Sunday, February 28, 2010

Pumpkin seed oil

Pumpkin seed oil is a very Austrian thing. Recently we were in Vienna and one morning for breakfast we had scrambled eggs that were drizzled with the pumpkin seed oil. I was instantly hooked. Some drops of the pumpkin seed oil took the eggs to another level. Completely.

Pumpkin seed oil is made of roasted pumpkin seeds so the taste is very intense. I have now a small bottle in my fridge and am using it for eggs and in salad dressings. It is truly wonderful.

Just make sure you buy the oil that has been made from a very first pressing. And do not use it in cooking, all the good things get destroyed then.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Banana bread

I wrote down the recipe for this banana bread from a bag of Gold Medal whole wheat flour when we lived in Shanghai. It is an excellent recipe for a moist banana bread that I have been using ever since. Sometimes I use spelt flour instead of whole wheat, sometimes I use olive oil or virgin coconut oil, recipe is quite adaptable.

I also use muscovado sugar and less of it. 1 cup and a 1/4 is just way too much for me so I used only 3/4 cup and the cake is sweet enough.
I have never tried to replace bananas with some other fruit bit the idea has crossed my mind.

Banana bread 
recipe from Gold Medal flour
1,5 C mashed very ripe bananas (about 3 bananas)
3/4 C brown sugar (or muscovado)
2 eggs
2/3 C cup yogurt
1/3 C vegetable oil (olive oil, virgin coconut oil...)
1 vanilla pod
2,5 C whole wheat flour (or white spelt flour)
1 tsp soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 C raisins (optional)

baking pan, 22 cm round with a hole in the middle

Butter and flour the baking pan. Heat the oven to 175 C. Mash bananas and melt coconut oil (if using). Mix eggs and sugar, add coconut oil, yogurt, bananas and scraped vanilla seeds. Blend flour, soda, salt and raisins and add to the wet ingredients. Mix until everything is well blended. Pour into the pan and bake for about 45 minutes. Cool completely, it tastes even better the next day(s).

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Nanaimo bar

Nanaimo bar is a Canadian cake and I thought it would make a perfect Valentine's cake this year. Olympics have started and Canada is the host. Nanaimo bar is made with chocolate and a cake with chocolate is a must on the Valentine's.

I found the recipe at the website of the City of Nanaimo and I followed the recipe almost to the point. I just did not use as much sugar, 2 dl was sweet enough, and instead of custard powder I used an egg yolk.

The bottom layer is very similar to the sweet salami I have made before. So if you want to reduce amount of butter you can replace it with melted chocolate and milk.

Nanaimo bar

serves 8
recipe from

113 gr butter (room temperature)
1/2 dl sugar
5 tbsp cocoa powder
1 egg, beaten
about 150 gr graham cracker crumbs
1 dl finely chopped almonds
2,5 dl shredded coconut
113 gr butter (room temperature)
2 dl icing sugar
1/4 vanilla bean
1 egg yolk
2 tbsp + 2 tsp cream

100 gr chocolate
1 tbsp butter

baking dish 17x26 cm

Put the butter, sugar and cacao in a double boiler and let everything melt. Remove from heat, add the beaten egg, mixing constantly, return to the heat until it thickens, about 2 minutes. Add the crumbs, coconut and almond. Mix everything well and press into the baking dish. I also used plastic foil for my ceramic dish. Put in the fridge while you prepare the filling.

Beat butter and icing sugar until well blended, add the egg yolk, seeds of the vanilla bean and as much as milk as you need. You do not want the filling to be runny. Beat until you have light mixture. Spread over bottom layer and return to the fridge until you prepare the chocolate topping.

Melt butter and add chopped chocolate, whisk until everything is smooth and chocolate is melted. Let it cool but not get hard. If the chocolate is too hot it will melt the butter filling. When cool spread over the butter layer and return to the fridge.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Roasted potato and mushroom salad

recipe adapted from Fine Cooking
serves 2
4 medium potatoes
200 gr mushrooms
some olive oil
salt and pepper

150 gr creme fraiche
about 3 tbsp orange juice
2 tsp lemon juice
2 scallions
salt and pepper

Heat the oven to 200 C. Peel potatoes and cut in 1 cm cubes. Toss with some olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for about 20 minutes. In the meantime clean the mushrooms, toss with oil, salt and pepper and add to the potatoes. Roast another 15 minutes.

In a small bowl whisk creme fraiche, orange juice, lemon juice salt and pepper. Slice the scallions thinly.
When the potatoes and mushrooms are done sprinkle with scallions and serve with the dressing
on the side.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

World Nutella Day

5th of February is World Nutella Day. I like Nutella, although these days it does not find the place on the breakfast table as much as it did when I was a child. These days I appreciate more discovering new ways of using it. At the Christmas market in 2008 I discovered crepes with Nutella and!

And these oatmeal and coconut balls (chokladbollar) are kind of a new recipe. They are very Swedish but traditionally made with butter, here I replaced half of the butter with Nutella.

Oatmeal and coconut balls
makes about 30
100 gr butter (room temperature)
100 gr Nutella
1 dl sugar (I used muscovado)
1/2 vanilla bean
3 tbsp cold espresso
3 tbsp cocoa powder
5-6 dl rolled oats

1 dl shredded coconut (to roll the balls in)

Blend butter, Nutella and sugar until everything is smooth, fork works fine. Add the seeds of the vanilla bean, cocoa powder, oats and cold coffee. With your hand (or not) blend everything until well mixed, form balls and roll in the coconut. You can put them in the fridge for an hour or so, but they taste as good at the room temperature as well.