Monday, May 30, 2005

Pretty Please with Three Cherries on the Side...

Cherries was at the market the other day and I just couldn't help myself from buying them although they were a teeny tiny bit expensive. Heck, I'm studying for my exam and I need to treat myself nicely from time to time - let myself indulge, if you know what I mean!

And it has been a while since I'd made anything out of Baking by Flavor, hasn't it? Unfortunately, no recipes in that one that included fresh cherries, but - there is this killer recipe for blueberry muffins that I tried once. Loads of spices in it, which accented the blueberries so well, but I didn't think they would be quite the match for cherries...

So - found some leftover marzipan from Christmas in the back of the cupboard (there are so many goodies in there, it keeps surprising me!) - and did buy a huge amount of milk chocolate a while ago. It is getting warmer around here, and we all know what happens when chocolate is in a hot environment - it melts! Man, I had to do something and I had to do it fast, or I'd end up with a big pile of melted chocolate! Oh the HORROR!

I took the recipe for the blueberry muffins, but only used the basic recipe, and halved it, 'cause I did want to eat some of the cherries just as they were. Added the grated marzipan, a handful or two of milk chocolate "drops" - and there you have it!

Cherry, Marzipan & Milk Chocolate Muffins - adapted from Baking by Flavor

Makes 6 jumbo muffins

6 jumbo muffin cups, buttered and floured.

Preheat the oven to 375 F.

1½ cup flour
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon
2 pinches of salt
½ cup of sugar

Sift the dry ingredients together

3 tablespoons milk
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3/4 cup thick sour cream
4 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled

Whisk the wet ingredients together

about 100 g. of marzipan (I don't know how much, it was just what was left!)
1 cup cherries, stoned (I have this neat cherry pitter - I'll introduce you sometime soon!)
A good handful of chopped milk chocolate - or two, heh!

Grate the marzipan into the dry ingredients, and give it a good stir.
Toss the cherries with a teaspoon of the flour-mixture.

Add the wet ingredients to the drstirringing them together. Add the cherries and chocolate, and divide between the prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle with granulated sugar, or maybe some chopped almonds. In fact, if you don't have marzipan, you could substitute some of the flour for ground almonds. Or you could add chopped almonds to the mix, instead of the chocolate. Or you could have both chocolate AND almonds. I think almonds would go well with cherries...

Now where was I? Oh yeah - bake in a 375 F hot oven, for about 25 minutes. Leave to cool a bit in the cups, then turn out and eat. Preferably in the sun. Oh, and with no textbooks in site. Or on top of the textbooks, making sure to drop some greasy crumbs on the pages...

Friday, May 27, 2005

A one-person Tart - ahem, no, not THAT kind of tart!

Just an EDIBLE tart for one person with cherry tomatoes, buffalo milk mozarella and basil. This would fit Dreska's Italian theme so well!

The pie crust was made from a left-over piece of short crust pastry I'd stuck in the freezer some time ago, thawed, rolled and baked blind.

Then all there was to it was a bunch of tomatoes at the market, the basil that would wilt within the next couple of days anyways - and hey, didn't I buy some mozarella di buffalo a couple of days ago? An egg yolk, a little cream, salt and pepper whisked together, and poured on top. Another stop by the oven, a green salad on the side - ah yes, a perfect dinner for when summer truly has arrived!

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Dining with the Bloggers - May 25th

C'est l'amour, la vie - oops, sorry - French is not one of the languages I speak - or write. But darn it, I can cook French if I want to! The theme for Dining with the Bloggers this week is ze fabulous classic cuisine - ze French!

And where better to turn than to everyone's darling petit French woman - Clotilde of Chocolate & Zucchini. It's not like she needs the extra linking, is it?:-) but just as I used to neglect making recipes from all the other blogs out there, I never tried any of hers. And that is a shame, especially considering her pictures almost without fail make me drool.

Chocolate & Zucchini's index is huge and with LOADS of recipes, but when I found a recipe for Galettes de Sarrasin (buckwheat crepes), I was sold. There's this tiny little restaurant here in Copenhagen that make the most beautiful - and tasty! - buckwheat crepes, and I never thought about the fact that I could make them myself.

The recipe is easy to follow, you just have to let the batter rest, preferably overnight. A couple of hours will do though, as they did in my case. Making them was easy too, but the first ones didn't spread - hence didn't get as thin - as I would have liked, but I blame that on my lack of practice - my wrist is just not made for rotating like that! The last ones was definitely better. We filled the galettes with spinach and fried eggs, and a bit of cheese - heaven! I might add a pinch of salt to the batter the next time, but other than that, I think they were flawless!

I agree with Clotilde that there is a bit of juggling to do with keeping everything warm, but if you stick to not to many fillings, and a green salad on the side, you have the perfect summer meal!

Where in the French has Cathy gone this week?

Monday, May 23, 2005

[DANSK] Æbletrifli my style

I'm in a trifle state of mind these days - this is actually very much like the rhubarb one, and a bastardized version of a TRUE Danish kind. There'd be no yoghurt on that one - no, only whipped cream will do. And, you'd actually use æblerasp (a kind of sweetened bread crumbs) instead of macaroons - but this is my version, remember?

Apple compote - I make mine by stewing apples, cut up in not-too-small pieces, with sugar and a cut-up vanilla pod. This batch I cooked a loooong time ago - just found it in my freezer when I cleaned it the other day, and it was still surprisingly flavorful! The joys of modern kitchen appliance! Crumbled macaroons on top (or æblerasp of course) and fat, drained yoghurt (or whipped cream, as decided by your waistline) on top of that. Sprinkle with a little brown sugar, and you're all ready to go!

Friday, May 20, 2005

SHF#8: Pucker up with Citrus! Lemony Victoria Sponge Cake

You really couldn't have entered this months Sugar High Friday without one of the Microplane-wonders pictured here - well, maybe you could, but I for one wouldn't have wanted to! Microplaners make for the loveliest, fluffiest zest you've ever seen, and you don't get stuck with stringy pieces with all the white stuff still on it, in your teeth. And for me, going without zest in a theme like Pucker up with Citrus! would be a no-no! Alice of My Adventures in the Breadbox is the host this time. You could use anything that incorporated citrus in any form, shape or size - pomelo, lime, grapefruit, orange - my choice was the sunny lemon!

Now, I'm stretching the theme a bit here, I think - because I really wanted to use lemon curd (as I've done before), but I didn't make it myself - I'd love to try making it, but now wasn't the time. I bought it - but I promise you, it's made with the real deal! It makes your eyes go all squinty if you're one of those persons (like me!) that can't help yourself from spooning it out from the jar and into your mouth! Lovely! The recipe does call for both zest and juice of a lemon too, so I guess it's not an all-the-way cheat... And, I used my lemon-scented sugar!

What I made, after a brief encounter with a not-so-fantastic Citronmåne (a Danish Classic) - was a version of a Victoria Sponge that Nigella describes in How To Be A Domestic Goddess. No, no making up new recipes for me this time - I wanted true, tried, tested and terrific, and I have still to make a recipe from this book that is decidedly BAD or doesn't work. Some, I'm more satisfied with than others, but that's also a matter of taste I suppose.

I had all the things already in the kitchen - except the mascarpone, which I thought I could do without, or substitute. That proved to be a bit - well should we say, not fatal, only a bit more liquidy than I could have wished!

Lemony Victoria Sponge Cake - How To Be A Domestic Goddess, p. 15-16.

Basically - make sponge - add lemon zest, and substitute milk with lemon juice - bake - layer cooled cakes with mascarpone and lemon curd.

for the cake:
225 g unsalted butter, very soft
225 g sugar
4 large eggs
225 g self-rising cake flour
3-4 tablespoons lemon juice

For the filling/topping:
- well, lets get back to that one!

2 x 21cm cake tins, buttered

Preheat the oven to 180C

Cream the butter with the sugar and lemon zest.

- The black stuff in the picture is a bit of vanilla scraped out from a vanilla pod - okay, so the picture wasn't really taken during the making of this cake, but when I did the Citronmåne - but I just had to show you all that fluffy zest!

Add the eggs, one at the time, beating well after each one. Add a spoonful of flour after each has been incorporated. Fold in the rest of the flour, then add the lemon juice.

Pour and scrape the batter into the tins and bake for about 25 minutes, until the cakes are beginning to come away at the edges, are springy to the touch on top and a cake tester comes out clean. Leave the cakes in their pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes before turning out and leaving to cool completely.

When you're ready to eat the cake (that is, as soon as the cakes have cooled enough!) spread with your filling of choice. Now for me, even though the recipe said mascarpone and lemon curd - and did ask for you to make one layer of each (mascarpone between the two cakes, lemon curd on top) I choose to beat up a thick version of crème fraîche with 2 generous tablespoons of lemon curd. The taste was outstanding - sharp and astringent with the citrus, mellowed out by the cool, fat créme fraîche - but it got very liquid, and slipped of the sides of the cakes - naturally. The next day, it was pretty set, just not to pretty to look at - maybe if you add a little icing sugar - or layered it, with crème fraîche between the cakes, and put the curd on top, not beating them together first... Or, you know, just go for the mascarpone! But the lemon curd, you can't miss out on that!

The sponge itself had a nice hint of citrus, not overpowering, just a lemony glow and scent. Yum. I love it when I find "the recipes within recipes" like these, just from looking in the index in the back!

The recipes I've tried so far are way to sour, so have YOU made the ultimate lemon tart that I have to try? Mmm, or orange granita? Or Key lime pie? Lemon meringue pie? Grape fruit salad? Oh, the amount of dolces we're about to see!

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Dining with the Bloggers - May 18th

An EASY one this week - beverages! At least that was what Cathy claimed it would be, when she suggested it a while back.

Well, and then not so much so! Not because of the theme though, but because this last week has been more than usually hectic for me, and while I knew exactly what I wanted to make, I haven't done it. Yet.

Hang on one second...

Wait, is it okay to mix alcohol with antihistamines?;-)

I love reading The Food Whore's blog - she doesn't put up a lot of recipes, but her gossiping posts more than make up for it, and I love - love - love her bitchy-ness! I often cry from laughing reading it, and am amazed at some of her stories! Seriously - who would do this?!

The Lemon Drop Martini is a drink she's written about a couple of times, so when she revealed the ingredients a couple of months ago, it was diligently bookmarked and definitely comes in handy here on a icky cold May evening where I needed a little pick-me-up. Studying too much pathology will do that to you! It works, and I love it! Used regular vodka and a homemade sugar syrup and did put both hands on the shaker - I am under the influence of antihistamines, afterall!

Cathy's returned from Sicily and gone the lemon way too - looks yummy to me!

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Gourmet Guinea Pig

Hmm, I wonder how many people will end up here as a result of a Google search, looking for recipes for cooking guinea pig? Heh - well sorry, that's NOT what this is about!

You see, as you all know by now, I am a foodie. Naturally, things rub off when you live in a household with one such - so much so that my guinea pig has become - well, a Gourmet Guinea Pig. He doesn't hide in the hay - no no, he hides in a forest of - PARSLEY!

I'm doing a lot of cooking for my cousin's 18th birthday - lots of goodies coming up, I hope!

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Dining with the Bloggers - May 11th

The Boyfriend started working looooong hours with his new job, so I'm left with doing dinner almost each and every evening - which is fine, now. When it first started, I spent hours thinking about what to make - we do eat quite differently, our cooking styles are pretty far apart. We like the same kinds of food, but in general, I'd say my food is usually more simple (brown rice with avocado, tamari and toasted sesame seeds) and I felt like I had to provide a real meal for him - yes, I fell victim for the meat, potatoes and two vegs!

Naturally, that wasn't going to happen forever. Especially seeing I had to do the cooking, and his contribution to the affair was along the lines of:
me: "what would you like to eat for dinner?"
him: "Oh I don't know. I'm sure you'll come up with something great"

So I took charge and decided I'd just cook what I like! (minus the brown rice affair though - I think he'd look pretty disappointed if I did that!) - and it's actually worked great so far. I still try to find things that we both like. So that was the criteria this week for Dining with the Bloggers - food both me and the Boyfriend will enjoy!

One of those things is falafel. We used to just go get it at the shop around the corner, but ahem... some business with the veterinarian control (the people that makes sure restaurants keep clean and tidy around here) has sort of put an end to that, resulting in us not having had our regular falafel dose in quite a while.

I tried making them myself, with BAD results - lots of crumbs on the bottom of a large pot of bubbling oil. Not good. Luckily, to the rescue came Nic from Baking Sheet and her Oven-baked Falafel. Nic cooks and bakes so many a dreamy thing it was actually hard to choose just one thing from her blog to try, but seeing dinner was to be put on the table, and a craving satisfied, these were the chosen ones. At the moment she's doing a baking class herself, sharing all the tips and tricks with her readers - I'm so going to be making the meanest buttercream frosting soon, thanks to her!

They were so easy to do, from I started until we sat down to dinner took no more than an hour - which could probably be cut in half, or at least down to 45 minutes - I enjoy myself in the kitchen, so I don't rush, and then there was the dirty dishes to be taken care of too. I added some grilled eggplant slices and a creme fraiche dressing to Nic's suggestion of pita bread, salad, tomato and cucumbers for serving - and chili sauce, why of course!

The spice blend of coriander seeds and cumin tasted exactly like the one the guy in the corner shop uses - his falafel is green, too, just like these. I left out the cilantro, for some reason my green grocer was out. The onions, garlic and parsley was cut up in the food processor first, then I added the chickpeas - of the canned variety, as suggested in the comments, and well, because I'm a bad planner sometimes! Added just a little water to make the mixture smooth enough. I will definitely be making these again soon, and a big batch too - Nic says they freeze well, and who wouldn't like to have one's own falafel shop in the freezer, instead of around the corner? Besides, they were better than his!:-)

Monday, May 9, 2005

Strawberry & Rhubarb Jam

It's that time of year where you just have to make stuff like this - at least you have to start experimenting so you'll have the perfect recipe for the bounty that is to come! And seeing I had a little rhubarb left over from last, and strawberries lying around the kitchen, trying this was sure as amen in church!

Although strawberries and rhubarb is a classic combination in jam around here, I had difficulty locating a method for making it myself. I was a little worried about putting the soft berries together with the more stringy rhubarb - wouldn't the berries go mushy before the rhubarb was tender? But the consistency of this one turned out quite well. Tastewise, it did get a little sour, but I would say adding more sugar would take care of that, or leaving out the lemon. Or you know, just buy rhubarb that's not as tart as mine was!:-)

Strawberry & Rhubarb Jam - adapted from Sensational Preserves

Makes one 250 ml. glass

160 g. strawberries, hulled and halved if large
240 g. rhubarb, cut into 1,5 cm. lenghts
240 g. sugar
½ a lemon

Put the strawberries and rhubarb in a plastic bowl. Cover with the sugar, squeeze the juice out of the lemon over the sugar - reserve the pips and skin. Give the berries and rhubarb a good stir and leave in the fridge over night - I actually left mine for 1½ day, with no problems.

When ready, transfer the bowl contents to a pan, and add the pips and skin of the lemon, tied up in a muslin bag. If the sugar hasn't dissolved fully, heat gently until it does. Bring to the boil and boil rapidly for about 15 minutes, stirring as necessary, until setting point is reached. How to find out? Put a saucer in the freezer when you start boiling the jam - then when the 15 minutes are up, put a spoonful of jam on the frozen plate - if it sets, the jam's done - if it doesn't, boil some more.

Remove the pan from the heat, skim the scum from the surface. Discard the muslin bag, and transfer to clean, scolded jam jar(s). Keep in the fridge. Eat on toast or bagels - or spooned, straight from the jar (but do use a clean spoon! Everytime! NO double dips!) I love that bright red color!

Wednesday, May 4, 2005

Dining with the Bloggers - May 4th

Cathy's gone to Sicily, that silly woman! And left me here in the cold, still rainy Denmark - how rude!:-) So I didn't pick a theme as such this week - I just chose to do something that would make me forget that I was in the cold, and Cathy in the sun!

A couple of weeks ago, I spotted this post on Sage, Pine-nut and Pecorino Scones. They were bookmarked as soon as I saw them - easy to whip up and yummy ingredients. They were made by The Part-Time Pro Bono Baker Gemma. Gemma's blog is fairly new, but she's already done a lot of things that are on my to-do list.

Even though I thought the ingredients delectable, I made them on a cold and rainy evening were the planned dinner was a salad, but I just needed something warm and nourishing - read: something that had come out of the oven. Scones! Because it was sort of on a whim, I didn't have the exact ingredients in the house - had pinenuts, some frozen pesto and a couple of twigs of sage languishing in the back of the fridge - no pecorino, but mozarella and parmasan. And Gemma said in her post it was okay to make alterations, so I did!

They were wonderful, and hit the comfort-me-when-it's raining-spot point blank. Savory and flaky in texture, just a tad on the sweet side - actually a little too sweet for me, but I just saw Gemma put an extra note on the post saying she loves it when they are rather sweet, but that other people might like them a bit more savory. I think I'm one of those, and would probably cut the sugar down to two or three tablespoons. They're quick to do, and the base recipe would be great for all sorts of combinations. I can't say anything but BAKE THESE! Now! The recipe has already been put in my recipe note book in fat, black ink...

(Updated with picture)

Tuesday, May 3, 2005

[DANSK] - a definition

My definition.

You might have noticed the small bracket-enclosed word I had on one of my last posts. It is one I hope to use quite a lot in the time coming. It simply means, in case you hadn't figured that out already, Danish.

Here's the deal - I'm not big in Danish foods, although I am Danish. With the help of a couple of fantastic ladies, I've decided to try and tread the path that is Danish food. There's a lot of meat, fat, dairy and well, generally, not stuff that I'm big fan of - maybe apart from the dairy that is. Still, there are things in Danish cuisine I love. For a lot of them, I don't know if they could really be defined as being DANISH - heck, some of them may be very far from it! Traditions and styles of different kitchens are being mixed and matched so much these days, I think it's sometimes hard to deduct where something originally came from.

The point is, I'm not going to be very strict on the subject - what will be important for me here, is that the dishes will have sprung from something that is, by me, considered to be a big thing around my neck of the woods. No no, that won't mean I'll do Spaghetti Bolognese and claim it's Danish, although I think it would be considered a national favorite dish around here! I just want to try and document some of the cooking that's a big part of where I live and what I've eaten when I was a kid, as I grew up, and as I do now.

So that's basically it. I'll try and explain my reasons for including things in the category whenever I do so, but hopefully, I won't have to justify myself each and every time, hence this definition-post. Feel free to comment, ask and poke around, as you always do! :-)

And now, everybody say with me: RØDGRØD MED FLØDE. Rødgrød med fløde. See, that wasn't so hard!? And the recipe to match those weird words will be coming to a blog near you...

Sunday, May 1, 2005

Barbie, you forgot something!

She forgot her Rhubarb Compote with thick, fat Greek yoghurt and crumbled macaroons. Too bad for her, 'cause now there's none left!;-)

The Greek yoghurt I bought at the local green grocer and the macaroons I bought in Irma. I'm not sure our macaroons would be the same as an English/American macaroon, they're not as chewy, but more along the lines of a meringue, yet no as airy... You get the idea? Anyways, they're just there for the textural crunch, so you could use anything, as long as it's crunchy and sweet. I love the rhubarb compote in a trifle too, layered with pillowy, soft, organic whipped cream and macaroons. But for the everyday version, I opt for yoghurt.

For the compote, I slice up my rhubarb, dump them in roasting tin (unfortunately, I didn't really have enough this time to justify using that one) and sprinkle with - umm, a lot of sugar, vanilla-scented if you have it. Sorry for the lack of specifications, but it really depends on the sourness of your rhubarb! You can always add more if necessary. Sprinkle away, and give it all a stir. Cover the tin with foil, and bake in a 200 C hot oven for 15-20 minutes. Taste the juice/syrup after 10 minutes - if it's not sweet enough, sprinkle with more sugar, then return to the oven. When it's done, drain the compote in a sieve, reserving the syrup. You can sweeten the syrup additionally, if you despite your best efforts didn't get the compote sweet enough. In a small saucepan, add sugar to the syrup, and on a medium high heat, let the sugar dissolve. Drizzle this on top of the compote when you serve it.

And don't forget to ask Barbie around - she loves this stuff :-)