Sunday, August 22, 2010

Creamy lime and coconut biscuits

Sick and tired of dry and crumbly biscuits? I have a solution; fancy biscuits. These ones are crispy, thin, brandy-snap like little biscuits filled with a lime butter cream...oh did I forget to say that they are perfect to keep in the freezer and eat just a tiny bit defrosted?! Basically they are just delicious.
I have made them since I was a kid, and when looking around for something to snack on it felt like gold wort finding these biscuits in the freezer.

35 grams butter
50 grams sugar
50 grams dessicated coconut
1tbsp flour
1/2tbsp milk

Melt butter and sugar in a pot on low heat. Add coconut, flour and milk and let simmer for 2 min while stirring. Put teaspoons of the mix on to a baking tray. This has to be done in batches because the mix will melt and float out a lot. Bake on 180C for 6-8min, or until golden. Let cool down before filling.

Butter cream
45 grams icing sugar
50 grams butter, room temperature
1 egg yolk
1 lime

Beat butter and sugar until thick and pale. Add the egg yolk and continue beating the mix until smooth. Add the zest of the lime and juice to taste. Spread the butter cream between two bicuits and keep in fridge or freezer.

Sunday morning sunflower bread rolls

Usually I bake scones on sunday mornings for breakfast, but last night I got the brilliant idea to make little bread rolls to prove over night and bake off in the morning. I was well impressed by how easy it is to get perfect bread with very little work involved; the little rolls did not look much to the world last night but this morning they came out of the oven looking great, and the taste was even better.

Day one

8 grams fresh yeast
125ml cold water
150 grams strong flour, white
4 grams salt
1/2tsp honey
25 grams sunflower seeds, lightly toasted in a hot, dry pan

Dissolve the yeast in the water and add honey, seeds and flour. Mix until it forms a dough and add salt. Knead the dough with a little oil on your hands until it is elastic and easy to work. Divide into 8 pieces, form little balls and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Cover with clingfilm and let prove over night in the fridge.

Day 2

Take the tray out of the fridge and let prove in roomtemperature for about 30 minutes. Bake in the middle of the oven on 225C for 10-12min with a tray of water in the bottom of the oven.

Friday, August 13, 2010

A swedish take on biscotti

In Sweden it is just as common with biscotti as in Italy, the recipes may vary but the concept still is the same; a small, kind of hard biscuit, usually flavoured with spices or nuts. This is one of those recipes that you can play around with depending on what you like. I think cardamom and almonds is a perfect combination but I can imagine these biscottis also would be very tasty with hazelnuts and orange zest, or maybe ginger bread spices and dark muscovado sugar, or maybe even lavender sugar if that tickles your fancy...ok you get the picture now I think.

50 grams butter
35 grams ground almonds
105 grams sugar
1 egg
160 grams flour
1/2tsp baking powder
1tsp ground cardamom

Beat butter and almonds together. Mix flour, baking powder and cardamom. Whisk sugar and egg until white and fluffy. Combine all ingredients until it forms a quite loose dough. Shape 2 rolls the lenght of the baking tray you are using, transfer the dough to the tray with baking paper. Lightly press the dough out a little so you have the rolls about 2cm high and 3-4cm wide. Bake on 200C gor 15 min. Take out and cut into little biscuits, put back on the tray and let dry on very low heat, say 50C for 2h or until dry.

Another baguette

I know I said that there is only one recipe that works for me when it comes to baguettes but the other day I had to try something I dont do very often; proving the dough over night. To do this you need to do polish (starter dough) and you need time. I takes 2 days to get this bread ready but belive me, it will be worth it. Texture and flavour really improves by letting the dough take its time.

Day one
70ml cold water
40grams rye flour
50grams strong bread flour
3grams fresh yeast

Dissolve the yeast in the water and add both types of flour. Mix until it creates a thick paste. Let this prove in a warm spot under a damp cloth for at least 10 hours.

Day one, evening
8grams fresh yeast
350ml cold water
470grams strong bread flor
65grams wholeweat flour
10grams fine sea salt

Mix the yeast with water and polish. Add both types of flour and mix, add salt and start kneading the dough by hand for a least 7min. Let the dough prove over night in the fridge, in a bowl covered with clingfilm.

Day two
Take the dough out of the fridge and work it by hand for a couple of minutes, let prove for about 30min. Bake out 4 baguettes and let prove again for about 40min. Heat up the oven to 225C. Bake the bread in the middle of the oven for 18-22min with a tray of water in the bottom of the oven.


These lovely rhubarb are from Martins parents garden and have been living in my freezer for a couple of weeks now, waiting to be used in something. So the other day I was making raspberry jam and decided to try making rhubarb jam as well. It is so delicious on toast or freshly baked bread, I think I will even try to make rhubarb jam cakes.
Jam sugar is now available in the super market here in Ireland and it makes life so easy when making jam. All you need is jam sugar and what ever fruit or berries you like.

Rhubarb jam
170grams rhubarb, chopped
120grams jam sugar
1tsp vanilla sugar
1/2tsp cardamom

Mix sugar and rhubarb in a pot and let melt on low heat. Bring to the boil and let simemr for 3-5min, test if the jam i ready by putting a small bit on a cold plate, if it sets within a minute it is ready. Add cardamom and turn of the heat, let stand for 5min. Transfer to clean, hot jars.

Raspberry and vanilla jam
200grams raspberries
200grams jam sugar
1/4 vanillapod (only the seeds)
Mix raspberries, vanilla and sugar in a pot. Bring to the boil and let simmer for only 2 min. Turn off the heat and let stand for 10min. Transfer to clean, hot jars.

Wild strawberry and vanilla liquor

When I was in Sweden this summer I spent a few days out in our country house, and at this time of the year the fields are full of little wild strawberries. I picked more than a litre and brought it over to Ireland to save some of the taste of summer. But what do you do with a litre of wild strawberries that has been in a plastic jar on a 2 1/2 flight? Well, the only sensible thing was to put them in a bottle of Eau de Vie and sugar and let the alcohol take flavour from the berries and then turn into lovely liquor.

The other day the bottle had been sitting in my window for a few weeks and it was time to strain it and flavour with vanilla. The only problem was that I am not the owner of a muslin cloth that is usually used to strain liquids that you want to become clear. Looking around for a tea towel or something similar I found one of those textile shopping bags that I for unknown reason had washed. I felt so smart when I decided to put this bag in a fine sieve and strain the liquor through it. It worked a treat; out came perfectly, clear red liquid that smelled just like summer it self!

1litre berries

330ml eau de vie

400grams sugar

Put 200grams of the sugar in a bottle together with the berries and alcohol. Let stand in a sunny window for 2 weeks. Add the rest of the sugar and leave for another 2 weeks until the sugar has melted. Strain the liquor and poor into a clean bottle, add more sugar if you like it sweeter. I also put a 1/4 of a vanilla pod in the bottle. Let stand in a cool, dark place for a couple of months and then open on a cold autumn day and remember the summer.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Blueberry jam cakes

If there is one thing you will see a lot of on my blog it is blueberries. It is one of my favourite berries and they are not just very tasty; they are good for you too. They are full of antioxidants and are classed as one of the new "super foods".

In Sweden we pick buckets full of blueberries in the forrest just around the corner from our country house. Usually we freeze some and the rest we make jam of, and if you have a jar of homemade blueberry jam you have to make these little jam cakes. It is so easy and just the perfect thing to have with a cup of tea or coffee.

200 grams butter, roomtemperature
85 grams sugar
1tsp bakingpowder
300 grams plain flour
4-5tbsp blueberry jam

2tbsp icing sugar+water

Beat sugar and butter until pale and fluffy. Mix bakingpowder and flour, add to the sugar/butter-mix. Mix just enough until it forms a dough. Divide into 20 pieces. Roll little balls and put in small muffincups. Make a little well in the middle of the dough with your finger and fill with 1/2tsp of blueberry jam.
Bake on 175C for 18-20min. Let cool down. Mix icing sugar with just enough water to create a thick icing. Drizzle on top of the cakes.

Serve with a cup of tea or coffee!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Fabulous Fougasse

Fougasse. In French cuisine, fougasse is a type of bread typically associated with Provence but found (with variations) in other regions. Some versions are sculpted or slashed into a pattern resembling an ear of wheat. It can be flavoured with herbs, olives, sundried tomatoes or anchovies.
Working in a bakery a few years ago I saw this being baked and sold every day, little did I know then that I was going to bake this myself one day. That day was today! Yesterday I was just looking through some recipes on BBC's webbsite and came across this recipe for fougasse. Eager as I am to try something new I was all of a sudden standing in my kitchen making a polish (dough starter) at 10pm. Today I made the bread dough by hand, and I am telling you that it is very nice sometimes not to have a kicthen assistant. Kneading dough by hand is like therapy I realised. I brushed it with some olive oil that I keep sundried tomatoes in and sprinkled thyme, oregano, blackpepper and salt on top.
Now for the recipe, remember you do need time to make this. The polish is to be made at least 10 hours before you can make the dough. This is important for the flavour of the bread since yeast activates and feeds on the natural sugars present in the flour, over time it produces a distinctively tangy or sour taste.

Day 1

Dough starter/ Polish
3 grams fresh yeast
70ml cold water
50 grams rye flour
50 grams strong bread flour (white)

Dissolve the yeast in the water, add both types of flour and mix until it forms a thick paste. Let rest under a damp cloth for at least 10hours, preferably 18hours.

Day 2

Bread dough
11 grams fresh yeast
350ml cold water
470 grams strong bread flour (white)
65 grams rye flour
8 grams fine sea salt
polish from day one

olive oil, herbs, sundried tomatoes, olives...

Mix the polish with the water, add yeast and mix until completely dissolved. Add both types of flour and start mixing by hand. Add salt and start kneading the dough for roughly 7min. Let the dough prove for 1 hour, or until it has doubled in size.
Divide in to 2 pieces. Shape each piece in to a flat triangle shape. Make a cut all the way down the centre, then make 3 or 4 deep slashes on each side of the middle. Gently pull apart a little so you get holes in the dough. Let prove again on baking paper for 30-40min.
Brush the bread with olive oil and sprinkle with chopped herbs or olives/sundried tomatoes. Freshly ground black pepper and sea salt is lovely as well.
Heat up your oven to the highest temperature, 250C or gasmark 9. Let a baking tray heat up inside the oven. Leave a small dish of water in the bottom of the oven to create a nice crust on the bread.
Carefully transfer the bread to the baking tray and bake in the middle of the oven for 18-22min.
Enjoy with cheese or maybe a nice dip such as pesto.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Easy coconut-cakes

If you like coconut you will like these cakes. If you like bounty bars you will love these cakes. I dont know if it would be correct to call them cakes though because they dont have any flour in them, great for people who can not take wheat/gluten...
To dip them in chocolate is delicious but you can of course eat them just the way they are. The trick to get them to stay in shape, and not float out on the tray and create a mess, is that you are not to whisk the eggs, and do let the butter and coconut rest for 10min. It makes the coconut absorb the butter and swell a little.

50 grams butter
200 grams dessicated coconut
100 grams sugar
2 eggs

Melt the butter and mix with the coconut. Let this rest for 10min. Add eggs and sugar, be careful not to stir to much. With two spoons shape little "mountains" on a baking tray. Bake on 175C for 10min until golden. Let cool down before dipping in chocolate.

Soft rye cakes

The name of this bread makes it sound like something sweet, but it is actually bread. In sweden we eat a lot of rye bread and, for someone who is not so used to that flavour this recipe is a great way of learning to like it. It is very soft and has got a mild, kind of sweet rye-flavour because of the mix of wheat flour and rye flour. I have had my mum make this since I was a kid, and the best part was that the little piece you cut out in the middle went in to the oven and came out as a perfect little piece to nibble on, hot with butter of course! These days I obviously bake my own bread, and because I like to experiment with old recipes I have added a bit of linsseeds and sunflower seeds to this bread. It gives it a bit more bite and of course more goodness, but you can just leave it plain.

400 grams plain flour
260 grams ryeflour
50 grams fresh yeast or 12-14 grams dry yeast
2tsp salt
2tbsp golden syrup or honey
500ml milk
50 grams butter
1tbsp anisseeds or fennelseeds,

Melt butter and add milk, dissolve the yeast in the milk/butter mix. Add salt, syrup and spices. Work in the flour until it forms a dough. Work this dough for about 5-7min by hand. Let prove until doubled in size. Divide in to 4 pieces, roll each one in to a ball. With a rolling pin shape the balls in to flat cakes, about 2cm high. With a glass or cake cutter cut out a whole in the middle. Prick with a fork and let prove again on a baking tray for about 30min. Bake on 225C for 12min in the middle of the oven.

Yummy breakfast on a tuesday...

Usually tuesdays are my least favorite day of the week, I have said it before. But today I have the day off so this morning I made some lovely scones for breakfast. It is so tasty and simple, and because I mix wholemeal flour and plain flour I kind of let myself believe it is not too unhealthy. Also, I dont make sweet scones, I prefer to keep them savoury and let the marmelade or jam stand for the sweetness. The recipe here is enough for 4 scones, that should fill 2 people.

140 grams plain flour
110 grams wholemeal flour
40 grams butter, roomtemperature
1 1/2tsp baking powder
1/2tsp salt
100ml milk or buttermilk

Mix all dry ingredients. Rub the butter in to the flour until it forms crumbles. Add milk and quickly mix in to a dough, if it is too wet add some more plain flour. Shape a round, flat cake, about 2cm high. Cut in to 4 pieces, prick with a fork. Bake on 225-250C for 12 minutes. I eat them while still hot with butter, jam/marmelade and cheese. It might sound funny with the cheese but it is very Swedish and very tasty. Enjoy with a hot cup of tea and hopefully the day off!