December 05, 2008
So a lot of quick packing and preparing and looking up the best way to get to Denmark with a 8 months old baby - last Sunday we were on our way in the car. We drove to Varberg on the west coast and the baby slept almost the whole time(!) and then after meeting a dear friend and spending the night at a very nice hotel we took the ferry over to Grenå, Jutland, Denmark on Monday morning and then drove down to Aarhus where D and I now is spending our time in best possible ways until daddy comes home from work. Our kitchen is tiny with almost no kitchen utensils and food prices are insane so the most exciting thing I have made the last week is potato soup (I decided after much pondering to buy a bag of onions so I could add one to it - it was really too expensive. I mean. Onions. Yellow onions! And they are so expensive!) Nothing to blog about, in other words!
Now don´t think I am complaining too much, or that I don´t like Denmark because I do! I like the city Aarhus and the nice people and the language (oh yeah, really) and I might even blog occasionally - but well, I am not sure. We go back to Sweden for Christmas and then I hope to get going again.
November 12, 2008
Anyway, on Mondays I am out with the other mums taking a walk with our little ones and when I got back to the house there was a message from Federal Express that they had been there with no luck but they would try again "automatically" three times and also they left a warrant to post on the door that I allowed them to leave the package on the doorstep if I wasn´t at home. So far so good. On Tuesdays we go to a baby singsong thing where the kids have fun and get tired and the mums can have coffee afterwards, very nice. And I got home to - nothing. OK so maybe on Wednesday. No. So I called them, and it turned out that to get that second "automatic" delivery you would have to call them. So this Thursday, finally!!! I got my longed-for package from Bonnie of Kumquat connection who very thoughtfully had put a large box toegther for me, filled with her own favourites. And mine, as it turned out! "Japanese I wrote in the title for this - it wasn´t all Japanese but lots of it. And I happen to looooove Japanese food, and I happen to not buy Japanese things very often because all the shops are in Stockholm and it is quite expensive and you don´t know how to use everything (Thanks to my friend Maiko I know some at least, after a guided tour at JFK, Japan Food and Kitchen a couple of years ago. Ocha-zuke, ocha-zuke!).
- Large bags of Pretzels like I told you, incredibly tasty!
- Box of Bonnie´s favourite crackers, Ak Mak´s - similar to Swedish hardbread and also very nice, my man has already finished most of it
- Bag of candy corn, seasonal this time of year. Bonnie said people tend to love or hate it, she loves it and I do too, this bag exists no more
- Small bar of chocolate with bacon, intriguing! Bonnie said that this probably was the craziest thing in the box but actually I had already heard of it. I am a big fan of chocolate with salt so also this one exists no more
- Jar of grilled bell peppers from Trader Joe´s, looking very tasty. Grilled peppers are a staple also at my house so I really appreciated this! I love to use it for example in a feta cheese spread.
- Udon noodles, which I have wanted to try for a very long time but never got round to, but with Bonnie´s guidance they exist no more. I made a delicious soup on that very evening!
- Noodle soup base with that fantastic Japanese umami taste that makes you want more and more - I hope to find something similar when this bottle is finished
- Japanese chili spice, also for the soup. A little smoky, a little sweet and very hot!
- Rice spice mix with wasabi and seaweed and other things, to sprinkle over rice
- And finally that delicious tea I always drink at sushi restaurants but have not found - it is hard to know which is which at a Japanese shop with no Swedish or English instructions! Bonnie included neat little unfilled teabags, like a small pillowcase to fold in a little of the tea and soak in hot water.
Thank you so much for all this Bonnie - and above all the small tips you gave on how to use everything. Now I feel inspired to use also the soba noodles I have in the cupboard, and I will certainly approach the shelves at JFK next time I am in Stockholm. A special thank you also to Stephanie, who arranged this event and very kindly let me participate although I was one day late...
November 07, 2008
Bingo! Apparently even Swedes made bread puddings back then. I altered the recipe just a little, soaking the raisins in a little rhum inspired by Nigella and replacing kidney suet (something I can say with perfect confidence that I will never ever buy. Eww.) with some butter. We had it with vanilla custard and I knew from the first bite that I will so make this again. Stale Lucia buns would be very nice for this I think! The result was perfect: warm and comforting, soft with crunch on top and a subtle taste from the raisins. A real carbohydrate schock too, I could feel my eylids getting heavier....and heavier...
There you see what can happen when you for once open a cookbook from 1925!
Stale bread, I used about 3-4 rolls
100 ml of milk
about 100 ml raisins soaked in a little rhum for about 10 minutes
25 grams cold butter, diced
3 tbsp sugar
zest from one orange, the original recipe called for candied peel which would be nice
225 ml milk
pinch of nutmeg
Peel off the bread crust with a sharp knife and dice the bread. Soak in a little milk for a couple of minutes (the original recipe recommended 30 minutes and then to stir the bread to a mush - I wanted a little crust and decided to keep it diced!) When the bread has absorbed the milk add in the raisins, sugar, butter. orange peel and nutmeg. Stir carefully and then add in the milk and the egg. Mix again and pour into a dish lined with melted butter and breadcrumbs. Bake in 180C for about 45 minutes and serve with custard.
November 05, 2008
And the last one: "I will not feed my baby food from a jar unless it´s an emergency". Blah. I have changed the resolution to "I will not feed my baby food from a jar if I wouldn´t consider eating it myself" and everyone is happy at the moment. You see, I have found that the jars are sooo fantastic- even when I am not in an emergency. Especially the ones with porridge. Oh I love the porridge you just bring along to cafés and activities. And when you try to find out what the baby likes and not it is so much easier to open a jar of lasagna than making a whole lasagna with no salt and then maybe he doesn´t like it, or is allergic to tomatoes. I have come to terms with the jars, they will be part of our lives. But not the veg ones! Oh no. Not after trying broccoli!
You see, I had heard that babies like broccoli and wanted to try it but thought that maybe I could buy a jar the first time. I opened it, frowned at the terrible smell of it but heated it and stuck a spoonful of it in D´s mouth at which moment he just looked at me with a "You have got to be kidding" look at his face. I tried it and agreed with him. The contents went into the kitchen sink and I made broccoli for him from scratch which he didn´t like either but at least I don´t risk teaching my child that broccoli is brownish and tastes like a fart smells. Look at the picture and try to guess which is which!
September 18, 2008
I really do have enough cookbooks, but recently I treated myself to another one, anyway. Ha!
I got a gift card from someone and really wanted this: Saras kök, Sara´s kitchen, by Sara Begner. She was the chef of the Swedish TV show Toppform some years ago, and then she has had another TV show with the journalist Ann Söderlund about family food. I wasn´t too impressed by them, but her cookbook is nothing but excellent. Tempting recipes, nice photos, nicely written - it inspires me!
A and I have tried several of the recipes and some of them will show up on this blog - first out is this delicious and easy salmon, baked in the oven with three different kinds of onion, wine and my favourite; pink peppercorns. Serve it with just boiled new potatoes or try the root veg mash - although you have to use winter potatoes for that. I like recipes where you can serve each part on its own - the mash would be good with meat, the onions with rice served as a vegetarian dish, and the salmon with a cold sauce perhabs...
Salmon with pink peppercorns and root veggies
600 grams fillet of salmon
1 tbsp pink peppercorns
2 tsp flake salt
1 red onion
1 yellow onion
200 ml white wine
100 ml cream
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sugar
Cut the salmon in four pieces and put them close together in an ovenproof dish. Crush the pink peppercorns and salt to a coarse powder and spread it over the salmon.Cut the leek in slices, the red onion in wedges and the yellow in rings (or as you wish). Mix it all and spread it around the fish.Pour wine, cream (use any fat content you are comfortable with, I used some cooking cream) and olive oil over the onion and sprinkle over the sugar. Bake in 175C for 20 minutes.
Root veg mash
800 grams potatoes
200 grams parsnips
200 grams celeriac
1 cube veggie stock
juice and finely grated zest from one lemon
1 tbsp olive oil
pinch of white pepper
1 "bunch" of dill - hmm. Maybe a good handful is enough? Parsley is good too
Peel and cut all the root veggies in pieces and boil them until soft, about 15 minutes. Drain.Melt the stock cube in 100 ml boiling water, pour in lemon juice, lemon zest and olive oil. Spice to taste with white pepper. Pour it over the soft root veg and mash it up coarsely.Chop the dill and stir it into the mash. Serve with salmon and enjoy.
August 12, 2008
Anyway. One of my current favourites on my cookbook shelf (ahem, shelves more like) is Tillsammansmat, a great book published in close cooperation with the Swedish church. Tillsammans means together, and the book is meant as an inspiration for all who wants to take back the opportunity to meet around the table, share a meal together - instead of just watching TV and running around not caring for each other. A nice thought, I think!
I didn´t take a photo of this soup from the book but I recommend you all to try it anyway, it is well worth it! Very tasty, very easy to make and with ingredients you probably keep in the house most of the time (at least I like to have a tin or two of coconut milk at home). The recipe in the book is for 10 people so I have cut down on it, plus I don´t use more than one tin (usually about 200 ml) of coconut milk, for me it is enough. The recipe calls for 1500 ml for 10...
Carrot coconut soup
2 large yellow onions
about 12-15 carrots
500 ml water
1 regular tin of coconut milk
2-3 cubes of vegetable stock
salt and pepper
Peel and chop carrots and onions. Fry it until a little soft in a big pot and pour over boiling water, coconut milk and the stock. Boil until soft, it doesn´t take long, and then wizz it with a mixer or in a blender or something. Spice to taste with salt and pepper and garnish with some parsley.
August 06, 2008
about 2000 ml water
2 tsp salt
5 whole white peppercorns
3 whole cloves
1 carrot in large pieces
500 ml stock from the chicken
100 ml cream (or milk)
3 tbsp flour or 4 tbsp corn starch
100 ml fresh or frozen dill, finely chopped
1-2 tbsp vinegar or lemon juice
salt and pepper
Serve with boiled potatoes and some salad.
July 21, 2008
Estonia is really special to me although I don´t have any family history there as A does. I like the nature, the sea, the beaches, the people, the food... And yes - I had the great pleasure of meeting Pille too!
July 11, 2008
Summer is here!
P.S. Can you find the kitten?
May 27, 2008
50 ml cold water
1 tsp salt
100 ml graham flour, this is a wholemeal wheat flour
540 grams strong bread flour, "Vetemjöl special"
2. Add the rest of the water, salt, graham flour and the wheat and work the dough for a couple of minutes. It is supposed to be sticky: nothing to worry about!
3. Cover with cling film and put in the fridge over night
4. Warm the oven to 225 fan oven or 250 "ordinary" oven. Spoon out the dough on a baking sheet: 10 sticky lumps the size of tennis balls. Bake for 20 minutes in the middle of the oven. Let them cool on a rack.
March 05, 2008
500 ml water and 50 ml sugar
1/2 vanilla pod
about 2 tbsp fresh, peeled, chopped ginger (I think I used a little more)
a 5 cm piece of a cinnamon stick
0.5 grams of saffron, ground with a sugar lump in a mortar
(Then I get confused because the recipe mentions 1/3 lemon in slices but not where to put it! I just skipped it and it was fine)
Put the pears close together in a skillet and pour over the syrup carefully. Add the ginger and cinnamon and let it simmer on very low heat, under a lid, for 20-25 minutes. You may want to turn them over once or twice but be careful! Put the saffron in the last 10 minutes. When the pears are all soft, but not more, let them cool in the syrup. The day after they will have a much more intense yellow colour!
February 21, 2008
400 ml water
a bunch of sugar snaps, trimmed
some fresh green asparagus
100 ml chopped fresh basil
50 ml chopped flat-leaf parsley
3 spring onions, chopped
100 ml of toasted cashew nuts
Juice from half a lemon
salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
100 ml olive oil
50 ml apple cider vinegar
1 pressed garlic clove
2 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp sugar
salt and pepper
Mix everything for the dressing.
Mix the wheat, veggies, nuts and herbs and arrange in a nice bowl or on a platter. Pour over some dressing and serve the rest on the side. Some olives never go wrong!
January 14, 2008
This is, seriously, one of the best meals I made 2007! Nigella Lawson´s Feast is a book I leaf through at least every other week, just to enjoy her excellent writing and compensate myself during hard times for not having time to cook or having parties.
When I came home in late November after a particularly hard day at work I reminded myself that I a) had two large aubergines lying about in the fridge from the veggie box b) should grab the opportunity to make something proper even on a Tuesday. Involtini is maybe not the thing you should attack under these circumstances, but the name kept floating up in my brain all the way home and since I had most of the ingredients I simply jumped to the task. Nigella´s recipes are never scary - that helped! But do make sure you have a sandwich or some nibbles on hand before you start off - this will take you at least an hour! Count in that when you are finished and the involtini has cooled enough to eat you will remember nothing from your hard day at work, it is all obscured behind a joyful time of cooking!
Here is Nigella´s recipe (for those of you who has not yet got the book) with my own tweaks and changes
2-3 large aubergines cut lengthwise in thin slices
1500 grams tomato passata (I used less, see below)
200 grams mozzarella (I used leftover filling)
100 grams crumbled feta cheese
100 grams mozzarella
25 grams grated parmesan (I didn´t have any mozzarella in the house so instead I scraped together 225 grams of other mixed cheeses; feta cheese, another excellent salad cheese from Jarseost, and parmesan)
75 grams pine nuts (I used chopped walnuts or almonds if I remember correctly)
50 grams raisins, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes
4 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp breadcrumbs
1 garlic clove, crushed or finely chopped
zest from 1 lemon
a good pinch of dried mint
2 tpsb parsley
Brush the aubergine slices on both sides with olive oil and grill them until soft and nicely patterned, I used my beloved cast iron grill pan for this. Put aside and let it cool.
Mix everything for the filling in a bowl, yes, raisins too. I was soo sceptical to these raisins! I am not a huge fan of Fruit in Food you see, and warm raisins are...yeurgh... But I decided to stick to the recipe the best I could and go with the raisins which really was t-a-s-t-y, surprise surprise. In the meantime I decided to make a cooked tomato sauce instead of just using passata, because I had so many odd aubergine slices and some old onions and whatnot in the fridge. I simply chopped it all up, sautéed in olive oil, poured in a packet of passata and let it boil with some dried thyme, salt, pepper and a pinch of sugar while I made the involtini. Put about a tablespoon of filling on each aubergine slice and roll it up firmly. Put in an ovenproof dish. When all the slices was gone I put the rest of the cheese filling in the tomato sauce and poured it over the involtini, and then baked in 190C oven for 25-30 minutes. The involtini should be served lukewarm according to Nigella, or cold - all but boiling hot from the oven! That way you will be able to really taste everything in these marvellous little rolls.
January 09, 2008
January 06, 2008
1. I will make my own pasta
2. I will take a class in how to handle and cook fresh fish
3. I will make sausages from scratch (that will have to wait until Christmas)
4. I will make sourdough bread
5. I will make wine leaf dolmadas
6. I will make pear preserves with ginger and lingonberries this autumn
7. (new) I will not feed my baby food from a jar unless it is an emergency
And I have made other things this year, really! I have further explored Lithuanian and Estonian cuisine, I have ordered veggie boxes, I made my own red cabbage for Christmas for the first time, I have become a cooking teacher... And above all I lost my job, got a new one, became pregnant and bought a house and moved. Christ, 2007 has been busy! Not sausage-making, though.