Thursday, September 29, 2011

. Got MILK?? We apparently don't..welcoming our neighbors to the south.....


Get it where you can. This a Finish brand VALIO, but a superb quality
Wait a minute I have a confession to tell you. I am hoarding butter. Salted, and unsalted. I don't care where it comes from, but I am not sharing. Currently Sweden is on a massive shortage of butter. Well, the cream actually. It seems, the researchers of the world have made a remarkable discovery, that BUTTER is actually good for you. Yep, go figure we can eat the stuff in droves! So..... to make a long story short. Up went the demand in Sweden, and the poor little dairy farmers, just can not keep up with demand.

There's a few factors to why we are in such a funk, at this time of year, (this has happened in December..Christmas baking...) but now in the fall. Some people ask why? Why so  little cream available to the butter industry. (Here is a link to an English article  Normally dairy cows in the summer produce less milk. Giving less whole fat cream needed for the production of butter.

Now the largest Dairy producer ARLA has informed the population that Arla are in the process of shipping cream from Denmark to help the Swedish butter shortage, and the little cream Swedish cows are producing will go to making Swedish butter, but our whipping cream will defiantly be coming from our neighbors.

I thought to welcome our lovely neighbors I would make my first attempt at baking Danish Poppyseed rolls better known as TEBIRKES. (will post at a later date...(hint...hint... tomorrow).

MUMSIGT....look at all those layers. I am so proud of these..
If your reading this in Sweden, snatch up a fridge full of butter, as this is expected to go on for at least another 4-6 weeks. Here's a little photo of the first batch still baking in the oven. See you tomorrow and I wish I had smellavision right kitchen smells just fabulous. A loaf of sourdough is next in line for the oven......See you later..
If you live in the area, all the ingredients are available at our local store. Tempo Rävlanda stationsvägen Rävlanda. You will always find helpful and friendly service with proprietors Maria and Tomas.  

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Spicy Root and Lentil Hot pot with Swedish lake Crayfish and Chipotle cream

what colors, flavors,textures. It's a fusion of goodness.
It's true. If you have not heard.... it is the autumn here. The leaves on the trees are turning those fabulous colors of reds and golds. There's a  familiar  sound of crunch under every step you take on your daily outings. The weekend markets are full of parsnips, carrots, potatoes of a trillion varieties. The lovely ears of fresh corn on the cob, the last berries of the season all begging to come home with you.

can not go wrong with home grown vegetables and organic 
This past weekend I spent in Varberg on the coast of western Sweden with the Goat as he played the Oktoberfest there. We took a lovely walk along the coast up to the towns center and as it was the weekend, and the local farmers market was in full swing. I could not pass up the opportunity to score, organic just picked home grown vegetables.

I like to mix a lot of different tastes and textures in my cooking. Especially when I am cooking vegetarian. I really have to give myself two thumbs up on this new discovery as I truly blew my socks off with just how good this combination is. I hope you will be able to find the time to make this in your part of the world. Would love to hear what you think. I realize it will be difficult for many to find KRÄFTOR (Swedish lake crayfish, but you can always use shrimp or a sweet flavored white fish or just have it with out.

For the curry:
1 large yellow onion
2 tablespoons of olive oil or vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves peeled and sliced
700 grams Potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
4 large carrots, peeled and sliced into large pieces
2 medium sized Parsnips, peeled and sliced as the carrots
1 liter of vegetable stock
100 grams red lentils
4 tablespoons of PATAKS  BALTI Tomato and Coriander curry sauce  available at fine Asian stores or if you live in Sweden or any of your favorite powdered curry. ATTENTION: Add one tablespoon at a time until you get a level of curry you like. 
1/2 cup flat leaf parsley chopped

Swedish Kräftor ie: Swedish lake grown crayfish with dill flavor gives this dish a depth of flavor and the sweetness helps cool the heat in the curry. Fantastic combination.


1 small container of cream fraiche, sour cream if you have too
2 tablespoons of hot chipotle paste available in the Mexican section of your local grocer. (In Sweden available at Ica made by Santa Maria.)!/chipotle-paste/

Add your chipotle paste directly to the cream fraiche stir and dollop your curry.Taste add until you get the flavor you like. Chipotle has a smoky flavor with a little heat attached. As always use a little at first and taste, taste, taste as you go. It is your best friend in the kitchen.

How to curry:

1.Heat oil in a large heavy bottomed pan and cook the onion and garlic over medium heat. Keep stirring as, you do not want to burn the garlic. If you think the heat is too high turn it right down, and allow the onions to cook until transparent and some what soft. 

looking good. Soon it will be time to add the vegetable stock
oh just lovely it is coming together nicely
2.Add in the potatoes, parsnips, carrots and stir. Let the root vegetables get some color on them if possible. Control your heat, as root vegetables have a lot of sugar in them, and they will tend to get stuck to the bottom of the pan, and burn. Add in your curry paste/powder. Stir and then proceed to add in the vegetable stock. Let it come to a boil, then turn down the heat  to low and add in your lentils. Cover and let cook for 20 minutes stirring occasionally. Make sure it is on low so you do not burn the bottom. 

creamy,full of flavor fantastic.
It can take more than twenty minutes depending on your size of potaoes and carrots. I like to break a few of the potatoes up as it is cooking to help give the curry a more thicker consistency. When your root vegetables are to your likeness. Add in your chopped parsley and even better with coriander. Serve in bowls. Top with crayfish/shrimp/fish and chipotle cream and serve. A lovely, lovely dish. Enjoy.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

When Life gives you lemons....make lemon tart!

It's a little cloud of lemony goodness to make all your troubles temporarily disappear. I promise.
 It's one of those days. It's a day when you need to just stay in bed and pull the blankets up over your head and call it a day. Last week, hurricane Katia decided to come visit us here on the west coast of Sweden. I guess she liked it here so much that she invited her grandma cranky pance to visit and bring her  rainy disposition with her. You think since us Scandinavians are heading into fewer and fewer hours of day light, that mother nature would hold off on the rain. Would it be to much to let us have a few days of glorious vitamin D days, before we are walking zombies amongst the darkened afternoons? 

The availability of lemon pie recipes out there is abundant.I really like the recipe from Rose Levy Beranbaum's The Pie and Pastry Bible (SCRIBNER) via
It is a mix between sweet, flaky and sour.The three best combinations ever.
This pie is an great beginner pie recipe. As it is an "open faced" pie with more work done by normal kitchen equipment then your own hands so to speak. Give it a go when your feeling a little down, and I hope your little tart/pie will pick you up from your dreadful feeling day.

Sweet Pastry Crust:
1 1/2 cups (210 grams) all purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 (50 grams) granulated white sugar
1 large egg

How to Sweet Pastry Crust:
In a separate bowl, sift or whisk together the flour and salt. Set aside. Place the butter in your mixer and beat until softened. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Gradually add the beaten egg, beating just until incorporated.Don't over mix or the butter will separate and it can lighten in color.Add the flour mixture all at once and mix just until it forms a ball. I found mine to be a little more sticky so i did need to add a  couple of pinches of more flour.Do not over work the pastry as it will be hard when baked. 

Have ready your little tart pans with removable bottoms or a large 8-9 inch (20-23cm) pan with removable bottom. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry into a large enough piece to fit over your tart plate or if making tartlets you can divide the dough into equal portions to roll out measuring the dimensions  of your tart forms. I used 10cm tart forms. I got ten tarts from this recipe.

To prevent the pastry from sticking to the counter and to ensure uniform thickness, keep lifting up and turning the pastry a quarter turn as you roll( always roll from the center of the pastry outwards to get uniform thickness).To make sure it is the right size, take your tart pan, flip it over, and place it on the rolled out pastry. The pastry should be an inch larger than the pan.

pretty, and evenly distributed 
When the pastry is rolled to the desired size, lightly roll pastry around your rolling pin,dusting off any access flour as you roll. Unroll on top of tart pan. Never pull pastry or you will get shrinkage(shrinkage is caused by too much pulling of the pastry when placing it in the pan).  Gently lay in the pan and with a gentle touch use either a small scrap of pastry dipped in flour to press the dough into the forms or use your middle finger and ring finger to gently press the dough uniformly into the pie/tart form. Prick bottom of dough this will prevent the dough from puffing up as it bakes. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes so the butter can chill and the gluten can rest in the flour.
you can keep this rice in a tight sealed container and reuse many times
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F 205 degrees C  and place the rack in the center of the oven. Line the now chilled tart/pie form with baking paper or tin foil and either using  uncooked rice, beans, or baking weights completely cover the entire surface so it is evenly covered.Bake the the crust for 20/25 minutes or until the crust is dry and lightly golden brown.

For the lemon curd:
3 large eggs
1/3 cup (80ml) fresh lemon juice(2-3 lemons) DO NOT USE BOTTLED LEMON JUICE
3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated white sugar
4 tablespoons(56 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into small pieces
1 tablespoons (4 grams) lemon zest

why it is important to strain your filling and whisk at a very low heat. curdling is not the end of the world
strained and whisked in butter, lemon zest, Just waiting for the meringue and the second final bake
While the crust is baking make the lemon curd. In a stainless steel bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water, whisk together the eggs,sugar, and lemon juice until blended. Cook, whisking constantly (to prevent it from curdling), until the mixture becomes pale in color and quite thick. This happened quite quick for me. Like 2 minutes. In the original recipe is states that this will take 10 minutes, so if it takes o minutes or ten. Just keep whisking and watch the temperature. It will come together. Remove from heat and immediately pour through a fine strainer to remove any large egg bits or seeds that slipped pass you.(It should be thick like a hollandaise or sour cream) Add the chopped butter and whisk into the lemon curd until completely melted. Add the lemon zest and immediatrly pour the lemon curd into the baked pre-baked pie/tart forms.Reduce the heat in the oven to 350 degrees F 177 degrees C.Bake the tart for about 10 minutes or until the lemon curd is firm but still a little wobbly in the center. Do not let it brown or burn.


4 large egg whites
1/2 cup  (130 grams) white granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon of cream of tartar (in Sweden you can find it here in the baking section).

Soft, sticky and sweet clouds of goodness
Meanwhile, in a clean bowl using a electric mixer hand held or stand mixer. Using the whisk or beaters attachments. beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and continue beating until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar and continue to whip until stiff peaks form. Using a a spoon, place dollops of the meringue over the entire surface of the hot lemon curd, starting at the outside edge of the tart. 
Press gently so that you do not  get any "weeping" when the meringue shrinks away from the edges and moister from the curd and egg whites develop. 
Can this be any better ? Simple, yet so satisfying. Good food does not have to be complicated.
(Make sure the meringue comes right up to the crust and there are no gaps between the crust and the lemon curd). Then, with the back of your spoon, gently press down on the meringue to get rid of any air pockets and to make sure the lemon curd is covered with the meringue. If desired, swirl the meringue making a few decorative peaks. return the tarts to the oven and bake for about 10 to 15 minutes or until meringue has nicely browned.

Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool, away from any drafts. when cool serve or else cover and refrigerate.
Makes a large tart/pie to serve 6-8 or 10 10cm tartlets.

Note: I use toothpicks in the finished pie/tarts and then cover with plastic wrap to protect the sticky meringue from the plastic wrap. Can easily last a few days in the fridge if you need it too, but best served the day it is baked.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Lovely Home Baked New York style Bagels via Brunkebergs Bakery Stockholm

my very first attempt at New York style bagels from my very own kitchen
The scent of fresh bread filtering the air in my kitchen, always makes me glad. The wishing I could share that exact moment with a  trillion people repeatedly fills my mind and heart. I do not know why I LOVE
to share my food with people. It is like a drug for me. To make people happy with my baking and cooking.The act itself truly fills some sort of void in me,and I  hope it never goes away.

I have a personal challenge to bake and cook as many recipes from the years of subscribing to Elle Mat&Vin magazine, and this particular recipe comes from one of their more newer issues. Jan-Mar "NR 1 2011 VINTERMYS (wintercozy) issue.

Brunkebergs bakery is a top of the line bakery with a traditional, but yet artisan quality and is famous for many lovely breads and of course these bagels.You can check out their website here, but it is only in Swedish New York is a long ways from Sweden, so I do hope they do you justice, because they are fantastic, and better yet. They came from my kitchen.


Step one:

for the batter stage:

300 grams of water
25 grams of yeast
300 grams of bread flour with a high protein level
30 grams of honey

Step two:
the batter dough
300 grams water
30 grams vegetable oil
25 grams yeast
800 grams bread flour with high protein level
15 grams sea salt
egg for egg washing
sesame seeds, poppy seeds or what ever you like on your bagels
corn flour for dredging as much as you need i used about 1/2 cup or so of each 

step one batter process
Using your stand mixer is best here. You can make these by hand but you need to work the dough for a very long time at each step as it needs to have a lot of "elbow grease" to break down the gluten and make a smooth and elastic dough. 

Mix the ingredients from step one into a batter, and let sit at room temperature for at least two hours in a draft free spot or in the fridge over night.
Step two:
step two after two hour rising 
Blend the batter from step One with all the other ingredients minus the OIL AND SALT. work the dough in your stand mixer using the dough hook for 10 minutes, or by hand for at least double the time equaling 20 minutes of good hard kneading. Add in the vegetable oil and the salt and work the dough for another 10 minutes in your stand mixer or by hand for another 20 minutes of hard kneading.THE DOUGH SHOULD BE SILKY AND ELASTIC. Let the dough sit in a large bowl to rise for at least one hour.

twenty little pieces ready for rolling
rolled and proofing for 30 minutes
whooohooo  reminds me of a certain dough boy:)
After the dough has risen for the full one hour. Dell out twenty equal size pieces. Roll the pieces into 30 cm balls. Prepare your baking sheets with baking parchment paper that has a generous amount of flour sprinkled over the entire surface. Lay your rolls 3-5 cm apart and toss around the balls gently so they are slightly covered in a light dusting of flour. Let them sit covered with loose fitting plastic wrap to sit and rise for another 30 minutes.
Meanwhile as they are rising. Set out your cornflour, and toppings ie: sesame seeds, poppyseed in their own bowls. Set aside. Whisk up your egg wash in a small bowl and have your pastry brush close by.

it works use what you can from home is sometimes the best investment
Fantastic, are they not?
cornflour for the bottoms and white sesame seeds and white poppyseed  for toppings
dusting the bottoms in corn flour 
After the 30 minutes have passed. Use your finger to poke a indent into  the roll, and using a round cookie cutter or cannelloni tube(I used one of Lilla A's toys) to remove the center and give you the bagel shape you want. Remove the "centers" and place them to the side. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and have some sort of draining rack prepared. I used my oven rack and a large four sided baking tray.Using a slotted spoon add no more than 4-5 bagels at a time and let them cook for ONE minute on each side. Remove with the slotted spoon and let drain and slightly cool.Preheat your oven for 225 degrees C or 437 degrees F.

Using your pastry brush. Brush a little bit of egg wash over the tops of the boiled bagels and as they are still somewhat moist from boiling. Dip the bottoms into the corn meal and dip the egg washed tops into your desired toping. Covering as much as you desire to have. Set back onto your floured baking sheets you used for the proofing stage. Continue to boil and drain, egg wash and cornflour, roll toppings on all the bagels until completed.

ready for the oven
Bake in a preheat oven for 15-20 minutes. I baked mine for a little longer as I have a very old stove. Watch them, they should have a nice golden color to them.
look at that beauty crunchy on the outside and soft and sweet in the inside.
wow, finely my very own bagels.proud I am.
NOTE: I was kind of nervous when they came out of the oven, as they seemed hard... BUT AS THEY COOLED THEY BECAME MUCH SOFTER AS THEY SHOULD BE. I recommend that you stay close by and remove them when they are just golden. Better to be safe then sorry.... Let them sit to cool for 10 minutes and fill with what ever filling you desire. From cream cheese and smoked salmon to just butter and jam. Enjoy and happy bagel baking.  Eat after cooled and store in a well sealed bag. Will stay fresh for two days, but then you will need to either toast them or reheat in the oven. These freezer  extremely well, and can go from freezer to oven-toaster. It is better to slice them in half if you choose to use the straight from the freezer to toaster method.