Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Norwegian Almond Cake - Suksess Terte

Long time no blogging. And as always I really don't have a good excuse as to why I have not been blogging lately. I do have a theory though: I work with food all day, at the deli at the local supermarket, so when I get home from work the last thing on my mind is more food. So, not only has the work at the deli killed my joy for blogging about food, it has also managed to kill most of the joy I get from actually cooking good food. Very sad!

Anyway, here I am, back in the saddle. Or so I hope. I have a few recipes to share with you, some that I have made during my absence.

I'd like to start you off with a delicious Norwegian almond cake. I baked it for church a couple of weeks ago, and lo and behold, I sold out! That has not happened in I don't know how long.


Norwegian Almond Cake "Suksess terte"

Base

250 g almonds
250 g icing sugar

5 egg whites
1 tsp baking powder

Chocolate spread

100 g dark cooking chocolate
2 tsp instant coffee powder
2 tbsp water

Custard

5 egg yolks
100 g icing sugar
1 dl (100 ml) heavy cream
4 tsp vanilla sugar
100 g butter

Heat the oven to 180 C.

1. Start off by grounding the almonds. Leave the skins on as this will make the base a lovely dark colour. Mix the icing sugar and the baking powder into the ground almonds and set aside. Whisk the egg whites until fluffy and fold in the almonds. Stir to combine.

2. Line a 9 inch/23 cm cake pan and pour in the base mixture. Bake on the bottom rack for 30-35 minutes. Allow the cake to cool off still in the pan.

3. Chocolate spread: Melt the chocolate using a bain marie (water bath). Pour the water into a small glass and stir in the instant coffee powder. Add the coffee to the melted chocolate, and spread the chocolate/coffee spread onto the cake. Allow the chocolate to set a little before applying the custard.

4. Custard: Add egg yolks, icing sugar, heavy cream and vanilla sugar to a sauce pan. Stir to combine and keep stirring and heat on a low heat until the mixture thickens. Do not up the heat as the custard will go from not thick to THICK in a matter of seconds. Allow the custard to cool off a little before adding the butter. Keep stirring while the butter is melting. Spread the custard on top of the chocolate spread.

Sprinkle some sliced almonds on top and serve.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Egyptian food

Check out the recipes for these flavoursome and delicious Egyptian dishes over at The World On Our Plates.
 

Tagin samak bi-al-kuzbara (White fish in garlic tomato sauce)
Michoteta (Feta cheese salad with cucumber and red onion)

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Homemade butter

Break didn't last very long. I guess the act of saying to myself that I don't have time to blog, made me realize that, actually, I do have time to blog. I've just been lazy- shame on me!

Anyway, I was browsing the net the other day and came across a video made by the people over at showmethecurry.com where they demonstrated how to make homemade butter. Honestly, I can't believe I haven't made my own butter before. I mean, it's dead easy and it requires a whooping 1-2 ingredients; whipping cream and salt.

The more I thought about making my own homemade butter the more I realized that I have known all along how to make it. A push from the smtc should not have been necessary. I heard it as a mantra every time I whipped cream as a kid: "don't whip the cream too much, or it'll turn into butter". Sound familiar? I guess I never thought it was true. But, lo and behold, it is true.

That is really how you make homemade butter. It's as simple as that.

Homemade butter
Adapted from showmethecurry.com


3 dl whipping cream
salt, to taste (optional)

1. Pour the whipping cream into a bowl. Using electric beaters, beat until you have made whipped cream. Continue to beat until the creams gets kind of heavy. Keep on beating 'til the liquid separates, and voilá, you have now made butter.

2. Take the butter out of the bowl and mix with salt. At this stage you can also go on and add herbs, spices or garlic to make flavoured butter.

Store the butter in an airtight container in the fridge.
The flavoured butter will keep for about a week in the fridge.
Butter with no flavours, except salt (optional), will keep in the fridge for a good couple of months.
Both flavoured and plain butter freezes really well.

I'll be back shortly...

I hate when blogging becomes a must instead of a want... therefore I am on a little bit of a blogging-vacation.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Onion Tart

With no meat in sight in the fridge or the in freezer, but about a ton of onions in the pantry, I set out to make an onion tart for dinner. Having never made an onion tart before I was pleasantly surprised with how easy it was to make, and with how absolutely tasty the finished tart was.

Next time I'm going to try and use a mild blue cheese instead of just normal cheese, to give it a little more flavour.

Can't wait to make this again!

Onion tart
Adapted from Bärbloggen
Serves 4

Pie crust
3 ½ dl flour
150 g cold butter, cut into pieces
a pinch salt
about 2 tbsp ice cold water

Filling
4 medium onions
3 eggs
2 ½ dl milk
3 dl grated cheese
salt and pepper
a little paprika powder

Preheat the oven to 200° C.
1. Start by making the pie crust, as this needs to rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Place the flour, butter and salt in a food processor. Mix/pulse until you have a crumbly mix, then add in 1 tbsp of water and pulse. The dough might come together at this point, but if it doesn't, add in a little bit more water until the dough comes together. Place the dough in a plastic bag, flatten it out and place in the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, start on the filling. Cut the onions using a mandolin, or a sharp knife, into really thin rings. Heat some butter or oil in a pan, and fry the onions on a medium to high heat until translucent. Set aside to cool off.

3. Take the pie crust dough out of the fridge and roll it out onto a floured surface. Lift up the dough and fit into a tart pan. Make sure the edges are covered all the way up if you are using a pan with low edges. Prick the pie crust and line it with some parchment paper, and fill with ceramic baking beans or rice. Blind bake for 15 minutes.

4. While the crust is blind baking in the oven, combine the eggs, milk, cheese and spices in a bowl. Whisk to combine.

5. Take out the pie crust from the oven and remove baking beans and parchment paper. Add the, now chilled, onions to the crust. Pour the egg and cheese mix on top, and place the whole thing back into the oven for 30 minutes or until the eggs have set.

Serve with a green salad.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Apple cake

In preparation for making the apple butter I went to my bf's parents' house to pick apples from some trees they have growing in their garden. I picked, and picked, and picked, really without paying too much attention to how many apples I picked. I left their house with 2 grocery bags worth of apples. To say the least, I've had my work cut out for me trying to figure out what to do with all the apples.

Last week I made apple sauce, I've used apples in salads and in my cooking, and I am thinking about maybe having a go at making apple chutney. On Saturday, of last week, I made an apple cake. Yum! It wasn't for me though, I made it for the café at church. And as I have previously said here on the blog, baking cakes for the café requires demographics. You have to know who will show up (as in what age-group. Older people= stuff smothered in whipped cream, younger people= modern cakes, such as cheesecakes or things made of chocolate). I thought I'd play it safe this week, since Irene was making a cake made out of meringue and whipped cream (not a pavlova, but a cake called "Verdens beste"- "The world's best"), I decided to make an apple cake. Old, as well as young people love apple cakes, don't they?

I can tell you, they do. But do you know what they love more than apple cake, or "Verdens beste" for that matter? They love apple cake baked by the new volunteers at church. There I was, selling my cake, when the new volunteers showed up, German and Austrian apple cake in hand, and they barely had the chance to put the cake down before people were fighting over the pieces.

Needless to say, I returned home with half the cake... 


Apple cake
Adapted from Allt om mat
Makes about 30 slices

7 dl plain flour
4 tsp baking powder
2 tsp powdered vanilla sugar
2 eggs
4 dl sugar
3 dl milk
4 tbsp (50 g) melted butter
2 tbsp apple butter, optional

1 kg apples, peeled, cored and cut into wedges
2 tbsp cinnamon
0,75 dl sugar

1. Pre-heat the oven to 200° C. Mix flour, baking powder, powdered vanilla sugar, normal sugar in a large bowl. Crack the eggs in a different bowl, whisk in the milk and the melted butter, and the apple butter, if using. Make a well in the centre of the flour and pour in a little of the egg mixture. Stir to combine using a wooden spoon. Pour in a little more of the egg mixture and stir again, keep doing this until you have incorporated all the of the egg mixture into the flour,and you are left with a smooth batter. Do not use an electric beater for this.

2. Place the peeled, cored and wedged apples in a large plastic freezer bag. Pour in the sugar and the cinnamon. Close the bag and shake it to ensure each wedge of apple is coated.

3. Line a baking tray (30 x 40 cm) with baking parchment. Spread the batter onto the parchment. Press the apple wedges down into the batter one after another in neat rows until you have covered the entire cake with apples. Discard any left over apples, or eat them with some ice cream or some yoghurt.

4. Place the cake on the middle shelf of the oven for 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake-bit of the bake comes out try and free of crumbs.

Serve the cake with ice cream or pour over some vanilla custard.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Spicy chicken & bulgur one-pot

I only just recently discovered the wonderful world of one-pots. A one-pot is a dish where everything is basically cooked in ONE POT. However, if you go to Wikipedia and search for one-pot, you get One-pot synthesis, which I guess after having read only the first couple of line, isn't too far from the truth. In a way....

Back to the subject of one-pots. When I say I only just recently discovered one-pots, what I  really mean is that I earlier today discovered and realized the wonderful world of one-pots. I was browsing through some cooking sites and, as always, stumbled across a recipe for the, said, one-pot. Not only did the recipe seem quick and simple to make, I also knew I had "all" but one ingredient already at home, which is a big plus in my book since my pantry and fridge/freezer are literally begging me to fill them. What I mean by "all" is that I actually did not have chicken thighs or couscous at home, as the original recipe called for. But I had chicken breast fillets and bulgur, so I simply substituted the couscous with bulgur and the thighs with breast fillets.And because I had some green lentils and some raisins in the cupboard I decided to add them to the recipe.

When I cooked this dish I feared it'd get too dry, and that I would have to have some kind of sauce or raita to go with it, but the lemon juice at the end really brightened the flavour and somehow made the dish moist. But by all means, go ahead and serve this dish with a raita or some other yoghurt-based sauce of your choice.
This one-pot is definitely a dish I'll be making again, soon. All the flavours worked really well together, it remind me a little bit of Middle-Eastern or North African flavours, and it was yummie!


Spicy chicken & bulgur one-pot
Adapted from BBCGoodFood
Serves 4

4 chicken breast fillets
2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp garam masala
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 onions, finely sliced
3 cloves of garlic, sliced
500 ml chicken stock (I used stock from a cube)
10 black or green olives
1 dl raisins
1- 1½ dl cooked green lentils
zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 dl bulgur
parsley

1. Start off by putting the chicken fillets into a plastic bag. Add in 1 tsp turmeric and ½ tbsp garam masala, also add in a pinch of salt. Close the bag and massage it so that the chicken fillets gets coated with the spices. Allow to marinade for at least 30 minutes.

2. Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a saucepan or a saute pan. Add in the chicken fillets and fry for 2 minutes on each side. Take the fillets out of the pan and place them on a plate. Add the rest of the oil to the pan and tip in the onion and garlic, and fry until golden, about 8-10 minutes on low-medium heat. Stir in the remaining 1 tsp turmeric and ½ tbsp garam masala. Allow the spices to fry for 1 minute. Pour over the stock and add the olives and the raisins. Bring to the boil. Place the chicken fillets back into the pan and cover the pan with a lid, or some aluminium foil. Over medium heat, simmer until the chicken is done. This can take anywhere from 10-20 minutes, depending on how large/thick your fillets are.

3. When the chicken is done, take them out of the pan and place on a clean plate, cover with some aluminium foil to keep them warm. Add the bulgur and the lentils to the pan and stir. Cover and allow the bulgur to cook, check every now and then to ensure there's enough water in the pan. You can always add in a bit more stock or some water if the pan gets dry. Taste to check if the bulgur is done after about 10-15 minutes. Depending on the size of the bulgur used, the time may vary.

3. Place the cooked chicken back into the pan. Squeeze over the lemon juice, and sprinkle the lemon zest and parsley on top.

I had some sliced almonds in the cupboard that I roasted in a pan until golden. I then scattered them on top of the dish together with the lemon zest and the parsley.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Food Network Canada

I'm, like, famous in Canada!!!

A few days ago, when I made the apple butter, I decided to post the photo I took on the site where I'd found the recipe (Food Network Canada). Little did I know that not many days after posting the photo it would be selected pic of the week. I feel so honoured, and it's great being famous, even if it's all the way over in Canada.

Check out the photo HERE

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Homemade apple butter


Canadian apple butter

It is Canada week over at The World On Out Plates, and I decided to make Canadian apple butter.

Apple butter, for those of you who are not in the know, is a really thick apple sauce. It tastes like the best apple sauce you have ever tried. I promise, you'll love it.

Apple Butter
Makes about 1 large jar
Recipe by Michael Smith from Food Network Canada

10  apples, peeled, cored and quartered
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup apple juice
1/4 tsp each of ground nutmeg, cardamom,  cloves and allspice
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Place all the ingredients in a large sauce pan, stir to combine. Over medium to high heat, cook the apples until they become very soft. Let the mixture cook until the liquid had reduced with about 80% and you have a thick, dark brown sauce.

2. Remove from heat, and using an immersion hand blender, purée the apple butter. Pour the apple butter into sterilized jars.

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Zucchini fritters


Tonight's dinner- Zucchini fritters

Zucchini fritters
Makes 4

1 rather large zucchini, about 30 cm long
½ red chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped
2 spring onions, finely chopped
1 egg, beaten
½-1 dl flour
salt and pepper

1. Grate the zucchini in the coarse side and place the grated zucchini in a bowl. Sprinkle with some salt, mix and set to rest for about 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, place the zucchini in a colander and press down to squeeze out any zucchini juices.

2. Place the zucchini back in the bowl and mix with the rest of the ingredients. The fritter "batter" should be quite loose.

3. Heat some oil in a frying pan and fry as large or small fritters as you want. Flip over when the bottom has turned golden and crisp.

Serve with a dollop of yoghurt and your favourite topping, such as sliced chicken, bacon, prawns or eat them as they are.

Monday, 30 August 2010

Light Chicken Korma

I made a deal with myself a while ago not to eat too many carbohydrates in an attempt to loose some weight. So far I have more or less managed to stay clear of potatoes, rice and pasta, but the tricky part is really to stay clear of bread... And since I'm not much of a pulse person, I'd pretty much rather be fat than to eat beans and lentils. So, so far I have tried to make tasty dishes and have simply left out the high carb side-dishes . I don't know if that's how one does it, and I can't tell a significant weightloss as of yet, but I'm hanging in there.

Tonight's light chicken korma was low in carbs, if one left out the bread. But seeing since I didn't have anything even close to a lettuce leaf in my house at the moment I decided to serve the korma with a side of homemade naan-breads. I did however substitute half the flour with a store bought mixed rye- and wheat flour, which I guess made it a little bit more healthy...

Light Chicken Korma
Serves 4
Adapted from BBC Good Food

4 skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
a small knob of fresh ginger, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, chopped
1 onion, sliced
1 ½ tsp garam masala
150 ml chicken stock
3 tbsp fromage frais (I used quark)
2 tbsp ground cashew nuts
handful of baby spinach leaves, roughly chopped
2 spring onions, the green bits only, cut into 1 cm pieces
corinader/cilantro leaves
1 tbsp sultanas

1. Fry the ginger, garlic and onion in the oil until softened. Add in the chicken and allow the chicken to brown, this takes about 5 minutes. Stir in the garam masala and fry for an additional minute.

2. Pour over the stock and simmer for 10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. 5 minutes into the 10 minutes of simmering the chicken in the stock, add in the spinach leaves and the green bits for from the spring onions.

3. In a small bowl, mix the fromage frais/quark and the ground cashews. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the fromage frais/quark- and cashew mixture. Do not return it to the heat or it will split. Garnish with the sultanas and sprinkle over some leftover cashews.

Serve with homemade naan-bread or rice.

You can add in more stock and fromage frais at the appropriate times if you feel there isn't enough gravy.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Ethiopian food


I made Niter Kebbeh, Doro Wat and Injera bread on Wednesday for week 4 in "The World On Our Plates"-project.

Check out how it went + recipes HERE

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Malaysian Chicken Curry

I came across a recipe for Black Beef Cry Curry over at Fuss Free Cooking, and I immediately knew that this was a dish I really wanted to make one day. As I am a bit low on cash at the moment, I'm pretty much in-between jobs, I figured if I could make some minor adjustments to the original recipe I would be able to make it with the stuff I had in my pantry/fridge.

So, instead of the beef I used chicken, and I did not know exactly what kind of Malaysian curry powder she was referring to so I used the Malaysian meat curry powder I made a while ago. Also, I had never heard of Ketjap Manis, nor did I have money to buy it from the shop were I to come across it, so I decided to make my own from a recipe I found online. This did not turn out all that good, I think I just let the "sauce" reduce way too much, so instead of a syrup kind of liquid it turned out like thick, thick, thick syrup. I had to dilute it with hot water to even get the spoon into it. The moral of this story is; buy the Ketjap Manis at the shop!

Here's my version of Fuss Free Cooking's Black Beef Dry Curry.

Malaysian Chicken Curry
Serves 2
Adapted from Fuss Free Cooking

3 small chicken breasts, or 2 medium, diced
1 ½ tbsp Malaysian meat curry powder
water
2-3 tbsp Ketjap Manis
about 5 curry leaves
1 onion, sliced thinly
2 ½ garlic cloves, chopped roughly
½ inch ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1 small green chilli, de seeded and halved
1 tomato, quartered
salt and sugar, to taste

1. Start by soaking the curry powder in the water for 30 minutes.

2. Heat some oil in a pan and fry the curry leaves. Add the onion, garlic, ginger and green chilli. Fry until fragrant.

3. Add in the curry and water mix and stir to combine. Fry for 10-15 minutes until the oil starts to separate.

4. Add in tomatoes, chicken, ketjap manis, and some salt and sugar. Also add in enough water to just cover the chicken and cook until the liquid has just about halved and the chicken is cooked through.

5. Serve with spiced rice or with a side of fresh salad.

I added some sweet corn at step 4 because I found an open box of sweet corn in the fridge that needed to be used up.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Chicken and Sweet Corn Soup

I picked sweet corn at a farm not too far from where I live yesterday. I paid 25 NOK/kg, about $ 4/kg. It might sound horribly expensive to some of you, but stuff, especially food, is really expensive in Norway.

Yesterday we boiled some corn on the cob and served them with butter and salt as an evening snack. We had the same for lunch today. I am trying to eat them all before they go bad as last year I had a rather bad experience with freezing fresh sweet corn.

Tonight I made chicken and sweet corn soup. I didn't have any dairy products at home, so I had to come up with a soup without milk or cream... It turned out great, I just threw together some ingredients that I had in the fridge.

Chicken and Sweet Corn Soup
Serves 3-4

vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, grated
1 bay leaf
1 tsp Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce
1 ½-2 tbsp Heinz ketchup
1 chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces
1½-2 cubes chicken stock
1 litre water
kernels from 2 corn on the cob
1-2 tsp garam masala
salt & pepper
some flat leaf parsley

1. Heat about 2 tbsp of vegetable oil in a large sauce pan. Add in the onion, garlic and bay leaf and sauté for a couple of minutes. Stir in the chili sauce, ketchup and crushed stock cubes. Add in the pieces of chicken breast, water, corn kernels and half the garam masala.

2. Bring soup to the boil, turn down to medium heat and allow the soup to simmer for 10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked. Add salt and pepper, and more garam masala, to taste. Chop some parsley and add it to the soup, right before you serve it.

Serve the soup in individual bowls, drizzle over some olive oil and sprinkle some more parsley.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Chicken Roulade With A Fresh Bulgur Salad

Yesterday's dinner was a quick chicken breast roulade filled with homemade sun-dried tomato pesto served on a bed of a cucumber, red pepper, leek, raisin, carrot and parsley bulgur salad. The bulgur salad was dressed with a splash of lemon juice and olive oil to keep it moist. The rather disgusting looking brown/black bits scattered around and on top of the bulgur are fried mushrooms. They added nothing to the dish, and if I could take them out of the picture I would.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

The World On Our Plates

Me and my friend Josefin are launching a new blog. The blog's called "The World On Our Plates". To explain the concept of the blog to you, I have to explain the entire story, so here it goes...

Me, Josefin and Susanne (the girl I went to Copenhagen with, and the girl who has designed the awesome logo for out new website) met up one Wednesday at Susanne's apartment for some food and boardgames, and we got to talking about one thing or the other which led Josefin into mentioning a film she had recently seen: Julie&Julia. She said that after watching the film she was inspired and wanted to do something similar, but instead of cooking from a Julia Child's cookbook (which has obviously been done before) she wanted to cook food from around the world. As an eager foodie I couldn't resist to invite myself along on her project and that's how "The World On Our Plates" came about. We decided we wanted to cook ourselves around the world and came up with the idea of cooking one dish per week each, from one country each, for an entire year.

104 countries in 52 weeks.

I don't think it's overly ambitious, but I might have chosen some rather difficult countries, such as Kiribati, The Solomon Islands and Micronesia. But I'm sure I'll find recipes, eventually.

My first country is Israel; I made bagels, and Josefin's first country is Paraguay.

So, please do come check us out at "The World On Our Plates"

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Sushi, take 2

Today's dinner was homemade sushi filled with cucumber, leeks, red pepper, baby corn and smoked mackerel or salmon. Served with wasabi and soy sauce.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Cupcakes

When my friend asked me the other day if I wanted to hang out and watch a movie, I said yes on one condition: that she would let me teach her how to make cupcakes from scratch. You see, I had a couple of weeks earlier been gobsmacked when said friend told me that she did a little bit of baking, but that she always used the "just add water"-cake mixes. I really couldn't believe what I was hearing, and vowed to give her a lesson in baking when I had time.

Since she didn't have any of the ingredients I had to bring flour, baking powder, sugar and eggs. The rest of the ingredients we picked up at the store on our way to her place, she came to pick me up in her car since it was raining and I don't have a car, nor do I drive.

The cupcakes turned out great and I left my friend with the recipe, she even asked for it, and said, quite a few times, while we were baking that "this wasn't as difficult as I'd expected it to be". Yay, mission accomplished!

Cupcakes
Makes about 20 cupcakes
Adopted from Laila bakar

100 g butter, melted
2 eggs
1.5 dl caster sugar
1 tsk vanilla sugar
2 dl milk
1 lemon, the zest
4 dl flour
2 tsk baking powder
1 pinch salt

Frosting:
100 g Philadelphia cheese
60 g soft butter
300 g chocolate/strawberry flavoured powdered sugar
the juice of ½ lemon

1. Pre-heat your oven to 200 C fan, or 220 C if you use a normal oven.

2. Start by beating the eggs and the sugars until you have a pale yellow, fluffy batter.

3. Pour in the melted butter, milk and the lemon zest. Mix to combine.

4. Using a wooden spoon or a spatula, fold in the flour, baking powder and salt.

5. Line a cupcake tin with cupcake liners and fill each liner 3/4 of the way up. Place on the middle shelf of the oven for 10 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted into the middle of a cupcake comes out dry and clean.

6. Allow to cool some in the tin before tipping the cupcakes out to cool completely on a wire rack.

7. Make the frosting:
Cream butter, powdered sugar and lemon juice. Mix in the cream cheese.
Spread or pipe onto the cupcakes and garnish with sprinkles or flowers.

Friday, 30 July 2010

Danish Red Hot Dog

On Thursday of last week, me and my friend Susanne went to Copenhagen, Denmark for the day. And when in Denmark, do as the Danes, right? This we did, and went straight for the hot dog stand and bought ourselves a Danish red hot dog each. It was alright I guess, but I like the normal hot dogs better. But the mustard was surprisingly nice, rather tangy and more spicy than normal mustard. Yum!

Lunch at Wagamama

My main reason for going to Copenhagen was to go eat at my favourite restaurant Wagamama. Wagamama only has one restaurant in the whole of Scandinavia, at the Tivoli amusement park in Copenhagen. I haven't decided if it's a good thing or a bad thing that there's only one Wagamama in Scandinavia. On the one hand it's good because you can't go there too often and risk getting tired of the delicious Japanese food, but on the other hand it's really not very good as you go there way too seldom, plus, even though I love Copenhagen, it would be good if I didn't have to go there to visit a Wagamama restaurant.

Since going to Wagamama for the first time sometime in 2004 I have only ever had one other dish than the one featured above (Ebi kare Lomen). Ebi Kare Lomen is my absolute favourite though. It's ramen noodles in a spicy coconut and lemongrass soup topped with prawns or grilled chicken, beansprouts and cucumber, garnished with coriander and lime

Susanne had this dish, which I think is noodles in a spicy chicken soup topped with a marinated grilled and sliced chicken breast, fresh chillies, sliced red onions, bean sprouts, coriander, spring onions and a wedge of lime.

Sushi


I went to Sweden last week and got to spend some time with my best friend Hanna in Gothenburg. We made homemade sushi. Neither of us had tried making sushi at home before, but we were very proud of how it turned out. We made some great tasting, and pretty good looking sushi, and served it with the normal condiments of miso soup, soy sauce, pickled ginger and wasabi.

The Nigiri is topped with avocado and salmon. The Maki is filled with cucumber, avocado and prawns.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Grilled marinated shrimp

Prawns + garlic + lemon juice + olive oil + grill= drop dead combination!

I can't believe I didn't come up with this recipe myself, I guess I love the plain ol' prawn too much. But from now on I am going to be making this grilled version of my beloved prawn whenever the weather allows me to fire up my grill.

We made this recipe this past weekend when my friend Hanna and her boyfriend Jamal came to visit. Hanna actually came across the recipe while looking through one of my many food magazines. We served the shrimps as a starter for our Saturday dinner, chicken grilled whole on the BBQ with a side of oven roasted potatoes and toum, my new favourite sauce. The recipe for toum will be added shortly.

Grilled marinated shrimps
Serves 4
Adapted from Maison Mat & Vin 3/2010

0,5 dl olive oil
3 cloves garlic, grated
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp salt
600 g pre-cooked shrimp with the shell on
you can also use raw shrimps

1. Combine the olive oil, the grated garlic, the lemon juice and the salt in a bowl.

2. Place the shrimps in a ziploc bag, and pour in the marinade. Close the bag and massage it gently to ensure that the marinade covers all the shrimps. Place the bag in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

3. Thread the shrimps onto wooden or steel skewers and grill the shrimps until the shell turns a little white or golden brown. It will take a little longer if you are using raw shrimps.

Serve with mayo, warm baguettes and a glass of white wine.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Focaccia bread

There really isn't anything better than homemade bread, don't you agree? However, and unfortunately, I am not really a talented bread baker. I don't know what tends to go wrong but there's always something that goes wrong, and I end up with a just good enough bread. I would want my bread to be perfect, but never.

The only bread I do seem to be successful at making, though, is focaccia bread. And it's not exactly rocket science making focaccia bread.

I haven't made any in a while though, but talking to my friend Titta, who was making her own bread, the other day got me inspired.

Focaccia bread
Makes 12 squares
Adapted from BBC Good Food

500 g plain flour
7 g fast action fry yeast
300 ml hand-warm water
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp runny honey

Topping of your choice.
I used sun-dried tomatoes, sprigs of Rosemary and a sprinkle of grated mozarella cheese

1. Mix the flower, yeast and salt in a bowl. In a separate bowl or jug, pour in the water, the oil and the honey. Pour the liquid into the flour mix and and combine to make a soft dough.

2. Tip the dough onto a floured surface, and knead for a good 5 minutes until the dough no longer feels sticky. Add a little more flour if you need it. Stretch the dough to fit a Swiss roll tin.

3. Place the dough in the tin and sprinkle over your toppings. You might want to make little indentations on the dough to ensure that the filling won't fall off. Cover with a lightly oiled sheet of cling film and leave to rest in a warm place for 40 minutes.

4. Heat the oven to 200C. Remove the cling film and bake the bread for30 minutes. When golden brown and risen, remove from the oven, allow to cool for 10 minutes and then cut into 12 squares.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Lemony chicken wings

I saw this recipe a while back and I immediately knew I had to try it. I have been enjoying chicken wings quite a lot lately but have only ever made Spicy, honey glazed chicken wings and it felt like I needed a change of scenery, if you will.

And boy, the recipe for Lemony chicken wings was just the change of scenery that I needed. They were just delicious, just incredibly juicy and lemony!

YOU need to make these, YOU need to try them for yourself. They're really that good, I promise!


Lemony chicken wings
Serves 6
Adopted from Leila på landet

1 kg chicken wings
2 cloves garlic, grated
2,5 cm (1 inch) ginger, grated
2-3 lemongrass stalks
the zest from 2 lemons
3 tbsp tomato purée
3 tbsp Japanese soy sauce
2 tbsp light muscovado sugar
1 tbsp sesame seed oil

1. Place the grated garlic and ginger in a bowl.

2. Peel off the outer layers of the lemongrass, discard. Smash the lemongrass with the back of your knife. Finely chop the white part of the lemongrass and discard the more green and woody part. Add the chopped lemongrass to the bowl with ginger and garlic.

3. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir to mix.

4. Place the chicken wings in a large Ziploc bag or in a 5 litre plastic bag (you might want to put one bag into another bag to ensure that if the bag rips the marinade won't cause a mess). Pour the marinade into the bag with the chicken. Close the bag, pressing out as much air as you can while you close the bag. Massage the chicken wings to ensure each wing is coated with the marinade. Place in the fridge to marinade, preferably overnight.

5. Fire up the barbecue and grill the marinated chicken wings until done. To check if the wings are done, pierce the thickest part of the wing with a knife, if the juices run clear, then the wing is done. If the juice is a little bloody, keep grilling the wing until the juice runs clear. If you use small wings, like I did, you can place a double layer of aluminium foil on top of the grid/grate to keep the wings from falling onto the charcoal.

6. Serve as finger food at a party or as part of a BBQ-meal.

Enjoy!

Last day at work...

Today was my last day as an intern at the International Office at Telemark University College. It's been a blast working there, I have had wonderful colleagues and I have learnt so much about internationalisation and student exchanges. It's been so much fun.

As a farewell gift I was given this HUGE tomato plant! There's also some parsley, coriander/cilantro and rosemary in the pot. It's awesome and I am so thankful. Can't wait to try some new and exciting tomato dishes this summer.

Takk alle sammen på FA for en fantastisk tid sammen med dere, og takk for den fantastiske tomatplanten som jeg fikk av dere. Gleder meg til å lage masse spennende tomat retter i sommer. Håper vi ses igjen til høsten!

Quiz-gruppen, denne er for dere: hva er den laveste temperaturen som noen gang blitt målt på sydpolen?

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Mushroom, mozarella and spinach ravioli

I have been wanting to make ravioli for ages but have never gotten around to it, until now that is. I set out for the store yesterday to buy myself some ingredients for the filling. I had in my mind decided on making a mushroom, spinach and mascarpone filling, but they didn't carry mascarpone at the supermarket. What kind of a country do I live in wherea decent supermarket doesn't carry mascarpone? The answer is Norway, also known as "FSC" or "friend-stealing-country" to some of us!

Well, I had to rethink and decided on putting some shredded mozarella in the filling instead. What a wonderful idea, and I am sure it would have been so tasty had I invested in some proper mozarella instead of relying on the pre-shredded stuff we bought at the supermarket the other week.

I was also a little worried the process of making the actual ravioli would be extremely time consuming, but all went well, it didn't take long at all. Maybe all that dumpling making finally paid off?!

Anyway, to make a long story short, the ravioli were good, but could have been so much tastier had I used the ingredients I first intended to use. Ah well, next time I'm making ravioli I'm going to have a go at making homemade mascarpone. Wish me good luck, I think I'll need it!

The filling

Ravioli. I made some different shapes, mostly because my
ravioli folding skills need some work.

Yum, the finished product!

Mushroom, mozarella and spinach ravioli
Serves 1-2

pasta dough for 1 person
5 smallish button mushrooms, thinly sliced
125 g baby spinach leaves, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic, finely sliced
150-200 g mozarella (a little less than a ball)
salt and pepper

1. In a frying pan, melt some butter and add in the garlic and the spinach, allowing it to wilt. Remove and place on a plate to cool down.

2. Using the same pan, tip in the mushrooms and cook until most of the water has evaporated. Add in just a little butter and salt and pepper, stir. Remove and place on a plate to cool down.

3. Make the pasta dough while the vegetables cool down.

4. Using a pasta machine, roll the pasta dough to desired thickness.

5. Place the rolled dough on a clean and floured surface. Cut out squares.

6. Place the cooled vegetables in a mixing bowl, add the mozarella, stir to combine.

7. . Place 1 tsp of the filling in the centre of each pasta square.

8. Fold the square diagonally to create a triangle. Press down on the edges to ensure the filling doesn't leak out. Lift up the triangle and place it on your index finger with the base pointing towards the palm of your hand. Wrap the two corners that stick out around your finger to create a ring. Pull the ring off of your finger and place on a floured plate. Do this until you have no dough left.

9. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Tip in the ravioli and boil for 2-3 min or until the tortellini float up the surface.

10. Drain and serve with a drizzle of olive oil and a few shavings of parmesan cheese on top.

Spicy pork noodles

Tonight I found myself with a piece of pork, some noodles and about a ton of button mushrooms. I decided to make a noodle stir fry. It turned out great, but be aware of the chilli bean sauce as it's super hot.

Spicy pork noodles
Serves 1

100 g ground pork
1 pack (60 g) uncooked egg noodles
4 button mushrooms, cut into 4
1 small red onion, sliced finely
1 spring onion

Sauce:
1 tbsp hoisin sauce
½ tsp chili bean sauce
½ tsp soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
75 ml water

1. Cook the noodles according to the instructions on the packet.

2. Mix all the ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl. Set aside.

3. Heat a wok, when hot drizzle in some oil and fry the onions for about 30 sek. Stir in the pork and allow to brown (about 5 min). After about 3 min, add the mushrooms to the wok.

4. Stir in the sauce, and add in the noodles. Wok until the noodles are hot.

5. Serve with a drizzle of toasted sesame on top.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Roasted Chickpeas

Last Friday we arranged a farewell-/birthday for friends who are leaving to go back to Germany this summer after a year in Norway working as volunteers at our church.

A few days before the party I stumbled across a recipe for "ROASTED CHICKPEAS WITH GARLIC, CUMIN AND PAPRIKA" at The Perfect Pantry. I didn't want to just serve the girls potato chips so decided to make the chickpeas.

I also made a pavlova, which was tasty, but the girls liked the chickpeas better I think. (Correction: Hannah LOVED the cake but "you can't eat too much of such a cake"). I had to give most of the cake away the next day but I didn't have a single chickpeas left by the end of the evening.

Michaela turned 20

Roasted chickpeas with garlic, cumin and paprika
Serves about 6
Adapted from The Perfect Pantry

1 can (400 g) chickpeas
1 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, grated
3/4 tsp ground sweet paprika
3/4 tsp ground cumin
salt
pepper

Set the oven to 220C.

1. Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Dry them off on kitchen paper. Place then in a bowl, add the olive and garlic to the bowl and shake to ensure that all peas are covered.

2. Spread the chickpeas on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Roast the chickpeas for about 20 minutes, shaking the tray every few minutes so that the peas are roasted evenly.

3. While the chickpeas are roasting, line a plate with kitchen paper. Place the roasted chickpeas on the kitchen paper to drain. While still warm, sprinkle over the rest of the spices. Transfer the chickpeas to a serving plate or allow them to cool down before storing them in a airtight container.

Sorry Doro, but that's the only photo I have of the almost empty plate!

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Fish & Prawn Gratin

I was lucky enough to grown up in a little town in Bohuslän and we always had access to the best and freshest fish, and I remember eating prawns that had been caught that very same morning. It was like eating a little piece of heaven!

This dish reminds me of where I grew up - the Swedish west coast; fish and prawns in a creamy dill sauce is about as close as you get to being a Bohuslänning (a person from the province of Bohuslän) without actually being from Bohuslän.

Fish & Prawn Gratin
Serves 4
Adapted from Tasteline.com

400 g fish, I used Pollock
1 ½ tsp salt
½ tsp white pepper
1 tsp lemon infused black pepper
1/4 leek, chopped
1 dl peeled prawns
1 dl blue mussel meat (optional)
2 ½ dl cooking cream
½ dl chopped dill

Set the oven to 225°C.

1. Start by seasoning the fish with the salt and pepper, and then place the fish in a lightly greased oven proof dish.

2. Mix the cooking cream with the leeks, the prawns, the mussels and the dill. Pour the mixture over the fish.

3. Place in the oven for 15-20 minutes.

Garnish with a wedge of lemon and some fresh dill sprigs.

Serve with rice or riced potatoes.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Hawaij spice mix

(Photo to be added shortly)

Hawaij spice mix

Yields 3/4 cup
Adopted from The Chef Maven

6 tbsp whole black pepper corns
3 tbsp whole cumin seeds
2 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tbsp green cardamom pods
1 tsp whole cloves
3 tbsp ground turmeric

1. Place all the spices, except for the turmeric, in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring often to keep the spices from burning.
2. Heat the spices for a good 5 minutes, then transfer the spices to a plate to cool.
3. Take the cool spices and grind them using a spice grinder, or in an electric coffee grinder.

Note: Please don't use your everyday coffee grinder as the spices will make your coffee taste horrible.

Hatsulim Mamulae

Being not Jewish, this dish introduced me to Kosher cooking. Before googling kosher cooking, I couldn't tell you what differed kosher from "normal" cooking, but reading up about it made me think that my dish was anything but kosher while being kosher. I did not follow the rule of using utensils that had not been in contact with non-kosher foods, the ground beef I used was most certainly not slaughtered in accordance to kosher rules and I know I have used the pots and pans to cook pork.

Now that I know more about kosher cooking, I feel really bad about not following the rules. I feel like a bad Jew, without being Jewish. Does that make sense? I guess it's my inner foodie coming out, and this foodie's respect for different food cultures. But unfortunately, what's done is done. And I wasn't about to go out and invest in a whole new set of pots, pans and utensils.

Even though I didn't have a proper recipe, I just had the scribbles I made while watching Planet Food: Israel and Palestine where they cooked the dish, I set out to give it a try. With no exact measurements and the episode on pause/play on the TV I managed to create a lovely dish. It wasn't as spicy as I had hoped it would be, but this can easily be fixed next time I make the dish by simply adding more spices!

By the way, you might be wondering what this dish is called in terms you might understand. I don't have the direct translation, did I say I'm not Jewish?, but it's something along the lines of "Eggplant stuffed with meat in spicy tomato sauce"

The recipe calls for simple ingredients and does not require you to be a master-chef. However, if you do not happen to live in a place with easy access to the Hawaij spice mix you will have to make it yourself. I made it myself, I wouldn't even know where to look for it here...

Hatsulim Mamulae
Serves 4

1 medium-large eggplant
400 g ground beef, kosher or non-kosher depending on your preference
1 small chopped onion
2 cloves chopped garlic
salt
ground pepper
2 egg
bread crumbs
seasoned flour
vegetable oil

1 medium onion
2-3 cloves garlic
2 tsp sweet paprika
1-2 tsp Hawaij spice mix
1 red bell pepper
1 bay leaf
2 medium chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato puree

Set the oven to 220C.

1. Start off by making the meat stuffing. In a bowl, place ground beef, chopped onion, chopped garlic, salt, pepper, one egg and a good handful of breadcrumbs. Mix gently but well. Set aside.

2. Cut the eggplant into 3 cm thick disks. Then, take each disk and cut as if you were cutting the disk in half to create 2 disks. But instead of cutting all the way through, cut as if you were cutting a sandwich, so that the two pieces are still connected at the bottom.

3. Roll the meat filling into golf ball size balls and stuff each eggplant sandwich with a meatball. Press down on the eggplant sandwish, and mould the meat so that it fits snuggly inside the eggplant.

4. Once you have done step #3 with all the eggplant, roll the eggplant sandwiches in the seasoned flour (flour+salt+pepper), then in the egg (which you have lightly whisked in a bowl), and last but not least you roll the sandwiches in the bread crumbs.

5. Heat the oil in a skillet and fry the eggplants until golden brown and crispy on the outside. The meat should still be mostly raw. When golden and crispy, remove from heat and place in oven proof dish.

6. While the eggplants and browning up in the skillet, make the sauce.

7. In a saucepan, fry the onion, garlic, sweet paprika and Hawaij spice mix in a little bit of oil until the entire kitchen is filled with the most wonderful smell, about 3-5 minutes.

8. Add the rest of the ingredients and allow to reduce for 5 minutes. Add in the tomato puree and about 1 to 1 ½ dl of water and bring to the boil. At this stage taste the sauce and add more spices if needed.

9. Pour the sauce over the eggplants and place in the pre-heated oven. Bake for 45 minutes. If the top starts to burn, cover with aluminium foil.

10. Serve with rice.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Ethiopian food

I'm going to learn how to cook Ethiopian food tomorrow, and I'm so excited!

My Norwegian friend Ingeborg spent part of her childhood in Ethiopia but for some unknown reason she never learned how to cook proper Ethiopian food. I was appalled at this, and urged her to learn to cook a dish or two when she went to visit her parents, who still live and work in Ethiopia, a few weeks ago.

Tomorrow she's coming around to teach me to cook Ethiopian food. I am not quite sure we're cooking, but it's got something to do with chicken and some spice that can kill you- or something along those lines.

So, provided I'm still alive after tomorrow's cooking class I'm planing on uploading the recipe and photos this weekend.

To be continued (hopefully)...

Ok, so this didn't happen. My friend said she didn't feel inspired and her motivation for cooking was zero... so, maybe I get to experience some real Ethiopian cooking when she returns after the summer...

To be continued (for sure this time)...

Monday, 7 June 2010

Crispy Chicken Bits

A while back I bought a packet of Santa Maria's Crispy Chicken Bites Spice Mix.
It's been sitting the cupboard ever seen, almost forgotten. But the other day I decided to try it out. I don't know why I bought the packet at the store that day, but I'm glad I did. Not so much because the chicken bits turned out too-tasty-to-be-true but because it made me think I could make it myself- with a better, tastier, result.

I must admit I haven't tried it yet, but I instructed my friend Susanne on how to make them, and she tried them out on Saturday. She was delighted with the way they turned out. I can't wait to make them myself, from scratch this time and not from a packet.

Photo by Susanne Lindberg

Crispy Chicken Bits
Serves 4

150 g cheese flavoured nacho chips
15 g extra spicy taco seasoning mix, or to taste
3 large chicken breasts

1. Start off by crushing the nacho chips. Keep them in the bag when crushing them, but be sure to open the bag a little bit so that air can escape, or else the bag'll explode once you start hitting it with your weapon of choice- I used a rolling pin.

2. Mix in the taco seasoning mix.

3. Cut the chicken into thin strips or bite-size pieces. If the chicken bites are dry, dip them in a little bit of oil before coating each piece with the nacho chips mix.

4. Heat some oil in a frying pan and fry until the chicken juices run clear and the crust is golden brown and crispy. You can also bake the chicken in a 220C oven.

5. Serve the chicken bites with soft tortilla bread and an assortment of toppings; such as bell peppers, lettuce, grated cheese, sliced onion, sweet corn and/or guacamole or any other sauce of your choice.

Thanks Susanne for being my guinea pig for this recipe. You're a star!

Monday, 31 May 2010

Stir-fried corn with chilli, ginger, garlic and parsley

If you know me it comes as no surprise that I have a crush on Jamie Oliver! He is an amazing chef with a relaxed cooking style which makes my life so much easier.

My friend Ingeborg left for Ethiopia about 2 weeks ago, and before leaving she offered me to borrow her Jamie's Dinner cookbook. I obviously said yes! I immediately found this recipe for stir-fried corn with chilli, ginger, garlic and parsley.

It's an amazingly easy dish which tastes delicious as a side dish with a grilled piece of steak or you can use it in a salad.

(Susanne, detta är Jamie Oliver-majs).

Stir-fried corn with chilli, ginger, garlic and parsley
Adapted from Jamie's Dinner

2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp chopped ginger
1 tsp chopped chilli
1-2 chopped cloves garlic
handful of chopped parsley
2 tbsp soy sauce

Heat the oil in a wok pan, tip in all the ingredients and stir-fry until heated through.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Thai Cucumber Salad

I found this recipe on the back of the Satay Seasoning Mix package. It turned out to be the Thai version of a similar cucumber salad I had with some Chinese friends a few years ago. It's really delicious and sweet with a little bit of a kick from the chilli.

Thai Cucumber Salad
Adapted from the back of Satay Seasoning Mix package

4 tbsp vinegar (I used white wine vinegar)
5 tbsp sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1 cucumber, in slices
1 red chilli, finely chopped
1-2 shallots, finely sliced (I used red onions)

1. Mix the vinegar, sugar and salt in a small saucepan.

2. Heat until the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

3. Arrange cucumber, chilli and shallots in a bowl. Pour over the vinegar mixture, stir, and serve.

Friday, 21 May 2010

Zucchini soup with bacon

Not too long ago my volleyball team went on a tournament for the weekend. It was great fun, but I don't think we did all too well. To tell you the truth I didn't care about the results, that's why I don't know them.

For the duration of the tournament all the teams stayed at Norsjø Hotel, in beautiful Norsjø, Norway. Norsjø Hotel might not be the best hotel in the world, but the food is delicious! For dinner on Saturday we were served a three-course meal, I love three-course meals and can't for the life of me understand how anyone could eat more than a three-course meal. I guess the portions are much smaller when you eat a, say, seven-course meal.

Anyway, let's get back on track. The menu for the three-course meal was

Starter
Zucchini soup with bacon


Main course
Braised beef tenderloin served with potatoes and vegetables


Dessert
Home-made
coffee ice cream with chocolate brownie

I absolutely loved the Zucchini soup, the rest of the meal was all-right. I have had better food, but I'm not complaining.

I have been searching for a recipe for Zucchini soup ever since I had it that weekend and with a little help from my friend Susanne, who had told me before of a delicious Zucchini soup that she used to make, I set out to make a soup similar to the one I had had at the hotel.

This soup was really nice, really tasty and easy to make. And it was fairly similar to the one at the hotel. Try it yourself, I don't think you'll be disappointed!

Zucchini soup (with bacon)
Serves 4
Adapted from sopprecpet.se

600-800 g green Zucchini, chopped into small cubes
3 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, grated
½ tsp dried rosemary (I used thyme)
1 tsp tomato puree
8 dl vegetable stock
ground white pepper, to taste
salt, to taste

fried bacon
garlic bread

1. Heat the olive oil in a large enough pan to hold the finished soup. Tip in the onion and fry until soft and translucent. Add in the Zucchini and allow to soften some. Add in the grated garlic, rosemary, tomato puree and vegetable stock.

2. Bring to the boil and allow to cook for about 15-20 minutes.

3. With a hand blender or in a mixer, mix the soup until smooth, or to desired consistency.

4. Bring back to the boil and boil for another 10 minutes. Add in more stock/water if you want to, at this stage.

5. In the meantime, fry some cut up rashes of bacon until crisp to sprinkle on top of the soup. Obviously, for a vegetarian dish, leave out the bacon. Prepare the garlic bread. I cut up some ready-to-bake baguettes and spread some garlic butter on top, placed the bread on an oven tray and baked it in the oven for 10 min on high heat.

Serve the soup in bowls, sprinkle some bacon on top, drizzle over some olive oil and eat with some garlic bread on the side.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Pork tenderloin with thyme

I can't for the life of me remember how I did this dish, but I just love the photo and has been meaning to post it for the longest time.
Pork Tenderloin with Thyme

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Pytt i panna

Pytt i panna is a traditional Swedish dish. I love it. It's super easy to make and doesn't call for more than 3 ingredients. It's basically diced and then fried potatoes, meat and onions.

Confession time: I don't normally make my own pytt i panna, I buy it ready-made from the frozen section at the supermarket. Blasphemy!! I know, but I really like the ready-made version.

Anyway, yesterday I made home-made pytt i panna using a potato, a small onion and the left-over grilled meat from last night's barbeque. YUM! Tasted much better than the store-bought version, obviously!

Pytt i panna
Serves 4

4-5 medium potatoes, cut into 1 cm cubes
1 medium to large onion, chopped
3-4 pork chops or other meat, meat cut into 1 cm cubes

To serve:
fried eggs, sunny side up
pickled beet roots

1. Heat some vegetable oil, or butter, in a frying pan. Depending on if you use raw or boiled potatoes the cooking time will vary. Tip in the potatoes and fry the potatoes until almost done. About 15 minutes if you use raw potatoes.

2. Tip in the onion, fry for 2 minutes.

3. Add in the meat, and fry until done.

4. Serve with a fried egg on top and some pickled beet roots on the side.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Strawberry Cheesecake

Tonight, "the dessert-" God was looking after me, my cake sold out at the café at church. Hallelujah!

Due to me forgetting my camera at home I had to make due with the camera on my phone.... which resulted in a crappy photo of a delicious cheesecake.

Strawberry Cheesecake
12 slices
Adapted from BBC GoodFood

Base
250 g Digestive biscuits
100 g melted butter

Filling
Seeds from 1 vanilla pod
600 g soft cream cheese
100 g icing sugar
284 ml heavy cream

Topping
400 g strawberries
25 g icing sugar

1. Place the biscuits in a plastic bag and seal the bag. Crush the biscuits using a rolling pin until you have a fine crumble. Transfer the crumbles to a bowl. Pour in the melted butter and mix to ensure the crumbles are completely coated. Tip the crumbs into a 23 cm wide loose-bottomed cake tin and press firmly down to create an even layer. Set to chill in the fridge for 1 hour.

2. Meanwhile, make the filling. Place the soft cheese, icing sugar and vanilla seeds in a bowl, then beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Tip in the cream and continue beating until the mixture is completely combined. Now spoon the cream mixture onto the biscuit base, working from the edges inwards and making sure that there are no air bubbles. Smooth the top of the cheesecake down with the back of a dessert spoon or spatula. Leave to set in the fridge overnight.

3. Bring the cheesecake to room temperature, about 30 mins before serving. To un-mould, place the base on top of a can, then gradually pull the sides of the tin down. Slip the cake onto a serving plate, removing the lining paper and base. Purée half the strawberries in a blender or food processor with 25g icing sugar and 1 tsp water, then sieve. Pile the remaining strawberries onto the cake, then pour over purée.

I had real trouble with the filling, it would just not set... I placed the cake in the freezer for 10 min which kind of helped but after about 10 min out of the freezer the filling was more liquid than solid... Don't let this scare you from making the cake, it was delicious!!!!! I'm gonna try whipping the cream before adding it to the soft cheese mixture next time... I'll get back to you with the result.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Falafel

I have been meaning to post this recipe for falafel for a really long time now, but for some reason I've been stalling it.

I think remember the first time I had falafel, it was in London in 2003. I don't exactly remember them as an "explosion of Oriental flavours in my mouth", it was more like "hmm... these were pretty good". I think they were bought at Marks & Spencer, which might have been the reason why there weren't all that delicious. But obviously, they were delicious enough for me to want to try falafel again, so over the years I've had the odd falafel.

However, it wasn't until fairly recently, say about a year ago, that I realised I could make them at home. I had always envisioned the process time-consuming and tedious. This was until I came across an easy recipe for falafel-"burgers" at BBC GoodFood.

I know, a falafel-burger sounds pretty horrid, but the recipe is great for making small patties to stuff in toasted pita-breads and serves with side dished such as tabbouleh, crisp salad, thinly sliced red onions and a minty yoghurt sauce to drizzle on top. It sounds pretty delicious, right?!
The recipe calls for canned chickpeas, and after having tried both the canned sort and the dried sort that you have to soak in water for at least 12 hours, I can definitely say I prefer the canned peas for this particular recipe. I couldn't get the dried peas soft enough, and deep-frying the falafel didn't help to soften them one bit...

Falafel
Serves 4
Adapted from BBC GoodFood

400 g can chickpeas, drained
1-2 garlic cloves
1 handful parsley
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
½ tsp harissa or chilli powder
2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp oil

To serve
pita breads, chopped tomatoes, tabbouleh, red onions and yoghurt sauce

1. In a food processor, mix the chickpeas, garlic, parsley and spices plus the flour to a rather smooth mix. You can leave it chunkier if you prefer more texture.

2. Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry small-ish balls of the chickpea mixture until heated through, golden brown and crisp on the outside.

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Chicken Biryani

Last year, while being unemployed, I got a little bit obsessed with the website showmethecurry.com. I could spend hours browsing through all the recipes and I even forced my friends to share in my excitement.

What I like about showmethecurry.com is that almost all the recipes come with an instruction video on how to prepared the dish. It's fabulous and so easy to follow.

Ok, this post isn't about why showmethecurry.com is such a wonderful website, I just felt I needed to give homage where homage was due.

I came across this recipe for Chicken Biryani the other day over at.... you know where. I was a little bit unsure about it, seeing how it contains a daunting 29 ingredients!!! But I remember my boyfriend having Lamb Biryani (he loved it) on our 4 year anniversary some 20 days ago, and decided I'd give it a go.

It turned out great, although the recipe said to keep it in a 120 C oven for an hour. I tried it, it was only lukewarm, I upped the oven to 200 C and it only took 10 min to get the dish nice and hot. Also, next time I'll add in some more spices to give it that extra kick.

PS. Sorry guys, I'm usually not one for copying recipes from someone else's site and posting them here, but I couldn't be stuffed to re-write the entire recipe....

Enjoy!



Chicken Biryani
Serves 4
Adapted from showmethecurry.com

4 small chicken breast
1 ½ cup Basmati Rice
6 cups water
1 cup Yogurt
1 medium potato
1 ½ tbsp oil
1- 1 ½ tbsp Clarified Butter (Ghee)
1-2 tbsp grated garlic
1-2 tbsp grated ginger
Green Chili – to taste
5 cm Cinnamon stick
2 Bay leaves
1 Black Cardamom
3 pieces Mace (optional)
2-4 green cardamoms pods
4 Cloves
Whole Peppercorns – to taste
1 tbsp Golden Raisins
1 tbsp Cashews (heaped)
Salt – to taste
1 tbsp Black Cumin
1 tbsp Cumin Powder
1 tbsp Coriander Powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp Saffron (Kesar)
2 handfuls chopped Mint Leaves
1/4 cup chopped Cilantro/Coriander
½+ ½ cup Fried Onions (divided)

1. Wash and soak the Rice for a minimum 1/2 hour.
2. In a pan, bring 8 cups of water to boil.
3. Once boiling, add Green Cardamoms (2), Bay Leaves (1), Salt and Oil (1tsp).
4. Add in the washed Rice to boiling water.
5. Once the Water starts boiling again, time and cook for 5 minutes (the Rice needs to be 3/4 way done).
6. Drain the water from the Rice and keep aside.
7. In a separate bowl, mix Saffron and Water (1tbsp), keep aside and allow it to soak.
8. Heat a pan on medium heat, add in the Oil and the Clarified Butter.
9. Once hot, add in the Cashews and Golden Raisins, fry for a couple of minutes till the cashews get a light golden colour.
10.Remove from the Pan. Make sure you drain all the Oil. Keep aside.
11.Add in the balance of whole spices – Cinnamon Stick, Mace, Bay Leaf, Black & Green Cardamom, Peppercorns & Cloves.
12.Fry for under a minute.
13.Add in Black Cumin (use regular Cumin if Black is not available).
14.Allow them to sizzle.
15.Add in Ginger & Garlic, fry for another minute. Keep stirring.
16.Add in the washed, cleaned pieces of Chicken. Mix well.
17.Once the Chicken looks sealed, add in the following while stirring constantly – Yogurt, Fried Onion (1/2 cup), Cilantro (save some for garnish), Mint, Green Chili, Potatoes and the dry spices – Coriander, Cumin, Turmeric, Red Chili & Salt.
18.Mix very well. Cover and cook for about 10-15 minutes (the chicken should be 3/4 of the way done).
19.Pre-heat oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit (aprox 121 degrees C).
20.Coat an oven-proof dish with a little oil.
21.Start by layering the Chicken at the bottom of the dish along with a few pieces of Potatoes (saving the gravy for top layer).
22.Fluff up the Rice and add a layer of it on top of the Chicken with half of the Rice.
23.Layer the balance of the potatoes and all the gravy on the rice layer.
24.Next spread the balance of the Rice.
25.Layer the Cashews, Raisins, Fried Onions, Cilantro and Saffron.
26.Drizzle a little bit of Oil.
27.Cover with an air-tight lid or a foil and bake for 1 hour or till the potatoes are cooked.
28.Once out of the oven, take a ladle and mix it gently but well.
29.Allow it to sit for 5 minutes and serve with Cilantro and Mint Raita