Friday, April 18, 2014

I heart halloumi

Halloumi on quinoa and spicy bell peppers.

This is the easiest dish ever and takes less than 20 minutes to prepare. An awesome meal for people who are completely exhausted by work when Easter arrives and who couldn't care less about sweating over the stove cooking together a complex meal. Yes, that's me right now! So...

1. You cook some quinoa according to instructions.
2. You chop up a small shallot and two handfuls of bell peppers.
3. You sautée the vegs and dust with cayenne pepper.
4. Then you brush both sides of halloumi cheese with oil and cook ca 4 min on both sides.

5. Then plate it all and dig in!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

A healthy, tasty weekend breakfast

Lots of color, lots of taste.

Oats fermented over night, combined with a milk-chia seed pudding in the morning and topped with dried cranberries. Heavenly!

A vitamin c-bomb: kiwi and black currant fruit salad.




Saturday, April 5, 2014

Quinoa salad with Asian flavors

This is far from bland.

As the winter disappeared, so did my need for heavier foods. I have been craving fresh and sharp flavors already for a while now and I have especially been wanting to make salads and soups with Asian flavors. 

After browsing lots of recipes online I realized that soy sauce alone was not going to cut it, but that I would have to invest in some basic condiments: rice vinegar, sesame oil and fish sauce. Luckily I still had some euros left on a gift card to the local health food store (such an awesome christmas present!), so I went and hauled the missing staples. Then I boiled some quinoa and chopped up colorful vegetables, whisked together a nice sauce and combined them all into this healthy dish. I'm hooked!


Asian style quinoa salad & dressing

I n g r e d i e n t s

For the salad:
-quinoa, boiled
-cucumber, sliced and quartered
-carrot, shredded
-red lettuce (or red cabbage), shredded or sliced to strips
-red bell pepper, cut to strips

For the sauce (for one serving of salad):
-1/2 dl (1/4 cup) soy sauce 
-1 tbsp rice vinegar
-1 tbsp sesame oil
-1 tbsp chopped cilantro
-1/2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
-1 tbsp sesame seeds
-a pinch of dried red pepper flakes
-salt and pepper to taste

I n s t r u c t i o n s

Sauce:
1. Combine all the ingredients in a glass and whisk together with a fork.

Salad
1. Rinse the quinoa and boil + drain.
2. Mix the chopped veggies and toss with the quinoa.
3. Pour the sauce over the quinoa and vegetables and mix.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Pumpkin seed pesto


Also known as leftover pesto.

I was trying to figure out what to do with some wilting basil, and thought I had the brightest idea when I remembered the existence of pesto. Then I realized I actually had neither pine nuts nor parmesan at my disposal, but instead of just settling for pistou (garlic, fresh basil, olive oil) I decided to go for some version of pesto anyway. 

Pine nuts were replaced by pumpkin seeds and the parmesan.. well, I just skipped that one, but seasoned heavily with rock salt. 

Dairy-free pumpkin seed pesto

I n g r e d i e n t s
A handful of fresh basil
A handful of pumpkin seeds
Ca 1/2 dl (less than 1/4 cup) olive oil (or until desired consistency is reached)
Salt to taste

I n s t r u c t i o n s
1. Mix everything together with a handheld mixer.

(I used the pesto picture from this post from last year, as I swapped photographing for eating after I was done with the mixing. Sorry about that!)

Monday, March 31, 2014

Asparagus Polonaise with a Finnish twist


Last week I bought the first asparagus of the year (mostly because "when it is spring, you kind of have to buy asparagus"), not really knowing what I would cook. I figured I could steam it and poach an egg for an easy dinner, but then I remembered seeing a recipe for Asparagus Polonaise in the Brunch-cookbook I have in my bookshelf. 

Polonaise requires white breadcrumbs, egg and herbs, and since I didn't have any white bread at hand, I substituted that with rye sourdough breadcrumbs. Ask any finn what they miss when they're abroad, and I'm pretty sure they will say rye bread. So, I guess this 15-minute dish can be called Finnish asparagus (or at least Polish Asparagus with a Finnish twist)!



Asparagus Finlandaise, serves one

I n g r e d i e n t s
1 hard boiled egg
4-5 stalks green asparagus
1 slice (sourdough) rye bread
a small handful fresh parsley
1-2 tbsp butter
salt
black pepper

I n s t r u c t i o n s
1. Peel the asparagus and cut off the "wooden" ends and rinse.
2. Boil the asparagus for 4-5 minutes in salted water.
3. While waiting for asparagus to boil: finely chop the boiled egg, parsley and bread crumbs. This can also be done the night before to save some time in the morning!
4. Melt butter in a saucepan, set half aside and lightly toast the breadcrumbs in what's left.
5. Mix the breadcrumbs with the parsley and egg. Season with salt and pepper.
6. Drain the asparagus and pat dry. (You can also dunk them in cold water first if you don't want to eat them warm.)
7. Plate the asparagus, cover the ends of the stalks with the crumb mix and drizzle with the leftover butter from step 4.

Enjoy!


Saturday, March 29, 2014

Lemon and vanilla ice cream with red currant coulis


Spring has definitely arrived, and that calls - of course - for ice cream! I have had this particular flavor combination on my mind for a while now and decided to try it out when my parents visited me today. I'm really happy with how it turned out, the flavors were perfect! This was an awesome start for ice cream season 2014!

I have previously made peanut butter, vanilla and honey-yogurt flavored ice creams, you can find them here. The recipes for this little piece of ice cream heaven along with the red berry coulis are found below. Try them out!



Lemon and vanilla ice cream

I n g r e d i e n t s

  • 2 dl (4/5 cups) full fat milk
  • 2 dl (4/5 cups) double cream
  • 80-100g (3.5 oz) sugar
  • 4-5 egg yolks
  • 1 gelatin sheet
  • 1 vanilla bean with seeds, split open 
  • zest of 1/2-1 lemon

I n s t r u c t i o n s

1. Pour milk and cream into a saucepan, scrape in vanilla seeds and also dunk in the vanilla beans along with half of the lemon zest. Bring to a boil, then immediately take the saucepan off the burner once the first bubble tries to emerge.

2. While waiting for the milk and cream mixture to heat up:1) mix egg yolks and sugar in a bowl until smooth and add the rest f the lemon zest 2) soak gelatin leaf in cold water


3. After heating up cream and milk:
Pour half of the milk and cream mixture in the bowl with the eggs and sugar. Mix well and pour everything back into the saucepan.


4. Simmer on low heat until the mixture thickens (takes ca 10-15 minutes). Stir every now and then. Do not boil!

5. Squeeze the gelatin sheet dry and mix in with the thickened mixture. Fish out the vanilla beans and throw away.

6. Refrigerate the entire mixture until completely cool. 

7. Freeze in ice cream maker according to instructions. Transfer to a dish with a lid, refrigerate for 1-2 hours before serving. 


Red berry coulis

I n g r e d i e n t s

-ca 2dl (ca 1 cup) tart red berries (I used frozen red currants. Cranberries or lingonberries would be fine too)
-1-2 tbsp caster sugar
-water

I n s t r u c t i o n s

1. Put berries in a sauce pan, sprinkle with sugar and cover (barely) with water.
2. Bring to a boil and reduce heat, simmer while constantly stirring untik the liquid is reduced by a third.
3. (Purée and) strain through a sieve.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Goat cheese and pea shoots - I never skip breakfast!

Do you ever find yourself in such a hectic week that even boiling water seems like a chore? That has been the case for me this week. But there's one thing I have a hard time neglecting...

A proper breakfast.

Today: goat cheese and pea shoots on toasted sourdough rye bread. Such a good combination!

Half a red grapefruit.

Strong coffee.





Monday, March 24, 2014

Quick breakfast beans on crusty bread

Kidney beans in tomato sauce on no-knead bread 
+ an (unfortunately) over-poached egg.

These beans are so much more than just... beans. Quickly cooked in tomato sauce and laced with balsamic - the result is awesome! Plus, it takes all of 7 minutes to put together, prep time and all. Perfect for any morning!

Breakfast beans with mediterranean flavors, serves 1

I n g r e d i e n t s
1/2 onion, finely chopped
cooked kidney beans
1/2 dl (less than 1/4 cup) water
1/2-1dl tomato paste
parsley and / or basil
1/2 tbsp balsamic
salt + pepper

I n s t r u c t i o n s
1. Sautée the onion.
2. Add the beans, tomato paste and water. Simmer for 2 minutes.
3. Add balsamic and herbs, simmer for 1-2 minutes.
4. Season with salt and pepper, serve on crusty bread.


Saturday, March 22, 2014

Thai Falafels with fresh yogurt sauce

For this post, an Instagram-pic will have to do, because my hunger and patience levels did not match last night when I plated this food. 

Let's see. Am I crossing the line when calling these creations falafels? Are they just vegetable patties? I got inspired by too many "let-me-make-some-modifications-to-falafel" -recipes, and got seriously diverted, so I don't know if I'm allowed to call these the f-word (haha) anymore. This should be pretty obvious already when comparing the traditional color (yellow-ish) to these ones (green), and the flavors differ quite a lot as well. 

That, of course, doesn't mean that they would be bad. Quite the contrary! These falafels turned out to be r-e-a-l-l-y satisfying thanks to the addition of ground sunflower seeds, so lots of veggie protein in these! 

Tastewise, there's enough kick to have the taste linger in your mouth for a while, but not too much to make you sweat. The sauce with cumin, carrot and lemon zest turned out incredibly fresh and went well with both avocado and the tasty falafels. Also, baking in the oven was successful, and it is a healthy alternative to deep frying. So all in all: a fantastic meal!

Very easy to make, but some type of food processor or blender is required. Unless you use gram flour (chickpea flour) and store bough nut/seed flour, of course.



I n g r e d i e n t s   &   I n s t r u c t i o n s

Thai Falafels

2 dl (ca 1 cup) cooked chickpeas
1 dl (less than half a cup) sun flower seeds
2 handfuls cilantro
1 small onion
3 cloves garlic
olive oil
seasoning to taste:
-a thai spice mix (or a combination of jeera, curry, paprika powder, anise, turmeric etc.)
-salt
(sesame seeds)

1. Sautee the onions and garlic. Purée. (Or in case of no blender, they need to be super finely chopped.)
2. Grind the sunflower seeds.
3. Purée cilantro and chickpeas. 
4. Combine 1-3 into a dough and season. If the mixture is too dry, add water or olive oil.
5. Roll dough into small balls, flip them in sesame seeds.
6. Place on baking sheet and bake in the oven at 200 C for ca 25 min, turning the falafels every 5-7 minutes.

Yogurt sauce

1.5 dl (slightly more than 1/2 cup) yogurt
zest of 1/3 lemon
1 tbsp cumin seeds, ground
1/2 big (or 1 small) carrot, grated
(a pinch of salt)

1. Put the grated carrot in a sieve and press until all the juice is gone.
2. Mix everything together and let sit in the fridge before serving. The longer the better. Overnight is ideal but even 1/2h brings out some flavor.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Gluten free fig and lemon cookies


Gluten free baking intimidates me. Actually, quite a few cooking-related things intimidate me, as I'm not overly experienced in the kitchen. I used to read a lot about different techniques and ingredients, but then I somehow never ended up trying them out. Well out with the old and in with the new, that's what this blog is for - and now I've successfully baked something gluten free!


These healthy cookies / biscuits were inspired by Minka (blog in finnish) and modified according to what I had at home. Plus I added some lemon zest, of course, as it is a current obsession of mine.

Easy gluten free 5+1 ingredient fig biscuits, 12 small crunchy pieces

I n g r e d i e n t s
4-6 large dried figs, chopped, hard tops removed
1 dl (< 1/2 cup) almond flour (or finely ground almonds)
1 tsp baking powder
1 egg
1-2 tbsp milk
(the zest of 1/3 or 1/4 lemon, acc. to taste and personal preference)

I n s t r u c t i o n s
1. Mix the flour and baking powder. Add in the chopped figs.
2. In another bowl, combine eggs and milk.
3. Mix the contents of bowls 1. and 2.
4. Roll the dough into 6 small balls and place on a baking sheet.
5. Bake for ca 15 minutes (until golden) at 175°C / 350°F.
6. Lower the temperature to 100°C / 215°F. Take the biscuits out of the oven and cut them in half  and put back into the oven.
7. Let the biscuits dry until crispy, ca 1.5 hours.
8. Let cool and store in a tightly sealed jar.