Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Double Up on Lemony Goodness

*Taps mic*

So nice to see you again! Admittedly, it's a bit rich to celebrate the anniversary of a blog you hardly update, but 5 years is 5 years all the same - hooray! It's been 5 years since I stopped my food column at the Copenhagen Post for the reasons anybody else who's ever worked for them will easily understand, and started sharing my culinary adventures here. And also so people reading my regular blog wouldn't get sick of all the food pics. Alas, as time has shown, I had naught to worry. :)

So, in light of this joyous occasion, I have two, count 'em two, lemon cake recipes to share with you that will both delight and tickle your tastebuds. There's just something special about lemony sweets, isn't there?

The first lemon cake recipe is somewhat of a Danish joke. Not because it's a bad cake, it's just a cake that most people never make themselves, rather preferring to buy it vacuum packed at the local discount supermarket. And the Danish police are supposed to have a certain weak spot for this very cake, to be enjoyed during breaks with a cup of institutional coffee served in plastic cups. You get the gist. Bit of a shame, really, since the real deal is easy to make, and so delicious and satisfying. 

I give you - Citronmåne (Lemon Moon) 
You'll need:
Zest of 1.5 lemons (preferably organic)
1 generous tbsp lemon juice
200 grams butter, cut in smaller pieces
200 grams sugar
100 grams marcipan, grated
5 eggs
150 grams flour
1 tsp baking powder
3-4 dl. powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 175 C. Whisk the butter and sugar together, preferably with an electric handmixer, adding the marcipan when they're mixed well. Now add the eggs, one at a time. Add the zest of one lemon. Mix the flour and baking powder well in a separate bowl before folding it into the butter/sugar/egg mix. 
Grease a round 24 cm. cake pan, and sprinkle with flour or breadcrumbs before pouring in the dough. Smooth the top of the cake before placing it in the middle of the oven for a good 40 minutes bake time. When the cake is done, let it cool completely down before taking it out of the pan and placing it on the dish you'll be serving it on. 
For the icing, mix the powdered sugar into the tbsp of lemon juice, a little at a time until you've got a thick, smooth mixture. Smooth over your cake, and sprinkle with the rest of the zest. 

If this were to pass as a real Danish citronmåne, as described above, with vacuum wrap, bad coffee and cops, you'd serve the cake by the half. Like a half moon. Whatevs. Just eat the damn thing, and try to share as much of it as possible, or you will eat it all by yourself.

For my next lemon cake trick, I present to you the Swedish version of a mud cake. With lemons instead of chocolate. So not really a mud cake, but with the same gooey denseness going on. Even if you overbake it. Which we did. No matter. It is GOOD. It is TART. It tastes like MOAR. You'll have to forego a pic on this one, we ate it too fast, but you can check out the Swedish recipe for one if you like, and enjoy the readers' own pictures. 

Syrlig citronkladdkaka (Tart lemon sticky cake)

You'll need: 
1 large lemon
150 grams of butter
2 large eggs
2.5 dl sugar
1 tsp vanilla sugar
1.5 dl flour

Preheat the oven to 150 C. Grease and flour a 20 cm. cake pan. Melt the butter and let cool. Grate and juice the lemon. Mix the egg and sugar together until white, light, and fluffy. Turn the handmixer on low and add the vanilla sugar, the lemon zest and juice. Add the butter and flour, mix well, and pour the mixture into the pan. 

Bake 30-40 minutes in the center of the oven. 

That's it. Super easy. Super good. And super tart, so don't be timid, and serve this with a helping of fat, either sour cream or whipped cream.  

For people with gluten intolerance, without having tried it, I'm pretty confident that almond flour would do really well with these two recipes, so have at it!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Eat Your Weeds aka Ground Elder Fritters (Danish: Skvalderkålfrikadeller)

The high beds in my coop's yard are a mess. But as it turns out - an edible mess.
My own small squares I've spent years weeding, adding the odd perennial and ground cover, but the plots furthest from mine haven't been tended to in ages. Not a bad deal actually. 
Yesterday, I fell over this recipe while googleing "ground elder recipes". It sounded easy, delicious, and the fact that Noma was mentioned didn't repel me, to say the least.  

I ran up to our apartment to grab my trusty foraging basket, and went to town on the neighbor's weeds. I figured they didn't need them anyway. 
Do please note that the basket is placed among my own ineble geraniums. I'd suggest google imaging ground elder yourself until you feel comfortable identifying them in the wild...

A whole basket took about 15 minutes to gather. And I only took the youngest, shiniest leaves, leaving as much stem as possible behind. A basketful like the one shown here is about 100 grams. The perfect amount for this particular dish. I forgot outright to put shallots in it, and I was feeding a gluten intolerant guest last night, so I left out the breadcrumbs and wheat flour, opting for cauliflower and cornmeal instead. Worked like a charm. 

The list of ingredients, in full:
100 g. (or a basketful) young ground elder leaves
2 eggs
1 cup cauliflower florets
3 heaping tablespoons cornmeal
50 grams of feta cheese
1 small handful shredded mozzarella

Blend all the ingredients BUT the mozzarella in a food processor. 
Stir the mozzarella in with a spoon just before frying.
Fry in batches of 5-6 on a skillet in veggie oil. 
I used a tablespoon to measure my dollops, I was afraid they'd fall apart if they were bigger. 
It worked out pretty well as you can see!

They were really tasty, even (some of) the kids liked it! :)
I will be out foraging for more soon, hoping to use them in lieu of spinach on a pizza or something - I'll let y'all know!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Norwegian Cinnamon Rolls

For some reason, I only make these about once every two years or so, when I invite a few folks over for a brunch - usually folks with small children who don't get out that much. Remind me to make them more often! 

They look fabulous as part of a brunch buffet - take a look below! And they're easier to make than you'd think. They're also not quite as sweet and sticky as they look. Not to mean they're not good, no no, it's just that they can double as a breakfast roll any day, instead of being relegated to being "weekend only". Yay, right?

Nigella's Norwegian Cinnamon Rolls, from How to Be a Domestic Goddess

600 g. flour
100. g. sugar (I use raw cane)
.5 tsp salt
45 g. yeast.
100 g. butter
4 dl. milk
2 eggs

150 g. soft, butter (unsalted, if you have)
150 g. sugar
1.5 tsk cinnamon
1 egg for brushing
1 baking tin, 33 x 24 cm or thereabouts, lined with baking paper.

Pre-heat your oven to 230 Celsius.
Mix your flour, sugar, salt, and yeast in a large bowl. Melt the butter and whisk it with the milk and eggs, before adding to the dry ingredients.
Knead the dough until it's smooth and elastic (I had to add a lot of flour during this part). Form the dough to a big ball and let it raise in an oil coated bowl for about 25 minutes. Cover the bowl with cling film.
Take about one third of the raised dough, and roll it out to a rectangle the same size as the bottom of your pan. Now, take the remaining 2/3 of your dough and roll it out to a rectangle of roughly 50 x 25 cm. This is where you mix the filling ingredients well, and spread the mixture out evenly, covering the whole of the dough rectangle. Roll the dough to one long "snake", starting from the long side. Slice 20 pieces, about 2 cm each. Place them cut side up on top of the dough covered bottom of the tin - don't worry about appearances. Brush the beaten egg on top, and let these sit for about 15 minutes, to raise a bit more before baking.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until they're all big and fluffy, and smooshed together, just like in the picture. They might be a bit brown on the top - no matter! Let them cook just a tad before serving. Keep away from 7 yr. old boys if you want more than 1 for yourself. I'm speaking from experience.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Gluten Free Bread - the best and easiest recipe yet!

My mom visits us twice a year or so, and for the past few years, she's been getting more and more gluten-intolerant. She used to eat clean at home and then splurge a little when she came here - she is a Dane by birth, and loves her some rugbrød, but as she quickly discovered, that sent her health for a whirl so...clean it is, home or not.

She usually schleps a small larder of gluten-free müsli, crackers, and whatnot, but when I tried this recipe myself at some friends', I knew that gluten-free baking was totally doable, so I get to add a little variety to my mom's fare when she's here - yay!

This recipe does require a few different ingredients, but when you have them in your pantry, they should last a few rounds. These rolls, I guess you could call them, are really delicious and filling, crispy on the outside, soft and slightly chewy on the inside. They are quite the health bomb (ok, there's a bit of oil here too, but no refined anything to make up for it!), and they really dress up a breakfast or lunch table. Just look at these beauts!

Gluten Free Bread Rolls

50 g fresh yeast
8 dl lukewarm water
1 tsp raw cane sugar
1 tsp salt
8 tsp psyllium husks
1 dl sunflower oil
2 dl sunflower seeds
2 dl flax seeds
2 dl sesame seeds
2 dl oatmeal or millet
circa 2 dl corn/buckwheat/millet flour (pick one, it doesn't have to be a mix)
circa 3 dl rice flour (I use fullgrain)

-Dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm water, and add the oil, sugar, and salt, as you stir.
-Add the other ingredients one by one, stirring all the while. It looks a lot like porridge. The psyllium husks do absorb a lot of the water, so only add enough of the rice flour to keep it porridgy, not too solid. 
-Let the mixture (calling it dough proper would be a bit much) raise for about 30 minutes, preferably in a warm spot.-"Spoon" the mixture onto a baking sheet, and bake for about 25 minutes at 200 Celsius. 
Enjoy warm, with buttah!

You can easily replace one of the seed types if you don't have any on hand - I used pumpkin seeds once, in lieu of the sesame, and I added chia seeds instead of flaxseed. This recipe is really versatile that way. I even used chickpea flour when I was a little low on corn flour - tasted just as great. An added bonus was using these rolls for some gluten-free French toast for my mom, so she didn't have to miss out. Just slice these up thinly, and dip in egg as per usual. Really good, and filling!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

A Split-Pea Soup to End All Split-Pea Soups

One of my New Year's projects was to (is still to) get rid of old stuff. I had a whole stack of old foodie magazines hogging precious cookbook shelf space, and decided once and for all to peruse them for the good recipes to cut out and save, and chuck the rest. My eyes fell (and feasted) on an otherwise inconspicuous recipe for split-pea soup. Split-peas in any form aren't something I grew up with, in fact I can't recall my mom ever making them. Scandinavia on the other hand, has a thing for split-pea soup. Yellow split-pea soup. They call it simply, pea soup (ærtesuppe). I first got real close and personal with it in Finland, when I lived there for that dark, cold semester. Hernekeitto is the national dish every Thursday. Thursday is simply pea soup day, and every Finnish restaurant and cafeteria with any self-respect serves just that on that day. I admit, I liked it, but it's also a notorious dish that people love to hate, indluding my mother-in-law! And I can understand why. The soup is normally heavy on the peas, making it really thick, almost pasty, and this is especially how it turns when people by the packages of "just add water" pea soup. Paste is not, and will never be soup, so folks who like that kind of thing can keep it for themselves. Yuck!

But this recipe will change that. I'm convinced that this soup can make a split-pea soup lover out of anyone. I think the winning aspects of this soup are the "hiddenness" of the peas, and the mighty fine chunks of yummy veg (and bacon, if you add that). I tried it on my husband and kids yesterday. Kids ate everything (under pressure, admittedly), husband loved it. Will serve it to my MIL and get back to you on that one :)


250 g. split-peas, preferably yellow
2 bay leaves
3 carrots, in small cubes
2 parsnip, or parsley root, in small cubes
3 large potatoes, in small cubes
3 medium onions, diced or sliced as you like
3 sprigs of thyme, or 2 tsp dried
apple cider vinegar to taste
salt and pepper ditto

First off, boil your peas and bay leaves in ample water to cover them, roughly 45 min. Drain afterward, discard the bay leaves, and set aside for the time being.
Now, sauter you onions in some butter and oil, when they're soft, add all your cubed veggies, and 1 liter of water on top of that. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 10 minutes. When you've done that, drain the veggie water on top of you peas, and blitz away until it's all smooth and soupy, mine was pretty watery too, which is fine, because you won't get that characteristic pea-pastyness. Add your veggies to your peas, and put your thyme in as well. Let bubble for a bit, and when you're about ready to eat, season with apple cider vinegar, and salt and pepper. Note that you might need quite a bit of salt, I did in any case.

Notes: this recipe serves 4.
Also, I added about 4-5 slices of thick, diced bacon. I sautered it with the onions, until the onions were soft, and the bacon was glistening. So, leave out the bacon, you have a very tasty vegan dinner.
The original recipe called for a fennel bulb, diced, which I didn't have, so had to make do without. I can only imagine it will be tastier with, if you're into that sort of thing.

Enjoy with fresh bread like we did!

Monday, December 10, 2012

White Chili

One could ask why a "white" chili never occured to one before. Alas I'm afraid the answer is simply - "convention". Chili has simply never been "white". It's been beefy, beef-less, beany, bean-less, groundbeefed, cubed beefed, with or without chocolate, but always always with that dark tomato-ey base to set off the other ingredients.

Recently, perusing teh interwebs, I landed on this recipe, which opened my eyes to the possibility of something different, something unchartered (in my kitchen at least!) in the ways of chili. It had to be tried. And it was good! Really really good, in fact!

I did wing it a bit - for example I didn't use chicken broth, and I only had one can of green chillies, which didn't turn out to be a problem. Try this soon, you'll really enjoy it. Next time, I'll be using quorn instead, to make this vegetarian.

  • 500 g. boneless chicken breasts, cubed
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 cups white beans, soaked overnight
  • veggie broth - however much you need to cover everything up. 
  • 1 can chopped green chilies
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup cream

  • In a large saucepan, saute the chicken, onion and garlic powder in oil until chicken is no longer pink. Add the beans, broth, chilies and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. I used a pressure cooker, because I hadn't had time to pre-soak the beans. It took a little longer, but I think it lifted the overall dish. The chicken seemed extra tender because of it. Or maybe I'm imagining things!
  • Remove from the heat; stir in sour cream and cream. Serve with rice for an extra hearty meal. 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Zesty Borscht with Sour Cream and Veggie "Bacon"

Looking back at my last post - this one is right on time. :)

This is a recipe I used to make about twice a month. For some reason, it fell out of rotation - time to make amends!

This traditionally Russian red beet soup is made for this very season. Not so much the holiday season, more like the season where long lasting root vegetables abound. The selleriac, carrots, and beets all lend such a welcome sweet flavour that's balanced out by the tartness of the vinegar and the subtle smokiness of the veggie "bacon" - that is, dehydrated kale with a sprinkling of salt and smoked paprika (or chipotle powder, whatevs). I made it a day ahead for some strange reason (I'm usually never that prepared), and the flavors were even better for it. We had an unexpected dinner guest yesterday, who love-love-loved this soup, so you don't just have my word for it.

Borscht with Sour Cream and Veggie "Bacon"

2 medium onions, peeled and chopped
5 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
1/4 selleriac, peeled and grated
5 medium-large carrots, grated
1 lb. beets, peeled and grated
3 bay leaves
1 tsp whole caraway ground
2 tsp fennel seeds, ground
pinch cayenne
2 tbsp veggie boullion powder
1+ liter water
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp wine vinegar
salt, pepper to taste

Sauter the onion and garlic until soft, add the grated veggies until they start to go soft. Add your spices, boullion, water, and sugar. Let bubble gently on the stove for about 45 minutes. Add the vinegar, and season more to taste (this is the part where I admit that it was a bit on the bland side, so I added a bit of say sauce, worcestershire sauce, miso, and a darker, thicker balsamico before I was ready to serve this puppy).

Veggie "Bacon"  

Wash and thoroughly dry a bunch of kale. Separate the thick stalks from the leaves and discard. Roughly chop the leaves, and massage them with a few tbsp of olive oil. Spread out on a baking tray, and sprinkle liberally with smoked paprika (or chipotle powder), and salt. Dry/bake anywhere from 15-30 minutes in a low-medium heat oven. The higher the temp, the more vigilant you must be. The kale is done when it's bright green, crisp, and crunchy. The sooner it's eaten the better, it gets a little tough after  a while.

Serve your delicious beet soup piping hot with a dollop of sour cream (to make this vegan, use a dollop of soy yogurt instead) and a liberal sprinkling of you smoky veggie bacon.

* This version of red beet soup is inspired by the Borsjtj in Geniale Gryderetter, with a few amends, not in the least my veggie "bacon".