Thursday, December 31, 2009

Baked eggs in zucchini

I was inspired by the post "Baked eggs in potato skins" over at The Kitchen. I scooped the round zucchini, seasoned with salt and pepper and baked at 200C for about 20 minutes. The zucchini should be somewhat soft. I cracked one egg in each zucchini and returned to oven for about 15 minutes more. You can check with a toothpick if the egg yolk has been cooked to your liking. When done, season once again and serve.

I pan fried the scooped zucchini flesh with onion and garlic in some olive oil and served alongside with the baked eggs.

Sunday, December 27, 2009


Tomatillo is a vegetable native to Mexico and it is used when making green salsa. Although it looks similar to tomato it is nothing like tomato. It taste is tart and fresh, it is not juicy, rather spongy and it has many small seeds. The thin husk is peeled before use. If I would compare the taste to any another vegetable it would be the green pepper, but at the same time it does not have the bitter taste green pepper can have.

I have never seen tomatillos in Europe. I do not know why they did not make it to Europe (or maybe in Europe?) like tomatoes did long ago. It is an excellent vegetable and I have no doubts that many people here would love it.
The green salsa made of tomatillos is the greatest salsa ever. It is very easy to make it as well. Depending on what kind of taste you are after, the salsa can be made with fresh, cooked, roasted or pan fried tomatillos. And addition of coriander, onion, chili and garlic makes a true Mexican green salsa.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Poppy seed strudel with cherries

I have been wanting to make poppy strudel since forever and when I saw this recipe in the food-magazine Essen und Trinken I knew the moment had come. I love poppy seed, taste is so special, so different, and oh so delicious. And poppy seed with sour-cherries just cannot be wrong.

To use poppy seed in baking is very Central and Eastern European thing. There are many different cakes, cookies and breads that are made with poppy seed, and luckily strudel is one of them as well.

This time I made strudel dough with spelt flour, and I was really surprised how well it worked. It was the best strudel dough I have ever made. In Germany there are three different types of spelt flour and I used the white one which in German holds the number 630. The number says that each 100 grams of this type of spelt flour contains 0,63 grams of minerals (i.e. good stuff).

Poppy seed strudel with cherries
adapted from Essen & Trinken
serves 10
200 gr ground poppy seeds
2 dl milk
7 tbsp sugar
zest of 1/2 lemon
1/2 dl raisins
3 tbsp dark rum
seeds of 1 vanilla pod
1/4 tsp cassia cinnamon
2 tbsp butter
2 eggs
about 3 tbsp bread crumbs

1 can of sour cherries
2 tbsp sugar
1 dl orange juice
1 tbsp cornstarch (more or less)

2,5 dl white spelt flour (or strong bread flour)
2,5 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
about 7 tbsp warm water

80 gr melted butter for brushing the strudel dough

First make the strudel dough and let it rest for an hour. While the dough is resting start preparing the filling.

In a sauce pan heat the rum and raisins, pour over in a small bowl and set aside. Put the milk, sugar, lemon zest, vanilla, cinnamon and 2 tablespoons of butter in a pan and cook until it boils, add ground poppy seed and mix well. Add raisins with rum, blend well, take off the heat, cover with a lid and set aside. The mixture should be quite thick (but wet, not dry) as later eggs will be added.

In a small sauce pan melt 2 tablespoons of sugar until light golden, add the orange juice and cherries with their juice, and let everything boil. Dissolve cornstarch in a bit of cold water and add slowly to the cherries (mixing all the time) until you have a thick sauce. Depending on how much cherry juice there is you will maybe have to add more cornstarch. Drain the cherries from the sauce and set both aside.

Stretch the strudel dough, and cut the edges so that you have 70x50 cm sheet. Let it dry for about 10 - 15 minutes and then brush with melted butter (a bit more than half of the melted butter). Preheat the oven, 200 C.

Lightly beat the eggs and add to the poppy seed, mix well. Spoon the poppy seed paste over a third of the stretched dough (40x25 cm), leaving a 5 cm edge on the three sides.

Now carefully with a help of a spoon spread the poppy seed paste evenly and put the cherries on the top.

Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the whole strudel dough, filling and the part without the filling. Fold in the sides (only the sides around the filling) and start rolling the strudel.
As you roll keep on folding in dough sides over the strudel and push the ends inwards when the strudel wants to get out of the path.

Brush the strudel with melted butter and with the help of the cloth roll over the strudel on a baking sheet. Now brush the other side with the melted butter, use all of the butter that is left, strudel loves the butter. If you have some butter left over brush the strudel couple of times during the baking. Strudel really loves the butter.

Bake for about 40 minutes.When done let it cool, then cut and serve with the cherry sauce.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Chickpeas with spinach

adapted from BBC Good Food
serves 2

1 can chickpeas (about 400 gr)
1 garlic clove

3 tbsp olive oil
5 tbsp vegetable stock (or water)
200 gr baby spinach
salt and pepper

Heat olive oil in a pan, add chopped garlic and cook until fragrant, without browning. Rinse chickpeas under water, drain and together with the vegetable stock add to the garlic. Cook until chickpeas are warmed through, about 15 minutes. Add the spinach and cook until wilted. Salt and pepper, serve.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Beef tacos

There are many many different types of tacos in Mexico and this is one of them, beef tacos. The key to these tacos is to use chuck-cut of beef, because it is marbled with tissues and fat which melt during the braising (about 2 hours) and give the meat its strong beef-flavour. The meat is amazingly soft and juicy as well.

And the salsa is as important as the meat (if not more). With meat tacos usually smooth red or green salsas are served. There are many different types of both, but in general red one is made with red tomatoes and dried red chillies, and green one is made with tomatillo and green chillies.

As it is hard to find tomatillos in Europe I stick to the red salsa. Any kind of dried/smoked red chillies can be used but if you do not have substitute with a bit of smoked paprika.

In Mexico corn tortillas for tacos are small, about 10 cm in diameter, so usually two tortillas are served. And tortillas have to be warm, they are never eaten cold, even when they are made of wheat.

Beef tacos
serves 2
400 gr beef (chuck cut)
some oil
salt and pepper

250 gr tomatoes (the more ripe the better, I sometimes use cherry tomatoes)
2 jalapeños
1 onion
2 small garlic cloves, unpeeled
2 guajillo chillies (ancho, chipotle or a pinch of smoked paprika works fine as well)

16 warm corn tortillas (10 cm in diameter)

fresh coriander

Heat some oil in a saucepan, cut the meat in large cubes, salt and pepper and brown in batches. Put back all the meat in the sauce pan and pour in so much water that it covers the bottom, it should not cover the meat. Put the lid on and braise for about 2 hours. Add water from time to time but just so much that it covers the bottom. When done it looks like this:

In the meantime make the salsa. Half the tomatoes (quarter if big), quarter the onions, clean the jalapeño and together with garlic cloves (unpeeled) roast in the oven, 180 C, for about 40 minutes. When done let cool.

Clean dried chillies and soak in hot water until soft (30 minutes). When roasted vegetables are done, squeeze out the garlic, add the soaked chillies and blend everything until smooth. Salt and pepper, add some water if the salsa is too thick.

Chop the onion and coriander. Cut the meat in small cubes. To serve, put some some meat in the middle of a warm tortilla, top with onion, coriander, salsa and a squeeze of lime. Fold in half, open side up and eat!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Saffron pancake

Every year on December 13th Saint Lucia is celebrated in Sweden. Traditionally a white-dressed woman with candles in her hair is chosen to be Lucia and she is followed by girls and boys who all sing Lucia songs. Every region, city, school, kindergarten chooses Lucia each year. There is also one offical Sweden Lucia.

And as most traditions Lucia comes with traditional food as well. Saffron buns (Lussekatter) are eaten on December 13th. They are made of sweet yeast-dough with saffron. But as much as I like these buns (saffron cannot be wrong) I did not feel to make the yeast-dough.

So I looked for another recipe with saffron and chose to make saffron pancake. This cake comes from Gotland (Sweden´s biggest island) and despite the name is not really a pancake, but rather a cake made with rice pudding and saffron. And this cake has nothing to do with Lucia.

I used Japanese rice called mochi but traditionally regular short-grain white rice is used. The cake is eaten with whipped cream and dewberry jam. Dewberry jam can even be hard to find in Sweden so feel free to replace it with your favourite jam.

Saffron pancake
serves 6

1,5 dl rice ( I used mochi rice)
about 6 dl milk
pinch of salt
0,5 gr saffron threads
0,5 dl sugar
1 dl chopped blanched almonds + for the top (optional)
3 eggs
about 1 dl milk
jam and whipped cream to serve with

Put rice, milk and salt in a saucepan and cook on low heat until rice is done. It takes approximately 1 hour for mochi rice to absorb most of the milk and to be done. Let cool. This can be done one (or couple) of days in advance.

Put sugar and saffron threads in a mortar and mix until the saffron threads are transformed into powder. Add saffron-sugar and almonds to the cooked rice and blend well. Add eggs (one by one), and milk as needed. The mixture should be very well mixed and not very thick, but not liquid neither. Pour in a greased and floured baking pan (1,2 litres) and sprinkle some chopped almonds over the top.

Bake in pre-heated oven 180C for about 3o minutes. Serve warm with jam and whipped cream.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Stew with lamb, dates and sweet potatoes

I found the recipe for this stew in BBC Good Food (Dec. 2008). It was supposed to be a tagine but I do not have one so I call it a stew instead. And what a stew this is! It is exotic (for me), delicious and a perfect winter dish. I have made it with lamb and beef with excellent results.

Stew with lamb, dates and sweet potatoes 
recipe from BBC Good Food
serves 2
1 onion
1 tsp chopped ginger
400 gr cubed lamb
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 Ceylon cinnamon stick
salt and pepper
2 dl passata
2 dl water
2 medium sweet potatoes
6 pitted dates

toasted almonds and fresh coriander

Slice onion thinly and cook in some olive oil until soft. Add ginger and lamb (in batches) until the meat gets some colour. Return all the meat to the pan and add cumin, paprika, coriander and cinnamon, salt and pepper. Cook couple of minutes until fragrant. Add water and passata, cover and cook for about 1,5 hours.

Peel the sweet potatoes and cut in large cubes, add to the stew and cook for another 15 minutes. Add pitted dates and cook fr 1o minutes more. Serve in bowls with almonds and coriander.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Salmon, dill and potato gratin

This was supposed to be a tart, but I left out the pastry so it became a delicious salmon, dill and potato gratin. I used sour cream (10% fat) instead of cream (32 % fat). The reason is in the parentheses. And as the most potato dishes is best eaten right away.

Salmon, dill and potato gratin
serves 4
adapted from
BBC Good Food

400 gr potatoes
3 dl sour cream
2 eggs
3 tbsp chopped dill + for decoration
salt and pepper
200 gr smoked salmon

Preheat oven, 190 C. Slices the potatoes and cook in salted water for about 8 minutes. When done drain well. Beat together sour cream, eggs, dill, salt and pepper. Slice the smoked salmon in stripes.

In a dish (1,2 liters) put half of the potatoes over the bottom, pour over the half of egg mixture and put half of the salmon stripes. Repeat with remaining ingredients once again. Bake for about 25 minutes. When done let cool for 10 minutes, decorate with fresh dill and serve.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Rolled potato dumplings with sauerkraut

Lately I have been into sauerkraut. More than usual I would say, as living in Germany makes it very easy to get to know new ways of preparing and eating sauerkraut.
So this is another dish with cooked sauerkraut, pan fried potato dumplings (Schupfnudeln mit Sauerkraut). It is a typical dish from south of Germany, Schwabia.

Potato dumplings are basically gnocchi that are rolled and pan-fried until golden. Result? Nice crunchy-crust dumplings with soft inside. And together with sauerkraut they make a most wonderful hearty winter dish. I heart it.

I found the recipes for dumplings and sauerkraut at the website of a German food magazine called Essen und Trinken. The second recipe is a fancy way of preparing these noodles but I choose to make them simple and traditional, just like they are served on the country side.

Rolled potato dumplings with sauerkraut
serves 2
adapted from Essen und Trinken
400 gr floury potatoes
1 large egg yolk
1 tbsp corn starch
0,5 dl flour (or as needed)
freshly ground white pepper and nutmeg
some salt

200 gr sauerkraut

50 gr smoked ham
1 small onion
1 tsp caraway seeds
1 bay leaf
1 dl vegetable stock

Put potatoes with skin on in a sauce pan with water and salt and cook until done. In the meantime chop finely the onions, and cube the smoked ham. Heat a sauce pan with some oil, add onions and ham and cook until they get some colour. Add sauerkraut, caraway seeds, bay leaf and vegetable stock. Cover and cook on low temperature for about 40 minutes. The sauerkraut will become brownish.

When potatoes are done let cool 5 minutes and peel. This can also be done one day in advance. Mash potatoes, add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. The potato dough should not be sticky when you touch it with clean hands. If it is sticky add some more flour.

Take a piece of potato dough and on a table roll into finger thick rolls. Cut dumplings, 5 cm, and form spikes at the ends. Boil water with salt in a sauce pan and cook dumplings for about 2-3 minutes. Drain well.

In a pan heat some oil, add drained dumplings and fry until golden. When done add sauerkraut and serve directly. The dumplings get soft quite quickly when mixed with sauerkraut so add them in the last minute. Guten Appetit!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Brussels sprouts

When I see brussels sprouts on the market I know the winter has arrived. I love brussels sprouts and this is probably the most simple and super delicious way of preparing them. I found this recipe in Good Food magazine (Dec. 2008), it was not actually a recipe, more like a tip.

Steamed Brussels sprouts
serves 2, side dish 
400 gr brussels sprouts
some olive oil (or butter)
freshly grated nutmeg

Remove bad looking leaves from sprouts and cut them in half (or keep whole). Steam for about 20 minutes (longer if whole). Heat a pan, add olive oil and steamed sprouts. Grate some nutmeg over, salt, mix well, cook for 2 minutes and serve.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Cauliflower and carrot salad

I have attacked my pile of food-magazines and am cooking everything I find interesting. I have mostly BBC Good Food magazines but there are couple of Gourmet, Fine Cooking, Bon Appetit and one Essen & Trinken (German).

And to manage to go through the whole pile I am not buying any more food magazines until I am done with my existing pile. So look forward some magazine food around here.

This salad recipe is from BBC Good Food, December 2008. When I first read the recipe I liked it instantly, but was sceptic about the raw cauliflower. I just do not find raw cauliflower very tasty so I steamed it instead. I also left out the mayonnaise. Love this salad!

Cauliflower and carrot salad 
adapted from BBC Good Food
serves 2
1 cauliflower (about 400 gr)
1 big carrot
1 shallot
2 tsp capers
1 tbsp parsley, chopped

2 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp Dijon mustard
salt and pepper

Cut the cauliflower into small florets and steam for about 15 minutes, and when done let cool. Grate the carrot coarsely, chop the shallot and capers finely. In a small bowl whisk the lemon juice and Dijon mustard, add oil and season.

Put cauliflower, chopped shallot, capers and parsley in a big bowl and pour over the vinaigrette and mix well.

Saturday, November 28, 2009


Flautas are Mexican rolled, deep-fried tacos and they are beyond delicious! They can be made with various fillings and one of the classical is potato and chorizo.

Mexican chorizo is a raw pork sausage that is spiced with dried chilies, cumin, paprika and as it is hard to find it here in Munich, I made flautas with Spanish chorizo. They can also be made with wheat tortillas.

As I mentioned flautas are traditionally deep-fried until very crispy but I refuse to deep-fry corn tortillas, they are perfect as they are. Instead I use my cast iron pan and just couple of spoons of fat....über delicious!

serves 2
80 gr chorizo
about 2 dl waxy potatoes, cut in small cubes (0,5 cm)
salt and pepper
pinch of cayenne pepper
8 corn tortillas, about 11 cm in diameter and warm (when cold they break)
3 tbsp clarified butter, or fat you prefer for pan frying the flautas
3 tbsp crème fraîche (or sour cream) mixed with 1-2 tbsp milk
salad, thinly slices

Cook potatoes in water until done and drain. Cut the chorizo in small cubes as well and cook in a dry pan just until fragrant, 2 minutes. Add cooked potato, season and mix well. The potatoes should partially fell a part and get very well mixed with chorizo, they should not turn into mash.

Put some filling on one end of tortilla and roll, set aside with the seam down. Heat the cast iron pan, add clarified butter and let melt. Put the flautas in the pan, seam down, and cook turning until the tortilla gets some colour and crisp.
Put on a plate, top with sliced salad and drizzle the crème fraîche over.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Beluga lentils

Beluga lentils are one of my favourite lentils. The taste is wonderful, earthy and they only need 20 minutes to be done, which for a legume is a very short time. Just put them in a sauce pan, cover with water and cook on a low temperature for 20 minutes, no pre-soaking needed. They do loose some of their black magical colour when cooked, but the taste compensates for the colour loss.

I found this lentil salad recipe in the Good Food magazine (Nov. 2008), love it!

Warm lentil salad
adapted from BBC Good Food
serves 2
1,5 dl Beluga lentils
6 big mushrooms
1 red pepper
1 shallot
4 salad leaves, whole
50 gr goat´s cheese (or other favourite cheese)

2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp Dijon mustard
3 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

Put the Beluga lentils in a saucepan, cover with water and cook on low heat until done, about 20 minutes.
Mix lemon juice and mustard in a small bowl, slowly add olive oil, season with salt and pepper and set aside. Slice the mushrooms, shallot and cut the red pepper in small cubes. Heat some oil in a pan and cook mushrooms until they start softening, turn of the heat, add pepper, shallot and cooked lentils. Stir in the dressing and mix well.

On two plates arrange the salad leaves, spoon the lentil salad, add the cheese and serve!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Rose hip soup

This week I got to think of rose hip soup and I had to make it. Rose hip soup is Swedish traditional soup made of dried rose hips and eaten with almond cookies. It is usually sold ready-to-eat or as powder where you only need to add water and cook shortly.

But for my immediate crave here in Munich I was only able to find rose hip marmalade. So I simply made the soup with the marmalade, and yes it did work!

This marmalade is sweetened with agave syrup and two other fruit sweeteners made of apples and pears. So it was not overwhelming sweet like marmalade can be. I also served it with sliced almonds instead of almond cookies, yum!

Rose hip soup
serves 2

6 dl water
2 tbsp corn starch
5 tbsp rose hip marmalade
2 tbsp almond flakes

Dissolve corn starch in 2 tbsp cold water. Pour the rest of the water in a sauce pan and let boil. When the water boils take off the cooker and add corn starch, stirring all the time. Add the rose hip marmalade and return to the cooker, cook for couple of minutes until it thickens.
Pour into 2 cups and sprinkle almond flakes on top. Serve warm or cold.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Big pancake

I have been curious about the recipe for "big pancake" since I saw the recipe last winter at The Kitchen. It looked like a tasty addition to the weekend breakfast. I have tried making the pancake with 2 eggs (left) and 4 eggs (right), keeping the amount of milk and flour the same (1/2 cup).

And my boyfriend and I though that the pancake made with 2 eggs is best eaten with sweet things and the one made with 4 eggs with savoury things like cheese and salami as it is more eggy. So feel free to experiment! I also use clarified butter as the temperature is quite high and I do not fancy burnt butter.

Big pancake
recipe from The Kitchen
serves 2
2 eggs (or 4 if you like eggy-texture)
1 dl + 1 tbsp + 1 tsp flour (1/2 cup)
1 dl + 1 tbsp + 1 tsp milk (1/2 cup)
pinch of salt
2 tbsp clarified butter
a well seasoned cast iron pan, 22 cm

Whisk eggs and milk and add slowly to flour and salt. Avoid lumps. Put the cast iron pan in the oven and turn on 220 C. When oven is preheated add 2 tbsp clarified butter to the pan and return to the oven to melt. When melted take out the pan and swirl so that the butter coats all the sides. Pour in the batter, return to the oven and bake for about 20 minutes.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Sauerkraut soup

I have grown up eating sauerkraut every winter and I love it. Served as a salad to a hearty winter stew is a true comfort food to me. However I have never eaten cooked sauerkraut, but here in the south of Germany it is quite common. So when I found recipe for sauerkraut soup in a magazine called Eve I had to try it.

The recipe comes originally from a book called "33 magical soups" written by Marion Grillparzer. The soup turned out really excellent, it is definitely a new winter favourite. It is spicy, sour, sweet and pan fried apples give it a wonderful touch. But the dish is really filling so I think I would rather call it a stew...delicious stew that is!

Sauerkraut soup
serves 2
original recipe can be found here
1 onion

2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp flour
1/2 tbsp sweet paprika
1/2 tsp hot paprika
200 gr sauerkraut
1,5 dl dry white wine
6 dl vegetable or meat stock
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp caraway seeds
4 potatoes (about 250 gr)

1 apple
salt and black pepper
1 tsp honey
fresh marjoram (I used dried)

Cut onion in half and slice thinly. Cook in 1 tbsp oil until soft and transparent. Add the flour, both paprika and cook shortly until fragrant. Add sauerkraut and cook couple of minutes. Add wine, stock, bay leaf and caraway seeds. Cover and cook for about 45 minutes. After 30 minutes add peeled and cubed potatoes.

Cut the apple in thick slices, salt and pepper and pan fry in the rest of oil until they soften and get some color.

When the soup is done, season with honey, salt and pepper, serve in bowls and decorate with apples and marjoram.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Red pepper hummus

I have had a third of a jar of tahini (sesame paste) in my fridge for way to long time now. I use it only when making hummus so my use of it is quite limited. But in order to finally finish off that tahini jar I wanted a brand new hummus recipe. And I found it!

Hummus recipe I found on BBC Good Food calls for roasted red peppers. How delicious does not that sound? The recipe actually does not call for tahini at all, a bit strange but of course I added it. So with some minor changes this hummus recipe turned out so good that I am on my way to buy another tahini jar!

Red pepper hummus

adapted from BBC Good Food
serves 2

340 gr can chickpeas (with liquid)
2 red peppers
3 tbsp tahini
1 garlic clove
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp ground cumin
juice of one lemon
salt and pepper

Roast the red peppers in oven, 180 C for about 40 minutes. When done put in a small bowl and cover with plastic film and let set for about 15 minutes. Peel the peppers, drain the chickpeas (reserve liquid) and with rest of ingredients blend in a blender until you have a semi smooth paste. Add some of the chickpea liquid, adjust the seasoning and blend until smooth.

Or if you do not have a blender, mash the chickpeas with a fork, pass through a strainer (hell of a job but worth it). Chop finely the peeled peppers, add to mashed chickpeas. Grate the garlic and add with the rest of the ingredients to the chickpeas. Add some chickpea liquid and blend well everything

To serve, spread on a plate, drizzle with some olive oil and eat with your favourite vegetables and pita bread.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Sweet pumpkin strudel

Last winter I made savory pumpkin strudel so this winter it was turn to make sweet pumpkin strudel.
Hokkaido is the pumpkin in question, no surprise here!

And as this pumpkin is delicious as it is I thought a bit of cinnamon, ground hazelnuts and sugar would be more than enough to add to the filling.

So the only thing left to "play" with was the strudel dough. I decided to add the spices I usually use when making Swedish gingerbread cookies (cinnamon, ginger, cloves and cardamom) in the dough.
I just loved the idea of pumpkin being enclosed in dough that tastes like gingerbread. And as I have never seen a strudel with other than plane-wheat strudel dough I liked the idea even more.

However I was not sure if the gluten would like this spice addition, and if it would be possible to stretch the dough thinly. But it worked! I stretched it very thin without any problems. And the strudel, that stands for all the great things about the fall and winter, turned out fantastic!

Sweet pumpkin strudel

serves 6
450 gr Hokkaido pumpkin
1 dl toasted and ground hazelnuts
1/2 dl sugar
1/2 tsp ground cassia cinnamon

1,5 dl bread flour
1/2 tsp ground cassia cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cardamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground ginger
pinch of salt
1 tbsp oil
4 tbsp warm water

2 tbsp melted butter for brushing the dough

Make the strudel dough and let it rest for an hour. When 30 minutes are left start preparing the filling. Wash the pumpkin, cut in half and clean from seeds. Cut each half in thicker slices and then cut each slices thinly. Add hazelnuts, sugar and cinnamon.

Preheat the oven 175 C. Stretch the strudel dough and brush with butter. Spread the pumpkin filling over half of the strudel sheet, leaving 5 cm around the edges. Fold in the edges and with help of the cloth roll the strudel.

Brush with butter and bake for about 50 minutes. This strudel tastes even better the next day!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Cooked quince and manchego

Small deviation from my Hokkaido-theme. I wrote about manchego cheese and quince paste tapas from Spain. The tapas was delicious, but I wanted to try serving the manchego cheese with slices of cooked quince. So as soon as the first quince were on the market I did it.

I cooked one quince and when it was cold I cut it in thin slices and served with manchego. Loved it! Quince slices are less sweeter (I did not use much sugar), less dense and much lighter in taste than the quince paste, so the perfect companion is manchego cheese that is mild taste, i.e. not aged very long.

Cooked quince
1 quince
1 dl sugar
5 dl water
pinch of salt

Put sugar, water and salt in a sauce pan and let it simmer until sugar is melted. In the mean time peel, core and cut quince in 8 thick slices. Put the slices in the sugar water, cover and cook on low heat until red, about 2 hours.

Pour the quince with the syrup in small bowl, make sure quince is covered with the syrup and let it cool completely. When cold cut in thin slices and serve on the top of manchego cheese. If you like drizzle some syrup over.

The syrup and left over quince can be added to milk rice, porridge...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Pumpkin custard pudding

Yes, Hokkaido is my latest obsession. Last week I had Hokkaido, either at home or at work, every single day. It was prepared differently every time and I am still not tired of it.

I got the idea to make this custard after eating pumpkin pannacotta. I loved it, but I thought custard pumpkin could be easier, faster to make and probably more healthy alternative.

My idea was very simple, to add steamed and mashed Hokkaido pumpkin to vanilla custard. As easy as that and the result was super delicious.

Pumpkin custard pudding
serves 2
3 dl + 1 dl milk (or coconut milk)
half vanilla bean
1/2 tsp ground cassia cinnamon
3 tbsp cornstarch
3 tbsp sugar
200 gr Hokkaido pumpkin

Cut Hokkaido in cubes and steam for about 20 minutes. Set 4 pumpkin cubes aside for decoration, and mash the rest of the pumpkin with a fork. If you prefer smooth custard pass the mashed pumpkins through a strainer. OR if you have a blender just blend the pumpkin until smooth.

In a small bowl mix 1 dl milk, cinnamon, cornstarch and sugar. Pour the rest of the milk in a sauce pan, add scraped vanilla seeds and the pod, let everything boil. When it boils, take out the vanilla pod and add mashed pumpkin. Mix with a whisk, take of the cooker and turn of the cooker.
Add the cornstarch mixture and mix with a whisk, return the the cooker until the custard thickens, a minute or so, it should not boil. Pour into 2 bowls and let cool.

When cold decorate with steamed pumpkin cubes and sprinkle with cinnamon.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Hokkaido pumpkin

The fall is here and so are the pumpkins. I love pumpkins, and this fall Hokkaido pumpkin is my favourite pumpkin. Hokkaido is amazing, no matter how you prepare it it turns out delicious.

It is Japanese and it is named after Hokkaido-island in Japan. I have never been to Japan but friends of ours who have say that Hokkaido island is really beautiful and its big agricultural area makes it quite different to the rest of Japan. Sounds very exotic to me!
My cinnamon buns with Hokkaido are super buns! But the most common way I eat Hokkaido is either oven-roasted or steamed, and seasoned with some honey and cinnamon. Both ways of preparing are equally delicious, but sometimes I feel for steamed and sometimes for oven-roasted.

Oven roasting takes some time but it brings out the sweetness and the flavour of the pumpkin. I cut the pumpkin in cubes and roast on 180 degrees for about 45 minutes. Nothing else needs to be added. And when is done I sprinkle some cinnamon and drizzle some honey over.

Steamed Hokkaido is more light in taste and the texture is almost like a custard. Cut it in cubes and steam for about 20 minutes. When done season with cinnamon and honey.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Cinnamon buns with pumpkin

Today is the "Cinnamon bun Day" in Sweden. Yes, there is a day in Sweden when you celebrate the cinnamon bun, i.e. bake/buy and eat/give away as much as you can.
Swedish cinnamon buns are made of sweet yeast dough that is filled with cinnamon, butter, sugar and sprinkled with nib sugar.

But as the pumpkin season is here I decided to twist the recipe just a tiny bit. I added steamed Hokkaido pumpkin to the filling. It worked really excellent, the buns were more than delicious!

This time I used dry organic yeast Bio Vegan and it worked excellent. I also used bread flour so maybe that was the reason why it worked better this time.

Cinnamon buns with pumpkin 
about 20 buns
80 gr butter
1,5 dl milk
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 egg, beaten
about 6 dl bread flour
6 tbsp sugar
9 gr dry organic yeast
1/4 tsp salt

250 gr steamed Hokkaido pumpkin
50 gr butter, room temperature
4 tbsp sugar
1,5 tsp ground Cassia cinnamon

1 egg

pinch of salt
100 gr almond flakes

Melt the butter, add the milk and cardamom. The mixture should me lukewarm. You do not want it to be hot as it will kill the yeast. Pour the warm liquid in a big bowl, add flour, beaten egg, sugar, yeast and blend well. Add salt and knead the dough until you have smooth, soft and not sticky dough. By hand it takes about 10 minutes. Cover and let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour.

Cut the pumpkin in cubes. You do not have to peal Hokkaido pumpkin, the skin is edible. Steam for about 25 minutes. When done let it cool a bit and then mash with a fork. Add butter, sugar and cinnamon, blend well.

Roll out dough to a 30x40 cm rectangle. Spread the pumpkin filling evenly and starting at long side (40 cm) roll up the dough. Cut buns, about 2 cm wide and put them on a baking sheet. Cover with a tea towel and let rise for about 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 225 C. Beat the egg together with salt and brush the buns. Sprinkle some almond flakes on the top and bake for about 12-15 minutes. These buns are best eaten the same day they are baked.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Made in Sweden

These chocolate truffles are very Swedish. They are handmade in Sweden and filling is made with cloudberry. Cloudberry is a berry that likes the very North of the Northern Hemisphere and for that reason it can be found in the woods in Nordic countries. Have you ever tried Finnish Cloudberry liquor? Super sweet and super delicious!