Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Take-out's a good - and beautiful! - thing from time to time...

Oh my camera does this no justice!

We don't do this often (who am I kidding? I need my fix at least once a month!) but I loves me some sushi! I once worked at a sushi restaurant and am now in the sad situation of being able to eat ridicolous amounts of this fine food in one sitting. I've never tried doing it myself - seeing the chefs at the restaurant, and the pride they took in getting every rice just right (I am NOT kidding you here - Anthony Bourdain, eat your heart out!;-)) kind of made me feel I would never be able to do it anyways. And I guess there are some things here in life that you should just leave for others to do. No, not just the cleaning and the vacuuming, but the good things in life, that you get to eat, too...

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Jerusalem Artichoke Soup

I hope you know what a jerusalem artichoke is - otherwise you have to find out! It's the nicest little tuber, sometimes very nubbly (imagine the worst root of ginger and you peeling it!), sometimes pretty potato-like in the peeling - easy, smooth sailing. If you're really lucky, you might even get away with just scrubbing them. The taste is delicate, slightly nutty and I find it to go really well with cream and smoky stuff, like bacon.

Now, I would have included a picture of the unadultered with choke, but it seems it also has, well... certain fallos-look-alike qualities and I just couldn't convince myself that was appropriate on an otherwise decent blog!

What I usually make is a soup - very basic, just cut them up in chunks (the smaller you dice, the shorter the time it'll have to cook)

A couple of chopped shallots, a clove of garlic for good measure, but no more than a clove, it will overpower the delicateness of the choke. Sweat that of in a bit of olive oil or butter, add the chopped jerusalem artichoke and just leave it to soften on a medium-high heat. When you've got no more patience, cover with stock (yes, of course, ideally your very own, home-made from scratch - but BAH! This is no Utopia and I more than often get by with those liquid chicken stock-thingys) Leave to simmer until everything's softened - sorta like when you cook potatoes for a mash. Blend, and would you look at this?

Adjust the liquid (easier to add at this point than trying to get out the amount you added extra when simmering, ain't it?) until the soup has a consistency you like. Salt, pepper - ahh!

I like to serve it up the rustica way, as above, with croutons, creme fraiche, lot's of freshly ground black pepper - bacon for those who like it, maybe a sprinkling of chives or parsley...

Or, if you liked, you could serve it the artsy-fartsy way, as we did for my Dad and Stepmom's Bridgeclub back in November:

Jerusalem Artichoke Soup; Bruschetta with roast scallops and speck, chive oil

Svenske chokoladebrød

Just goes to show - as soon as I started complaining about my blogging incompatibility here, I eyed an opportunity to spend a bit more time putting together a post - so here goes:

As I've already revealed a couple of weeks ago, my stepmom, C, and I embarked upon a Christmas Cookie extravaganza and did a truck-full of cookies. I wish we had, anyways - although it seemed like a lot at the time, my part of the pile is already gone... We didn't want it to go stale now, would we??

This is one of the cookies we made, Svensk Chokoladebrød, or to put it in a language we all (almost!) understand, Swedish Chocolatebread. My sister's favorite when we we're young, and dead easy to make too! I really love the sugar on top and the slightly cakey-chewy center...

Svenske Chokoladebrød - recipe from Karolines Køkken, p. 61
300 g. flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
200 g. sugar (vanilla-infused if you have)
2 tablespoons cocoa
200 g. cold butter
1 egg

egg-white for brushing
granulated sugar (I'm not sure that's what it's called, here in Denmark it's perlesukker - have a look at the pictures, it's got to be rather large grains...)

Preheat the oven to 175 C.
Mix all of the dry ingredients in a bowl. Dice the butter and rub it into the dry ingredients, as you would for a short-crust pastry. Add the egg, little by little, until you have a dough that looks like this:

Roll out the dough (I usually just make little sausages, then press them flat until abut 1 cm. thick), brush with the egg white and sprinkle (lots and lots!) of sugar on top - you could add sprinkled almonds to the topping, but I think it interferes with the simplicity of the cookie (and we just never did that - don't mess with tradition, you know?)

Bake in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes. Let stand for 1-2 minutes, then cut the "logs" on the diagonal, as you would a biscotti. Leave to cool, then EAT!

The recipe says it makes about 125 (!) - NOT SO! I'd say around 60, but then again, I'd rather have them a bit on the big side...

Monday, December 20, 2004

Warming up for winter...

I'm not being lazy here. Well, I guess you could say that blog-wise, I sure am. But. There's a lot of reading for an exam coming up on and I'm afraid this baby here is the easiest to neglect, although I'm having severe withdrawel symptoms...

Hopefully I'll find the time to post about all of the cookies I did for this Christmas, but if not, here's a:


Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Sugar High Friday # 4!

Someone told me Seattle Bon Vivant is hosting the next Sugar High Friday... Keep an eye on her...

Saturday, December 11, 2004

SHF # 3: Spice up your Winter! Round-up

It was the year 1317 and I was travelling with Marco Polo along the Silk Road. On our way, we passed the most amazing cities, small ones, large ones, but they all had something in common. There was always, ALWAYS a bazar to be found. Vegetables, dried meats, live animals, clothes, spices - ah, the spices. The scent went to your head, almost making our entire company dizzy.

I remember one bazar particularly well - actually, my memory serves me badly, for I cannot remember in what town we were, or even have a remote idea whereabout in the town I would ever find it, should I be so lucky as to stumble upon the city again. The bazar was one of the liveliest and loudest I've ever seen, with vendours everywhere, offering golden jewellery and wowen cloth. All of a sudden, I found myself lost in the maze of stalls, and could see nothing but sand, high walls and brightly colored scarfs all over. When I finally thought I got my bearings, everything was quiet. It seemed I had found my way down a small alley, without even knowing, being drawn there by the loveliest scent...

As I came closer, I realized I had found a hidden treasure. Everywhere around me I saw happy women with the most amazing stuff piled up on their small tables, and the scent - ah, the scent - allspice, nutmeg, cardamom, mixed with cinnamon, almonds, oranges, pistachios.... I was amazed and impressed with the diversity displayed.

I went to the first stall, where stood a beautiful woman that greeted me with a smile - she seemed to be the one responsible for arranging all the women here. Her name was Jennifer and she called her stall The Domestic Goddess. On display she had an amazingly looking Christmas Spice Cake - the scent had my head spinning...

The next woman in line, Jeanne was her name - had on what she called her World on a plate served up Pear Nutmeg Scones with a homemade clotted cream. I took a long, longing look as I passed by...

"Would you like to try a bite of my Spiced Angel Food Cake?" It was the prettiest little creation, with a spiced filling, presented by Nicole. As she stood there with her Baking Sheet, tempting me, it was hard to resist - but I had to see what else was going on in the secret alley...

I passed Christine, who was calling out "I like to do stuff!" From her small fire wafted the pretty air of Cardamom and Nutmeg infused Rice Pudding with Sugared Pistachios. I saw other people buying her pudding, and it was served in the loveliest way, in a tall cocktail glass.

Next up I noticed the glistering jewel-like-ness of a tower of Cardamom Rose Turkish Delight. Sam, the woman offering them said she almost always closed her stall, Becks & Posh early, because everyone loved them so much, she sold out in no time - only her husband thought them too weird...

The next three stalls were boasting cookies, but what cookies! The first stall, Culinary Epiphanies had Kelli behind the counter. Her Ghoraiybah smelled beautifully of cardamom and I liked the little almond-adorned ring-cookie.

Kardemommmekager, Kardemommmekager! Viv offered from Seattle Bon Vivant - and kindly explained to me that they originally were of Danish origin, just like myself. But she'd dappled them around to make something entirely her own, and they looked gorgeous, nice and chewy.

Big mugfuls of hot beverages and fine glasses of sweet wine were offered along with Elise of Simply Recipes' Ginger Almond Biscotti They were made with ginger from her own garden, as well as allspice and nutmeg and looked good and crunchy. I thought about taking some with me for our travelling, but someone was faster than me...

As I walked on, I saw a big sign on a tent, saying Esurientes - The Comfort Zone. I went in, and in the cool temperature inside sat Niki with a couple of tall glasses filled with Orange Jelly with Lemon and Cardamom. It had a thin layer of cream on top, and the cooling jelly looked like what everyone would need here in the desert heat.

Back in the sunlight, I was blinded and could hardly see anything. When I had adapted, I found myself in front of My Adventures in the Breadbox. Alice sold thick slices of Cardamom Banana Bread with Pistachios, the banana and cardamom smell blending in a way I had never imagined possible.

I managed to tear myself away from the bread just to see a couple of twins grab the last of Annalyn's Banana Pistachio Crunch. She told me I could always stop by her stall, Ajay's writings on the wall and she'd get me a copy of the recipe for the next day. I promised to come back, it sounded so easy to do...

The heat from the sun started getting to me - but then I realized it wasn't the sun, but a large communal oven hidden in a small shop, from where the heat emanated. The shop was called Words to Eat By and Debbie who was adjusting the oven, was pulling out a great-looking batch of Pumpkin Bread Pudding. The smell filled the room and had people stopping outside to smack their tongues in delight - Debbie had a repetoire of things she did, and the Pumpkin Bread Pudding was a definete favorite amongst everyone, someone told me.

Just outside the shop was a small fireplace with a curiously looking pot. I went to ask the woman, who's name was Carolyn, what is was? She kindly explained, that in the 18thC cuisine, a Charlotte Mold was used for doing things like Steamed Apple Pudding with Cardamom, Allspice and Nutmeg. I was lucky, and she offered me a piece of the just finished pudding, with a big glob of sabayon on top - it was divine. I went on, munching on my cake, thinking 18th century? That's a weird calender they have here...

From the back again, came the sweet scent of cardamom and apricots. I had to go and see where it came from, and standing on my toes, peaked through a window. A woman smiled out to me, saying: "Welcome to My Little Kitchen" Her name was Cathy and she was putting together a batch of Auntie Bee's Apricot Cardamom Muffins, a recipe that her favorite aunt had tought her. As I was getting up to leave, she adorned them with a cinnamon glace - they looked fingerlickingly good.

It had started to go a bit dark. Men started appearing, some of them turning to a stall named Where's my dinner? I think it might have to do with the homemade liquer that Anne had for sale - it did look divine, bright, red strawberries combined with cardamom and steeped in vodka. As if that wasn't enough, she also had a Cardamom-Cinnamon-Walnut Cheesecake on display - the people were eager to get at it, so she hadn't even tried the two things herself. Yet. She promised me she would.

I looked around and found the streets lit by nothing but the small stall-lights and the white teeth of all the women smiling. How lucky was I to have seen all of these 16 women's creations? I had to find my travelling companions and take them here, this they couldn't miss out on. On finding my way back to our camp, I stuck my hands in my pocket and found a small paper bag - it had to small tart-like Cardamom Cakes in it. I had no idea were they came from, but bit into one happily and stopped to look back at the street where I had spent the entire day. I couldn't see it anymore. All I had left was the memory and a small cake...

Thank you for participating in yet another Sugar High Friday ladies!

Friday, December 10, 2004

Sugar High Friday # 3: Spice up your Winter! - Cardamom Cakes

I'm cheating tonight. Which is really embarrasing, considering I'm actually hosting this time around. But. You all know how it is - I hope?!? - all of a sudden your life just goes tremendously busy, and there's nothing you can do, but go with the flow.

I found myself enrolled in some catering for my brother-in-law's Christmas party - school acted crazy - and to top things off, there was a Christmas party for my old class mates from med school -OY! - and well, excuses excuses! My very well planned Sugar High Friday started coming apart.

But you see, my plan was GOOD. I actually did my assignment in due time - only.. ahem. I haven't had the time to post about it until now, which is 5 am GMT +1. But then I figured - hey! I haven't slept yet, so it's kinda still Friday - and it's almost certainly still Friday somewhere in the Pacific - I can still do this and then just "back-date" my post. He! But I AM sorry 'bout the minor cheating-thing...

Anywho. On to the subject matter, which has definetly and absolutely NOTHING to do with time - deadlines, restraint or the likes. No what this is about is this: SUGAR HIGH FRIDAY as invented by soon-to-be-married Jennifer at Domestic Goddess!

A while ago, I was inspired by the ever enchanting Clotilde to buy these little thingys:

After announcing the theme, I decided my weapon of choice, besides the small, individual tart cases would be

Yup, cardamom. I have a thing for it at the moment, there's something about that slightly musky and - to me - very homey scent.
I went browsing through my books and in one of my favorite Danish dessert books, Camilla Plums: Sødt, I stumbled upon the very straightforward but yummy sounding Cardamom cake. It also listed another favorite, marzipan, as an ingredient - I had to do these!

Shortcrust pastry
250 g. flour
170 g. butter
75 g. icing sugar/confectioner's sugar
1 egg

In a food processor, pulse together the flour, butter and icing sugar

- until it resembles coarse crumbs. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, and add the egg, making a dough out of it. Slightly flatten the dough and leave it to rest in the fridge for about an hour (or longer if that fits your schedule better!)

When ready to use, roll out the dough, about 2 mm thick, and line your tart case of choice with it.

2 dl. cream
15 cardamom pods
300 g. marzipan
100 g. sugar
1 egg
juice from 1 lemon
zest of ½ a lemon

Lightly crush the cardamom pods, and put them in a saucepan with the cream. Slowly bring to the boil, letting the cream infuse for about 20 minutes. Leave to cool - it will go quite thick.

In a food processor, pulse together the marzipan, sugar, egg, lemon juice and zest

- strain the infused cream into the marzipan mixture and pulse again, until incorporated.

Fill your tart cases with the cardamom-flavored marzipan mixture.

Bake (for small tart cases about 15 minutes, larger ones more like 30) in a 175 C hot oven. And do enjoy the scent as they come out of the oven...

Now I have to say, they're really nice - subtly scented and sweet, with a slight kick from the lemon. And all, though I can hardly say it's obligatory for one to enjoy them, what makes them even better is eating one, blogging and being a wee bit tipsy in the early morning hours of December - ... ;-)

Thursday, December 9, 2004


...tomorrow is SUGAR HIGH FRIDAY, hosted by none other than - myself :-)! Send me your links on zarahjordahn@hotmail.com or zarahjordahn@gmail.com - I can't WAIT to see your entries!

Monday, December 6, 2004

To come...

I swear, it was a cookie EXTRAVAGANZA! And you'll know all about it soon...

Sunday, November 28, 2004

A Christmas present for someone...

In real life, I'm not at all well-planned with regards to Christmas presents. I usually buy my last Christmas presents on the 23rd - and the first somewhere around the 22nd. But this one was going places, so I had to get it done early. And today, I send it out into the world... Well, you know, I didn't just put it in the mail box, it does have a reciever in the other end - but it's actually a woman I have never met. That is, I sorta met her, I know her from - yes you've guessed it - the internet! My friends at Nigella's Kitchen organized a Christmas Gift Exchange in which I participated. The people at Nigella's are from all over the world, so I'm really looking forward to see where my present will be coming from...

And I just wanted you all to take a minute and think about all the nice people out there, that, if it weren't for this weird, virtual space, you would have never gotten to know. Gotten to know might not be the right words, but I think you know what I mean - I'm pretty sure my life is richer, and I'm wiser from it and you. Yes, I AM a big sap now, and yes, you do take up WAAAY too much of my time - but boy, I do enjoy it!

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Banana CHOCOLATE muffins

So I was contemplating making yet another recipe from Baking by Flavor (WOULD YOU BUY THE BOOK ALREADY ANGELA??!!? Heh ;-)!) because I love how Lisa Yockelson accents her chosen ingredient with spices - and take a look at the theme for this edition of Sugar High Friday - and I kinda had to keep in spirit.

But. When a man wants chocolate, he's gotta have chocolate. Luckily, Yockelsen has been so kind as to provide variations with almost ALL of her recipes, including in the one for these, the aptly named Texas-size Banana Muffins! (Is everything bigger in Texas than in America in general?) Usually, the spices used would have been nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, cloves and cardamom and I REALLY want to try that variation - but this time around, my man demanded chocolate, and chocolate it was.

Now, I fiddled around with this recipe quite a bit - it called for coconut and walnuts, of which none of us are big fans, and then of course all of the spices, that were to be left out and substituted with chocolate, as instructed in the variation-bit. Anyway, I thought I tossed it around so much, that I feel it's okay to give you "my" run of it:

Banana Chocolate Muffins
4½ cups unsifted flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon salt
½ pound unsalted butter, softened
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1½ cup plus 2 tablespoons mashed ripe banana
3/4 cup thick, cultured sour cream
2 cups chocolate chips/chopped chocolates

Makes for 10 HUGE muffins - so you need 10 HUGE muffin cups, buttered and floured.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and baking soda and the cream of tartar.

In the bowl of your freestanding mixer (or get out that wooden spoon and beat like h*** and think of the nice biceps you'll get!) cream the butter for 2 minutes. Add the granulated sugar and beat for 1 minute - add the light brown sugar and beat for another. Add the eggs, one by one, beating for about 30 sec. after each. Blend in the vanilla extract and the bananas.
Alternately, add the sifted dry ingredients and the sour cream - dry ingredients in three additions, sour cream in two. Blend in the chocolate.
Divide between your muffin cups

- I truly don't know what it is, I just like those little armies...

- and bake in an oven preheated to 375F /180C for about 25 minutes. Cool in the cups for about 30 minutes (if you can wait that long!), then remove form their cups and serve at room temperature (or scolding hot if so preferred!) Can you tell mine barely came out of the oven before I dug in?

I have to say, this is a surprisingly light and fluffy muffin, with a nice hint of banana. I really wanna try the original recipe - I like my chocolate, but I tried the blueberry muffins in the book and they were FABULOUS! with just that extra blueberries because of the spices...

Yet again, I must succumb: I love this book. Apart from the cookie-semi-disaster - which, in truth, was my own fault, not using the right ingredients - and I might add, the taste was a ok! - it's really lovely and very instructive. What I might miss is PICTURES! Then again, it does do a great job of explaining how everything should end up with little paragraphs on "batter observation" and introductions to every single recipe. And, erm - if you really WANT the pictures you could always check and see if I've done it and taken photographs - chances are I might have...

Monday, November 22, 2004

Sugar High Friday #3: Spice Up Your Winter!

Yup, you got it! As I could ecstatically announce a couple of days ago, Jennifer let me host this months installment of the fabulous IMBB?-spin off, Sugar High Friday!

Sugar High Friday is, as the name might imply, a day were the sweet-toothed bloggers among us join forces and blog about - well, something sweet we've done, all centered around one theme - this time, the theme will be: SPICES!

Now, I'm not gonna let you just run amuck in the spice-jungle out there - so here's the catch:

The spice you use, should be one of the three: nutmeg - cardamom - allspice. Why these three? I had to choose, didn't I? The three here very much encapsulates winter for me - warmth, fragrant - ah, delish! And, um - vanilla would just be too easy! (although it might be a suggestion for a SHF in it's own right!)

But, but, but... Hey! Okay, you want suggestions? You want tips? You NEED information - 'kay then:

Nutmeg: that little knobbly nut wrapped in it's delicate lingerie of another spice, mace. You either grate it yourself (making sure to take some skin of your knuckles, too!) or buy it ready ground. Myristica fragrans is the Latin name, and it started out growing in the Molucca Islands, but is now found throughout Indonesia and in Grenada, with Grenada ones being of choice, regarding Penzeys. Goes really great with eggs, custard, milk, raisins, pumpkins, blueberries...

Cardamom: Isn't that just the funniest little pod? Until recently, I never thought that the ground stuff is actually the hard labor of someone taking out the little black seed of the pod, then grinding it up - but it is! Okay, maybe not hard labor - it is a bit fiddly doing it, but definitely worth it in my opinion! Oh a slightly doughy, cardamom-fragrant bun, and what would a chai be without it? Comes in black, green and a white? (I never heard of that one before!) variety - I usually go for green, because that's what's easy to come by here... Put a pod in your coffee - infuse the cream for a custard or ice cream with it - pair it with almonds, or marry it off with cinnamon, allspice and cloves - but be aware of it's strong and sometimes very perfumey scent...

Allspice: Pimenta dioica, and is - as the name might reveal - a spice that has a little bit of everything to it. Growing in South America and the West Indies, it's a small, hard berry you'd use to enhance the flavor of carrots, apples, poppy seeds and the spices it's usually referred to work as a blend of: cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. You might say it's one of the more savory spices - but as a part of almost any cake spice mix, I say what would a Spice Cake or Apple Pie be without a pinch of it?

Alright. Terms and conditions. You make some kind of dessert/cake/sweet thing/whatever takes your fancy, but it must contain one of the chosen spices - or all of them, if you're that eager! You blog about it on Friday the 10th. of December 2004 - and e-mail me a link to your entry (zarahjordahn@hotmail.com) Or, in case you don't have a blog, but would really like to join - you send me an e-mail with the entry and pictures if you want, and I'll post it here on my blog. Then you wait. And you go just a teeny-tiney bit impatient, 'cause we all know that as soon as you've posted your own entry you just wanna see everyone else's! Then, when you're just about to send me angry e-mails, I'll post a round-up of all the entries here! Now if that's not pretty easy, I don't know what is! Come join the fun!

Sunday, November 21, 2004

IMBB? # 10: Cookie Swap

Oh the joy of a cookie! Is there anything as good as sinking your teeth into that slightly crunchy, buttery disc of goodies, or dunking that biscotti in that mug of latte? Exactly the reason why I was bouncing with joy when Jennifer, our Domestic Goddess, announced this months IMBB? theme of a Cookie Swap! And then I went and nearly forgot...

I had this very cute idea of doing a traditional Scandinavian cookie - or by it's proper name, småkage - my sister always used to make us when we were younger, called Finskbrød - it's a crunchy, cocoa-y thing with lots of big granules of sugar sprinkled on top - I LOVE it, but can't remember when the last time was I had it! And then, all of a sudden, Sunday was here, and I found myself without that special sugar for the sprinkling - and well, I'm sorry for being a nit-pick here, but that sugar is just the ESSENCE of that cookie, so I couldn't bring myself to do it without it!

Again, I turned to Baking by Flavor - and found out I've never tried a cookie from it, oh the shame! I fell for a Butterscotch Oatmeal Cookie one, which I - coincidentally - had everything for in the house - or at least, for making half a portion!

Well, now I suppose you're looking for the recipe. And I will post it, if I make it again, and it goes well. This time around, it just wasn't that... good. Probably my own fault, seeing I halved the recipe, which never really works for me - why is that? You can easily double a recipe and it works fine - but halve it and your in deep. Then there's the thing about the butterscotch. I'm not sure what I used was actually butterscotch because... well, I'm not at all sure I know what butterscotch is! I'm sure you'll enlighten me? But from the description in the cookbook it sounded like the fudgy thing I used... Does this look right?

At one point, it did look good:

Anyway, it sorta ran away from me, as you can tell...

Boyfriend did eat 'em (And they didn't even have chocolate in them!). But they will NEVER EVER beat the chocolate chip to-die for cookie we usually make...

But um.. Wanna swap? I'll make some new (and other!) ones!;-) Stepmom and I will be doing the traditionel Danish småkage extravaganza in a couple of weeks - that oughta get me some nice recipes and pictures to blog about...

Thursday, November 18, 2004

On your screens...

WEEEE-HEEEEEEEEEEEH! No, that wasn't a cowboy, that was me, being really excited because I've been asked (LIE! I begged!) to host the next edition of Sugar High Fridays! The installment will be held at 10th. of December and the theme... wait a minute, the theme?! I have to find a theme too??! Oh! I'll let you know during the weekend...

For those of you unfamiliar with IMBB?'s, SHF, WBW, DMBLGiT and that sort (tell me WHERE have you been??), go to this place and learn ALL there is to know and then some!

Don't go away, we'll be right back after these messages...

Friday, November 12, 2004

SHF: ISTBE # 2: Apples!

Mmmm, yummy, it's here again - Sugar High Fridays, the International Sweet Tooth Extravaganza! Hosted - again (Oh we're a bad bunch, not taking any of the summing-up responsibility - I will do soon, I promise!) - by it's inventor/spin doctor Jennifer of The Domestic Goddess, with a theme of apples galore!

Everyone's been doing apple this and apple that and I even recently bought myself an entire BOOK of apples - not just recipes, but also about growing and caring for apple trees - that will be the day, but I figured I'd better start preparing! This is my book:

There's a really yummy-looking recipe for an apple-spice mix in it that I'll have to try soon...

Okay so I KNOW this is a really, really bad picture of a picture in a book - of a picture (not anywhere near a scanner, sorry) - but you HAD to see this - the "painting" is made out of APPLES, put on a nail and arranged to look like flowers! That is just SO cool, I had to share!

But OH! I must admit that somehow time caught up with me (as you might now it does a lot at the moment!) and I found myself with a very limited amount of time - how embarrasing! That's why I ended up doing something that I actually think turned out very well, and that I'm sure I'll do for an easy pudding for the girls one night during winter...

I was inspired by one of the recipes in my book - Baked Apples. Now this one calls for a lot of hoo-ha, but i just cut open my apples (coxes they were), cored them and stuffed them with a mixture of almonds, marzipan, small raisins (korender in Danish) some light brown muscovado sugar and a bit of lemon zest, dapped some butter on top - et voilá!

Half an hour later, out of the oven:

And then...

I have to say, they would have been AWESOME with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, or some cold, cold custard - but cold creme fraiche did very well too!

So on to all your adventures out there...

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Chocolate Velvet Honey Cake

I can't believe this!
Already it's one week since I last posted - believe me, it's not because I'm not cooking - okay I'm not cooking that much - it's just... Oh okay, so it's just because!

Anyway, last Saturday I did NOTHING but cook - me and my boyfriend managed to pull out a four course dinner for my Dad and his bridge club - this cake was part of it - a Chocolate Velvet Honey Cake - I'll get back to you with the rest!

Thursday, November 4, 2004

Look Ma, no meat!

I love me a good burger. But being a semi-vegetarian makes that a not-so-often enjoyed thing - I don't know why, but it seems like the cafées in Denmark is not really willing to admit that vegetarians exist! They will do you a lot of veggie- or fish stuffed sandwiches and salads, but a decent burger, cheese, ketchup, mustard and all - no. It's just not happening. So I decided to take matters into my own hands...

The Parmesan Patties I found in a lovely book on vegetarian fare by Celia Brooks Brown, New Vegetarian - they we're SOOOOO good! Cook them 'till really crisp - Hubby actually rather wanted mine than his own meat-one! He! Btw., the book is one of my all time favorites... Check it out!

Parmesan Patties
1 tbsp. olive oil + extra for brushing
2 medium onions, chopped
125 g. mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
50 g. parmesan cheese, coarsely grated
50 g. cheddar cheese, grated
150 g. canned borlotti or pinto beans, rinsed and drained
100 g. fresh breadcrumbs
1 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tbsp. red wine
1 teaspoon mustard
1 egg, beaten
1 tbsp. cornflour

Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the onions, mushrooms, thyme and salt and fry until softened and golden. Let cool.

Transfer to a food processor, add the cheeses, beans, breadcumbs and freshly ground black pepper. Pulse until mixed, then add the rest. Process until mixed, but not too smooth.

Using wet hands, shape the mixture into 8 balls, then flatten into 2 cm. thick patties. Put on a prepared baking sheet, covered with clingfilm. Chill until firm.

When ready to cook, transfer to a baking sheet, brush the tops with extra oil and bake in a preheated oven at 220 C for 25 minutes, or until crisp and golden.

My word of advise: make a double batch! My can of beans had 240 g. in it, so it felt kinda ridiculous to leave the rest. You can freeze the patties after you've shaped them - I actually put mine in the freezer to let them firm up.

I also made my own buns out of Beth Hensperger's Bread Bible - they were exactly that slightly sweet I think hamburger buns has to be...

Served with the lot - cheese, ketchup, gherkins, mustard, spinach, mayo, guacamole, fries... well, I'm sorry, I know not to waste food, but number 2 ended here:

Sunday, October 31, 2004

IMBB? # 10: Cookie Swap

Scheduled for the 21st. of November, and I'm totally into this months edition of IMBB? - a cookie swap! YAY! Hosted by the sweetest of the sweet tooths among us, Jennifer of The Domestic Goddess - everything you'll need to know about this round of IMBB? is on her site (no need for me to type it all up again, is there? Me and my lazy butt...)

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Lady of the Bagel: A quest begins

I need to bring lunch to school almost on an everyday basis. While I'm a big fan of a nice salad, I'm very much a bread person as well - no Atkins for me here! I just cannot fathom that anyone would like to live without a daily dose of wheat!

Anyways - I figured out that one of the breads that could be somewhat easily made, and not go too stale on me - and a type of bread I really like as well - drumroll please: a bagel! So I'm trying out a couple of different recipes at the moment - will hopefully get the ring-making technique down during the quest - no comments on the half split bagel there!;-)

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Spinach and Anchovy Tart from The Art of the Tart

I had to go ahead and try one of the recipes in my newly acquired books - why else buy them?? This one I had my eye on already when ordering the book - it was mentioned in one of the reviews at Amazon and I couldn't stop thinking about what it might be like.

I am a big fan of anchovies - that is, I do NOT like eating them on their own, but I really enjoy them in a home made Caesar salad dressing and the likes. For a while I've been trying to convince myself that there's no reason I don't like tarts. Hence, the purchase of The Art of The Tart by Tamasin Day-Lewis. The book is small, but BURSTING with recipes - both savory and sweet - and I really think it's gonna get me places in the tart-enjoying department. This had exactly that salty-savory taste that I love in the anchovies, but without the fishy-fishy bad part. It was even nice the next day!

And here you go:
Spinach and Anchovy Tart
Shortcrust pastry:
120 g. white flour
60 g. cold, unsalted butter
1-2 tablespoon best olive oil

For the tart:
30 g. unsalted butter
1 tbsp. olive oil
325 g. organic baby spinach
black pepper
200 ml. double cream
1 egg and 2 egg yolks
12 anchovy fillets.

Make shortcrust pastry by blitzing together the flour and butter in a food processor, adding olive oil to make the dough come together. Chill, then roll out and line a 22 cm. tart tin.

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees celsius. Bake the pastry blind for 15 minutes, then remove the beans, prick the base with a fork, and return to the oven for a further 5 minutes.

While the pastry is in the oven, heat the butter and olive oil in a heavy-bottomed enamel sauce-pan, add the spinach and pepper, and stir briefly until the spinach has wilted but not lost it's shape, about a couple of minutes.

Whisk the cream, egg and yolks together, then pour in any liquid from the spinach pan. Tip the spinach and anchovies into a food processor and process a briefly as you dare, to keep their texture and so as to not reduce them to a slushy purée. Throw them into the bowl with the cream and eggs and stir with a fork, then pour the whole lot into the pastry case and cook for about 25 minutes.

Leave to cool for 10 minutes, then serve with something plain, like a cherry tomato salad and good, white country bread and butter.

- from The Art of The Tart by Tamasin Day-Lewis, p. 45.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Cookbook AMUCK anyone?

I swear, someone stole my credit card and went on a SEROIUS shopping spree on amazon. Luckily, everything was sent to me. Because it really couldn't have been me. No. NO! It couldn't! Aren't you listening?!? I'm way more sensible than that. I would never, ever spend that much money on cookbooks. Well, definetly not more than twice a year. Okay, maybe three times then. But...

MUAHAHAHAHAHA!!! I got 6 - SIX - new cookbooks waiting for me to get around to them! How's about it?!? MUAHAHAHA!

They are:
Jamie's Dinners
Nigella Lawson's Feast
American Boulangerie
Art of the Tart by Tamasin Day-Lewis
Charlie Trotter's Seafood
Chocolate American Style by Lora Brody


Petite Critters!

There's something I have to admit. There's one thing other than biochemistry drawing my attention away from my blog at the moment. It's these guys:

They are soo cute, my little guinea pigs!!:-) They're actually my younger sister's, but she doesn't give a royal f*** about them, so I've borrowed them for a couple of weeks. They're named Tim & Bum, from the Danish translation of Cinderella - the mice that makes her dress, remember?

I've never actually had a pet before, so that probably accounts for me being so overly excited - I have to admit I kinda am! Even though my boyfriend find them a bit boring: "but they don't do anything but hang around in their cage Honey!?" I don't care. They're cute and they're cuddly - all you could want - but of course, so is he!

Sunday, October 24, 2004

IMBB? #9: Layers and Layers! Foie Gras Terrine Burger

Time is a no-go area for me at the moment. It's just not available somehow. Don't know why, but it's a fact. Still, I can't bear the idea of not being in on this IMBB?, as already mentioned, hosted by Derrick of An Obsession with Food. Afterall, IMBB? was one of the main reasons I joined in on the blogging thing. So I'm doing a cheats version this time round - I actually made this dish about a year ago for a dinner I did for my Dad and stepmom's bridge club and on looking through my folder of digital photos, this sprang out - and you know, it may not be a layered terrine, but it's a terrine and I layered it Big Mac stylie, so I thought I could convince myself that it fit the theme of Terrine: Layers and Layers! in a decent way!

The components are actually very classic, I just put them together in a not so classical manner. The foie gras terrine I got from a Danish cookbook called Svinkløv Badehotel. The bread part is a brioche from a Danish food magazine and then I did sweet pickled yellow tomatoes and a tomato marmalade for garnish - and as you can tell from the picture, it was served with lamb's lettuce as well.

So I'm gonna cheat even more and just give you links to a foie gras recipe and a brioche recipe - not tried and tested by me - again, apologies for my laziness, but biochemistry is screaming at me! As for the tomato marmalade, I'll be a good girl and give you that - it's an adaptation of a tomato and chili jam from Peter Gordon's The Sugar Club Cookbook:

500 g. very ripe tomatoes, washed
4 cloves of garlic, peeled
300 g. golden caster sugar (I actually used half muscovado)
50 ml. red wine vinegar
50 ml. sherry vinegar

Blend half the tomatoes and the garlic to a fine purée in a blender. Don't strain this, as the seeds provide the pectin that will make the jam set (which mine didn't do exactly, but still) Put the purée, sugar and vinegars in a deep pot and bring to the boil slowly, stirring all the time. When it reaches boiling point, turn to a gentle simmer and add the remaining tomatoes, which you have cut into 5 mm dice, seeds, skin and all. Skim off foam and cook gently for 30-40 minutes , stirring every 5 minutes to release the solids that settle on the bottom. Also, be sure to scrape the sides of the pot during cooking, so everything cooks evenly.
When it's done, pour into warmed glass jars and allow to cool to room temperature before storing in the fridge or a cold larder for later use.

Mine actually got a little on the too sweet side (Does a thing like that even exist??) so feel free to juggle it around!

For the pickled tomatoes:

500 g. tomatoes (I used small yellow ones)
1/4 dl sugar
1 dl vinegar (I used half elderflower vinegar and half plain white vinegar)
1 dl water
1 vanilla bean

Put everything but the tomatoes in a pot and bring to the boil. Pierce the tomatoes with a cake taster or something of the like, then add to the "syrup" and boil for 3-5 minutes. Store in a glass jar.

(And please, please, if you feel like trying any of this and found this too hastily blogged and you're full of questions - comment me, and I'll try and answer as soon as possible!)

Now lemme see yours - I actually found this theme a bit hard on the imagination and research front! But I'm still in on the next one!

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Carrot Birthday Cake

My sister turned 33 - well, actually, she did in August, she just haven't had the time to gather up the entire family and share her birthday until now! Seeing that I LOVE to bake (you'd never have guessed, would you?) I offered to do her a birthday cake. Actually, that's a lie - she already decided she wanted a carrot cake, I just offered to bake it!

I'm a big fan of carrot cake - even more, I'm a big fan of the cream cheese topping! Naturally, there has to be lots and lots of it, and preferably all over! With the birthday and everything, what would be more appropriate than doing it layer-cake style?

The recipe I use is from The Little Red Barn Baking Book. I bought this book when I lived in London and practically baked my way through it - not quite, but I sure have tried a lot of the recipes and they have never failed. It makes a very light and lovely cake, despite the cream cheese...

For the cake:
250 g. plain flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1½ tsp. bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
4 eggs
345 g. caster sugar
280 ml. sunflower oil
300 g. grated carrots (about 3 large carrots)

For the Cream cheese frosting:
200 g. cream cheese
100 g. butter
Icing /confectioners' sugar to taste

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. Butter and flour two 23 cm. round, deep cake pans.

Sift the first five ingredients for the cake into a large bowl. In a different bowl, beat the eggs at high speed. Add the sugar and continue whisking until you have a nice pale and fluffy mixture. Add the oil in a steady stream, as if you were making mayonnaise, beating until the mixture holds a ribbon-like trail on the surface. Fold in the carrots, using a metal spoon, then the flour. Don't overmix.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pans. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted comes out clean. Leave to cool in the pans for 10-15 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack. Let cool completely before covering with cream cheese frosting - I layered them, and put cream cheese frosting between the layers and on top. The frosting is made by simply beating together the COMPLETELY softened butter and cream cheese and adding sifted icing sugar to taste (I like mine rather toothachingly sweet, hence the not so precise measure for the amount) This amount may not be quite enough to cover the sides of the cake as well, but it's fairly easy to adjust the amounts...

And if there's some left, it actually improves on fridge-keeping...

I'm a poor excuse for a cake decorator - but I'm a d*** good baker!

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

SHF:ISTBE # 2: Apples!

This has become a noticeboard I think... Eventually, I'll have to post the things that I'm making for the events I'm announcing, don't I?

This time around, for Friday the 12th. of November, gorge yourself on apples all around the world! Check out Jennifer's page for further info...

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Who stole my time?!

I know, I'm sorry - I'm the most boring blogger of them all right know... School is all over me, but I promise, I promise I'll try and do some REAL posting soon... Uh, that would imply cooking - or baking.... Yumm...

Sunday, October 10, 2004

WBW # 3: A trip down under: Australian Shiraz

Things are moving fast in the blooging community - at least fast for me, but I guess my school has started taking up more time! Seattle Bon Vivant is the host this time - check out the terms and conditions and do join!

Wednesday, October 6, 2004

WWWBW # 2: Spanish Reds

On to yet another endeavor in the world wide events - drinks some wine and drink it well! Lenn of Lenndevours spun the IMBB? and invented World Wide Wine Blogging Wednesday - he himself held first edition, and this, the second edition, is held by Alder at Vinography with a theme of Spanish Reds!

I'm usually a white wine drinker - I think I started out drinking red wine, then turned to white - and never really got back- I know it's usually the other way around, but this is how it went for me. Maybe I've just been spoiled with the really nice whites we have at work? But you have to grab the bull by it's horns...

Boyfriend recently closed down his restaurant, bringing home about 70 bottles of wine (where DO you put that in a three room apartment??!! Oh yeah, down your throat!) so we went hunting in the bottle forrest on our living room floor. There was a couple of bottles of Spanish descendants, and we settled for this one: Casa de la Ermita 2000 from Jumilla in Spain. To get the facts straight, Boyfriend seems to remember the price to be somewhere around the equivalent of $10-$12. It's a blend of tempranillo, monastrell and cabernet sauvignon and has been lying on oak for 10 months. Oh, and Jumilla is here - inland from Alicante, near Murcia.

The first bottle we opened was - okay let's just say it tasted like port! It must have gotten air or something, the color was very dark, and the smell..- well, like port. Luckily, there was another bottle of the same kind - that was more like it! Color still very dark, but the nose not at all port-y! Blackberries and vanilla, smack in your face - a bit smoky, too. The taste was rather nice as well, though there were plenty of tannins - if tannins is that feeling of your mouth drying out from the sides and inwards? Vanilla and blackberries again, even slight hint of pepper.

I found this - Heh, which actually corresponds pretty well to what I found! Their own homepage has this to say - I'll hate to disagree!

Although I found it heavy and full-bodied - definitely one that would go best with hearty dishes - I liked it. Not a summer wine, but in front of the fireplace with something cooked from a pot in the fire, it would work a treat!

I'm still learning here... The idea of teaching myself this, with the help of the blogging world does appeal to me, so I'm definitely in on the next one as well. Now, gotta go to work and drink some white wine this time ;-)