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Gingerbread lanterns

December 5, 2010

Are you bored of gingerbread houses? Why not make a lantern instead? A gingerbread lantern is a fun and easy project. You need gingerbread dough, hard candies in different colours, sugar, icing and sprinkles.

First you crush the hard candies.

Roll out the gingerbread dough. Cut out 4 rectangles or squares directly on a lined baking sheet, I used a lid from one of my tins for the rectangles. Cut out patterns with cookie cutters and stamp the dough with text and cutters. The only limit is your imagination! Fill all the holes with the crushed candies. Bake in 175 degrees C for about 10 minutes until the candy has melted.

Let the pieces cool. If the edges are a bit crooked, polish them at a 45 degree angle with a very sharp grater (I use one of my microplane). Melt the sugar (be careful!). Dip the edges in the sugar and carefully assemble 4 rectangles together. When completely cool and stable, decorate with icing and sprinkles!

Once ready put a small candleholder with a candle in each lantern. And remember to never leave a candle unattended!

Star Wars cookie cutters!

December 1, 2010

One and a half week ago I was in New York for a “girls only trip” with Lena and Anne. We had a great time and when we went to Williams-Sonoma I bought a set of Star Wars cookie cutters (along with some other cookie cutters. Yes, I admit. I am a cookie cutter addict). For the cookies in the photo I used the recipe on the box, which turned out great. The cookies were a success at Fredrik’s game night with his friends despite the fact that I didn’t have the time to decorate them with frosting. Instead I opted for a very easy solution; after cutting out/stamping the cookies I sprinkled coloured sugar in the indentations and brushed away the excess before baking them.

3 x digestive biscuit toppings

November 1, 2010

I’m participating in a blog competition. Göteborgs Kex has newly launched mini digestive biscuits and is arranging a competition where food bloggers are encouraged to make up a maximum of three recipes. The only rules are that the recipes need to contain mini digestive biscuits and cheese. Below are my recipes, in both English and Swedish.

The first recipe that I came up with was mini cheesecakes. A delicious ricotta topping with blueberries, lime and vanilla; a real treat!

    Mini cheesecakes with blueberries, lime and vanilla

    250 gram ricotta
    0.5 vanilla pod, the interior
    4 tsp sugar
    1 organic lime (zest from the whole lime, juice from half the lime)
    100 ml blueberries
    100 ml whipping cream
    2 tsp instant gelatine for cold mixtures
    fresh raspberries for decoration
    25 small digestive biscuits (“utvalda små digestive”)

    On the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat ricotta, vanilla, sugar, lime and blueberries for 1 minute or two until smooth. In a separate bowl lightly whip the cream, add the gelatine and whip until fluffy. Carefully combine everything and pipe the mixture on the digestive biscuits. Decorate with fresh raspberries.

    Mini-cheesecake med blåbär, lime och vanilj

    250 gram ricotta
    0.5 vaniljstång, urskrapad
    4 tsk socker
    1 ekologisk lime (finrivet skal från hela limen, saft från halva limen)
    1 dl blåbär
    1 dl vispgrädde
    2 tsk gelatin för kalla desserter
    färska hallon att dekorera med
    25 Utvalda Små Digestive

    Vispa ricotta, vanilj, socker, lime och blåbär i 1-2 minuter tills smeten blir slät. Vispa grädden lätt i en separat skål, tillsätt gelatinet och fortsätt vispa tills grädden är färdigvispad. Rör ihop allt försiktigt och spritsa ut ricottablandningen på digestivekexen. Dekorera med färska hallon.

    ~~*~~

The second recipe is the absolutely most scrumptious one. Wonderful warm feta cheese with a balsamic lime and thyme vinaigrette. During summer I often fry feta cheese as a starter and pour the divine vinaigrette on top. The recipe is inspired by a dish that I had at a Greek restaurant and once at home I tried to re-create it. Since then it’s one of my favourites. For the competition I decided to combine my recipe with digestive biscuits, which turned out delicious!

    Digestive biscuits with ovenbaked feta and balsamic lime and thyme vinaigrette

    150 gram feta cheese
    16 small digestive biscuits
    3 tbsp honey
    3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    1.5 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
    1 tbsp lime juice
    1 tsp organic lime zest
    2 tsp fresh thyme, finely chopped

    Cut the cheese into 16 pieces and place on the small digestive biscuits. Bake in 175 degrees C for 10 minutes. Keep an eye so the cheese and biscuits won’t burn. In the mean time combine the vinegreitte ingredients. Take out the biscuits from the oven and pour the vinegraitte over them. Serve immediately.

    Små digestive med ugnsbakad fetaost samt balsamvinägrett med lime och timjan

    150 gram fetaost
    16 Utvalda Små Digestive
    3 msk honung
    3 msk extra virgin olivolja
    1.5 msk vit balsamvinäger
    1 msk limejuice
    1 tsk ekologisk limeskal, finrivet
    2 tsk färsk timjan, finhackad

    Dela fetaosten i 16 lika stora delar. Fördela ostbitarna på digestivekexen och baka i 10 minuter i 175 grader C. Se till att kexen och osten inte blir brända. Blanda under tiden ihop vinägrettingredienserna. Ta ut kexen ur ugnen och ringla vinägretten över. Servera omedelbart.

    ~~*~~

    I love blue cheese and I love bacon, so the third recipe is a simple but yummy blue cheese and bacon topping.

    Digestive biscuits with bluecheese and bacon
    120 gram extra smoked bacon rashers
    100 gram blue cheese
    100 ml crème fraîche
    black pepper
    chives, chopped
    approx. 20 small digestive biscuits

    Fry the bacon rashers until crispy and let cool on a paper kitchen towel. Crush the bacon into small pieces with your fingers (reserve 1-2 bacon rashers for decoration), combine with grated blue cheese, crème fraîche and black pepper. Pipe the mixture on digestive biscuits. Sprinkle the remaining bacon and chives on top of each digestive biscuit.

    Små digestive med blåmögel-och bacontopping
    120 gram extrarökt skivad bacon
    100 gram blåmögelost
    1 dl crème fraîche
    svartpeppar
    gräslök, hackad
    ca 20 Utvalda Små Digestive

    Stek baconskivorna tills de är krispiga. Låt svalna på hushållspapper. Smula sönder baconet i små bitar (lägg undan 1-2 skivor för dekoration), blanda ihop med riven blåmögelost, crème fraîche och svartpeppar. Spritsa ut blandningen på kexen. Strö över resterande bacon och gräslök på kexen.

    ~~*~~

Happy Halloween!

October 31, 2010

This year’s pumpkins; 2 carved by F and 2 carved by me. The little pumpkin is homegrown and was regretfully the only pumpkin that I managed to grow. If you have any pumpkin growing tips, I would love to hear your tricks.

PS. And yes, as you can see all the snow has melted!

My chili plants are covered in snow

October 25, 2010

Winter came early this year.

Swedish cheesecake – Småländsk ostkaka

October 4, 2010

Swedish cheesecake with whipped cream, blackberries and jam.

I know, I know. The photo is really bad and doesn’t do this dessert any justice. This Swedish cheesecake, originating from the province of Småland, is probably far from any cheesecake you’ve ever had. It’s not at all like the smooth biscuit based New York cheesecake. This cheesecake is grainy, full of toasted chopped almonds and has a very vague taste of bitter almond. And it’s absolutely lovely! Serve it lukewarm with berries, jam and whipped cream. This cheesecake needs to be served directly from the pan it was baked in as it’s not really sliceable.

To make Swedish cheesecake you need to make your own cheese, but don’t let that scare you off. You’ll need rennet and in Sweden you’ll always find it at the pharmacy. If I’m not wrong, bitter almonds are banned in the US. They are poisonous, but only in very large quantities so don’t worry as they are very common in European baking. If you live in the US you can substitute with almond extract.

    Småländsk ostkaka – Swedish cheesecake from Småland
    (Based on a Gert Klötzke recipe. I significantly increased the amount of almonds, increased the amount of egg and used vanilla infused sugar).
    Serves 6-8

    Day 1:
    3 litres of milk (at least 3 % fat)
    75 g flour
    2 tsp rennet
    Day 2:
    400 ml double cream
    3 eggs
    90 gram sugar (vanilla infused).
    2 small bitter almonds, finely grated
    100 gram blanched almonds, roasted and chopped

    Mix 200 ml milk with flour and rennet to a smooth batter. In a big pan, heat the rest of the milk to 35 degrees C. Add the flour mixture and stir until it reaches 37 degrees C. Remove from the heat and let stand for 30 minutes. Carefully separate the whey from the cheese using a very fine sieve and/or cheese cloth. Let it continue to drain in the fridge over night.

    The next day combine the cheese with the rest of the ingredients. Pour the batter into a buttered pan. Bake the cheesecake in 165 degrees C until it has a nice and golden colour, approximately 30-40 minutes. Make sure it’s completely baked but not overbaked.

    Serve lukewarm with jam, berries and whipped cream.

SOS

October 1, 2010

No, this is not a call for help. SOS is a classic Swedish starter, short for sill ost smör (pickled herring, cheese, butter). It’s served with crisp bread and snaps. We had it as a starter just the other day when lovely Courtney and her CS was visiting for a dinner, together with Anne and her family.

Two kinds of pickled herring: mustard and onion & cranberries. Västerbotten cheese, the Swedish equivalent of Parmesan. Butter with sea salt.

Crisp bread. I love the sticks from Vilmas, this one was with dill and onion.

Lux, Stockholm

July 11, 2010

OK, I realise it’s been an insane amount of time since I posted. But I won’t come with all my excuses, instead I’ll just post about the great dinner that I had yesterday at Lux with Anne, Lena and our significant others. A delicious meal with good friends, it can’t get any better!

Lux is a restaurant focusing on Swedish flavours using local producers near Stockholm. As an example the pike we ate was caught by a fisher below the Skuru bridge, just close to where I live. During the meal the dishes were served with detailed descriptions, down to the name of the farmers. I highly recommend a dinner at Lux, especially if you’re a foreigner and want a good Swedish meal since the menus will always be seasonal and local. The tasting menu that we had yesterday is valid for July and August, however they will be closed between July 19th and August 20th.

Starter, not mentioned on the menu. Asparagus in two variants (deep fried and as a crisp) with mayonnaise. Salmon with pickled cucumber. Cucumber juice as palate cleanser. I liked the asparagus the most.

Everyone got something called a pharmacy; a tray with various small bottles and things including a lollipop! Every time we were supposed to use something from the tray we were told by the waiters. After the starter we ate the first thing in the pharmacy, a radish with butter and salt.

Mackerel from the Swedish west coast, spice simmered with lumpfish roe
from Simrishamn, tomato, creamy vinaigrette and poached Grebbestad oyster.

Nice taste but a lot of difficult textures.

Scallops from Fröya, wine boiled and roasted, with Elmsfeuer rhubarb from Gotland, soy dressing, sorrel and rye bread.
Very tasty, the rhubarb and toasted rye bread croutons were a very nice pairing to the rest of the dish.

Next we we’re told to drink our little bottle from our pharmacy. It turned out to be a drink made of Queen of the Meadow (Älgört). It was refreshing and left an aftertaste of buckwheat.

Veal steak from Snällebo, tenderized and lightly grilled with iced celery from Östhammar, raw shaved forest mushroom and parsley cream.
The veal had been tenderized for three weeks and was nice but I don’t think anyone really liked the iced celery.

Close up of the veal.

Close up of the iced celery and the parsley cream. I do wonder who AT is.

Whole primeur chicken from Hagby farm, roasted with steak sauce, spice marinated duck liver, fresh pepper and pickled cabbage.
In the foreground you can see the lollipop from the “pharmacy”.

We were told to use our small grater and the small piece of horseradish that was in our pharmacy.

We got some warm soft bread to scoop up the sauce. Yum! This was the highlight of the savory dishes.

Hornudden’s tomatoes. Basically a cold tomato juice.

Pike from Skurusund in Mälaren, water baked with stuffed zucchini flower, butter seared brill, garden vegetables and fresh herbs.
The pike came in three different variants of which one was a raw cream. I did not like the pike in the zucchini flower, but the brill was tasty.

Frostmofjäll goat cheese from Gullspira farm, in thin slices, with warm goat cheese milk, small pancakes, sorrel and almond cream.
Here we used the maple syrup that hid in the dark bottle with the pipette. Delicious!

An extra dessert not mentioned on the menu. A classical Swedish cheesecake with tangy rhubarb.

A small scoop of ice cream, either bilberry or caramel with the fruit “sprinkles” from our pharmacy. Nice ice cream, but not even near the best I’ve had.

Strawberries from Stenhusegård, juice simmered and chilled with sorbet of Eskesta dairy sour milk, Enskede elderberry and oat muesli.
Strawberries in different variants, including jelly, frozen and compote. Yum!

We had the last dessert and coffee out on the terrace. In the background Chocolate cake Grand Gru with raspberry and marmalade with coconut. In the foreground a lollipop with soft caramel filling.

And some chocolate to the coffee before finalizing with the lollipop from our pharmacy. Through out the dinner we also had different kinds of warm bread, although I did not include them in this post.