan’s cookbooks like they were novels. Her book The Essentials of Italian Cooking, in particular, has comforted, inspired me and amused me. If a kitchen could speak, I imagine that it would speak with Hazan’s voice … strong, practical and wise. And yet after all these years, I have only ever tried two of her recipes. Two recipes! Well that is going to change. This will be the year that I delve into Hazan’s cookbooks and embrace them. Challenge #5 … accepted!

Now that I have challenged myself to overcome my cooking obstacles, it’s your turn. I am tagging the following 5 people:  Sara, Cindy, Easily Pleased, Lisa and Dreska.