Monday, April 27, 2015

Kiddie-Pleaser Pasta Rolls

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I was at a loss what to do for weekend lunch a few days ago and I was SO bored with the same old options. My kids are fairly picky eaters, at least right now, and what they eat change from day to day. So I wanted to try something new, but I also needed them to eat so I couldn't go too far out. Pasta is almost always popular...

This turned out to be a huge hit. Dante helped me, while Titus played video games (we love the Lego games for Xbox) with his cousin, and they all loved the food.

Plan on two rolls per kid if they're somewhat hungry - and adult might need three, depending on appetite. (And this would of course be nice with a salad on the side.)

Kiddie-Pleaser Pasta Rolls

8 fresh lasagna sheets
100 g cream cheese with herbs
8 slices cooked ham
one small zucchini
handful of corn (frozen, but thawed)
grated parmesan
about 400 ml plain cheese sauce  (or a bechamel if you want to make it from scratch. I was NOT in the mood.)


Slice the zucchini with a mandoline or cheese sliced the long way, to make long slices. Make sure you have at least eight - I cut mine in half to cover most of the pasta sheet, width-wise.

Spread the cream cheese on the lasagna sheets. Top with a slice of ham, one or two zucchini slices, a little sprinkling of corn and finally some parmesan. Roll up tightly and place seam-side down in an oven-proof dish.

Cover with the cheese sauce and any remaining corn or cheese. Bake at 200°C for about 15-20 minutes until the pasta is soft and cooked through.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Cookbook Watch spring 2015 - a big round-up

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Here's a massive post with some of the best cookbooks I've encountered lately! Most of them in Swedish, but not all.

Festmat by Anette Rosvall and Emma Hamberg. These ladies have put out a lot of cookbooks in the past and they never cease to inspire and come up with new, fun recipes. Anette blogs, in Swedish, and I often run into her at press events. This latest book is all about parties - "Festmat" means party food. It has quite unusual chapters with anything from soups to barbecue, hungover brunch and "your life with food in bread". Fun and charming, and with personal photos as well as great food pics.

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The Perfect Egg is another cookbook by bloggers, in this case by Teri Lyn Fisher and Jenny Park who run Spoon Fork Bacon. I know the blog is brilliant so this immediately made my wishlist. As the name implies, it's all about eggs. Tons of eggs. And as I love eggs.. well, I love this book. It has a wide range of recipes, beautiful food pics and a lot of inspiration. Recommended - unless you happen to be allergic to eggs, in which case I imagine the book would be very frustrating...

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Brödet, by Håkan Johansson. Simply called "The Bread", this book holds all sorts of baking recipes. How to start your own sourdough, and when to use it - and when to pass. Simple over night breakfast bread, and elaborate creations - the Cheese and Chili bread caught my eye, as well as Apple Hazelnut bread, and Chanterelle Pizza. There's also a chapter on sweet bread and buns which is no surprise since it's what Håkan Johansson is most well known for.

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Bakat från Slottsträdgården Ulriksdal - a cookbook from one of Stockholm's most popular cafés. It's situated in a nursery garden, inside a greenhouse, and it's always absolutely packed with people. They serve delicious vegetarian buffets, and a wide array of sweets, and the latter is what this book is about. Frankly, I was a little bit disappointed in this. I expected creative, new recipes, but the book feels pretty basic. With that said, everything looks great and I've tried a chocolate orange cake that turned out to be amazing - so it's a good book, no doubt about it. I look forward to trying out more of the recipes, too!

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Grilla! is the latest book by Mattias Larsson, known as Fredagskocken after a long stint on one of the daily radio shows in Sweden. He's a great guy, and very good at flavor combinations. Grilla means to barbecue, so that's what this book is all about. Sweden is a grill-loving country, and as soon as the temperature is warm enough, everyone starts to cook outdoors. Also, the barbecue cookbooks hit the shelves - we see at least five or more every year. This particular one earns its place on my shelf because it's so creative - there are really tons of good ideas here sure to inspire. What I'm dying to try is the whole-grilled cauliflower with gruyère cheese and gremolata oil.

jennie och stina buffeer

Buffé is written by bloggers Jennie Benjaminsson and Stina Patetsos who met through the TV-show Masterchef Sweden. They are both really sweet and fun girls, and their cooking is bright, bold and flavorful. Stina is of greek heritage and a lot of recipes in the book show this. In fact, I'm going to try my hand at a Greek-inspired dinner in a few weeks - will report back! If you enjoy having parties and cooking for crowds, this is most definitely a book you don't want to miss!

tillbords

Till Bords med Systrarna Eisenman is the latest book from the productive sisters, Lisa Eisenman Frisk and Monica Eisenman, who used to own the Cookbook Café in Stockholm. They have since made several books, together and separately, and the focus in this one is great food to enjoy together with your guests, rather than having to spend the whole night slaving away in the kitchen. There are recipes for both summer and winter, and most things take no more than half an hour to cook. Chicken Shawarma is first on my to-try list, followed by a Chèvre Grape Salad with Caramelized Walnuts. Yum.

sallyvoltaire
Sally Voltaire is a trendy chef right now. Her mom is Lotta Voltaire and her aunt is Renée Voltaire, both pioneers in vegetarian and raw food cuisine, and Sally now runs several restaurants and shops of her own. This is her first cookbook, aptly named Sally Voltaires Mat (Sally Voltaire´s Food). Most recipes, but not all, are vegetarian, and with unexpected flavor combinations.

i köket med markiz

I köket med Markiz - Marockansk Magi, is the first book from Markiz Talhaoui, who also was a participant on Swedish Masterchef a few years ago. She didn't win but she had amazing presence and was one of the judges favorites. Her book is all about the food she grew up with, in a Swedish-Moroccan household. There's different ambition levels - make your own merguez sausage, or just buy some and make a flavorful stew. Dig a fire pit and grill a lamb - or much more approachable, cook some in the oven, but with the same spices and sauce.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Dante, three!


My little darling Dante turned three years old today! He's a delightful mix of big and little right now - it's a wonderful time! Happy birthday!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Sweet Potato Coins with Cardamom Creme Fraiche and Coconut Chicken.

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This is a quick and easy side dish and a very delicious one at that. Take a sweet potato or two - ideally longer rather than thicker. Slice it into 5 mm slices. Toss with olive oil and salt, and a touch of cumin if you're like me. Bake in the oven at 200°C for about 7-8 minutes on each side. You do need to flip them, but that's the only slightly bothersome thing about this recipe.

After that, serve. A great dipping sauce is simply crème fraîche with a mango chutney and finely chopped fresh coriander.

Also on the plate - basmati rice cooked in coocnut milk,  and coconut chicken burgers. Here's the recipe for those:

Coconut Chicken burgers
Serves 4

450 g chicken mince
1 egg
50 ml coconut flakes (unsweetened)
3 tbsp cream
salt
1 tsp whole cardamom seeds
butter, for frying

Start by soaking the coconut in the cream for about half an hour.

Grind the cardamom to a fine powder in a pestle and mortar.

Mix the coconut flakes with the chicken mince, cardamom, egg and salt. Shape flattened patties, and fry in a little butter for about 5 minutes on each side.

Friday, April 03, 2015

Pecan Coconut Bars

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This was originally a cookie recipe - for Chocolate-Dipped Coconut-Pecan Macaroon Bars - from the awesome book - The Perfect Egg - from Teri Lyn Fischer and Jenny Clark who are the bloggers behind Spoon Fork Bacon.

I was baking with Dante and needed something I could freeze and nibble on when in immediate need of energy, and this recipe seemed to fit the bill perfectly. They can certainly be fancied up and go right ahead and dip these in chocolate if you want to. Or just drizzle some on top. Like dried fruits? Add some! Like more nuts? Go nuts! These bars - or cookies - are forgiving.

The original use oat flour, which I didn't have at hand, so I substituted almond meal which also means these darlings are gluten-free. I use the highest quality organic coconut flakes I can find, because they taste so much better.

Pecan Coconut Bars
Makes 24

125 ml almond meal
400 grams organic coconut flakes (unsweetened is the norm here, but make sure)
100 grams pecan nuts, finely chopped
1 tsp salt
1 can - about 400 g) sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 egg whites

First, set aside about a quarter of the pecans for sprinkling over the bars.

Second, beat the egg whites until frothy.

Next, combine almond meal, coconut, pecans, salt, milk, vanilla and the egg whites. Press into a lined baking pan (mine was 33 * 24 cm which is about 9*13 inches)  and make sure it's pretty even. Sprinkle with remaining pecans and score lightly into 24 squares.

Bake at 175°C until lightly golden, about 20-25 minutes. Remove and let cool completely in the pan before cutting into separate pieces.

These freeze very well.