Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Salmon fillets with peanut crust, spicy vegetables and noodles

Is it sad that one of today's highlights was seeing the new Met line train at the station leaving work? Probably, but if you would like me spend 2 h a day in those old smelly Met trains that shake so bad that it is sometimes impossible to read something, not to mention trying to drink coffee without spilling it all over you (actually some days the train is shaking so bad I'm contemplating the need of wearing a sport bra when traveling...), you would be excited too. For awhile I thought the new trains were like Santa Claus, just a fairy tale, but now we do occasionally see them. Though they always appear to be not in service. Quite like the rest of Met line really...

Anyhow, to further cheer me up on this foggy day I cooked this very easy dish. It is based on a recipe from the latest number of Delicious. Lots of nice vegetables with hot chili, ginger, and tangy lime. The peanut crust add extra crunch and a bit of saltiness. All in all, a lovely dinner with a minimum of effort.

Salmon fillets with peanut crust, spicy vegetables and noodles (4 portions)
4 skinless salmon fillets
50 g peanuts, finely chopped
small bunch of coriander, chopped
grated zest and juice of 1 lime
a handful of fresh breadcrumbs
1.5 tbsp toasted sesame oil
3 pak choi, leaves separated
6 spring onions, halved lengthways and then sliced in 4 cm pieces
1 red pepper, sliced
1 yellow pepper, sliced
1 orange pepper, sliced
100 g mangetout
2 red chillies, finely chopped
2 cm fresh ginger, finely chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
light soy sauce
lime wedges
200 g dry egg noodles

Preheat the oven to 200C

Mix the peanuts, coriander, lime zest and juice, breadcrumbs and 0.5 tbsp sesame oil, then press together onto the top of the salmon fillets

Scatter the pak choi, spring onions, peppers and mangetout in a large oven dish or roasting tray. Top with the chillies, ginger and garlic, and drizzle over 1 tbsp sesame oil

Place the salmon fillets on top. Roast in the oven for 8-12 min until the salmon is just cooked through.

Prepare the egg noodles according to instructions

Top the noodles with vegetables and salmon, and drizzle over soy sauce. Serve with additional lime wedges, more coriander, and chopped peanuts for extra crunch.

Here is one of my favourite songs so far this year, 'Looking glass' by Little Dragon. Quite a weird limbo video though...

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Saffron cake

I'm not a big fan of Christmas as a holiday, it's to commercial and I find a lot of the traditions quite restraining. Maybe I would feel differently if there wasn't Christmas stuff in the shops already in September. It's only November now, but I've already heard enough Christmas songs. At work I'm for sure the grinch, and my colleague S is definitively the Christmas fairy.

Anyhow, there are things I do like about Christmas, like a lot of the traditional food and drinks. In Sweden we make a lot of cakes and buns with saffron before Christmas. This is a slightly different saffron cake compared to the traditional ones. It got a beautiful yellow colour, and helps me feel maybe a tiny bit more happy about Christmas approaching.

Saffron cake
200 g butter
0.5 g saffron
2 eggs
3 dl sugar
1.5 dl milk
1.5 cm fresh ginger, grated
4 dl plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
juice from 1-2 lemons

Preheat the oven to 175C

Butter and bread a 24 cm cake tin

Melt the butter

Using a pestle and mortar, powder the saffron threads with a little sugar

Whip eggs and sugar. Add saffron, butter, ginger, and milk.

Add the baking powder

Finally add the flour and make a smooth batter

Pour the cake batter into the tin, and bake for 45 min.

While the cake is still hot from the oven, pierce the surface with a fork and pour onto the lemon juice.

Dust over the cake with icing sugar before serving.

Here is a different Christmas song, Achtung Christmas by Tyskarna från Lund (the Germans from Lund). The band started as part of a Swedish comedy group, Varanteatern, and makes fun of stereotypical synth music.

Osso bucco brisket with celeriac mash

What to do on a rainy November Sunday? Cook of course! I love slow-cooked food, it requires a minimum of work for maximum of taste. This is a version of a classic Italian dish, Osso bucco. Osso bucco should be made with veal shanks, or possibly lamb shanks instead, but if you do like me and go food shopping on a Sunday afternoon, the meat counter can be quite empty. Today I instead used brisket, which is one of my favourite meats for slow-cooking.

I think osso bucco is traditionally served with saffron rice or risotto, but it's great served also with polenta or potato gnocchi. My original plan today was actually to make gnocchi, but I felt a bit lazy and ended up making celeriac mash instead. I used half potatoes and half celeriac, I think the mash becomes to watery with just celeriac. I think mash is the ultimate comfort food, smooth, silky, buttery, mmmm.....

Osso bucco brisket with celeriac mash (4 portions)
800 g brisket, sliced into 2 x 3 cm cubes, or 4- 6 thick slices of veal shank (2-3 inches), or 3-4 small lamb shanks
2 carrots, sliced
2 yellow onions, chopped
300 g celeriac, finely chopped
8 garlic cloves, chopped
1 can of whole tomatoes
1 bottle of white wine
8 bay leaves
1/2 tsp marjoram
1/2 tsp sage
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
2 cubes of beef, veal or chicken stock
salt and pepper

For the mash
500 g celeriac, chopped
500 g potatoes, chopped
2 cubes of chicken stock

1 small bunch of parsley, finely chopped
grated lemon zest from 1-2 lemons
1 garlic clove, grated

Start by dusting the meat with flour, and then browning it at high heat and lightly season with salt and pepper

Saute onions, carrot, celeriac and garlic for 5 min in large pot.

Add the meat, wine, bay leaves, tomatoes, herbs and stock cubes to the pot.

Cook on medium heat until the wine has reduced to 1/2 the volume.

Cover the pot with a lid and continue cooking the osso bucco at low heat for a couple of hours until the meat is tender. Alternatively cook in the oven at low temperature. Add more water if necessary if the stew is going a bit to dry and concentrated.

While the osso bucco is cooking, make the mash.

Add the chopped potatoes and celeriac to a pot, cover with milk and add the chicken stock.Cook until the vegetables are soft.

Drain and reserve the remainder of the milk. Puree the vegetables, add 50 g of butter and enough of the reserved milk to give a smooth consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve the osso bucco with the mash and sprinkle over gremolata. Enjoy!

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Butter bean and garlic soup

I have been a lazy cook and food blogger lately. There's been a lot of things going on lately and I haven't really had time to cook or blog about it. November is such a depressing month, it's so dark (and still it is lighter here in the UK then in Sweden...), wet and boring. I feel like I have no energy left. I hate winter!

Anyhow, this soup, which is a version of a Tuscan bean soup, is smooth and filling, with a sweetness from lots and lots of garlic. One thing is for sure, if you eat this soup, you really should be safe from both vampires and colds :) Despite the number of garlic cloves, it doesn't taste very strongly of garlic as you roast the cloves first.

Butter bean and garlic soup (4 portions)
2 cans of butter beans
1 large potato, chopped
2 parsnips, chopped
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 tsp rosemary
1 tsp thyme
4 bay leaves
1 pinch chili flakes
chicken or vegetable stock
1 dl milk
15 garlic cloves, unpeeled
olive oil
salt and pepper

Start by roasting the garlic cloves in a little olive oil in the oven at 225C. Once the cloves are soft, peel and keep the soft roasted flesh

Whilst the garlic cloves are roasting, fry the chopped onion and garlic on medium heat for a couple of minutes in a large pot

Add herbs and spices, beans, potatoes and parsnips. Cover with chicken stock and boil for 20-30 min until the vegetables are soft.

Remove bay leaves, add the roasted garlic and milk, and puree the soup. Add more water if necessary

Add salt and pepper to taste.

I served this with homemade bread, delicious!

Here is a song that get's me dancing, trying to shake of my November blues, Cardiac arrest by Teddybears