Thursday, October 20, 2011

Autumn in Rävlanda and Reviewing Jamie Olivers apple cider cinnamon braised pork shank

It' s all for you my heart
It's a long way from home for me. Growing up in nowhere Alberta, Canada to here. Rävlanda, Sweden. It's a very long, but fascinating story of how that happened. Two guesses.... a man and the adventure. Yes, like most ex-pats.. I am here for love. Not at first, but as I was on my amazing journey, I met and  fell in love with the Goat and had a little bun named lilla A.

Easy, peaceful living
The rolling hills and the beautiful forests
Rävlanda's old train station and running through the leaves
beauty among the ruins....
I sometimes wonder how people come together and stay together. What is the so called "glue" that makes everyones relationship stick? I know in our relationship it is a combination of relaxed personalities, but mostly because I can cook. The Goat would be a pizza eating, pink slop( DON'T ASK) slurping bachelor if I had not possessed the cooking gene.My father always said the best way through a mans heart was through his stomach, and boy was he right. Having a biker looking vegetarian in the house can be a lot of fun,but I am constantly challenged in the kitchen to come up with either a meal all three of us wants to eat, or I am a mini restaurant and cooking two separate meals. It is always an adventure.

Every now and then one of the tabloid newspapers has an offer with purchase and this week it was Jamie Olivers small rendition of fall flavors and easy to do recipes. A nifty little magazine/cookbook for 10 dollars. I love pork shank. It's easy to make, lovely to eat, and your never really have any leftovers, well not in this house. It's a easy way to make a cheap piece of meat become the star attraction on your dinner table I have served it at dinner parties, and people are always amazed that a couple of bucks can go so far.

From Jamie fyra årsstider i köket HÖSTENS MUSTIGA & SMAKRIKA MAT  (The bearded lady) via AFTONBLADET Sverige/Sweden

Translation:: Jamies four years in the kitchen /Autumn rich and flavorful food....

Our Star ingredient pork shank

6-8 servings
Our supporting cast, cinnamon, garlic, bay leafs, cider, vinegar....

  • 2 kilograms of pork shank with skin and bone in
  • 2 whole garlic heads/bulbs removed from the bulb, but with skin on
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 12 dried bay leafs
  • 200 ml apple cider vinegar
  • 600 ml dry apple cider, plus a little extra
  • serve with oven roasted potatoes

Preheat  the oven to 200 degrees C 400 degrees F. Season the meat with salt and pepper, and lay in an oven safe pot/casserole pan and roast for 40 minutes or until the meat has a little color.

after it's first 40 minutes with a little color
2. When it has a little color. Remove from the oven and remove the pork leg from the pan ( reserve any fat that has rendered off the pork leg and set aside). Add the garlic,cinnamon sticks,and bay leafs. Add in your vinegar, apple cider to the mix and return the pork leg to the pan. Cover with a lid or using tin foil cover and return to the oven.

mmmmmm..... smells wonderful
3. Lower your oven to 180 degrees c or 356 degrees F and let cook for three hours. Checking every so often to remove any excess fat that has been rendered off the meat. Add more dry cider if it is starting to become dry.

4.Remove from oven when the meat has been nicely colored and the skin is getting crispy.The meat should be easy to remove from the bone with a fork.Remove the bone from the meat, and return to the oven in the reduced liquid  for 30 minutes to help color and further reduce the braising liquid.
NOTE:( If your meat is already falling off the bone, and the liquid is reduced to your liking and the meat is a lovely color. I would skip the extra 30 minutes here. )

5. Remove from the oven and remove the skin. With a fork pull the meat apart and pick out the bay leaf and cinnamon sticks, and garlic cloves if you desire. Pour onto a serving platter and serve. I like to eat it with mashed root vegetables, but you can serve it with anything you like.

I am walking through another first on my blog... reviews.. here's my first one:
Now for my review..... It was good, but not fabulous. I think the cider vinegar could be turned down a bit and the bay leaf as well. I really liked it cold much better than warm. I think this would be perfect cooked and added to a big pot of corn chowder or split pea soup. On it's own I give it a  a large 6. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Licorice Caramel Cream Cheese Chocolate Cupcakes- Scandinavian Style

Unique and worth a try
Scandinavia is goo goo for sweets. I am talking close to 40 pounds of bulk candy they estimate each person consumes each year. It's quite amazing that the Swede's are not a population of Asterix and Obelix  with all those calories. It must be their viking blood that keeps the majority of them lean and really, really, tall. There is  a bulk candy section in every single store that caters to food or newspapers. There is a banaza of goodies to choose from. Imagine Halloween candy available in bins year around.... Jelly beans, wine gums, chocolate pieces covered with sprinkles, vanilla fudge,just to name a few) and last but not least. Licorice, sweet, shiny black salty,spicy bits of goodness.Licorice comes in all types of shapes and designs. The selection is endless.

look at that; so uniquely fabulous
No one does licorice better than the Danish. Our lovely neighbors to the south; they are also known for being the most happiest people in the world. Denmark is the homeland to the king of licorice a young king named JOHAN BULOW.  Only in his mid twenties and is rising to be the leading source of licorice gourmet products in the world. You can read more about him and his company here  LAKRIDS makes out of this world licorice and it is no wonder these cupcakes turned out so beautiful. I wanted to introduce licorice into my baking and  their licorice powder is so unusually perfect for getting that delicate, spicy earthy flavor. I ordered mine through

adapted from journal chocolate issue 1
recipe by Linda Nielsen Wermeling

makes 12- 18 cupcakes


180g all purpose flour
50 g good quality cocoa powder 
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
115 g unsalted butter, room temperature
290 g white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla sugar
2 large eggs room temperature
235 g milk

Very moist and airy cupcakes

Preheat oven to 175 degrees C or 350 degrees F. Line your muffin pan with cupcake papers.Set all your ingredients on the counter for at least one hour before baking; to allow them to come to rooms temperature.

1.Sift the flour,cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside.

2.In your stand mixer or with a handheld electric mixer. Beat the butter until it gets creamy. Add the sugar and continue to beat until the butter and sugar is creamy and fluffy, about 5 minutes. You may need to stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula to get an even mix.

3.Whisk in the eggs one at time.

4.Add in the flour mixture, and stir with your spatula adding it in 3 rotations including milk. ( Flour,milk,flour)Starting and ending with the flour mixture.

5.In the lined cupcake pan; fill the papers 2/3 full.

6. bake in the lowest rack in the oven for 15-20 minutes. You know they are done when you use a tester stick ie:  toothpick and it comes out clean.Try not to let them over bake or they will be dry.

7. Let them cool in their pan for 10 minutes before removing from pan.

Licorice Caramel  Filling:
Licorice powder add to taste. Always start with small amounts and build up

 Licorice Caramel Filling:

112g butter
200g dark brown sugar
½ half can (198 g) of condensed milk(397 g can)
125ml golden syrup
1 pinch of salt
licorice paste, licorice powder, licorice essence,or anise powder. Black food coloring. 

1. On medium heat, melt butter in a thick bottomed pan.

smooth,silky and ready for the licorice 
2. Add in the sugar, condensed milk, syrup, salt to the melted butter, and continue to stir as it cooks. Let it come to a boil and let it cook for 5-7 minutes without stirring. When the filling is well blended and mixed to a caramel color-smooth consistency.

Okay,  it's an khaki  kind of color filling, but tastes sooo good
3. Remove from the heat and stir in your licorice choice of product, and black food coloring until you reached your desired taste in flavoring.Let the filling cool a bit before you fill the cupcakes. If filling is too warm it will make a very soggy cupcake. 

4. Cut out a small bit in the top of the cupcake. Fill a piping/pastry bag with the filling and fill the cupcake holes until a little pool forms on top.

Adding the licorice caramel
Licorice Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting:

a pinch of salt
100 g unsalted butter, room temperature
100 g icing sugar/powdered sugar
200 g Philadelphia cream cheese, room temperature
100 g Cooled licorice filling ( if too warm it will melt your icing)
A lovely cream cheese frosting with specks of licorice powder

1. Whip the butter until it is creamy and then add the icing sugar and salt. On full speed whip until it is white and fluffy.

2. Add in the Philadelphia cream cheese and licorice filling; whipping until it comes together and is creamy and smooth.

3. Fill your pastry bag with the filling and using a large star frosting tip frost your cupcakes as you like. Keep in fridge and let sit 10 minutes before serving.Decorate as you desire.

Wow your guests at your next get together with these very, very Scandinavian cupcakes, and enjoy. 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Thank you, Pumpkin Walnut Spice Bundt Cake Happy Thanksgiving Canada

October lovin'
Happy gobble..gobble....... it's that time of the year again. It's Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, and this will be the 10th one I have missed. Hard to believe that it has been ten years since I last had the goodness of a real Canadian thanksgiving meal. Mash potatoes with gravy, peas and carrots, my mom's homemade dinner rolls, mashed turnips drenched in butter and  roasted turkey with a side of cranberry sauce. I miss fighting over the crispy skin with my brother, and the two hour food coma.

I miss waking up really early thanksgiving day to the smell of my mom's stuffing frying in the frying pan. We always have pumpkin on thanksgiving. It's usually in the form of the traditional pie, but sometimes we spice it up with a pumpkin cheesecake, or pumpkin mouse. I like the simplicity of the pie and I needed the comfort of the memories this weekend,so I baked myself a little pumpkin reminder of all the good things I am thankful for.I am grateful for the wonderful memories I have of this fine thanksgiving weekend. Where yet again there will be a few  empty chairs at their table.Happy thanksgiving to my friends, family and my readers. May we all have something wonderful to share with our loved ones this weekend.

Adapted from Miette cookbook Chronicle books


1 3/4 cups  (7 ounces )all purpose flour
1½ teaspoons of baking soda
4 teaspoons of ground cinnamon (MIETTE'S uses only 2 teaspoons, but I like mine spicy)
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 teaspoon salt(kosher)
4 large eggs
1 2/3 cup(11 ounces) white sugar
1 cup vegetable oil..OR..I used 1 cup melted BECEL liquid margarine 

Butternut squash works just like traditional pumkin 
1 3/4 cups of homemade pumpkin puree or one 14 ounce can puree solid-packed pumpkin mixed with 1/4 cup water 
( Swedish readers, you can order pumpkin filling at ) but, supplies are limited to what kind of harvest it is in the States and Canada. 
OR make your own... I have instructions at the bottom of the page.

1 cup (3½ ounces) small walnut pieces toasted and chopped


Remember to butter and flour your pan
1. Butter and flour a 10-inch bundt pan ( or a long bread/loaf pan can be used as well). Using a pastry brush make sure you get into all the groves.Tap out the extra flour. Set aside.

2.Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F or 176 degrees C. While oven is preheating, chop into small pieces but not minced walnuts, and add to an oven proof dish/pan. Roast in the oven for 5 minutes or until you start to see a little color. Remove from the oven. BE CAREFUL NOT TO FORGET THEM!! Set aside. 

3.Sift together the flour, baking soda,cinnamon,nutmeg,cloves,and salt into a bowl and set aside.

4.In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or a hand held electric mixer ..combine the eggs and sugar and whisk on medium speed until well combined and lightened in color, about 2 minutes. Reduce the speed to low, slowly drizzle in the oil/ melted BECEL liquid margarine, and whisk until combined, then whisk on high speed for 1 minute to emulsify.

Added, pumpkin to egg mixture and flour mixtures in three parts
Fold in the walnuts by hand using a rubber spatula
5.Switch to the paddle attachment or( use a spatula) Add the pumpkin/squash puree to the egg mixture and mix on medium speed just until combined.Add the dry ingredients in three additions, mixing just until combined. After each addition, approximately 5 seconds each time. Remove the bowl from the mixer and scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula. Fold in the roasted and cooled walnuts by hand.

Fabulous little gift of love
See, I missed some spots...oops..
6. Pour batter into your prepared pan.Bake until the cake springs back when touched and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. 45-60 minutes. Mine took a little more than 1 hour and 10 minutes. Please watch, as it can burn on top, cover with tin foil if starting to get dark on top.

7. Transfer to a cooling rack when tester comes out clean and let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Run an offset spatula around the edges of the pan, the invert the cake onto the cooling rack. Let cool for a further 20 minutes before serving or wrap tightly in plastic wrap when COMPLETELY cooled and place in the refrigerator up to three days. To freeze, wrap tightly in a second layer of plastic wrap and store in the freezer for up to 2 months. Serve at room temperature.  

I loved this recipe,but I was not so impressed with the MIETTE cookbook. It seems that the international market has been filled with the publishers miss printed books, and it is very confusing even for an advanced baker. Inside the front pages is a little card explaining the printing miss ups.( If you live in the States and Canada and purchased this book on amazon you will be sent the new revised version FREE of charge) Due to Amazon's copy laws. Great for you. 

The rest of us.... Have to suck it up, and measure everything three times and resort to handwriting out each recipe and inserting it into our cookbook.  I did email Miette to let them know exactly what I thought, and they understood my point of view and were very helpful. I as well helped them out with my contacts for products that you can not ship from their contacts list. Good team work!

How to make your own pumpkin puree:

roasted and ready to peel
To make your own pumpkin puree, preheat your over to  400 degrees F or 200 degrees C. Scrub a small (about 4 pounds ) (2 kilogram) sugar pumpkin or butternut squash ( 2 large ) well and wipe dry. Cut up the pumpkin in half and scrape out the seeds or "guts". 
A hand held emulsifier works well here. 
Cut into halves, or quarters and place flesh side down on a greased cookie sheet and bake until soft, about 1 hour. Let the pumpkin cool. Scoop out the flesh of the pumpkin from the skin and process in a mix master/ food processor or food mill until you make a puree. Makes about 2.5 cups

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone. Gobble...gobble....

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Gratiis Svergie!! Happy" Bullar "day sweden October 4.2011

Today is an important day. It's Cinnamon roll/bullar day. It's your birthday, happy birthday to you.lalalalaaa...You can check out my link to my posting of my favorite bullar recipe here:

Skål/ Cheers


Your dearest foodie.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Danish Invaision..Part 2..Tebirkes-Danish Poppy seed palms

Welcoming..our Danish neighbors...
Part two. There was a lot of response to part one, and I thank you all who came back for the continuation of the Danish Invasion.... This recipe is greatly adapted from Jan Hedh Artisan Bread edited *RK* 10/15/2009 by Petra Holzapfel 

Puff pastry is a beautiful thing. It is a triumph to make correctly, but even if you do not follow the *rules* to an exact T you still can turn out a fantastic puff pastry recipe. I am strictly going on experience here. I have to admit that it was way more successful then I ever thought, and so pretty. I do hope you will try these. They really are quite fantastic, and they would go so well with a nice slice of pungent cheese like aged cheddar and a cup of Earl Grey tea.


450 grams bread flour
25 grams fresh yeast
240 grams full fat milk
8 grams honey
25 grams egg(½ for the dough mixture) the other half for glazing
8 grams salt
250 grams UNSALTED butter AND
½ egg mixture mixed with a pinch of salt
50 grams white poppyseed's
50 grams black poppyseed's  


Cool the flour in the fridge for 60 minutes before making the dough.Dissolve the yeast in the cold milk.Combine bread flour,milk,honey and egg in the bowl of a stand type-mixer.Mix on low speed. When the dough comes together add the butter in small bits(small cubes) and salt. Continue mixing in low speed for about 5 minutes. The dough will clear the sides of the bowl and be elastic.

Shape the dough into a ball and put into a plastic bag dusted inside with flour.(a couple tablespoons) wrap dough in bag and leave to set 30 minutes in the refrigerator. Meanwhile....
beautiful dough, ready to roll out
Cut your butter into half inch slaps and lay out onto  a large rectangle or square.of plastic wrap.
Soften the butter using your rolling pin or I used a meat tenderizer. Hit it several times and shape into a 15X15 cm square..or as closely as you can.Put it in the fridge until you are ready to use it.    

Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface. make an X-shaped incision on the top of the dough and roll it out. I followed this link  as it is very easy to follow and will give you much needed guidance.

Place the cold butter in the middle of your rolled out dough and fold over the ends. The butter should be completely covered. Pat into a rectangle. I found that I just kept folding the dough over each time the butter was being worked in. I think as long as you keep folding over the dough and working in the bitter, you will achieve puff pastry. I did, and it was really not that difficult. 

Form the dough into a little loaf and place the dough back into the floured plastic bag and leave in the fridge for another 30-40 minutes.Meanwhile, line your baking trays with baking paper and mix your poppy seeds. Lightly beat your (half egg) and set aside.

it does not have to be perfect. 
roll the sides together like a scroll
Remove your dough from the fridge and cut the dough in half. You can re-cover the dough and set it back in the fridge while you roll out the first half. Roll out part one into a long rectangle, and with a sharp knife slice into somewhat  equal stripes. Then roll them together into little scroll rolls.
Look at all those lovely layers
Place on your baking paper lined baking trays.Continue with second half. Place in a luke warm draft free location in your kitchen and cover with clean kitchen towels until double in size. With a pastry brush base the palms with the egg wash and sprinkle the poppy seeds on .Preheat your oven to 220 degrees C or 428 degrees F and bake for 18-20 minutes until golden. Remover from baking tray and cool completely. Best served on the day they are made.  

right out of the oven
Give these a go. It is always fun to try a difficult recipe. Sometimes you learn more from your mistakes, then the you ever thought. That is how I grow as a cook/baker. I hope to keep on making mistakes and inventing new ways to create simple, but yet interesting available recipes to you all. Have a great weekend.