November 24, 2007

Tomato-fennel-beer soup

Getting rid of: fennel, crushed tomato, Estonian beer

So, it is official: in April next year a new baby foodie will be born! That means that I for example don´t drink alcohol anymore, and I am not allowed (sigh) to eat parma ham and cold-smoked salmon and other favourite things. But lucky me, I have lots of other favourites to enjoy while waiting, and some of the Estonian beer we bought a large quantity of this summer before we knew about my pregnancy can be used in, for example, this delicious soup!

Since I stopped working in Stockholm I don´t buy as much food magazines anymore which is very good because of a) my economy and b) I already have loads of magazines to read and re-read. But recently, after a particularly hard day at work, I treated myself to the latest issue of Laga Lätt, a fairly new and very inspiring Swedish food mag. The title is a play with words, the Swedish Lätt means both easy and light - and so are the recipes!
I had all the ingredients on hand and the preparation took just 20 minutes, then I had a warming and a little different tomato soup in a bowl, sitting on the couch in front of the TV...

Tomato and fennel soup
Serves 4

2 yellow onions (personally I think that one is more than enough in all recipes but...)
2 small or 1 large fennel
2 cloves of garlic (also here too much for me but that really is a matter of taste!)
canola or olive oil for frying
400 ml water
2 tbsp concentrated fish or veg stock (I used a cube, crumbled up in the hot soup)
300 ml beer
500 grams crushed tomatoes or passata
1 tsp sugar
salt and pepper

Chop the onion finely, finely slice the fennel. Press the garlic. Fry it all in a little oil until soft and shiny. Add water, stock, beer and tomato and let simmer for 10 minutes. Spice to taste with sugar, salt and pepper. Serve with a dollop of sourcream or creme fraiche, and a couple of sandwiches.

November 14, 2007

Astrid Lindgren 100 years

Off topic today: it is world famous author Astrid Lindgren´s 100th birthday today. Even though she passed away a few years ago she will live forever through all her wonderful books! I have read almost everything and cannot really mention a favourite - maybe Emil, and the Bullerby kids. And Ronja!

Oooh, it is not so off topic after all - today very conviniently also is the day of the cheesecake and I am sure Astrid has had a lot of cheesecake in her life, growing up in the same region as me: Småland.

Happy birthday Astrid!

November 02, 2007

A find in the fridge: Jerusalem artichokes

Getting rid of: Jerusalem artichokes, rice, mushrooms

Not only the cupboards but also the fridge and freezer is in need of emptying. This spring I got five small Jerusalem artichokes with my veg box and since these knobbly little thingys are one of my favourites I wanted to save them for something really special, since I don´t grow them myself anymore and they are rarely seen in the shops in my town. Well, of course I forgot about them and they have spent all summer rattling at the bottom of the fridge.

Last Friday night I wanted to treat my dear man to something extra since it was his birthday the day before and we didn´t have time to really celebrate. I decided to dig deep into our storages and make a variety of
my favourite mushroom sandwiches, only now I used boiled rice instead of bread and served this gratin with some good thin steaks!

On the photo you can see the Jerusalem Artichokes laying peeled and sliced (on my trusted mandoline) on a layer of rice in an ovenproof dish. I had some fresh thyme on hand after the cooking class earlier in the day so I added some stalks and thought it looked so pretty. Then of course when you cover everything with a nice thick mushroom stew it is more taste than looks that matters!
When I make the sandwiches I slice the artichokes thicker and boil them for some minutes but I skipped that this time and it was fine. And I meant to take a photo of my plate before devouring it all but of course forgot all about it. You will have to visaulize the gratin with the mushrooms in brown sauce and a little grated cheese on top, a nice piece of steak browned in butter and spiced with just black pepper and salt, and a pile of organic salad, tomatoes and cucumber from the veggie box tossed in lime juice and olive oil...mmm...