Sunday, February 27, 2005

Once upon a time...

... a long, long time ago, there was this little geezer, who was very bored. "I want something to do!" yelled the little one, as he was lying there, snugly between all of his friends in the drawer - the cut out cookie shapes, the cheese cutter and the butter knife. "Come on, I can be of good use!!" he tried again, hoping someone would hear him...

The drawer opened. The little cutter looked up, hoping so much that... but no. They took his friends, the Whiskers out instead. "Wheeeeeiie!" they laughed, they couldn't wait to go tumbling and twirling!

After a little while they came back in the drawer, all nice and squeaky clean. "You know what we did, you know what we did??!" they asked the little cutter. "No" the little cutter answered - he was still a bit sad he hadn't been a part of the adventure. "Oh we twirled, and danced, and beat, and creamed sugar and butter! And eggs, one after the other! And lemon zest! And after that, we got a hot bath, and then they put us back here - but we just saw them kneading something!"

The little cutter got all worked up - it sure sounded like something he'd heard before! Maybe, just maybe... they were making klejner out there. Oh klejner, his favorite thing to cut! One long row after each other, then cutting the rows in 5 cm. bits, and then making a little hole in the middle of the cut-out! The drawer opened, he saw a hand - oh joy, they picked him up!! He cut, and swayed and tap-danced all over the rolled-out dough, watched the hands pick up the pieces and gently fold them around in a knot - all the pieces he'd help make:

Before he was even done, he saw the klejner being finished off in a deep pot, making them go all brown and crisp when they came back - it did look a little scary, and he was happy he wasn't the one going that pot.

- even though they sure did look nice when they came back.

The little cutter was getting somewhat tired know - there had been a lot of dough, but now there was no more left. He looked around, and saw all of the flour and greased paper and the jars with all the finished klejner. Imagine, without him, there'd be none of these. He relaxed as he was picked up one last time, put into a hot and soapy bath, dried off, and put back in the drawer with all of the friends once again.

And that my friends, is the true Christmas tale of the little cutter in the drawer...

Sorry for the weird timing of posting this one - as you can probably tell, I made these for Christmas and well, time just hasn't come around for me to post about them until now. Better late than never, and I suppose I can just consider myself in good time for next Christmas now !

Aunt Hannes Klejner - a traditionel Danish Christmas cookie
5 eggs
250 g. sugar
425 g. butter, softened
1 kg. flour
9 tablespoons cream
2 teaspoons cardamom
zest of 1 organic lemon

Cream the butter and sugar well, then add the eggs one by one, then the cream. Add flour, cardamom and lemon zest, switching to hand-kneading as the dough gets heavier. Leave in a cool place for about and hour. Roll out thin, about 5 mm. thick, and cut out - I'd say about 3 cm. wide, 6 cm. long, and don't forget to use your cutter! Cut a hole in the middle, and push one end of the cut-out through the hole - see above picture. Fry in palmin until cooked through (sorry, you'll have to test, tee-hee)

Palmin is this (actually really nasty!) frying medium, solid when at room temperature. I have no idea what the equivalent would be in other countries, but if anyone has any idea, feel free to leave a comment or e-mail me. Otherwise I'm pretty sure you could just fry them in any oil you'd use for frying beignet or doughnuts.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Back to School!

As you might have guessed from the sudden infrequency of posts - at one point in my school break I think I actually posted EVERY DAY! - I have gone back to school again. I wanted to THANK YOU ALL for your nice comments on me passing my exam recently - I think it is so cool to know you're out there, hoping the best for me, and joining in my cheer when I succed. Hopefully, the passing and hurray-ing shall be no different at the end of this semester!

But - I've been restricted to 8 hours a week of net-time by the mean Boyfriend (!!!) No, really he isn't - I need it, 'cause I could just spend HOURS and HOURS, blog-hopping. "Hello, my name is Zarah, I'm a blog-oholic" - tee-hee! I have been doing some "blogger-homework" though, so have a couple of things up my sleeve, all ready to go - so even if my cooking adventures wont be as adventureous the next couple of months - oh who am I kidding, it's not like I'm gonna stop eating! I'll still be hanging around, reading your blogs, doing the SHF/IMBB etc., and letting you know the turns and turmoils of a medical student in Denmark. Hope to see you around!

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Dining with the Bloggers - February 23rd.

This week, I jumped to it and proposed an Asian theme to Cathy. Like I explained in last weeks Dining with the Bloggers, my kitchen cupboards are filled to the point of bursting with stuff that I buy on a whim - so in there is (also) lot of Asian stuff. I actually enjoy Asian food a lot, but usually only eat it when I'm out - Boyfriend is not so enthusiastic about it, so I really shouldn't torture him, should I?

There are so many Asian bloggers out there - Santos has very conveniently done a little list here, that I only discovered when Cathy pointed me there, and after having searched high and low in all sorts of blogger archives! So much for being and organized dinner planner, but what the heck! I actually thought it would be quite easy to find something I'd like to do, even though I did have some criterias to be meet - I just have to restrict myself, I don't know why! Anyways -I always fall for anything sweet - Rachel's Fuwa Fuwa Soy Milk Cakey sounded like something I'd like. This is - well, maybe not a real problem, considering, but still - I'm just more prone to make a cake, than something savory! Is it my sweet tooth?

So savory it should be, just to make it hard, and preferably something that would use up some of the funny stuff in the cupboard.

And there it was. In Chika of She Who Eats' archive, I found this one: Otsu na Soba. The recipe is actually one that Chika got from Heidi at 101 cookbooks, but I figured I found it through Chika, so I could consider it Asian. The ingredients are indeed Asian: Buckwheat noodles (had those) in a dressing with lots of ginger (had to buy), lemon, cayenne, rice vinegar (on the shelf) sesame oil (on the shelf too) soy sauce (of course), then mixed with coriander/cilantro, cucumber and scallion/spring onion - it even said it'd be great for lunch and with me going back to school, how could it fit any better?! I could cook, and be feed for TWO meals!

But wait. It also had tofu. TOFU?? I know, I know, I claim to be a vegetarian - but I've never actually cooked the stuff myself. And ahem - these are the results:

So you see - there's a reason I've never cooked tofu before. Ahem. Any tips, hints or good ideas are very welcome! I still have three blocks left I need to use...

But as for the salad - it was nothing short of DIVINE! Just that sort of punchy spice I like - I'm not one for throat-burning spicy, but I like a little. It was even very easy and took no time at all to do. On Chika's suggestion, I used less soy sauce and also a quarter teaspoon less cayenne, just because I'm so inclined. I didn't add any of the extra vegetables Chika did, mostly because well, I couldn't come by the exact same here anyways, so I thought I might as well leave well enough alone. It's not a bad idea though, and I might try it sometime soon. Both Chika and Heidi said they have leftover dressing - I might be a dressing hound, but there was only a little left in my jar.

Oh, and as for the leftovers for lunch next day - YUM! I packed the sesame seeds to sprinkle on top separate, and had no tofu in the lunch batch - it was still darn good! The dressing mellows a little, but still hits the spot. This is a definite keeper!

Cathy's been doing soy milk from scratch as one of her things this week - and I might have to follow in her footsteps soon...

Friday, February 18, 2005

Fond Food Memories

This is an entry in the Fond Food Memories Competition, held by Jennifer at The Domestic Goddess

Even though my life these past years seems to have evolved around food (whether it be cooking it, serving it or eating it), it hasn't always been so. I remember a couple of months back when Meg from Too Many Chefs encouraged commenters to tell where they got their appetite for food and it's preparation from - who had been their inspiration and idol, who had guided them forward and helped them do the dirty dishes on their way. Her own story was a fascinating read about a Mom and two grandmothers, who all through her childhood had made fabulous food and homemade cakes, and who's strongly influenced the way she cooks and generally go about the kitchen today.

I never had that. Now, don't get me wrong. I don't feel deprived because of it, nor do I feel I've been a victim of neglect or anything. It's just a fact. My mom wasn't so enthusiastic about the kitchen. And who could blame her for not wanting to spend never ending hours in front of a hot stove once she got home from a 8-9 hour day at work, had done the grocery shopping and picked me up from kindergarten - and squeezed in a half hour chat with my older sister about the latest girlie gossip from school. I for one couldn't.

But we did spend a lot of time in the kitchen. It was a large, white marble, black hardware and birch wood kitchen, with lots of cupboards and a great view over the back garden. My Grandad build the house and left it to my Mom when he died. There was a huge, also white marble dining table in one end of the kitchen, with black chairs around it. Once, when my sister and I played circus, she dropped me on the white marble floor, and I got a concussion.

My Moms favorite dish was rye bread with cold cuts - herring, spegepølse, leverpostej. I used to suspect it was because she didn't really have to cook to make that, but later found out it's always been her favorite dish - she put it in a friend's book once when she was 8 or 10, you know, those books where all your friends answer a lot of questions: what's your favorite color, what do you want to be when you grow up etc. etc. I know it is to this day, her best friends favorite dish too - it's what they always eat when they meet up, as they do about every other week or so.

One thing she did cook for me and my sister, was grilled sausages with (bought) potato salad and sweet mustard. Okay, so maybe you can't really call that cook, but she plated it, and it looked darn good every time. We used to eat it in front of the TV, the three of us together, me and my sister probably on the floor, arms almost not reaching the glass table top, but scoffing down sausages with bright yellow mustard and sweet potato salad. Mom on the sofa, head over the plate so as not to spill too much on the couch, although that was never anything that would get anyone in trouble in that household. If I was lucky, there'd be sausages left, and I got them in my lunchbox the next day on rye, complete with potato salad and mustard on top. WHY on earth would a little girl want something like that in her lunch box? Well, I loved it. I truly did. I loved the fact that my mom did my lunch, each and every single day, until I got too old and thought it embarrassing to bring lunch when I could buy it just as easily, and feel cool with the cool people at school.

So for a couple of years, I didn't bring lunch. And I didn't get her sweet messages that was a must in that lunch box. A simple faded, yellow post-it sticker stuck to the inner side of the lid of my lunchbox. "Hi Sweety! Remember we're going to J's tonight, so you have to come home after your dance lesson or let me know if you just want to go straight there. Love you! Mom"

When I got in high school, I went back to bringing my own lunch, but this time I made them myself. Mom baked me sandwich buns (still not entirely from scratch, but that wasn't really what mattered) And yes, she still wrote me post-it sticker messages. I still have a jar filled with them. I'm pretty sure she'd still be doing it if I still lived at home.

Where am I getting at? Well, I don't live at home no more. Luckily, she doesn't live to far away, and she drops by every now and again. Of course, all too little, but isn't that just the way things go when you grow up? There's too little of everything, especially time. Nowadays, I'm the one doing the cooking, and even though I'd do her the most elaborate meals, if that's what she wanted, I can always be sure that if I call her, asking what she'd like to eat that evening, she'll go quiet for a second, just because she's a teeny tiney bit embarrassed that she always likes me to cook the same thing for her, and then she'll say: "you know. I want Caesar's!" Yes, she could have gone for the whole rye bread thing, but afterall, she can do that herself. I know she eats rye bread almost every night when she's home alone, so every time she does drop by, I try to make sure that I've got a freshly baked rye bread ready for her, to take with her home and enjoy on the evenings where she sit at that glass top table, head pulled over the plate, watching the couch and enjoying her dinner. She might not have been the one teaching me to cook, but she's the one that's always encouraged me to go into things with an open mind and an open heart - and a little yellow post-it sticker stuck somewhere...

Rye Bread - adapted from a Camilla Plum recipe

Makes one large loaf

Day 1
1 dl. rye sour dough
750 ml water
2 large teaspoons salt

- stir the three ingredients together. Add to this:

75 g. rye (whole kernels)
75 g. linseeds
150 g. rye flour
150 unsifted spelt-flour
150 g. sifted spelt flour
1/4 bottle "hvidtøl" (beer with no alcohol) - about 10 cl.

Leave for 12-24 hours

Day 2:

Add to the dough:
250 ml water
225 g. rye flour
100 g. linseeds
100 g. wheat kernels, cracked
50 g. rye kernels
25 g. sesame seeds
25 g. sunflower seeds
25 g. pumpkin seeds
25 g. poppy seeds

Pour into a buttered loaf pan, about 2 liter capacity. Remember to keep a batch of sourdough for your next loaf. Leave to rise for 2-6 hours.

Bake in a 150 C hot oven for three hours- Turn out of the pan, then leave the rye bread to cool in the turned off oven.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Dining with the Bloggers - February 16th.

For this week's Dining with the Bloggers, Cathy suggested she and I tried out ingredients that we've never cooked with before. If you are anything like me, you too have there, in the back of the cupboard, weird stuff that you bought on a whim, simply because you remembered seeing it used somewhere, thought it looked interesting or read about it somewhere on the net - I think it's a tell-tale sign of a true foodie, that what they come home with from a trip somewhere is not weird souvenir-paper maché horses or something like that - it is most likely something food-related. This time, the trip was to be made in food-blog land, and, as always with Dining with the Bloggers, the inspiration should come from one of the many great blogs kept by YOU out there!

And behold, in the dark corners of the back of my cupboard I found a can of condensed milk. Not brought home from somewhere, but bought because I, three years or so ago, spend three months traveling in South America, where I was introduced to the wonderful, gooey, fudgy, caramelly thing that is dulce de leche. I've only had it spread on bread before, not actually used it - so I thought it would qualify as my "never-used-before" ingredient. I read somewhere that boiling a can of condensed milk for a couple of hours would give you the hard-to-come-by-in-Denmark fantastic thing, and I tried the method before, but with no luck - it became more of a caramelly colored condensed milk, and not fudgy at all.

This time, I was determined. Or rather, my Man was, so he boiled the can, when I was conveniently away in school. Three hours of boiling, cooling in the water, I opened the can, and look at that:

Is it any wonder I love him??

I have to add, there are stories out there of cans exploding during boiling etc. etc. - I think as long as you KEEP THE BOILING WATER SO THAT IT COVERS THE CAN BY AT LEAST 3 CM. you should be fine... Just don't come say I didn't warn you...:-) Also, remember to remove any glue stuck to the can - my pot now has a nice little ring of boiled glue inside it.

Now you're thinking: but I thought this was a Dining with the Bloggers post? So it is. The reason I, no wait, I made my Man go through all that boiling is this: White Chocolate and Dulche de Leche Cheesecake that Santos of The Scent of Green Bananas made a while ago. Just look at it, would you?? Try not to drool, I dare you!

It had to be made. I wrote Santos asking where exactly she put the dulce de leche, figuring she'd just layered it between the base and the cream cheese - I couldn't think of any other way, so I just went ahead and made it like that. Well, there was another way - Santos actually beat in the dulce de leche with the cream cheese, but she (luckily!) approved of my method - and came with the excellent suggestion of rippling the dulce de leche through the cream cheese layer too. Doesn't matter how it goes in there, as long as it's there!

A really bad picture, but just to give you an idea of the layering - go look at Santos' picture, it's a guaranteed drool-inducer!

The cake has only 7 ingredients: chocolate covered digestives - butter - dulce de leche - cream cheese - mascarpone - cream - white chocolate. I loved it, loved it, LOVED IT! It's only problem is that it's heavy (how could it not be?!) so you can only eat small slices at the time. Not sure that even qualifies as a problem, if you know what I mean?;-) Fortunately, the flavors meld well together after a day in the fridge, I'd even say it got better! I made half the recipe, making a 18 cm. cake, and it worked perfectly.

And don't forget to go and check out Cathy's adventures in pomegranate molasses and fleur-de-sel!

Someone licked the spoon? Who licked the spoon??

Friday, February 11, 2005

SHF # 5: Hundreds and Hundreds of Layers - Puff Pastry, the 2nd edition: Apple Galette

So I'm just like WAY ahead of ya'll! Like, I kinda did my entry last Friday, m'kay?

Ahem. Or maybe I was just a dofuss and got the dates mixed up and everything, so I accidently posted my entry a week too early. And I could just have taken it down and published it again at a later time, but, as Dagmar agreed with me, there can be no such things as too many Sugar High Fridays, so I just got two, and you only got one! Tee-hee! Gotta work around my goofy-ness, don't I? As was the case for "my last" Sugar High Friday, this one is also hosted by Clement at A La Cuisine!

I threw this one together with the leftovers of my puff pastry for a Friday afternoon treat for me and the Boyfriend. Very simple, but very tasty! And no, I did not get to make my own puff pastry - I did have leftovers but well, life interrupted, as it sometimes does.

(From Spis Med)
1 sheet of puff pastry, cut into squares - mine were about 7 cm by 15 cm
1 egg, beaten, to brush on the puff pastry
1 apple - or as many as it takes for you to make small wedges that will cover the surface of the puff pastry, leaving a 1cm. margin all the way around
Couple tablespoons of sugar, for sprinkling on top
Ribs gele - I'm not quite sure how to translate it, but it is something like redcurrant jelly I think...

So basically, you cut your puff pastry in the desired size - brush with the egg - place the apple wedges on top - sprinkle with sugar - bake in a 200 C hot oven for 15-20 minutes - leave to cool. Melt the jelly in a small saucepan - brush the melted jelly on the cooled "galette" - serve with creme fraiche or sour cream, in my case whipped with vanilla-scented sugar. It's that easy!

Please, have a look-see at the other post - they we're good, too! Now I've shown you mine, let me see yours...

PS: I know the recent comments-thing has gone quite weirdo on me - I'll fix it as soon as possible, Blogger's up-dated their version, I think that's why. Right now, I gotta go to work - no, not the blog-work, the real work - yeah, I actually do have one!;-)

Thursday, February 10, 2005

I. just. got. spammed.

I was so hoping this wouldn't become necesary, but on the other hand had a feeling that with the new and fabulous commenting field, it might prove a problem along the way. It was only one, little comment spam, I'm not even sure it was a real spam - but it was enough to p*** me off and think: YOU'RE NOT GETTING AWAY WITH IT! So here goes, all of you nice people out there will have seen this in some shape or form before - and for you, mean spammer - you probably have too, but I'm DEAD serious! I will not tolerate you! Therefore:

1. Any advertisment to be posted to this site, must be approved by me in advance, by writing me an e-mail with the contents of your proposed ad. The address can be found on the main page.

2. You may post the comment, endorsing your product/site/service, but I will charge you a fee of $1000 per individual comment.

3. The comment will remain on this site for no longer than 10 minutes, after which it will be deleted.

4. Payment is due one day after you've left your comment. The amount will be donated to Médecins sans Frontières, and I'm pretty sure they'll help me collect it. Otherwise my attourney-family will.

PS: Any links from fellow, not-for-profit bloggers are of course welcome. I think you know who you are, so just link away. If in doubt at all, e-mail me first.

Wednesday, February 9, 2005

Dining with the Bloggers - February 9th.

It's dinner-time! Or rather, it's baking time this time around, as Cathy's done a couple of rolls and a toaster oat bread, and I tried my hand at TinyFork's Bialys. I had no idea what Bialys was - I'm not even sure I do now I've made them, but they looked so pretty in Fae's post from way back in December, that when Cathy and I decided on the baking theme, I knew I had to go back and find it. As far as I've found out, it's somewhat like a bagel, but you don't boil them before you bake them, and they don't have the hole in them. Please enlighten me, anyone who can..?

I laugh often and a lot at TinyForks posts, and she does a load of nice, comforting stuff - don't say pancake one time to many, 'cause I'm sure Fae would just whip you up a batch in no time! She's got a recipe for waffles up at the moment that I'm dying to try - I just recently got a waffle maker - mine's the horrid modern kind, and not nearly as good-looking as Fae's, but it still really needs to be properly welcomed into our home.

The Bialys are made after a recipe taken from Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Bread - I like the fact that it states methods for both hand-, mixer- and processor kneading. I had my trusty sidekick, KitchenAid, helping me out, and it was a easy-peasy! Used a little less flour than stated (although I know a bagel-dough is supposed to be dry, I just couldn't fit anymore in there without the dough cracking) and fresh yeast, as that is what we, contrary to almost anywhere else? - come by the easiest here in Denmark. Left it to rise, went for, what ended up being a 2 hour long walk with Boyfriend. So as you can calculate, it rose for double the time it should've first time around, but it hadn't gone and deflated on me when I got back, so I just punched it down and gave it it's second rise, a little shorter than stipulated. Made 18 balls (why will my dough never yield the amount stated?!!), flattened them, left them to rise, made the hole that's not a hole, but more of a dent in them, another rise - in the oven for 20 minutes - apartment full of the scent of fresh bread baking, mmmhh... Like Fae, I opted out of the onion-poppy seed topping, because I wanted to be able to use them for both sweet and savory filling.

And they're good! I might add a tad more salt next time, but they've got a nice taste and are indeed chewy - in a good way!

Now I just gotta go find me some marshmallows and some hot cocoa...


Tuesday, February 8, 2005

Show me your Kitchen...

I've been doing a major clean-up in my kitchen - after 3-4 months of general neglect, due to school, I'm always sorta looking forward to getting in there, moving everything around and finding long forgotten interesting ingredients, putting everything in it's place, getting out the soapy cloths and really giving everything a good run-over. It usually takes me at least a day, even though our kitchen is small, but I enjoy it, have loud music on an do a little dance every now and again.

So I was shuffling around all of the boxes, cake pans, plates and stuff, putting everything on the floor to be able to clean properly. I'm a BIG fan of Sex and the City - I have all of the episodes on DVD and LOVE watching them again and again. When the last episode was airing, me and a couple of girlfriends got together and sat there screaming: He's behind you, TURN AROUND!!!! and would have sipped on Cosmopolitans, hadn't it been a school night. So for those of you as obsessed as me, it's in episode 64 "Ring a ding ding", where Carrie realizes she's spend her life earnings on shoes instead of an apartment, and goes: "I will litteraly be the old woman who lived in her shoes!" Well, I'll literally be "The old woman who lived in her...

...JARS!" LOL!

Monday, February 7, 2005

70 Centiliter Wonder of Vanilla

You can't buy vanilla extract in Denmark. Well, you can, but it is HILARIOUSLY expensive. Not just expensive, but tummy-turning, pocket-wrenching expensive. Browsing through Santos' archives (I've got some catching up to do, with blogs being off-limit for the most of December and January - exam, remember?) I found this - and thought it would be appropriate to share with all of you sad souls out there, that, like me, can't lay your hands on anything like those gigantic, everlasting bottles, SIGH! - how EASY, BREEZY it is to do your own extract. I got the - well, it's not exactly a recipe, more like a guideline - from the lovely chicks at Nigella's Kitchen.

Take 5-6 vanilla pods and a bottle of good-quality vodka, rum or cognac. Slit the pods open, and place in the bottle of alcohol. Shake. Leave for a couple of weeks, somewhere dark, shaking every time you remember it's there. Then - use at you would your ordinary extract. You can refill the bottle when you think it's running a little low, and add extra pods everytime you have one at hand, like after making ice cream and other vanilla-seed containing delicacies. Is that easy or what?

And knowing you have as much heady-scented vanilla extract around as you could possibly want is just - bliss! Not having to count every drop and wonder when the next time will be you go abroad so yo can stock up is no longer an issue - it's just there, and in copious amounts too. What, you're still there? Go make your vanilla extract! Enjoy!

Sunday, February 6, 2005

Music in my Kitchen

We want YOU! - to participate in this mean chain-like blogging event that's going on - that's right, it's coming to get ya, it's coming to get ya! Be afraid, very afraid... Somehow, I got stuck with it too, thanks to the ever so lovely OsloFoodie - just because she's got a soft spot for me! Aww, that's so sweet! (grr, grr!;-)) There seriously are some very well-written and educational- in-the-world-of-music-posts out there!

Alright: Confession time: I was sorta hoping it'd be passed my way some time - you know, noone likes being picked last! I've loved reading everyone else's (even though half the time I have NO IDEA what the music they're talking about is!) It's actually kind of refreshing to get to know something about all of ye food bloggers out there that hasn't got anything to do with food...

I'm pretty easy with regards to music, my Dad is an opera fanatic and used to take me all the time when I was a little girl (In fact he's taking me to Bayreuth to see Wagner this summer - pretty neat, eih?) and I therefore range from opera over pop to - okay, not all the way to death metal, but I'll live with it if I have to! That said, I like my pop music as much as the next pony-tailed, lollipop-licking, pink t-shirted girlie-girl!

I'm a huge fan of almost anything Danish and try to support the national music scene as much as I can, mostly by buying CD's, and by NOT downloading. Concerts are not really something that eats up my pay cheque, and no, I've never been to a Roskilde Festival. But I love music. I am seldom at home without the stereo playing, be it a CD, minidisc or radio, and I love the way music can make your day brighter, comfort you when it's grey and dull outside - how you can mix and match music to suit your mood.

Anyway, here goes:

What is the total amount of music files on your computer?
Hang on, have to check.... GAH! 874 MB! Why Sweet Mother of....! No wonder my computer's so slow! I don't have an mp3 player, but I gave my boyfriend one for Christmas and of course want one for myself now! (Umm - just realized this is nowhere near much music - still...)

The CD you last bought?
Easy. Danish artist called Juncker, album called "Snork City" - I had to buy it, 'cause it had a song on it that I had to listen to before I went to my exam (Yeah, I do get superstitious about these things...)

What was the song you last listened to before reading this message?
Ahem... "Anywhere I roam" by Metallica - Not something I'd usually listen to, but Boyfriend was DJ'ing and as he lives here to, he gets to decide every now and again :-) I'm such a nice person!

Write down 5 songs you often listen to or that mean a lot to you.

It changes a lot! There's always a current favorite that I can listen to over and over again (often coincides with my exams, I go just a teeny bit obsessive around that period) - this time around it was "Sotto Voce" by beforementioned Juncker. The lyrics are somehow very touching, but they fail miserably when translated, if you know what I mean! Try this, if your Danish is good :-) - they have samples of the music too!

Anything by Jamiroquai, especially "You give me something", but also "Falling", "Corner of the Earth" and "King for a Day" - Hubby and I can always agree on listening to Jamiroquai, if on nothing else!

"The Boy is Mine", a duet, sung by Monica and Brandy - from the days when J, my best friend now living in Florida, and I was out every weekend (and then some!) - we were young (still are, I have to add for good measure!) and the world lay at our feet (And umm - it still does?!)

"Rock your Body" - don't you DARE laugh! Justin Timberlake, yes indeed! My old study buddy and I used to put it on HIGH and dance in the living room when everything just got to be too much and we needed to think about something other than studying! It works, try it! (And anything that Pharell puts his fingers in is gold in my opinion)

"LA is my lady" - good old Blue Eyes. I don't know - well, yes, I guess I do know. It's exactly as grand as you could wish for a tune - I love the last part where he goes: "and that's why - LA is my Lady - LA is my Lady - and you're looking at a man that - doesn't ever plan to - kiss his lady - bye bye" - I mean, I wanna be LA and Frankie to be my man!

Zero 7 - and Tue West - and Marvin Gaye - and Westlife - Aretha Franklin - and Eric Gadd - Röyksopp - uh, and Maroon 5 - Ouh, five is way to little!

Who are you going to pass this stick to (3 persons) and why?

Cathy of My Little Kitchen - because I love her blog, because she lets me co-host dining with the Bloggers with her, and because I'd really like to know a lot more about her, so why not start with the music part?

Niki at Esurientes - The Comfort Zone - She's so far away, yet she seems so close! She sings in a choir, so I'm sure she's got some interesting music there...

Julie, at her new-born blog A Finger in Every Pie - because Julie's my friend, whom I met at Nigella's Kitchen (along with a bunch of other fantastic people!) She introduced me to the world of food blogs and hence, got me thinking I might be able to do one myself. I haven't (yet) met her in real life, but hope the day will come soon, complete with cake and Meyer lemons in NY...

So time will show if I'll be covered in rotting tomatoes, or if they, like me, will consider it a weird sign of affection to be given this torch...

Weird Story of the Day...

I just made and served cheese-burgers and fries for a Hen Night for one of my sister's girlfriends. Guess that wouldn't be weird under normal circumstances. But - it was at a mansion. One of the girls was a countess. And they had a butler, that for the first three minutes addressed me with "miss". Now, don't you come tell me I don't live in a fairy tale country!

(Seriously - that was AWESOME! It was like taken out of a sixties movie or something!! Ok, so the sixties might not be fairytale century, but still...)

Hubby's re-do of the burger today Sunday, but the ones served looked pretty much the same...

Saturday, February 5, 2005

Ah Man!

Just got home from work, e-mail from Clement and comment from Dagmar - SHF is not until next Friday! Ouh! Sorry if I've caused any confusion - I don't know what got into me, but I was sure it was today! That's what you get from not looking in your calendar at all - I'm still on vacation from school, so... No harm done hopefully, this just means I might be able to do one more thing for the event. And afterall, you can never have to many Sugar High Fridays in my opinion! :-)

Friday, February 4, 2005

SHF # 5: Puff Pastry - Hundreds and Hundreds of Layers! Richmond Maids of Honour

Puff pastry! Puff pastry? PUFF PASTRY?!?! I mean, seriously! Clement, this is a hard one! Nevertheless, I will not succumb, I must once again join the challenge that is Sugar High Friday!

This time hosted by none other than the picture-fantastique photographer and blogging role model Clement at A la Cuisine! (You seriously have to take a look at his blog, his pictures takes my breath away!)

But puff pastry. Whatta?! I am - as always - all for a challenge. And I wanted to make puff pastry myself, oh yes indeed I did. But then, as I realized Friday was drawing VERY close, and I had no idea yet as to what to make, I thought: you know what? Shop-bought would be good here - especially considering the fact that I never tried doing puff pastry from scratch before, let alone using it in sweet dishes. And hey, it was on offer, would you believe the coincidence? Maybe they knew SHF was coming?

Mind you, I have tried eating puff pastry-thingys. I was never really impressed with it, I think the flakiness annoys me somehow, and I often find them greasy and palate-cloying. And now is the time for you to tell me that that is because the puff pastry I've had was made with margarine (EIUWW!!) and all sorts of other nasty stuff that has no place whatsoever in puff pastry - I know, that probably is why the experience hasn't been mind-boggling so far...

So I'd been eyeing this ripe pomegranate in our fruit bowl for the last couple of days, thinking I might be able to do something with it - stamp out a little disc of pastry, dust it with confectioners sugar, a creme patisserie... Doesn't sound to bad, does it? But then last night, as I was doing the obligatory in-bed cookbook reading before I went to sleep, this one leapt out at me from Delia's Vegetarian Collection: Richmond Maids of Honour - complete with lemon curd and all! I thought that a GREAT idea, I had been thinking I wanted something slightly sour to cut through the cloyiness, and I even knew I had a jar in the fridge, bought through my organic vegetable delivery company! Ah! Problem solved!

I'm not that skilled in the world of curds, but this is really nice, sweet, yet sour and tart enough to make the edges of your tongue water!

Richmond Maids of Honour - muahaha, found the recipe on her site - less typing for me! Complete with cute story and all!

Now, you can say what you want about Delia (really, you can - I don't run her fan-club, nor am I a member! - but a book with Vegetarian Collection as a title I can't resist! You can only say it if it's funny too, though!;-)) - but if you ruin her recipes, it's not because her instructions weren't thorough! This one was a breeze to make, I even took the liberty of just throwing the things together instead of weighing them. Little less than half the jar of ricotta (which I used instead of curd cheese, 'cause I figured hey, ricotta is a curd cheese, innit?) spoonful of sugar, grating of lemon zest, spoonful of almond flour... oops, no candied lemon peel, but what do you know, it didn't really matter, now, did it? I only made 8, I've been having - not exactly problems getting rid of the food I make, funnily, the cakes always disappear! - but I've been feeling just a wee bit guilty cooking so much food lately, and not for any special occasion. Guess you could say SHF is a special occasion though! Anyways - I sorta halved the recipe and got 8, that's what I wanted to say! Delia says you should roll out the puff pastry, but not to which thickness. I rolled out my pastry to about 3 mm., but had leftovers, so four out of the 8 got double pastry - I actually liked that. I'd say roll to about 5 mm thickness.

Results: Breeze to make, and really nice, tangy and with the tangyness, not too much of the palate cloying I've been used to associating with puff pastry. They where good! Next time, I'll make them with my own puff pastry (I read what was in the one I bought. Ugh.) - and I'm sure they'll be some nice recipes around after this.

And now you're going - but that has absolutely NOTHING to do with pomegranates, does it? Well, when in doubt, decorate! Tadah! (and the crunchy seeds proved a nice contrast to the soft, creamy filling and all the flaky layers)

Slightly fuzzy picture - and slightly dark picture... I want a new camera - sigh! But you get the idea, right?

Thursday, February 3, 2005

It Was a Shrimpy Night...

Don't you just love this?
Something so dull...

Turning into something this fantastic and life-confirming!


Archive, Schmarchive

Yea, that's right - I've attempted an archive, guess I just have too much time on my hands now! Got scared of how many posts I've put up on baking topics, compared to the number of posts on something savory... Ah well! Maybe that explains the waist line thing...

It's in the right hand bar, if you wanna take a look.

Wednesday, February 2, 2005

Dining with the Bloggers, February 2nd

Over at My Little Kitchen, Cathy keeps coming up with wonderful ideas and projects to do. Recently, she started doing "Dining with the Bloggers", a weekly event in which she tries out a recipe from a fellow blogger - it can be any recipes that's tickled her fancy, and you know what? There are so many fantastic recipes out there, being posted every day by all you guys, and just not enough time to try them all out!

So I had been thinking to myself: Zarah, you know what? You're REALLY bad at actually trying new stuff. I mean, you might read about them, you might even comment and say, hey, that looks awesome - you might even read the recipe... But you seldom bookmark it. And you almost never, ever actually cook what's in the post. Maybe, if you have the recipe in a book you own yourself, but still... That's just not good enough. Zarah - GET WITH THE PROGRAM!!

What was I to do? There was only one thing I could do - I resolutely went to my g-mail account, and wrote Cathy a big, puppy-eyed e-mail, asking her if I could please, please join her in her Dining with the Bloggers project. And you know what? She said I could! YAY!!!

I therefore present to you, as invented by Cathy of My Little Kitchen: Dining with the Bloggers at Cathy's and Zarah's. Cathy's been kind enough to give you an eloquently written introduction to what's going to happen, so I'll just point you there, and get on with what's important: this weeks tried and tested recipe.

It's winter here, and Baby it's cold outside. Not as cold as it could have been, but cold enough to justify soup. Having just recently crawled my way through the tons and tons of IMBB # 11 entries, my mind kept wandering back to the, as seen through my eyes, Happy Soup The Domestic Goddess presented us with. And what could be more appropriate than to try that - who doesn't like a little sunshine?

And the soup, ah, the soup. Liquid Falafel, as it was named by Jennifer's newly acquired husband S - and boy oh boy, it sure is! It takes literally seconds to make - I took the liberty of being lazy enough to let my food processor do the chopping and grating, then it's just sautéeing, blending, adding - VOILA! Couldn't be easier, and with this outcome, I'd say we have a definite winner! I'd usually have thought something having this much chickpeas in it might be bland, but no. A nice blend of spices (I'm a big fan of cumin!), creaminess from the chickpeas and adding tartness with a dollop of yoghurt. The soup is a bit chunky, and I think I might try blending half the next time, as I like my soup smooth as velvet, just because that's what I'm used to - but I'm pretty sure this'll become a cupboard-standby... Just looking at it makes you - well, smile!:-)

Take a look at what Cathy's been up to this week too...

Tuesday, February 1, 2005


Well, that's not what they're really called, it just came to me now. Again, the recipe is from Baking by Flavor (just let me know when I'm pushing this book a little to much at you, m'kay?;-)) and I'm pretty sure the results will be amazing if you don't do the two things I did :
1) forgot to put salt in the dough
2) was too occupied reading some food blog (now how did that happen?!?) and let them have just those two minutes too long in the oven.
I know - stupid - stupid - stupid!

The recipe - Oh, I'd love to give it to you, but I've already posted a couple of recipes from this book and my conscience is nagging at me. But I'll let you know this. It's a three component affair, elaborating over 3 pages in the book . You start by making the yeast dough (which you can leave to rise in the fridge if you want, thus stretching the preparation of the buns over two days) and then there's filling and a so-called sticky mixture.

What I found untraditional compared to how I've always made cinnamon buns (Or Snegle as they would be in Danish (literally means snail)) is that the filling is like a crumble and then you put it on top of butter that you've smeared across the rolled-out dough. Like this:


Butter-covered dough

And that gives you:

As for the sticky mixture:

- that goes in the bottom of the muffin cups and makes the oozy, caramelly topping. This looks more like what I'd usually put on top of the dough, then roll it up. But alright! It sure did work!

Luckily, I hadn't totally ruined them, the taste was definitely alright, only the texture a little too crunchy to my liking - but no one to blame but myself...

Seeing I can't just leave you here drooling with no recipe (and although amazon is fast, I'm sure they wouldn't be fast enough right now!) I'll point you to these: Moira did some fantastic looking Cinnamon & Cardamom buns the other day (From a book that is high on my wish list) - and I've also had great results with Nigella's (regular) Norwegian Cinnamon Buns (p. 322) and the wicked, wicked Schneckens (p. 324), both from How to be a Domestic Goddess. Do enjoy!