Wednesday, April 28, 2010


When you order enchiladas in Mexico you will get tortillas covered in chili sauce, filled with chicken (or beef, or beans...) and topped with some cream and cheese. There are tons of varieties.

But traditionally, enchiladas had no filling. Tortillas were simply dipped in the chili sauce and served. That is how I like enchiladas the best as well. Fillings are good, but a good corn tortilla with a chili sauce is awesome.
It has to be corn tortillas though, they are a perfect match for a simple chili salsa. Wheat tortillas do not have much taste so they are more suitable for filled enchiladas.

I also top enchiladas with goats sour cream and goats fresh cheese. Not very traditional but oh so delicious.

serves 2
8 corn tortillas, warm

500 gr fresh tomatoes
1 small coarsely chopped onion
1 garlic clove
5 serrano chilies (or more)
salt and pepper
fresh chopped coriander

2 tbsp goats sour cream mixed with some milk
2 tbsp goats fresh cheese
some fresh coriander

Put the whole tomatoes, chopped onion, peeled garlic clove, and whole chilies in a sauce pan. Cover with water and cook for about 15 minutes. When done drain the water, take away the tomato skin, clean chilies and chop everything (or use food processor). Add coriander, salt and pepper.

Dip warm tortillas in the chili salsa, fold each tortilla in half, put a spoon of salsa inside and place on a plate. Spoon some more salsa over and top with sour cream, fresh cheese and coriander. Serve immediately.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Barbecue season

It is end of April and this weekend we were lucky enough to have a great weather and the first barbecue of the year.

Pimiento de Padrón is a Spanish type of pepper. It looks like chili and sometimes it is as spicy as chili, but usually it is quite mild in taste. In Spain it is fried in olive oil and served as tapas.

And Cypriot cheese Halloumi is made with goats milk, sheep milk and some mint. It is perfect for grilling.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Vegetable smörgåstårta

Here is my vegetable version of the Swedish sandwich cake. Avocado and coriander give it a delicious touch of Mexico and eggplant the cute round form.

Vegetable smörgåstårta
serves 2
6 slices bread
2 tbsp hummus
4 thick slices of roasted eggplant
1/2 avocado
1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
1 tsp lemon juice
salt and pepper

4 tbsp hummus
1/2 slice roasted eggplant
2 slices avocado
some whole coriander leaves

Put a slice of a roasted eggplant on the bread and cut out . Mash avocado, add lemon juice, coriander, salt and pepper.
Spread 1 tbsp hummus on one slice of the bread, top with a slice of eggplant. Put the second slice of bread on the top.

Spread half of the avocado mixture, top with a with a slice of eggplant (or tomato). Finish with a third slice of bread. Frost with 2 tbsp hummus and decorate with eggplant, avocado and coriander leaves. Make the second sandwich cake.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Mexican Oaxaca cheese

Oaxaca cheese is the cheese used when making quesadillas. It is named after Mexican state of Oaxaca which is famous for its very rich and amazing gastronomy.

This semi-soft cheese becomes soft and stringy when melted, it is less salty than your average cheese and it has a very mild flavor. And that is exactly what you need when making quesadillas, a cheese that gives you the texture but does not take over the flavor. Mozzarella is its European cousin.

Make some corn tortillas, fill with cheese and melt in a pan. Open and fill with a spoon of pico de gallo. Too delicious.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Goat cheese gnocchi

Long live goat milk and all awesome things you can make with it!

Goat Cheese Gnocchi

from NY Times

serves 2
225 gr fresh goat cheese
1 large egg
1/4 C flour (or more)
sea salt

2 tbsp butter
1 big onion, thinly sliced

1/3 C vegetable stock
1/2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
50 gr butter
1 C spinach
50 gr grated parmesan
ground black pepper

Put cheese, egg and pinch of salt in a bowl and whisk until smooth. Add slowly the flour until you have a dough that is not sticky. Do not kneed too much. Put in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Melt the butter and add sliced onions. Cook until onion is soft and begins to brown. set aside.

In a large pot bring water to boil, add salt and reduce the heat so that water simmers. On the side put a bowl with ice water. Roll out the gnocchi dough in a 1 cm thick snake. Cut into 2 cm long pieces and with a back of a fork make the typical gnocchi marks. Boil gnocchi for 2-3 minutes and put in the ice water. When they are cool, drain and set aside.

In a large pan put vegetable stock, thyme and gnocchi. When gnocchi are hot add butter and let it melt. Add spinach and parmesan, season and serve. Top with caramelized onions.

Sunday, April 11, 2010


Smörgåstårta means "sandwich cake" in Swedish, and it is exactly what its name suggests: a big sandwich that looks like a cake. But delicious and fancy looking sandwich that is.

White sandwich bread is used to create cake layers and it is filled with creamy mayonnaise-based mixture to which shrimps, or smoked salmon, roast-beef, eggs...have been added. And decoration is as important, it just has to look fancy.

It is usually made for big dinner/lunch parties because of its many advantages: it is very easy to make, you can change the size of it in the last minute , it looks fabulous and it is super delicious.
No big parties around here so I decided to make a mini version for a weekend lunch for two. So cute, so delicious.

makes 2 mini individual cakes
6 slices sandwich bread (I used wholewheat bread)
salomon filling
1 tbsp mayonnaise mixed with 1 tbsp crème fraiche
1 big slice smoked salmon, chopped
1 tbsp chopped fresh dill, chopped
shrimp and egg filling
1 tbsp mayonnaise mixed with 1 tbsp crème fraiche
16 small cooked shrimps, chopped
1 boiled egg, chopped
3 tbsp mayonnaise mixed with 2 tbsp crème fraiche
4 small cooked shrimps
1/2 slice smoked salmon cut in two
2 cherry tomatoes, halved
some dill
16 this slices fresh cucumber

Cut off the bread crust. In two small bowls combine all ingredients for each filling. Season wit salt and pepper.
Put one bread slice on a plate, spread half of the smoked salmon and cover with the second bread slice.

Spread evenly half of the shrimp filling.

Put the third bread slice on the top. Make the second mini cake. Cover with a plastic wrap and refrigerate for about an hour or two. Frost the cake with the mayonnaise-crème fraiche mixture, decorate and serve.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Bean and couscous burgers

I love refried pinto beans but these burgers are very close behind. I replaced bulgur with couscous but I can see these made with quinoa, as well.

Bean and couscous burgers
adapted from Epicurious
serves 4

1/2 C chopped onion, divided
1/2 C couscous
about 1,5 C water (or less, depending on type of couscous)
1 C pinto beans, cooked
3/4 C walnuts
2 garlic cloves
1/2 C packed fresh cilantro
1,5 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne
salt and pepper

Put the couscous in a heatproof bowl. Cook 1/4 C onion is some olive oil until golden, add the water and when it is boiling pour over couscous, cover and let sit until all water has been absorbed. Fluff with a fork.

I do not have a food processor so instead I mashed the beans and finely chopped the walnuts, cilantro and garlic. Blend together, add couscous, rest of the onion and all the spices. Form six burgers and put in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

Heat some oil in a pan, cook the burgers until golden brown, turn around and cook until golden brown on the other side. Serve with your favourite burger sauce!

Friday, April 02, 2010


Kaiserschmarrn is a traditional Austrian dessert...and a perfect Sunday breakfast if you ask me. It is made of a fluffy pancake that is split with fork into small pieces and it is served with apple or plum sauce.

Every Bavarian restaurant has Kaiserschmarrn on their menu and they can be very different in taste and texture. Some are light, some are dense, some are egg-y, some are not, some are caramelized, some have strong rum taste, many have raisins or sliced almonds, other not...plenty of variety out there.

I started with a recipe from Austrian/German chef Sarah Wiener and couple of Kaiserschmarrns later I found ingredient combination that makes my perfect Sunday breakfast.

adapted from Sarah Wiener
serves 2
2 tbsp raisins
1 tbsp rum
3 small eggs
2 tbsp sugar
half a vanilla bean
6 tbsp milk
1 dl + 3 tbsp flour ( I use white spelt flour)
2 tbsp sliced almond
20 gr clarified butter ( I sometimes use coconut oil)

plum or apple sauce (room temperature, not cold from the fridge)
1 tbsp powder sugar + 1/4 tsp cinnamon

In a small bowl put the raisins add rum and let sit for about 30 minutes. Or if you do not have time, heat the rum until warm add the raisin, take off the heat and by the time you make the dough raisins will be nice and soft.

Separate the eggs, beat egg yolks with sugar and the vanilla seeds until the eggs are thick and light yellow in colour. Add the flour, whisk, add slowly the milk, whisking all the time to avoid the lumps.

Heat a cast iron pan (22 cm) on low heat and let the butter melt. In a separate bowl beat the egg whites until stiff. Add first a third to the egg yolk mixture, carefully fold in. Add the rest of the egg whites. Pour the mixture into the heated pan. Let it cook on low heat for about 10 minutes. Then sprinkle the raisins and almonds (or fresh fruits) over the pancake.

Now you need to turn around the pancake. The easiest way to do this is to put it in the oven until the top is set and gets colour, 10-15 minutes on 180C.

Or if you are brave enough (and do not mind the mess), take a biggest spatula you have, run it under the pancake and turn around. This method can be very messy but it does work. And to do not worry if the pancake breaks, it will be split in small pieces anyway. After you have turned around the pancake let it cook for another 5 minutes, or until it is nice and golden.

When done split it into small pieces with a a help of two forks. Serve on two plates, dust with the powder sugar and cinnamon, and eat with the apple sauce. Mahlzeit!