Archive for January, 2009

Daring Bakers: Tuiles

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

Tuiles with bilberry sorbet.

Today you’ll find over 1000 blog posts about tuiles as it’s Daring Bakers time again! This month’s challenge is brought to us by Karen of Bake My Day and Zorra of 1x umruehren bitte aka Kochtopf. They have chosen Tuiles from The Chocolate Book by Angélique Schmeink and Nougatine and Chocolate Tuiles from Michel Roux.

Honestly, I didn’t really think I would make this month’s challenge as the last week has been crazy. But then I realized that I missed the November and December challenges, so tonight in the very last minute I decided to take some time for the tuiles! I was hoping that the baking would decrease my stress levels and improve my mood but it didn’t . I didn’t bother making butterflies, I just made simple cups that I filled with a scoop of bilberry sorbet. I wasn’t very impressed with the tuiles, but F thinks that they are delicious and insists that I should make them in summer and serve them with ice cream.

    (from “The Chocolate Book” written by Angélique Schmeinck)

    Yields: 20 small butterflies/6 large (butterflies are just an example)
    Preparation time batter 10 minutes, waiting time 30 minutes, baking time: 5-10 minutes per batch

    65 grams / ¼ cup / 2.3 ounces softened butter (not melted but soft)
    60 grams / ½ cup / 2.1 ounces sifted confectioner’s sugar
    1 sachet vanilla sugar (7 grams or substitute with a dash of vanilla extract)
    2 large egg whites (slightly whisked with a fork)
    65 grams / 1/2 cup / 2.3 ounces sifted all purpose flour
    1 table spoon cocoa powder/or food coloring of choice
    Butter/spray to grease baking sheet

    Oven: 180C / 350F

    Using a hand whisk or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle (low speed) and cream butter, sugar and vanilla to a paste. Keep stirring while you gradually add the egg whites. Continue to add the flour in small batches and stir to achieve a homogeneous and smooth batter/paste. Be careful to not overmix.
    Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to firm up. (This batter will keep in the fridge for up to a week, take it out 30 minutes before you plan to use it).

    Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or grease with either butter/spray and chill in the fridge for at least 15 minutes. This will help spread the batter more easily if using a stencil/cardboard template such as the butterfly. Press the stencil on the bakingsheet and use an off sided spatula to spread batter. Leave some room in between your shapes. Mix a small part of the batter with the cocoa and a few drops of warm water until evenly colored. Use this colored batter in a paper piping bag and proceed to pipe decorations on the wings and body of the butterfly.

    Bake butterflies in a preheated oven (180C/350F) for about 5-10 minutes or until the edges turn golden brown. Immediately release from bakingsheet and proceed to shape/bend the cookies in the desired shape. These cookies have to be shaped when still warm, you might want to bake a small amount at a time or maybe put them in the oven to warm them up again. (Haven’t tried that). Or: place a bakingsheet toward the front of the warm oven, leaving the door half open. The warmth will keep the cookies malleable.

    If you don’t want to do stencil shapes, you might want to transfer the batter into a piping bag fitted with a small plain tip. Pipe the desired shapes and bake. Shape immediately after baking using for instance a rolling pin, a broom handle, cups, cones….

My own lazy organic muesli

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

I hope I havn’t mislead you with the title as this isn’t really any recipe. I love trying out new products so when I saw Saltå Kvarn’s new muesli site where you choose between a wide range of organic and ecological ingredients creating your own muesli mixture and get it delivered home I just had to order. Especially since they have loads of different frozen dried fruit which I just love. To my mixture I added a lot of frozen dried raspberries as I always eat them straight out the Kellogg’s Special K Red berries box. If you know anywhere I could get hold on frozen dried raspberries or mango, please let me know! Anyway, as you add ingredients to your muesli you’ll see all nutrition facts which is great if you want to control the amount of fat or carbs. I noticed that my mixture wasn’t extremely healthy but that’s OK as I tend to eat it as a snack rather than a breakfast. When you’re finished with picking your ingredients you name your mix and then you get it in your mailbox within 3-5 days. It’s quite pricy, especially when choosing a lot of frozen dried fruit like I did. But it’s all ecological and/or ecological depending on ingredient and really tasty. I just wish there was an option to skip the muesli base that you have to choose, so you would be able to order organic corn flakes with your choice of fruit.

Here’s my mixture, if you would like to try it:

    Daggi’s berry blast
    (My organic muesli composed on Min Müsli)

    Ingredients (all organic or ecological):
    Muesli base (oat, wheat, corn and rye), 240 g
    Frozen dried raspberries, 6 scoops (24 g)
    Crunch 1 scoop (23 g)
    Frozen dried bilberries, 2 scoops (20 g)
    Amarant cornflakes, 1 scoop (20 g)
    Frozen dried mango, 2 scoop (18 g)
    Canihua, 1 scoop (15 g)
    Buckwheat puffs, 1 scoop (12 g)
    Frozen dried pineapple, 1 scoop (11 g)
    Frozen dried strawberries, 2 scoops (6 g)

    Nutrition value per 100 gram:
    Energy 1315 kJ /314 kcal
    Protein 8.7 g
    Carbohydrates 61.4 g
    Fat 3.4 g

Baked apple cider doughnuts with cinnamon and maple syrup

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

I made theese lovely baked doughnuts several times last year and the year before but I never came around to blog about them. The recipe calls for a special doughnut pan (looks like this) instead of frying the doughnuts in oil which results in tasty and quite healthy doughnuts. They were moist with a great taste, but they tasted a bit different compared to the usual oily ones. Despite the fact that I made them a few times I managed to loose my recipe notes somewhere. However my recipe was based on this one and as far as I remember I just played around with the quantities. The next time when I’ll make doughnuts in my pans I’ll probably try with to use banana in the batter.

Chicken skewers with sweet chili and peanut dipping sauce

Sunday, January 18th, 2009

Lately I’m cooking a lot of Asian influenced food. The fridge contains fish sauce, oyster sauce, different soya sauces and chili. I have fresh cilantro on the kitchen counter and yesterday I even planted some cilantro seeds as my consumtion is so high. These little skewers and dipping sauce was one of the dishes that I cooked for an Asian dinner some weeks before Christmas. The recipe is from Olive; it’s easy, delicious and I’ve modified it a bit.

    Chicken skewers with sweet chili and peanut dipping sauce

    2 garlic cloves
    2 tsp fish sauce
    2 tsp honey
    3 spring onions, chopped
    2 tsp vegetable oil
    4 chicken breasts, cut into cubes

    Dipping sauce:
    150 ml rice vinegar
    100 gram caster sugar
    2 tbsp cilantro, chopped
    1 red chili, finely chopped
    1 tbsp roasted peanuts, very finely chopped

    Soak as many wooden skewers as you have chicken breat cubes (around 15) in water. Combine all the marinade ingredients in a food processor. Pour the marinade into a bowl and add the chicken breast cubes. Chill for at least 1 hour.

    Heat rice vinegar and sugar in a small sauce pan. Let simmer for around 5 minutes until it thickens a bit. Cool and add the remaining ingredients.

    Skewer the chicken and cook it on a grill or frying pan until brown. Serve with the dipping sauce. I always divide dipping sauce in individual small bowls, one for each guest.

When the husband cooks..

Sunday, January 11th, 2009

Easy and delicious: Entrecôte with a salad consisting of aragula, walnuts, blue cheese and apple.

Planning the kitchen garden

Tuesday, January 6th, 2009

Assorted tomatoes, 2008.

I know it may seem crazy, especially since it has been snowing heavily today, to already plan this year’s kitchen garden. To my defense the seeds for the chili peppers need to be planted already this month so I ordered them today, together with a lot of other seeds.

Because of my rocky garden I plant most of the vegetables in pallet collars. Two stacked pallet collars are enough for most vegetables but if you stack three you get a comfortable working height.

The seeds that I was most happy with last summer will be planted again this year:
Yellow pear shaped tomatoes
Black cherry, tomato
Gardener’s Delight, tomato
Crystal apple cucumber
White Icicle, radish
French breakfast, radish
Performer, spring onion

French breakfast and white icicle radishes, 2008.

I didn’t really like the Bloody Butcher and Tigrella tomatoes, so this year I’ll substitute them with wild tomatoes and Tumbling Tom red. It was too much work with protecting the pointed head cabbage from deers, snails and insects so I’ll skip it this year. The swiss chard wasn’t used except for one or two dishes that I didn’t even blog about. I’ll probably try carrots and beets again this year, I just need to protect them better from the deers that keep pulling them up.

Yellow pear shaped tomato, 2008.

The Physalis plant that I had last year was bought, but this year I’ve ordered seeds for the variant Goldie. I didn’t succeed with the watermelon Sugar Baby as I planted it too late and when I finally managed to get a tiny watermelon after weeks of trying to polinate it with a small brush, it just took a day before I found a large bite on it (I suspect a snail!). However I’ll try to plant another Sugar Baby Melon this year and also Jenny Lind and Sweet Siberian as they apparently do pretty well in a cold climate.

Beet, one of few that wasn’t pulled up by the deers. 2008.

Hopefully my Strawberries and wild Strawberries will survive the winter, but I will still try Temptation from seeds. I’ll also try red onion (Red Brunswick), Pak Choi and two corns: Ashworth and Painted Mountain. I’m pretty sure that the deers will like the corn so I need to make a fence around the pallet collar.

I didn’t try any chili plants last summer but this year I’ll try 5 types: Early Jalapeno, Anaheim, Espelette and Hungarian Yellow Wax Hot. They will be planted as soon as I get the seeds. The rest of the seeds will be planted in March/April.

Most herbs I buy as plants, but try I’ll plant a lot of cilantro seeds as I use it soo much when cooking food. Are there any more seeds that I should try this year?

But first I need to wait for the snow to melt….

Bison grass and apple cocktail or “Tatanka” or “Szarlotka”

Thursday, January 1st, 2009

Żubrówka is a Polish vodka that is infused with bison grass from the Białowieża Forest on the border between Poland and Belarus. It has a vague hint of vanilla and almonds, and I love using it in drinks and cocktails mixing it with champagne and other ingredients. But an amazingly easy and delicious drink is to only use Żubrówka and apple juice. The vodka in combination with the apple juice results in a wintery drink with a scent of cinnamon and vanilla. In Poland the combination of Żubrówka and apple juice is often refered to as Tatanka or Szarlotka. Szarlotka actually means apple pie and gives you a clue about how delicious this cocktail is! Just make sure to use fresh apple juice to get a really tasty drink.

Happy New Year!

    Bison grass and apple cocktail
    one glass

    5 cl Żubrówka
    200 ml fresh high quality apple juice

    Put ice cubes in glass. Add Żubrówka and apple juice.