Archive for July, 2008

Daring Bakers: Filbert Gateau with Praline Buttercream

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

It’s time for another Daring Bakers challenge! 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 month’s challenge was to bake a Filbert Gateau with Praline Buttercream from Carol Walter’s “Great Cakes” and the recipe was picked by Chris of Mele Cotte.

It’s super hot outside and I’m melting so I will keep this post as short as possible. As usual I did the challenge in the very last minute. I baked the cake last night and today during the day I completed the different steps. I decided to do half the recipe, using a smaller spring pan. I used cherry preserves instead of apricot and I omitted the sugar syrup and used Frangelico hazelnut liquour instead. For decoration I used fresh cherries.

I averted two minor catastrophies:

1. My swiss buttercream curdled. But I quickly re-heated it for a couple of seconds, whipped it and it turned out very smooth and nice.

2. After putting the praline buttercream very even on each cake layer and then with the cake in my hand looking for a space in the fridge I discovered the whipped cream that I was suppose to have on each layer of butter cream…. So I gently split the layers and added the cream on my earlier perfect layers. It didn’t turn out too great, but better than I first thought.

The verdict? A gorgeous cake and I’m sure I will make it again in the future. There were many discussions on the private Daring Bakers forum about this very cake, but with over 1000 members it’s a tough choice for the monthly host to pick a recipe that will suit everyone. I’m very glad that Chris picked this recipe, as I would not have tried it otherwise despite the fact that I love hazelnuts all because the fact that I normally don’t like butter cream. But this one was delicious! Thanks!

The recipe can be found here and to see all fabulous versions of this cake go to the Daring Bakers blog roll.

Excellent starter: pea purée with horseradish

Monday, July 28th, 2008

Although it’s season for peas I must admit that I didn’t grow any this year. I was too busy with all other plants to even think about these beautiful green pearls. I found this recipe in the Swedish magazine “Mat och Vänner” and I served it as a starter when my parents were here. I piped the pea purée on Chinese soup spoons rather than in small glasses as the recipe suggested. Add horseradish to taste, depending on how stingy you want the purée to be.

    Pea purée with horseradish
    (source: Mat och Vänner. Recipe halfed and just a tiny bit adapted. Serves 5 as a starter)

    300 ml green peas
    100 ml water
    0.5 tbsp concentrated instant chicken stock
    0.5 small onion
    1 tbsp grated horseradish + some for decoration
    1 tbsp Olive oil
    Maldon sea salt
    Black pepper

    Peel and finely chop the onion. Put peas, water, chicken stock and onion in a sauce pan and bring to boil. Let simmer for 5 minutes. Mix with a standing mixer or food processor until smooth. Add half of the horseradish, taste and add more if wanted. Add olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.
    Pipe the purée in glasses or on spoons. Decorate with grated horseradish.

Weekend cat blogging

Sunday, July 27th, 2008

This could be just an ordinary shot of Yoshi sleeping…..

It’s been really hot in Sweden the past days, it’s 30 degrees C which is way too hot. Mostly we don’t do anything except walking the short walk down to the beach where we take a bath. We’re exhausted by the heat, just as the cats. But I know I shouldn’t complain as summer is short and soon it will be autumn again, and these warm summer days will only be a vague memory.

But it’s actually his new favourite spot where he’s overlooking the house and all people entering it. And yes, I’m really scared that he will fall down in his sleep.

The cake castle, Taxinge slott

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008

Last year Anne and Per took us to the cake castle Taxinge slott, 60 km south of Stockholm. We were thrilled over the amazing cake and pastry buffet, all baked locally at the castle. Since then F has been constantly talking about it, despite our fullness after the visit as we had too many cookies and cakes. So when my parents were visiting last week we decided to go to the castle and it was a huge success. But once more we were enchanted by the big selection and had too much :-)

The cake castle is situated in beautiful surroundings just by the lake Mälaren and I highly recommend going there. Directions can be found on their homepage.

Taxinge Slott
Opening times for the café:
Jan-April: Sat-Sun 11-16
May-Aug: every day 11-18
Sept: every day 11-16
Oct-16 Dec: Sat-Sun 11-16

Me and my parents.

The castle.

Lake Mälaren.

Raspberry coconut drink

Monday, July 21st, 2008

I’m back from two very busy weeks: my last hectic week at work before vacation (and my new job that I haven’t told you about yet) and my first week of vacation. Both combined with succeeding overnight guests at the house leaving no time for internet but for cooking and cleaning and washing. I’ve had a great time but I’m exhausted and I’m trying to catch some rest these days before more people will arrive.

One evening when we were still living in the city centre we decided to go to Hard Rock Café, just to share a Jumbo Combo. However as we didn’t have any reservation we had to wait at the bar sipping their different drinks. This very tasty and ice cold drink is inspired by a coconut and raspberry drink that I had that very evening. But of course this one is better :-)

    Rasberry Coconut drink
    (serves 2-4 depending on size of glasses)

    250 gram frozen raspberries, directly from the freezer
    400 ml (one can) unsweetened thai coconut milk
    1-2 tbsp caster sugar (preferably vanilla infused)
    200 ml Vodka

    Mix all ingredients in a mixer or food processor. Serve immediately.

A report from the kitchen garden

Wednesday, July 9th, 2008

White Icicle radish, quite strong.

French breakfast radish.

Cute signs (thanks again to Anne for the tip on where to find them!).

Growing tomato.

Some of the 20 (!) tomato plants that I have. I’ve grown them from seeds and I’m very proud :-) I’ve planted Black cherry, Tigrella, Gardener’s delight, yellow pear shaped tomato, Bloody butcher and Tiny Tim. They are all flowering, so eventually there will be a lot of tomatoes.

Smulgubbe, a cross between wild strawberries and normal ones.

Cape gooseberry or physalis.

Blooming wild strawberries.

I’m experimenting with a watermelon plant. Only one of 4 plants survived.

And yes, there is a tiny watermelon growing!

Charcoal grilled chicken sandwich

Thursday, July 3rd, 2008

There’s an ongoing bus strike in Stockholm since Tuesday. So I’m basicially stuck at home, which isn’t a problem since I can work remotely. There are a lot of advantages when working from home. The first thing is obviously that I can work in my pyjama :-) If the weather is nice I can sit outside for lunch, another great thing is that the cats make me company and another important thing is that I get disturbed less by other peoples phones and talking. The best thing is that I get decent lunch, instead of those repetetive everyday lunches: so-so curry, so-so Italian or OK sushi. Today’s lunch was a bit local: bread from the local bakery and salad and parsley from my garden. On top of the sandwich freshly charcoal grilled chicken, red onion, mayonnaise and Dijon mustard. Lovely, quick and makes the working day so much easier.

Strawberry salad

Tuesday, July 1st, 2008

One of the best things with summer are all fresh vegetables. After a long winter they appear full of colour and flavour. The easiest way to indulge them is just to use them in a salad. This tasty salad was found and suggested by my husband; it comes from the Swedish magazine “Allt om Mat”. Using strawberries in a savoury salad was new to me and I really liked it as an appetizer. The combination of sweet strawberries with vinaigrette and fresh vegetables is an excellent match.

    Strawberry salad
    Serves 4 as appetizer

    500 gram fresh strawberries
    2 avocados
    a couple of spring onions
    250 gram cherry tomatoes
    a handful of rocket

    2 tbsp Olive oil
    1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
    1 tsp honey
    a pinch of Maldon sea salt
    freshly ground black pepper

Combine the vinaigrette ingredients in a bowl.

Peel, pit and slice the avocados. Slice the strawberries. Slice the onions and halv the cherry tomatoes. Add avocados, tomatoes, strawberries, onion and rocket to the bowl with the vinaigrette. Gently toss until evenly coated.