Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Sunday in the city and mama Ragnhild´s dark bread recipe

There are many many reasons why I love to go to Sweden, one of them is for sure the fact that my mother in law will bake my favourite dark bread, which I would enjoy every morning for breakfast, as a small snack during the day and a small piece of it just before the dinner. I am never getting tiered of this bread, which can be eaten with everything you love. I really don´t know what is my favourite combination, it all depends on the day and the hour...sometimes I could just die for a piece of this bread with thin layer of butter, sometimes I would go for leverpastej (Swedish pate) topped with mama´s homemade pickled cucumber and would always be caught by surprise how good this bread actually is. The first couple of years (in the beginning of my relationship with my husband) she would simply bake this bread and I would always admire her for this, being too shy to ask for the recipe. Coming from Germany, where you can find 1000 different bread types available everywhere, you would probably not really come up with the idea to bake your own bread. However the moment I tried this bread, it was love at first bite (if you know what I mean) and ever since I really wanted to have this recipe.

I don´t know exactly how and when this day came, the day my mother in law asked me the following "Elwira I am going to bake bread now, would you like to see how it´s done?" You probably can imagine how I felt...I cannot describe the feelings in words, I was just so unspeakably happy. We went to the kitchen, I equipped with paper and pen, ready to right down each and every step of the process... and then again, I was caught by surprise. Usually you would expect the bread making being very complex, with many steps to take and many hours to raise and to rest, at least this was what I was thinking about bread making back then. Well not in this case, we were done in 10 minutes.....10 minutes for measuring the ingredients, mixing them together, putting the dough in the bread form and then in the oven. The hardest part is yet to come...the part where you impatiently wait for the bread to be ready......

Ever since this day I have been making this bread 1000 times. Impressing my friends and my work colleagues with this. I also realised that I was not the only one being in love with this bread...once I baked this bread for a breakfast at work and one of my colleague told me she would give me money to get the recipe. Today is the "special" day for all of I am finally about to share the recipe ...hoping you would like it as much as I do.

As this is a Swedish bread, the measurements will be in decilitre (Swedish measurement). You can get the decilitre measuring cups in every Ikea store (another good reason to go to Ikea ). I call it mama Ragnhild´s dark bread as this is the name of my mother in law and since I got it from her, this seems the most suitable name for it....

Mama Ragnhild´s dark bread
  • 4,5 dl bread flour
  • 4,5 dl Rey flour (Roggenmehl)
  • 1,5 dl sunflower seeds (can be easily replaced by pumpkin seeds or walnuts)
  • 1,5 dl flax seeds (Leinsamen)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons bicarbonate
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 500 ml buttermilk
  • 1 dl golden syrup
Preheat the oven to 180C. Put all the ingredients into a big bowl, mix together with a wooden spoon till all dry ingredients are moistered. Line up the baking form with baking paper, put in the dough and bake for about 1 - 1,5 hours (depending on your oven).

I usually do this bread on Sundays...this Sunday we got a spontaneous invitation from our friends to meet up in the city. The weather was promising and it was about time to see our future daughter in law again (yes, yes, we are also those kind of mamas...deciding the future of our kids ourselfs:-))

Every time we are spending time in the city, we usually will have lunch over there, especially if we are meeting some friends. This means that we will go easy on dinner, hence this Sunday we just had a nice piece of bread topped with plain yogurt, radish, cucumber, salad and fried chicken breast on top..


Saturday, 24 January 2015

Papi is back, old-new car, pizza and Swedish godis

Finally, Papi is back home and the balance of our home is restored. This week was quite challenging, deadlines at work and the kindergarten, the balancing act between work and home seemed sometimes impossible. I have been thinking a lot about parents who are raising their children alone, they are my heroes. One week and I already felt like a failure, keeping the deadlines was hard, but needed to be done as there was no room for flexibility, the flexibility you would have when you have a partner. It starts with the simple things (well so far I thought they were simple) things like bringing Pablo to kindergarten, go to work, go back from work and pick up Pablo from the kindergarten IN TIME! Usually my husband will bring him, I would go earlier to work, so I can leave in time and pick him up. All this becomes almost impossible when you are alone. I am grateful having him back home and also for everything he is doing. THANK YOU Schatz.

Pablo got a very nice present from papa, he missed him as much as I did and was so happy to see him back. The present he got, is a 30 years old toy car. This car once belongs to his father, when he was a child. It is so amazing to see him playing with this, by knowing that his father did once the same many many many years ago. He loves it and does not let go of it

Friday seems to be our pizza day, this is the day of the week where I mostly would make pizza for us. I love to vary and have many recipes on my hands. This one is a bit unusual, as it is not done with a tomato sauce, but hummus spread instead. The recipe is very quick and easy to make. The dough is done with yeast but does not call for any raising time, the topping is prepared quick, so you can always surprise your guests with a fresh delicious pizza out of the oven, without any bigger effort. Since we were not sure when our papi exactly will come home I decided to go for this recipe...
The original recipe comes from Loraine Pascal (a British chef, whom I like a lot) and calls only for hummus, feta cheese, courgette and cherry tomatoes. I adjusted it a bit to the left overs in my refrigerator and added pumpkin and onions to it. The result was just lovely, as pumpkin and the onions made the pizza taste even richer.

  • 300 g bread flour
  • 1 package dry yeast (7 g)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 175 ml warm water
  • olive oil
Preheat the oven to 180C. Combine flour, salt and yeast in a large bowl and stir everything together. Add oil and the water. Get your hands into the bowl and  combine everything to a smooth ball of a dough. Put the dough on a floured board and knead for 5 minutes. Divide the dough into several pieces, use a rolling pin to roll it out.

  • 300 g hummus
  • 250 g feta cheese 
  • 1 small courgette (zucchini)
  • 200 g pumpkin
  • 1/2 onion
  • 15-20 cherry tomatoes
  • salt, fresh grounded pepper, olive oil
Spread hummus over the dough base. Crumble feta cheese on top. Slice the courgette with a vegetable peeler into long strips. Halve the tomatoes and season them with salt and pepper. Slice the pumpkin in thin slices and cut the onion thinly in half rings. Put courgette, then pumpkin, tomatoes and onions on the top of the pizza. Drizzle a bit of olive oil and bake for 10-15 minutes.

And for dessert some Swedish godis.....


Thursday, 22 January 2015

Most charming boy in the world, pumpkin quiche and coconut macaroons

It has been a while, that I have had the girls over at our place. And since my husband is on the trip this week the opportunity seemed perfect. The invitations were done, the menu was set and we all were just waiting for the day to come. 
I was probably the one looking most forward for this day to come, as I do miss the so called "grown up talks" (no, not the once you are thinking about now), where we can talk about everything but kids or how to raise kids, what the kids can already do and say and when the kids are going to bed. Don´t get me wrong, I do enjoy those conversations too, as this is the best opportunity to brag about my perfect son....BUT once in a while it is so refreshing to have a girls night, with the girls who does not have kids yet.

Pablo (our son) does enjoy those visits the most and shows himself from his best behaviour. He is a perfect son, really, the best we could hope for...however every time my girls are coming along he literally transforms to prince charming. He would smile, flirt, look very cute, give them his toys to play, share his sweets with them, hug and cuddle and show them all the tricks he can do already. He would not interrupt our conversations, would help me in the kitchen with the dinner and even with the cleaning up after. Of course the girls are all delighted and in love. He will be showered in 1000 ohhhs and ahhhs and how cute and how lovely complements, for the rest of the evening. I am not exactly sure, why the transformation takes place, but I think I have a pretty good idea....

Back to the menu: Something nice, tasty and easy to make were the conditions, hence my favourite pumpkin quiche and coconut macaroons ended up on the menu. I never failed with this combination and the great think about it, is the fact that you can do this in advance. Quiches and pies are always best the day after, therefore they would always have a special place in my recipe book. As for the macaroons, I do not know if you will find any easier recipe for something delicious like this, something everybody will love....(unless of course the person does not like coconut)...

Pumpkin quiche:

Pie crust:

  • 250 g flour
  • salt
  • 125 g cold butter (cut in cubes)
  • 1 egg
  • 3-5 tablespoons cold water
Mix salt with flour, add the butter and incorporate it with your hands into the flour. Whisk the egg with water and pour it into the flour/butter mixture. Knead everything well,  till you will get a smooth dough ball. Wrap the dough in a plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

  • 1 small garlic glove
  • 1 small red chili
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 700 g fresh pumpkin
  • 3 eggs
  • 150 g heavy cream
  • 150 g milk
  • salt and fresh grounded pepper
  • 125 g cheddar cheese
  • 20 g pine nuts
Preheat the oven to 180˚C. Take out the pastry, knead for 30 seconds and roll on a well-floured board into a circle large enough to line your pie dish, with excess to hang over the edges. Fold the circle in half and put it into the buttered pie dish. Press gently the pastry into the flutes and lightly prick it with fork. Line the pastry with baking paper, fill with dry beans (or baking beans) and bake for 15-18 minutes. Take out the beans and bake for additional 8-10 minutes. Let it cool.

Meanwhile chop finely garlic and chili (take our the seeds), add olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Mix well. Cut the pumpkin into a slices and place them on a baking sheet. Brush each pumpkin piece with garlic/chili oil you prepared before and put it into the oven for 20-25 minutes.

Combine eggs, heavy cream and milk. Season with salt and pepper. 

Arrange the baked pumpkin slices evenly over the crust base. Pour over the egg/milk mixture and cover with grated cheddar cheese and pine nuts. Bake the quiche for 20-25 minutes.

Serve the quiche with some leaf salad and simple dressing (olive oil, lemon juice, salt and honey). 

Coconut macaroons:
  • 125 g coconut flakes
  • 125 g sweetened condensed milk (I always use the light version)
  • 1 egg white
  • pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 180˚C. Beat the egg white till frothy, add pinch of salt and keep beating till soft peaks start forming. Add coconut flakes and sweetened condensed milk, mix well. Form small coconut domes (with hands or 2 teaspoons) and place them on the baking sheet. Bake for 20-30 minutes, till golden brown outside but still soft in the middle.


P.S. thank you was a lovely evening. We have to do it soon again.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

2 kilos lemons and french madeleines

Isn't always a bless when one of your friends surprises you with a big bag of lemons, coming straight from a three in a garden somewhere near Valencia?
Well to me it is indeed one of the most exciting moments, already on the way home I was thinking what can be done with those gorgeous lemons…lemon cake, lemon cupcakes, lemon curd, lemonade.., the choices are endless and weekend was just around the corner. Naturally I could not wait till I could lay my hands on those lemons….
My son was as excited as I about this lovely gift… however his intentions were slightly different, he somehow confused them with balls and his eyes started to glow when he saw so many of them. There were some discussions and explanations, trying to make clear that those are for cooking and baking purposes only. By the end of the day one of the lemons needed to face the faith of the ball! The rest could be saved and needed to be hidden out of his reach.
While checking one of my favorites blogs ( I was still thinking what shall I do with the lemons. Madeleines are my latest addiction, ever since I got the silicon form couple of month ago for an incredible price of 2,99 Euro, so it was clear we will have them for dessert...and then I saw this recipe of a drink, which caught my attention:
  • 6-8 slices of ginger
  • 1 lime cut in chunks
  • 1 liter boiling water
Instead of limes I used of course the lemons and added 2 spoons of honey.The result was just lovely and fitted perfectly to the weather outside as well as to the madeleines…
What I really love about madeleines is that they are very easy and quick to do, there are tons of variations with different ingredients and they always look so gorgeous that everybody will compliment you on them. Till now I tried several variations already, always using the classic recipe as a base adding additional ingredients to vary the taste. Today however I stuck to classic french madeleine recipe and put some strawberries, clementines and melted dark chocolate aside, which went just perfect together and made quite a solid dessert for Friday….this was also confirmed by my son. 
  • 130 g sugar
  • 2 spoons of honey
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 150 g all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 125 g butter (melted)
  • zest of 1 lemon
Whisk together sugar, honey, salt and eggs till well combined and fluffy. Sift together flour and baking powder, gradually fold into the egg mixture. Gently stir in the butter and lemon zest. Cover and put into the refrigerator to get the batter cold. Preheat the oven 180°C. Butter and flour the form, divide the batter among the molds and bake for 10-12 minutes.
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