Friday, January 28, 2011

My first homemade Ricotta

freshly squeezed works best here
I found a new food blog that specializes in Italian  cooking. Who doesn't love pasta and a good sauce? Spinach lasagna with home made ricotta. Oh, the endless possibilities! I stumbled across there Elaine,( from Richard Ferretti via Gourmet, via the Italian dish blog )had it all neatly posted how to make your own ricotta. I was excited, and it is ever so cheap to make on  your own. I was off to my local  corner store and picked up some 3 percent whole milk and a lemon. I always have a readily supply of heavy cream available for the goat.

2 quarts whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons lemon juice
starting to curdle.
Line a large strainer with a layer or two of cheese cloth and place over a large bowl. Slowly bring the milk to a rolling boil in a 6 quart heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching.Add lemon juice. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring constantly, until mixture curdles, about 2 minutes. Pour into lined strainer and let drain for 1 hour(note: I let it drain for just a few minutes, so it does not become dry). After discarding the liquid, chill the ricotta covered.

oh, those wash clothes!
I followed The Italian dish's recipe, but there was one little hick up. It took me 1 hour to get my milk and cream to curdle not two minutes as her recipe quoted.. I was a little perplexed by this and while it was simmering I read a little more on the web. I found that it is ever so much more quickly to make if you add all the ingredients when stated!! I added the cream and the milk but forgot to add the salt until it was boiling. I perhaps didn't let the cream and milk boil long enough before I added the lemon juice. I found I needed to add at least 4 tablespoons of lemon juice to make it finely come to a curd.I kept on raising the heat and lowering the heat and stirring and stirring and finely it was finished. I did not have any cheese cloth but those washing up rags that everybody has in the cupboard worked out perfectly.( see picture you know which ones) I let strain for a few minutes not the one hour most recipes call for and put in the fridge. Let it rest covered in the fridge for at least 2 hours before using. Keeps for two days covered in the fridge.

Tomato, Onion Butter pasta sauce for a true foodie.

It's friday. I have the next three days off , my house is clean, laundry done, so that leaves me to just cook, blog, and spend time with the little man.I am a serious food blog reader and I have a lot of favorites, but I sometimes come across a few recipes that have been making the blog rounds and I as a newbie have to also try out. I live in the forest so tying to get my hands on a can or two of San  Marzano plum tomatoes is impossible, so it was off to my local corner store to get me a few cans of their best plum tomatoes. 
As I  love to cook in large quantities I always double or triple a recipe for the freezer or  for the up and coming week. I  was inspired to make this sauce with the idea as using it as my base for eggplant and spinach vegetarian lasagna with home made ricotta cheese. Still might in fact.

I am off to Stockholm next week with lilla A for a visit, and a little cooking at J&K in Djursholm.I wanted to cook something for them that they could easily make for themselves when they had friends over. I started doing some reading on the web and thanks to  and Lucia  at I think I found the start of something beautiful. Tomato,butter and onion pasta sauce. Sounds pretty basic doesn't it? 

These three little ingredients has created the base of a fantastic sauce. I find tin tomatoes tinny' and bitter so I had to tweak the original recipe to incorporate a little sugar and the left over chopped garlic from my croutons and a little bit of finely ground black pepper as well.   I so wanted to cook this sauce as clearly intended, but the goat is such a cream freak that trying to get a tomato sauce in him other than on a pizza is a battle in itself. 

it is really that easy!
I can say I will never make a tomato base sauce different ever again. My house smells fantastic! The best part of this recipe is that 95% of us have the ingredients already in our house. Please try and tweak and add as your taste desires. enjoy, I know I will.


6- 400g cans of plum tomatoes
220 g unsalted butter( I used salted)
6-smallish-medium yellow onions
1 teaspoon salt (go by taste) 
I also added 1/4 cup sugar,1 teaspoon garlic powder and 1 teaspoon of finely ground black pepper

Use a large 2 liter pot and add all the cans of tomatoes and peel and halve the onions. Plop in the butter and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and stir occasionally. Remember to smooth out the plum tomatoes on the side of the pot as they cook. The smell that will fill your kitchen is amazing. I promise. I let my big pot slowly simmer, and mush the tomatoes for a good hour and half. When the tomatoes are lovely and the sauce is shinny and the onions have done their job. I strained the sauce and pushed it through a strainer and got all those lovely onion and tomato juices out. Discard  the left over  pulp and let your sauce sit with lid on while you fix the pasta. Remember to taste, taste and taste! Add, more salt or what ever you wish and have fun.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Ralston* Oatmeal Cookies Recipe

yes, that is the melted white chocolate oozing out 
The other day. I watched the new film 127 Hours with the goat. It was a  film that I really wished I had read the book first. Would I have the courage to last almost a week in the same situation? I don't know, and let's hope if I do, I have a bag of these cookies along for the ride. These little feller's are packed with ewe, dewy goodness. Roasted hazelnuts, organic oatmeal,,butter, white chocolate organic sultans, golden raisins, cinnamon and butter!  One bite and I am sure you would agree these are for keepers.

To toast the nuts: Chop up one cup of your favorite nuts, hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts work best here. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and toast nuts for 8-10 minutes until lightly browned and fragrant.Let cool.

Line two baking sheets with baking paper or silicon sheets
for Aron..

1 cup of nuts roasted, and chopped
3/4 cup butter room temperature( I used salted and omitted the salt in recipe)
1 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
3/4 cup of  all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt ( if your using unsalted butter)
1 teaspoon of good quality cinnamon
3 cups of organic old- fashioned rolled oats
1 cup of good quality white chocolate  ( I use Chocovic Spanish chocolate) from
1 cup of organic sultanas
1/2 cup golden raisins

In a large mixing bowl use either a hand mixer or a stand mixer, and add the butter and sugar. Mix  until creamy.About 2-3 minutes.Add the egg and the vanilla and mix again until incorporated.In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, salt, cinnamon, baking soda. Add to the wet mixture and beat until combined. Stir in nuts,oatmeal, white chocolate, sultans,golden raisins and mix well.Add a splash of water if it  seems a little dry, but just a splash.

I like a larger cookie so I usually shape them like if i was making a burger. About the palm of your hand and flatten slightly on your prepared baking sheet.Space about 2-3 cm apart and bake for 10-13 minutes. The edges should be nice and golden with chocolate starting to ooze out. Let cool on baking sheet for a few minutes then transfer to cooling rack. Makes 12-15 large cookies. To prevent cookies sticking to your hands wet your hands with water and this should help to flatten and mold them into shape.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Squeak and Sizzle mouth teasers.

I have a confession to make. I love croutons. I love store bought, homemade, about any type of croutons there is.There's something so satisfying in a handful of those crunchy, salty, herb filled little mouth teasers that I just adore. Here is the recipe for my Root toot'n winter soup croutons.
Oh,  wow, I am so happy, but sadly I ate them all..

1/2 cup of olive oil
3-4 cloves of mashed garlic
it's best to let the oil sit for at least 30 minutes to en fuse 
(I usually let this happen when I start my soup)
1 cup of Real Parmesan cheese, nothing from that little green can you know who I am talking about!
 I day old bagget works the best here
cut in half then cut those half's in quarters and cut into bite sized pieces
salt and pepper and a dash of chili powder

Add the bread and spices and strain the olive oil over the bread and toss out the garlic pieces.
Toss well and add half a cup of the Parmesan and lay in a 175 C oven for 15 minutes take out and move around and add the rest of the cheese put back in oven for another 10-15 minutes until golden. Make sure you keep an eye on them so they do not burn. Remove from the oven and add them quickly to your soup and enjoy the squeak and sizzle they make when they hit the soup. These croutons can be sealed in a bag or jar and kept for one week, but make sure they are completely COOLED before storing otherwise you will get a mushy crouton.Not so much fun. Enjoy. 

Root toot'n good soup

Wash away those winter blues...
I am an anxious person. Always have been, probably always will be. I cook when I am stressed and I cook when I am happy, so in a way it's my therapy. It's winter here in western Sweden, and of course that means cooking in season. Root vegetables are so readily available this time of year. The recipes that you could use are endless. Beets, turnips, parsnips,celery root,potatoes,sweet potatoes, leeks just to name a few....
I made a wonderful scalloped dish using all of the fore mentioned veggies the other day, and had a lot sliced veggies to use up. What could possibly be anything more soothing then a big pot of creamy soup to warm up those blues.
carrot,turnip,parsnips slices

Root tooten soup..

1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons of olive oil
3 small carrots
1/2 small head of turnip
2 parsnips
2 large shallots chopped
2 medium sweet potatoes
4 medium king Edward, etc.potatoes sliced, diced, chopped or cubed.
2 tablespoons of flour or any other thickening agent you desire
1/2 cup white wine

Add 1-2 vegetable cubes,( bouillon as you know I make my own, so I added about 3-4 tablespoons) as it was a very big pot of cooking veggies!
Fill up your pot with cold water and season with a little salt and pepper to get the ball rolling. DO NOT DRAIN THE COOKING LIQUID!!
When you can pierce the veggies to the point of tenderness either take your emulsifier or ladle into your Cuisinart or blender until a nice puree evolves.

check these babies out. Elephant shallots amazing!
Mean while melt your butter and olive oil on medium high heat.Chop up those shallots and in another bigger pot  slowly fry up your shallots until transparent but not browned.  I like to add splash of white wine here, but you do not have to and if you do let it cook down but not to much as you need some moisture to make your roux with the flour. Add flour into your shallots and wine/no wine and whisk in the puree until you get a nice thick but not to thick soup. Season to taste with more salt and pepper or some chili flakes. Use your imagination that's the best part. Serve with homemade garlic, parmesan croutons. I just love the sizzle they make when they hit the soup!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Monster Cookies are the bomb

I think these speak for themselves....
                                                     Monster Cookies

1 cup of soft butter organic or non salted is best
1 cup of brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2tsp.baking soda 
1 3/4 cup of flour 
3 eggs room temperature
1 1/2 cups peanut butter
3 cups quick oatmeal
1 1/2 cups of chopped up good quality dark baking chocolate or your favorite chocolate bar such as diam etc...
milly lilly's
1 1/2 cups of Milly lilly's or smarties, m&m's, non stop's.

Mix in bowl in order given. Drop by large tablespoon or ice cream scoop and flatten with hand. Bake 
at 175  degrees C or 350 degrees F. bake for 12 minutes but everyones oven is different. I usually take them out around 9-10 minutes as i like a much chewier moist cookie. If you like them crunchy or with a snap bake the full 12 or so minutes. Let them cool on the baking tray for a few minutes and transfer to a cooling rack. 

For those about to rock........
I choose to use mostly organic products. Here in Sweden most large grocery stores have a wonderful selection of organic products. I buy the Milly Lilly's, organic flours, Cornwall sea salt,organic oatmeal, chocolate  at Systrana Jonssons skafferi in Lanvetter. brattåsvägen 58  031 91 88 30. Peanut butter is easily found in Sweden. Does not really make a difference to  which brand just any one will do. crunchy or smooth.

Friday, January 21, 2011

What skeleton is lurking in your spice drawer?

Hello there again. I am reasoning with myself a little here tonight. I could come across as a little to excited to be blogging at 10:30 at night. Especially about your spice drawers, but seriously. Throw out that stale old salad mix that's harder than a hockey puck and let's all get cracklin' about spices and condiments that can change the way you cook
Yesterday my 75 dollar 500sek package arrived from I fell head over hills for the opportunity  to buy so many awesome things. It all started with my new issue of Elle Mat och Vin that gets  nicely delivered quarterly to my red post box. Inside one of it's lovely pages was this most interesting recipe that featured a spice called baharat. I was intrigued I wanted to know what kind of website would carry a spice so intriguing that I would discover this new friend of mine called kryddlandet.

Baharat is a middle eastern spice that has spices that we everyday people use all the time. Just not all together at the same time. I found it to be quite lovely in fact. It has essence of cardamom, white pepper,.cinnamon,nutmeg and so forth. A mixture of spice and depth of rich earthy tones.  Try it in a tagine or a chicken stew laced with lentils, dried fruits and pomegranate.


1/2 tsp.cardamom
1 tsp. white pepper
1/2 tsp.nutmeg
1 tsp. ginger
2tsp. cloves
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. allspice

Thanks to Elle Mat och Vin for the inspiration for this blog post.

Now let's start cleaning out those dusty, oily drawers and organize our next cooking experience. Okay, so we have all been there. We might have mother's who have sparked our spice obsession,no names, no names!! Really. When was the last time you checked the best before date on those jars of spices, seasoning salts and peppers? Is it really so important to keep that jar of hodge podge lemon pepper with b.b.q salt that you just had to buy while on holiday 10 years ago?

Hold on to that vacation memory and throw the damn stuff out! Now what we need is to think about all the spices that an everyday cook should always have on hand. Cinnamon, nutmeg,ground ginger,a selection of good sea salt which is much better for the old ticker than regular table salt. Maybe a tad more expensive, but really can you put a price tag on your health?
A good grinding pepper, pink pepper or even green pepper corns add a depth to a meal like nobody's business. Garlic powder not salt, onion powder,fennel seeds, celery seeds, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, great in baking and cooking.A good grill seasoning. High in flavor low in sodium and no MSG. There is plenty on the market just read the labels.

Now let's talk about bouillon those lovely little cubes and powders of dehydrated vegetables, meats and fish. High in saturated fats and how good can anything be that has to be dried, ground,and dehydrated anyways? Let's think about another option. How about making our own. What, no you don't say bullion, but how and why?
It's a fabulous 10 minutes of the day that will change your soups, stews,sauces into a adventure in your mouth.

I am a new follower to this idea, and I must admit, if it was not for Hedi at 101 Cookbooks I do not think I would of even thought about it. I of course did all my shopping in glee of what I was about to whip up in my mix master.. I followed her idea to an extent, but my goat, the vegetarian does not really care for celery, so I had to come up with a little twist. It is so easy and literally you can add what ever veggies you desire, any combination but this is a pure vegetarian and it should have at least the mire pox celery, carrots and onion.

Sea salt and a lot of it is also the second biggest ingredient. It allows your veggie mix to stay in the freezer not completely frozen and you can take out a teaspoon or so at a time and not have to worry about chipping away at a block of puree. I used sun dried tomatoes,carrot, celery(sorry Kim) shallots, garlic,flat leaf parsley,, basil, cilantro, fennel bulbs. Blitzed it in the machine stirred in the sea salt and put in my twist top container and into the freezer it goes. The rule of thumb is that you use 1 teaspoon to every one cup of water. It is pretty salty, so make sure you tap it up with water or use a little to start and go from there.

Here is my version of vegetable bouillon
2 sticks of celery chopped
2 fennel bulbs clean and cored and chopped up.
3 large carrots cleaned and prepared  tips and heads removed
handful of sun-dried tomatoes not in oil
6 medium shallots or two large onions of various colors and flavors peeled and chopped roughly
a generous handful or two of  fresh basil, cilantro,flat leaf parsley or any combination of fresh herbs you desire. Grated lemon peal would be amazing..mums...
One cup of sea salt
8 cloves of garlic peeled
The wow of any soup,stew,sauce. I swear just awesome.
1 leek cleaned and trimmed and chopped

I added the carrots and leek together and made sure they where all grounded down first, then added the shallots and garlic. I scraped  down the sides and added the sun dried tomatoes and celery, fennel and all the herbs. You might have to empty your mixer a couple of times until everything is pureed into a fine but still little bit chunky puree. I poured mine out into a big bowl and stirred in the sea salt and but it in the freezable container and there you have it homemade bouillon for months to come. Let me know if you come up with your own interesting mixes. Would be glad to learn from my readers as well.Get cracking and go take a trip to your local grocery store and spend a little time getting to know the spices in those racks. oh, wait, what about fresh herbs, oils, dried herbs?? Oh, another day. Cheerio...

Day one.... a food escape

Here it goes. I am officially a blogger. Who would of thought. The girl from nowhere Alberta living her life in Scandinavia would be blogging about food. At least I have my trusty sidekick Stacey a..k.a. nipple hawk and cuddle monkey's mama on board for the ride. For those who love to cook, bake and entertain this blog is for you. Enjoy, the fruits of our labors.