17 March 2014

Dillstuvad Potatis

This apparently is a fairly common way of serving potatoes in Sweden. Oddly enough, the first time I had it was this past Christmas. Patsy, who's known me for almost 20 years was massively surprised that I was unaware of this delicacy. So, time to rectify.

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"Dillstuvad potatis" translates to "potatoes stewed with dill" and is a very nice way of sprucing up boiled potatoes, not to mention that they work very well with salmon.

After a brief search on the internet, I decided to try this recipe (in Swedish).

Ingredients
Makes 4 side dish portions

16 waxy potatoes, around 600 g
25 - 30 g butter
2 tbsp plain flour
400 g milk
salt and pepper to taste
1 dl finely chopped fresh dill

Method

  1. Peel or scrape off the potatoes and wash well.
  2. Boil or steam until cooked, about 20 - 25 minutes, depending on size.
  3. In the mean time, melt the butter on high heat in a sauce pan large enough to accommodate the potatoes.
  4. Using a wooden spoon, add the flour and stir vigorously for a minute or so, then add the milk slowly, a little at a time and incorporate to form a thick-ish b├ęchamel sauce.
  5. Turn down the heat and let simmer for a few minutes, stirring constantly. Season with salt and pepper, then keep warm until the potatoes are ready.
  6. When the potatoes are ready, cut into dice of about 2 cm, then add to the saucepan along with the dill and stir carefully to make sure the potatoes are coated and the dill has distributed evenly. Ready to serve.

Since I've recently re-stocked the freezer with salmon, I coated a piece with chilli sauce, wrapped it in aluminium foil and baked for 30 minutes at 200 °C. Yummy! And we'll try the left-over potatoes with some of my home made meatballs tonight.

Chia Pudding

Some time ago, I came across this site, while searching for vegan recipes. It's in Swedish and describes how to make a lovely pudding with chia seeds. I really liked the photos, I think that's what got my attention originally. So in recent days, I've been purchasing the ingredients to try it out. Now obviously things in the shops here in the UK are different from the things in the shops in Sweden, so I was prepared to improvise my purchases as well, this time and a good thing I did, as it turned out.

Ingredients
Makes 5 - 6 portions

8 tbsp chia seeds
4 tbsp dessicated coconut
1 tsp vanilla extract
8 dl hazelnut milk
4 tbsp agave nectar

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Method
Stir together all ingredients and distribute into five small serving bowls. Cover with cling film and put in the fridge overnight or for about 8 h and it's ready to serve.

The original recipe uses unsweetened almond milk, but I prefer hazelnuts to almonds, so opted for the hazelnut milk instead. As it turns out, it tastes like Nutella. Bonus! I'll have to try it out with coffee. Can you tell I've never had hazelnut milk before?

Actually I ended up changing the recipe quite a bit - I skipped the saffron and swapped the dates for agave nectar, but it turned out rather nice. Lundulph certainly liked it and so did I. I made the mistake of only making four portions of the above amounts and they were way too big, but it was so very tasty we both ate our portions and are now wonderfully stuffed.

Lundulph said it reminded him of the semolina pudding he used to get at school. I thought it smelt a bit like rice pudding.

And as the first lot was so successful, I immediately followed up with a second batch:

Ingredients

8 dl unsweetened almond milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 tbsp agave nectar
8 tbsp chia seeds
4 tbsp dessicated coconut
1 ml ground cinnamon

Method

  1. Mix together the almond milk, vanilla essence and agave nectar in a jug.
  2. Stir together the chia seeds, dessicated coconut and ground cinnamon in a bowl, then add to the liquid and whisk together until any lumps that might have formed are gone.
  3. Cover and put in the fridge for 6 - 8 h.

This second batch turned out quite nice too - the almond milk has a more subtle flavour than the hazelnut, but worked very nicely with the cinnamon. Also, I think it was a bit thinner, because the chia seeds had swollen a bit more than in the first batch. So much so, that Lundulph was wondering if we were having frog eggs for dessert. And since the pudding doesn't really go solid, I thought it would be easier to just leave it in the jug and take out servings as needed. The real danger is that I might scoff the whole lot straight out of the jug, if I get a sugar craving.

Lundulph's resolution is to eat as healthily as possible and he scrutinises every packet of food we have. And he established that the almond and hazelnut milks were made of about 2 % nuts, which he thought was a bit outrageous. So next, I'll try to make my own. However, thinking about how the nut milks are made, I wonder if the 2 % is for the final product and not what amount of nuts has been used to make it. As I understand the principle is to blend an amount of pre-soaked nuts with water, then filter the liquid. Which of course removes most of the nuts and a very small amount should be left. The tricky bit here would be to actually keep the pre-soaked nuts for milk making - the nuts are very tasty to eat after soaking overnight, but I'll definitely give it a try. If nothing else, it's bound to taste nicer when freshly made.

Next I'll need to think of different flavourings and perhaps adding some fruit.

5 March 2014

Pork Vindaloo

Last time I went to our butcher's, they were advertising pork and even had small booklets with recipes for the customers to take home. Which I did, and there are a few interesting recipes there that I intend to try out. However, I decided to make a curry tonight because I still have a substantial surplus of grated ginger and roast garlic in the freezer and I am after all trying to clear it out.

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Thus, I flicked through my "Fat Free Indian Cookery" book by Mridula Baljekar. My thought was to just pick any curry and use pork with it, however there was a pork section and the second recipe was for pork vindaloo. As it also turned out, I only needed two ingredients - pork and cider. I had all other ingredients. Besides, Lundulph quite likes cooking with cider, so had no objections to this.

However, I completely forgot to read through the whole recipe and when I finally started cooking, it was actually way too late to follow the instructions. But the curry turned out quite tasty anyway, so I'm rushing to write it down, before I forget anything.

Ingredients

650 g boneless leg of pork
4 green cardamom pods
4 cloves
2 tbsp finely grated ginger
1 tbsp pressed garlic
½ tsp mustard seeds
¼ tsp fenugreek seeds
½ tsp coarsely ground black pepper
1 tsp very hot crushed dried chillies
2 tbsp cider vinegar
250 ml medium-dry apple cider
5 cm piece of cinnamon
8 portabello mushrooms
2 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp salt
1 large onion
1 large handful of lentil sprouts
1 tsp tamarind paste
1 tsp soft brown sugar

Method

  1. Trim off any visible fat and sinews from the meat as much as possible, then cut into small bite-sized chunks and place in a bowl.
  2. Mix together the ginger, garlic, mustard seed, fenugreek seeds, black pepper, chillies and vinegar, then add to the meat and stir through so all pieces get coated with this "marinade". Set aside for 30 minutes or so.
  3. In the mean time, peel the mushrooms, dice and place in a bowl. Peel and finely chop the onion and place in a separate bowl.
  4. Place the meat along with the "marinade" in a casserole dish and heat up on medium heat. Stir frequently until the meat goes opaque.
  5. Add the cider and cinnamon, cover and let simmer for about 30 minutes.
  6. Remove the lid, then add the mushrooms, paprika, salt and onion and stir through. Keep stirring every now and then and let simmer uncovered for a further 10 minutes.
  7. Stir in the lentil sprouts, tamarind paste and soft brown sugar, simmer for a few more minutes if needed, to reduce the liquid a bit.

Actually, I used cloudberry vinegar, which I bought from IKEA because it seemed intriguing. However, I didn't like the way it tasted, so I've been looking to use it up somehow and this seemed like a good opportunity.

Because of the mustard seeds and vinegar, Lundulph thought I was making "brown sauce". The curry turned out very nice indeed, despite not following the instructions in the recipe. Perhaps the meat could have benefitted from either marinating or cooking a little longer, it felt a bit tough and dry, but overall the vindaloo was really tasty. I served it with boiled potatoes, which worked quite well. Despite the name vindaloo, this dish wasn't extremely hot, though I guess this can be regulated by using higher or lower amounts of chilli flakes and mustard seeds.

Multi-seed Bread

I've been hankering for bread with lots of seeds in for a while, and finally I got round to baking some. It turned out rather nice, so I want to write down the ingredients, so I don't forget.

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Ingredients

1 kg strong white flour
20 g salt
4 tbsp sesame seeds
1 dl sunflower seeds
1 dl pine kernels
2 tbsp black onion speeds
2 tbsp black poppy seeds
1 dl pumpkin seeds
1 dl spelt flakes
20 g fresh yeast
700 g water
vegetable oil for brushing

Method

  1. Mix together flour, salt, all the seeds, pine kernels and spelt flakes in a large bowl.
  2. Crumble the yeast into the water and stir until it has dissolved completely.
  3. Pour into the dry mixture and bring together to a dough, either manually or with a machine.
  4. Knead until the gluten has developed, then cover and let rise for about an hour.
  5. Brush 3 loaf tins with oil. Weigh the dough and divide into three equal parts. Shape each into a loaf and place in the tins.
  6. Brush the top of the loaves with a little oil, slash a couple of times if you want, then cover and leave to prove for a further hour.
  7. Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees and when the loaves have proven, bake for about 45 - 50 minutes, until ready.
  8. Remove from the oven and loaf tins and let cool down on a wire rack.

I think I could have left it to prove a bit longer than I did, it hadn't risen as much as I expected it to. Perhaps because of all the seeds. The oven spring left something to wish for as well, however, the breads turned out very tasty indeed. Because of the onion seeds, I recommend savoury applications, however, I had a slice with maple syrup and that worked well too. Yum!

Shrove Tuesday once again

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Yes, I've spent most of the day baking semla buns. And although my parents sent me a new recipe for this year's trend in this department, Lundulph put his foot down and demanded the traditional stuff and implied that anything else is plain wrong. Thus I will try out the mini-semla buns with ganache some other day...

Again on Lundulph's request, I followed my first recipe, as it has been the more successful so far. Now reading through the recipe and what I did, I didn't feel I could replicate my rescue activities, so I tried to keep as close as possible to the original recipe. However, now that I'm in the process of digesting my first semla for this year, I've come to a number of conclusions, so I'm writing up a new post on this subject.

Ingredients
Makes 21

Buns
100 g unsalted butter
3 dl semi-skimmed milk
45 g fresh yeast
325 g strong flour
325 g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1½ tsp ground cardamom
1 dl caster sugar
¼ tsp salt
1 large egg
milk for brushing

Filling
crumbs from the buns
300 g marzipan
3 dl milk

Topping
600 ml whipping cream
5 tbsp icing sugar
icing sugar for dusting

Method

  1. Place the butter in a small pan and melt on low heat.
  2. Add the milk and stir. Check the temperature of the mixture and bring to about 37 °C, then stir in the yeast until it has dissolved.
  3. Mix together the two types of flour, baking powder, cardamom, sugar and salt in a large bowl.
  4. Add the liquid and the egg and bring together into a dough. Knead for a few minutes to develop the gluten, then cover and let rise for about 45 minutes.
  5. Line three baking trays with baking paper.
  6. Cut up the dough into 60 g pieces, then roll each one into a ball and place on the baking trays, cover and leave to prove for a further 45 minutes.
  7. Pre-heat the oven to 190 °C (do not use fan if you can). Brush each bun with a little milk, then bake one sheet at a time for about 15 minutes, until the buns turn golden brown.
  8. Remove from the oven and onto a wire rack and allow to cool completely.
  9. Cut a lid off each bun, then pinch out the middle and place the crumbs in bowl. Put the lid back on and put in an airtight container before repeating with the next bun.
  10. Dice the marzipan and add to the crumbs along with the milk, then process in a blender or food processor until fairly well mixed and sticky, but not runny.
  11. Assemble as late as possible before serving. Whip the cream together with the 5 tbsp icing sugar to stiff peaks, then transfer to a piping bag with a star nozzle.
  12. Take the lid off a bun and cut the lid into a triangle.
  13. Put some of the marzipan filling into the bun cavity, then pipe whipped cream over it and place the lid back on top.
  14. Dust with icing sugar and serve.

Today I remembered to use strong flour, however, I have the Canadian Manitoba flour which is very, very strong and really good for bread. But these buns need to be light and fluffy and this type of flour turned out too strong. Which is why I've written a mixture of equal parts plain and strong flour, I think it would give better results.

Next I've used a lot more milk for the filling. Not only because it's hard to blend together, but also because last time I ran out of filling and it's supposed to be enough for all the buns.

The marzipan I used today was really posh with 60% almonds. This means a very strong almond flavour, almost like Amaretto. Generally, 50% almonds marzipan is recommended for baking. The stuff I've seen in the supermarket is around 35% - 40%. It's a question of taste of course, lower percentage almonds means higher percentage sugar and thus sweeter, possibly also softer to work with. It may well be worth making marzipan yourself.

Finally, now that I have a new and fancy electric oven, I baked at 190 ° C for 15 minutes, which gave good results. Possibly I could reduce the temperature to 180 ° to get slightly lighter buns.

On the whole, I'm quite pleased with the result, and so is Lundulph - he had two semla buns and I've no idea how he managed to fit them in, after a good portion of pork vindaloo.

We now have 7 buns left, I gave most of the buns to my lovely neighbours.