Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Falling downwards

Just a few lines before calling a cab to take me to the airport. I'll be gone for a month, but hopefully posting anyway. Seventh floor will be changed for something closer to the ground, and northern France will replace northern Sweden. Summer vacation is on here, and noone really cares where I decide to do my work right now, so I'm heading down to D. until the french summer vacation starts in July. If I get internet access I'll be telling you food stories from Lille instead, but so far the only way I know about getting internet access in France is to use the free wifi at McDonalds. That wouldn't be very good for me to do that often.. So bye for now, and if nothing else I'll get back in a month. Hopefully with a lot of good photos too.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

More Lentils

I wanted to add a few more photos today. Today is just another of those totally splendid days that we don't get that many of during a summer. Awesome, temperature around 27°C/80°F and sun all day. Makes me remember that being alive is such a good thing...
 One of the dishes I'm adding photos of is a lentil gratin I came up with yesterday that turned out absolutely great. The very simplest thing to make, and so many possibilities to tweak it. I will make it again, for sure, and probably change it, but I thought I should add th
e recipe. This time around, I used red lentils, but really, any kind should work. I think Puy lentils would be just great... Lentils were just cooked until barely tender and then put into a gratin dish together with a minced shallot and a sliced garlic clove, a diced tom
ato and some feta cheese. Some of the lentil cooking liquid came into the dish with the lentils. Also, salt and pepper was added, and some dried thyme (I didn't think the fresh thyme would really have any taste left after a while in the oven). I topped this with leftover bread which was about to go stale, poured maybe a dL of wine over it 
(until there was only very 
little space left in the dish) and put it into the oven at 200°C for maybe half an hour. I'm not quite certain of how much lentils I used, since I started to cook about 2 dL, but that was too much to fit into my gratin dish, so I used maybe a little more than half of the cooked lentils.
The other dinners in this post is just a simple tomato sauce pasta with some Västerbotten cheese on top, and todays dinner which was braised green cabbage and some marinated chickpeas. Or at least, I think this is green cabbage in English? In Swedish, green cabbage would be something diferent which I don't know what it's called in English, and this would be white 

I'm sitting here writing itching all over right now. Since today was rather warm, and the last few days actually have been warm and nice I decided to go out to the community gardens and see to the watering of all the seeds I planted last week. Actually, some of them are above ground by now! The radishes are at least. Maybe, just maybe, I might be able to have some radishes before I leave for France in two weeks. At least if the weather stays this good, which I'm hoping for since we're planning a picknick for tomorrow. Tomorrow is a holiday here, and I spent some of this afternoon on buying wine and ridiculously expensive beef (which should be ridiculously good, hopefully), planning to make a beef salad. I was also thinking about some kind of desert, but I really don't know what to make. Someone else is going to
 bring some cheese, so maybe we don't need desert after all? But then again, I really wouldn't mind an excuse to bake something sweet in addition to the olive bread I started to make. So I don't know... What are your best recipe for lemon cookies? That would be a good
 thing... and my last attempt was disastrous.

Note: Is using dL to measure things a uniquely Swedish thing? Google won't do the converting from dL to cups... A dL is a tenth of a liter, so 2 dL is 0.2L.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Just Like A Teenager

Oh my. It's ages since I did anything like this. And on a Sunday... And now I'm all awake, and it's past eleven and I don't know when I'll be able to go to sleep. You see, I've been drinking something like a liter of tea tonight. Give or take some...
A friend had been given a bag of different teas to taste. The store he got them from are considering to get some for selling and they wanted an opinion. And we were certainly happy to give them that, but since we got very enthusiastic we tried something like six different teas. Or was it eight? Don't remember anymore. And I just got home. It's totally lovely tonight by the way, I wish I could keep walking for an hour or so instead of going home and trying to get sleepy. It's 17°C (60-65°
F somewhere) and still almost daylight. If this place was like this all the year I would be totally happy. Also, if I got to drink teas like this every day, I would also be v
ery happy. That was one great way to spend an evening, but sadly I didn't bring the camera. Well, 
maybe not so interesting to see lots of different colors of tea in the same cup though...

I do have some pictures though. I finally made a very good bread again. Lately I've been eating through a sort of decent improvised bread I made two weeks ago, but now I managed to get myself together and make the real stuff. Though I hadn't made any sourdough, so I had to make do with some quickly thrown together rye flour and water, so it wasn't quite as sour as usual.

I can't remember if I actually ever wrote down the recipe for this bread.  This is how I make it...
You need a piece of dough from the last batch, about 300-400 grams, and about the same amount of rye sourdough (I make it by mixing equal parts in volume of water and rye flour, usually feeding it for a couple of days, but then, this time I made it maybe an hour before I started baking). 1 kg of flour and about 600-700 grams of water, and some yeast (depending on how long rising times you want, I've used everything between 3 grams and 15 grams) then after most of the mixing is done, 10-20 grams of salt. I let it rise twice, once in a box and second time after I divide the dough in four and carefully put it into baskets. One of the rises is usually done overnight in the fridge. This time I did the second rise in the fridge, and so I got to bake it for breakfast in the morning. I just can't resist fresh bread out of the oven... (I know I should wait until it's cold, but honestly... Can anyone resist that smell?)