Monday, July 30, 2007

Blueberries and Bilberries...I had no idea

Last week when I made Conchas I discovered that there are blueberries and bilberries. All this time I thought they were the same berry, one just being a bit bigger. But was I wrong.

I realized that one of the biggest contributors to this confusion were their names in English and Swedish. Blueberry is sometimes called “blueberry” and sometimes “American blueberry” in Swedish. And bilberry is also called “blueberry” in Swedish. So you can understand where all this confusion starts.

Bilberries are very Swedish; they grow all over the forests, mostly in the north of the country. And they are very loved and appreciated berries. Sometimes I think that they were probably the first thing that started growing here in the North after all ice melted zillion years ago. And blueberries are imported, meaning more expensive, meaning less popular. You can find them in the stores sold in very small packages among all exotic fruits.

But last week I bought both, blueberries and bilberries. I thought that blueberries would fit better for conchas just because they looked more firm and would be easier to incorporate into the dough (and I was right).

So was I surprised when I saw that blueberries are actually white inside and taste differently? Oh, yes I was. I felt like I was living in a lie all these years :-) just because someone messed it up linguistically.

However, I like both, blueberries and bilberries. Blueberries are meaty and have this pleasant sweet perfume. And bilberries taste forest, in a good way. Bellow you can see the difference, blueberries to the left and bilberries to the right.

Anyway, I still want to know who messed up the linguistic part. How can blueberries and bilberries have the same name in Swedish? Do tell if you know.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Chicken cashew nuggets

This is a recipe from one of the Swedish chefs that has her own TV-show, Leila Lindholm. Her shows are huge inspiration. I adapted this recipe by coating the chicken with some pesto and later following her recipe. What I like the most is that you do not have to fry the nuggets, oven does the work with almost no oil. We like.

Chicken cashew nuggets

Adapted from Leila Lindholm

200 g boneless chicken thighs
2 tbs pesto
1/2 dl flour
1 egg
200 g cashew nuts

Preheat the oven to 200 C. Cut the chicken thighs in 3-4 pieces and rub pesto all over it. Add some salt if you like. Put in the fridge while you are preparing the rest.

Chop cashew nuts finely. I didn’t have patience so I chopped them coarsely, didn’t look as nice but it tastes the same, that is delicious. Take out 3 deep plates, put flour in one, egg in second one, whisk the egg and in the third plate put chopped cashew nuts.

Oil a sheet or aluminium foil on a sheet. Dip the nuggets first in the flour, then in the egg and last in the cashew nuts. Put on the sheet and bake for about 15-20 minutes.

Friday, July 27, 2007


Spätzle are eaten in all German speaking countries around Alps. They are kind of pasta from Alps, very easy to make and very delicious. My favourite version is Käsespätzle, which is Spätzle with cheese (käse=cheese). They are typical comfort food eaten in the winter, and as the summer refuses to come to Sweden I thought it was time for some comfort food.

Spätzle are very easy to make as long as you have a Spätzle-maker that looks like this:

I bought mine in Austria a couple of years ago. It reminds of a grater with big holes and you keep it over the sauce-pot with simmering water and “grind” the dough so that small pieces fall in water and cook for a couple of minutes.

serves 2

250 g flour
3 eggs
a bit of nutmeg
2 pinches of salt
200 g grated cheese; I used Gruyère
40 g butter
2 onions

Mix flour, eggs, salt and nutmeg. Mix with wooden spoon until everything is very well blended and the dough starts making some big bubbles. The dough has to be smooth but not too much runny; it should be sluggish and soft. Sepending on how big your eggs are you might need to add some cold water. Let the dough rest for 20 minutes.

In the mean time cut onions in rings, melt the butter on the low heat and fry onions until dark golden. When done take out of the pan but save the pan with the butter.

In a large pot bring water to boil, add salt and reduce the heat so that water simmers. Use your Spätzle-maker or with a help of a knife and a cutting board make Spätzle. Boil for 2 minutes or until they float. When cooked put in the pan where the onions have been previously fried and mix. Add grated cheese and mix until the cheese has melted a bit. Serve with fried onions on the top! Mahlzeit!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Bread Baking Day #2 Conchas with Blueberries

This is my entry for "Bread Baking Day" event that is hosted by Columbus Foodie. The theme is bread with fruit and I decided to make Mexican sweet bread called Conchas.

Concha means shell, as the pattern on the top of the buns reminds of the clam shell and it is a bit crunchy as well. I really like how sweet they look, you instantly know that you will not get disappointed by their taste. Usually they are plane sweet bread with a touch of Mexican cinnamon but I decided to put some blueberries and cardamom inside, and it was a hit.

15 g fresh yeast
0.5 dl warm milk
1/2 tsp freshly ground cardamom
5 tbs sugar
1 egg
2 egg yolks
pinch of salt
60 g butter at room temperature
about 4 - 4,5 dl bread flour 

some 100 gr of blueberries

50 g butter
50 g icing sugar
50 g flour

Put the yeast in a bowl and pour warm milk over it. Stir until the yeast has dissolved. Add cardamom, eggs, egg yolks, sugar, salt and flour. When all combined, add butter and kneed until you have a smooth dough. It is a very sticky dough at the beginning but it does come together. Kneed for about 10 minutes before you add any extra flour. When I was done my dough was weighting 560 grams. 

Let rise for about 2 hours or until double in size. 15 minutes before the proofing is done make the topping for conchas. Mix butter and icing sugar very well. Add flour and mix until smooth. Divide in 14 pieces, 10-11 grams each.

Divide the dough for conchas in 14 pieces as well, about 40 grams each and carefully incorporate a bit of blueberries in each bun. Make round balls of all 14 pieces, put on a baking sheet and press each bun down so that it is a little bit flattened.
Now take the topping-dough and make it flat in your palm and as big as each bun. The topping should cover the whole surface of a bun. With the back of a knife make shell pattern. Let rise for 1, 5 hours and bake in preheated oven, 200C for about 10 minute

Monday, July 23, 2007

Italian tuna balls

I think this is the best recipe for tuna in a can. It’s brilliant. I used tuna in water instead of tuna in oil; I drained it and added some lemon olive oil, it worked great.

Friday, July 20, 2007

SHF #33 Tropical Paradise

This is my entry for this month’s “Sugar High Friday” that is hosted by Mary at Alpineberry. The theme is “Tropical Paradise”, a perfect theme for the summer, i.e. for those who have summer now. Well in Sweden we are supposed to have summer but it just hasn’t arrived yet. I wonder if it ever will this year. So, to make these tropical coconut sweets was a perfect way to escape the rain and to dream away.

I chose to make a typical Mexican candy called Cocada. Cocada is made of fresh coconut and lots of sugar. It is chewy, very moist and you could say it's a sweet candy with Caribbean written all over it.

225 g fresh shredded coconut (doesn’t work with coconut in a bag)
3,5 dl sugar
2 dl water
5 dl milk
1/2 vanilla bean
3 egg yolks
food colouring (optional)

Put coconut, 1,5 dl sugar and water into a sauce pan and cook over medium high-heat for 30-40 minutes. Coconut needs to get transparent with no water in the pan.

In another sauce pan put milk, the rest of the sugar and vanilla bean and while stirring constantly cook over medium-high heat for 30-40 minutes. The mixture needs to get a bit thicker and reduced. Add coconut mixture and mix well. Set aside to cool down a bit.

Preheat the oven to 200 C. Beat the yolks, add them to the coconut mixture and cook over low-heat for a couple of minutes. If you would like to colour the mixture divide the batter here and colour it. Butter a baking pan and pour the batter into it. It should be 1 cm thick. Bake on 200 degrees for 15-20 minutes. When done, let it cool down and then cut into small pieces