Archive for January, 2007

White chocolate panna cotta with passion fruit

Sunday, January 28th, 2007

Apart from the weekend, I’ve had a really bad week. It started on Monday morning when my hair dryer started to burn (!), then I got lost 2 days in a row when trying to find my way to a project kick off. The first time they had to call for a taxi so I would get there on time and the second time I took a completely wrong subway line without noticing it as I read the newspaper and when I finally came back to my origin station the correct train was really delayed. As I was so late they had to call me on my cell phone for the status meeting I had to attend and at the same time a whole kindergarten group came on board the train so it was impossible to hear anything. During the week I’ve also been ill and the last thing I did was to drop and break an porcelain lid belonging to an old casseroule which Fredrik has had since he was a kid, but at least I didn’t burn my hand :-)

Anyway, a lousy week requires a nice treat so during the weekend I made white chocolate panna cotta with passion fruit. Sweet, creamy, rich with a tangy contrast thanks to the passion fruit. Panna cotta is Italian for cooked cream and it’s really simple to make, I prefer using as little gelatine as possible so this panna cotta has to be served in glasses as it’s too loose to be unmolded. Vegans can substitute powdered agar-agar for gelatin using equal amounts.

    White chocolate panna cotta with passion fruit
    (serves 3-4)

    300 ml double cream
    100 ml milk
    0.5 vanilla pod, cut it in half lenghtwise and scrape out the seeds.
    1 tbsp caster sugar
    100 gram white chocolate, chopped
    1 tsp gelatine powder + 1 tbsp water

    3-4 passion fruits (one for each serving)

    Combine gelatine with water, set aside. Combine cream, milk, vanilla and sugar in a pan. Heat until the mixture is warm. Remove the mixture from the heat, add the chocolate and whisk until the mixture is smooth. Add the gelatine and whisk until it’s dissolved. Pour the panna cotta evenly in 3-4 glasses. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours. When time to serve, cut the passion fruits in halv and scoop fruit flesh over the panna cottas.

Chicken sandwiches

Tuesday, January 23rd, 2007

Winter has hit Stockholm in full force and it’s freezing cold. The Christmas snow fell one month to late, when I was already planning to start the countdown for summer… Cold winter days makes you inventive, trying to avoid leaving the house for grocery shopping. These sandwiches are no revolutionary dish, but still tasty and great if you have some left over chicken.

    Chicken Sandwiches
    (serves 2)

    200 grams cold grilled left over chicken, deboned and cut in small pieces
    3 tbsp mayonnaise
    2.5 tsp dijon mustard
    0.5 red onion, finely chopped
    ground pepper
    cayenne pepper
    ~4 slices of which ever bread you have at home. I used twisted baguettes which we had in the freezer.

    Mix all ingredients and spread on the bread.

Menu for Hope III winners!

Tuesday, January 16th, 2007

The raffle winners for Menu for Hope III were announced yesterday and I would like to congratulate Phil W. who won the Swedish tea kit and cookbook which I donated. He’ll receive his parcel very soon. Can you believe that we sold 6000 raffle tickets and raised $60 925.12 to support the UN World Food Programme? Amazing! I’ve already started to buy things to my donation for this year and I can reveal that it will be something special for all you Moomin lovers! Stayed tuned until December 2007 :-)

Crème brûlée for two

Sunday, January 14th, 2007

I’m embarrased to tell you that even though I simply love Crème brûlée and often order it when eating out, New Year’s Eve 2006 was the first time I ever made it. To our joy it came so out delicious that we licked our molds until they were clean! Crème brûlée is French for “burnt cream” and it’s basically just vanilla custard with a hard crunchy caramel topping. At some restaurants they still call it Crème brûlée despite lacking the hard caramel topping, even though the correct name should be Crème caramel, so I always have to ask. If it’s withouth the hard caramel topping, I order something else because the best part of Crème brûlée is to crack the crunchy topping with your spoon and discover the soft vanilla custard.

    Crème brûlée for two

    225 ml whipping/double cream
    1 vanilla pod
    25 gram caster sugar
    2 egg yolks (about 30 gram)

    4 tsp brown sugar

    Heat the oven to 170 degrees C. Cut the vanilla pod in half lenghtwise and scrape out the seeds. Put the vanilla seeds in a sauce pan together with the cream and let simmer for a few minutes over low heat. Remove from heat and allow to infuse for 10 minutes.

    Beat the egg yolks with the sugar until pale and fluffy. Gently combine with the cream mixture and pour into 2 small ovenproof molds (225 ml). Place into a roasting or baking pan and carefully pour enough water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the molds. Bake for about 30 minutes, they shuold be set at the edges and wobbly in the center. Remove from pan, and let the molds cool in room temperature before allowing them to chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours.

    Before serving, sprinkle the molds with 2 teaspoons of sugar each. Shake the molds carefully so that the sugar covers all of the custard. Caramelise, using a kitchen blowtorch (or place under the grill in the oven for a few minutes, just make sure it won’t burn and don’t forget to keep the oven door open). If using a kitchen blowtorch, work fast and move it all the time so you won’t burn the sugar on your precious custards! :-) Serve and enjoy!

Easy conversion of measurements directly in Google

Saturday, January 13th, 2007

I guess that I’m not the only one confused by all different measurements when reading recipes online. Yesterday Fredrik showed me how to easily convert measurements directly in Google.

For exampe just write 1 deciliter in cups, 500 grams in ounces, 6 cups in litres or what ever you want to convert, directly in the google search box.

Cooking Mama

Tuesday, January 9th, 2007

Now you don’t need neither food or a kitchen to cook. With the game Cooking Mama to Nintendo DS you can cook in your sofa, on the subway or in your bed. Using the stylys as a kitchen tool you can chop, stir, stew, slice, fry and even more on the touch screen. Is the food too warm? Then cool it by blowing on the microphone. You play the game by choosing a recipe, then you prepare it by following the step-by-step instructions as they come on the screen. The game originates in Japan, which you notice on the rather special recipes. There is a lot of japanese food and I guess that oyster sauce in Spaghetti Bolognese is a special japanese touch :-) It’s funny and easy to play and hopefully you’ll pick up some new ideas as the game contains 76 recipes which you also can combine.

During 2007 a follow up, Cooking Mama: Cook Off, will be released to Nintendo Wii. Thanks to the special Wii remote you’ll basically be able to do anything you do in the kitchen with Wii remote motions that feel close to the real thing. A great thing is the multiplayer mode where you and a friend can compete using the same recipe.

But… the best thing is of course to go to your kitchen and cook some real food. The game won’t feed you, but it’s sure a lot of fun and if you’re a total disaster in the kitchen you’ll probably pick up some cooking skills!

Rhubarb and caramelized almond semifreddo

Sunday, January 7th, 2007

Small individual rhubarb and caramelized almond semifreddos with rhubarb syrup.

Semifreddo is Italian for half cold and is basically a frozen dessert, pretty close to ice cream but still not. You don’t need any ice cream machine and it’s perfect to prepare a couple of days in advance which makes it a great dinner party dessert. Just make sure to take it out from the freezer in time so it’s not too hard when served. Another great thing about semifreddo is that you can flavour it with your favourite ingredients: chocolate, strawberries, blueberries or what ever you prefer. For your semifreddo you can either use small individual molds or a large one, if you use a large mold you need to slice the semifreddo before serving but that is easily done and gives you beautiful slices.

Rhubarb and caramelized almond semifreddo, made in a large mold and then sliced.

    Rhubarb and caramelized almond semifreddo

    (From “Två Systrars Söta”)

    1 batch of caramelized almonds
    500 gram rhubarb, rinsed and cut into 1-2 cm pieces
    100 gram caster sugar

    1 vanilla pod
    4 eggs, separated into yolks and egg whites
    50 gram sugar
    500 ml whipping/double cream
    1 pinch of salt

    First make a batch of caramelized almonds. In a small sauce pan, cook the rhubarb with the sugar. You don’t need any water as the rhubarb will start to “leek” juice due to the heat and the sugar. Cook the rhubarb until it’s soft but not mashed. Let cool.
    Strain the rhubarb, but don’t squeeze it as you want the rhubarb juicy and nice for the semifreddo. Set a side the rhubarb syrup (keep it in the fridge until serving the semifreddo).

    Cut the vanilla pod in half lenghtwise and scrape out the seeds.Stiffly whisk the egg whites with the salt in a grease-free bowl. Stiffly whip the cream in another bowl. Beat the egg yolks with the sugar and the vanilla seeds in a third bowl until pale and fluffy, then fold in the egg whites, followed by the whipped cream. Mix very very gently. Fold in the rhubard and the almonds, very gently and pour the semifreddo into a large mold or small individual ones, cover with plastic wrap. Myself I made 8 small individual ones and 1 large.

    Chill in the freezer for at least 4-5 hours. To serve, invert the semifreddo over a platter and remove mold and plastic wrap. Let stand 30 minutes at room temperature to soften. Serve the semifreddo with the rhubarb syrup, it should be at least enough syrup for 8 small portions. Depending on which molds you use the semifreddo should serve at least 14 people and not 6 as written in the original recipe. Saving the rhubarb syrup for serving with the semifreddo was my own idea and it makes a nice touch to the semifreddo.

Caramelized Almonds

Saturday, January 6th, 2007

Here’s an easy peasy recipe for caramelized almonds. Eat them as they are, or even better in a rhubarb and caramelized almond semifreddo. Curious? That recipe will be posted tomorrow :-)

    Caramelized Almonds
    (adapted From Två systrars söta. )

    200 ml whole almonds
    75 ml icing sugar
    a few drops of water

    Heat oven to 175 degrees C. Combine almonds with sugar on a baking sheet. Add a few drops of water and combine. Make sure that all almonds are covered. Roast the almonds in the oven for about 10 minutes or until the almonds are caramelized. Stir the almonds a few times while roasting. Take out the baking sheet and let the almonds cool.