Archive for November, 2007

Marshmellows

November 27, 2007

What’s not to like? Fluffy, sweet and heavenly scented with vanilla. Anyways the three cousins that we had over the other weekend loved them, not to mention making them. It’s a straight forward and easy recipe. We’ve also tried substituting some of the water with cherry vinegar ending up with pink ‘mellows!

The recipe is from Camilla Plum’s Ælle bælle frikadelle

Marshmellows

210g water
400g sugar
1 vanilla pod
34g gelatin
200g powdered sugar

Split the pod and combine the vanilla with the sugar and water. Bring to the boil in a heavy saucepan. Soften the gelatin in water for 5 minutes, wring off excess water and put into the liquid. Simmer for 20 minutes.  Cool for 10 minutes before transferring to a mixer and mix at high speed. The longer you mix, the better texture you get. Pour the thick substance into a dish cowered with the powdered sugar. Cover the subtance with more sugar and cut into cubes.

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Apple mash

November 15, 2007

I had totally forgotten how yummy it is! Apples cooked with a little water, sugar and vanilla topped with preserved cowberries. It’s one of those everyday things you whip up in a couple of minutes but brings you bundles of joy. There really isnt’t much to it. Peel one and a half apple per person, remove the pit and chop roughly. Put in a saucepan with a splash of water, one tablespoon of sugar depending on how sweet the apples are. Add vanilla to taste, I like it specked with little black dots all over! Cook until the apples are tender and mash it up with a spoon or fork until a fluffy mash is formed.

I used Belle de Boskoop apples, great for cooking, not for eating.  Together with the vanilla, the apples are just plain ol’ comforting on a cold November night!

The topping is preserved cowberries. The berries are sour as h…. but preserving them with sugar make them an all time favorite and stable in our house. Use equal amounts of berries and sugar, mix together and let stand for 5 or so days at room temperature until the sugar has disolved. Mix every now and then. Put in sterilized jars and keep at a cool temperature. The preserve is great on the apple mash, on yoghurt, with preserved pears etc.

Pomegranates, part 2

November 14, 2007

After making the fennel salad with feta and pomegranates the other day, we still had half a pomegranate just sitting there, waiting to be put to good use. It dawned on me, that beside half a pomegranates we had quite a bit that needed to be used. So I went through the fridge and cupboards to see what we had, and this is what I came up with.

 

We make salads with farro, spelt and other whole grains on a regular basis but usually we make it “taboulleh style”, i.e. with diced tomatoes and cucumbers. The other day over at Heidi’s I saw a farro salad with pumpkins and walnuts, so I thought why not make something similar with the ingredients on hand.

As the pomegranate was a key part of the whole endeavor, I thought I would make the salad Middle Easternish. I used sherry vinegar and olive oil to dress the spelt and chopped coriander and mint on top for garnish along with goat feta and the pomegranates. The roasted pumpkins and celery provided substance and warmth. Ever since Line made roasted pumpkins and celery seasoned with garlic and lemon zest years back, it has been a regular on the menu. Combining it with the farro made the whole thing into a main course meal.

Spelt salad with roasted pumpkin and celery
Serves 2 as a main course salad.

100g spelt, drained, rinsed and cooked according to package directions
half a hokkaido pumpkim
half a celery root
olive oil
vinegar
garlic
lemon zest
100g feta
coriander
mint
half a pomegranate

Dress the cooked spelt when it is still warm with olive oil and vinegar and allow to cool. Dice the pumpkin and celery and roast at 200C in the oven with a couple of finely chopped garlic cloves and finely grated zest of half a lemon. It should take about 45 minutes. Combine everything on a large plate and sprinkle with the feta, the pomegranate seeds and the fresh herbs. Enjoy!

Chocolate tart

November 12, 2007

I met up with a couple of friends from uni the other day. The occasion was one of the guys going off to Copenhagen. He has enrolled in the army as a language officer and will probably be going to Afghanistan in a couple of years. I’m not sure really, how I feel about the whole thing, but we had a great time talking about old times and the upcoming elections. Jacques, the head chef of our little group, dished up with braised shanks of lamb with roasted potatoes and various sides. I chipped in with a chocolate tart for dessert.

While I was preparing the tart, I thought about naming this post something like “Never bake a pastry shell with a 6 months old”. I must admit that my initial thoughts about just whipping up a delicate, crisp pastry shell filled with moist chocolate filling had its blows. But thankfully it all turned out great. Jakob, the little sport, slept for a couple of hours just when I needed them the most. The tart turned out great – the apricot filling complementing the chocolate nicely. I used organic and thus non sulfur-treated apricots. They are sweeter than the non-organic variety and I’m not really sure what I prefer. I’ve made the cake once before using the non-organic kind and it seemed to me, that the tarter filling paired up better with the overall taste.

Anyways, the recipe is a breeze from the always superb Moro (I can’t wait to try out their new cookbook!). If you can’t find amradeen – I couldn’t – chop up apricots finely and sautee them in a little water until soft, then puree in a blender and add a little lemon juice for balance. It’s not the same as amradeen, the rolls of dried apricot paste I have seen in bazaars in Turkey and Syria, but it’s close enough.

Chocolate and apricot tart

1 sweet pastry tart shell – use your favorite recipe.

Filling
180g apricot paste/amradeen
4 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
135g butter
110g dark chocolate (I used Valrhona Caraibe 66%)
2 large eggs
60g sugar

Place amradeen, water and lemon juice in a saucepan over low heat until the amradeen is soft. Spread on the prebaked pastry shell.

Melt butter and chocolate in a bain-marie. In a seperate bowl mix eggs and sugar until thick and fluffy. Combine the two, it takes a little time folding them together. Fill the pastry shell with the chocolate filling and bake in a preheated oven at 180C for 15-25 minutes. The filling should still be a little wobbly when you take it out of the oven. Cool and enjoy!

Pomegranates galore

November 8, 2007

I have a thing for pomegranates. Well, actually I have a thing for my girlfriend who definitely has a thing for pomegranates. If I’m not mistaken, one of her favorite food moments was a chilly, very early morning spent wandering the streets of Istanbul a couple of years back that ended with glasses of freshly squeezed, brightly red, sweet and slightly sour pomegranate juice. With a view of the Golden Horn in the morning fog, that was a real treat.

I found a big pomegranate with leathery skin in the kitchen the other day. It was just waiting to expose its brightly red diamonds and I found inspiration in Diana Henry’s lovely book on Middle Eastern food. We had the salad with muhamara, a red peber mash also from Henry’s book, and a chickpea and bulgur salad from Claudia Roden’s Arabesque. With a little spicy harissa and flat breads it was quite nice.

Fennel salad with feta
Serves 2 as a side dish

1 fennel
half a pomegranate
75 g feta cheese
olive oil
vinegar, i.g. apple
fresh coriander

Trim the fennel and slice it very thinly on a mandoline from top to bottom. Toss the slices in the olive oil and apple vinegar. Put on a plate and crumble the feta on top a long with the chopped fresh coriander. Cut the pomegranate in half and beat it with a wooden spoon releasing the red seeds from the white pith.

Spiced apple chutney

November 6, 2007

Day two of my paternity leave. I haven’t exactly been cooking all day, that would be great, but there are other good reasons for my two months off work than stirring risottos and the like. That said, I have been fairly productive in the kitchen, largely because the main and real reason for being at home on a regular Tuesday, i.e. Jakob, just got his high chair. He now loves sitting in the kitchen with a big wooden spoon in his small hands listening to the radio and wondering what his dad is up to now.

Today I was up to a couple of things: a spiced apple chutney great for giving everyday meals a little extra umpf, and a equally spiced cranberry concoction – more on that another day. The apple season has been great this year despite global warming and the like, and if you’re lucky enough to get hold of properly grown local apples you’re in for a real treat. Old varieties like cox orange are great for just picking out of the bowl and eating straight up, but once in a while it doesn’t hurt doing a like more. I hunted a recipe for chutney down in one of my trusted cookbooks (Ælle bælle frikadelle) of Danish cooking matron extraordinaire Camilla Plum, and as always with her recipes it turned out great. Sweet from the apples and sugar, hot and spicy from chilies and spices. It went great with dinner, tonight that included meatballs, a salad of shredded apples and beets dressed with olive oil and apple vinegar, roast potatoes and gurkins. Traditional with a twist.

And what did Jakob eat, I hear you ask? A boiled meatball mashed with potatoes and pumkin. No chutney yet!

Spiced apple chutney (adapted from Camilla’s recipe)
500g cox orange apples
1 large onion
150 ml apple cider vinegar
150 ml water
175 g sugar (depending on the apples)
2 tbls mustard seeds
1 tbls coriander seeds
garlic
1 stick of cinnamon
half a nutmeg
2 chilies

Combine everything in a saucepan exept the apples and bring to the boil. Meanwhile roughly dice the onions and prepare the apples by cutting out the pit – do not peel – and cut into chunks. Put the apples into the saucepan and return the mixture to the boil. Lower the temperature and simmer untill the apples are soft and the chutney thickened slightly.