Monday, 27 February 2012

Broccoli garlic dip

Reading a recent post on Picki picki about broccoli side dishes reminded me of a broccoli dip/spread/sauce I used to do quite frequently last year, and I made it again last weekend. I use it as a spread on fresh bread, or as a dip for carrots when I'm trying to be healthy (while conveniently forgetting the fact there is quite a bit of cheese in the dip), or I stir it into pasta for a quick dinner.

The dip can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for a couple of days but loose some of its vibrant green colour.

Broccoli garlic dip
1 medium-sized heads of broccoli
1 lemon, juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
3-4 tbsp olive oil
100 g parmesan, grated
a pinch of chili flakes
salt and pepper

Cook the broccoli florets in lightly salted water for 2-3 min.

Drain the water and mix the broccoli with the other ingredients. I use a stick blender to do this.

Add salt and pepper to taste


And since that was such a quick recipe, you now have time to see Peacock, a lovely film with a fanatastic performance by Cillian Murphy :)

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Korean spare ribs

This weekend I have done nothing but cooking, walking in the sunshine (really felt like spring this weekend!), and streamed a lot of TV shows. Had a bit of catching up to do after holiday in Thailand (hot and sunny and white beaches and amazing food and quality time with my parents = great holiday). I'm quite addicted to shows like Vampire Diaries and Secret Circle. I know, I know, I am 36 years and watch teenage TV soaps about vampires and witches... What can I say, they're my guilty pleasures. I had brought my work laptop home, but, as usual, I haven't even taken it out of the bag yet. As it's now 8 pm, I'm guessing it will stay in the bag until tomorrow....

Anyhow, I love Korean food like bulgogi, bibimbap and kimchi, and luckily there are some nice, and cheap Korean restaurants in London, like the 3 or 4 restaurants on St Giles street and there is also a good one on Finchley road, Seoul. This weekend I decided to try to cook something Korean myself, and Korean spare ribs sounded like a good idea. I've actually never cooked spare ribs in my life, strange in a way because I love good sticky and tender ribs, and decided it was a good project for a weekend. I read a few recipes online, and from them made up my own.

First I had to go to Camden to get the spare ribs at Morrison's. Here in the UK I hardly ever see spare ribs at my usual Sainsbury's or Waitrose store, but Morrison's, another chain of grocery stores, often have good butcher and fish monger sections in their stores. I know, I should have gone to a proper butcher, but that felt like to much hassle. Easier to jump on the 274 to Camden... Coming back from Camden I went up to Finchley road, and went to an Asian supermarket, Natural natural, that's next to Waitrose. It's quite a small shop, and for anyone who wants a larger variety of Asian/Korean products, I would recommend going up to K-mart in Golders green instead. Anyhow, I got Asian pears, kimchi, and gochujang, a Korean hot red pepper paste, I needed and then went home to cook.

This recipe takes some time, but it is not labour intensive as most of the time is due to marinating or cooking the ribs. And believe me, it is so worth the time, because the ribs are amaaaaazing!!!! The ribs were so tender that the meat was almost falling of the bones, and covered with a sticky, hot and sweet glaze.

I served the ribs with kimchi and a coleslaw with lime and sweet chili, which was so good it really deserves a post of its own but is included here anyway. My mum makes a similar coleslaw, and it goes really well with any kind of barbecued meats.

Though how I ever thought that sticky ribs would be good as lunch box food I don't really know. Better bring some wet wipes with me to work tomorrow....

Korean spare ribs (serves 4)
2 racks of pork spare ribs (approx 2 kg)

1 Asian pear, finely chopped (in all honesty, I think any large ripe juicy pear would do)
0.5 dl sesame seeds, toasted and ground
10 garlic cloves, minced
1 dl light soy sauce
0.5 dl brown sugar
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp mirin (rise wine)
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
3 tbsp gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste)
7 cm ginger, grated
1 tbsp sesame oil

Cooking liquid
5-7 dl water
5 star anise

2 cm ginger, grated

0.5 dl sesame seeds, toasted
3 spring onions, finely chopped

250 g white cabbage, shredded
250 g red cabbage, shredded
5 spring onions, finely chopped
4 apples, grated (I used medium-sized Cox apples)
250 g Greek yoghurt (half a large pot, approx 2.5 dl)
2 lime, zest and juice
2 tbsp sweet chili sauce
1 bunch coriander, finely chopped
Salt and pepper

Toast the sesame seeds for the marinade and for serving in a dry pan. Ground half of the seeds to a coarse powder using a pestle and mortar

Score the ribs so that they can absorb more of the marinade

Mix all ingredients for the marinade together

Cover the ribs with the marinade, and leave in the fridge overnight. I think it's easiest to marinate the ribs in a large sealable plastic bag. Turn the ribs over a couple of times to make sure that all sides gets marinated properly.

Transfer the ribs with the marinade to a deep oven tray. Add the water and star anise and cover the tray with aluminium foil.

Cook for 1.5-2 h at 150C, until the ribs are tender

Combine all the ingredients for the coleslaw in a large bowl and let marinate in the fridge while the ribs cook.

Transfer the ribs to a plate, and pour the cooking liquid through a sieve and into a clean pot.

Heat up the oven to 250C or turn on the grill to its highest setting

Reduce down the cooking liquid to a sticky consistency, then add 2 cm grated ginger

Put the ribs on the grid of an oven tray. Brush on a thick layer of the glaze.

Cook the ribs in the oven/grill for 5-10 min. Watch the ribs carefully to make sure they don't burn!

Sprinkle the ribs with toasted sesame seeds and spring onions, and serve with the coleslaw and kimchi.


Here's something for you to listen to while cooking, Fujiyama Mama by Wanda Jackson, queen of rockabilly.

Swedish semlor

I'm baaaack!!!

Hi and merry Christmas and Happy New Years and long time no see. So, I decided to continue. I do like blogging about food, but I might add a post or two about other stuff too.

First out is a recipe for semlor (semla sing, semlor pl), a cardamon flavoured sweet bun filled with almond paste and whipped cream, traditionally eaten on Shrove's day, or, as it's called in Sweden, Fat Tuesday. Here in the UK the tradition is to eat pancakes on this day, usually with lemon and sugar. Really tasty too, but almost nothing beats a semla. Fat Tuesday was this week, but I hadn't time to bake then and therefore baked this weekend instead.

The other reason I decided to bake semlor is that it reminds me of home. My grandma always makes here own, usually smaller than the one's you find at the bakeries, and with her homemade slightly chunky almond paste. I thought a lot about my grandparents and family during the past weeks, as my granddad has been very ill and sadly passed away a couple of days ago. Sometimes it is very hard being an expat, you never feel more far away than on occasions like this.

Anyhow, I used a basic semla recipe, but I tweaked it a bit by adding more cardamon and changing the filling slightly. Here in the UK, you can't find mandelmassa, a less sweet almond paste compared to marzipan, and I like my filling to really taste of almonds and be a bit chunkier, like my grandma's, so I added chopped almonds to it.

The result was delicious, so delicious I had more than two. The exact number will however remain a secret as it's slightly embarrassing. In particular as I still managed to eat a full dinner....

Semlor (12 buns)
7.5 dl strong wheat flour
25 g dried yeast
0.75 dl sugar
2 tsp ground cardamon
a pinch of salt
100 g butter
2.5 dl milk
1 egg, beaten

200 g marzipan or mandelmassa
150 g chopped almonds
0.5 dl milk or cream

5 dl whipped cream

Mix flour, yeast, sugar, cardamon, and salt together in a large bowl

Melt the butter, add the milk and warm to 40C, slightly hotter than finger temperature

Add the butter and milk to the flour mix, stir together to a dough.

Knead the dough for a couple of minuter, add more flour if necessary.

Leave the dough in the bowl, covered with a tea towel, to rise for 45 min

Divide the dough into 12 pieces, roll each to a small bun, and place on a buttered oven tray.

Cover with a tea towel and leave to raise for another 30 min

Brush the buns with egg wash

Bake for 10-15 min in the middle of the oven at 225C

Remove from the hot oven tray and let the buns cool down

To make the filling, coarsely grate the marzipan (this is easiest to do if you first leave it in the freezer for 30 min) and mix together with the chopped almonds and milk.

Whip the cream, it should still be a little loose

Cut of a thin lid from the buns. Scoop out a hole in the middle of the bun, this additional bread can be added to the almond paste if you like (I usually don't bother...).

Add the almond paste to the bun, and also add a generous amount of whipped cream. Place the lid on top. If you like, sprinkle the lid with icing sugar (I didn't have any at home, and don't think it's really necessary).