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Red lentil Daal with fried garlic & onion seeds

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A simple daal is an amazing dish, it is cheap, healthy, comforting and easy to make. Perfect for a Monday night. You can serve it with rice, bread or even just on its own like a soup. It is also incredibly easy to make into different versions, just add some of the veg you have at home. I usually use a lot of garlic, because why would you not. In this recipe half of the garlic goes in the daal and the rest is fried with nigella seeds to top the dish.

When I moved from Sweden to London when I was 19 I don’t think I had ever had Indian food. I assumed that it was a bit like Swedish curry chicken, a dish that I still very much dislike. The dish consists of chicken in a creamy sauce with a very distinct Swedish curry powder. I now know that it is nothing like Indian food. London opened up my eyes to curry and one of the first things my partner cooked for me when we met was a daal. It has since been one of the staple dishes in our household and we love to vary what spices and veg we put n it.

Red Lentil Daal with fried gralic & onion seeds
Serves 4 people

Ingredients
2 tablespoons groundnut oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
6 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
1 teaspoon chilli flakes
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons tumeric
2 tomatoes, chopped
300 g red lentils
2 teaspoons stock powder (1/2 stock cube)
1 teaspoon onion seeds (also called nigella seeds)
juice from 1/2 lime
salt to taste
coriander leaves to garnish

Instructions
Heat a large pot with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the onion and fry until translucent. Add 2 cloves of sliced garlic and fry for a couple more minutes. Add the spices and stir. Add the lentils and tomatoes and stir again. Now add the water and the stock powder and simmer under a lid for 20 minutes.

Heat the rest of the oil in a pan and add the rest of the garlic and the onion seeds. Fry on a medium low heat until they start to turn golden.

When the daal is ready add the lime juice, season to taste and serve. Top with the fried onions and garnish with coriander leaves.

Serve with rice, naan bread or on its own like a soup.

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Earl Grey & Lemon zest Ice Cream

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Ice cream season is starting and I have so many ideas for new ice cream flavours. This is an old favourite but I will hopefully post a few new creations here over the summer. I love Earl Grey with its citrusy bergamot flavour and it is perfect in ice cream. In this recipe I have added a bit of lemon zest adding a fresh note. The result is a creamy but refreshing  ice cream.

I love trying out ice cream with adventurous flavours and at the top of the list of unusual and exciting flavours is a beetroot and dill ice cream in a salted pretzel cone that I had in New York. It is the sort of ice cream that you’ll have instead of lunch on a very hot day. If you’re in Edinburgh, the ice cream place you’ll need to try is out Mary’s Milk Bar on the Grass Market. They have freshly made ice cream every day with both traditional and new and exciting flavour combinations.

I made this ice cream in the old fashioned way by freezing and stirring every 30 minuets for 3-5 hours. If you have an ice cream maker you can use that.

Earl Grey & Lemon zest Ice Cream
serves 4

Ingredients
300 ml whipping or full fat cream
100 ml full fat milk
3 tablespoons Earl Gery Tea, preferably loose leaf.
Grated zest of half a lemon
50 ml sugar
4 egg yolks

Instructions
Heat up the milk, cream and sugar to a simmer and take off the heat once the sugar has dissolved. Add the loose tealeaves and set aside for 3 minutes. Strain the mixture through a sieve to remove the tealeaves.

Add the lemon zest and while stirring add the egg yolks. Return to the stove on a very low heat and stir until it starts to thicken. This step is essentially turning the mixture into custard so be careful not to let it boil, as this will make it curdle. Pour the mixture in a container with a lid and place in the fridge to cool for 4 hours or over night.

Pour the mixture into a container with a lid and put in the freezer (or use an ice cream maker if you have one). Take out and stir vigorously every 30 minutes. You will need to repeat the stirring until it is thick and too frozen to be whipped. Make sure you do this on a day when you’re at home as it may take quite a while. For me the freezing process took about 4 hours.

 

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Raspberry, Lavender & Lemon muffins

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When I was little these things used to be called muffins so I am going to continue calling them that. We are all getting a bit sick of cupcakes. I guess technically they might become cupcakes once you decorate them with icing or cream like I did with these ones?

I love floral flavours such as rose, orange blossom, violet and lavender but I am aware that there are a lot of people that don’t agree with me and who think it just tastes a bit like soap. I promise you, these cakes do not taste like soap. But if you really don’t like floral notes, just leave out the lavender and focus on the raspberry and lemon flavour.

Raspberry, Lavender & Lemon muffins
12 muffins

Ingredients:
2 eggs
150 ml / 140 g caster sugar or lavender flavour
100g unsalted melted butter
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon dried lavender flowers
400 ml / 210 g plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
200 ml milk
Roughly 3 raspberries per muffin

Instructions:
Heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Whisk the sugar and the eggs until light and fluffy. Mix in the lemon zest, lavender and the melted butter. Mix the flour, baking powder and salt and fold into the mix. Finally stir in the milk.

Place paper muffin cups in a muffin tin or on a regular oven tray. Spoon in the mixture and poke in 3 raspberries in each muffin. Bake in the middle of the oven for 15 minutes.

Serve plain or with a dollop of freshly whipped cream and a sprinkle of lavender.

 

 

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Beetroot & Potato salad

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There are many variations of this dish and this one has a few more beetroots than you would normally find in a pure potato salad. A Swedish potato salad would normally contain sour cream (NOT mayonnaise, why would you do that?) but I like making less dairy heavy varieties. Serve as a light summery meal or as a side dish.

Potato & Beetroot salad with Swedish flavours

Serves 4 (or 6 as a side dish)

Ingredients
4 medium size beetroots
500 g new potatoes (other firm varieties will do too)
5 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon wholegrain mustard
2 gherkins
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
2 spring onions chopped
½ red onion, finely chopped
1 large bunch of dill, chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice
50 g mange tout, chopped
salt & pepper
100 g goats cheese

Instructions:
Take the goats cheese out of the fridge so that it is at room temperature when the dish is ready to be served. Scrub the beetroots and boil in salted water for roughly 40 minuet depending on he size of the beets. Boil the potatoes for 20 minutes until they can easily be poked through with a fork.

While the potatoes and beetroots boil, in a small bowl, mix the lemon juice, olive oil, mustard and vinegar. Place the dill, onions, mange tout and gherkins in a large bowl.

When the potatoes and beetroots are done, drain and rinse in cold water, let cool slightly. Peel the beetroot with your hands, the skin should come off easily now that they’re cooked. Chop the potatoes and beets in roughly 2 cm cubes. Add to the bowl, season with black pepper and salt and mix. Serve with thick slices of goats cheese.

 

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Caramelised fennel pasta with lemon & thyme

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Fennel, with its liquorice like flavour, is one of those vegetables that some people are a bit sceptical of. These people need to give fennel another chance. I did not fully appreciate the fennel until I made this crumble gratin by Yotam Ottolenghi. The fennel does in my opinion perform best when cooked slowly until it becomes sweet and caramelised. This dish is very different but still inspired by the Ottolenghi’s recipe. It is fairly quick and easy to make and can easily be made vegan if served without the hard cheese.

Caramelised fennel pasta with lemon & thyme
Serves 4

Ingredients
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 large fennel bulbs
4 garlic cloves, finely sliced
1 teaspoon thyme
100 ml dry white wine
grated zest of ½ lemon
300 g linguine pasta
salt & pepper
40 g finely grated vegetarian Italian hard cheese (or proper parmesan if you like eating parts of animals)

Instructions
Slice the fennel bulbs in quarters, then slice finely lengthways. Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil to a pan, add the fennel, sliced garlic and thyme. Fry on a medium to high heat until the fennel start to brown and become soft. Add the white wine, lemon zest, salt & pepper to taste and stir. Put a lid on the pot and cook on a low to medium heat, stirring occasionally. Boil the pasta according to instructions on packet. Drain and add to the pot with the fennel together with the grated cheese. Mix and serve with a green salad on the side.

 

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Chickpea Curry with Cardamom and Garam Masala

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This a common week night dish in our house as it is easy to make and also pretty cheap. The cardamom makes this curry wonderfully aromatic. To add a lot of Cardamom was my partner’s brilliant idea, he know how much I like cardamom. I normally add the spices by eye so there so don’t worry about precise measurements.

Chickpea curry with Garam Masala and Cardamom
Serves 4

1 onion finely sliced
2 tablespoons of oil, I used groundnut
1 thumb sized piece of ginger, finely chopped or grated
5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried chilliflakes, or to taste
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
2 tablespoon garam masala
½ teaspoon tumeric
2 tins chopped tomatoes
2 tins chickpeas
1 tablespoon vegetable stock powder (1/2 stock cube)
salt
Coriander to serve

Heat the oil in a large pan and add the onion. Fry on a low to medium heat until translucent. Add the ginger and garlic and stir followed by the spices. Fry for a minute then add the chopped tomatoes, stock powder and chickpeas. Season to taste. Simmer for 20-30 minutes. If you want to make a creamier dish you can add a tin of coconut milk at the end. Serve with rice and a bit of coriander.

 

 

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Rye Kringlor from Småland

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These cakes/sweet breads from the dark forests of Småland in southern Sweden are always served for afternoon coffee at my grandmother’s house. This is a version of her recipe, although she never really uses a recipe as she measures everything by eye. Some people would translate kringlor to pretzels but I think that is a bit confusing. They can be eaten plain or with a bit of butter and cheese. You have to serve them with coffee. A glass of milk is also acceptable.

One of the raising agents in the recipe is hjorthornssalt, which translates to harts horn salt. Traditionally it used to be made form the horn of a deer hence the name. Nowadays it is made in a laboratory or something. The active ingredient is ammonium carbonate and when in the oven you can smell the ammonium steam out of the cakes. When baked there is no smell or taste of the ammonium. This may sound very strange but I have googled this and it is completely safe to eat. This is a very Swedish ingredient so if you don’t have it just replace the teaspoon of hjorthornsalt with 2 teaspoons of baking powder.

Rye Kringlor
15 pieces

100g fine rye flour
100g plain flour  plus a bit more for kneading
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon hjorthornssalt or 2 teaspoons of baking powder (3 tbsp baking powder in total)
80g sugar
100g butter, melted
75 ml cream
75 ml milk

Heat the oven to 225 degrees Celsius. Mix the dry ingredients and add the butter, milk and cream. Mix to a dough and divide into 15 pieces. Roll out and connect the ends to form circles. If the dough is too sticky you can add a bit more flour. Place on a baking sheet and bake in the middle of the oven for 10 minutes.

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Miso Ramen with tofu, shiitake mushrooms, broccoli & baby corn

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There are so many recipes for ramen and I was for a long time intimidated because I though it had to be done in some very specific way. Then I decided that it is really just stock with noodles and vegetables and you can do whatever you like really.

This is my version of a vegetarian ramen, the vegetables can easily be replaced with what prefer or have at home. It is vary satisfying both to look at and eat. Soba noodles are my favourite type of noodle but if you prefer a different kind you could use that.

This dish can easily be made vegan if served without the egg.

Miso Ramen with tofu, shiitake mushrooms, broccoli & baby corn
Serves 4

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons sesame oil
2,5 cm chunk of ginger, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves
6 shiitake mushrooms, sliced (fresh or dried, if dried they need to be soak in some water for 20 minutes)
4 tablespoons white miso paste
2 teaspoons stock powder (1/2 stock cube)
800 ml water
1 tablespoon mirin
2 tablespoons soy sauce
200 g firm tofu cut into 2 cm cubes
200 g soba buckwheat noodles
100 g baby corn
1 small head of broccoli cut into small florets

To top:
3 spring onions, finely sliced
Japanese pickled ginger
Toasted sesame seeds
4 soft boiled eggs, halved

Instructions:
Put a tablespoon of oil in a large pot and fry the ginger and garlic on a medium to high heat for a minute. If using fresh mushrooms fry these for a couple of minutes until lightly coloured. Add the soaked and sliced mushrooms with the water is using dried ones. Add miso paste stock powder, mirin and soy sauce and simmer on a low heat while you prepare the rest. You might want to add some salt to taste but in my experience the salt in the soy sauce and the miso is enough.

Heat a frying pan and add 2 tablespoons of sesame oil. Fry the tofu on a medium high heat until golden on all sides. Put aside.

Fry the baby corn for a couple of minutes and put aside.

Bring a pot of water to boil and add the soba noodles, cook for 3 minutes then rinse and place in bowls to serve.

Add the broccoli to the stock and simmer for 3 minutes. Pour stock over the noodles, top with the fried broccoli, baby corn and tofu. Sprinkle the spring onions on top and garnish with pickled ginger and toasted sesame seeds.

The perfectly boiled egg:
This is my technique for making the perfectly soft boiled egg with a soft yolk and evenly cooked white. The time might need to be adjusting slightly depending on the size of the pan, eggs and how effective you stove is. I always keep my eggs out of the fridge and if you keep them in the fridge (why?) they will need a minute longer. Put the eggs in a pot of water with a lid on. Bring to the boil, as it starts to boil take off the heat and leave for 6 minutes. Done!

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Roasted carrots with orange & apricot couscous

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This is a recipe that I created when recently got a bit obsessed with the combination carrot and orange. They just work so well together. This recipe also includes dried apricots  but you could also use raisins or sultanas if you fancy that. I was completely against the idea of dried fruit in savoury food until very recently. Cooking various Middle Eastern and Moroccan recipes by Yotam Ottolenghi completely converted me.

Roasted carrots with orange & apricot couscous
Serves 2

Ingredients:
For the roasted carrots:
4 medium carrots
1 teaspoon harissa
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
sprinkle of salt

For the couscous:
150 ml wholemeal couscous
250 ml water
0.75 dl freshly squeezed orange juice
grated zest of 1/3 of an orange
3 tablespoons virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon on salt
1 teaspoon stock powder/ ½ cube of stock
1 teaspoon pomegranate molasses
10 dried apricots, chopped
Freshly grated black pepper
handful of pine nuts, toasted
1 spring of fresh mint, roughly chopped

Fried onion topping:
2 yellow onions

Instructions:
Turn the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Slice the carrots lengthwise twice and place in a roasting tin. Mix the harissa (I usually make my own from a random recipe found by though google) with the olive oil and the orange juice. Drizzle over the carrots, salt to taste and put in the oven for 20-30 minutes until they’re well roasted.

Slice the onion finely into half circles. Fry in some oil on a medium to high heat until caramelised.

Put the water, stock powder or cube and couscous in a pan and bring to the boil, cover and let sit for 10 minutes.

Toast the pine nuts in a dry pan on a low heat.

When the couscous is done fluff up with a fork. Mix in the orange juice, orange zest. olive oil, salt, pomegranate molasses and apricots.

Place the couscous and the roasted carrots on a plate. Top with the caramelised onions, pine nuts and chopped mint.

If you want to make this dish even fancier, serve with some yoghurt or fried halloumi.