Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Chocolate Orange Almond Cookies


Like I mentioned a few days ago, I've been baking quite a bit. One of the things currently residing in my freezer is this little cookie, a darling chewy bite with surprisingly much flavor. It's made from almond paste, and with no flour, making it suitable for those allergic to gluten. You could easily play with the flavors here - substitute orange for lemon or lime, maybe using milk chocolate instead, adding actual almonds.. well, I could see this take off in various ways. But there's no need to change anything, because they are quite perfect just like this.

To the back of the picture, you can see a bowl of Banana Pecan Biscotti.

Chocolate Orange Almond Cookies
Makes about 30 very small cookies

250 g almond paste
100 g dark chocolate, fairly finely chopped
the peel of one orange, finely grated
1 egg

This is so simple. Grate the almond paste, and mix well with the egg and the orange peel. Add the chocolate. Spoon out very small cookies on a lined baking sheet. (You can place them fairly close together, they will spread just a little.)

Bake at 175°C for 7-8 minutes, until they are very lightly golden.

Recipe in Swedish:
Småkakor med mandelmassa och apelsin

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Cold Coffee

I know, it doesn't sound very exciting. Call it an Iced Latte, and it sounds a whole lot better.

Today, I got to try Emmi Caffé Latte, a fairly recently released product here in Sweden. (Made by Emmi, a Swiss dairy company.) It comes in a few different flavors, I've just tried the Espresso. And I have to say - it's totally great. A lot better than I expected. It's really refreshing, and it gives that little extra perkiness. I would stay away from ready blended things like this, but a glance at the ingredients list really doesn't scare me so much. It's coffee, milk, sugar, and a little stabilizer. I can live with that. It really tastes fresh, and not synthetic. Happy customer, here!

Monday, January 29, 2007

Avocado Beef Baguette

How about a quick dinner tip? This is tasty, but a bit unwieldy to eat. I think I'll take a more deconstructed approach next time. But it's simple. Baguette. Mayo. Tomato slices. Avocado mashed with lemon. And beef, pan-fried briefly and sliced.

Tomorrow, I have another dentist appointment. Not happy.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Creamy Carrot Slaw

Here's another recipe that I originally found in a BBC Good Food magazine (where it was, if I recall correctly, called Indian Summer Salad, though what's Indian about this, I have no idea), which incidentally is one of my absolute favorite food mags and the only one I currently subscribe to. I don't have any BBC channels (oops, Per informs me that we do indeed get BBC Prime & World) but I really wish I had BBC Food.

Still cold and snowy, but this salad is not too summery. It' s great alongside a steak.

I've spent the day baking, so there'll be plenty of cookie recipes coming later on! With the kittens, we also get a lot more visitors than usually, so I like to keep the freezer well stocked with goodies!

Creamy Carrot Slaw

3 carrots
handful of radishes
1 small zucchini
1/2 red onion
fresh mint leaves
1 tbsp white wine vinegar (balsamic if you got it)
1-2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp mayonnaise
1-2 tbsp olive oil

Grate the carrots coarsely, or cut them julienne on a mandolin. (Or by hand, if you're very bored.) Slice the radishes and the zucchini and chop the onion. Mix all the veggies in a bowl, and tear over a few mint leaves if you'd like. Mix the dressing, whisking vigorously to incorporate everything, and toss with the salad.

Recipe in Swedish:
Krämig Morotssallad

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Weekend Cat Blogging - yeah, kittens again.

juliet 3v3
Juliet and Hamlet

Time for another cat post! The kittens are three weeks now. They're fully mobile, but they haven't discovered the world outside their small box just yet. They can hold up their head just fine and walk, a little bit. Glinda was a bit better with not ruining the photo shoot this week - I'm very grateful. More photos to be found here.

jamy 3v9

jupiter 3v7

juliet 3v7

julius 3v7

Friday, January 26, 2007

A Friday Treat

I'm often asked if my husband cooks, too. And the answer? A resounding yes. He sure does. Maybe not as often as I do, but quite a bit. Mostly, we cook together - I like having company in the kitchen, even though I'm usually "in charge".

And he's recently gotten into the habit of once a week cooking me dinner, a nice dinner. He plans, shops and cooks, and cleans up. And I really appriciate it - as much as I like cooking, it's nice not to have to do anything at all once in a while.

So, in the picture above, you see a parmawrapped chicken breast filled with basil and halloumi, and a bulgur salad with zucchini. The sauce is a simple mix of yogurt and sambal oelek, with a bit of mustard.

And dessert was poached pears with a quick chocolate mousse. Delicious!

Tonight, I'm off to a conference, but he has big plans for tomorrow night...

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Linguini with Mushrooms, Spinach and Blue Cheese

This is a wonderful little recipe that I found in an issue of BBC Good Food. I've changed the quantities a bit, but the idea is the same. I love that it has just five ingredients - it's a really fresh and tasty flavor combination. Well worth trying!

Linguini with Mushrooms, Spinach and Blue Cheese
Serves 2

200 g linguini, I like wholewheat
70 g bacon, diced
150 g mushrooms, halved or quartered
100 g fresh baby spinach
75 g blue cheese, gorgonzola is nice

Boil the pasta in lightly salted water. Fry the bacon in a large saucepan until crispy, and add the mushrooms for a few minutes. When the pasta is done, drain it - but save some water! - and add it to the pan. Toss with the spinach and the cheese, until the cheese is all melted and the spinach has wilted. You might want to add a spoonful or two of pasta water to make it more saucy.

Recipe in Swedish:
Pasta med svamp, spenat och ädelost

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Red Deer

We ate a really lovely red deer steak the other day. Tesse made this for our 13-course dinner, and it was so good we decided to have it a few days later. It was really simple, too - I let a whole small steak (about 700 g) marinate in a mixture of red wine, balsamic vinegar, some soy sauce, juniper berries, barbecue sauce and possibly something more - can't remember exactly, for about 24 hours. Then I cooked it in a warm oven (about 150°C) until it reached a temperature of 62°C. I let it rest, wrapped in foil, while I made the potato gratin, which was my usual simple recipe but with the addition of sliced carrots. Super tasty!

Red deer is really, really cheap in my local store, which makes no sense at all since it's imported from New Zealand. Not ideal, really, as I prefer to buy food that has not travelled the world, but still a very decent buy.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Oh, crappy day!

I'm sorry, but I *have* to tell you about today. It was completely miserable. I had a seriously traumatic incident. I was at the dentist's, to get a root canal. In itself, not a lot of fun. The job went fine, and was done in about an hour. Then, the dentist drilled out most of the tooth, and started on the regular filling (on top of the root canal) and when she was done with that, and I had a major gap in my tooth... the building caught on fire.

Not kidding. On fire. So we had to run out. Me with my hole in my tooth, no jacket, nothing.

The dentists and nurses were very concerned - I was the only patient at the time, since it was normally lunch hour - and very friendly, but that didn't help me much. In fear that the tooth might collapse without a filling, they asked me to go to another dentist, immediately, so I got in my car (thank goodness I had the keys in my purse!) and drove there, completely in tears. (Mostly from shock, a little from pain.) They filled it with a very temporary filling that honestly feels mostly like very soft gum, I'm not trusting it one bit, and then Per picked me up and took me home.

It turned out that the fire wasn't very bad - the firetruck was already there when we got out, and they put it out fast, but there was a lot of smoke, and it took a while to secure everything. I got to go back later to pick up my jacket, and to set a new appointment to get the tooth fixed for real. And then I've just spent the rest of the day at home, watching Gilmore Girls.

Yeah, that was my day. Now I'll have a grilled cheese sandwich, and be careful not to chew with my hole-y tooth.

I promise to blog about food tomorrow, but I just couldn't today.

Monday, January 22, 2007

More snow


Big disappointment tonight. Per was going to make me pancakes, which is a huge deal since it almost never happens and it's one of the things I just can't make myself - it always goes wrong. Apparently my inability has rubbed off, because his pancakes were completely disastrous, too. Boo-hoo. So, no pancakes. And I had to settle for a frozen hamburger and spaghetti with ketchup. See, I don't eat gourmet food every day.

Anyway. Still lots, lots, lots of snow. The sign is in our yard, and says "We love snow!" and it has been mocking us since early December now. But now, we sure have snow.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Red Wine Beef Stew with Lentils and Whisky

A lot of snow today! So, what could be better than a hearty stew? Conveniently, this ties in nicely with a new blogging event, called "Waiter, There's Something In My..." and for January, the theme is "stew". Any stew. So I picked this one - a real warming concoction with loads of flavor. It was nice to try something else with lentils - I'm not a big fan of them, really, but they seem to work really well in stews. (Before, I've made a chicken stew with lentils that's also really tasty.)

Red Wine Beef Stew with Lentils and Whisky
Serves 4

100 g smoked lardons (thick cut bacon will work) in thin strips
2 yellow onions, coarsely chopped
2-3 carrots, sliced
800 g beef, in large dice
1 tsp dried thyme
600 ml red wine
400 ml beef stock
200 ml small green lentils (lentils du Puy is what I use.)
1 tbsp concentrated beef stock (optional)
2 tbsp whisky
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt, pepper
1 tbsp cornstarch (optional)

to serve:
cherry tomatoes, halved
snow peas, sliced into strips

Fry the lardons in a large pot, with the onion. Add the meat, and let it all brown a little bit. Add the thyme, the wine and the stock. This should just about cover the meat. Cover with a lid, and let it simmer for about an hour and a half. After one hour though, add the carrots. Watch to make sure the stew doesn't run too dry - just add extra water in that case.

After the one and half hours have passed, add the lentils. Simmer for another half hour - two hours in total - and then flavor to taste with whisky, balsamic vinegar, concentrated stock, honey, salt and pepper.

If the stew feels a little runny, you can mix the cornstarch with cold water and stir it into the stew to thicken.

Serve with snow peas and cherry tomatoes, and decorate with fresh herbs if you've got them at hand. (I used chervil.)

Recipe in Swedish:
Rödvinsgryta med kött, linser och whisky

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Weekend Cat Blogging - kittens with eyes

Julius, exploring the wonders of stretching.

Two weeks already. Time flies with tiny ones in the house, let me tell you.

Juliet, very cute, and very squeaky when you hold her

Jamy, lovely mellow, largest of the bunch

Jupiter - the explorer. He's the big brother and was first to open his eyes, too.

More pictures up at Flickr.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Chicken Risotto with Garlic Confit and Carrots

It's snowing outside. We haven't had any "real winter" here yet - the snow has come and gone, and it's mostly been cold, windy, rainy and sometimes slushy and icy. (Nice, huh?) And now, it's snowing again. I'm about to head out to the gym, and later, home for a nice snuggle with the kitties and watching Gilmore Girls. But first, let me tell you about this tasty risotto, that's just perfect for a winter's night. It's,like all risottos, very adaptable. Got wine? Great, throw it in! No? That's ok. Got leftover chicken? Perfect! No? Just dice and fry a chicken breast, or poach it. Anything works.

This is extra perfect if you've got some garlic confit like I told you about yesterday. If you don't, just use normal garlic, and normal olive oil. It'll still be very good, but it won't have the same sharp sweetness.

Chicken Risotto with Garlic Confit and Carrots
Serves 2

150 g of your favorite risotto rice
1 yellow onion
1 large chicken breast (or two small), cooked and diced
2-3 cloves of roasted garlic
olive oil (preferrably from the garlic confit)
1 glass of white wine, very optional
2 carrots, sliced thinly
1 litre (4 cups) of chicken stock
chipotle chili sauce, or some other spicy condiment - tabasco is fine
big handful grated parmesan

Dice the onion. Sauté onion and garlic (no need to chop the roasted cloves, they melt quite nicely) in olive oil. Add the carrots and the rice, and let the rice brown a bit. Add a glass of wine if you'd like, and let it cook in completely.

Then proceed as usual, adding the stock one ladle at a time. Stir more or less constantly, and let the stock slowly melt into the rice. As soon as it looks dry, add more stock. Keep tasting - it'll take about 20 minutes. You might not use all the stock, and you might need more (just use hot water).

When it's pretty much done, add the chicken. Finally, stir in lemon, honey, chili sauce and parmesan, and balance the flavors between salty, hot, sour and sweet.

Recipe in Swedish:
Kycklingrisotto med morötter och rostad vitlök

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Garlic Confit

This is a great little thing to make when you have leftover garlic. I recently found myself with a whole bunch of garlic - at least five or six bulbs - and they were starting to smell. I didn't want to throw them out - how wasteful! - but I had to do something fast. This was just the ticket. Garlic confit keeps well in the fridge for a few weeks, and both the oil and the roasted garlic cloves give great flavor to many dishes. Try it in a risotto, mmm...

Anyway, it's simple. Peel a number of garlic cloves - say 20-30. Put them in a small saucepan, and pour over olive oil until the cloves are just about covered. Heat gently and let simmer for about half an hour. Let the whole thing cool, and transfer to a clean glass jar. Keep in the fridge.

Recipe in Swedish:
Confiterad Vitlök

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Meeting Bloggers

Monday night, Kristina and I went to a charming little place called Judit & Bertil to meet up with other (food) bloggers. It was really nice - I had a glass of wine and got to put a face to many of the blogs that I read, as well as discover a few new ones! Space Babe from Mathimlen had brought some amazing chinese walnuts that I loved - they tasted amazing. She called them "full time nuts", becuase cracking them is indeed a full time job. But she came well prepared - you gotta love a girl who pulls out a big red nutcracker from her bag...

Gitto was in town, which was really the main reason for meeting up (even though we really don't need a reason, it's just nice getting togheter) and it was great to see her. Hope the rest of your stay is nice too! Others at the meet included Xtian from Fast Food Lovers (sorry we didn't get to talk more though!), Lisa and her husband Johan, Björn who doesn't blog but who I will go and eat sushi with, Ondskan, Isobel, Jascha who's a designer, Kinna, who was one of the first food bloggers I met, Andreas who brought with him pigs' cheeks, hmmm, Vinlusen who probably enjoys wine a whole lot more than I do, Alice whom I always enjoy meeting, and Isobel who was completely new to me.

I know I don't link to all the Swedish food blogs (it's really impossible to keep up) - however, I'm trying to keep a fairly updated link collection over at Matlust iFokus, a food forum where everyone who's interested in food is more than welcome. Do head over there and talk - the more the merrier! (And yes, it's in Swedish.)

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Pear Hazelnut Salad with Roquefort

This is an absolutely delicious little salad with pears carefully poached in lemon and white wine, toasted hazelnuts, sharp crumbly roquefort cheese and snappy arugula salad. I served it for the 13 courses dinner. (And if you're getting sick of hearing about that, take comfort in the fact that this is the last post on the dishes I made for it.)

The idea for this recipe comes from a book called Smårätter ("Little dishes") written a few years ago by Per Gustafson, Malin Söderström and Henrik Norström - three successful Swedish chefs. It's actually the first thing I try from this book, which has been sadly ignored in my book shelf. I'll really try to make more things from it - it's a nice little book!

Pear Hazelnut Salad with Roquefort
Serves 4 (or 8 if you're doing many courses)

4 firm pears (preferrably Kaiser Alexander)
150 g rouquefort cheese
50 g hazelnuts
1 large bunch of arugula (rocket) (about 100 g)
3 tbsp hazelnut oil

To poach the pears:
100 ml white wine
150 ml sugar (about 135 g)
the juice of two lemons
500 ml water

Toast the hazelnuts in a hot oven (about 200°C) for 5-10 minutes or until they are fragrant. Remove and skin them by rubbing the nuts in a towel or between your hands.
Chop coarsely.

Mix all ingredients for the poaching liquid and bring to a boil. Peel the pears and quarter them. Remove the core. Immerse the pears in the hot liquid, and let them simmer for 6-7 minutes or until fairly soft. Remove from heat, and let the pears cool completely in the liquid.

Clean and dry the arugula. Mix with the nuts, the hazelnut oil and the salt. Arrange on individual plates or a large platter. Crumble over the cheese, and top with the pears.

Recipe in Swedish:
Sallad med citronkokta päron, roquefort och rostade hasselnötter

Monday, January 15, 2007


Yesterday, you got to hear about a great dessert. Today, something less so. I made this cake for Per's birthday, following a recipe from Vetekatten. (Great, great café, lousy cookbook.) Well, I'm sorry to report that it was very so-so. Not exciting at all, despite massive amounts of cream and chocolate. It's basically a bottom with three layers of dark, milk and white chocolate mousses. Frozen. In theory, great. In reality, not so much. It's fine, just not worth the trouble. I'll stick with either my own chocolate mousse (which NEVER fails me) or with this frozen chocolate mousse cake, just adding different types of chocolate.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Chocolate Nut Truffle

Another one of my 13-courses posts! This was a small dessert, that I decided to make since no one else was making anything chocolatey, and in my opinion, a fancy dinner needs chocolate. (Any dinner, pretty much.) This recipe is really nice - it's easy to prepare well in advance, and it will keep in the freezer for quite a while. I have leftovers that are over one week old now, and they still taste just fine.

Chocolate Nut Truffle
Suitable for a dish of approx. 23*33 cm

For the nut bottom:
125 g pecan nuts
125 g hazelnuts
50 g pistachio nuts
150 ml sugar
75 g melted butter

Crush the nuts coarsely in a food processor. Mix with sugar and melted butter. Press out into a large dish (23*33 cm) that you have lined with foil or paper. Let cool completely.

For the truffle:
300 g dark chocolate
300 ml cream (heavy, whipping, double - 35-40% fat content is what you want)
125 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 egg yolks

Chop the chocolate and place in a large bowl. Bring the cream to a boil and pour it over the chocolate. Stir until smooth. Add the butter and the egg yolks, and stir until everything is completely mixed.

Pour this on top of the nut bottom, cover with plastic and place in the freezer.

Thaw before serving, but not completely - it should still be cold and firm. The truffle will be *very* melty if you leave it out for too long. Also, you need to thaw it a little before you cut it. I used a small (but high!) cookie cutter to make the flower shapes.

You can use anything to top it really - I used finely crushed freeze-dried berries, but a little pinch of chilli flakes would be nice, sea salt is always good, a sprinkling of finely ground nuts wouldn't hurt, or by all means just leave it plain. We've had leftover pieces with coffee, or for a slightly more fancy dessert, with a side of a simple raspberry sauce. (Mash raspberries with some powdered sugar.) All good. Very good.

Recipe in Swedish:
Nötkaka med chokladtryffel

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Weekend Cat Blogging - Kitten time

Jamy, one week

The J-litter is now one week old! Time to show off these beauties - and they now have names, too. (Pretty much, anyway.) We went with a Shakespeare theme - Jupiter, Jamy, Juliet and Julius. (They might have some additions to their actual pedigree names, but we've not decided just yet.)

Jupiter, one week

Jamy, one week

Juliet, one week

Julius, one week

You can see more pictures in this Flickr Set.

For newcomers, these kittens are British Shorthair pedigree cats. We have one or two litters per year. And they are for sale.

Weekend Cat Blogging this week is hosted by What Did You Eat? Go visit for many more cute kitties.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Little Jamy

Ok, I've decided that it's just not fair to keep this picture to myself any longer. Behold, little tiny Jamy. Three days old in this picture.

More to come tomorrow. (And by the way, Jamy is not only a shakespeare character - it's also the equivalent of "meow-y" in Swedish. Suits this boy perfectly, because he sure meows a lot - squeaks, really - when I lift him up.)

Grape Champagne Cocktails

It's Friday! That's certainly enough reason to celebrate with a good cocktail, right? It's also one week since our massive 13-courses dinner, where this was the first item on the menu, together with the parmesan shortbread I posted about the other day.

This also means that the kittens are one week old today! I'll take pictures later on, so check back tomorrow for Weekend Cat Blogging - I can assure you that there's a lot of cuteness coming.

Anyway. These cocktails are quite deceptive, and actually really strong. However, they taste of no alcohol at all, and I could easily have drank more than just the one glass. So be warned - this could get you drunk real fast! :)

It's a little finicky in that you have to prepare - so for Friday night cocktails, either do the grape mixture in the morning or the day before, I suppose. The orange-cinnamon sugar is absolutely delicious, and you'll have a lot leftover. Try that in your coffee - it's amazing. And a final note, you might want to soak your glasses afterwards, otherwise the sugar rim can be a bit hard to clean off...

Grape Champagne Cocktails
Serves 6

2 large oranges
125 ml (1/2 cup) sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
350 ml vodka
2,5 dl (1 cup) seedless grapes + 18 to decorate
150 ml grape juice
1 bottle (750 ml) of champagne or other sparkling wine (I used Bonnaire champagne)

Preheat the oven to 125°C. Finely grate the peel of the oranges, put that on a baking sheet and dry for about half an hour in the oven. It might take a little longer, but watch it so it doesn't burn. Let the peel cool, and mix with sugar and cinnamon. Mash together well. (I used a Flavour Shaker for this - and it worked out quite nicely.) Cover with plastic and set aside - this keeps for a long time if you have it in a tightly sealed jar. And save one orange for moistening the glasses!

Mix the vodka and the grapes in a jug, and mash the grapes well. (I used an immersion blender to crush them.) Add the grape juice, and chill until really cold. (Overnight is great.)

When your guests are on their way, moisten the rims of your glasses with the reserved orange, and dip in the flavored sugar. Thread the reserved 18 grapes on toothpicks (three on each) and put in the glasses.

Sieve the vodka grape mixture, and fill the glasses about half way up with this. Fill them all the way up with champagne, and serve right away.

Recipe in Swedish:
Champagnecocktail med druvor och vodka

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Cookbook Watch: Husmanskost

Husmanskost is a Swedish word, meaning traditional home cooking, sort of. It's not easy to translate, and actually, it's not so very easy to know what it means, either. Everyone has their own definition of what's Husmanskost, and what's not. But basically, old Swedish dishes are, and new Swedish dishes are not. I don't know many people that actually cook Husmanskost on a regular basis - it's not very "in" and not something you'd choose for a dinner party. But maybe that's about to change?

There's a recent cookbook with this title, by Swedish chef Leif Mannerström. It came out this fall, and is only available in Swedish. Which is a pity, because if there was ever a good book written about classical Swedish cooking, this is probably it. It'd be great for translation! But for those of you who do read Swedish - if you like classic food, and especially fish, give this book a chance. Mannerström is a bit biased towards fish, not surprisingly given his hugely successful fish and seafood restaurant in Gothenburg (Sjömagasinet), but it's of course also true that fish is fairly prominent in Swedish cooking.

You'll find classical recipes for things like Laxpudding (Salmon Pudding), Oxsvansragu (Oxtail Ragu), Stekt sill med Löksås (Fried Herring with Onion Sauce) and Kalvfrikadeller i Currysås (Veal Meatballs in Curry Sauce). And many, many more. It's a massive book, with gorgeous pictures of all the recipes. What I miss, however, are chapters. There are no chapters at all, and recipes seem to be tossed in randomly rather than in some kind of order. There's a good index, but still - it annoys me and I don't really understand the reason for structuring a book like this.

But, this is the only gripe I have with this book. It's a nice read - Mannerström adds little personal stories to most recipes - and it's very inspiring. I'm looking forward to using this book to cook more classic dishes - it's a nice challenge for me.

You can find this book for a nice price at AdLibris, a Swedish online book store.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Parmesan Shortbread with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Marinated Goat's Cheese

This was the first dish from the 13-courses dinner - I served this with champagne cocktails. It was really a huge hit - these are so incredibly tasty! And you can prepare them well in advance - it's fine to bake the shortbread one or two days ahead, and then just refresh them in a hot oven for a few minutes to make sure they are crisp. Let them cool before you add any topping though.

The recipe said that you'd get 40 shortbread - well, I got 25. I don't know if my cutter was bigger (I doubt it) or that mine were a lot thicker, but oh well. I only needed 24 anyway! I also had to add a few drops of water to get a supple dough - that wasn't in the original recipe...

Parmesan Shortbread with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Marinated Goat's Cheese
Makes about 24
from "Canapés"

60 g flour
salt, cayenne pepper (just a small pinch)
45 g cold butter, diced
60 g parmesan, grated
1 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Mix everything in a food processor and keep going until you have a dough. Add a few drops of water if you need to - I did.

Roll out the dough until it's about 1/2 cm thick. Make small cookies with a suitable cutter. Collect the scraps and roll out again, until all the dough is used up.

Put the cookies on a tray and put in the fridge for half an hour. Then move them to a baking sheet and bake for 7-8 minutes or until lightly golden. Let cool completely, and either top them or put them in an air-tight jar. (I bet they freeze well, too.)

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes for the topping
12 cherry tomatoes
olive oil
runny honey
black pepper

Cut the tomatoes across the middle, and put them in a small oven proof dish, cut side up. Drizzle with oil and honey and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake at 200°C for 15-20 minutes, or until the tomatoes have shrunk a bit. Let them cool.

To top the shortbread, put the tomatoes on to each, and add small dice of marinated goat's cheese or feta cheese. (I used a garlic marinated goat's cheese - delicious!) Add a quarter of a black olive to each. Finish with a pinch of fresh green herbs - I used chervil.

Recipe in Swedish:
Parmesankex med rostade cocktailtomater och inlagd getost

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Thirteen courses, 2007

The menu, in Swedish

Last Friday, we not only had kittens - we also had our traditional thirteen course dinner. It was an absolute hit - but with way too much food. Thankfully there was a natural break when Glinda started going into labor, and thus we got a chance to relax our poor tummies...

And no, I didn't cook everything. The way this works - and why it works so well - is that each couple gets to bring three small courses. (an appetizer, a main dish and a dessert.) And to make it thirteen, since it's "thirteen day" in Sweden (epiphany) I'll give you the recipes for my own things later on. (I made four courses, the other three couples made three each - the other girls have blogs, and I'll share the links as soon as they post.)

We started with champagne cocktails with grape juice and vodka, and a lovely sugar-cinnamon-orange rim. (Recipe here.)

And tiny parmesan shortbread with roasted cherry tomatoes and marinated goat's cheese. (Recipe here.)

Then we had Lena's cheesecake with red onions, topped with bleak roe. It's on a bed of aragula (rocket) and served with a herb oil. Delicious! (Recipe here, in Swedish!)

Next out was Danne's small dish of fresh pasta with ceps (porcini), smoked salmon and black roe. Very unusual flavor combination - but it worked out great!

Dagmar treated us to a super tasty polish beetroot soup, Barszcz.

And our final started was a small salad I made, with aragula (rocket), toasted hazelnuts, roquefort and pears poached in white wine and lemons. Recipe here!

Time for actual food then - Tesse was first out with this amazing red deer roast, that she had left to marinate for two days. It was served with a juniper lingonberry sauce and a creamy potato gratin.

Dagmar made lovely little pasta pierogies, filled with cheese and bacon. Super!

And for more meat, Lena served whisky-flambéed tenderloin of beef, with Chèvre mashed potatoes. Very yum! (Recipe here!)

And just look at this cool picture!

No more food, please! Actually, now came the small cheese course, which was three tiny slices of cheese (a sharp blue, a Manchego and a creamy, very ripe brie) and a few small things to eat with it - half a dried fig, a tiny spoon of pear marmalade, and a little fragolaceto, home made strawberry and balsamico preserves.

Our first dessert, served after kitten number one, was Dagmar's amazing semifreddo with rhubarb and caramelized almonds. Ah! She has already posted the recipe - here.

Second was a licorice panna cotta with raspberry jelly and lemon mousse. Lena had slaved over especially the jelly - raspberries everywhere! - but it tasted great! (Recipe, in Swedish, here.)

Third out was my little truffle - it's a nut base with pistachios, hazelnuts and pecans, covered with a simple chocolate truffle. I topped it with a bit of finely crushed freeze-dried berries. (Although it looks like chilli in the picture - and that would probably be nice, too!) (Recipe here!)

I don't have pictures of our final dessert - I was busy with the kittens at that point - but it was a dish of lingonberries and meringue that Tesse called Meringue Surprise.

That's it! If you want to read what we had last year, check it out here, here and here.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Risotto with Taleggio

This is our latest favorite comfort food. It's a very "bare-bones" risotto, using the bare minimum of ingredients. You can certainly add stuff - in the picture above, there are some gently fried funnel chanterelles added along with a few slices of serrano ham, but frankly, I like the plain version better. It's just so very satisfying! And Taleggio is the perfect cheese here - soft and creamy, but with plenty of flavor. You can add parmesan, you can add butter - but you dont have to. At all.

Risotto with Taleggio
Serves 2

1 small onion, finely chopped
olive oil, about 2 tsp
200 ml (just under 1 cup) arborio rice
800 ml good stock, chicken or vegetable
100 g Taleggio cheese, diced
1 tbsp runny honey
1-2 tsp chipotle sauce
1/2 lemon

Heat the oil in a large pan, and the stock in another pan. Fry the onion in the oil for a few minutes without letting it color. Add the rise and turn up the heat. Let it color a bit, and then start adding the stock. Add more as soon as the rice looks dry. It should take about 20 minutes in total - taste the rice so you know when it's done. It should have a little bite to it. You might not need all the stock, or you might need more. (just add hot water then.)

Stir in the cheese, and season with honey, lemon and a little bit of chipotle sauce. Use regular chilli powder or cayenne pepper if you can't get chipotle, but the lightly smoked flavor really works here.

Recipe in Swedish:
Risotto med Taleggio