Friday, January 16, 2015

13 courses for (almost) Twelfth Night 2015



It's that time of year again - we always have a fabulous dinner with our friends at the start of the year. We get together to make a large tasting menu, in total, 13 dishes. This year, we had the dinner a little early.  and we were also a couple short since Dagmar and her husband has recently moved. We hope they'll join us again next year!

We had a lot of ideas for themes but in the end, decided not to have a theme at all. It turned out to be a varied meal, and everything was delicious. Each couple made four dishes, and I added a small snack and a drink, as usual.

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Our first course was a drink - Bellini Frutti which was basically sparkling wine with a purée of peaches, pink grapefruit and strawberries - and a caraway-spiced crisp bread topped with Dutch Prima Donna cheese and a fig compote.



Next came a spicy gazpacho with a mint ice cream. Different and very fun!



Erika and Micke made a lovely (but hard to photograph) rösti from sunchokes and potatoes. It was served with crisp bacon, raisins and a caper sauce. I loved it.



My starter was rice crisps - you simply deep fry spring roll wrappers, very fun! - with a mango salsa. I was planning to put lobster on top of this but it smelled a little funky so I didn't dare. It was certainly good on its own! It's also topped with a little bit of soy mayonnaise.



Micke and Erika made what might have been my favorite dish this evening. Arctic char with a beurre blanc and asparagus.



For my main course, I wrapped pork tenderloin in spinach and Parma Ham, and served it with  fantastic cognac-laced mushrooms and a lightly pickled salad.



We also had duck, with a sweet grape sauce and a garlicky potato mash.



The final main course was a classic Beef Wellington from Lena. It was really pretty so I wish I had a better photo of it. The sauce was fantastic!



This dish - deep-fried dumplings -  was so weird I first wondered if it had been included in the cookbook (Dumplings all day wong by Lee Ann Wong) as a joke. The filling has white chocolate, wasabi and pretzels and on its own, it was pretty horrible. But as it turned out, it was really good! The dumplings took a lot of work, since the pretzels are sharp and prone to poke little holes, so I did a lot of patching.



This was so good it should be illegal. Chocolate dipped bacon with toasted almonds. Try this!



Erika and Micke made individual cheesecakes with raspberry coulis, awesome!



My own dessert was a repeat - fried pineapple with caramel sauce, vanilla ice cream and salted peanuts. Yum!



Finally, our very last dish. Limoncello parfait with a raspberry coulis. The perfect to end to our wonderful meal.

Friday, January 02, 2015

Lamb Burgers with Saffron Bulgur and Sour-sweet tomatoes

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This was the first meal of the year to be cooked in my kitchen and wow, what a meal it was. So very flavorful and truly delicious. I really like tomatoes with saffron, and the sweet caramelized onions work so well with the acidity of the sauce. I strongly recommend those two elements together. The lamb burgers were great as well, but you could switch those for some other protein if you'd like.


Lamb burgers: 
500 g lamb mince
3 garlic cloves, minced
zest from 1/2 lemon
1 egg
2 tbsp breadcrumbs
2 tbsp water
salt, pepper, pinch of dried oregano

Mix everything together and shape 12 even-sized balls. Heat some butter and fry - a few at a time. I like to get a little bit of color on one side, then turn them upside down and smash down hard. This makes nice, juicy patties. Then fry as usual, until they reach the right level of doneness (I always, always used a thermometer, but I realize most people probably don't.)

Saffron bulgur
500 ml lightly salted water
300 ml bulgur wheat
0,5 g saffron
1 tsp olive oil

Bring the water to a boil. Add the bulgur and cook for 10-12 minutes. Add the saffron about halfway through. Finish with a little bit of olive oil.

Sour & Sweet Tomatoes
2 shallots, finely sliced
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsp sherry vinegar
10-15 cherry tomatoes, halved
salt

Melt the butter and fry the onions on medium heat until soft. Sprinkle with sugar and let the onions color a little bit. Add the sherry vinegar and the tomatoes and let the whole thing reduce for a few minutes. Season with salt.

To serve: thick yogurt, toasted hazelnuts


Peanut Cocoa Candy

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This isn't raw food because of the salted peanuts, but it's along those lines. It doesn't have any sweetener and is, as far as candy goes, pretty good for you. And good - very, very good. Do give it a try - it'll take all of five minutes.

Peanut Cocoa Candy

100 ml salted peanuts
20 dates, pitted
3 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp coconut oil

Grind the peanuts in a food processor until finely ground. Add the rest of the ingredients and pulse until you have a grainy mass. Turn it out, and knead it a little bit to help bring it together. Press into a small lined tin or box, and place in the fridge to firm up.


Thursday, December 25, 2014

Sticky Saffron Cake

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A perfect winter-time dessert, or a nice treat to nibble with a cup of Glögg (mulled spiced wine). You can serve this on its own, or with a dollop of whipped cream, and perhaps some berries. It's very adaptable, like almost all of my recipes.


Sticky Saffron Cake

100 g butter
200 g white chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 gram saffron
3 tbsp golden syrup
3 eggs
3 tbsp sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, scraped out seeds
1/2 tsp salt
90 g flour

Melt the butter. Add the chocolate, and stir until smooth. Add the saffron and syrup and one egg at a time. Stir well between every addition. Finally stir in the dry ingredients - sugar, vanilla, salt and flour.

Butter a springform tin (mine is 24 cm) and sprinkle with coconut. Pour in the batter.

Bake at 175°C for about 15 minutes. Maybe a little bit longer - check and see. It should be a little bit wobbly in the middle, but mostly set. Chill completely before serving, over night is ideal.