Saturday, August 30, 2014

Grilled Stuffed Figs 2 ways and Glammed up Smokies for CBC's Weekend Morning Show

This morning, it was my pleasure to present a buffet of options on CBC's Weekend Morning Show with host Terry MacLeod.

Lucious and versatile, the fig can be grilled in a number of ways for a delightful amuse bouche.

Stuffed Grilled Figs

1 lb fresh figs
Parmesan reggiano
balsamic reduction

To make the Balsamic Reduction:

Heat a saucepan over high heat. Add a cup of balsamic vinegar to the pan and reduce liquid by half. Take pan off of heat immediately.

To make the stuffed figs:

While the balsamic is reducing, heat your broiler on high. Cut the figs in half lengthwise, (but do not cut all the way through). Stuff with Parmesan cheese, cheddar is also good (you can also then wrap the figs with prosciutto), place under the broiler for about 3-4 minutes or until cheese is browned. Serve with balsamic reduction drizzled over top.
Drunken Figs

1 package of dried figs
red wine such as Lambrusco works great as it is a sweet wine to begin with, but merlot, shiraz, zinfandel or pinot noir would work great too!

Place dried figs in a glass bowl, cover with wine. Place in fridge. DONE

Enjoy on their own, with ice cream, pound or angel food cake, etc.


Grilled figs stuffed with prosciutto and arugula

I also prepared Glammed up Smokies.  I used Italian sausages from DeLuca's on Portage Ave.  They make a wide variety but for today I presented Hot Italian, Fennel and Chicken sausages.

The condiments were Rhubarb Apple Chutney with Ras el Hanout, Caramelized onions with chipotle and beer, tomato chutney, kimchi, wasabi mayonaise, St. Andre cheese, roasted red peppers and Dijon mustard.

Rhubarb Apple chutney
-6 cups each chopped rhubarb and apples,
2-4 tbs ras el hanout,
1 1/2 cups white or brown sugar,
1/4 cup water, to start the cooking
pinch of salt.
2 tbs grated fresh ginger. 
May add a splash of vinegar before canning.
Cook until fruit is soft.

Use with whatever you like.

Enjoy the Labour Day Weekend!

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Milk Chocolate Lemon Cookies


This type of cookies is called "snitt" in Swedish - translates into "cuts" which is exactly the method for making these. Just like Italian cantuccini, you shape long logs of dough, bake and slice. These are not re-baked like biscotti though, instead they're left to cool and that leaves them crispy on the edges with a soft, chewy middle. These particular cookies are full of milk chocolate and lemon zest. Truly amazing.

Milk Chocolate Lemon Cookies
makes 40 or so

150 g butter, softened
140 g caster sugar
140 g brown sugar
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla sugar (or 1 tsp extract) 
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
240 g all-purpose flour
100 g milk chocolate, coarsely chopped
zest from 1 lemon

Start by creaming the butter and both types of sugar very, very well. (My butter was, as usual, not softened, so I just creamed it for much longer.) Add the egg and vanilla and beat until mixed. Add the dry ingredients - baking soda, salt and flour - and mix until combined. Finally add the chocolate and the lemon zest. 

Shape into four slender logs and place on lined baking sheets. Bake at 175�C for 10-12 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for a minute before cutting them, diagonally, into cookies. Leave to cool completely. 

These freeze very well but lose some of their chewiness. 

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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Homemade Chocolate Shell


Magic Shell is an ice cream topping I first came into contact with in the US - where else? Well, you can find a version of it in Sweden too, nowadays. Or you can, as I have, make your own!

It's essentially a pourable chocolate topping that freezes instantly when poured over ice cream. It hardens into a crunchy chocolate shell. And it's yummy! My version has three ingredients, whereas the commercial obviously has many more. Mine does taste a little bit of coconut, but that's more of a feature than a flaw to me. If you don't like that, seek out a coconut oil with no flavor, there are plenty of those.

Let's get to it!

Homemade Chocolate Shell
250 g dark, high quality chocolate
200 g coconut oil
100 g corn syrup (substitute white baking syrup if you're in Sweden)

Simply melt all three ingredients together in the microwave. Use short intervals and stir well, to make sure nothing burns.

When everything is nice and smooth, stir it together, and pour into a squeeze bottle or a jar. This recipe makes quite a lot, but it will keep for a long time at room temperature. If you put it in the fridge, it'll go solid - don't do that.
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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Very promising book

I just got Veckans Favoriter ("Weekly Favorites") by Sara Begn�r in the mail. I have to say, she is one of my favorite Swedish cookbook authors. Her recipes are easy to make, approachable, no weird ingredients that you can't find at the store, pretty healthy but still fun, playful and very flavorful. This book focuses, as the name implies, on weeknight dinners. Lots and lots of them! I'm seriously stuck in a rut, which is also why I have nothing to blog about, so I'm definitely eager to try some new things. 
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Friday, August 15, 2014

Grilled Arctic Char with Chermoula for CBC's Weekend Morning Show!

 Tomorrow I will be presenting the following on CBC's Weekend Morning Show with host Terry MacLeod.

This is such an easy to prepare and versatile dish that goes beautifully with our local Arctic Char from Gimli Fish. 

This is a classic Moroccan flavouring for fish but also goes well with vegetables.
More photos tomorrow: Arctic Char with Chermoula to be grilled

Chermoula for Fish or vegetables

1 head garlic, peeled (or 3-5 large cloves)
� tsp cayenne
1 heaping tbs cumin
pinch saffron
� bunch parsley
1 whole bunch cilantro
juice of one lemon
2 tbs vinegar
1 generous tbs olive oil
salt, to taste

1-2 fillets Arctic Char

Blend all of the first ingredients in a food processor and place in glass bowl. Set some chermoula aside for extra at the table.   Mix in the fillets and let marinate for at least 30 minutes. Grill on BBQ sheet for 10+ minutes without flipping (depending on thickness of fillet).

Serve immediately.  

Can also use Chermoula with saut�ed carrots or marinate and grilled eggplant.

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Flippin Burgers vs. Svenska Hamburgerk�ket

Flippin' Burgers

Hamburgers are always in style, or so it seems. In Stockholm, there's an on-going competition for the title "best Burger", and various lists are posted all the time. I don't really eat out that much so I haven't tried all the supposedly "best" ones, but I have tried Flippin' Burgers several times. And I have to say, they're definitely my favorite. They now have a bigger place, with more seats, but you still have to show up right when they open (4 pm) or be prepared to wait. However, it will be worth it.  The burgers are fantastic - fat and juicy and bursting with flavor. I especially recommend coming so hungry that you can have a double burger - they're incredible.

Fries are fine, but nothing special. But they're served with a very vinegar-y mayo, which is nice.

Svenska Hamburgerk�ket

Svenska Hamburgerk�ket has a pretty off-beat location, in H�gersten. You order at the bar, pay, and get your food. Sit anywhere. It's not huge, but it wasn't full with people either so no wait when we were there. The menu has slightly more options than Flippin' Burgers does, especially with some seasonal specials. We went for the classics, though, to try them out. How did they add up? Well, pretty well, but not as good. The burger itself seemed to release much more juice, which left the meat a little dry and my hands very greasy. It also had more toppings, which is of course optional, but I felt that they weren't of the best quality. Cheese didn't taste like much.

Fries however were very yummy! Better than Flippin'. But no free dipping sauce...


The milkshake from Flippin' Burgers, made with Ben & Jerry's ice cream. This one was made from their Chew Chew Caramel - delicious obviously. Svenska Hamburgerk�ket has pretty good milkshakes too, but not like this. So to sum it up? Best burger is at Flippin' Burgers. But both places are good, and I'll gladly eat at both.

Flippin' Burgers
Observatoriegatan 8

Svenska Hamburgerk�ket
Tellusborgsv�gen 78

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Sunday, August 10, 2014

Whittard instant tea and hot chocolate


Another find from my recent vacation! I haven't found Whittard - a UK brand -in Sweden before, but I did find these in a small design shop in Ystad. They had a rather large selection of these two type of goods - instant tea and hot chocolate. It's been a super warm summer here, so while hot chocolate seems a bit out of season, ice tea is most definitely more current. This is a refreshingly fruity flavor, with mango and passionfruit. It doesn't really taste much of tea, but it's nice and not too sweet.

The creme brulee hot chochaolate.. well, I'll have to get back to you on that when it gets a little bit colder!
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Thursday, August 7, 2014

Red Quinoa Salad with Sesame-Honey Dressing


We've been away for almost two weeks this summer. It's been very nice and a lot of fun - but I sure haven't been cooking much. We've relied on super-quick dinners, like hot dogs, to make sure the kids would eat. Boring. And when I got home, I was craving veggies, and craving cooking.

So I saw this shared on facebook, from the often-inspiring Two Peas and their Pod. I changed some things, but pretty much went with it. We ate some meat with it - pan-fried pork - but it's a good meal in itself. You could serve it along side chicken or fish too, though... or add some avocado.. or feta cheese.. yeah - feel free to adapt as much as you want!

Red Quinoa Salad with Sesame-Honey Dressing
serves 4 (and maybe with some leftovers, too)

400 ml red quinoa (regular white is fine too - my store was out)
800 ml water
1 tsp salt
3 small carrots, coarsely grated
200 g edamame beans, shelled and cooked
200 ml cabbage, finely cut
1/2 cucumber, diced

about 100 ml light soy sauce
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp runny honey
1 tbsp sesame oil
grated ginger - about a teaspoon

Start by putting the quinoa in a strainer and rinse with cold water. Rinse really well. This is necessary to remove the bitterness from quinoa. When rinsed, place with the water (twice the amount of quinoa you're using) in a saucepan, add salt and bring to a boil. Cook for 15-20 minutes - the type of quinoa will determine the time. All the little "tails" should be released and the water pretty much absorbed. If it's soft but there's still water, just drain it.

Mix the cooked quinoa with all the veggies. Whisk together the dressing and toss with the salad. And you're done! This can be prepared well in advance, if you'd like.

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the cutest plates!


Since Dante is just over two, I can still get away with buying cute kids tableware. (For a long time, yes?) I found these on a recent trip to Copenhagen. They're from the Danish company Smallstuff - one of many really good Danish designers. They make so many fun things! And Dante likes having his food separate, so these are perfect. He prefers the cupcake one - pink is his favorite color.
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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Quick dinner idea


Next time you're roasting potatoes, try adding some tomatoes, olives and feta cheese for the last fifteen minutes. It makes for a more complete side dish and it's delicious. 
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Monday, August 4, 2014

Gorgeous tea towels

My favorite tea towels (kitchen towels) are made by Bungalow. I've bought mine from Illums Bolighus in Copenhagen - these ones were just picked up last week, but I have three more that I bought last summer. I  love that they're so bright and fun, but they're also really good towels. They're block-printed by hand and very reasonably priced. Swedish customers can find some of the at Broarne.
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Golden Cookies

These are Swedish classics - kolakakor. They taste like caramel, and get their flavor from vanilla and golden syrup. My little boy doesn't like caramel - or at least he doesn't think he he does, so I decided to rename these golden cookies for his birthday party. They're ideal to serve to a crowd - they bake up quickly, they're sturdy and they freeze very well.

I got the basic recipe from renowned pastry chef Jan Hedh's latest book, Gofika at Olof Viktors caf�. However, I added a pinch of salt as well, and about half a tablespoon of canola oil, as the dough was too dry to shape.

... and no, no photo, apparently. So sorry.

Golden Cookies
about 40 cookies

160 g butter, at room temperature
130 g sugar
1 tbsp vanilla sugar
1/2 tsp salt
70 g golden syrup
1 tsp baking powder
320 g flour
1/2 tbsp canola oil if the dough is too dry

Mix together butter, sugar, vanilla, salt and syrup. Gradually add the baking powder and flour. Mix into a coherent dough - it'll just look like sand at first, but as you keep going it will slowly come together. Add a little bit of oil if it really doesn't.

Shape into four slim logs and place on two baking sheets. Flatten gently with a fork to make a pattern.

Bake at 175�C for about 10-12 minutes. They should become lightly golden. Let the cool for a minute  and then cut quickly into cookies. let them cool completely before breaking apart.

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Saturday, August 2, 2014

Smashed lamb burgers


I've made so many variations on lamb meatballs and burgers, but I rarely use  a recipe. Hence the sketchy proportions in this recipe. It's really blog-worthy though, because the kids ate like crazy. I served these with plain bulgur wheat, a tomato salad, and tzatziki. The smash-method is excellent for cooking burgers or meatballs like these, since they get a lot of crispy surface in a short time, so they absolutely don't dry out.

Smashed lamb burgers
400 g lamb mince
2 garlic cloves
1 egg
Handful of breadcrumbs
2 tbsp chopped coriander 
zest from 1 lemon
Olive oil for frying

Crack the egg in a bowl. Grate the garlic cloves and the lemon zest into the bowl. Add a large handful of breadcrumbs (I used panko, a Japanese variety.)  Add the lamb and coriander and salt. Mix everything together.

Shape loose meatballs, no need for exact roundness. I got about 16 from this batch.

Heat olive oil in a frying pan, over medium-high heat. Add about 6 meatballs at a time, and fry for a minute without touching them - you want to develop a slight crust. Turn them over, so that the crust is up, and smash down with a spatula. Fry the now-flat patties for a minute or two on each side. 
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Friday, August 1, 2014

Turkish Grilled Chicken and stuffed peppers for CBC's Weekend Morning Show

Tomorrow I will be presenting the following two Turkish recipes that are easy to prepare for your Summer grilling pleasure, for CBC's Weekend Morning Show with Host Terry MacLeod.  


1. Tavuk Izgara (Turkish Grilled Chicken with Yoghurt and Cumin)

2 Tablespoons cumin seeds
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
4 to 6 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 Tablespoon paprika
Juice of 1 lemon
1 cup plain yogurt
12 boneless chicken thighs, about 2 to 2-1/2 pounds, or 4 half broilers
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Lemon wedges for serving

Toast the cumin seeds in a small saute pan over medium heat until the seeds are fragrant and start to pop in the pan. Remove from the heat and grind in a spice grinder.

Place the cumin, onion, garlic, paprika
and lemon juice in a food processor or blenderand pulse to liquify. Add the yoghurt and pulse just until blended.

Put the chicken
thighs in a shallow non-aluminum baking dish or bowl. Pour the marinade over the chicken and toss well to coat. Let stand at room temperature at least 2 hours or cover and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat the broiler to make a charcoal fire. Thread the thighs if using on 4 skewers. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Broil or grill until the juices run clear, about 4-6 minutes each side. Serve hot with lemon wedges.

2. Turkish stuffed Peppers (Vegan)

2 cups bulgur
1 cup Afghani Tut (or currants or raisins)
3 cups boiling water

In a bowl, place bulgur and Tut and stir in boiling water.  Cover and set aside for 15 minutes.

12 peppers, cored
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
� cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbs Turkish Baharat
1 tsp dried oregano
� cup good tomato paste (Herat Foods and Millad�s carries excellent tomato pastes)
� cup Pomegranate Molasses

Saut� onions then garlic, spices in olive oil on medium heat until soft.  Stir into prepared bulgur and mix in tomato paste and pomegranate molasses.  Fill peppers and place upright into a baking dish. 

Bake with some water or stock in the dish at a 350�F oven until done, up to one hour.  If browning, cover with foil and bake until the peppers are soft.

These can be made in advance and warmed or served hot, cold or room temperature.


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