Saturday, April 20, 2019

Frozen Lemon Cheesecake with berries & caramelized pistachios

This is an eggless version of one of my oldest and most favorite desserts, the frozen lemon cheesecake. I actually made it as a dessert for New Year’s Eve, which we spent in Long Beach with dear friends. I normally make it with raw eggs at home since Swedish eggs don’t have salmonella. I’m sure most Californian eggs are perfectly safe to use but to be on the very safe side, I decided to make version without eggs. Instead of eggs - and sugar - it uses sweetened condensed milk. I’m going to say that the end result is very, very close.

And very, very good. Also quite a bit easier to make.

You can top this with whatever you’d like of course, and whatever berries are in season where you are. We found some super tasty strawberries that I macerated with lime and a little brown sugar, and then I quickly caramelized some pistachios that tasted much better than they look in the photo, I promise. (And all that there’s too this is melting sugar in a small pan, non stick unless you love to clean up, add the nuts, and let them be well coated, turn out on a non-stick surface and cool. Add a very light sprinkling of salt if desired)

Everything can and should be made well in advance. Just remember to bring out the cheesecake a little while before you want to eat - maybe half an hour or so - so that it’s not frozen solid.

Frozen Lemon Cheesecake with berries & caramelized pistachios

about 220 g graham crackers
3/4 stick butter, melted (about 85 g

Process crackers into crumbs. Add butter. Press hot crumbs into a springform pan. Place in freezer while you make the filling.

1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 small package cream cheese (about 8 oz)
Whipping cream, about 450 ml
Zest from 1 lemon
Dash of vanilla

Stir together cream cheese, vanilla and lemon zest and stir until smooth. Add condensed milk and stir again.

Whip the cream and fold it all together. Pour the filling on top of the crust, freeze overnight or at least for a few hours.

Thaw for a little while before serving and top with whatever berries you’d like.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Easy homemade kulfi

I LOVE kulfi - Indian ice cream with saffron, cardamom and pistachios. The traditional method is not that easy or quick - but my way is! Super easy! Prep takes all of five minutes but then you have to wait patiently for six hours or until fully frozen. 

I like to use small silicone cups for this, perfect size for single servings 

Easy kulfi 
Serves 6

1 can (400 g) sweetened condensed milk
200 ml heavy cream 
100 ml milk
1/2 g saffron (1 sachet)
1 tsp cardamom
Handful roasted but unsalted pistachios
Pinch of salt

Open the can of condensed milk. Stir in a bowl with cream, milk and the spices. Crush or finely chop the pistachios and add those. 

Divide between cups and freeze. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Salted Butter Chocolate Chunk Shortbread, my way


So, apparently this recipe broke the Internet. Not by my hand, mind you. I first came across it on Smitten Kitchen, but the original is made by Alison Roman, from her book Dining In. I could totally have followed the instructions - they're easy - but as it was I decided that a shortcut was fine and I skipped the last step of eggwashing and sugaring the outside of the cookie. For the original recipe please follow the links above. This is just my way.

I really like how fast this is to make. I really appreciate when you can make the dough in advance and  keep it in the fridge - or even freezer - until you're ready to bake. And this is definitely one of those. I made my rolls a little smaller than the original I think, since I got over 40 cookies where the recipe said 24. But this is a good size. (And as the famous saying goes, if they're small you can have two!)

The cookie itself is crumbly and a little sandy, like the very best shortbread. I used a few different types of chocolate and found that to be a good way, but whatever you use make sure you really like it. The flavor of the chocolate makes a big impact.

Salted Butter Chocolate Chunk Shortbread, my way
about 40 cookies

255 salted butter, directly from the fridge, in small pieces
100 g granulated sugar
50 g brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
295 g all-purpose flour
170 g chocolate, mostly dark (I used about 30 g milk, and two different kinds of dark), cut into chunks
for sprinkling: sugar and flaky sea salt

Beat butter and both sugars together, I use my Kitchen-Aid for this. Add vanilla. Add flour and mix until just mixed in, and then finally the chocolate.

Shape into logs, about 5 cm in diameter, and wrap in plastic. Let them rest in the fridge for at least a few hours.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 175°C.

Slice the cookies onto a lined baking sheet, sprinkle with a little bit of granulated sugar and flaky sea salt if you so wish. (My six-year old was very into this)

Bake until the edges are lightly golden - about ten minutes in my oven.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Instant Pot Tomato Bulgur


Here's a real favorite for my family. We've been making various versions of tomato bulgur for years. but when we got the Instant Pot we worked out a version to take advantage of that.

This is a versatile side dish, but one of my favorite ways to serve it is with chicken - either sweet chili chicken legs, or magically crispy chicken - a pico de gallo and a creamy cold sauce of some kind, maybe a ranch dip.

Instant Pot Tomato Bulgur
Serves 4 generously (we always have leftovers and they're very good cold in a salad)

1 small onion, finely chopped
olive oil
400 ml bulgur wheat, the coarse kind
1 tin (400 g) crushed tomatoes
400 ml water (just use the tin above)
1 tsp Vegeta (optional but gives a little extra oomph)

Set the IP to Sauté and heat the oil. Fry the onion for a few minutes, Add the bulgur wheat. Press cancel, and add tomatoes, water and vegeta (if using).

Place the IP on high pressure for 12 minutes (I use the rice setting) and then do an instant release. Season with salt and pepper as you see fit.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Baked Polenta Fries


Dante, my 6-year old, likes to look in cookbooks. He'll frequently use post-its to mark recipes he wants us to try, and recently he picked a recipe for Polenta Fries. It was a fairly complicated one that included deep frying and as delicious as that probably is, I just wasn't up to it.  So I decided to use a simpler method, and it turned out really well. Dante and I loved it. (The older kid - not so much.) 

You have to plan ahead a little bit here, as the polenta needs to cool down. 

Baked Polenta Fries
375 ml polenta (I use a quick version) 
125 ml milk 
250 ml water
1/2 tsp Vegeta (this is an all-round spice/flavor enhancer that you can totally leave out, I just happen to like it) 
1 tbsp butter
large handful grated parmesan
cooking oil 

Bring water and milk to a boil. Add polenta and vegeta if using. Stirring all the time, cook until thickened. it will go fast - just a few minutes - and it will be a little dangerous because of a tendency to sputter so be careful and don't let the kids do this. 

Remove from heat, and stir in butter and parmesan. 

Pour onto an oiled cookie sheet (or a smaller baking pan if you wish a thicker polenta). Shape a little, so it's roughly a thick rectangle. Cool completely, ideally for a few hours on the fridge. 

When ready to cook, heat the oven to about 200°C. 

Cut the polenta into fry-shaped rectangles. Oil them on all sides and place on a lined baking sheet. Cook for about ten minutes on the first side, flip and then for maybe five more minutes. Your goal is to get them slightly golden brown, but don't over do it because they will burn easily. 

Eat straight away. The unbaked polenta keeps well in the fridge for several days but the baked ones are best freshly cooked.