Purple Chicken Soup Surprise

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This soup took me by surprise. It was the colour and consistence that turned out different but nothing wrong with the taste. One of the carrots I had was a purple one, and hence it became purple soup.

The soup was to be a warming, curing and comforting one, and it was.

800 g chicken thighs and legs, skinned

8 dl water

50 g celeriac, 2 carrots, 1/2 zhuccini, 1 onion, 3 cm fresh ginger

150 g egg noodles

Juice of 1 lemon, salt and pepper, thyme, 2 bay leaves, parsley

Start with the chicken and cook it with 1 chopped celeriac, carrot and onion, with the bones and all, for an hour. Set the chicken pieces on a plate and bone them. Set a side.

Chop the carrots into buttons and dice the zhucchini. Chop the onion and the ginger. Boil them on the chicken broth, and add all the herbs but the parsley. Cook until almost done. Add the noodles and the chicken. Bring to boil. Add the lemon juice and some salt and pepper. Add some dried chili.

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Wickedly Delicious Cheese Cake

This is a delish no-bake cheese cake recipe my sis shared with me. The cake is also gelatin-free. It is from the blog esite Suklaapossu, a Finnish blogger at Kotiliesi.fi. She calls this ‘törkeen hyvä juustokakku’ and tells about the different versions in her blog.

I made two versions to a party last weekend. One low-lactose and one normal. The cake is really easy and quick to make, and you prepaid it the day before. Everyone loved it. The two cakes were just right för the 17 of us.

For one cheese cake you will need:

100 g biscuits and 75 g white chocolate

Filling: 1 -1,5 dl sugar, 2,5 cream (low-lactose), 400 g Mascarpone (lactose-free), zest of one lemon, 4 tbsp lemon juice

Grease a cake tin with a removable sides. Set some baking paper on the sides.

Crush the biscuits in a paper bag and mix with melted chocolate. Put this in the cake tin.

Whip the cream and sugar. Stir in the cheese. Add the lemon juice and zest. Pour in the cake tin.

Refridgerate overnight or at least för six hours. Decorate with berries and grated lemon zest.

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Torta Pasqualina

Easter is here and so is my first trial with the Italian pie, torta pasqualina. My Italian teacher has shared the recipe many times and this year we even watched to videos on how to bake it. At home I found a third video and then googles for different recipes. The list of ingredients of the pie dough were in cups and I guess my conversion was not perfect as I had to keep adding both olive oil and water. The pie turned out ok with a quite hard crust on the top. My hands are soft as baby cheeks from all the work with the dough.  This pie should be eaten cold but we couldn’t wait to taste it last night.

The filling is originally made with Swiss chard which, I guess, is in season in Italy right now. Spinach is a usual filling and so is artichoke.

torta pasqualina which, I guess, is in season in Italy right now. Spinach is a usual filling and so is artichoke.

This is what you need for
dough:
6 dl four, 1 dl olive oil, pinch of salt and 1.5 dl cold water.
and for the filling: 300 spinach, 1 onion, 250 g Ricotta, 1.5 – 2 dl grated Parmesan, 2 eggs, nutmeg, salt and pepper, and 4 eggs

Start the dough with a kitchen aid. Pour in the flour and salt and start adding olive oil. Then pour in the water little by little. (My dough just would not mix and had to work with it by hands. I added oil and water until it was somewhat smooth and elastic.). Divide the dough into four parts and roll then into buns. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Make the filling. Chop the spinach. If you use frozen spinach, press out the excess water. Mix all the ingredients adding the eggs last.
Turn the oven on to 200 C (170 C for fan assisted oven). Take out a pie form or a cake tin with removable sides and butter it or cover with baking paper. Start rolling out the dough  and add two layers on the bottom of the form. Add the filling. Make 4 large holes in the filling and crack an egg in each. Roll out the two remaining dough buns to make a cover to the pie. Pinch the sides with fingers or a fork. Bake for 45 – 60 minutes.
Let cool and enjoy.

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Cannelloni with Ragu Bolognese

Cannelloni is not as complicated to make as one would think. It might take a few times to learn it just like learning to do anything else.

We often have spaghetti Bolognese for a meal and on Sunday I wanted to make a bit more special dish as my sister and brother-in-law were coming over for lunch.

For 8 people you will need
Meat sauce: 400 g minced meat, 2 tbsp olive oil,  2 large onions, 2 cloves of garlic, 1 carrot, 2 dl beef stock and 1 dl red wine. Salt, pepper and thyme.
One packet of cannelloni, 2 dl grated Parmesan, 2 dl rocket, one can of crushed tomatoes, 2.5 dl boiling water, salt and pepper

Chop the onion, garlic and carrot, and saute in olive oil. Add the meat and brown it. Add the beef stock and 1 dl red wine. Let simmer and add salt, pepper and thyme.

Grease an oven pan and turn the oven on 175 C. Start filling the cannelloni tubes with the meat sauce and place them in the pan. Once the pan is full, cover the cannelloni with rocket and spoon the crushed tomato on it. Add the grated cheese. Pour over some boiling water.
Cook for 25 – 35 minutes. Enjoy!

Cannelloni with rucola

 

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Tastes of Stockholm in February

We have a plan to make only short trips to close by areas this year and the first trip has just finished. We headed to Stockholm, the ever so beautiful capital of Sweden, like so many others during the winter holiday week. We quite enjoy visiting the city we know so well and like to stay in different parts of the town. This time we stayed in Östermalm, the West-End of Stockholm, one of the posh parts of the town. This was mostly due to an excellent hotel discount offer. We also loved the idea of us travel from Östermalm, Borgå to Östermalm, Stockholm.

Eating is and has always been the main attractions on our travels along with museum  visits. Eataly, the Italian gourmet shop and restaurant, had just been opened and was thus a main attraction. Yes, I know, why eat Italian in Sweden? We did not actually have a meal at Eataly but wanted to see how the concept was modified for the Scandinavian market. The location and premises are great, impressive – see their website for all the services and activities offered. Much to taste and see, much to enjoy in this luxurious former theatre.  We were certainly not the only tourists and foodies there inspecting the store. The experience was not quite the same as upon visiting Eataly in Italy but it is naturally because were not in Italy, it was not summer and there were no departments with wine shelves and tastings (as we were in Sweden with state monopoly over retail in alcoholic beverages just like in Finland).  Maybe we go and have a meal next time around when it is less crowded.

Östermalms saluhall, the food halls of Östermalm, was another attraction and this for lunch. The old food halls are being renovated and there was temporary set up for the stalls. Lisa Elmqvist Fish, Seafood, Delicatessen & Restaurant was the place for lunch – this restaurant dates back to a 1926 when Lisa bought a stand in the food halls. It is the fourth generation running the company today the food stalls, catering and restaurant. I enjoyed fried lemon sole with beet root and capers and by husband halibut with truffle-lobster sauce.

 

Some other places were stopped by were Wiener Caféet (Bibilioteksgatan), Fabrique (Humlegårdgatan) , Sally Voltaire & Systerar (Åhlens) with healthy meals and raw food. We also shared a delicious pizza at Jamie’s Italian (Scandic hotel Anglais). Quite a lot of fika, Swedish coffee with sweet treats all day long, and other goodies. Have a look at the pictures. We stayed only for a day and half yet experienced a lot. It was a trip with some 30,000 steps out and about the town plus a couple of metro (tunnebana) journeys.  Apart of the food we enjoyed sunny crisp winter, window shopping, people watching and a couple of museums. Interior decoration, cookery shops and book stores are always on our list on mini- and longer breaks.

 

 

The Stockholm Museum of Photography (Fotografiska) never lets me down. The exhibitions are ever so intriguing and statement taking like the ones on right now. What more is that the museum opening times are excellent as it stays open practically all night. I’ve once also participated an evening guided tour that started at 9 pm. The museum shop is excellent and the restaurant experience so fabulous. Their concept is of conscious food philosophy is based on organic and plant-based kitchen. The man behind the restaurant is Paul Svensson, a famous, chef of the year, TV and cookbook author to name just some of his merits. Once again, I had not book a table in advance and thus we could only enjoy the café-bar with the great view over to Skeppsholmen och Djurgården (islands of Stockholm).

The exhibitions on are Fearless & Fabulous by Chen Man, a talented young Chinese photographer and designer. She is a pioneer in Chinese fashion photography, very successful and known also in the western world. She mixes eastern and western traditions, techniques as per the museum introductions. I particularly liked the fashion portraits taken in Tibet.

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Somnyama Ngonyama/Hail, the Dark Lioness is a collection of portraits by Zanele Muholi a South-African photographer. The photos pose questions on social justice, human rights and contested representations of the black body, as stated in the museum home page introduction. The all black-and-white portraits were powerful. I felt they first opened on the surface – the image you saw – and then as you looked on in depth.

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Belated Valentines

20180217_163319This was meant to be a Valentines cake but baked it yesterday. I pimped a recipe of Finnish mocca  brownies on a cookbook site of a dairy produce company (Valio). This cake is not quite moist as brownies are but with the extra clicks of quark, it is certainly as filling and melt in the mouth.

This is a recipe for a small cake. Double the recipe to make a panful.

100 g butter, 1 dl coffee, 2,5 dl flour, 1/2 dl cocoa powder, 1/2 dl baking powder, 2 eggs, 1  1/2 dl sugar, 150 g quark (I used a flavoured one, Irish cream rahka).

Melt the butter and mix with coffee. Let cool. Mix the dry ingredients. Separate one egg and let the yolk wait for the quark. Beat the eggs and sugar.

Add the butter mix and the flour mix to the eggs. Pour into a greased pan. Mix the quark and the egg yolk and put small clicks of it in the cake. Even out the surface and make decorative patterns if you like. Bake in 200 C for 20 minutes.

Frosting: 50 butter, 1 tbsp Amaretto, 6 dl powdered sugar. Melt the butter and mix in the other ingredients. Pour over your cake. Decorate with dried or fresh berries. Enjoy!

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Fish soup Selyanka

Hot warming soup is what you need on a cold day and now we’ve finally seen proper winter temperatures. -7 C and very light snow this morning.

This soup is variation to the traditional salmon soup and now with a Russian twist. For a large bowl for 8 you need:

600 g salmon fillet, 6 potatoes, one large onion, 4 carrots, 1 l water,one pickled cucumber, 2 tsp capers, 400 g crushed tomato (or passata pomodori), 4 bay leaves, all spice, salt and pepper. For the topping you need: 2 dl sour cream (smetana) and a tablespoon of grated horseradish.

Clean the fish and cut it into small pieces. Peel and dice the vegetables. 

Start with the smetana and mix it with the grated horseradish. Put it in the fridge.

Boil the water and put in the vegetables. If you cleaned the fish yourself and have the head, fens, skin etc., save them and add them in the water. You dish these out before adding the fish. Cook for 10 minutes. Add the tomato, spices, pickle and capers and let the soup come to boil. Remove the head etc. Turn to medium heat and add the fish. Cook for 15 minutes. 

Enjoy with smetana. The taste intensifies to the next day so why not cook this the day before! I made this on Saturday morning and had it for a late lunch after taking a stroll with my sisters. 

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Confit de Canard

How well off am I to be working with a houseful of foodies? It is not rare that we share recipes and admiring each others’ lunch boxes is already a routine.

One of the real conoisseurs, gourmands and a real chef shared this duck recipe that I tried last Sunday. The beauty of it is that it is ready made canned food except for the vegetables.

Go to a grocery store with a good selection and find a large can of duck legs, confit de canard, approx. 1250 g and 4-5 in a can.

You will also need red cabbage (600 g) and a red onion or other vegetables. Chop the onion and shred the cabbage. Sauté  lightly in duck lard (5 min). You can add a star anise in the pan. Pour the cabbage in an oven pan and cook for 15 min in 180 C. Take out the pan and place the duck legs on the cabbage. Bake for 10-15 minutes and voila, dinner is ready! 

Enjoy in good company and with good wine. You might serve caramelised apples, black currant jelly and Brussels sprouts with the confit.

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Oatmeal Bake

One of my colleagues shared this cake recipe last week and I tried it out yesterday when my sisters were coming over. 

This is really tasty and so easy to make, takes only 15 minutes.

For a panful you need: 200 g butter, 8 dl oatmeal, 3 sugar (I put in 1/3 brown and 2/3 caster sugar, 3 tbsp syrup (I used a mix of agave and sugar cane syrup) and 3 tbsp milk. 

Start with melting the butter. Turn on the oven to 200 C. Mix the dry ingredients, add the syrup and milk, and last the butter. Cover an oven pan with a baking sheet and spread the cake mix on it. Bake for 10 minutes and cut into squares before it cools completely. 

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Gnocchi with Ricotta, Spinach and Gorgonzola

Tried a new recipe for gnocchi this Saturday – the gnocchi was actually with the same recipe as earlier but the company was new.

For a four small portions of gnocchi you need 300 g floury potatoes, 100 g flour and 1 egg. Peel and cook the potatoes. Mash them and let cool. Add the flour and egg. Knead until smooth and let rest. Bake into finger thick sticks and cut into 3 cm long pieces. Roll and press with a fork. Let rest until you are ready to cook them.

I baked the gnocchi in oven with cheese and spinach, and for this I needed a packet of Ricotta, 200 g baby spinach, nutmeg, salt and pepper, 2 tbsp sun flower seeds, 40 g Parmesan and 100 g Gorgonzola. 

Mix a packet of ricotta and 100 g of baby spinach. Add some freshly grated nutmeg and 40 g Parmesan. Take an oven form and brush it with oil. Place a bed of spinach leaves on the bottom. Add a layer of cheese mix and them baked gnocchi. Add another layer of cheese mix and gnocchi. Sprinkle on 2 tbsp sun flower seeds, add salt and pepper and 100 g Gorgonzola. Bake in 180 C for 20 minutes.

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