Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Thoughts on continuing food blogging?

I'm not sure what I'm doing with this blog at the moment. I started it as a way to share recipes mostly with friends, and as a way to keep track of the food I cook. I cook probably 99% of my meals without following a recipe, which makes it sometimes difficult to repeat it again without some sort of record. For that, I guess the blog is fulfilling what I set out to do. Although I wish people would actually post more of their comments to the blog.... I'm such a feed back junkie, and it's lovely getting told when people tried a recipe and they liked it, but I so want comments also ON the blog. Yeah I know, that was a not very subtle hint ;)

Food is such a passion for me and I spend way to much time thinking about food, and reading lots of food blogs and cook books for inspiration. I wish I would spend even more time cooking and blogging about it. At the same time, most of the blogs I follow are not about food, but more personal. Maybe this is what I should try to do instead? Or write more about music? Maybe I can combine all of it?

Argh, I don't know what to dooooo...............

Well, at least not with the blog. Or life in general. But I do know what I'm planning to cook on Thursday. And I do have a pretty amazing lunch box with roasted chicken and sweet potato wedges for tomorrow :)

Cardamon chicken with harissa braised cabbage

I really need to learn how to stop procrastinating! I've got recipes that I been meaning to post here for ages, and I just haven't gotten around to it. I'll do it later, I think. After I watched Vampire dairies or some other quality TV show. Talking about TV, have you seen one of the new ones, Pan Am? Love the outfits and hair! Fantastic. Lovely little bit of total escapism from when I get home tired and unmotivated after work. Otherwise I watch too much food TV, seriously, I got a bad addiction to TopChef and MasterChef. I'm following the new season of TC, and must admit I got a bit of a crush on Chicago chef Chris Jones. Mmmm, cute guys that can cook....

OK, see what I mean about procrastination and being easily distracted? I was supposed to write about a new recipe here, not TV!

Anyhow, this is an easy recipe with harissa and tomato braised cabbage. I've got at bit of a thing for cabbage recently. White, savoy, red, even brussel sprouts. This is very tasty and easy to do, and goes really well with just a couple of nice spicy sausages or, as I served it with this time, cardamon and fennel marinated chicken fillets

Cardamon chicken with harissa and braised cabbage (serves 4)
4 chicken fillets

Chicken marinade
1 tbsp fennel seeds, ground
1 tsp cardamon seeds, ground
0.5 dl light soy sauce
0.5 tbsp honey
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 pinch chili flakes
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

Braised cabbage
1 medium-sized head of white cabbage, thinly sliced
2 onions, yellow or red, finely chopped
5-6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 dl harissa
1 dl creme fraiche
1 dl chicken stock
1 can chopped tomatoes
250 g feta cheese, cubed
1 lemon, zest and juice
1 tbsp oregano
0.5-1 tsp coarse black pepper
neutral oil

Ground the cardamon and fennel using a pestle and mortar. Then mix the ingredients for the marinade together and marinate the chicken for at least 30 min

Saute garlic and onions in oil in a medium to large pot for a couple of minutes until the onion is soft

Add harissa and lemon zest, saute for a couple of minutes

Add all the remaining ingredients except the feta cheese, and stir it together

Cook on medium heat while occasionally stirring for 10-15 min until the cabbage starts to be soft

While the cabbage is cooking, fry the chicken fillets in a large frying pan

Add the feta cheese to the cabbage, and salt and black pepper to taste

Smaklig måltid/bon appetite!

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Chicken curry coconut soup

I got back a couple days ago from a weekend in Berlin (fantastic city, go there!), followed by a busy week in Munich attending a course organized by the company I work for. It was an interesting course, focused on management and leadership. When all of us attending the course were asked what type of business they would start if they could choose, most said a restaurant or similar. Quite interesting considering we all work for a technology company...

Anyhow, the course was good, but very intense. Since coming back on Friday, I've spent most of the time lazying around in the flat, watching quality TV like Project Runway, and MasterChef. I'm seriously addicted to food TV shows, and MasterChef is a clear favourite. One of my oldest friends auditioned a couple of weeks ago for the Swedish version, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that she'll make it.

Anyhow, in addition to watching food being cooked, I also made this soup to brighten up my lunch box for the coming week. It's got a deep smooth curry flavour, enhanced by toasting some of the spices first.

I quite often cook some of the vegetables, and/or the meat/fish/prawns to go into a soup separately. This is to avoid overcooking the vegetables. I also like it, because I think it gives the dish more layers, here the creamy curry soup with fresh lime chicken, and the kick from the vegetables fried with chili and garlic.

Chicken curry coconut soup (serves 4)
4 chicken breast fillets a' 120-150 g each
2 lime, zest and juice
0.5 ml light soy sauce
1 pinch chili flakes
1 pinch smoked paprika
1 tsp brown sugar, like light muscavado, or honey
1 garlic clove, grated

400 ml coconut milk
600 ml chicken stock
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
1 tsp black mustard seeds
1.5 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1.5 tsp cardamon seeds
1.5 tsp cinnamon
1.5 tsp curry
1.5 tsp coriander
0.5 tsp turmeric
0.5 tsp smoked paprika
1 pinch chili flakes
2 large garlic cloves, grated
3 cm ginger, grated
1 lime, juice

1 red pepper, diced
1 green pepper, diced
4 tomatoes, diced
1 red chili, finely chopped
4 spring onions, chopped
1 garlic clove, grated
1 large bunch of coriander, chopped
vegetable oil, like sunflower or other neutral oil
salt and pepper

Start by mixing the ingredients for the marinade. Trim and butterfly the chicken fillets, cover with the marinade, and leave for at least 15 min before cooking.

Toast fennel, cardamon, mustard, and cumin seeds in a dry frying pan over high heat whilst stirring until the mustard seeds starts popping.

Grind the seeds using a pestle and mortar, and then mix with the other dry spices.

Grate the ginger and garlic cloves.

Heat up 1-2 tbsp oil in a medium-sized pot. Add the onions, all the spices, and the grated ginger and garlic. Saute on medium heat for a couple of minutes to release all the flavours from the spices.

Add the coconut milk, chicken stock, and lime juice. Simmer for 10-15 min.

While the soup is simmering, fry the chicken fillets in a frying pan. Set to the side to rest, and then slice the fillets.

Also lightly fry the peppers, tomatoes, spring onions and garlic for a couple of minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and stir in the coriander.

Taste the soup and adjust if necessary by seasoning with salt, pepper and a squeeze of lime juice.

Serve the soup by pouring it into bowls, adding a handful of the pepper and tomato mix, and topping with the sliced chicken.

Enjoy :)

Steak with horseradish butter

I don't eat a lot of meat, but recently I've really been craving a good steak. I bought a couple of high quality steaks, and decided to make a seasoned butter. As I had quite a lot of horseradish left since my visit to the Borough market a couple of weeks ago, I wanted to use that. I added some mustard, capers and garlic, and wow! Seriously, this butter is SO good!

I served the steak with sauteed mushrooms and greens, and it was delicious. Sex on a plate, finger licking good, you have to try this! You won't regret it. Well, your waistline might, but hey, it's almost a year to beach 2012, right?

Steak with horseradish butter (serves 4)
4 steaks, I usually go for sirloin or rump steak, around 150 g each
100 g butter
3 tbsp grated fresh horseradish
2 tsp grainy mustard
2 tbsp capers, chopped
1 large garlic clove, grated
250 g mushrooms, quartered
1 large head of broccoli, divided into florets
400 g haricot vertes
1-2 cloves of garlic, grated
olive oil
salt and black pepper

Start by making the seasoned butter by stirring together the butter with the grated horseradish, garlic, mustard and capers. Refrigerate until served.

Take out the steaks, they should be room-tempered by the time of frying.

In a medium-sized frying pan, melt a small knob of butter, and add the mushrooms. Fry the mushrooms until golden, season with salt and pepper.

While the mushrooms are cooking, cook the green beans and broccoli florets for a couple of minutes in salted water. Drain well.

Remove the mushrooms to a side dish, cover with aluminium foil or a lid to keep warm. In the frying pan add a little olive oil and a grated garlic clove. Fry the greens with the garlic for a few minutes, and then set to the side until served.

Trim the steaks if necessary of excess fat and sinew, season with salt and pepper on both sides. In a large frying pan, add a knob of butter and a little olive oil. Once the butter is browned, add the steaks. Make sure the pan is really hot, you want the steaks to fry, not boil.

Cook the steaks to your liking. I prefer medium-rare, so I usually fry 1-2 min on each side depending on thickness of the steaks, and then cover the steaks with aluminum foil or a lid for another couple of minutes to rest before serving.

Finally, serve the steaks on heated plates (I usually microwave the plates for a couple of minutes, or leave them in the oven for around 5 min at 100C) with the greens and mushrooms. Top the steaks with the frying juices and a knob of the seasoned butter.


Sunday, 14 August 2011

Poached salmon with horseradish aioli and broad bean salad

It has really not been a great summer in the UK this year. As a result I've been mostly cooking quite heavy comfort food in the last couple of weeks, food I would normally cook during the autumn or winter, like lasagna. Well, not sure actually that you can say that what I cooked was a lasagna as I forgot to buy lasagna pasta sheets and therefore made it with layered zucchini instead. Still nice, but not exactly a lasagna...

This Sunday has been quite warm and sunny, so I decided to make something light and with a summer feeling. I don't often poach salmon, and every time I do I wonder why I don't do it more often. It is so easy! Talk about no effort cooking, and still resulting in delicious food. I poached it using rose pepper and lemon, for a light and fresh taste. Fennel seeds instead of rose pepper is also great for poaching salmon, or chili, lime, and lemongrass for a more Asian flavour.

Another thing I almost never do is aioli or mayonnaise. Everyone who knows me know that I hate mayonnaise. This is a real problem living in a country where it's almost impossible to buy a ready-made sandwich without mayo... However, I do love homemade aioli, especially with some crispy bread to mop it up from the plate. Aioli can be flavoured in so many ways, just with garlic and a bit of mustard, or with chili and lime, or smoked paprika and tomato for example. Here I used fresh grated horseradish, a classic combination with salmon. I bought the horseradish on Borough market, as I have so far never seen it fresh at any of the grocery stores.

Poached salmon with horseradish aioli and broad bean salad (4 portions)
4 salmon fillets a'150 g each, skin and bone free (or leave the skin, without scales, on, it's much easier to remove once the salmon is cooked)
Poaching liquid:
2 dl water
1 lemon, juice and zest
2 tbsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp pink peppercorns, lightly broken using a pestle and mortar
1 pinch chili flakes

Horseradish aioli:
2 egg yolks
2 dl neutral oil, like sunflower oil, or mild olive oil
0.5 tbsp lemon juice or white wine vinegaer
1 garlic clove, pressed
1-2 tbsp grated fresh horse radish
0.5 tsp Dijon or hot English mustard
1 pinch salt
1 pinch black pepper

300 g broad beans, fresh or frozen (I usually use frozen as I think it's difficult to find nice fresh ones)
300 g haricot vertes
1 bag of pea shoots (50 g)
olive oil
1/2 lemon, juice and zest
salt and black pepper

Heat the oven to 100C.

Add the ingredients of the poaching liquid to a pot and bring to the boil.

Place the salmon fillets in a small oven tray, pour over the poaching liquid and place in the oven. Cook for 20-25 min, until the inner temperature is 50C. Leave to cool in the poaching liquid. This can be done the night before serving.

For the aioli, use all ingredients at room temperature to decrease the chance of the aioli splitting.

Add the egg yolks and the lemon juice/vinegaer to a tall narrow beaker.

Using a stick mixer (or whip by hand in a bowl, but it's so much quicker using a stick mixer or blender), start by mixing the egg yolks and then slowly add the oil while running the mixer. When all the oil has been added and the mayonnaise is light and creamy (add a 1 tbsp water if it is very thick), add the garlic, mustard and horseradish. Add salt and pepper to taste. The aioli will last in a clean jar in the fridge for up to a week.

Lightly boil the broad beans for 1-2 min, then rinse with plenty of cold water and remove the pods.

Also lightly boil the haricot vertes for a couple of minutes and then rinse with cold water to keep the crunchy texture.

Drain of the water from the broad beans and haricot vertes, and transfer the vegetables to a bowl.

Add the pea shoots, juice and zest from the lemon, a drizzle of olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.

Serve the poached salmon with the salad, aioli and crusty bread.

I'm eagerly waiting for the new album by Norwegian singer Ane Brun (and seeing her play at Scala in November!). This is the first single.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Summery lemon pasta with chicken

Back to reality after returning from holiday.... Not exactly ecstatic over going back to work, but at least it's summer now and I've also moved so the commute to work is much better. Coming back from holiday also means starting to cook again, and that's lovely. I do miss cooking when I'm traveling. Partly because it drives me crazy walking through the fantastic food markets in China or elsewhere and see all the lovely produce and not have anywhere to cook it.

As it is summer now, at least it is possible to find good fresh vegetables and fruits also here in the UK. One of my new flatmates told me about a street market close to where I now live that apparently got good veg and fish, so I really need to check that out soon.

I don't like food to be to heavy during the summer, and this green and lemony pasta feels very fresh and light. It is inspired from a recipe for Sicilian lemon pasta. Sorry for the poor picture, I left my camera at a friend's house so had to use my phone.

Summery lemon pasta with chicken (4-6 portions)
500 g pasta, I used penne
4 chicken fillets, sliced
1 tbsp Colman's mustard powder
0.5 dl light soy sauce
3 garlic cloves, pressed
1 tbsp honey
2 zucchini, sliced
4 spring onions, sliced
1 bag of rocket, roughly chopped
1 bunch of basil, chopped
150 g mange tout or sugarsnaps, roughly chopped
juice from 4-5 lemons
zest from 1 lemon
1 red chili, finely sliced
0.5 dl virgin olive oil
150 g parmesan cheese, grated
black pepper

Start by marinating the sliced chicken in a marinade of mustard, soy sauce, 1 pressed garlic clove, and juice from 1 lemon for 30 min

Beat lemon juice from 3-4 lemons (number depending on size and juiciness), with the zest of 1 lemon and the olive oil. Add the grated parmesan and 1 pressed garlic clove. The sauce will become thick and creamy. Add more lemon juice or a little water if very thick. Add pepper and salt to taste. If the lemons are very sour, add some honey or sugar to balance it.

Start cooking the pasta. If you like me use pasta like penne that takes 10-15 min to cook, you got time to cook the vegetables and chicken while the pasta cooks. Otherwise prepare the rest before boiling the pasta as it should be piping hot at the time of serving.

While the pasta cooks, first fry the zucchini until it starts getting golden, then add spring onions, 1 pressed garlic clove, the red chili and mange tout and cook for a couple of minutes.

Fry the chicken until golden. The honey in the marinade will give it a caramelized finish.

Once the pasta is al dente, pour of the water and return the pasta to the pan. Stir in the sauce, the parmesan will melt as it is mixed in to the pasta. Then stir in basil, rocket, the vegetables and chicken. Grind over some black pepper.

Serve immediately. If you like, sprinkle over some additional lemon zest and fresh finely chopped red chili.

Amazing food in China

Back from an amazing holiday in China! I was planning to continue blogging when I was there but turned out that the blog was blocked and I couldn't access it. Saga - China 1-0.

China was absolutely fantastic, the nature, the people, the culture, and of course the food. I ate so well and so much. Lots of fantastic street food, bbq meats and fish, steamed buns, stuffed pancakes and bread, noodle soups, stir fries.... The variety of food is great, and there is such a difference between the different regions. From the seafood and dim sum in Hong Kong, to spicy hot pots in Sichuan, yak stew in north Yunnan and coconut-flavoured soups in south Yunnan. AMAZING!!! I love lots of the vegetable dishes, stir fried cabbage or salad or green beans with a bit of chili and garlic, so simple, so tasty. Regrettably I didn't manage to take many pictures of the food I had, I blame my greedy and hungry personality, I would devour the food way to quickly to have a chance to take a picture of anything else than an empty plate... Below is a few of the meals I managed to capture with my camera.

Tasty yak stew with potatoes, reminded me of the stews my grandmothers make. With it came a side dish of pickled vegetables, and I had a large glass of ginger tea.

Dan dan noodles in Chengdu, and a side dish of braised salad with chili. Tasty and spicy, like all food I tried in Sichuan.

Streetfood in Chengdu, meat or fish is added to each stick and deep fried and eaten with spicy dips

Street restaurant in Chengdu serving spicy noodles

The best fruit in the world, mangosteen! Gorgeous!

Monday, 25 April 2011

Dragon's back

Today I walked along the Dragon's back trail on the east of Hong kong island, a 2 h hike along the ridge of the low mountains there. It was lovely, with amazing views, but quite steep at times. At the end of trail was Shek O beach, where I stayed a couple of hours, and endulged in lots of watermelon and mango. And some Laughing Cow cheese cubes as snacks on the way... I bought them. all the time when hiking on Borneo, as they're not very sensitive to heat. That taste of processed cheese flavoured with ham and tomatoe also really reminds me of summers camping with my family. Can't go camping etc in Sweden and not bring cheese on tube (crayfish, prawn and ham are some of the flavours)... 

What else have I've been up to? Not much, I was planning to go up to the Peak yesterday, but gave up when I saw the very long que. Instead spent the day walking through markets and relaxing in Kowloon park reading Aijvide's last book (thanks Elisabeth!)

I'm leaving early tomorrow morning to go to Guangzhou in China, from there I hope to be able to get a bus to Yangshuo at 1pm. I get to Guangzhou at 9 am, hopefully that will be enough to find the bus station and buy a ticket... What could possibly go wrong? Except that I'm geographically challenged, not sure where the bus is leaving from, exactly when it's leaving, where I can buy a ticket, and I can't read, speak or understand the language? Fingers crossed all goes as planned!   

Saturday, 23 April 2011

A hungry Swede in Hong kong

I've been a worthless food blogger recently, way to busy w work and moving to have time to cook anything remotely intersting.I've left UK yesterday for 6 weeks in hong kong, china and laos. So for now the food blog will be a travel blog. My guess is that it will still be pretty foodcentric.

I got into HKK about 6 h ago, and it feels great being back here. I feel a bit shattered, despite sleeping/slumbering for most of the flight here. Btw, def recommeds air new zealand, great service, seats and food.

I got into the hostel, Yes Inn on Hong kong island, where I've stayed before, had a shower and headed out for dinner. I went to temple street market, where there are lots of street restaurants serving cheapish sea food. I had lovely razor clams w chilli and blackbean sauce, and pak choi w garlic (one of my all time favourite dishes). Got no pictures of the food as forgot to bring a camera (anyhow not sure how to upload images as am blogging from my iPhone). After dinner, a beer, and browsing through the touristy night market looking for new headphones, it was def time to headset back and into a proper bed.

Tomorrow I need to get more info on train/bus tickets to yangshuo, and then I think I might revisit a couple of markets or maybe head to the beach, or maybe up to the Peak. Thinking of doing the Dragon's walking trail on Mon, will see. Looks like it will be nice weather while I'm here, 27C and sunshine. Must rememer sunblock or I'll burn like a crisp, and the lobster look really doesn't suit me....

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Spicy sausage and kale bulgur salad

I've never tried curly kale. For some reason I've been a bit intimidated by the thought of cooking with it, as I don't really know how to use it. Anyway, curly kale is supposed to be very nice and also very nutrious, so when I was aimlessly wandering around in Waitrose trying to find something to cook for dinner, I thought that I should try something new and use kale. But what to eat and cook it with? I knew that you can steam and stir-fry kale, and that I had a lot of bulgur at home, so I decided on a warm salad with kale and spicy sausages. Spring has finally come to London, but it's still been freezing in the mornings so if I'm having a salad it has to be a warm one.

I'm very happy with my first attempt of using kale, turns out it's easy to use, with a nice taste, cheap, and apparently good for me, so I will defentely try it again.

Spicy sausage and kale bulgur salad (4 portions)
200 g curly kale
1 large leek, chopped
1-2 red chillies, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 cm fresh ginger, finely chopped
200 g plum tomatoes, halved
1 lemon, zest and juice
400 g spicy sausages, I used Waitroses sweet chili pork sausages, but merguez or chorizo would be really good as well
2 dl bulgur, you can substitute the bulgur for quinoa or couscous
5 dl chicken or vegetable stock
salt and pepper

Add bulgur and stock to a pot and cook on low heat for around 10 min until soft. If there is any water left, drain it and fluff the bulgur with a fork to separate the grains

Fry the sausages in a frying pan. For pork sausages like the ones I used, fry them whole and then slice them. If you use chorizo, you might want to slice them first and then fry to them to get them a bit crispier and release some of the fat.

Steam the kale lightly for 1-2 min. I think it's easiest to steam using the microwave. Just add kale, and a couple of tablespoons of hot water

Fry the leeks, chillies, garlic and ginger for a couple of minutes in a large frying pan. Add the kale and tomatoes and stir-fry for another couple of minutes until the kale is soft and starts to wilt.

Stir together the vegetables and bulgur with the lemon juice and zest.

Serve the kale and bulgur topped with the fried sausages.

Asian soups in Vancouver

I came back from a conference in Vancouver a couple of weeks ago. It was a great meeting, with lots of interesting science, and Vancouver was a great city to visit. To be in a city and be surrounded by sea and mountains, fantastic! Vancouver is known to have a big Asian population, and there is lots of Chinese, Korean and Japanese shops and restaurants. I've really indulged in great, and cheap, Asian food. In particular lovely soups, like the won ton soup above that I had at Hon's wun tun house in Vancouver's Chinatown, or the udon noodle soup with spicy pork and kimchi below that I had at small Korean restaurant, Donburiya, on Robson street in downtown Vancouver.

Here is a couple of pictures of beautiful Vancouver, with the view of the mountains from Stanley park and from the harbour and seawalk around the city.

Red lentil and feta lasagne

I'm going to move out of my flat in West Hampstead in about a month's time. As I'm putting all my stuff in storage for the first 6 weeks while I'm lucky enough to go traveling in China and Laos, I'm trying to finish off all the food in my cupboards. Feels a bit unnecessary to pack lots of dry goods like rice and bulgur in boxes to store for two months, and believe me, I have enough stuff that needs to be packed as it is....

This recipe come about so that I could finish off my red lentils, some leftover red wine, and because I was in a mood for comfort food, and to me lasagne is for sure all about delicious comfort.

Red lentil and feta lasagne (4-6 portions)
2.5 dl red lentils
1 can of chopped tomatoes
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
0.5 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp oregano
a pinch of sugar
a pinch of dry flaked chili
2 dl of chicken or vegetable stock
2 dl of red wine
250 g of fresh or dry lasagna sheets (if you use dry lasagna sheets, you can speed up the cooking time in the oven by
5 dl milk
1 tbsp flour
1 tbsp butter
300 g feta cheese, grated
olive oil
salt and pepper

Saute onions and garlic in a little olive oil in a large frying pan for a couple of minutes.

Add the lentils, wine, stock, sugar and spices. Let simmer for 20-30 min until the lentils are soft. Add more water if the sauce starts to go dry before the lentils are cooked. Add salt and pepper to taste. It shouldn't be too salty as the bechamel sauce with feta will be quite salty

Make a bechamel sauce: Start by melting the butter in a medium sized pot, then add the flour and stir on low heat to form a paste.

Add the milk and bring up to nearly boiling, all the time stirring to avoid the sauce to burn. Continue to simmer, whilst stirring, on lower heat until the sauce reaches desired thickness.

Add 2/3 of the feta cheese to the sauce and stir until the cheese is dissolved. Remove the pot from the heat, and add nutmeg, pepper and salt to taste.

Layer lasagna sheets, the lentil sauce and bechamel sauce in a oven dish. Top with a layer of bechamel sauce and the remainder of the feta cheese.

Cook for 20-30 min in the middle of the oven.

Enjoy with a fresh salad like rocket, spinach and watercress with a little olive oil and lemon juice.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Lemon coconut biscuits

Since I moved to the UK I've really developed an addiction to biscuits. Today I'm working from home and really fancied something sweet, but our cupboards were completely devoid of even the tiniest crumble of biscuits or sweets, so I decided to bake something instead. This is an easy recipe based on what I could find at home. These biscuits are heavenly, melt in your mouth delicious, with a light lemon flavour and a bit of crunch from the coconut.

Lemon and coconut biscuits (15 biscuits)
100 g butter
0.75 dl sugar
zest from 1 lemon
1 tsp baking powder
1.5 dl flaked coconut
1 dl ground almond
1.5 dl flour

Preheat the oven to 150C.

Cream butter and sugar, stir in lemon zest and baking powder.

Stir almond, coconut and flour into the butter mix.

Roll out the cookie dough into a 2-3 cm wide log, and cut into 1 cm slices.

Transfer slices onto a buttered baking sheet and flatten slightly with a fork.

Bake for around 15 min.

Let cool slightly and devour with a cup of tea or coffee.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Mustard chicken with savoy cabbage and broccoli

I've had major cravings for vegetables during last week. I hate this time of year because the choice is so limited for fresh vegetables. I refuse buying anemic and expensive tomatoes! Walking around in the grocery store I decided to make use of what I could find that's at least more in season like cabbage and broccoli. This is a very easy and colourful dish, partly inspired by a recipe by Jamie Oliver in the last number of Delicious.

Eating this, I can't understand why I used to hate cabbage when it is so tasty. Maybe because most of my experiences was my Gran's cabbage stew (sorry Gran, I still can't eat Kålpudding), which the rest of my family likes, but there is just something with that very strong smell of cabbage... Anyhow, here the savoy cabbage is just very gently cooked to keep that vibrant green colour and slight crunch, and the smell, well it still smells a little, it is cabbage after all, but it is worth it the second you try you're first morsel.

I served this with only the greens, chicken and a mustard cream sauce, but you could also half the amount of cabbage and serve with boiled or roasted potatoes or toss pasta with the mustard cream sauce.

Mustard chicken with savoy cabbage and broccoli (4 portions)
4 chicken fillets, butterflied
2 head of savoy cabbage, cut in wide shreds
1 head of broccoli, or 500 g of sprouting broccoli
4 tsp Colman's mustard powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
juice and zest from 1 lemon
2 leeks, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
salt and pepper
olive oil
1 tsp butter

Mustard cream sauce
2 dl single cream
1 tbsp coarse mustard
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
pinch of dried tarragon
pinch of dried rosemary
0.5 chicken stock cube

Mix mustard powder and smoked paprika, and pat the mix onto both sides of the butterflied chicken fillets. Season with salt and pepper.

Saute the onions and garlic for the sauce in a small pot. Add the cream, mustard, herbs and chicken stock. Simmer on low heat for 10-15 min. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat olive oil in a frying pan and fry the chicken until golden and cooked through. Squeeze over the lemon juice over the cooked fillets.

Saute leeks and garlic in olive oil for a couple of minutes in a large frying pan, add the cabbage and lemon zest and fry for a couple of minutes on medium heat. Add a couple of tablespoons of water and keep stirring the vegetables until the cabbage is cooked but still crunchy. Season with salt and pepper.

Steam the broccoli. I think the easiest way is to steam it in the microwave. Add the broccoli to a plastic deep dish or bowl, add a couple of tablespoons of water and cover with a plastic microwave plate cover or lid. Steam on full effect for a couple of minutes until cooked but still crunchy. Drain, replace in the bowl and add a teaspoon of butter to glace the broccoli.

Serve the sliced chicken fillets with the savoy cabbage, broccoli and mustard sauce.

This was a lovely dinner, and also a great lunch the day after.

Spaghetti alla Norma - pasta with roasted aubergine

I love Italian food! A lot of my appreciation and first insight into how to cook Italian food is thanks to Davide, who I was living with when I moved to London the first time to work as a waitress, and who is an amazing cook. One of my most memorable meals will always be the 10 (!) course dinner he cooked when I decided to go back to Sweden to study.

Spaghetti alla Norma is a classic Sicilian recipe with tomatoes and fried aubergine. It is delicious, but that aubergine really do soak up a shocking amount of olive oil. Something I really like is the Middle Eastern dish baba ganoush, a dip of roasted smokey aubergine, so I decided to instead of frying the ingredients for this dish, I would roast them in the oven instead. The result was delicious, with a soft smokiness and that rich flavour of roasted garlic and roasted peppers.

Spaghetti alla Norma - Sicilian pasta with roasted aubergine (4 portions)
2 small-medium aubergines
2 red peppers
2 red chillies
1 large red onion
1 garlic bulb
1 can of good quality plum or cherry tomatoes
small bunch of fresh basil
1 tbsp capers
0.5 tsp smoked paprika
a pinch of sugar
olive oil
salt and pepper
parmesan or pecorino cheese, grated

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Cleave the aubergines lengthwise. Add a little olive oil at the bottom of a oven tray, and place the aubergine halves with the cut side down in the tray. Drizzle with a little more olive oil. Roast in the oven for 45 min until the aubergines are black and wrinkled. Take out and let cool down. Once cold enough to handle, scrape out the soft flesh.

While the aubergines are roasting, half and take out the seeds of the red peppers and chillies. Place in another oven tray, and add the quartered onion.

Cut of the top of the garlic bulb, exposing the cloves within. Place in the tray with the peppers, chillies and onion, and drizzle olive oil over all the vegetables. Roast for about 25 min until the skin of the peppers and chillies are charred and the garlic cloves are soft.

Take the charred peppers and chillies and place in a plastic bag and leave it to cool down (the steam coming off in the bag will make them easier to peel). Once cold enough the handle, remove the skin and squeeze out the garlic cloves.

Using a blender, blend all the roasted vegetables, including onions and garlics, with the canned tomatoes, basil, capers and smoked paprika. If I would do this during the summer, I would roast 4-5 good tomatoes as well, but as it is so difficult to find good tomatoes at this time of year, I opted for good canned tomatoes instead.

Add a pinch of sugar, and salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with spaghetti and grate over some parmesan or pecorino cheese when serving.


Amazing brunch at Brasserie van Koch in Århus

I'm rubbish at keeping my new years resolutions, so it should come as no surprise that I haven't managed to update the blog once a week. I have actually been cooking a lot, but life has gotten in the way of regular updates. I'll try to do better....

At the end of January I went to visit my sister and her husband in Århus in Denmark. As usual it was a real treat to be in Århus, not only did I get to spend quality time with my sister and brother-in-law, I also got to play with their lovely dogs and stuff myself with gorgeous food, both at home and restaurants.

There is a fantastic restaurant in Århus, Brasserie van Koch (sorry, the website is only in Danish). I've been there a number of times for dinner when visiting Århus, and the food is very high quality, innovative, and delicious. It is by far one of the best restaurants I've been too, and that it's very reasonably priced makes it even better. One thing I always missed visiting is the Sunday brunch at Brasserie van Koch. My sister has talked about it for years, but it has always been fully booked when I've been there. However this time they've managed to secure us a booking.

I was full of anticipation going there, would it really be as amazing as I've heard? My oh my, was it amazing! Mind-blowingly good. There can not be a better brunch anywhere. Seriously, this was an incredible experience!

We started with a small bowl of lovely bouillebaise bisque to wet our appetites. Not really necessary as I was already drooling at the site of the buffé of epic proportions that was laid out in the beautiful light dining room. Of course there was a table with common breakfast items like yogurt and muesli, but honestly, I can have yogurt anytime, and this was not an occasion when you want too waste valuable stomach space with everyday food like that. But then there was the two tables with cold and hot food. Pickled herrings of course, this being in Scandinavia, but also different types of salmons, paté, salad, smoked meats, sausages, meatballs, marinated vegetables, chili con carne, curries, eggs, different types of gratins, braised pig cheeks, ribs, potatoes in every form..... Well, just look at the picture below and you'll get an idea of the multitude of choices. In fact there was so many choices that I almost had an anxiety attack at the realization that there was no way I would be able to sample all the dishes.

Here is some of the lovely cold dishes that find it's way to my plate. To this we had a fresh apple-ginger juice and coffee.

I also sampled a lot of hot dishes, including the braised pig's cheeks which was gorgeous, the meat so tender that it was falling to pieces, but I forgot to take a picture....

Then there was one table filled with incredible cheeses. This being Denmark, there was also a table with tasty bread. Oh I miss quality bread! The standard of bread in common grocery shops here is depressing.

I only managed to sample a few of the cheeses, one mature goats cheese was particularly tasty. The cheeses tasted even better with a glass of port wine and a delicious fig compote.

Another table was full of desserts, cakes and pancakes and all things sweet.

The lemon cheesecake and pancakes were lovely. In a very feeble attempt to be healthy I added apple wedges to my plate. No idea why as I of course did not have any space left for fruit at that time.

As you can see, this was an amazing meal. My only regret was that I only had one stomach.... Below you can see my lovely sister and brother-in-law enjoying our fabulous brunch (J&L hope it's ok).

Monday, 17 January 2011

Apricot and meringue cake

Today it was my turn to bake for the cake club at work. We take turns bringing in cakes, it's an easy way of making a boring Monday slightly better. Belonging to a cake club makes me feel a bit... old? It's not very rebellious at least. Maybe it is time to admit that I'm 35, and the most exciting thing happening on Monday is not a cool gig anymore, it is being treated to a piece of cake.

Whatever reason you've got to make a cake, you should make this golden cake. It's got a light sponge, filled with apricot compote, and topped with meringue. It was best at the day of making it, as the meringue was still a bit crunchy. It was still good today at the cake club, but then the meringue was more like a soft marshmallow fluff.

The apricot compote is also great spread on toast or with a croissant. Or maybe on porridge or in yoghurt if you want to be a bit more healthy. But in that case, maybe you shouldn't be reading cake recipes :)

Apricot and meringue cake
5 egg yolks
175 g butter
2 dl sugar
2 cm fresh ginger, grated
zest from 1 lemon
1.5 tsp baking powder
4 tbsp milk
1.5 dl flour

5 egg whites
2 dl sugar
2 tbsp ground almond
1 dl chopped blanched almonds (or use flaked almond, I was going to but forgot to buy it and therefore used chopped almonds instead)

Apricot compote
250 g dried apricots
juice from 1 lemon
1 dl water

Preheat the oven to 175C.

Butter and bread a 30 x 20 cm rectangular cake tin, or a 24 cm round cake tin.

Stir sugar and butter together until smooth, then add the egg yolks one at the time

Stir in lemon zest, ginger, baking powder and milk.

Finally add the flour and stir until you've got a smooth batter

Pour the batter into the cake tin.

Make the meringue by first beating the egg whites until stiff.

Then add the sugar and whisk for a couple more minutes

Cover the cake batter with the meringue topping. You might not need all of the meringue, you want around a 3 cm uneven layer

Sprinkle the cake with ground almond and chopped almonds

Bake for 20-30C, or until the meringue has settled and the cake is done.

Leave the cake to cool.

While the cake is baking, make the apricot compote.

Add apricots, lemon juice and water to a pot.

Simmer whilst stirring on low heat until you have a smooth glossy compote (takes around 10-15 min). If necessary add more water if the compote starts to get dry while you cook it.

Let the compote cool.

Divide the cake into two halves

Cover the bottom one with the apricot compote and then sandwich the two together

Rhubarb mousse

I'm not a big dessert person, I usually prefer salty and savoury dishes. I think that's why I love rhubarb, that fresh tartness make dessert and cakes less sweet. Another reason to love rhubarb is that it is one of the first signs that spring is on it is way, and that early forced rhubarb also has an amazing pink colour.

I was so happy when I found rhubarb at Borough market last Saturday. I love classics like rhubarb crumble, or rhubarb cake with almonds, but with this young and pink rhubarb I wanted to do a light dessert that kept the beautiful colour.

Rhubarb mousse (4 portions)
5 thin stalks of rhubarb (around 500 g), chopped
1 dl sugar
2 cm fresh ginger, grated
1 lemon, zest and juice
1-2 tsp honey
2 dl creme fraiche
1 dl whipping cream, whipped
6-8 shortbread biscuits, broken into crumbs (I used my favourite lemon shortbread biscuits made by Duchy)

Add the rhubarb, sugar, ginger and lemon juice to a pot and cook on medium heat for 5 min, stirring occasionally

Simmer for a couple of more minutes until you've got a nice smooth compote. Leave to chill.

Whip the cream, add the creme fraiche, honey and lemon zest, and whip until smooth.

Fold in the rhubarb compote until you got a luscious light and pink mousse.

Divide the mousse into bowls or glasses and leave to set in the fridge until serving.

Break the biscuits into crumbs. This is easiest done by putting the biscuits in a small plastic bag and bash it with a rolling pin.

Sprinkle the biscuits crumbs on top of the mousse before serving.

Fried herring (strömmingsflundror) with potato mash and fennel salad

Fried herring (strömmingsflundror) with potato mash is one of my favourite traditional Swedish dishes. Herring is called strömming or sill in Swedish. The difference is that strömming is fished in the Baltic sea on the east coast of Sweden and sill on the west coast. In my mind strömming is also usually smaller than sill, don't know if that's actually true. If you have small herrings, when you fillet the fish you keep the two fillets connected and don't divide them along the backbone, this is what makes it a strömmingsflundra.

Herring is eaten in many different forms in Sweden, fried, pickled, cured and fermented. I like some pickled herring at Christmas, Easter or midsummer, but otherwise my favourite is having it fried or fermented. The fermented one is not for everyone, when you open a can you can smell it a mile away. But eaten outdoors in August, with almond potatoes, crispbread, onions, and washed down with an ice-cold schnapps, it is a real treat.

Although herring is fished around the UK, I've never seen it in any of the usual supermarkets (except as roll mops or smoked), so on Saturday I went to Borough market. I love food markets, and although Borough market can get really crowded, at 10 in the morning it was fairly empty. One of the fish stands had herrings, albeit quite a bit larger than I would have liked. Once the main ingredient was sorted and I picked up some veg, bread, cheese, and beautiful pink forced rhubarb for dessert, it was time to indulge by downing a couple of oysters and having a couple of fried scallops. Heavenly.

I served the herrings with potato mash (recipe not included, I'm sure you already know how to make a potato mash) and a fennel salad with ruby grapefruit. As the herrings are quite a rich fish (and even more so with buttery mash and a little clarified butter at serving), I like something with a bit of acidity and bite to complement it.

Fried herring with potato mash and fennel salad (4 portions)
24 small herrings or 0.8 kg herring fillets
bread crumbs or oat meal
1 bunch of fresh dill, finely chopped
1 bunch of fresh parsley, finely chopped
120 g butter
salt and pepper
butter or oil

Get your fishmonger to fillet the fish unless you got a good sharp knife (I regrettably don't have a very good one anymore). If you have small herrings, it's not a problem that a lot of the small bones is still there when you eat it, but as I found out this time, if you have larger herrings you might want to try to remove more of the bones prior to cooking them or you'll spend the entire meal picking out the bones.

Dip the skin side of the herrings in breadcrumbs or oatmeal, and place on a tray. Sprinkle the meat side with salt and pepper.

Mix the finely chopped herbs with butter, and cover the meat side of half of the herrings. Add another herring fillet with the meat side down on top (like you're making a fish sandwich with the herb butter in the middle)

Fry the herrings on medium heat in butter or oil in a frying pan until golden on both sides and the fish is cooked.

Serve with potato mash, a little additional melted and clarified butter to pour over, lemon wedges and fennel salad

Fennel and grapefruit salad (4 portions)
2 ruby grapefruit, peeled and segmented
1 head of fennel, very thinly sliced
0.5 red onion, finely chopped
200 g salad leaves like spinach
1 lemon, juiced
1 tsp coarse mustard
1 tsp honey
1 tsp olive oil
pinch of salt
pinch of black pepper

First make the salad dressing by mixing lemon juice, mustard, honey, olive oil, salt and pepper

Add grapefruit, fennel, red onion and salad leaves to a bowl. Dress the salad.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Chicken stew with wild mushrooms and herb roasted potato wedges

Growing up I hated to go out picking mushrooms and berries in the forest. I couldn't think of anything more boring. The fact that I would usually get lost as well didn't help. Still, to have a freezer full of treasures like chanterelles is an amazing thing. When I came back from Sweden after Christmas I got lots of chanterelles from my mum. My grandmother makes an amazing chicken stew with chanterelles and morels that inspired this recipe.

If you're not lucky enough to have a mum giving you wild mushrooms, you can find canned and dried wild mushrooms in well-stocked grocery stores and delicatessen. The great cafe/store Scandinavian kitchen on Great Titchfield street usually also have canned chanterelles. If you haven't been there, I really recommend it. They've got the sweetest staff, and always have lots of tasty Scandinavian sandwiches and cakes. I have to admit though that I mostly go there to feed my addiction to salty liquorice...

Chicken stew with wild mushrooms and herb roasted potato wedges (4 portions)
400 g chicken fillets, cut in 2 x 2 cubes
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
4-5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
200 g smoked bacon, finely chopped
200 g frozen black chanterelles (thanks mum!)
200 g chanterelles, canned
200 g morels, canned
5 juniper berries, crushed
1 tbsp blackcurrant jelly or jam
1 tbsp dried thyme
1 tbsp light soy sauce
2 dl half-fat creme fraiche
2 dl milk
olive oil
salt and pepper

Herb roasted potato wedges
1 kg potatoes, peeled and cut in wedges
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tbsp coarse salt
1 tbsp dried thyme
1 tbsp dried rosemary
1 tsp black pepper
olive oil

Preheat the oven to 200-225C.

Add the potato wedges to a large oven tray, drizzle with olive oil.

Add the garlic, herbs, salt and pepper and mix so that the wedges are covered by oil and spices.

Roast in the oven for 20-30 min. After 10 -15 min, turn the potato wedges to make sure they'll get nice and golden on all sides.

While the potatoes are roasting, make the chicken stew.

Add the chicken to a frying pan, add salt and pepper and brown the chicken

Saute onions, garlic and bacon for a couple of minutes in a large pot.

Add the mushrooms and fry for a couple of more minutes before adding all the other ingredients including the chicken.

Cook on medium heat for 15-20 min.

Add soy sauce, salt and pepper to taste.

Broccoli soup with chili omelette

This is a very easy soup, with a beautiful light green colour that almost feel a bit like spring. I made this soup after a long walk on Hampstead heath in glorious sunshine. There are times I really question why I moved to London, but then there are days like this past Sunday, when it's 10C and sunshine and green grass in January, and you can walk up to Parliament hill and see the amazing view of one of the greatest cities in the world, when I really remember why I love London so much.

Anyhow, the combination of broccoli, garlic and nutmeg in this soup is a classic, and it's lovely with an addition of a strong cheese like Stilton or Parmesan, but I wanted to give a bit of a twist. If you're a chili fiend like me, you want to add that kick to almost everything, here I added into an omelette topping and also sprinkled a little extra on top.

Broccoli soup with chili omelette (4-5 portions)
2 heads of broccoli, chopped
1 large yellow onion, chopped
5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 cubes of chicken or vegetable stock
1 dl half-fat creme fraiche
freshly grated nutmeg
salt and pepper

Saute the onions and garlic for a couple of minutes in large pot on medium heat. Add the broccoli and barely cover the vegetables with water and add the stock.

Cook for 10-15 min until the broccoli just become soft. Pour of half of the water into a container

Blend the soup, and add the creme fraiche. If necessary add more of the reserved cooking water.

Add grated nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste. I think I added around 0.5 tsp nutmeg, how much to add is really a question on your view on nutmeg. My dad hates it, but I quite like it.

Chili omelette
4 eggs
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1-2 red chillies, finely chopped
5 spring onions, finely chopped
oil or butter

Beat the eggs with the water and soy sauce.

Fry the spring onions and chili for a couple of minutes in a frying pan on high heat.

Add the eggs and cook the omelette until golden on both sides.

Cut the omelette in strips and add to the soup.

If you like, sprinkle some additional chili and spring onions onto the soup.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Corn and blueberry pancakes/fritters with bacon

I had a great start to the weekend, first I went for a run at my new gym (yeah, exercise is another new years resolution...) and then I made these corn and blueberry fritters for brunch whilst watching my favourite weekend TV show, Saturday kitchen live. These fritters/pancakes were inspired by a visit to Providores , a fantastic tapas and brunch restaurant in Marylebone. After reading lots of reviews raving about their brunch, I went there together with my sister and brother-in-law last year. We went there early, and that was lucky because 5 min after they've opened the door, the place was crammed. Anyhow, there I had a similar dish and I loved it. I already do make quite a lot of corn fritters (usually for lunch or dinner, with chili and spring onions added to the batter instead of blueberries), I love sweet corn in most forms. The exception is probably in ice cream. I tried it in Vietnam, where another popular flavour is new/green rice, and to me it was a bit weird.

I had the corn and blueberry pancakes with crispy smoked bacon and some watercress, spinach and rocket salad, and a raspberry smoothie. Bliss.

Have a great weekend everyone, and if you read and enjoy the blog, please leave a comment. I had a look at the blog stats, and was happily surprised to see that there are people from all over the world that have visited the blog, and a lot more views than I expected. So don't be shy, say hi, and let me know what you think of the recipes.

Corn and blueberry pancakes/fritters with bacon (4 portions)
300 g corn (I used canned corn, but you can use fresh and boil the kernels before use)
2 dl flour
0.5 tsp baking powder
0.5 tsp salt
2 eggs, beaten
1 dl sour cream
300 g fresh or frozen blueberries (I used the fresh ones, if you use frozen the fritters will become more blue in colour as the frozen berries tend to bleed more juices into the mix)

Blend the corn into a coarse mash

Stir flour, baking powder and salt together. Add the eggs and sour cream and stir together

Add the corn mash to the batter and stir until smooth.

Add the blueberries and carefully fold them into the batter.

Melt butter in a large frying pan and drop large spoonfuls of batter into the pan. Fry the fritters until golden on both sides.

Serve with crispy bacon and salad. A mango salsa with fresh mango, tomatoes and spring onions would be nice too.

Raspberry smoothie (2 glasses)
1 dl frozen or fresh raspberries
2 oranges, juiced
1 red grapefruit, juiced

Blend the fruit juices with the raspberries. This smoothie is a bit sour and bitter, if you got a sweet tooth, use just oranges.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Salmon fish cakes with beetroot salad

I had a food production day the other day. I try to bring in lunch every day at work, and I don't really have the time and energy to cook something new every night for my lunch, so I do mass production instead. To not get bored with eating the same thing for weeks, I try to make a couple of different dishes, preferably food that can be easily varied. I do a lot of different fish cakes, and chicken or lamb burgers, because then I can freeze them in portions and eat with different types of salads, roasted vegetables, in bread, with pasta...

As almost everyone I know, I have vowed to try to be healthier this year (no more pizza for me...). One thing that is very healthy, easy to make, tasty, and dirt cheap, is salads with grated root vegetables. This type of salad is one of my staple foods during the winter, and is easy to vary by additions of nuts, chili, herbs, and fruits. A larger batch will survive for 2-3 days in the fridge. The addition of fruit juices keeps it nice and moist, and makes it unnecessary to add any sauce to the fish cakes. The only negative thing is doing all the grating, I recommend investing in a food processor. It saves time and your knuckles.

Salmon fish cakes (4-5 portions)
400 g salmon, skin and boneless
0.5 dl salt
0.5 dl sugar
2 potatoes, boiled and mashed
0.5 red onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp grainy mustard
1-2 tbsp capers
l lemon, juice and zest
salt and pepper

I like to first cure the salmon for 20-30 min, I think it improves the texture and taste. Rub in the mixture of salt and sugar on both sides of the fish and let it rest for 20-30 min in room temperature or in the fridge.

Fry the fish in a hot pan and let it cool.

Mash up the fish and mix together with potatoes, onion, capers, mustard and lemon. Taste, and add pepper and salt.

Form small fish cakes and fry on both sides in a hot pan until golden.

Grated beetroot salad (2 large portions)
4 medium-sized carrots, grated
2 large beetroots, grated
2 apples, grated
3 spring onions, finely chopped,
1 orange, juice
1 lime, zest and juice
1 chili, finely chopped
1 tsp honey
salt and pepper, a pinch of each

Mix everything together and let stand for 10-15 min before serving to let the flavours blend.

Curried parsnip soup with apples and chickpeas

I know that is not that long ago since I posted a recipe for parsnip soup, but I love parsnips so here is different one. That parsnips are very cheap at the moment is also a bonus if you like me need to save a bit of money.

Curried parsnip soup with apples and chickpeas (4 portions)
1 kg parsnips, peeled and chopped
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
1/2 large leek, white part finely chopped
5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tbsp dried thyme
1 tbsp dried marjoram
0.5 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp mild curry
1 tbsp honey
a pinch of chili flakes
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 cubes of chicken or vegetable stock
1-2 dl of half-fat creme fraiche or single cream
olive oil
salt and pepper

2 apples, chopped
1 can of chickpeas
1/2 large leek, green part finely chopped
2 tsp mild curry powder
juice from half a lemon
salt and pepper

Saute the yellow onion, white part of the leek and garlic on medium heat together with the spices for a couple of minutes.

Add the parsnips, vinegar and honey and saute for a couple of more minutes.

Add stock cubes and cover with water. Cook for around 15 min until the parsnips are soft.

Blend the soup until smooth and add creme fraiche or cream. Also add more water if necessary.

Add salt and pepper to taste. The soup should be mild and delicate.

Drain the chickpeas and fry together with apples, the sliced green part of the leek and curry for a couple of minutes in a little oil. Squeeze over lemon and add a pinch of salt and pepper.

Serve the soup topped with the curried apples, chickpeas and leeks.

Happy new year!

Above is a picture of one of the fantastic courses served at my sister's husband's birthday/their wedding. This is by far one of the most memorable meals from 2010, for many reasons, gorgeous food, family, fun, it can't get much better. I hope that 2011 will bring even more fantastic meals and occasions.

So sorry for the lack of posts during December, I've been ill. busy at work, and when I've been cooking it hasn't been very successful. Never have I burnt so much in our oven as during the past month... Luckily I managed to get home to Sweden for Christmas and gorge myself on all my favourite Swedish food like sour milk (instead of yoghurt for breakfast), Swedish cheeses, deer and reindeer, and of course my beloved salty liquorice, for a week. I also managed to eat this:

Swedish pizza!!! Yeah, I know, might sound weird to be excited by pizza in Sweden as it's not exactly a Swedish dish.... There is a lot of immigrants from former Yugoslavia in Sweden, and for some reason many opened pizza restaurants. There is lot of crazy combinations (peanuts and banana anyone?), and you can find a pizzeria almost everywhere you go. I always have to have at least one when I go home, the one above is one of my favourites with prawns, ham, peppers and curry. Truth be told I don't love just Swedish pizza, I love almost all pizza. What a brilliant idea, take thin bread, add everything nice and cover with cheese, it can't get much better!

Anyhow, as we've now started a new year, I think it is appropriate for me to give a couple of food blogging new years resolution.

First, I will cook more and try to update the blog twice a week.

Secondly, I will try to also write about the food I eat when I go out. There are so many great places to eat in London, and I really should try more. The greatest problem is usually trying to remember to take a picture of the food before I eat it..., a difficult task when you're hungry and greedy :)

Finally, have a happy 2011 and hope you all will have time to enjoy more meals with great company!