Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Days passing

Just realised I didn't write here for a couple of days. I still haven't really told very many people about this place, guess I need to do that to motivate myself to write. I'm still annoyed with the lack of pictures, I have quite a few of them in the camera but the stupid cable still haven't turned up.

The bread for soup day, however turned out wonderful. It was only my second try with the recipe, and even though there was also yeast in there, with a new sourdough starter, you never know... The recipe is called "Olof Viktors ljusa bröd" (means light or maybe white bread of Olof Victor's) from "Bröd". I use this book a lot for baking. I recently bought two more bread baking books (Bröd och marmelad från Rosendals trädgårdscafé - Monika Ahlberg, and Crust and Crumb - Peter Reinhart), but I still haven't read them enough times to really start using them. Everyone seemed to enjoy the bread, which was good since our soup turned out to be filling but not extremely interesting. D. loves this bread, and I'm not sure he will allow me to make any other kind for a while. At least not as long as I give him a choice. On the other hand, maybe it would be good to make one kind of bread several times? I tend to skip around among different recipes, maybe I should spend some time perfecting one version instead?

Anyway, this weekend it will be time for baking "lussekatter". This is a Swedish sweet bread with saffron made in December, to be eaten before and around Christmas. Since I decided not to make pepparkakor (gingerbread cookies) for this Christmas (D.'s mother makes awfully good ones, and we're likely to get a large box any day now) lussekatter will be my Christmas baking this year. Though I'm considering some fudge making...

Talking about fudge. I have this idea about trying to make a cloudberry fudge. I have made rasberry fudge with good results so far, but I think the taste of cloudberry would go well with the caramel.. But I really don't know. I love cloudberries, and it seems as if we can get any amount from D's parents. For me, who grew up in southern Sweden this is such a luxury, cloudberries are not at all as common there as they are up here. But, short of making cloudberry jam (which is good enough! I just had a little warm cloudberry jam with some vanilla ice cream) I don't really know what to do with them. Any suggestions? I even bought a book earlier this fall, hoping that it would help me. I mean, in Swedish it was called "Mellan hjortron och oliver" which means "Between cloudberries and olives", and the original English title was even "Falling cloudberries". Alas, I was so dissapointed. The book didn't contain a single recipe with cloudberries (I suspect the name was chosen because it might sound exotic if you've never seen or eaten cloudberries). So I'm still searching for cloudberry recipes... And a cloudberry fudge would be nice...

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Busy Sunday

I've been keeping myself (and D.) busy today. Started of making marmalade for the first time of my life this morning. Or actually, I started yesterday by peeling and slicing a couple of oranges and a couple of limes. After some boiling they were put away in the fridge and came out to be finished this morning. I don't really know what it tastes like yet, we tried some of what was left in the pan after putting most of it into cans. Interesting, marmalade making. I guess I will have to give it a few more tries before I get the knack. I have several photos of different stages, and I'm trying to come up with a plan of how to get them here.

That was just before I realised that it was time to start baking. I'm cooking soup tomorrow. That's a tradition at work. Some of the people there group together and cook a soup for each other once a month. Basically, it's cooking once per semester, and eating once every month. But I promised to bring bread too. So I started to make bread, while we were doing the laundry at the same time. Or rather, D. did most of the laundrying things while I tried to keep track of what was going on in the kitchen. We also managed to make a very boring lunch that did look extremely good in the cookbook somewhere around here.

After finishing the laundry, more or less we decided that we needed a good dinner to make up for the bad lunch. So D. made a soup that maybe should be described as cream of celeriac? Root of celery pureed with some onion and some potato. Delicious! (I really like creamy soups) The roasted peppers added both flavour and color. Meantime, I had a try making lemon souffle. First time ever I made a sweet souffle... I have made a cheese souffle before, but sweet was slightly different. It turned out good though, but should maybe have stayed in the oven for a minute ore two longer. We were so busy eating it that we didn't take any pictures anyway.

So, busy experimenting Sunday. The bread is still in the fridge, to be baked of tomorrow morning. D. is putting the dried laundry into its place, and I suspect that if I don't go join him soon he will think I'm trying to sneak away from the laundry totally today. So I better quit writing.

(But I'm so full after soup and souffle that I'm not sure I can walk over to the next room.)

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Dinner tonight

Since I was part time busy with my bread making (see previous post) D. made most of tonight's dinner. I made the yogurt-and-lingonberry dip sauce and some spicing. What he made was a version of "pannbiff" (sort of like meat balls, but flat - burger style) with apple and parsley and roasted potatoes. (He also added the spinach, but that might not count as cooking :) )We seem to be eating a lot of potatoes those days. I really like potatoes, especially good ones. I wish I knew what sorts it is I mean by the good ones, but I do know how they are supposed to taste. Maybe I should start writing down what it says on the bag. When I lived further south I used to sometimes get some potatoes from my parents. They have a rather large vegetable garden, and especially summers when they don't really have time to take care of it they plant a lot of potatoes. Which is very fine with me, since they usually get more tasty potatoes than I usually get from any other source...

Photo should be added to this post too, even though I forgot to take one. D. seems to have gotten over laughing at my taking photos of my plate (he first threatened to report it as food obsession to my psychiatrist-mother), so he caught a picture of his plate before he started on it... But, as I mentioned, photos are delayed untill I find my cable, or I manage to find a place that will sell me one.


My sourdough has been coming along since I first put it together, and yesterday it was actually bubbling in a rather satisfactory way. So I decided to make a rye bread. It's the basic sourdough bread from "Bröd och marmelad", the first sourdough bread I ever made actually. I remember having such a success with it that after making it and similar breads for a couple of times I went on to make an all wheat sourdough and a wheat bread which totally didn't rise. After that I gave up sourdough untill last spring. But I remember really liking this bread, so I hope it's still as nice. It's a very basic bread, with some sourdough made from rye, which is fed with more water and rye twice and then added some more rye flour, some water, a little salt and a little all purpose flour. Right now my thermometer is showing about 90°C, so I'm waiting for a few more degrees. The kitchen smells just wonderfull.

(Picture will be added as soon as I manage to find a cable. I went looking in a number of shops yesterday, but it seems to be a speciallized camera-to-USB-cable which neither the computer stores or the photo store I went to had. So I'll have to make another search around here...

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

More Brussel Sprouts and Pork Loin

Still no photos, since the university computer shop didn't have cables when I dropped by this afternoon. But we did make a quite nice dinner from leftover pork loin, some freschly made risotto and some more of the brussels sprouts mentioned in an earlier post. The risotto was a rather plain risotto variety, except for some apple cider vinegar, and some apples. We also used up the last of our bottled chicken stock in it, and after reading (in my case all of, in D:s case most of) "Den hemlige kocken" (The secret cook in English) about what kind of things go into modern food we almost decided not to buy a replacement. I guess we'll have to have another go at making chicken stock. I wasn't very much impressed by my last try (probably because I didn't watch it close enough, so it started to boil), but in the name of fewer food additives we'll give it another go.

I did start up a new sourdough yesterday! Now I only have to wait for it to start to bubble properly. I choose easy (my tries with more involved sourdoughs as the one in "Bröd" by Jan Hedh didn't impress me with yielding better results than easy so far) and used only organic rye and water (with a small addition of honey). With some proper feeding and some warmth that means that it should be rising very well quite soon. I'm looking forward to some more sour rye bread. And D. is looking forward to some more of "Olof Viktors ljusa bröd" (Light bread of Olof Viktor) from aforementioned "Bröd".

By the way, D. wasn't as negative to the brussels sprouts today as the other day. Today it was "vegetables - of the better kind". I did make them a bit different in order to maybe appeal to him more though. A little more cheese (he'll probably eat anything served with cheese, though he'll be upset by my claiming this), and I used oil from "raps" (Wikipedia translates this with rapeseed, Latin is Brassica napus according to the same source) instead of olive oil. I like it both ways. It's still by far the best brussels sprouts I ever had. And we have some leftovers for lunch tomorrow!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Green and pink

My camera cable seems to be completely lost. I even went up into the attic to look into the suitcase which I carried to Stockholm a little more than a month ago, on the chance that I had brought the cable with me and forgotten to take it out. So still no photo today, but I did take one of dinner tonight which will hopefully illustrate this post as soon as I remember to buy a new cable.
We're sometimes not so got at eating fish here. I guess we're both not completely comfortable with cooking it, but today, while I was doing a number of more boring chores D. made one of his pesto-style sauces, spread over a piece of salmon and baked. Good tasting with slices of potatoes that went into the oven beside the salmon.

Actually, the way the kitchen smelt while it was baking was kind of odd, but it all came out with a nice, garlicy smell and a somewhat crispy crust.

The pesto-style sauce is not a traditional pesto, really, but rather our interpretation of it. We use different cheese depending on what happens to be in the fridge, and this time it was Krutrök, my favourite for this kind of thing. Also, D. tend to use sunseeds instead of pine kernels. The rest of the ingredients are the same as for a more traditional pesto, basil, garlic and olive oil. The result is different, but I find it at least as tasty. And the locally produced cheese makes me feel better than imported Parmesan (I also prefer the taste). Think of it as a Northern pesto. Though basil seems not to be a very local ingredient, considering how the basil plants in our kitchen window looks by this time of the year. They miss the sun I suspect. Like me Maybe we should change all lamps in the appartment into light therapy equipment. :) I tend to get sleepy enough to get nothing done this time of the year, but today, I'm planing to at least start a sourdough before heading to bed. Hoping to have fresh bread to show before the weekend.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Taste of Pork

One thing that I wouldn't have a photo of even if I found my camera cable is our dinner yesterday. Maybe that's as well, since I don't think it was very picturesque, but it was oh so tasty. We happened to drop by here (the web-page was rather emtpy, and the blog not updated, but the shop is a nice place) during our downtown visit, and, by impulse bought a piece of pork loin. And I don't think I ever had pork loin like that before. After being marinated in olive oil and lemon juice for a few hours and then quickly browned on the stove before it was put into the oven it tasted just like heaven and was more tender than any other pork I ever tried.

They buy their meat from selected farmers, and I was sort of assuming that it also meant that the farmers treat their animals better than the average meat factory. Actually, I think I was kind of assuming that it was from an organic farm, but I now realise that I should have asked. Though I find it hard to believe something this tasty could have been treated that bad... Next time I go there I'll ask...

Brussels Sprouts!!!

I really wanted to have pictures to go with this blog (and I do have a couple planned for that in my camera) but I just can't find the cable to connect camera and computer. Stupid. I'll try to add photos as soon as I can get myself to do a more thorough search. But. One of the things I had for dinner tonight was brussels sprouts cooked according to this recipe. And it was wonderful. Totally. I never quite understood brussels sprouts before, but rather usually ate them when they showed up with the other Christmas food (brussels sprouts are common for Christmas in Sweden, usually boiled). This recipe showed of their sweetness, and removed the somewhat odd taste that boiled brussels sprouts tend to get.

The reason I bought brussels sprouts in the first place, in spite of not believing myself to like them very much was a) that I had this recipe in mind and b) that they happen to be in season, and I'm having some kind of project of eating more in season right now. I'm also trying to eat a bit more local, though that feels kind of hard up here. Right now nothing really grows of course (daylight for 6 hours and 17 minutes today, temperature below zero (Celsius that is, so freezing) for the last week except today. But at least I can eat things preferably grown in Sweden, or somewhere else close by. And well... I must say that the experiment turned out well. More brussels sprouts! (Though D. thought that they tasted like "vegetables" - not that exciting. And that was in spite of the cheese on them. But he only tried one half brussels sprout, since he wasn't eating then, so I have to hope that he got a bad one. Maybe he'll like it better next time.)

Books, books, books

I keep buying too many books, both fiction and food books. This weekend I got some help (he's usually happy to help with this) from D., the man I'm sharing both a kitchen and a life with. I ended up with for example "Bröd & Marmelad från Rosendals Trädgård" (Bread and Marmelade from The Rosendal Garden in English. Or maybe jam rather than marmelade? I'm not 100% certain of the difference, and what to translate how) which was the first book I ever read that was serious about bread, from which I made my first sourdough. That was back in 2002 maybe, and I had only borrowed the book from the library, then forgotten which one it was. I bought it because someone recomended it, and realising it was the same as the one I read years ago made me very happy to have bought it. Since I used up my last sourdough a week ago, I just considered startin up a new one. Maybe I'll use the recipe that got me hooked in the first place...

We also bought "Den hemlige kocken" (The secret cook) about which it has been a lot of talk around here recently. For those who haven't heard (it's in Swedish after all) it's about what the food people buy really contains and how it's treated by the food industry. Maybe I'll get back to this book later this week. But - so far not to many surprises. On the other hand, I'm the definitive food nerd, reading ingredient lists on most things we buy. Still, some things are kind of funny, and others kind of gross...

Starting anew

In trying to motivate why I choose to start a new blog I come up with the following facts:

  • I used to have a blog, but I don't write there anymore. Time to let it go to sleep.
  • Lately, bread making and cooking has been on my mind a lot. And I keep reading other peoples food blogs.
  • A food blog would hopefully motivate me to write there, since I cook everyday (have to eat you know).
And it could be fun...

So, a food blog it will be. I'll start making a number of posts right now, mainly about this weekend food related events. That way this won't look so empty...