Root veggie bearnaise

I love Bearnaise sauce but most of all I love tarragon. This carrot parsnip puree actually tastes surprisingly close to Bearnaise but is much healthier. It's a fun and unusual side dish. Serve with meat (I've tried both steak and lamb and I'm sure chicken would work too) and a salad. And don't forget a good red wine!

From Enjoy Wine & Spirits Magazine #7, March 2010.

~1 lb (400 g) carrot
~1 lb (400 g) parsnips

1 onion
4 Tbs white wine vinegar
4 white pepper corns
1 bunch tarragon
5/6 cups (200 ml) water
½ stick (50 g) butter

Peel and cut carrots and parsnips in smaller pieces. Strain the water and puree the carrots and the parsnips with a immersion blender.
Finely chop the onion. Boil onion, white pepper corns, tarragon in white wine vinegra and water. Make sure all the liquid is absorbed. Throw away the pepper corns.
Add the tarragon-onion mix to the carrot-parsnip puree and butter. Add salt to taste.


Italian Lentil Soup (with parsnips and carrots...)

I found this soup at the great blog Anne's Food. I have to say I agree with Anne though, I'm not quite sure what makes it Italian... In fact I would like to go even further and say I don't think the Lentil part is a good name either. Sure there's lentils in it but they are no way the main feature or main flavour. If being in the soup is enough to give it the name it might as well be called parsnip soup or carrot soup or potato soup. I guess if I got to name it I would have rather named it Carrot parsnip lentil soup.

Any way. The name doesn't really matter does it. What matter is that this soup was delicious and filling. Yet another soup that has been a regular on our menu this winter.

1 onion
1 garlic clove
2-3 carrots
2 parsnips
3 potatoes
½ cup (100 ml) red lentils
2.5 oz. (70 g) bacon (I doubled this, what can I say we like bacon...)
3.5 cups (800 ml) vegetable stock
3/4 cup (200 ml) milk
cup (100 ml) cream
1 tsp dried thyme
2 bay leaves
salt, pepper

Chop onion and garlic. Peel the carrots, parsnips and potatoes, and cut into coins and dice, respectively. Cut the bacon into strips.

Fry the bacon in a dry frying pan until it's lightly browned. Add some butter and the onions, garlic, carrots and parsnips. Fry for five minutes, then add lentils and potatoes. Fry for a few more minutes, then add water, stock, thyme and bay leaves.

Cover and cook for about 20 minutes, until all the vegetables are soft. Add milk and cream, and season with salt and pepper.


Öjeby toast (toast with crayfish tails, caraway and cheese)

A classic Swedish appetizer. The flavours of the sharp cheese and the crayfish tails mix wonderfully with the caraway seeds. Just perfect!

300 g crayfish tails
100 g Västerbotten cheese (or any other sharp, aged cheese)
1 Tbs caraway seeds
3 Tbs mayonnaise
50 ml akvavit (optional)
2 Tbs chopped dill

4 slices white bread

Mix all ingredients. Toast the bread in some butter in a pan or in a toaster. Place the crayfish-cheese mix on the bread and serve!

from dn.se


Pina Colada Cake

I haven't updated here in a long time. Mainly because I've been either busy or away. Not a lot of cooking and baking have happened. All of February was spent traveling. March has been a month of mostly soups (mainly my old favourites, not much new) and bread baking. I do have a few soup recipes to update with and also some bread.

But before I start the soup and bread posts I will give you the cake I made for a family birthday in January. Pina Colada Cake.... Mmmmm. It was a big hit, everyone loved it. My only complaint would be not enough coconut flavour. Probably because I didn't have coconut extract. I ended up using Malibu coconut rum - it's yummy but maybe not coconutty enough. Maybe next time I will follow Annie's suggestion and add some shredded coconut.

from Annie's Eats

3 ½ cups flour, sifted
4 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
16 Tbs (225 g) unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp coconut extract (I used Malibu rum - more like 2 Tbs)
8 egg whites
2/3 cup shredded coconut (optional - I would probably add this next time)

1 cup fresh pineapple chunks
12 oz. (340 g) cream cheese, at room temperature
18 Tbs (255 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 2/3 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
yellow food colouring (optional)

Preheat oven to 175 'C (350F). Line the bottoms of two 23 cm (9 inch) cake pans with parchment paper and grease and flour the sides.

Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

Using and electric mixer beat butter on heavy speed until creamy, about 30 seconds. Gradually add sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes.

Reduce speed to low and carefully add in the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the milk beginning and ending with the flour. Stir in vanilla and coconut extract (or Malibu rum). Add shredded coconut (optional).

In a separate bowl beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold in ½ cup of egg whites into the batter carefully, then fold in the remaining egg whites.Be careful not to over mix.

Divide the batter evenly into the two cake pans.

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Transfer to wire rack and cool for 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely.

Frosting: Puree pineapple chunks in food processor until smooth. Using an electric mixer beta cream cheese and butter on high speed until smooth and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes. Add confectioners sugar and mix until smooth. Add pureed pineapple until the frosting achieves desired pineapple flavour and consistency (approx. 3/4 cup). Add food colouring (optional).

Assemble cake. Serve. Enjoy!


Chicken with orange ginger sauce

This is yet another recipe from my favourite Swedish cook book writers Ulrika Davidsson and Ola Lauritzson. This time from their book GI dag för dag: 30 dagar till en nyttigare livsstil. Both me and J loved it - very fresh and fruity with a touch of spicy.

I served it with a spinach cashew salad but I'm sure it would go really well with some rice or quinoa as well. The sauce was a bit on the runnier side, I think next time I will try to make it with crème fraîche or sour cream instead of half-and-half. But aside from that it was perfect and the flavours were great.

Serves 4

4 chicken breasts
salt and pepper

1 Tbs fresh ginger, grated
2 garlic cloves
zest of 1 orange
olive oil
3/4 cup chicken broth
3/4 cup half-and-half (or crème fraîche or yogurt)
juice from half an orange
salt and pepper

fresh spinach
olive oil
balsamic vinegar
juice from half an orange

Pre heat the oven to 350 F (175 'C). Cut the chicken breasts in smaller pieces. Place chicken in a pan, sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook in the middle of the oven for 15 minutes or until chicken is done.

Grate ginger and garlic and mix with orange zest. Pour some olive oil in a sauce pan and add the ginger-garlic-zest mix. Let it fry for a few minutes. Add chicken stock, half-and-half and orange juice and let the sauce simmer for 10 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. Just before serving add the chicken to the sauce.

Mix spinach and cashews. Drizzle with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and orange juice. Enjoy!


Dijon meatballs with oven roasted veggies and a dijon mustard cream.

The endless gluttony that is December and early January (the whole Christmas season, New Years and multiple birthdays) is finally over and it's time to get back on the healthier track. No more cookies and cakes - well at least not until mid February (Valentine's and more birthdays).

I pulled out one of my favourite cookbooks for inspiration and found a recipe I had not yet tried. Well, I can say now that this one was a hit. Yummy and flavourful and at the same time quick and easy.

1 lb (450 g) ground beef
2 Tbs chopped fresh herbs (I used dill and parsley)
1 tsp salt
½ tsp cayenne pepper
1 egg
2 Tbs Dijon mustard (typing out this I realized the original recipe called for 2 tsp but since I mistakenly used 2 Tbs and liked the result I will keep it that way)
½ cup (100 ml) cream
butter or oil

3/4 - 1 cup (200 ml) creme fraiche or sour cream
1 Tbs Dijon mustard
salt and pepper

mixed vegetables of your choice (I used zucchini, red bell-pepper, carrot, red onion, broccoli and garlic)
olive oil

Pre heat oven to 430 F (225 'C). Cut veggies in smaller pieces and spread in a single layer in pan and sprinkle with olive oil. Roast vegetables for approx. 15 minutes.

Mix all ingredients for the meatballs. Shape into meatballs/patties and fry in a pan.

Mix creme fraiche/sourcream and mustard. Salt and pepper to taste.


Adapted from Våra bästa GI recept by Ulrika Davidsson and Ola Lauritzson


Mum's Lemon Pickled Herring

1 can herring (pre-pickled)
1 lemon
1 leek
1 handfull of dill

juice from the lemon
2½ Tbs strong vinegar
200 ml water
150 ml sugar
½ tsp all-spice, whole
½ tsp white pepper, whole
2 bay leaves

Wash the lemon carefully. Cut off the zest using a zester or a microplane. Press the juice from the lemon and mix it with the water, vinegar, sugar and spices. Bring to a quick boil and make sure all sugar is dissolved. Let it cool off completely.
Rinse the herring and cut into smaller (~½ inch 1-1½ cm) pieces. Thinly slice the leek.
In a glass jar assemble by putting a layer of herring, then a layer of leek, a layer of lemon zest and a layer of dill. Repeat. Finally pour the sauce over and cover. Refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours. Enjoy!

(can be kept in the fridge for approx. 1 week)


Deer feet

When I was planning my Christmas baking this year I asked J if he wanted me to bake anything special, maybe something from his family or a Christmas cookie I normally don't make and he immediately told me he wanted Deer feet. Apparently his grandmother used to bake these every year for Christmas. I emailed MIL and she was happy to send me the recipe.

Her instructions specifically said the cookies would spread in the oven so make sure not to make them too big. I'm not sure what I did wrong (if anything) but my cookies didn't spread at all! When the first batch came out of the oven I looked at something that mostly resembled a worm, not at all what they were supposed to look like. I baked mine on parchment paper (I tried baking them on ungreased cookie sheet as the instructions said and I didn't see any difference, no matter what method I used my cookies wouldn't spread at all).

Cookie fail or a worm?

The instructions also said to use a cookie press but that's when I ended up with the worm-shaped cookies. After testing a few methods I found the best one for me was to use a piping bag but without the tip. That way my cookies were 3/4 inch wide.

So they might have been a bit of a hassle but the end result was good and according to J they look and taste 'like they are supposed to'.
Source: J's grandmother

2 egg whites
7 Tbs sugar
1 1/4 cup fine coconut

1 cup icing sugar
2 Tbs very strong coffee, cold
2 Tbs butter, soft

2 squares (60 g) semi-sweet chocolate

Beat egg whites stiff, gradually add sugar while beating. Mixture should be very stiff. Fold in coconut gently using a spatula. Shape mixture into fingers using a cookie press/icing gun (or a piping bag), approx. 3 x 3/8 inches (8 x 1 cm). (According to MIL they will spread but like I said mine did NOT. I found 3 x 3/4 inches to be a better size. Maybe make just one first and test to see if yours spread?)

Bake on an UNGREASED cookie sheet in 375F (190 'C) for about 8 minutes. (supposedly they will slide all over the pan and make one big puddle if you grease it, I don't know since I never tried. Parchment paper worked fine for me)

Let cool mostly on the cookie sheet and then remove carefully with a metal spatula (they brake easily). Cool completely. Mix icing sugar, coffee and butter to make the filling. Place cookies in pairs with filling in between. Dip each end in melted chocolate.


Saffron biscotti (or why you should be VERY careful if you ever change a recipe)


These saffron biscotti have been a Christmas favourite in my family for the last couple of years. Sweet saffron buns (also known as Lucia buns) are a traditional Christmas treat in Sweden and this is a modern spin off.

I decided to bring these to a Christmas party one of my friends hosted. Unfortunately I didn't have enough saffron at home so I decided to just make half a batch. I figured I would make a second half-batch and flavour them differently. Before starting I figured out the amounts I would need of everything and even wrote them down on a piece of paper so I wouldn't mess up. Well, somehow even with these precautions I managed to forget to half the butter. After adding all the dry ingredients I ended up with something like a very greasy batter, not the thick dough that it normally makes. That's when I realized I had used the full amount of butter!

What to do? Pour it out and start from the beginning? No, remember I didn't have any more saffron. Just add the full amount of all the ingredients? Well I thought about doing that but decided against it since that would drown the saffron flavour. I ended up with a compromise adding about half of 'the missing amount' of dry ingredients. It worked and they ended up OK. Not great but OK. Lesson learned - always make sure to use half of ALL the ingredients when halving a recipe.

3½ oz. (100
g) butter
½ tsp (1 g) saffron
2 eggs
~½ cup (150 ml) sugar
~2 cups (500 ml) all-purpose flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ cup (150 ml) almonds, with the skins removed
Raw sugar

Set the oven for 350F (175'C). Melt the butter together with the saffron, pour into a bowl and stir in the eggs. In a separate bowl mix the dry ingredients and the almonds. Carefully add the dry ingredients to the butter-egg mix. Shape the dough into 3 lengths and put them on a baking sheet. Sprinkle raw sugar over. Bake in the middle of the oven for approx. 25 minutes.

Remove the cookies from the oven and lower the temperature to 250F (125'C). Cut the lengths in ½ inch (1 cm) slices and put them back on the baking sheet, cut side down. Dry the cookies in the middle of the oven for approx. 10 minutes. Turn off the oven and leave the biscotti inside until the oven has cooled down (or over night).

I also made half a batch of gingerbread flavoured biscotti. This time I remembered to only use half the butter and ended up with the right type of dough. I used the same recipe as above, just omitted the saffron and added 2 teaspoons of cinnamon, 2 teaspoons of ginger and ½ teaspoon cardamom. They were delicious (still not as good as the real saffron ones though)

Source: A Piece of Cake by Leila Lindholm



My mother can't bake at all even if her life depended on it. I remember with horror how every year in December she would try to bake some simple cookies for Christmas - it usually ended with her angry and cranky (we soon learned to stay away from home on bake days) and with the cookies looking like something the dog would have left behind. Somehow the apple seems to have fallen quite far from the tree since I do love to bake and the results are usually fairly good and needless to say my mother doesn't even attempt to bake anymore - the Christmas baking is now my job.

My mother's favourite cookies have always been shortbread (though she never even attempted to bake them herself) so a few years ago I decided to surprise her with some. I searched all over the internet to find a good recipe but finally settled for one on the BBC web page - I figured mom's favourite store bought shortbread are Scottish made and I wanted to get mine as close to the original as possible. That meant not chocolate, not nuts and no vanilla essence. Just butter, caster sugar and flour. The result? Double thumbs up from mom

from BBC

4 oz (125 g) butter
2 oz (55 g) caster sugar
6 oz (180 g) plain flour

Heat the oven to 375F (190 'C). Beat the butter and the sugar together until pale. Stir in the flour to get a smooth paste. Turn on to a work surface and gently roll out until the paste is ½ inch (1 cm) thick and use a cookie cutter or press into an 8 inch (20 cm) square pan and smooth and make pinpricks all over. Chill in refrigerator for 20 minutes. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until pale golden. If using a pan let it cool for a few minutes and then with a knife cut out fingers (makes 12-24 depending on your preferred size). Cool on a wire rack.