Thursday, 29 October 2009

Peanut Butter Brownies

I seem to be baking an aweful lot these days. The day before yesterday I had a go at making macarons, I will post that recipe after the weekend, the other day I made peanut butter cookies, and today I made brownies. I have never made proper brownies before, although I have made the Swedish version - sticky cake, a sticky chocolate cake, plenty of times. Maybe I will post a recipe for sticky cake after the weekend too... we'll see.

Anyway, since I have never made proper brownies before I didn't have a recipe. I looked through numerous recipes, and finally found THE ONE. Martha Stewart's Chocolate-Chip Brownies. However, as always I didn't have all the ingredients, namely the chocolate-chips. But I had a jar of peanut butter, I was planing on using some of it for a new batch of Ashley's Peanut butter cookies... I think you understand where this story is heading... I substituted the chocolate-chips for peanut butter.

Peanut butter brownies
(Adapted from Martha Stewart)
Makes 16

113 g butter
2,3 dl (1 cup) flour, leveled
½ dl cocoa powder
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt (only if you use unsalted butter)
2-3 tbsp peanut butter
220 g chocolate, chopped
3 dl sugar
3 large eggs

Pre-heat your oven to 180° C. Line a 22 x 22 cm large baking pan with parchment paper. Grease the paper with some butter.

Melt butter and chopped chocolate in a bain-marie (also known as a water bath). When melted, mix in the peanut butter. Add in the sugar, mix to combine. Add in the eggs, be sure to stir continuously so that the eggs don't turn into scrambled eggs.

In another bowl, mix the dry ingredients.

Mix the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients. Be careful not to overmix. Stir just enough to combine.

Pour the brownie mixture in the baking pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes. To check if the brownie is done, insert a toothpick into the cake. If the toothpick comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached, it's done.

Cool in the pan for 30 minutes.

Using paper overhang , lift brownies out of the pan. Allow to cool completely on a rack, still in paper. When cool, cut the cake into 16 pieces. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 days. Or freeze for up to 3 months.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Peanut butter cookies

Browsing through the many food blogs I read online, the recipe for Peanut Butter Cookies over at Big Flavors From A Tiny Kitchen by Ashley, caught my eye. Seeing how I am a sucker for pb (peanut butter) I thought to myself "Yum!".
However, I actually tend not to store any pb at home as I will finish the entire jar in only a couple of days. But not too long ago I bought a 500 g bag of Lebanese peanuts (can't quite remember why I bought them but I remember I only used a small amount and then put the rest of the nuts in the cupboard). So I had a whole bunch of peanuts in my cupboard and from them I decided to make my own peanut butter. I am not going to go into the process of making pb at home. It's basically like making Tahini = dead easy and so much tastier and healthier than the pb you buy.

So, the moral to the story is that I used the peanut butter I made in the peanut butter cookies, using a recipe from Ashley at Big Flavors From A Tiny Kitchen.

Peanut butter cookies
½ cup/64 g butter
½ cup peanut butter
½ cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1 egg
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 ¼ cups flour
¾ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 190° C. Cream butter, peanut butter, and sugars in a bowl. Stir in egg and vanilla, followed by the dry ingredients.

Shape into 2,5 cm balls. To get the correct size; use a teaspoon measuring cup to scoop out the cookie dough, place the 1 tsp + a little more of dough in the palm of your hand and roll into a ball.
Roll in sugar. Place the balls 5 cm apart on a baking tray lined with parchment paper/silicone mat. Press down on the balls with a fork. Bake for 10-12 minutes on the middle shelf.

Allow to cool on a rack.

Enjoy with a glass of milk, a cup of coffee, or store in an airtight jar.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Malaysian Meat Curry Puffs

Malaysian meat curry puffs
(adapted from Spicie Foodie)
makes about 13 puffs
These can of course be made vegetarian-friendly.

5 tbsp oil
1 medium onion
1 tbsp grated ginger
3 ½ tsp meat curry powder
½ tsp chili powder
½ tsp turmeric powder
2 large cooked potatoes, diced
2 tsp sugar
½ tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
400 g cooked meat, I used meat from a rotisserie chicken
60 ml water
1. Fry the onions and ginger until the onion is golden. Add curry, turmeric and chili and cook until fragrant. Next add potatoes, sugar, pepper and salt and cook for 10 minutes. Add chicken and water and cook until the mixture is almost dry. Set aside to chill.

500 g flour
150 g butter
200 ml water
½ tsp salt (ONLY if you use unsalted butter)

Mix all ingredients into a smooth pastry. Cover and set aside for 30 minutes in a warm place.
Cut the dough in half. Roll out the pastry, using a cookie cutter (10 cm) cut out circles.
Take 1 tbsp of the filling and place in each cut out circle.

2. Fold in half

3. Using a fork, press the edges together.

4. Place the puffs on an oven tray.

5. Bake the puffs for 30 minutes at 180 c. Serve warm or at room temperature with a spicy dipping sauce.

American food

A little piece of America, right there in Svinesund....

This must be candy heaven

The other week I went on a "Harry-tur" to Sweden. For those of you who have never heard this expression before:

Harry-tur- Norwegians going over to Sweden to buy cheap food, alcohol and tobacco.

Going on a Harry-tur always means going to Godishuset (The candy house) where they have over 1,000 different kinds pick n' mix candy. The reason one always goes there, except the obvious, is that pick n' mix candy in Norway cost about $ 2/ 100 g, and in Sweden you get it for $ 1/ 100g. I managed to contain myself and actually only bought about 200 g of smarties to put on future cupcakes.

Friday, 16 October 2009

Malaysian Meat Curry Powder

I managed to get a hold of fennel seeds in Sweden, and set out to make the Malaysian Meat Curry Powder one night when my bf had a friend over.

Making the powder was really easy and well worth the effort. However my spice grinder, an old fashioned coffee grinder, did make the actual process of grinding the spices somewhat tedious and difficult. But plans are that I'm buying an electric spice grinder in the near future. Can't wait!

Malaysian Meat Curry Powder
(adapted from Spicie Foodie)

10 whole cloves
10 whole black peppercorns
4 whole cardamom pods
1(5cm) cinnamon stick
4 whole dried red chilies
4 tbsp coriander seeds
2 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp turmeric
Roast the spices according to size on medium heat starting with cloves, peppercorns and cardamom. When the spices start to smoke and release their fragrance tip onto a plate and allow to cool. Next toast cinnamon and chilies, then coriander seeds. Last but not least, toast the cumin- and fennel seeds.
Grind the toasted spices, either in a coffee/spice grinder or in a pestle and mortar, into a fine powder. Add in the turmeric.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Fennel seeds?

Ever since I stumbled across this recipe for Malaysian Meat Curry Powder over at Spicie Foodie, I've been meaning to make some. I store quite a good number of spices in my cupboard but I've somehow managed to overlook fennel seeds, and even though the curry powder only calls for 1 tsp I don't want to skip it. It won't be Malaysian Meat Curry Powder without the fennel seeds.

For some reason I've managed to forget to buy the seeds when I've been at the grocery store or the grocery store's been out of fennel seeds...

Come yesterday my bf was on his way to table tennis practice when I asked him if he would be so kind as to stop by at the grocery store just next door from where he plays table tennis. He said, no problem and promised he'd look for/buy fennel seeds for me. Yay, I was so excited when he returned.

I threw myself over the shopping bag and said:
Me: where are my fennel seeds?
Bf: I couldn't find any seeds.
Me looking inside the shopping bag and pulling out a vegetable
Me: What is this??
Bf (with a smile on his face): It's fennel, the vegetable
Me: I know what it is. Why did you buy fennel?
Bf: I thought you might want to use it instead of the seeds.
Me: Come again?!
Bf: Yes, I thought maybe you didn't need the actual seeds.
Me: Huh?
Bf: To be honest I thought you were just trying to save money by buying the seeds instead of the real thing... (apparently I'm always bargain hunting)
Me (making a face): Are you kidding me? This is like buying pumpkin seeds instead of a pumpkin for Halloween...
Bf: I thought maybe you could find the seeds inside...
Bf: I thought you'd be happy....
Me: I'm not happy!
I kept sulking for quite a while, murmuring in a low voice "this is like buying pumpkin seeds instead of a pumpkin for Halloween" while preparing dinner- roast carrot soup with creme fraiche and mint.

So, here I am, stuck with this ugly looking vegetable (and no curry powder) and no idea what to use it for. I don't even like fennel in food. Maybe I should challenge him to find a fennel recipe to cook for me?!

Please comment with similar stories...

Monday, 5 October 2009

Cat caught your... cupboard?

Check out who I found lurking in my kitchen cupboard the other day:

Poe-Bjarne (or Poe Patrik Bjarne as I like to call him).
The wire shelf just above his head is where I keep his food...

Sunday dinner

A quick, easy and delicious Sunday dinner. Salmon cutlets sprinkled with lemon-infused black pepper, pan fried for a maximum of 3 minutes per side. Served with oven-roasted veggies (potatoes, onions and carrots) and a fresh herb- and garlic sauce.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Chocolate cookies

These cookies were utterly delicious. I happened to forget to time one tray and those cookies came out slightly crispier than the others, but that was all my fault. I also forgot to make them into "sandwiches", so we just ate them as normal cookies. The next time I make these I'm gonna be a little bit more attentive, and then I'm sure they'll all come out yummy! My next project is to make macaroons. Everybody else seems to be making them, I don't want to be left out....

The recipe for Martha's chocolate cookies
can be found HERE!

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Homemade Chinese takeout

Buying takeout food, even something as simple as McDonald's or pizza, here in Norway is ridiculously expensive. A medium pizza cost anywhere from $15 and up- that's expensive!

With expensive takeouts in mind me and the bf decided on making our own takeout food at home. We decided on Chinese as we both love it.

Earlier that week we had talked about different chores around the house and I had half-heartedly complained that I always do all the cooking. Don't get me wrong, I love cooking (as well you know) but sometimes a little help goes a long way. He then said, and I have to agree that he was on to something, that whenever he tries to help I always watch him like a hawk and end up taking over because he's not doing whatever it is that he's doing the way I want it to be done... (It's not my fault that my way is the right way!!)

Anyways, I decided on handing over the responsibility for an ENTIRE dish, and lo and behold, he did brilliantly. Ok, I tried to "guide" him a few times when I sensed disaster was near, but he just told me to "shoosh and mind my own business". I was very proud of him for making an entire dish on his own, read: he chopped a lot of prawns and onions and spread them on top of bread....! But he was very proud of himself and who am I to take that pride away from him?!

Here's what he made

Sesame prawn toasts
Serves 4 as part of a meal

225 g peeled, de-veined and chopped tiger prawns
1 spring onion/scallion, chopped
½ tsp salt
1 tsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp cornstarch/potato starch
1 egg white, lightly beaten
3 thin slices bread, crust removed
4 tbsp sesame seeds
vegetable oil for deep frying

In a bowl, combine prawns, spring onion/scallion, salt, soy sauce, corn/potato starch and egg white.

Spread the mixture on the slices of bread, sprinkle with sesame seeds and press down hard to ensure the topping doesn't fall off when deep frying.

Deep fry for 2-3 minutes, turning half way through, until golden brown and crisp. Drain on kitchen paper. Eat!

My contribution to the Chinese takeout was, apart from being food"gestapo"incarnate, deep fried king/tiger prawns.

Here's the recipe:

Deep fried king/tiger prawns

Serves 4 as part of a meal

16 king/tiger prawns
oil for deep frying
200 g all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 egg, beaten
dl milk
1 pinch chili powder

Peel and de-vein the prawns, but keep the tail intact.

In a bowl, combine the dry ingredients for the batter. Pour in the wet ingredients and stir until you have a thick batter.

Heat the oil in a wok. Hold the prawn by the tail and dip into the batter. Carefully drop each batter coated prawn into the hot oil. Deep fry for about 3 minutes, take out and drain on kitchen paper. Eat!