Archive for March, 2007

Lemon and Lime curd

Saturday, March 31st, 2007

Lemon curd is a British spread with a lovely tart and lemony flavour. In my own variant I use both lime and lemon, which makes a perfect combination. The curd can be used on toasts and muffins or as filling in cakes and desserts. It’s very simple to make lemon curd and I strongly recommend doing it yourself instead of buying a jar in the store, which is filled with preservatives and other nasty ingredients. If you use fresh eggs and butter and sterilize the jar, the curd will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.

    Lemon and Lime curd
    (makes about 450 ml – one big jar)

    75 gram butter
    2 eggs
    finely grated zest from 1 lime and 1 lemon
    fresh juice from 2 lemons and 1 lime
    200 gram caster sugar

    Beat the butter and sugar with an electric beater. Add the eggs, one at a time while beating. Add the zest and juice. At this point the mixture will look like it’s curdled but don’t worry as it will smooth out when the butter melts.
    Simmer the mixture on low heat, stirring constantly to prevent it from curdling. Make sure to use a wooden spoon, otherwise your mixture can become discoloured. After 15 minutes your curd will be rather thick and now it’s time to pour it into a hot sterilized jar. The curd will thicken more when it cools. Keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.

    Note: There are several recipes/methods on how to cook lemon curd. When cooking lemon curd with egg whites you sometimes can get lumps of curdled egg as egg whites cook at a rather low temperature. For some reason if you beat the butter, sugar and eggs as written above you avoid this problem.

Japanese owl cups

Sunday, March 25th, 2007

Our cute cups with owls on one side and japanese text on the other side. If anyone could translate I would be very happy! :-)

We bought these adorable handmade and handpainted cups in Kyoto on a very hot summer’s day last August. Tea and tea cups were the last thing on our mind while we were walking the narrow alleys of Kyoto in exhausting heat, but luckily we couldn’t resist the cute owls when we saw them in a display window of a small shop which we found.

Espresso cup from the Taika series of Iittala (photo: www.iittala.com).

If you want your own cute owl cups, the Scandinavian brand Iittala has a new series called Taika with owls which kind of reminds me of our Japanese cups.

Blackberry cake with vanilla pannacotta

Sunday, March 18th, 2007

Happy birthday to me :-)

The bad thing being a food blogger and having birthday is that you have to make your own birthday cake. The best thing is that you can do which ever cake you want! Ever since our wedding last year I’ve been planning to make a copy of our wedding cake which was made by the bakery Steinbrenner & Nyberg in Gothenburg. The cake consists of almond bottom, vanilla pannacotta, blackberry mousse and a blackberry mirror. I have to say that this first attempt resulted in a beautiful and delicious tasting cake which really holds it own against the Steinbrenner one. But now I have to eat some more of the cake while watching the new episodes of Jamie on Swedish channel 5 :-)

    Blackberry cake with vanilla pannacotta

    Almond bottom:
    300 gram almond paste
    2 eggwhites
    1 whole egg

    (I only did a half batch, but i really recommend doing a whole batch instead with the following quantities:)
    1 tsp gelatine powder + 2 tsp water
    500 ml cream
    1 vanilla pod
    50 ml caster sugar

    Blackberry mousse:
    1.5 tsp gelatin powder + 2 tsp water
    200 ml blackberry purée (450 grams of strained defrosted blackberries will give you 350 ml purée, just enough for the mousse and the glaze)
    200 ml double cream
    3.5 tbsp powdered sugar

    Blackberry glaze:
    100 ml blackberry purée
    1 tsp gelatine powder + 2 tsp water
    0.5 tbsp powdered sugar

    White chocolate

Almond bottom: Pre-heat the oven to 175°C. Line the bottom of a spring form (20 cm wide) with baking parchment. Butter the paper. Grate the almond paste and combine with the eggs (preferably with an electric mixer or beater). Pour the mixture in the spring form. Bake the cake in the middle of the oven for about 20-25 minutes. Let the cake cool and remove the baking parchment.

Put an overhead sheet (size A4) on a cutting board. If the sheet doesn’t fit, then take a larger cutting board. Put the cake on the middle of the overhead sheet. Take two overhead sheets (size A4) and cut them lengthwise in the center so that you’ll have 2 long strips. Attach the two strips together so that you have one long strip, using adhesive/scotch tape. Now wrap the cake sides with your strip, as tightly as you can as you don’t want your filling to leak out, but make sure that your construction is straight otherwise your whole cake will be crooked. As soon as you’re happy with your transparent mold, fasten it with tape. Also fasten your mold to the bottom overhead sheet with a lot of tape.

Pannacotta: Combine gelatin with water, set aside. Cut the vanilla pod in half lenghtwise and scrape out the seeds. Combine cream, vanilla seeds and sugar in a pan. Let simmer for 3-4 minutes, don’t let it boil. Remove the mixture from the heat, add the gelatine and whisk until it’s dissolved. Let the pannacotta cool, when at room temperature you can place it in the fridge. Don’t let the pannacotta set completely, make sure to find the right moment when it’s starting to stiffen. Then pour a small amount of the pannacotta on the cake. If it starts leaking, quickly put the whole cutting board in the freezer and let it stay there until the pannacotta stiffen. Then you can take it out and safely pour the rest of the pannacotta into your mold. Put the cutting board in the fridge and let it stiffen for at least 2 hours.

Blackberry mousse: Strain the blackberries. In a cup, soak the gelatin in the water. Combine the strained blackberries with the sugar. In a separate bowl whip cream to soft peaks.
Place the cup with softened gelatin in a larger cup which you fill with hot water, enough to come halfway up side of cup. Stir the gelatin mixture frequently for 2 minutes, until the gelatin dissolve completely and the mixture is clear. Let the gelatin cool to room temperature. Add 4 tbsp of the purée mixture to the gelatine, stir. Combine the rest of the blackberry mix with the cooled gelatin (If you discover any lumps, heat the blackberry/gelatine mix carefully while strirring and then let it cool again). Finally carefully fold in the blackberries/gelatin into whipped cream.

Take out the cake from the fridge and spread the blackberry mousse evenly over the cake. Let the cake stiffen in the fridge for 2 hours.

Blackberry glaze: In a cup, soak the gelatin in the water. Combine the strained blackberries with the sugar. Place the cup with softened gelatin in a larger cup which you fill with hot water, enough to come halfway up side of cup. Stir the gelatin mixture frequently for 2 minutes, until the gelatin dissolve completely and the mixture is clear. Let the gelatin cool to room temperature. Add 4 tbsp of the purée mixture to the gelatine, stir. Combine the rest of the blackberry mix with the cooled gelatin (If you discover any lumps, heat the blackberry/gelatin mix carefully while strirring and then let it cool again). Pour the glaze over the cake and put it into the fridge for 30 minutes.

Take out the cake from the fridge. Carefully cut the tape with a knife and then carefully release the sides by pulling of the overhead strip from the cake. Transfer the cake to a serving plate. Decorate with white chocolate and blackberries.

Chicken meatballs with parmesan and Dijon mustard

Saturday, March 17th, 2007

Lately I’m eating a lot of chicken, and it’s so yummy! I love experimenting with soft minced chicken and here’s the latest result. These meatballs are delicious and creamy thanks to the parmesan but still delicate without a strong cheese flavour. The Dijon flavour only gives a vague hint.

    Chicken meatballs with parmesan and Dijon mustard
    (serves 3, makes around 25-30 small meatballs)

    350 gr minced chicken
    1 schallot onion, finely chopped
    1 garlic clove, finely grated
    1 tsp water
    5 tsp dried breadcrumbs
    3 tsp Dijon mustard
    25 gr Parmesan cheese, finely grated
    1 egg
    1 tsp maldon sea salt
    ground pepper

    Soak the breadcrumbs in the water and combine with the rest of the ingredients in a bowl. Shape 25-30 small meatballs, it will be rather sticky and the meatballs will be fragile so a small amount of olive oil on your hands will help. As always when handling chicken make sure to wash your hands and all utensils carefully. Fry the meatballs in butter for about 10 minutes. Serve with pasta and some extra Dijon mustard.

Mini Pavlovas

Tuesday, March 6th, 2007

In the foreground a mini Pavlova with bilberry jam, blackberries, raspberry syrup and whipped cream. In the background a mini Pavlova with mango, raspberries, pineapple, whipped cream and peach syrup.

This is a fantastic dessert, you can’t resist loving it. Chewy yet crispy fragile meringues with whipped cream and your favourite fruit. Or with ice cream and shaved chocolate. Or with rhubarb preserve. Or… There is no end to all wonderful combinations you can make up with these little meringues. The name of the Pavlova origins from the great Russian ballerina, Anna Pavlova, who was said not to dance but to soar as though on wings. And these light meringues are supposed to symbolize that lightyness. There’s apparently a controversary with Australia and New Zeeland as both countries claim to have invented this airy dessert. But why bother, just eat it!

I actually wasn’t planning on making mini Pavlovas, oh no. My plan was to bake an advanced Carribean chocolate and mango cake. A recipe using a lot of egg yolks for the mango brûlée which was going inside the cake. Unfortunately my baking mold leaked water during the oven water bath and as I didn’t want to start all over I recalled the delicious mini Pavlovas we had at Anne’s last midsummer. So I made merengues, which are much easier to make than that Carribean cake! And I know that I was going to give the pączki a new try, but I was so busy with the disasterous cake that I didn’t feel like frying doughnuts. But I’ll probably bake them during the next weekend and will then post a most likely modified recipe.

Mini Pavlovas
(Makes 18. Recipe Nigella Lawson)

8 egg whites
a pinch of salt
500g caster sugar
4 tsp corn flour
2 tsp white wine vinegar (makes the meringues chewy inside)
1 tsp vanilla extract (I didn’t have any so I just substituted 100 gram of the above 500 gram caster sugar with my own vanilla sugar, which basically is a jar of caster sugar to which I add scraped used vanilla pods instead of throwing them in the trash).

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line 3 baking trays with baking paper.

Beat the egg whites and salt until the miixture form satiny peaks. Keep beating the egg whites while adding sugar little at a time until the meringue is stiff and shiny. Sprinkle over the corn flour, vinegar (and vanilla extract, if using). Fold in gently.

Form round meringues on the trays lined with baking paper, around 10 cm a cross and 1.5 cm high. Make an indentation in the middle of every pavlova with the back of a spoon. Put in the trays in the oven and immediately reduce the heat to 150°C. Bake for 30 minutes. Turn off the oven and leave the Pavlovas inside for 1.5-2 hours.

Serve the Pavlovas with whipped cream, fresh fruit and a nice fruit syrup.

Mini Pavlova with different fruits (“Frukt och Bär”, the new frozen fruit mixture from Ica, and blackberries) together with raspberry syrup and whipped cream.

Pączki jagodowe (Polish bilberry doughnuts)

Saturday, March 3rd, 2007

Polish bilberry doughnuts, made this evening

Pączki are delicious Polish doughnuts, filled with preserves. The most common filling is marmalade made from rose buds or plum marmalade, but you can fill them with any thick preserve you prefer. One of my favourite fillings is Advocaat custard which is vanilla custard with a kind of egg liqueur. My mother mostly fill them with plum marmalade which is delicious as well. In Poland pączki have their own day, but it’s very common to eat them during the whole year. I still remember when I was 9 years old and I toghether with my mother visited relatives in Poland during summer; we went to a bakery and bought loads of fresh pączki which we ate outside the bakery. Then we went back inside and bought another 30 to bring back to my aunt. The baker must have thought we were insane. But that is actually the problem with pączki, because when you start eating fresh still warm pączki, you just can’t get enough. When my mother used to make them at home we ate them all in no time :-) Anyway, the main day for pączki is last Thursday before Lent which is called Tłusty czwartek and means fat Thursday. I missed fat Thursday this year, which was a few weeks ago, so I made Pączki this evening even though lent has started. They were nice, but I wasn’t pleased with the result so I will make a new try tomorrow. I used bilberry jam as filling and it was lovely. Tomorrow I will probably use the same filling but I will modify the recipe and then post about it.