Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Vegetarian springrolls

After spending a few months in Asia I have developed some sort of addiction to spring rolls. In Thailand they come filled with glass noodles, mushrooms and cabbage, served with sweet chili sauce. In Vietnam they come filled with minced pork and vegetables, rolled in rice paper, sometimes deep fried or served fresh over lettuce leaves. Any way is good for me because there is something special about thin sheets of pastry filled with tasty stir fries, served with delicious dip sauces. Sometimes even just plain soy sauce is good enough to dip in.
When making these spring rolls I had Thailand in mind but served them the Vietnamese way with soy sauce mixed with chopped garlic and chili. I decided to cook them in the oven, that makes it a much more healthy meal and you wont have your home smelling like a deep fat fryer for days. It was more than enough for 2 big main course portions, I would say this recipe could serve 4 people as a starter or 3 as main course.

8 spring roll pastry sheets
100 grams glass noodles
1 carrot
2 hand fulls of white cabbage
4 spring onions
2 cloves of garlic
2cm fresh ginger
2tbsp vegetable oil
fish sauce, soy sauce, white pepper

Cook the noodles after the instructions on the packet, pour cold water over them to stop cooking and set aside.
Chop garlic and ginger finely. Slice spring onion and carrots into thin strips. Heat a wok until smoking hot, add the oil and stir fry cabbage, carrots and spring onion for a couple of minutes until they starts to soften. Add garlic and ginger and continue to stir fry for another minute. Season with soy sauce, fish sauce and white pepper. Last add noodles and season to taste.
Divide the stir fry on to the 8 sheets of pastry. Wrap the pastry around the filling and seal with a little water. Brush with oil and cook for 15-20min on 200C, until crisp and golden.

Almond meringue with daim parfait

Easter came and I took the week off from blogging and spent the weekend in Stockholm. Usually Easter is a holiday where I end up cooking a storm but this year I did not go too crazy; a couple of meals out and BBQ in my parents garden. However I made the most delicious dessert the days before we left Ireland for Sweden, and lucky me still have a big piece left in the freezer. The recipe comes from a Swedish food magazine my mum bought at least 10 years ago and ever since then this dessert always manages to impress even the fuzziest eater. Crispy, chewy almond meringue topped with daim parfait really is a great combination and to add something extra I like to serve it with fresh blackberries. Blackberries goes really well with milk chocolate and almond, so since the dessert contains Daim (includes milk chocolate) and sweet almond meringue it just works a treat. Another plus with this dessert is that it is glutenfree. The recipe makes enough dessert for 6-8 people.


2 egg whites
50 almonds
60 grams caster sugar

250ml cream
25 grams caster sugar
2 egg yolks
60 grams daim

Chop almonds roughly. Beat egg whites until firm peaks appear, add 30 grams of the caster sugar and beat to a firm meringue. Fold in the rest of the sugar and almonds. Spread out on baking parchment to a 2cm thick flat round. Bake for 30min in 175C. Let cool down before making the parfait.

Chop daim into small pieces. Whip the cream, not too hard but quite firm. Beat egg yolks and sugar until pale and fluffy. Fold in cream to the egg yolks, last the daim. Spread over the meringue and freeze straight away for at least 3 hours before serving.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Morehampton chocolate cake

When making these chocolate cup cakes a few months ago I explained the history of the cake called Morehampton; a Swedish sticky chocolate cake that turned into a hazelnut fudge cake when I lived on Morehampton Road. Last week I baked one of those and brought to a BBQ, it was very appreciated and nobody could belive this was put together in 35min, including the time in the oven. I used dark muscovado sugar instead of caster sugar, and put little chunks of dark chocolate on top of the cake before it went in to the oven, it made the cake even tastier.

150 grams butter
2 eggs
200 grams dark muscovado sugar
80 grams plain white flour
40 grams cocoa powder
90 grams hazelnuts
pinch of salt
50 grams dark chocolate

Chop the hazelnuts finely and toast in a hot frying pan until golden brown. Melt butter and let cool down. Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl, add melted butter and the egg, stir until well mixed. Pour in to a cake tin and sprinkle chopped dark chocolate on top. Bake for 25min on 175C.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Chocolate mousse

On a friday night after a lovely home cooked meal I crave dessert. It does not have to be big or fancy, just something sweet to hit the spot. After making parfait the other week I still had my mind set on chocolate and raspberries so after a quick look I realised I had all ingredients at home to make a chocolate mousse with raspberry coulis. This is an easy version containing eggs, butter, sugar and chocolate, it tastes very "chocolaty" so make sure you use good quality chocolate.

2 eggs, separated
70 grams dark chocolate
1tbsp butter
4 tbsp caster sugar

Melt chocolate and butter, let cool down to room temperature, carefully stir in the egg yolks. Beat egg whites until soft peaks appear and start adding sugar bit by bit. Whisk to a firm meringue. Fold the meringue into the chocolate. Divide in to cups or glasses and chill for a couple of hours before serving with fresh raspberries or raspberry coulis.

Toffee biscuits

Sometimes I lack in inspiration and motivation to bake or cook, still I can simply not sit still and do nothing. These are the days when I go back to old, well tried and tested recipes that when I use I don't need to pay to much attention to what I do. These are recipes known by heart and always turns out the same, yummy in this case.
These toffee biscuits are so simple to make, my mum used to bake them a lot when I was younger and I still remember how they came out of the oven as big rectangular flats of dough, cut in to pieces while still hot and then cooled down before kept in a cookie jar in the kitchen. The end pieces were always left out for sampling when still hot.
Yesterday we were invited for a dinner party and I brought a batch of freshly baked toffee biscuits as a gift, it was highly appreciated.

100 grams butter, soft
60 grams caster sugar
155 grams plain flour
1tsp baking powder
1tbsp golden syrup
1/2tsp vanilla extract

Beat sugar and butter until smooth and creamy. Add syrup and vanilla extract. Last stir in flour and baking powder, work until the dough comes together. Divide into 2 pieces and roll out to the length of your baking tray. Place on the tray lined with baking parchment. Press the dough gently to flatten a little. Bake for 18-20min on 175C. Take out and let settle for a couple of minutes before cutting into 2cm wide biscuits.

French toast on duck egg brioche

After baking duck egg brioche I knew straight away I was going to use it for a lovely brunch. French toast is not my type of thing to eat early in the morning but waking up at midday on a Saturday I really enjoyed this meal. Brioche is rich and buttery, soaked in a mix of eggs, milk and a little bit of flour it really crisped up and created a lovely little dish served with honey or cinnamon/sugar.

4 slices of brioche
1 egg
50ml milk
1tbsp flour

Beat the egg lightly with the flour, add milk and whisk until well combined and smooth. Soak each slice of bread in the liquid and fry in butter on medium heat. A couple of minutes on each side should be enough to get golden, crispy toast. Serve hot with cinnamon/sugar or honey.

Duck egg brioche

A week ago Martins mum brought me 2 duck eggs from a friend of theirs who has his own ducks. I am not a fan of eggs, I don't eat them poached, boiled or scrambled, so what was I to do with 2 beautiful locally sourced duck eggs? Well, after a bit of thought put in to my actions I decided to bake with them. Duck eggs provides extra strength and richness to your baking due to the high content of fat in the yolk, and protein in the white. I baked brioche with my duck eggs and the result was fantastic, the dough really rose and created a light, fluffy yet rich bread that melts in your mouth. There is hundreds of recipes and ways of baking brioche, this is a simple version that wont take you the whole day to make.

100 grams butter, room temperature
2tbsp water, warm
7 grams dried yeast
2 duck eggs
1/2tbsp sugar
1/2tsp salt
250 grams flour
1 egg yolk for brushing

Dissolve the yeast in the water, add duck eggs and beat them lightly. Add sugar and salt and work flour in to the eggs. When you have a firm dough start adding butter bit by bit while kneading the dough. Work the dough by hand for 8-10min. Let rise to double size. Divide the dough in to 3 parts and create a braid shaped loaf. Let rise to double size on a baking tray lined with baking parchment. Brush with egg yolk and bake for about 20min on 220C.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Raspberry chocolate parfait

Sometimes I don't really think things through before starting to cook or bake something and the result will always be a bit of a surprise then. This was the case when making this parfait; all I knew was that I wanted a yummy dessert and that I had to use what was in my freezer and cupboard. I always keep a bag of frozen raspberries in the freezer, I like to eat them defrosted with yogurt in the morning or to put in sponge cakes or muffins. Chocolate is another must have ingredient that always hangs around either my fridge or cupboard, dark, milk or white...
These two ingredients go so well together so there was no doubt the flavour of the dessert was going to be nice. Semifreddo has been a hit the last few times I made it so I decided to make something similar, but in French it is called Parfait.
The dessert went down a treat together with fresh raspberries and hot chocolate sauce.

2 eggs, separated
200ml cream
60 grams caster sugar
40 grams dark chocolate
60 grams raspberries

Melt chocolate and let cool down. Whisk egg yolks and 30 grams of sugar until white and fluffy. In a separate bowl whip cream until soft peaks appear. Beat egg whites in a third bowl, when soft peaks appear start adding the sugar bit by bit while beating to a firm meringue. Divide the egg yolk mix in two and mix with raspberries in one bowl and chocolate in another. Add half of the cream to the raspberries and the rest of the cream to the chocolate. Last gently fold in the meringue. Pour in the chocolate mix in a tin and the raspberry on top. Freeze for 4 hours. Take out in room temperature 10min before serving.

Chocolate sauce
2tbsp cocoa powder
2tbsp caster sugar
1tbsp golden syrup
3tbsp water
1 pinch of salt

Combine all ingredients in a pot, stir until well combined. Bring to boil and let simmer for 3-4min while stirring. Serve hot on the side of the parfait.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

More foccacia

For this bread I have just used my regular foccacia recipe but rolled little balls of the dough, placed them near each other and stuck little cubes of parmesan cheese in between. It does not taste any different but it looks great and at a dinner party it is so handy that each guest can break off pieces as they want.

Feta cheese and herb dip

Last week 3 lovely Swedish girls arrived to my place for a girls night in. I love entertaining and hosting dinner parties so any time the chance is given I cook up a storm. This time some antipasti was served for started with home made foccacia bread in a new shape, main course was fillet of pork served with honey roast root vegetable and a red wine sauce. A dessert of double raspberry and chocolate parfait really hit the spot after all that food.
For the main course I decided to make some sort of dip, even though I had red wine sauce i wanted something else to cut through all the meaty, hearty flavours. I remember eating some kind of feta cheese dip before in a Greek restaurant and decided that this was going to enter my table that night, with a bit of a twist; fresh parsley and basil not only gave it lots of flavour but also an almost lime green colour. Together with the sweet, crispy, roast vegetables this went really well.

50 grams feta cheese
1 handful fresh parsley
1 handful fresh basil
1 clove of garlic
2tbsp natural yogurt
olive oil, salt, pepper

Crumble the feta cheese in a bowl and mix with the herbs and garlic. Add enough olive oil to get the mix smooth . Fold in yogurt and season with salt and pepper. Serve with roast root veg, potatoes or just as a dip with crusty bread.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Rhubarb crumble

The last few days has been very mild and sunny here in Dublin, spring is in the air for sure. I was delighted when given a bag of the first rhubarb of the year last week and made a crumble. We have an awful lot of rhubarb growing in the country house garden in Sweden, and when spending the summers out there we used to make crumbles all the time. I was even put off baking or eating crumbles for a few years until I recently realised what a wonderful way this is to cook with fresh fruit and berries in season. Rhubarb has such a lovely flavour; tangy, sour almost bitter, but with the right amount of sugar it just goes all yummy and sweet. I like to put oat flakes in my crumble, makes it crunchier and tastier. Cardamom and rhubarb is a great combination, it lifts the whole dessert to a new level. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

500 grams rhubarb, chopped in small pieces
1tbsp cornflour
4tbsp caster sugar
1tsp ground cardamom

125 grams butter
60 grams oat flakes
65 grams plain flour
40 grams brown sugar

Combine rhubarb, caster sugar, corn flour and cardamon. Spread out in a baking tin or pie dish. Mix brown sugar, oats and flour. Rub butter in to the mix until crumbly. Spread the crumbles on top of the rhubarb and bake for 20-25min on 220C.