Thursday, March 03, 2011

Easy and tasty

One slice of Bread
A half avokado, mashed
Salt and pepper
One slice of red pepper
One slice of ham
One slice of tomato
Sprouts on top

...et voilà!

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

A bun in the oven and two pannacottas in the fridge

These past few months have been the most exciting of my life. My husband and I found out that we are having a baby in the end of June, and we couldn't be any happier! Due to some pregnancy symptoms, I banned myself from the kitchen for a few months. But now I'm back, ready to take on the monthly Daring Bakers and Daring Cooks Challenges! I'm so excited!

As a treat for you readers, I am giving you a to-die-for recipe for white chocolate panna cotta, that I made for my hubby on Valentine's Day. Enjoy!


White Chocolate Panna Cotta
(fills six moulds)

180gms white chocolate
600mls full cream
4 Tbs caster sugar
1 vanilla pod, scraped of its seeds
3 tsp / 10gms powdered gelatin
1/3 cup of boiling water


Preparation:

Into a heavy based saucepan place the white chocolate, cream, sugar and vanilla seeds.

Bring to a gentle simmer, stirring constantly to ensure the mixture is smooth and does not begin to catch on the base of the pot. Remove from the heat and allow to sit for a couple of minutes to give the flavours time to get to know each other a little better.

Sprinkle the gelatin over the boiling water and wait a few minutes for the granules to dissolve.
Pour the gelatin liquid into the cream mixture and stir through to combine.

Strain the mixture through a fine sieve to remove any potential lumps, and then divide the mixture between the 6 moulds.

Lightly cover the moulds with cling film and allow to set in the refrigerator for a minimum of 4 hours or overnight if need be.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Swedish Royal Wedding

Yesterday the crown princess of Sweden, Victoria, finally got her prince! We watched the wedding live over the Internet, and celebrated with a traditional Swedish breakfast and these princess cupcakes.

Best moist Chocolate Cupcakes

3/4 cup butter
1 cup soft dark brown sugar
1/2 cup caster sugar
3 eggs
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 tbs instant espresso powder
1 1/2 cup milk
2 tsp vanilla extract


Directions:

1. Preheat to 374 degrees.
2. Beat butter till soft, smooth, creamy and pale. Add sugar and beat till creamy. Beat in eggs one at a time.
3. Whisk flour, baking soda, salt, cocoa and coffee granules together.
4. Mix the vanilla and milk together in a small bowl or pouring jug. Add a third of the dry ingredients into batter, mix well. Add half of the liquid, beat well. Alternate till you end with the dry ingredients.
5. Line muffin tray with liners. Fill cups 2/3 full.
6. Reduce oven heat to 347 degrees. Bake 25-30min. Let cool completely before icing.


Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz. Cream cheese
3/4 cups unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla exract
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
a pinch of salt

Directions:

1. Cream the cream cheese and butter together.
2. Add the vanilla extract and a pinch of salt.
3. Take 1 cup of powdered sugar and mix together with the cream cheese blend. Continue to add powdered sugar until you get the concistency you want.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A taste of Swedish summer

Herring (bought at IKEA), potatoes, greens, sourcream and chives.

Swedish Midsummer is coming up this weekend! That means traditional dancing around a flower covered maypole - and eating herring. As a kid I would shrug just by looking at the silky, raw-looking piece of fish, but as the years passed I learned to appreciate it, and now, I have come to love it.

Now, you might wonder how I found the courage to even try it. My wonderful mom would actually give us kids 100 kronor (about $7) each if we ate a whole piece of herring. So when my big sister did it, I just had to do it! Unfortunately, no one's paying me anymore. Instead, I'm enjoying this Swedish delicacy.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Skagenröra

Skagenröra is a creamy composition of shrimps, mayonnaise, red onion and dill. I know what you're thinking, but don't let the few ingredients fool you - it's fantastic. Although it's simple, this Swedish speciality is one of the most common starters in Sweden, and is often used in wedding menus.

The best way to enjoy Skagenröra, is to put some on a toast, garnish with vegetables and squeeze some fresh lemon juice on top of it. Absolutely delicious!


Skagenröra

2 cups peeled shrimps
2 cups mayonnaise
2 cups red union
1 cup finely chopped dill
White pepper to taste

Directions:

Chop shrimps (optional), red union and dill. Mix with mayonnaise and add white pepper after taste. Enjoy on toast with vegetables.


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Stacked Green Chile & Grilled Chicken Enchiladas

Our hosts this month, Barbara of Barbara Bakes and Bunnee of Anna+Food have chosen a delicious Stacked Green Chile & Grilled Chicken Enchilada recipe in celebration of Cinco de Mayo! The recipe, featuring a homemade enchilada sauce was found on www.finecooking.com and written by Robb Walsh.



Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Traditional British Pudding


The April 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Esther of The Lilac Kitchen. She challenged everyone to make a traditional British pudding using, if possible, a very traditional British ingredient: suet.

I decided to skip the suet (kind of raw fat) ingredient, and instead go for a sweet sponge pudding recipe. After all, it's a Bakers Challenge! I added lemon zest and blueberries to the basic recipe, and it turned out to be a very moist and flavorful sponge cake. I can't wait to try other variations!

Now, I have made a few sponge cakes in my life, but never have I steamed it on the stove. It was both fun and easy to make. Well, almost. The preparation had a few trials - let's just say it was hard to find a string strong enough to use as a handle on a glass bowl without a rim. Luckily, the hubby found some new shoestrings lying around that we ended up using! We have a Swedish saying that goes "Man tager vad man haver" ("You take what you've got"). So true!

Steamed Jam Sponge Pudding
base recipe from GreatBritishPuddings, Serves: 6 - 8

Ingredients

3 Tablespoons of Blueberry Jam
1/2 cup blueberries
zest from 2 lemons
175g Self-Raising Flour
1 Rounded Teaspoon of Baking Powder
175g Softened Butter
3 Large Eggs
175g Caster Sugar


Method:

A 1.2 litre basin well buttered, some foil, greaseproof paper, string and a steamer or large pan.

After buttering the basin add 3 tablespoons of Blueberry Jam and some blueberries to the bottom. In a large mixing bowl sift the flour and baking powder into it. Add the softened butter, sugar, eggs and lemon zest. Whisk together with an electric hand whisk for around 2 minutes until it is well mixed. Spoon the mixture into the basin and smooth the top out with a large spoon.

Lay some greaseproof paper onto the work surface and the same size of foil on top of it. Be careful to ensure that you have it large enough to cover the top of the basin with extra to wrap around the sides. Form a pleat in both the paper and the foil together and place over the top of the basin with the foil uppermost. Carefully smooth the foil and paper down around the basin and tie in place with some string. Form a "handle" of string over the top of the basin to enable you to lift the basin in and out of the steamer.

Steam the pudding for 2 hours making sure to check the water level every 30 minutes to ensure that it doesn't boil dry.

Serve with vanilla sauce.

Plain Jane...


...or pure deliciousness.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Virginian Brunswick Stew


2010 April Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Wolf of Wolf’s Den. She chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make Brunswick Stew. Wolf chose recipes for her challenge from The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook by Matt Lee and Ted Lee, and from the Callaway, Virginia Ruritan Club.

Brunswick Stew recipe
from the Callaway, Va Ruritan Club, served yearly at the Blue Ridge Folklife Festival in Ferrum, Va.

Serves about 10

2 ½ lb TOTAL diced stewed chicken, turkey, and ham, with broth - yes, all three meats
3 medium diced potatoes
2 medium ripe crushed tomatoes
2 medium diced onions
3 cups/ 689.76 grams / 24.228oz frozen corn
1 ½ cups / 344.88 grams / 12.114oz frozen lima beans
4-5 strips crumbled bacon
½ stick / 4 tablespoons / ¼ cup / 56.94 grams / 2oz of butter
1 Tablespoon / 14.235 grams / .5 oz sugar
1 Tablespoon / 14.235 grams / .5 oz ‘Poultry Seasoning’
Dash of red pepper
2 diced carrots (optional)
Tomato juice

In large stock pot or Dutch Oven, mix all ingredients, heat until bubbly and hot. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add tomato juice as desired. Cook until all vegetables are tender. Serve hot.

Update! It was really delicious, and tasted even better the next day!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Chocolate Cheesecake...again.

Once again I made this chocolate cheesecake, this time for a 40th birthday party. It has become one of my favorite cheesecake recipes, and it never fails! As decoration I used white chocolate, raspberries and cream cheese frosting. Enjoy!







Friday, March 12, 2010

Love at first bite

The 2010 March Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Eleanor of MelbournefoodGeek and Jess of Jessthebaker. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make risotto. The various components of their challenge recipe are based on input from the Australian Masterchef cookbook and the cookbook Moorish by Greg Malouf.

Having skipped last month's challenges, I felt like it was time to get back in the saddle! There has been a lot going on with work, and I also made a visit to Sweden. So, even though I love me some Tiramisú (February's Daring Baker's Challenge) and meze (February's Daring Cooks Challenge), I decided to make them some other time.

Anyway, I was really excited about this challenge! I must say, shockingly enough, that I had never had risotto before. It was so good! Learning the versatility of it and how easily it is made, along with the high deliciousness factor, I'll will definitely make it again.

Preparation time:

Stock: 20 minutes prep time, 3 hours cooking.
Lemon Risotto: 10 minutes prep time, 20-30 minutes cooking.


Chicken Stock

Ingredients:

1 large chicken 2-3 pounds about 1 kg
chicken bones 2-3 pounds 1 kg
2 onions, roughly diced
1 medium leek - white part only, roughly diced
2 sticks celery, roughly diced
2 cloves garlic, halved
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp. white peppercorns ( Any type of whole peppercorn will do)
2 bay leaves (fresh or dried, it doesn't matter.)
peel of 1/2 lemon
1/4 tsp. allspice

Directions:

  1. Wash the chicken and bones and places in a 5 Litre pot, cover completely with water and bring to a boil
  2. Skim away any scum as it comes to the surface
  3. Add the vegetables and bring back to a boil
  4. Add the rest remaining ingredients and simmer very gently, uncovered for 1.5 hours
  5. Carefully lift out the chicken, set aside. The chicken meat can be removed from the chicken, shredded off and used for other things like soup!
  6. Simmer the stock gently for another hour. At , at the end you should have around 2 Liters
  7. Carefully ladle the liquid into a fine sieve, the less the bones and vegetables are disturbed in this process the clearer the stock will be. 
The stock is now ready for use. Freeze what you don't need for later use.


Risotto Base

Ingredients:

olive oil 2 fluid oz 60 ml
1 small onion, quatered
rice 14 oz 400g
Any type of risotto rice will do. I use Arborio but the recipe itself says Vialone Nano. Another to look for is Carnaroli.
white wine 2 fl oz 60 ml
chicken or vegetable stock , simmering 2 pints 1 L

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a pan and add onion. Fry for a few minutes to flavour the oil then discard. (We diced ours and left it in as we like onion).
  2. Add the rice and stir for a few minutes to coat each grain of rice with oil and toast slightly.
  3. Add the wine and let it bubble away until evaporated.
  4. Add enough stock to cover the rice by a finger’s width (about an inch or two). Don't actually stick your finger in, it will be hot. Just eye it off.
  5. Cook on medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon from time to time, until most of the stock has been absorbed.
  6. Repeat Step 5 making sure to leave aside approximately 100 ml. of stock for the final step. .
  7. Repeat, save 100ml for the final stage.
  8. Once you are at this point, the base is made. You now get to add your own variation.
I used zest from one lemon, mushrooms, chives, parmesan and a few tablespoons unsalted butter cut into small cubes. It turned out delicious! My husband cooked some steaks (to perfection!). It went wonderful together with the risotto.


Bon apetit!