Archive for December, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 24th, 2007

Sałatka Jarzynowa

Sunday, December 23rd, 2007

One dish that is always served at my family for any of the holidays is a Polish mayonnaise based vegetable salad, sałatka jarzynowa. It goes very well with the rest of the mandatory Polish dishes served during Christmas, Easter and other important occasions. Every family has their own recipe, but the common ingredients are diced potatoes, eggs, carrots and mayonnaise. This kind of salad with diced vegetables bound in mayonnaise can be found in many countries with various names and a bit different ingredients. The most common name is Russian salad, even though the original recipe contained lobster and truffles and differs a lot from today’s version. But the most important thing isn’t the origin or name, but the taste!

    Sałatka Jarzynowa

    4 large potatoes, boiled with their skin on and then peeled
    2 red onions
    6 eggs, hard boiled
    3 large carrots, boiled
    250 gram green peas, boiled or from can
    200 gram fermented cucumbers
    350 ml mayonnaise
    optional: 1 tbsp of grated horseradish
    optional: a handful of grated cheese

    Dice potatoes, eggs, carrots and cucumbers. Finely dice the onions. Combine the diced ingredients in a bowl and add peas. Add mayonnaise and combine everything. Salt and pepper to taste. Add grated horsradish and/or cheese if wanted. Cover with cling film and keep in the fridge. May be prepared one day in advance for a better taste.

Menu for Hope 4 – last day!

Friday, December 21st, 2007

Don’t miss a chance to win a Moomin baking parcel with lots of Moomin cookie cutters, prize code EU15

Today is the last day to participate in Menu for Hope 4, don’t miss this opportunity to donate money at the same time as you have a chance to win fabulous prizes. Up until this very moment we’ve collected $64,165.00 and we still have one day left!

Homemade Bounty

Tuesday, December 18th, 2007

It’s really close to Christmas now and I’m desperately trying to get into a Christmasy mood, but without success. This year something is lacking, maybe I’ve hade too little Christmas candy? Hmm, I’ll just take a bite of these homemade Bounties and listen to another Christmas carol.

    Homemade Bounty
    (makes 25-30 balls)

    200 gram unsweetened desiccated coconut
    100 ml double cream
    70 gram (150 ml) icing sugar
    70 gram unsalted butter
    optional (omit if you want a taste closer to Bounty): max 1 ml rhum extract (Dr Oetker)
    200 gram milk chocolate

    In a bowl, combine coconut with icing sugar. Heat cream and butter on low heat until the butter has melted. Add rhum extract and pour the mixture over the coconut and icing sugar. Combine well.

    Form small balls (around 1 tbsp each) with your hands. It will be messy and you won’t be able to roll the balls, but rather press them together. Put them on a sheet with parchment paper. Cover with cling film and let stiffen in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

    Melt the milk chocolate, I prefer to do it in the micro wave. Dip each coconut ball in the warm melted chocolate and cover it completely, use a tooth pick when dipping. Let all excess chocolate drip back in the bowl and then put the ball on a parchment paper. Repeat until all coconut balls are covered. Let stiffen in the fridge for around 30-60 minutes before serving.

    Keep in the fridge.

Important message from Stinky

Monday, December 17th, 2007

Toblerone Fondue

Sunday, December 16th, 2007

Last week I ate dinner at the fondue restaurant Fondueboden and ever since I came back I’ve had their amazing Toblerone fondue on my mind. The thought has clung to me just like melted chocolate on a strawberry so just after a few days I knew that I hade to make it at home. Chocolate fondue is very simple to make, but yet very delicious and luxurious. It’s perfect for a slow dessert without any time pressure in the company of friends or your loved one. Make sure to serve the fondue with different fruits, marshmallows and meringues and don’t forget to stir it every now and then so it won’t burn. But most important is to just dip and indulge.

    Toblerone fondue
    (serves 1-4 depending on your sweet tooth)

    200 gram Toblerone Chocolate
    1 tbsp Grand Marnier
    50 ml double cream

    Break the chocolate in pieces. Melt it in a bowl in the microwave, just be careful not to burn it. Heat the cream and combine with chocolate. Add Grand Marnier and pour the melted chocolate into a fondue bowl with low heat underneath.

    Serve with fresh fruit, marshmallows and meringues.

Menu for hope 4: Win fabulous Moomin molds and cookie cutters!

Monday, December 10th, 2007

Moomin baking collection, prize code EU15

It’s December and for the fourth year in a row food bloggers from all over the world are raising money to the United Nations World Food Programme by offering wonderful culinary prizes to tempt people to donate money. For every US$10, the donor receives a virtual raffle ticket toward a prize of their choice. Last year we collected the incredible sum of $60,925.12!!! This year once again, all money will go to the UN World Food Programme. However this year the money are earmarked to a school’s feeding program in Lesotho. We chose to support the school lunch program because providing food for the children not only keeps them alive, but helps them stay in school so that they learn the skills to feed themselves in the future.

To read more about Menu for Hope 4, who benefits from it, what percentage of the funds actually goes to those we help etc, go to this link on Chez Pim.

So what does A Cat in the Kitchen do to contribute to Menu for Hope 4? Well, I’m donating a very special prize to the raffle, to tempt my dear readers. My prize for Menu for Hope 4 is a baking collection for all Moomin lovers! It’s Moomin Mania, a special irresistible baking collection for all Moomin lovers (prize code EU15) that consists of:

1 Moomintroll cake mold
1 Moomintroll cookie cutter
1 Moominmamma cookie cutter
1 Moominpappa cookie cutter
1 Lilla My cookie cutter
1 Snork maiden cookie cutter
1 Groke cookie cutter
1 Snufkin cookie cutter
1 Hattifatteners cookie cutter
1 Grooke cookie cutter
1 Stinky cookie cutter
3 popsicle molds with Stinky, Snufkin and Moomintroll
Moomin band aid (if you get hurt in the kitchen while cooking)

Everything is brand new in their original packages and I’ve been struggling really hard to prepare this prize. I’ve been searching everywhere for the cookie cutters and luckily I had to go for an unplanned business trip to Helsinki last month where I was finally able to buy the cookie cutters and the cake mold in the official Moomin shop in Helsinki, Finland. The popsicle molds were bought in a small shop in Gothenburg and the band aid was bought in a Swedish pharmacy.

The 9 different cookies come out beautifully with outlines and people just love them. You can make any cut-out cookies with the cutters and decorate them as you wish. The cake mold holds 400 ml and results in a cute Moomin cake. The popsicle molds can be filled with juice, yoghurt or ice cream batter and produces cute Moomin popsicles.

The cute cookie cutters are hard to find outside Finland and occassionally I’ve seen them for very high prices on Ebay, last time I saw them a seller wanted $20 + shipping for a package of 3 cookie cutters. Here you are able to win 9 different cookie cutters, a mold, band aid and 3 popsicle molds!!! I will ship the prize anywhere in the world.

    Donation and raffle ticket buying instructions:

    1. Choose a prize or prizes of your choice from our Menu for Hope at Chez Pim. Every $10 gives you a raffle ticket.

    2. Go to the donation site at Firstgiving and make a donation.

    3. Please specify which prize you’d like in the ‘Personal Message’ section in the donation form when confirming your donation. You must write-in how many tickets per prize, and please use the prize code. The prize code for my Moomin parcel is EU15. IMPORTANT: Please use the following convention when specifying your prize choices in the Personal Message section: “number of tickets” x “prize code” (for example: 3xUE01, 2xAP06).

    4. For US donors: If your company matches your charity donation, please check the box and fill in the information so we could claim the corporate match.

    5. Important: Please check the box to allow us to see your email address so that we can contact you in case you win. Your email address will not be shared with anyone.

    Check back on Chez Pim on Wednesday, January 9 for the results of the raffle.

    If you’re feeling a bit insecure, the regional host Fanny at Food Beam has a step by step instruction here.

Good luck in the raffle and remember that this is for a very good cause. Thank you for your participation!

An example of what you can bake with the Moomin cookie cutters.

Bulgur with pomegranate and pistachios

Sunday, December 2nd, 2007

This bulgur salad with pomegranate is very simple to do and it’s something that I often serve when cooking Middle Eastern food. The nuttiness in the bulgur goes really well with the pistachios and the pomegranate seeds add a nice sweetness, especially when serving with hot and spicy food. When you’ve tried this recipe you don’t want anything else to your Middle Eastern food. On the photo you can see that I’ve used whole bulgur, but you can use a smaller grain size; I’ve done this recipe successfully with cracked bulgur as well.

    Bulgur with pomegranate and pistachios
    (serves four when served with chicken or meat)

    100 gram peeled pistachio nuts
    1 pomegranade
    300 ml bulgur
    600 ml water
    1 tbsp instant concentrated chicken stock

    Pour water, stock and bulgur into a cooking pan. Bring to boil and let simmer under cover for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and leave under cover for 5 minutes.

    In the meantime, cut the pomegranate in half. Pour cold water into a bowl and submerge the pomegranate halves. While peeling keep the pomegranate under water. Remove the seeds carefully from the pith with your fingers, they’ll sink to the bottom while most of the pith and rind will float to the top. Collect the pith and rind with your hands and then drain the seeds in a sieve. This method will save you from red stains and makes the peeling a lot easier.

    In a serving bowl, combine bulgur, pistachios and pomegranate seeds. Serve with chicken tagine or any spicy Middle Eastern stew and yoghurt with garlic and mint.