Tag Archives: recipe

Birthday madness

We celebrated Tom’s 26th birthday a couple of days ago. I love birthdays, I know it’s not ‘cool’ to like birthdays anymore, but I do. Mine and other people’s. I’ve said it before about Christmas, that a lot of people just want a tradition as an excuse to show each other some extra attention and affection. Unfortunately, everyone seems to have their birthday in March except me. We call them ‘midsummer children’ in Sweden. If you thought that ‘midsummer children’ sounded a bit like ‘indigo children’ or anything spiritual/hippy, I’m sorry to disappoint you. It basically applies to the overwhelming amount of children who are conceived on midsummer’s eve, when Swedes get drunk and fuck around. Not as cute as “Valentine’s children”, I suppose.

Anyway, I had to work a morning shift on the day of his birthday, so I went up at 5 am and inflated some balloons and decorated before having my breakfast. I put a card on the table saying which present could be opened in the morning and that there was a surprise breakfast in the fridge in a white bag. Unfortunately, I forgot to tell him to read the card when he woke up, which ruined the surprise. Once I got home, I ran around cleaning the flat, baking a cake and cooking supper for when Tom would be home from work. Once again my plans were foiled by the fact that I couldn’t get the wine bottle (one with a cork) to open, which I needed to make red wine sauce. Anyway, Tom managed to get it open once he got home and dinner turned out fabulous. I’m pretty proud about the cake as well. It’s a traditional Swedish cream and strawberry cake.

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After dinner and a glass of wine, I immediately felt my eyelids getting heavy. I hadn’t slept well since I had to get up early and I had a fairly restless sleep. Most of the time I can manage on a few hours sleep, but this time my body just said “SLEEP. NOW.” without much room for argument, so I ended up snoozing pretty heavily on the sofa just before 10 pm. Good thing Tom unintentionally fell asleep at the same time. Man, we’re getting old.

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Homemade ketchup recipe

Before Christmas, I made a bunch of ketchup based on a recipe that I tweaked. The recipe was enough for six 250ml glass bottles, so in total it should come up to ~1 – 1.5 litres of ketchup. The ketchup bottles was a part of our homemade Christmas hamper that we gave to friends and family, which also included a jar of homemade chilisauce and some delicious handcrafted pralines that Tom made. Unfortunatly, I didn’t take any good photos of it so I will have to make do with this cellphone photo.

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Most ketchup recipes require Worcester sauce, which contains fish. I wanted to make a vegetarian version, so I tweaked the recipe and added an apple:

Ingredients:

1 green apple

1 kg tomatoes

1 dl white wine vinegar

1 big yellow onion or two smaller ones.

4 cloves of garlic

250g brown sugar

2 tsps Cinnamon

2 tsp Mustard seeds

2 tsps Chili flakes

1 tblsp vegetable stock powder.

2 tblsp Soy

Salt

Instructions:

Parboil the tomatoes until the skin cracks. Put them immediately in cold water and peel off the skin. Chop up the tomatoes and put them in a big bowl. Slice the onion(s) and the garlic and fry in a big pan until soft and golden. Add the tomatoes and heat. Gut the apple and slice it finely and add it to the pan with the vinegar. Stir in the sugar bit by bit. Ground the mustard seeds in a mortar and add them to the pan together with the other herbs, spices, stock and soy. Let the contents simmer for around 30-40 minutes (or longer, depending on how juicy your tomatoes were and how thick you want your sauce). Blend the sauce with a mixer or a stick blender. Season with salt and pepper to your preference. I prefer a ketchup that isn’t completely smooth, but if you prefer your ketchup without any lumps, put it through a siv before pouring it into the bottles. If unopened, the bottles can be kept in normal temperature. If opened, keep in the fridge. Enjoy!

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Cooking

I’ve always enjoyed cooking and baking and finding new recipes. It is something that runs in my family. My mum grew up with fancy Italian and Croatian food, since her dad was Italian-Croatian. While she might not make the healthiest of food, it’s no doubt delicious. If I had to pick one thing that symbolizes her cooking it would be a sauce recipe she gave. I had searched for sauce recipes online but the amounts of milk, stock and cream varied a lot. I knew her version of the sauce was really nice so I called her and asked what she used and wrote down the ingredients. As I started cooking, I realized what her secret ingredient was, or to be more precise, the lack of ingredients. Where the other recipes included mostly milk and stock with a portion of cream, the recipe mum gave me stood out because it ONLY used cream mixed with a little bit of stock powder.  So, yeah,- not so healthy but I can’t argue that it tasted delicious.

My dad didn’t cook that much until about ~13-14 years ago, probably because mum had been a stay-at-home mum most of the time. The only think I can remember him cooking when I was a kid was pancakes, which to be honest were and still are much better than the pancakes I make. After mum became ill and the following divorce I guess he was forced to start cooking and just found that he enjoyed it. Nowadays he gets together with equally old friends and cook fancy dinners with a lot of wine and fancy ingredients like Kobe meat. Once he accidentally ordered half a kilo of Russian caviar and didn’t have any recollection of it. I think he has too much money sometimes.

As for me, cooking is something I’ve always been interested in but haven’t always been able to do. There’s the financial aspect: buying all the ingredients can be expensive, especially when you’ve recently moved out of home and don’t have all those 50 types of spices and vinegar and whatnot that you acquire over the years. It’s also not that motivating when you live alone and don’t have anyone to share the food with, which is very important to me. I recently moved in with my boyfriend, who happens to be very in to cooking himself, so these days I get a chance to practice cooking new things much more often than before. I often give him grief because he experiments too much with his recipes by adding odd ingredients or doing something so differently that he ends up ruining the food, but when I take a close look at myself I realize that I do pretty much the same thing. OK, I like to think I’m a bit more careful, but I definitely see the appeal of taking a recipe and “making it your own” by adding a new flavor to it.

I don’t think I’m very good at cooking, I just enjoy doing it and I like to try new recipes. When it comes down to it, I imagine learning how to cook is often a trial-by-error thing anyway. Since I became a vegetarian some four years ago, I’ve had to come up with my own ideas when trying to make a vegetarian replica of a non-vegetarian recipe. In many cases there’s already great recipes out there, but sometimes there isn’t, so you have to use your own judgment and then a new recipe is born. Voilá!

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Bell peppers stuffed with feta, mushrooms and chickpeas

Here’s the recipe that I was meaning to post:

Ingredients:

3 Big bell peppers (any color)

1 white onion

1 egg

2 cloves of garlic

350g mushrooms

200g Feta cheese

One tin (400g) of chick peas

100g grated cheddar

Rice

Instructions:

Chop the onion and the mushrooms finely and fry until they have a nice color and the liquid has been reduced. Put the mix aside to cool off. Chop the feta into pieces and put it into a bowl, then add the chickpeas and crush everything into a mash. Add an egg and work in the onion/mushroom mix. Split the peppers in two, remove the pit and put them in the oven on a foiled baking sheet for roughly 20 minutes at 225*c. When the peppers have 5 minutes left to cook, sprinkle the grated cheese on top and let the peppers stand until the cheese has melted. Serve with rice!

If you really like bell peppers, use 6 bell peppers instead of one and gut them without splitting them in two and fill it with stuffing. They’re a bit harder to cook this way since they tend to fall over, but you can create some support for them by scrunching together the tin foil in a circle around them. Nom! Enjoy.

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Cinnamon roll day!

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It’s the national cinnamon roll day in Sweden! The cinnamon roll (“kanelbulle””) is a very well-loved pastry in Sweden. When I mention baking cinnamon rolls to Americans they usually go “Oh I love cinnamon rolls! So delicious!” but I’ve looked at American cinnamon and they look something like this:

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You can see how the cinnamon rolls that I make, from the standard Swedish cinnamon roll recipe, looks like in the photo at the top of the post. Both Americans and British seems to enjoy frosting and icing far more than Swedes. I feel like Swedes are very protective of the original Swedish recipe and don’t like to make many changes to it, but personally I’d try Ruby’s versions from the latest Great British Bake-Off.  I don’t know why we have a national cinnamon day but I’m guessing commercial reasons. I know some people find these kinds of days and holidays annoying because they feel like it’s just a trick to get us to buy more, but I don’t mind cinnamon roll day because I will just make the cinnamon rolls myself. I love baking!

If anyone is interested, here’s the recipe I used, you can find it anywhere in Swedish but maybe it’s harder to find a traditional one in English. It’s enough for 25 cinnamon rolls.

Dough:

75g butter

2,5 dl milk

6 dl wheat flour

25g yeast

0.5 dl sugar

1.5 teaspoon cardamom

A pinch of salt

Filling:

50g butter

1 tablespoon cinnamon (Increase or decrease the amount depending on how much you like cinnamon!)

0.5 dl sugar

1 egg for glazing.

Optional: Pearl sugar for decorating.

Instructions:

Crush the yeast into a bowl. Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the milk. Stir until it’s around 37c, or a bit higher if you’re using dry yeast. Pour  a little of the liquid over the yeast until it dissolves, then add the rest. Stir in the salt, sugar and the cardamom. Measure the flour and gradually work it into the dough, but save a little for when you tuck the dough. The dough has enough flour when it is smooth and doesn’t stick to the edges of the bowl. Let it rest and rise for around 40 minutes until it has doubled in size.

Spread some flour on a surface and knead the dough. Split it in to two equal parts. Tuck the dough with a rolling-pin into a square, roughly 25 cm x 15 cm. Melt the butter and brush it onto the dough. Either mix the sugar with the cinnamon in a bowl and then sprinkle it on the dough all in once, or do like me and start off sprinkling the cinnamon and then the sugar (I do this because I find that it gives me a better idea on how much cinnamon I like to put on). Roll the dough starting and finishing on the long sides of the dough. Cut the dough lengths in 10-13 equal pieces each and put them into cake tins. Let the rolls rise for another 40 minutes. Turn on the oven at 200/225c. Once the rolls are done rising, beat an egg and brush it over the buns. If you want you can sprinkle them with pearl sugar. Put the rolls in the oven and bake them for 8-10 minutes. Enjoy!

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Delicious courgette and tomato stew – edited recipe

This is a recipe that I have adapted from a recipe that I found in a book. The original recipe was good, with the exception that it didn’t have nearly enough liquid in it. I’ve done it a few times and I tried it last night with my new adapted recipe, and it tasted great! I very much recommend this recipe.

Steaming courgette and tomato stew

Ingredients:

½-1 dl olive oil

2 courgettes

3 cloves of garlic

2 big red onions

2 bell peppers

5 potatoes

1kg tomatoes

800g crushed tomatoes

500 – 1000ml water.

2 tbsp chopped dill

½ teaspoon cinnamon

1 tsp thyme

Black pepper

Salt

Instructions:

Chop up the courgettes and potatoes into 1cm thick slices, cut the tomatoes into quarter pieces and the bell peppers into squares. Put a little oil in a big casserole and put on medium-heat on the stove. Slice the onions and fry them for roughly 10 minutes in the casserole while stirring continuously. Add the garlic (sliced or crushed) and fry for another minute. Put the rest of the vegetables and the olive oil with the onion in the casserole and sprinkle with salt and black pepper (after your own preference). Pour in the water (saves time if it’s boiled in a kettle in advance) and the crushed tomatoes. Add the dill and thyme. Bring it to boil and let it simmer for 2 hours, or until the slices of potatoes have become soft. Stir every 20-30 minutes. Serve with a little bread. Enjoy!

 

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Petite fourer

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I tried making petite fourer. The recipe goes along the lines of this: make two sponge cakes. Cut them in half into two layers and spread jam on one side, then put the other layer on top. Cut again so each spong cakes consists of two thinner long cakes. Cut them up in rhomb shapes. Make frosting from insane amounts of frosting sugar. DIP THE RHOMBS IN THE FROSTING. Add sprinkles. Done. The only problem is that the frosting is like thick glue and the rhombs fall apart when I try to dip them. Apart from that you’re pretty much drowning them in liquid sugar. They were pretty good but the frosting measurements definitely needs some tweaking.

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