Archive for November, 2007

Daring Bakers: Tender potato bread

Monday, November 26th, 2007

Potato buns, decorated with poppy seeds and ready to be baked in the oven

This is my fifth month as a member of the Daring Bakers. The Daring bakers consist of proud women and men that love to bake and are not afraid of baking challenges. The idea of the Daring Bakers is that every month one baking recipe is presented that all members have to follow exactly without any modifications except where specifically allowed. During the month we share our experiences and learn to be better bakers. The recipe, our photos and experiences are then officially posted on a specified day, this time on the 26th of November. This month’s challenge was nothing sweet, but savoury! The challenge was to bake tender potato bread from “Home Baking: The Artful Mix of Flour & Tradition Around the World” by Jeffrey Alford & Naomi Duguid, and the recipe was picked by Tanna from My Kitchen in half cups.

As usual I started with the challenge late, quite late or actually just late. So on Sunday evening I finally peeled and cooked the potatoes for the potato bread. I started making the dough and it was quite sticky all the time despite all flour and me struggling. I didn’t want to add more flour than the maximum in the recipe so the dough was very soft. I left it to rise for 2 hours and it grew beautifully.

Pototo buns, decorated with sesame seeds and ready to bake.

My plan was to make buns, but actually braided or decorated in some way. But my dough was too soft to shape so I just made round buns. After the second rise I decorated half of the buns with poppy seeds and the other half with sesame seeds. Then, when it was time to put the three sheets with buns in the oven I first didn’t react. Then I suddenly realised that the TV was totally quiet and when I turned to the oven I just frooze. POWER FAILURE!!!!

And now you may ask, didn’t I notice the darkness? No, since this was only a partial power failure which took out one third of our appartment: only some of the lights, the TV, the fridge (but not the freezer), the washing machine and THE OVEN!!!! After a lot of effort we came to the conclusion that the error was nothing we could fix, so Fredrik quickly connected the fridge to a working socket. And what about the bread? Well, 6 of the buns was put in the freezer. One whole sheet I put in the fridge with hope that the power would come back and one sheet was left on the counter (those buns looked like tortilla breads this morning). And we, instead of having freshly baked potato buns as evening snack, microwaved some pizza instead. However not any pizza, but homemade pizza with buffallo mozzarella and spicy sausages which I made the evening before. We ate the pizza in the light of three candles and with Yoshi staring. It was almost the “perfect” power failure: a working fridge and a microwave is all you need :-)

This morning we still had the partial power failure, so I couldn’t bake the buns that I put in the fridge. The problem is reported and if the power gets back this evening I’ll bake them tonight otherwise I’ll de-frost the frozen ones and bake them when ever the power comes back.

I hope that all other Daring Bakers enjoyed their bread. I regret not getting to taste it, but I think it’s in the spirit of the Daring Bakers to cook so hard the power blows… :-)

EDIT 26th November:
On Monday evening we got back the one third of the power that was missing. I know that it sounds weird that we only had partial power failure, but we have three incoming power inflows to the appartment and they are independent of each other. Someone asked about heating, but that is done separate so we still had a warm and cosy appartment. Anyway, the buns didn’t look good after being in the fridge for 20 hours, they had collapsed into rather flat buns and it didn’t help to keep them in room temperature for an hour before baking. The baked buns were quite soft but still a bit cheewy and I’m sure that they would have come out much better if baked directly after the second rise. So I don’t really have any verdict, I need to make them from scratch again. And I’ll also try to de-frost the frozen ones and see if they’ll come out better then the ones keept in the fridge.

Pineapple cake or How does Moomin taste?

Sunday, November 18th, 2007

Two weeks ago I was in Finland for the first time ever, and even though I was only there for a short business trip I still managed to locate the official Moomin shop in Helsinki for some shopping. One of the things I bought was this Moomin cake mold, and if you like the Moomin cookie cutters and this mold you should make sure to come back here in mid December :-) Before using the mold for the first time I thought a lot about what Moomin would taste like. I know that it sounds bizarre, you shouldn’t eat sweet and kind Moomin, but still… I think that he has a white hard cover, with a chocolate interior. Or maybe coconut flavour. Or maybe as simple as cardamom. I finally decided that my first soft Moomin cake would be pinapple flavoured and it came out very moist and juicy. Not too sweet and perfect to tea or milk. And of course you can make this cake in another mold, just use a small one that fits 400 ml.

When speaking about Helsinki, I want to at least mention the newly opened restaurant Grotesk where we went after a tip from F’s colleague at work. Grotesk was founded by the top chefs Tommi and Teemu of Demo (a Michelin star restaurant) with the goal to serve top food to mid prices. I can just say that the food was fantastic and I enjoyed it a lot even though our waiter was a bit rude, still very polite though. If you’re passing by Helsinki, don’t miss Grotesk.

On this photo you can see the juicy pineapple pieces.

    Moist and juicy small pineapple cake
    (makes one small cake, use a 400 ml mold)

    3 tbsp vanilla infused caster sugar
    1 egg
    150 ml plain flour
    50 gram butter, melted
    0.5 tsp baking soda
    100 ml (about 90-100 gram) well drained crushed pineapple from can

    icing sugar to powder on the cake before serving.

    Beat the egg and sugar with an electric beater until white and fluffy. Fold in the melted butter. Fold in the flour and baking soda. Finally add the pineapple and combine. Pour the thick batter in a buttered mold. Bake in the oven in 170 degrees C for about 20-23 minutes, until a tooth pick comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the mold for 10 minutes. Take it out and powder with icing sugar.

Gift giving

Friday, November 16th, 2007

Homemade rhubarb jam with cinnamon, orange and ginger

“I will send a handmade gift to the first 3 people who leave a comment on my blog requesting to join this exchange. I don’t know what that gift will be yet and you may not receive it tomorrow or next week, but you will receive it within 365 days, that is my promise! The only thing you have to do in return is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog.”

Yesterday I read about it on Anne’s blog and then I made a comment for a similar post on For the body and soul and thereby obliged to make the same promise on my blog. I think that it’s a great idea!

So come on, the first three people requesting to join will receive a homemade culinary gift in exchange that they make the same promise on their own blog. If you don’t have any blog and want to participate, then comment anyway. And is doesn’t matter in which country you live in, I’ll post the gift to where ever you live. The gift will be a surprise, so I won’t send the jam on the photo above.

Chocolate and Hazelnut Semifreddo

Monday, November 12th, 2007

The last weeks have been quite hectic and during the evenings I’ve been too tired to sit in front of the computer. I have a lot of catching up to do and tonight I looked through my food photos with hope that I’ll write a few posts during the coming week.

Last week I was in Finland for work which collided a bit with my wishes to prepare some lovely food for my two dear girlfriends M and J that visited me during the weekend. I ended up cooking other food than planned but we still had a fabulous time. We shopped, watched the musical Sound of Music at the Göta Lejon theatre, we went out to dance, talked a lot and of course ate. We also went to Centralbadet to relax in the sauna and jacuzzi. Due to the lack of time when they arrived on Friday noon, I chose a chocolate and hazelnut semifreddo from Leila Lindholm’s “Leilas guldkant på vardagen” for dessert for the 3 course dinner I served during the evening. Semifreddo, which is Italian for half cold, is a great ice cream dessert to prepare well in advance, even if my planning was bad and instead of making it the weekend before the girls arrival I quickly did it while they watched before we went out for lunch. I halfed the recipe and as I didn’t have any hazelnut liquer I used macadamia nut syrup instead. I also used tiny meringues instead of using crushed regular sized ones. This semifreddo results in a lot of dishes, but it’s definitly worth it.

    Chocolate and Hazelnut Semifreddo
    (serves 4. Adapted from Leila Lindholm’s “Leilas guldkant på vardagen” )

    100 gram dark quality chocolate
    2 eggs
    2 tbsp vanilla infused caster sugar
    100 ml double/whipping cream
    100 ml fat Greek or Turkish yoghurt (10%)
    1 tbsp Macadamia nut syrup (or Hazelnut liquer according to original recipe)
    1 handful of tiny meringues
    about 50-60 gram chopped hazelnuts

    To serve:
    tiny meringues
    chopped hazelnuts

    Melt the chocolate in the microwave. In a bowl, whip the egg yolks and half of the sugar until white and fluffy. In another bowl, whip the egg whites with the remaining sugar until stiff. In a third bowl, whip the cream until fluffy. Combine with the yoghurt.
    Combine the egg yolk mixture with the melted chocolate. Add liquer and cream/yoghurt mixture. Finally fold in the eggwhites.

    Place some chopped hazelnuts and meringues in a mold. Cover with a couple of spoons of semifreddo, add some more meringues and hazelnuts and cover with semifreddo again. Sprinkle the rest of the hazelnuts and meringues on top. Cover with cling film and put in the freezer for at least 4-5 hours.

    Before serving, let the semifreddo stand in room temperature for about 20 minutes to soften. Scoop the semifreddo and serve in glasses. Sprinkle hazelnuts and meringues on top.

Tiger cake

Monday, November 5th, 2007

Tiger cake, disguised as a teddy bear

Tiger cake, or Tigerkaka as we call it in Swedish, is a simple marble cake. The name comes from the marbled pattern, resembling of a tiger’s fur pattern. The cake is simple to bake and is very good, especially when newly baked. Although I have to admit that I find it a little bit boring, I’m just not into sponge cakes. But I love my husband and he loves tiger cake so of course I bake it for him, this time ready to attack disguised as a teddy bear. But actually we attacked first, by brutally cutting his head off :-O

The teddy bear without it’s head…

    Tiger cake

    200 gram butter
    200 ml (180 gram) caster sugar (vanilla infused)
    3 eggs
    400 ml (240 gram) flour
    1 tsp baking powder
    100 ml milk
    zest and juice from 0.5 orange
    2 tbsp cocoa powder

    Preheat oven to 175 degrees C.
    Grease and bread a mold, with a volume of around 1.5 litres. Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until white and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time. Fold in flour and baking powder. Add milk and combine.

    Set aside one third of the batter in a separate bowl. Add cocoa and combine. To the first bowl (the one with the remaining 2 thirds), add orange zest and juice. Combine.

    Spoon half of the orange batter into the mold. Cover with the cocoa batter and finally cover with the remaing orange batter. To create marbling, run a fork through the batters in a swirling motion.

    Bake the tiger cake for around 40-50 minutes, until a tooth pick or potato stick comes out clean.

    Let the tiger cake cool in the mold for at least 10 minutes until you turn it out. Serve it when still luke warm.