20 April 2014

Thai Beef Patties

Once again I'm lagging well behind my blogging, to the point where I'm on the verge of completely forgetting what I've done.


A couple of weeks back, I made another recipe from my card collection, and it completely doesn't balance the fact that I've accumulated another batch of recipe cards already.

This card is from Waitrose and turned out to be a rather good one. The original recipe is here, but I made some changes as usual.

4 portions

4 Portabello mushrooms
3 carrots
2 courgettes
2 large cloves of garlic
2 red chillies
1 stick of lemon grass
20 g fresh coriander
salt and pepper
8 salad onions
500 g lean beef mince
25 g sesame seeds
toasted sesame oil
1 Romaine lettuce


  1. Peel and chop the mushrooms, carrots and courgettes and set aside.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 100 degrees and place an oven-proof dish to heat up inside as well.
  3. Peel, wash and cut into chunks as appropriate the garlic, chillies, lemon grass, coriander and 5 of the onions.
  4. Place the garlic, chillies, lemon grass, coriander and onions into a blender along with salt and pepper and blend until smooth.
  5. Mix the paste together with the mince and make 12 - 14 patties.

  6. Heat up a little sesame oil in a large pan and fry the patties, making sure not to crowd them. Fry just enough to give them a nice colour, then transfer to the oven to keep warm.
  7. Heat some more sesame oil if needed and stir fry the mushrooms carrots and courgettes until they soften.
  8. In a small dry pan, toast the sesame seeds. Slice the remaining 3 salad onions finely.
  9. Serve the patties on a bed of Romaine lettuce with the stir fried vegetables on the side and sprinkle the sesame seeds and onions over them.

These turned out to be really tasty and with a good kick to them. They were also so very easy to do, no need to make the mixture on the night before to allow the flavours to develop, so a great recipe for weekday night. And we managed without the carbs too.

Actually there were a lot more stir fried vegetables than beef patties, I had them for lunch a couple of times on their own.

12 April 2014


This year, my Mum and Dad informed me, mini-semlas are in fashion in Sweden, though the traditionalists are still pretty strong. They sent me a recipe with a very lovely photo and I decided to try them out for Mother's Day.


The recipe promised the use of chocolate truffle rather than cream under the lids. The original recipe suggests three types of truffle - dark chocolate, milk chocolate and liquorice. The last one required a specific type of sweet that I'm not familiar with, so I decided to swap it for Viennese nougat. The recipe may seem a bit long-winded, but isn't really that difficult and I recommend that the parts are done separately and the mini-semlas only put together before serving. The buns should freeze quite well as would the filling, but not the truffles.

Makes about 40

75 g unsalted butter at room temperature
¾ granulated sugar
2 ½ dl milk
25 g fresh yeast
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
7 dl strong flour
2 tbsp water

250 g marzipan
3 tbsp whipping cream

50 g dark chocolate
1 tsp icing sugar (if the chocolate isn't sweet)
50 g white chocolate
50 g Viennese nougat
5 dl whipping cream


  1. Whisk together the butter and sugar light and fluffy, then set aside.
  2. Warm up the milk to 40 °C, transfer to a large bowl and stir in the yeast until it dissolves completely.
  3. Crack the egg in a glass and whisk it lightly, then add half of it to the milk and keep the rest for brushing the buns.
  4. Next, add the vanilla extract, a table spoon of the butter-sugar mixture and 5 dl of the flour. Work quickly together into a soft dough, cover and leave to rise for 30 minutes in a warm place.
  5. Turn out onto a work surface and add the remaining 2 dl flour and start kneading the dough. Add the butter-sugar mixture a table spoon at a time while kneading until all has been incorporated and the gluten has developed.
  6. Line three baking sheets with baking paper.
  7. Weigh the dough and work out how much each mini-bun should weigh, then cut up the dough and shape each piece to a round bun. Place on the lined baking sheets, cover and let proof for 30 minutes. They should just about double.
  8. Pre-heat the oven to 200 °C (fan assisted). Stir in two table spoons of water to the remaining egg, then brush all the buns and bake for 12 - 15 minutes.
  9. Remove the ready buns to a wire rack and leave to cool completely.

  10. Prepare the filling by grating the marzipan coarsely and stirring together with the cream (not whipped). Cover and keep refrigerated until needed.
  11. Weigh up the chocolates and nougat, chop each finely and place in separate bowls.

    Add icing sugar to the dark chocolate, if it isn't sweet.
  12. Heat up 1.5 dl of the whipping cream until it starts boiling. Then distribute it among the bowls - ½ dl for the nougat, a bit less than that for the white chocolate and the remainder for the dark chocolate.
  13. Stir together each to melt the chocolates and nougat and get three smooth ganaches, then cover and place in the fridge for at least 1 h to set.
  14. Whip the remaining cream to stiff peaks.
  15. Distribute among the ganaches and carefully fold in to form a truffle which is easy enough to pipe, but able to keep its shape.
  16. Prepare three piping bags with star nozzles and transfer the truffles to them.
  17. Cut lids off the buns and spread a thin layer of the marzipan filling on each bun,

    then pipe a swirl of one of the truffles and put the lid back on.

I suspect there were some mis-communications regarding this recipe, because the ganaches didn't work out very well and certainly didn't look like in the photo. I still ended up with a very runny white chocolate ganache, despite some attempts at adjusting on the fly. The Viennese nougat was most suitable for piping and tasted nicest too. The dark chocolate was very hard and went sort of grainy when I piped it and because I'd not added icing sugar to it, it tasted rather unpleasant. Still, the buns lasted about a week. I also think there was no need to make a marzipan filling by softening it with cream, a round thin slice of marzipan would work just as well and allows you to control how prominent the marzipan flavour should be. I spread the filling quite thinly and it was barely noticeable.

For sure, I need to practice making ganache and truffle...

3 April 2014

Tandoori Salmon

My next recipe is from a Waitrose card and here is the original recipe.


Now I don't shop at Waitrose on a regular basis, so I had to skip the recommended ingredients and find replacements. Looking at the comment on the original recipe, this turned out to be a good thing. However, I did use the recommended amount of potatoes and ended up with quite a lot left over. I also used the recommended amount of yoghurt and it was way too much for the amount of salmon.

Serves 2

about 1 kg of potatoes suitable for mashing
3 tsp tandoori spice mix
300 g Greek style yoghurt
250 g salmon fillet, skin removed
225 g small plum tomatoes on the vine
1 tbsp onion seeds
salt and pepper to taste


  1. Peel, wash and boil or steam the potatoes until tender
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 200 ° C and line a tray with baking paper.
  3. Mix together the tandoori spice mix with 100 g of the yoghurt, then coat the salmon generously and place on the tray.
  4. Wash the tomatoes, but keep them on the vine, then place next to the salmon and bake for about 25 - 30 minutes, until the salmon is ready and the tomatoes are soft.
  5. When the potatoes are ready, transfer to a large bowl, add the remaining 200 g yoghurt, onion seeds, salt and pepper and blend until smooth. Adjust the seasoning if needed.
  6. If the salmon isn't ready yet, transfer the mash to an oven proof dish with a lid and keep warm next to the salmon and tomatoes.

This turned out to be very tasty, although it was a touch on the sour side overall, due to the yoghurt. But as I write up this recipe, I've realised that I used way too much of the tandoori paste, halving it would have given a better result.

The tandoori spice mixture was quite good. The instructions on the packet were to use one part of spice mixture to 13 parts of yoghurt, but I decided to ignore that. Though perhaps the 3 tsp I used with 100 g yoghurt might have been just that anyway. There was quite a nice kick to it as well and it's a shame that it also said to use for cooking only, not to eat "raw", so I can't use this mixture as a dip.

The mashed potatoes were also very nice and I'm glad I made the full amount. I've made mashed potatoes with crème fraîche before, which was very nice, but with Greek yoghurt it's even healthier. The reason I used onion seeds is that there were no fresh chives in the supermarket and I didn't have any frozen ones either. The onion seeds softened up while I kept them warm in the oven and infused nicely with the mashed potatoes. Otherwise, 25 g of fresh finely cut chives would probably be nice too.

Lundulph certainly liked this dish as did I and it's a shame there was no salmon left over for seconds. The tomatoes were quite a nice surprise as well, the flavour was quite different to what I expected. Much sweeter and really tasty and worked perfectly with the tandoori salmon and mash. I'm glad I followed the recipe on this one, as I'm not a fan of cooked tomatoes in general.

Garden Chicken Supreme

My laptop is seriously lacking in memory and takes forever to respond, so I've held off with blogging for a couple of weeks, but it's time to catch up, I've focused on my Ye Olde Recipe project and the recipe cards are piling up.


I've no idea where I got this one from - it's most definitely a card with a recipe on it and photos, but no actual reference to where it may have come from. It's also fairly quick and easy to make, however in my eagerness, I defrosted boneless chicken legs rather than breasts, which resulted in spending over an hour to trim them.

When I mentioned "Chicken Supreme" to Lundulph, his response was "mm, chicken with white wine". This caused me some worries, the recipe didn't mention any wine at all and flicking through my other cook books, none of them even mentioned a "Chicken Supreme". I intended to look it up later, but ended up not bothering. This dish turned out to be pretty much herby chicken with ratatouille, a combination I believe I've done in the past. It certainly was nice though.

Serves 4 - 5

500 g skinless chicken breasts
2 tsp savory
2 tsp oregano
2 tsp thyme
1 tsp rosemary
2 cloves garlic
2 medium sized onions
2 courgettes
3 bell peppers - red, yellow and green
6 tbsp grapeseed oil
400 g can of chopped tomatoes
salt and pepper
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
fresh basil leaves for garnish
couscous for serving


  1. Trim the chicken breasts and cut into bite-sized chunks and place in a plastic bag.
  2. Mix together the spices and grind in a pestle and mortar, then sprinkle over the chicken pieces and shake in the bag to get them well coated.
  3. Peel the garlic and onions. Chop the onions.
  4. Trim and peel the courgettes, then dice.
  5. Wash the peppers and remove the stalks and seeds, then cut into strips.
  6. Blend the tomatoes until smooth and stir in the salt and pepper.
  7. Pre-heat the oven to 80 °C along with an oven proof dish. Heat up 2 tbsp of grapeseed oil in a large pan and brown the chicken for a few minutes, then transfer to the oven to keep warm.
  8. Add the remaining grapeseed oil and when it's hot, add the onions, courgettes and peppers and press in the garlic. Then cook while stirring for about 10 minutes until the vegetables soften.
  9. Add the tomatoes, stir through and check the seasoning and adjust if necessary, then cover the pan and simmer for 10 minutes.
  10. Stir in the parsley and add the chicken on top. Cover again and leave to simmer for a further 10 minutes
  11. In the mean time make the couscous according to the instructions on the packet.
  12. Serve the chicken ratatouille with the couscous and decorate with a couple of basil leaves.

Actually the original recipe calls for 2 tbsp Herbes de Provence, but it seems I didn't have this in my spice collection, so I improvised from the list in Wikipedia and I had to skip the marjoram as I didn't have that either. In fact, I'm not sure I've ever used marjoram.

But on the whole, it's just ratatouille without aubergines and frankly I realised that aubergines seem to function very much like a filler or bulk, without affecting the overall flavour.