Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Carrot Ginger Lemongrass Soup

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Carrot Soup with Cashews & Feta
serves 4

1 small onion, diced
1 tbsp neutral oil
700 g carrots, sliced
2 lemongrass stalks
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
75 ml cashew nuts, raw (a large handful)
75 ml red lentils
1,2 litre water
salt

Toppings:
crumbled feta cheese
cashew nuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
fresh coriander
crispy bacon

Fry the shalotts(or onion in the oil, on medium heat. When it looks transclucent, add carrots, cashews and lentils as well as ginger and lemongrass.  After a few minutes, add the water.

Turn the heat up to high and bring to a boil. Then, cover with a lid, lower the heat and let it simmer on low heat for about 20 minutes. Check to make sure the carrots are soft. Add a little salt. Purée the soup until super smooth - I used my big Oster Versa blender, but a handheld one will do the job too.

Taste it to see what sort of spices you want - I just added salt, but feel free to go a lot spicier. And serve with lots of toppings.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Banana Ice Cream

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Have you tried banana ice cream? You know, the kind with.. bananas. And just bananas? I'm sure you have, I feel very late to this particular party. I do freeze my over-ripe banana slices, but I often end up tossing them out at a later date. A few nights ago though, my kids asked - totally out of the blue - for banana ice cream. I looked at the giant super-strong Oster Versa blender, I remembered my banana slices, and said "sure!"

So basically you toss frozen bananas in a blender, and go. I added a spoonful of cream to facilitate the blending, because without it, I mostly had a frozen banana powder. But in the end, it came together beautifully and I thought it was delicious. The kids weren't that impressed - just with my mad skills and ability to whip up just what they asked for so quickly. I ate their portions. (With chocolate sauce, but don't tell them.)

Friday, February 20, 2015

Kladdkakemuffins

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In the ongoing series, "weird Swedish fika"... no, let me start this over. Ok. Kladdkaka. That's essentially a brownie, and it's the first thing Swedish kids bake on their own. (At least I figure it is. It's easy enough.) Someone figured that this wasn't easy enough, or not cute enough, and then used muffin tins to make "kladdkakemuffins" which translates to "sticky cake muffins" and is essentially.. brownies in muffin tins.

Anyway. They're good.  Make some. Serve warm, with ice cream or whipped cream.

Kladdkakemuffins
(brownie muffins) 
8 large-ish servings

100 g melted butter
2 eggs
220 g sugar
65 g cocoa powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking powder
120 g flour

Crack the eggs in a bowl. Add sugar and cocoa and stir until smooth. Add vanilla, baking powder and flour, and gradually the butter. You'll have a thick, dark, batter. Spoon this into muffin tins - mine were made of foil but paper is fine too. Don't fill them all the way to the top - no more than 2/3.

Bake at 200°. The exact time will depend on your muffin tin size, but I baked mine for about 12 minutes and they were perfect. They should not be too underbaked, but a little is fine. (But you're not making fondants.) Let them cool a little and they will fall in, creating a nice crater for your ice cream to sit in. Dust with a little powdered sugar if desired. And if you're feeling so inclined, a few berries are pretty on top.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Some food news

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I've tried out some new things lately and thought I'd show some of them to you! Biggest one first - the Oster Versa! It's a real powerblender, that can make anything from smoothies to soups - it even heats the soups! I've only tried a few fruit blends so far, but I will definitely experiment further. Size-wise, it's huge! Yet it's pretty light, at least compared to my KitchenAid blender - probably because the jug is plastic. Have you tried one? Do let me know any tips and tricks!

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These two photos are from a press lunch event I went to at Viking Line - the ferry cruise company famous for their leisure cruises to Helsinki and Mariehamn. I rather like them for a quick mini-vacation - they're cheap, there's lots to do, tax-free shopping and surprisingly good food. At the moment, they're having a guest chef - Michael Björnlund who normally runs Smakbyn on Åland. He offers a really tasty three-course menu, and we got to taste all the options. Up top, the starter which is a  cold, cooked whitefish with pickled red onions, dill mayonnaise and a lovely Kastelholm cheese from Åland. And then a butter-fried pike-perch with a deep-fried crawfish tail and an apple flavored clam sauce. This was just amazing. Not pictured but also really good was a crawfish soup, served as a small amuse bouche. Also an elk dish which wasn't my favorite, and a really tasty crème brûlée. Highly recommended!

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I got the opportunity to try the Loppi Blogbag, which arrived with various goodies. I'm especially fond of the rice cakes from Friggs, and the tea with blueberry and acai is also really tasty. I'm on the fence about the dried fruit sticks for the kids - they're really sweet even though they're all natural. But ok as a treat, I suppose.

juice

Finally, I got a delivery with fabulous new juices from God Morgon. (sadly they don't look like the lovely photo...)  One has apple, raspberries, orange and blackcurrant - tastes mostly like raspberries. The other one was blueberry and ginger, with apple and grape. I liked both but thought the ginger was a bit too prominent. However, Titus loved that one, rather surprisingly. Both are pretty sweet and work really well for juice pops, which I sometimes make for the kids.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Baked Chicken Curry

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My friend Dagmar makes this awesome chicken curry frequently, and I've had it at her house. She has, however, moved across the country and our dinners will be less frequent, unfortunately. She does however make weekly menus and post to Instagram, and she gladly shares her recipes. So a few nights ago, we made her curry, and felt a little bit closer.

This recipe marinates over night which I feel makes it perfect and very convenient - but you have to prepare.

I made a few adaptions, feel free to make your own. Also feel free to ignore my hideous photo, I don't know what happened...

Baked Chicken Curry
serves 4-6

1 whole chicken, cut up into reasonable pieces
salt,  black pepper
1 lime, juiced
1 large piece of ginger, finely minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
100 ml plain yogurt
1 tbsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
8 cardamom pods
oil, for basting
2 tbsp finely chopped red onions

Season the chicken pieces with plenty of salt and pepper, toss with the lime juice (original uses lemon) and leave for 20 minutes.

Stir together ginger, garlic, yogurt, and all the spices. (Not the oil or the onions.) Mix with the chicken and place in an oven-proof dish. Cover and refrigerate over night.

When ready to cook, bring it up to room temperature. Brush with oil and top with the onions. Bake at 200°C for 30 minutes. Turn the chicken over and cook for another 30-40 minutes, basting with the juices as you go along.

Serve with rice, a salad of grated carrots with lime and coriander, and some more yogurt.