Monday, January 24, 2011

Rye loaf

Rye bread is originally from Germany but is now a big part of Scandinavias and Eastern European countries food culture. It is heavy, compact and dark, rich in fibre and iron. Growing up in sweden I am very used to this type of bread and still remember one particular typ of Finnish rye bread that was very dark and sour. Delicious I say but for someone who is not so used to eating rye bread I here give you a recipe that has a lovely mild taste of rye.
The recipe comes from my mum and even though my memory is letting me down in this case she claims she used to bake it a lot when I was younger, I have to take her word for that!
Baking with rye flour can be a little tricky since it binds water different than plain wheat flour so a great way of creating a moist bread that wont get crumbly is to "soak" the flour in boiling water the night before baking the bread. So be prepared to set a side time for baking this bread, it is worth it.

1 litre water
550 grams rye flour
14 grams dried yeast
1 tbsp salt
100ml butter milk/sour cream
3tbsp treacle
900 grams wheat flour

Day 1
Bring the water to boil and pour over the flour, mix until it looks like porridge. Cover with cling film and leave in room temperature over night.

Day 2
Dissolve yeast in a couple of tablespoons of warm water and blend with the rye flour/water-mix. Add butter milk, salt, treacle and 800 grams of the wheat flour (leave the rest of the flour for kneading the dough and shaping the loaves). Knead the dough on a floured surface until it is elastic and easy to work with. Let prove for 1 hour. Divide the dough into 2 pieces and shape 2 loaves. Let prove again until doubled in size on a baking tray lined with baking parchment. Bake for 1 hour on 200C in the lower part of the oven. Brush the loaves with water when taking it out of the oven and let cool down wrapped in tea towels.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Raspberry scones

As a tradition I try to bake scones one morning every weekend, last week it happened to be on the saturday and what a great start of a great day it was. Usually I make a little bit healthier and more wholesome scones at home but this morning I was interested in the taste more so than the nutrition and therefore used my sweet scone recipe and flavoured them with raspberries.
The recipe will make 5 large scones or 8 small.

50 grams butter, room temperature
235 grams plain flour
17 grams baking powder
25 grams caster sugar
1 egg yolk
100ml milk (or half milk/half cream, or yoghurt)

16 raspberries, I used frozen

Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl, rub the butter into the flour mix. Add milk and egg yolk and quickly bring together to a dough. On a floured surface roll out the dough to about 3cm thick, put half of the raspberries on one half of the dough, fold over and put the remaining raspberries on one half of the dough, fold over again and gently roll again to about 5cm thick. Take out scones with a cookie cutter or glass. Place on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Brush with milk or egg. Bake for 15min on 200C.

Hazelnut semifreddo

On saturday evening, after a lovely meal of home made pizza, I presented a very tasty Italian dessert; Semifreddo. It is almost too tasty for me to describe in words... Imagine the lightest parfait flavoured with ground, tosated hazelnuts, served with hot chocolate sauce and raspberries. The semifreddo is, as the translation straight from Italian says, half cold wich means the dessert is frozen and then put in room temperature for about 20min before serving to get the right texture. The eggwhites really makes it so light and fluffy, and it is not that sweet like some desserts can be. You are meant to add some alcohol as well to the recipe to make it softer since alcohol stops it from freezing too hard and becoming icy. I did not put any alcohol in this time but would recommend some coffee liqour or marsala.
This recipe will feed 4 people, yes it will look like a lot of dessert but belive me, they will come back for more... I froze indvidual silicpne muffin cups (very handy since they are non-stick) but you can just as well make one large dish and serve on a platter.

2 eggs, seperated
200ml double cream
60 grams caster sugar
50 grams ground hazelnuts
(20ml marsala/coffee liqour)

Toast the hazelnuts in a dry frying pan until golden brown. Set a side to cool down. Whisk egg yolks and half of the sugar until white and fluffy. In another bowl whisk the cream, not too hard, just until it forms soft peaks. In a third bowl whisk eggwhites, when it starts to look like foam/soft peaks, add the ramaining sugar bit by bit while still whisking until it is a quite stiff meringue.
Fold the eggyolks and sugar mix into the cream, followed by hazelnuts and at last eggwhites wich are folded in carefully to keep as much air in as possible. If you are using alcohol, add this at the very last point before freezing.
Divide the mix into individual dishes or the one big dish lined with cling film. Cover the top with cling film and freeze for at least 3 hours. To serve take the semifreddo out of the dish/dishes and put on a plate for 10-20min before serving.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


I came across "Baci's" a few years ago when I was working in an Italian restaurant in Dublin. They are wonderful little chocolates individually wrapped in blue and silver foil. Basically it is milk chocolate and hazelnut truffle, but the fast that each one of them also has a little toasted hazelnut on top as well as being dipped in dark chocolate just makes them divine. During my holiday in Italy last year I found them again and could not have been happier.
I have a book called "The Chocolate factory" (straight transalation from Swedish) and it is full of delicious chocolate recipes. I have my own kind of basic recipe for ganache/truffle but in this book I gladly found a brilliant recipe for milk chocolate truffles so in December 2010 I combined this recipe with the idea of Baci's and voila!

100 grams milk chocolate
50 grams butter, room temperature
50 grams icing sugar
50 grams hazelnuts, toasted and peeled

100 grams dark chocolate

Finely chop the hazelnut, it needs to be nearly like powder, leave 7 nuts whole. Melt chocolate in a bain marie, let it reach 35C but not more. Set a side. Beat butter and icing sugar until white and fluffy, slowly add chocolate while still beating. Last fold in haelnuts. With a piping bag pipe 14 small truffles on a tray lined with baking parchment. Chop each whole hazelnut in half and put one half on top of each truffle, let set in the fridge for 1h.

Temperate the dark chocolate and dip each truffle in the chocolate with help of a fork and spoon. Let chill again before serving or wrapping.

While making the Baci's I recalled having seen a bottle of home made Wild Strawberry liquor in the fridge that I wanted to use in desserts (dont really like drinking it on its own). Now strawberry and milk chocolate is for me always going to be a success so truffles I made. Same recipe as for the Baci's but instead of hazelnut I used 25ml of liqour. Dipped in dark chocolate and decorated with some icing colored red they turned out to be delicious!

Toast bread

I bake nearly all bread we eat here at home and here is a recipe I have tried, tested, changed and finally I am happy with. It is very basic and easy to bake and makes one great big loaf good for slicing and freezing, then you will always have toast bread at home. It can be made very plain but I like to add extra goodness such as whole wheat flour and seeds.

500 grams white flour
150 grams whole wheat flour
10 grams dried yeast
500ml milk
50 grams butter
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp golden syrup
2 hand fulls of mixed seeds (lins seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds...)

Melt butter and add milk and heat until luke warm, add golden syrup. Dissolve yeast in the liquid. In a bowl mix flours, salt and seeds. Pour the liquid in to the dry mix and blend with a wooden spoon. When it comes together to a dough start kneading with floured hands. When the dough is elastic put aside to prove for 1h or until it has doubled in size.
Tip the dough out on to a floured surfade and shape in to one loaf. Put in a bread tin and let prove again until double in size.
Bake on 225C for 10min, turn down heat to 200C and bake for another 20min. Take the loaf out of the tin and bake for 5 more minutes to get a crust all around. Let cool on a rack before slicing.

Remember December

It is january 2011 and nearly half way in to this absolutely grey and dull month I am going to treat you all to a little peak of what was going on in my house in december 2010. A lot of sweet treats were made since Christmas seems to be the time of the year that everybody (including me) indulges in chocolates, cakes and biscuits, all washed down with mulled wine.

Chocolate toffes made with my dads mums recipe...

Mint kisses; a typical Swedish treat usually made around christmas.

Wild strawberry and milk chocolate truffles.

My own Baci; italian milk chocolate and hazelnut truffles