Saturday, January 14, 2017
Today I won't really talk about food, although I have a massive overdue post about our 13-course dinner. Instead, I want to give you a tip about a great photographer for anyone in the Stockholm area. Her name is Lisa-Marie Chandler, and she does all kind of stuff but specializes in kids, family portraits, pregnancy photos and weddings. I've had her photograph my kids many times and it's always such a delight - she's fun and sweet with them, and the finished pictures are simply amazing. She even came to Dante's third birthday party (can't believe that's nearly two years ago!) and the photo above is one of my favorites.
So, if you need a photographer, give her a shout! Tell her I sent you! :-)
Tuesday, January 03, 2017
I bought myself a cookbook (or five) for christmas. This one is called "I didn't know my slow-cooker could do that" and it's full of weird recipes that you might not normally make in a crock-pot. And a few really useful ones, as it turns out. I was immediately drawn to one that was called "Moroccan Tagine-Style Chicken Thighs" and though this isn't that, it's heavily inspired by it.
Saffron chicken in crock-pot
1 kg boneless chicken thighs, skinned
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp water
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground cardamom
good pinch of chili flakes
about 15 dried apricots, quartered
400 ml water or chicken stock
1/2 g saffron
salt and pepper to taste
cooked cous cous
Creme fraiche or sour cream
raw red onions thinly sliced
Cooked sliced carrots (my favorite way is to thinly slice, then cook in a tight-lidded container in the microwave until soft, then add a little butter and salt)
Start by mixing the marinade. Add this and the chicken thighs to a plastic bag, massage well to distribute the marinade and then place in the fridge over night.
In the morning, tip the entire bag into your crockpot. Add water or chicken stock, the apricots and the saffron. A little salt and pepper if you'd like, but you can always add that at the end. Give it a good stir, and then put your crock-pot on low for about eight hours. (I usually do half an hour on high just to give things a start, but that's not strictly necessary.)
When you're ready for dinner, prepare all the sides and then taste the stew for seasoning. And that's all, folks!
Sunday, January 01, 2017
So, I eventually had my first experience with lobster - both cooking and eating it. We were thinking about serving it for a starter for New Year's Eve, but we didn't want to make it then for the very first time, so we got a practise lobster first. Smart move!
As it turns out, we're not huge lobster fans. If you are, then this recipe is great - the flavor combination is right on - but if you're not, well, make something else. I'm not big on shellfish in general actually, I find the entire idea a little off-putting... but sure, it's tasty enough. Anyway. On to the recipe.
It's basically just about making a flavored butter - I took lots of finely zested lemon, grated garlic, and a heft dose of grated parmesan and stirred into slightly softened butter. I split open the lobster, cleaned it, and slathered it with butter. Finally I sprinkled on a bunch of panko breadcrumbs and stuck the whole thing in the oven at 225°C for about ten minutes. (It could have been there for a little longer actually, you want the topping to crunch up a bit.)
We ate it with some truly awesome sourdough toast. (And I have to say, dipping the bread in the leftover pan juices was the best part.)
Friday, December 30, 2016
I made saffron scones for breakfast on Christmas Eve. A big hit, I must say. (But nevermind the photo - it was merely an afterthought, we were pretty much done by then.) If you want maximum saffron flavor, you should probably dissolve the saffron in some warm liquid first. I didn't and was still very happy with the saffron impact, but I'm sure it could be even stronger. As it was, it wasn't overwhelming but still very distinct. Serve these with butter, cheese and blackberry preserves - you'll be glad you did.
makes about 12 small scones
250 g flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
60 g butter - cold!
120 ml buttermilk (or if you're in Sweden, lätt filmjölk will work well.)
1/2 g saffron
Mix flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a bowl. Add the butter in small dice, and mix until it's well distributed into the flour mixture. I used my Kitchen-Aid, but a food processor or your hands will work out as well.
Beat the egg with the buttermilk in a separate bowl and add to the flour. Add the saffron as well. Mix into a soft dough, but don't overknead it. Flatten to a 2 cm thick rectangle, and cut out scones with a small round cookie cutter.
Bake at 175°C for about 15-18 minutes.
Tuesday, December 13, 2016
Today is December 13 = Lucia celebrations all over Sweden! It's not a holiday, but it's very well celebrated. On this day, one of the darkest of the year, we celebrate Lucia who is the bringer of light. And of course, the bringer of Lucia buns.
We celebrate this by having a Lucia procession - it's usually in all schools and pre-schools, and there are often performances in larger workplaces as well as in some shopping malls and of course, at Skansen. (Read more about this fairly peculiar custom on Wikipedia.) Both Titus' school and Dante's preschool will have processions and they've been rehearsing the songs for weeks now. Very sweet.
So, buns - have you made any? We baked some this past weekend. I have a bunch of recipes for them on the blog so here you go:
Traditional plain Lucia Buns
Saffron buns with Almonds
Almond-filled Saffron buns
Saffron buns with white chocolate