Sunday, August 31, 2014

The last day of summer

Nectarine in yogurt, nectarine in baked oatmeal. Coffee, of course, and a shot of cold pressed chokeberry juice.

During the summer I ate fresh peaches and nectarines for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack, without doing too many tricks with them. Now that stone fruit is soon out of season they seem to go better into baked dishes such as the one I enjoyed this morning. 

Baked nectarine & cinnamon oatmeal

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

No special tricks here. I halved a nectarine and popped it into a mixture of oatmeal, cinnamon, egg and milk. Baked it in the oven at 180°C (360°F) for about 20 minutes. You could also sprinkle brown sugar on top before baking to get a little bit of a sweet crust on top, but it's perfectly fine like this as well.

The other half went into a yogurt bowl together with some almonds. That works too.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Risotto with chanterelles and chives

Usually posts in a food blog start with a funny anecdote or a story relating to the food or the ingredients. Then the food is described with all the synonyms of "delicious". And credit is given where due.

I do this too.

But let's face it, when browsing food blogs I mostly look at the pictures. Except in Bev's blog. I always read the entire post in Bev's blog! Because not only is she a cooking wizard, she is a word wizard too.

Oh yea, look, here's a risotto I made the other night! Not inspired by anyone, but more so by the bright yellow mushrooms I bought on said night.

Risotto with chanterelles and chives

I n g r e d i e n t s (for one hungry or two less hungry persons)

  • 2 dl (1 cup) arborio rice
  • 6 dl (3 cups) of dry white wine and vegetable stock (always use at at least triple the volume of liquids in comparison to rice! I usually use ca 2 dl wine (1cup) and the rest is stock)
  • 1 shallot
  • chives
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • two handfuls of chanterelle mushrooms
  • (butter)
  • 1dl (1/2 cup) pecorino romano cheese, grated
  • ground black pepper

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

1. Prep: wash, dry and chop the mushrooms; mince the shallot, garlic and chives; grate the cheese
2. Sautée the mushrooms in a skillet and set aside
3. Cook the shallots until soft in oil in a shallow skillet. Add minced garlic and chives. Don't burn the garlic! Otherwise your risotto will taste foul.
4. Add in the rice in one go. Shake the skillet and make sure all of the rice turns translucent before continuing. Don't burn the rice!
5. Add in the white wine. Stir together thoroughly.
6. Add in the sautéed mushrooms and a cup of boiling stock (never add cold stock, or your rice won't cook properly!). Stir together. 
7. When most of the liquid is absorbed by the rice, add another cup of stock. Keep going until the rice has cooked through. (I sometimes make the risotto "soupy" by adding some extra stock.)
8. Take the skillet off the heat, season with black pepper, add in a dollop of butter (optional) and the pecorino.
9. Let rest for 5-10 min before serving.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Like in Chicago

Due to popular demand  After finally putting together something that's not yogurt and fruit (and after some pressure from other people, like the hand model) I suppose it is time for some pictures and food-related rants. USA-inspired, nonetheless.

So. This particular salad is one of the foods that stuck with me the most after the 6 weeks I spent in the midwest during last year. (Yes, a salad. But to be fair it's a very tasty salad. And the other meals that stuck with me were less vegetable-y: pulled pork drenched in BBQ-sauce and duckfat fries with garlic mayo.) While in Chicago, we got a tip to try Au Cheval - where the bacon is thick and the burgers are big. And where the grease is yummy and where... I found a salad on the menu!

It seems though that the salad is now gone from the list of things you can order, so I guess it is a proper time to share my interpretation of the recipe.

I n g r e d i e n t s
Iceberg lettuce
Apple (any sweet-ish kind will do, I like Royal Gala or Fuji)
Egg, hard boiled
Bacon, cubed and fried so crispy that it's.. crunchy

I n s t r u c t i o n s
Chop up the lettuce, herbs and fruit almost as you would an onion: as small as possible.
Mix well with the fried bacon and cubed egg and sprinkle some ground black pepper on top.

Dinner is served.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Healthy gluten free banana cake

"I saw it on Pinterest and 1h later I had already tried it out!" said... no one ever? Until yesterday, because that's what happened when I searched for buckwheat banana cake and found this. I wanted two overly ripe bananas to turn into something yummy, but at the same time healthy and with relatively little effort. Check, check and CHECK - this recipe is all that, and vegans can easily tweak it into something that suits them too!

No-gluten, no-refined sugar banana cake

I n g r e d i e n t s  (for one small cake)
Two very ripe large bananas
1/8 cup (30 ml) milk 
3 tbsp oil (olive or coconut)
2-3 tbsp honey
1 cup (2.5 dl) buckwheat flour
0.5 tsp baking powder
0.5 tsp baking soda
a pinch of salt
(optional: cinnamon to taste, chopped nuts/seeds e.g. walnuts or sunflower seeds)

I n s t r u c t i o n s
1. Preheat oven to 350°F / 175°C.
2. Blend bananas, milk, oil and honey in a blender / with a handheld mixer until completely smooth.
3. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl (flour, baking powder and soda, salt, cinnamon)
4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and combine with a spatula using as few strokes as possible.
5. Fold in the nuts.
6. Prepare a baking pan of your choice: oil it and dust with flour.
7. Pour the cake batter in the pan and bake for 45 minutes. Let cool before serving.


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

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

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
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.


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

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.