It has been a work intensive january. 8 fairs in 4 countries in 2 weeks . I’ve been back to London job wise and took the opportunity to eat at ottolenghis in Islington something I wanted to do for ages. Unfortunately I did hot have time to check out this little conscious fish & chip place but I intend to go back there soonish. London is the place, isn’t it?
From there straight to Stockholm. My first time since ages in Sweden and my first time in Stockholm.
What a lovely city. I mean how can you not love a city where sourdough bread is the standard and you even have a sourdough hotel where you can bring your starter when you leave the town!
We ate a lot of very interesting new nordic cooking but it’s the swedish classics like the potato parsnip patties with pickled cucumbers, sour cream and fish roe I feel in love with. Still trying to cook this simple dish at home but after a first massif success we can not reproduce them again. I’ll let you know once we get there.
Oh and we had the best sauna experience ever with a bath in a frozen lake.
The swedish have the tradition of extended afternoon tea / coffee called vika. Traditionally they eat Kaneelbullar for vika a yeast pastry with cinnamon or even better cardamom. Cardamom is a brilliant spice I started to rediscover last year. Goes well with sweet and savoury. Try serving fresh goats chess with cardamom.
This sweets are really nice I strongly recommend giving them a go.
The starter: Mix the milk, yeast and 2cups of flower in la large bowl. The dough will be very sticky. Place it in an oiled bowl and cover and refrigerate it.
Let it rest over night or at least for a few hours.
The dough: The next day 30 minutes before you plan to bake take the dough out of the cold and leave it at room temperature.
Tear the dough in to large pieces. Now add the flour, cardamom and salt. Mix in the lemon zest and sugar and mix well ( preferably in a food processor ).
Now add the soft butter and knead well until you have a sooth and elastic dough. Add some milk if the dough feels to dry.
Roll the dough out into a rectangle ( approximately the size 30x50cm ) .
For the filling: mix mix together the the soft butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. Spread the dough over half of your dough ( see the image above.)
Sprinkle over the almonds.
( You could also make rolls then you would have to spread the filling all over the dough. )
Fold the dough over in half and cut long stripes should give you approximately 15 strings. Twist and shape them as you like and put on a baking paper leaving enough room in-between. Let them rise for 10 more minutes then brush with milk and sprinkle on some pearl sugar or similar.
Bake them at 200° for 10 to 15 minutes.
Best enjoyed with a cup of tea or coffee sitting outside in the garden or on the balcony on one of the first spring days covered with a blanket or maybe inside in front of a fireplace doing some knitting, then again I guess they are as nice eaten in a hurry waiting for the bus to work ....
What a mild winter we have over here in Switzerland, mid february and already in the allotment for the whole afternoon.
We won't complain - it's heaven!
And if it get's cool a up of tea and some waffle always help ;-)
Mix the yeast with a bit of milk. Soften the butter in a pan over medium heat. Add the rest of the milk and stir. Now add the sugar, salt, eggs and yeast mixture. Mix this mixture into the flour and stir well. Let the dough rest for a while.
When ready to bake the wafers. Oil the iron well. Don't let the iron become to hot. Fill with a good dollop of the batter and carefully bake over the fire. After the first minute you can start to check if the waffle are ready. The iron can be opened - you need to be careful tough and do it very slowly. If the waffle are still pale continue to bake.
When done take them out and sprinkle on some icing sugar and eat immediately.
I can't remember when I cooked cauliflower the last time. Certainly more than five years ago. I really don't know how to handle this veg. yet once this winter I got so bored of potatoe, leek and cabbage that I bought one. At home I still had no idea what to do with it. After looking through some cook books, I decided to go for yet another Ottoloenghi: Salad of roasted cauliflower with hazelnuts. Delicious!
Preheat the oven to 220°.
Turn the cauliflower in a mixture of 3 tbs of olive oil, 1/2 ts salt and some pepper.
Roast it for 25 -35 minutes on the top rack of your oven until crisp.
Put in a bowl and let cool.
Turn the oven down to 170° and roast the hazelnuts on a tray lined with greasing paper for 15 minutes.
Let cool, add to the other ingredients.
Mix well, season, serve lukewarm.
I'm slowly cooking my way through Ottolenghi & Tamimi's Jerusalem. I don't know why I'm so tempted by the Jewish kitchen at the moment. Probably because I've fallen in love with New York again after a recent summer stay in Williamsburg.
A while ago I tried the "Fischfrikadellen", fish fritters with mint in tomatoe sauce. For me they tick all the comfort food boxes. I admit there are more elegant ways to cook fish, methods that accommodate this elegant animal better, but that`s what comfort food is about no? If I would eat meat I'd probably do minced lamb or similar, but I don't.
I try every fish fritter recipe I come across. I prefer the way the fish kebabs in the same book are served (with salted lemon and aubergine puree). I don't particularly fancy the combination of tomatoe sauce and fish. I think the tomatoe overpowers the delicate taste of the fish. But the fritters themselves were really nice - especial on the next day eaten cold for lunch with sourdough bread.
Fish fritters are easy to make and you can experiment with the seasoning.
Heat the oil in a big shallow pan, fry the onion and the spice. Drench with wine and let simmer for 3 min. Add the tomatoes, chilli and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Let simmer for approximately 15 min until you get a thick sauce.
Meanwhile make the fritters. Blitz the bread in a food processor. Finely chop the fish and mix the bread, the fish and all the other ingredients except the oil. Form 8 compact fritters and let them sit in the fridge for 10 minutes.
Heat half the oil in a frying pan. Once the oil is hot, fry the fritters an both sides till slightly brown. Add more oil if needed.
Place the fritters on the tomatoe sauce, add 200 ml water and cover with the lid. Let simmer for 15-20 minutes. After that switch off the heat and take off the lid, let it rest for another 10 min. Sprinkle them with the freshly chopped mint and serve hot or at room temperature.
Is it to early to start dreaming of summer again? We only just had the first snow and it's gonna be a long long time till we can spend the evenings in the garden again. Still, since we spent every minute outside during this lovely and long summer this blog has been a bit lonely over summer and theres a lot to catch up on. So why not start with some pictures of one of the garden dinners we had this summer.
We came to realise that you don't need much for the perfect garden dinner. Just friends, some beer, some wine, the sound of the crickets and maybe lanterns or torches and a big fire.
When we throw a garden dinner we always ask people to bring some food along, some for the grill and some to share. Like this we end up with amazing buffets without to much prepearing.
Sometimes we just bring bread and cheese and we fry some vegetables from the garden with garlic , olive oil and some herbs for flavouring.
The focus was once again on the single dishes and not on the whole so we ended up with a rather funny menu:
Sweet potato and fig salad ( ottolenghi “jerusalem” )
Baked pumpkin with orange zest & bred crumbs ( nigel slater “tender” )
Paratha flat bread filled with potatoes and coriander
So all in all a very earthy and also a very spicy evening, since every single dish had fresh chilies in it. But not bad at all!
The star of the evening was certainly ottolenghis Sweet potato and fig salad with spring onions, chilies and reduced balsamic vinegar.
Indian flat bread is something one should make more often. We made paratha with a filling of mashed potatoes, chilies and coriander.
Accompanied with a salad this would be a very nice dinner on it's own.
The third dish was baked butternut squash with breadcrumbs, rosemary, chilies and orange zest.
We came home from Sardinia with several kilo of lime, (from just one tree) and this after 3 weeks of Daiquiri in the evening sun, only to discover that in the garden we were drowning in pak choy or tsatsoi (don't know which one it is we have). So my friend did some research and found the perfect recipe in Nigel Slaters "Tender". Almost all of the ingredients grow abundantly in our garden at the moment. All I needed to buy were shrimp and ginger and lemon grass.
We have cilantro, chillies, pak choy, thai basil and the limes. We even had a few "spring" onions left (lungo di firenze type).
So I went home and tried this recipe and I have to say it's probably one of the best asian recipe I cooked so far.
Vietnamese style, just how I like it, light with a lot of fragrance. Best of all it makes a really fast and easy dinner.
Start with chopping all the ingredients you will need. Once you start everything goes quite fast and you don't want to have to chop things then.
Wash the chinese green and chop roughly.
Peel the ginger and chop into small sticks.
Remove the tough outer leaves of the lemongrass and finely chop the tender heart. Chop the chilli and the spring onions.
Warm the oil in a frying pan. Then add the ginger, chillies, spring onions and the lemongrass. Stir -fry for a couple of minutes. When the ginger starts to turn golden add the prawns. When they turn opaque and colour lightly, add the lime juice, fish sauce and sugar.
When all is sizzling and fragrant, add the greens. Turn them in the pan. Once they are tender add the coriander and basil leaves and serve immediately.
Serve with a bowl of rice.
One evening while eating at the restaurant our friend ordered a dish with Borlotti beans. While eating he said something like "we just don't eat enough Borlotti beans, they are so nice" . This made me realize that I actually never cooked Borlotti beans myself. I always look at them in the shops and think how nice they look but I never cooked a borlotti dish.
The next day I turned to Locatelli for inspiration and found a recipe that to me seems like an archetype of on Italian dish. Borlotti beans with shrimps.
Our local fishmonger has lovely very red local shrimp and they don't even cost so much so next days dinner was set. Preparing the shrimps takes quite some time and the beans need 40 minutes to cook but beside this its a simple dinner. In fact we got quite addicted to this and had it at least once a week while we were in Sardinia.
Cook the podded beans in a big pot of water. They need to be covered with at least 6 cm of water.
Add the sage, 3 garlic cloves with their skins still on, the chopped celery stalk and a bit of olive oil. Do not add any salt as this will stop the beans from becoming soft.
Bring to boil and cook for 40 - 60 minutes till tender.
Let them cool down in the pan.
Meanwhile prepare the scampi. Take of the peel at and remove the gut.
This is the black string going along the scampi's back. Leave the head on.
Finely chop 3 cloves, slice the chili. When the beans are cooked and have cooled down a bit start frying the scampi.
Depending on the amount of scampi you have, fry them in batches. The scampi need a bit of room in the pan otherwise they loose their juice and become dry. Fry the scampi with the garlic and the chillies in a dash of olive oil. When they turn opaque slightly press on them so they release some of their juice. This should prevent the garlic from becoming to brown. Add the white wine and let it evaporate. Take the scampi out of the pan and put aside.
Use the same pan for the beans. Sieve them out of the water and turn them a few times in the pan. Add the tomatoes and a glass of the bean's water and bring to boil. With a wooden spoon squash some of the bans so you get a thick sauce. Add the flat leaf parsley season and serve.
Serve with some bread and salad.
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more information on www.casasouk.net