April 30, 2012

Planting potatoes 2012

Again this year my "usual" supplier of potatoes (a good working colleague) has provided me with a small selection of potatoes. I received potatoes of the following sorts: Sava - Ditta - Arielle and Linzer, which all should be of the earlier types.

This year I decided to plant my potatoes in a new pot type, which I have mentioned in a gardening magazine. The pot is "potato pot" and you can bye them here: http://www.potatopot.com.

Using this type of potato pot should allow you to keep picking potatoes from below the earth surface during the entire growing season.

I will keep you posted on, how I evaluated these potatoes pots as well as how my potatoes are growing.

Potato pots and Hannibal the Cat sleeping in his favourite corner

April 29, 2012

Squash cake a la Årstiderne

I keep baking this squash cake again and again, as I just love the taste and texture of it. And when I try to convince myself, that a cake with squash is more healthy than a normal cake with vegetable addition !!!! Can you call this a good argument ?

I have found this recipe in one of the weekly newsletter from my "vegetable pusher" also known as Årstiderne. The ONLY modification I have done to this recipe is, that I am adding as nutmeg as spice to the cake dough.

I normally give the minced squash a tour in the salad sling in order to remove some of the moist. As squash I either use fresh squash during the summer season and grated squash stored in the freezer out of the summer season. Some of my working colleagues are bringing their surplus of squash with them to work during the squash "high season". And I take some of these squash home with me and grated them and placed in my freezer for later use.

This cake is as well perfect for freezing, if you can not eat all the cake in one go.

UPDATE 1 October 2014:
This lsquash cake is been forwarded as my contribution for the monthly blogging challenge Tea Time Treats, which is hosted by Karen from Lavender and Lovage and Janie from The Hedge Combers. As theme for October, Karen has selected vegetables as theme.

Squash cake a la Årstiderne:

  • 3 eggs
  • 5 dl sugar
  • 3 tea spoons cinnamon
  • 1/4-½ tea spoon nutmeg
  • 1 table spoon home-made vanilla sugar
  • 50 g walnut - minced
  • 5 dl squash - minced
  • 2½ dl rape seed oil
  • 5 dl (cake) flour
  • 1/4 tea spoon baking powder
  • 2 tea spoons soda
  • 2 tea spoons salt
  1. Whip the eggs and sugar together.
  2. Add cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, vanilla sugar and minced walnuts. And whip again.
  3. Add squash and rape seed oil, and mix well.
  4. Flour, baking powder and soda is sieved into the cake dough.
  5. Mix everything well together.
  6. Pour the dough into a baking form.
  7. Bake the cake at 200'C (conventional oven) for approx 1 hour.
  8. Test that the cake is baked well before taking it out of the oven.

April 28, 2012

Pomegranate drink with vodka

I have found this recipe on pomegranate and vodka in some English magazine, I do not recall which magazine.

The idea of pomegranate was very appealing to me, so I decided to try it out on "Stilpigerne". The taste is not very sweet and the drink on it´s own is quiet dry. Honestly I do not think, I will make this specific drink ever again !!!! So now I am left with ½ l of pomegranate juice, so leave me a comment, if you have any idea how to use this juice :-)

Pomegranate drink with vodka: - 4 drinks

  • 250 ml pomegranate juice - without extra sugar
  • 250 ml vodka
  • 750 ml sparkling water
  • slice of lemon
  • ice cubes
  1. Place all ingredients in a jug and stir them gently together.
  2. Pour into glasses containing a slice of lemon.
  3. Serve together with ice.

April 27, 2012

Snack nuts a la Isabella

I have found this recipe on snack nuts on the magazine "Isabella" issue 2 from 2012. And as I had all the mentioned nuts available in my kitchen cupboards, I decided to try them out.

They are very, very easy to make AND they taste great with some spiciness from the soy sauce. I served those nuts for "Stilpigerne" and they were crazy out them, so the majority of these nuts found the way into their mouths. I had actually made three portions of these snack nuts !!!!! and I was left with no left-overs !!!

Snack nuts a la Isabella:

  • 30 g hazel nuts
  • 30 g almonds
  • 30 g cashew nuts
  • 2 tablespoons seamen seeds
  • 1 dl soy sauce
  1. Roast the nuts on a warm dry frying pan until the cashew nuts turn light brown in their colour. Stir regular
  2. Add the seamen seeds and let them pop.
  3. Add the soy sauce. BE CAREFUL doing this, as some of the soy sauce will turn into steam, when add into the hot frying pan.
  4. Stir well and let the soy sauce boil into the nuts.
  5. Empty the nuts on to a piece of baking paper.
  6. Cool down the nuts, before you place them in a container.
  7. The shelf-life is approx. 14 days, unless your guests eat them before this end of shelf-life !!!!

April 26, 2012

Ringridderboller fra "Hjemmebagt"

"Hjemmebagt" - 73 recipes - 17 accomplished = 56 recipes to bake

Progress again on baking my way through the bread "Hjemmebagt". I am still trying out the "easy" recipes, I have no yet tried some of the recipes containing sour dough. I am actually dreading, when I have to work with these sour doughs.

For the visit of the "Stilpigerne" I decided to try out the recipe "Ringridderboller" (= ring ridder buns), which contains spelt flour, apple, oat flakes, milk and egg. It is the first time, where I have notices, at the ratio between flour and the liquid did not seen to right/correct, so therefore I decided to increased the amount of spelt flour with another 50 g. After the extra flour addition, the dough was still pleasant  moiste, but workable.

For the baking process you place the buns together in a ring form, where the buns are raising one more time before being baked. Due to this way of baking, the baking time is 40 minutes instead of the usual 15 minutes for baking buns.

The taste and texture of the "Ringridderboller" is fantastic :-)

April 25, 2012

New mile stone - 25.000 page views

Hannibal the Cat sound a sleep in one of these "funny/relaxed" sleeping positions widely known by cat owners.

Suddenly I realised, that my little blog about on-going activities in my kitchen and kitchen garden had passed 25.000 page views !!!! This happened Monday 23 April 2012, approx 1½ year after my very first posting on this blog 13 November 2010.  

I want to thank you all of you very much for your all many visits in my kitchen life, where you take time from your tight schedule to read about, how I and Hannibal the Cat spend our time. Also a huge thank you for your participation in some of the on-going voting about, when I would like to hear your opinion about, what I should make/bake in my kitchen.

It is quiet interesting to notice, how the most popular blog post keep remaining to be a posting about another blog mile-stone, so it is actual not a food recipe in any way. It is actually 1½ times more popular than the second most popular posting, which is a recipe on Christmas Candy. It is going to be interesting, if this most popular post can maintain it´s position.

It is also seems like, that you readers are having a sweet tooth like me, as 5 out of the 10 posting are recipes on cakes or Christmas Candy. Only one recipe is relating to plain food stuff like spaghetti.

Since the last mile-stone relating to 250 blog posts I have started to participate in a monthly virtual afternoon tea table hosted by two amazing bloggers from UK. It is great fun for me to be active in this event, which has different theme each month. And sometime these theme are more challenging for me than other month´s theme, but I like a good challenge.

I have also noticed, that I have more and more readers coming from out-side Denmark, where USA accounts for this growth in non-Danish readers. I huge welcome to all my readers coming from around the world. It is great to me to see, how I have readers on all 5 continents :-)

An update on my KPIs for the blog looks like this (In my professional life colleagues and managers are discussing Key Performance Indicators on a regular basis):

Review day: 25 April 2012
Start day - first posting: 13 November 2010
Development on "Hjemmebagt": 73 recipes - 17 accomplished = 56 recipes to bake
Amount of cooking books in my kitchen: 52 books
Page views: 25.000
Publish posts: 391 excl. this
Followers: 8
Blogs followed: 18

Page view per country:
  • Canada: 1%
  • Moldova: 1%
  • Norway: 1%
  • France: 1%
  • UK: 3%
  • Russia: 3%
  • Germany: 3%
  • Portugal: 8%
  • US: 16%
  • Denmark: 63% 
Thank you for visiting me, Hannibal the Cat and my kitchen :-)) Hope to see you again in the near future :-))

April 22, 2012

First status on bulbs planted in Autumn 2011

Hannibal the Cat inspecting crocus in the lawn
After a morning and start of afternoon with focus on garden work both together with the rest of  my housing cooperative as well as in my individual garden, I thought I would share a very first status on, how it is going with the many bulbs, which I planted last autumn.

Keep your hands away from "my" crocus !
I planted another 200 crocus bulbs in my little lawn, so somehow I had expected to see many crocus this Spring. So I guess, I again this autumn need to put some more crocus bulbs in my lawn, perhaps planting them closer together ?

I planted 50 Muscari in various colours in a pot next to my front door.  So fare I have seen no flowers at all !, so here I am quiet disappointed

An Easter bed is another way of celebrating Easter in the garden, if it is goes according to my plan. Luckily enough this part of the plan is running according to schedule. As you can see I have two Easter beds in wonderful blooming right now :-)

Planting tulips is a bit like playing memory card ! Is this "place" free during spring time or is it already occupied by someone else ? As I recall it, this spot should be "free", so hopefully these tulips

  • 10 Botanical Tulips Saxatilis
  • 10 Botanical Humulis Alba Coeulea Oculata

  • Now I just to wait and see, if these tulips will survive for a longer time in my garden compared to many other tulips, which only is lasting 1-2 years.

    On this spot, where I planted 25 Virirdiflora Tulips. And they are on their way to be play their part of the "entertainment" in the garden. 

    Also the 60 Double Tulips Angelique are on their up in the peony bed.

    April 21, 2012

    Visit by "Stilpigerne"

    Yesterday evening I had a nice group of friends coming by for drink, snack, coffee/tea, bread and cakes combined with a great talk of what is on-going in our life's right here and now. We refer to each other as "Stilpigerne", which could be translated into "The Stylish Girls", as we meet up back 13-14 years ago, when we individual signed up for a course on make-up and cloth style. And as a group we clicked, and since when we have been meeting regular every 2-3 month.

    We started by having some ordinary cripes served together with a nut snack a la Isabella and drink of vodka and pomegranate juice.

    Afterwards I served some home-made buns in form of Ringridderboller from the bread book "Hjemmebagt", squash cake and the left-overs of these Easter butter cookies with saffron and chocolate.

    In the near future you will be able to find most of recipes here on this blog.

    It was a great start on the week-end :-) The only draw-back was getting early up this morning, so I could go rowing on the Fjord of Vejle. However, I managed to be in the rowing club on time with all of my belonging incl. a lunch and some squash cake for the rest of the boat team.

    April 17, 2012

    Easter tea for my tea cup

    This Easter tea from Mariage Fréres is on of my favourite black tea. It has a fantastic delicate flavour, close to being luxury bergamot tea without being the "usual" Earl Grey tea. I more or less always managed to get hold of this Easter from Paris without having to "down-load" it through the internet. Somehow I am either in Paris my self or one of my colleagues are in Paris around Easter time, so someone can pick up the tea directly from the actual shop.

    This year of a good colleague of mine being the tea collector and she had no idea about the price for this specific tea, so she was a little concerned giving me the tea and telling me the actual price. However, I was able to reassure her, that I was very well aware of the price level (22 € for 90 g tea). Her own children were told to treat this tea like gold, which I find to be a very good description for how I actual treat it myself. The Easter tea from 2011 actually lasted until 2-3 weeks before Easter this year.

    To the right side you see, this years small Easter Egg from Summerbird, where the metallic egg will have different pattern from year to year. So here I am starting to have a nice little collection of 4 different Easter eggs so fare.

    April 16, 2012

    Thai inspiried Soup a la Fakta

    Sometimes you are finding some interesting recipes in the weekly supermarket leaflets, which are tempting you to try them out. This specific recipe on Thai inspired soup I found in a leaflet from Fakta, a Danish discount supermarket.

    The soup is very, very easy to make and it is ready within ½ hour. Also it is putting an effective end to a empty/hungry stomach. However, from a taste view point I would prefer a more spicy taste, so for a second round in my soup bowls, I think I would increase the level ginger and chili, perhaps as well to use the peel of the lime and topping the soup with fresh coriander.

    Thai Inspired Soup a la Fakta: - 4 persons

    • 400-500 g chicken breast
    • 2 tablespoons oil
    • 2 tablespoons ginger - freshly grated
    • 3 cloves of garlic - in thin slices
    • 1 chili - in small pieces
    • 2 cans of coconut milk
    • 1 lime - juice
    • 4 dl vegetable stock
    • 1 onion - cut into pieces
    • 3 carrots - in thin slices
    • salt and pepper
    • egg noddles
    1. Cut the chicken breast into smaller pieces.
    2. Heat the oil up in a cooking pot.
    3. Fry the chicken pieces in this oil for approx. 5 minutes.
    4. Add grated ginger, garlic, chili, coconut milk and vegetable stock
    5. Let everything boils softly for 15 minutes.
    6. Adjust the taste with salt, pepper and lime juice.
    7. Add the onion and carrots.
    8. Let the soup cook for another 5 minutes.
    9. Meanwhile cook the egg noddles in hot water.
    10. Strain the egg noddles from the water and add them into the Thai soup.
    11. Serve the soup.

    April 15, 2012

    Easter butter cookies with saffron and chocolate

    The blog event called "Tea Time Treats", which is a monthly baking challenge event managed  Karen from Lavender and Lovage and Kate from What Kate Baked. It is Kate from What Kate Bakedwhich is the host of April month. The theme for this month is off cause Easter whatkatebaked.blogspot.com - tea-time-treats blogging challenge, which has been something of a challenge for me being Danish.

    Off cause we celebrate Easter here in Denmark !!!! We actually have an Easter vacation of 5 days incl the week-end. But a traditional Danish way of celebrating Easter is having focus on lunch tables with marinated herrings, egg dishes and the usual aquavit. And for the sweet part we are eating Easter Eggs of chocolate or marzipan combined with chocolate.

    So I turned my search for baked goods for the Tea Time Treat to various recipes from Odense Marcipan. And here I found this recipe on paaskesmaakager med safran og chokolade (Easter butter cookies with saffron and chocolate.

    I have made no modifications at all to this recipe. Easter for me is a wonderful celebration of re-birth of life, as spring is so full of life in form of more day-light, singing birds and flowers popping up in nature, I decided to use flower cutter such as this Marimekko flower cutter for cookies for the shape of these Easter butter cookies. And while I was cutting out the butter cookies, my mind found that using flower shape related very well to flower food, as saffron is coming from crocus :-)

    These Easter butter cookies are having a delicate flavour of saffron. I am having some difficulties in tasting the lemon peel. A modification to these Easter butter cookies could be only to saffron, so no addition of lemon peel and milk chocolate, I think such cookies would taste great of saffron. I also find the sweet level to be just right.

    Easter butter cookies with saffron and chocolate a la Odense Marcipan:

    • 1 point of knife of saffron
    • 20 g icing sugar
    • 150 g (cake) flour
    • 75 g marzipan - grated
    • 50 g of milk chocolate - chopped
    • 125 g butter - chopped into small pieces
    • peel of ½ lemon - use organic
    • 1 egg yolk

    1. Heat the oven to 200'C (conventional oven).
    2. Grind the saffron and icing sugar together.
    3. Add the flour, marzipan, lemon peel to the icing sugar.
    4. Grind the butter pieces into the flour.
    5. Add the chopped chocolate.
    6. Use the egg yolk to mix the butter cookie dough together.
    7. Place the dough on baking paper and roll it into a height of 3-4 mm. Use flour both below and on top of the dough, so it is not sticking to much.
    8. Cut the dough into cookies.
    9. Place the cookies on a baking tray covered with baking paper.
    10. Bake the butter cookies in the top of the oven for 8 minutes.
    11. Cold down the butter cookies, before they are stored in tins.
    12. Happy after Easter :-)

    April 13, 2012

    Violet sugar a la Lavender and Lovage

    Beautiful violets - before I picked all their petals

    Normally I am only enjoying the sight of blooming violets as a statement of spring in it´s own way.

    However, in beginning of March month I found this recipe on home-made sweet violet sugar violet sugar on the lovely blog called Lavender and Lovage by Karen.

    Where is my "human" ?
    So while I was picking violet petals for this violet syrup I also picked some violet petals for this violet sugar. I spend around 1 hour to pick all the violet petals, so at the very end Hannibal the Cat came looking for me, as he could not understand, why I was spending my time away from house and garden AND him.

    Picking and using violet petals in my kitchen is fitting perfect into my New Year 2012 resolutions of becoming better in using the seasonal herbs, flowers and fruit, which you freely can collect in Mother Nature.

    When people ask me, what are you actual going to use this sugar or this syrup for, I most of the times have no clue about this. For me it is more fun to make these thing, then plan ahead and decided on how to actual use the stuff. However, I will keep you posted on how I am using more this violet sugar as well as the violet syrup.

    Violet sugar a la Lavender and Lovage:

    • Violet petals 
    • Sugar
    1. Pick the violet - only using the violet petals. Place the petals in a bowl.
    2. Use a storage glass as container for this sugar.
    3. First fill the bottom of the glass with violet petals.
    4. Afterwards fill sugar on top of the violets.
    5. When again fill violets petals on top of sugar. Continue like until the glass is full or you run out of violets petals.
    6. Close the glass and shake it.
    7. Shake it regular during the coming 7 days.
    8. After 7 days you can remove the violets and use the sugar. Or you maintain the violet petals in the sugar, as they are quiet decorative.

    April 11, 2012

    Tea Time Treat March 2012 - scones

    Both my scones, spicy scones with dried fruits and scones with blue cheese and walnuts, made it on to the Tea Time Treat tea table of March month, where an amazing 56 different scones appeared on the table !!!! You can find my scones here: www.lavenderandlovage.com - second-sitting-at-the-big-fat-scones-tea-party-tea-time-treats-scones-march-2012

    The tea table for April (whatkatebaked.blogspot.com - tea-time-treats-blogging-challenge) will have focus on Easter, which is more of challenge for me !!!!! Yes, we do celebrate Easter here in Denmark. We actually have set aside 5 days for Easter incl. the week-end. And yes, we do eat plenty of food for Easter, probably the same amount as for Christmas. However, the Danish food focus for Easter is on cold lunches eating marinated herrings and different type of egg dishes served together with aquavit. And the sweet part of Easter comes in form of Easter Eggs, either in form of "only" chocolate or as a combination of marzipan and chocolate. So an Easter thing to be served together with tea will be quiet a challenge for me to come up with.

    Please leave a comment, if you have an idea for me for this Tea Time Treat challenge for April :-)

    April 10, 2012

    Violet syrup a la Lavender and Lovage

    Wonderful violets before I removed all their petals

    Violet syrup in home-made bain-marie
    Looking at these violet, are they not beautiful ?

    For me, violets are yet another sign of approaching spring time. Some fare violets for me have only been flowers popping up in the lawn, which I have enjoyed. However, I stumbled over this recipe on violet syrup created by Karen from the blog Lavender and Lovage.

    So I "bravely" enough decided to try out this recipe grabbing a bowl and going out for picking only the petals of the violets. It took me 45 minutes to pick 20 g of violet petals, so I decided only to make ½ a portion of this violet syrup. I also got to admire the people to has to make a living for them selves picking crocus flowers for saffron as well as good understanding why the price of saffron is as it is.

    The violet petals are having a great purple colour and this is transferred into a wonderful purple colour in the actual syrup. However, I am a bit concerned regarding the taste of this syrup, as pouring the boiling water over the violet petals gave off a strange vegetable flavour.

    I will keep you posted on how this violet syrup actually is tasting.

    Anyway I can still see blooming violets in my garden as well in the surrounding area, so you still have time to make your very own violet syrup, as least if you are living in Denmark.

    Now I just to figure out, how to use this syrup ?????

    Violet syrup a la Lavender and Lovage:

    • 20 g violet petals - you should nothing else from the flower
    • 75 g boiling water
    • 150 g sugar
    1. Pick the violet - only using the violet petals. Place the petals in a bowl.
    2. Pour the boiling water over the violet petals. Place the bowl cold for 24 hours, so the petals can infuse the water.
    3. Pour the flower water as well as the sugar into a small bowl, which can be placed in cooking pot with (softly) boiling water like a bain-marie.
    4. Cook until all the sugar has been dissolved.
    5. Pass the violet syrup through a sieve to remove the petals.
    6. Pour the syrup into a bottle, which is stored cold in the refrigerator. You should be able to store this syrup for up to 12 months.

    April 09, 2012

    Easter Egg with nougat and liquorice

    At the same time as I was making the Easter Egg with elder flower, I decided to make some different Easter Eggs with nougat and liquorice using this recipe paskeaeg med nougat og lakrids from Odense Marcipan.

    I found it to be more difficult to turn these Easter Eggs into an actual egg shape, as I did not want to squeeze the nougat mass out of the egg. However, it was quiet easy to use dark chocolate for the coating part.

    As to the tasting part, I would like to have a stronger taste of liquorice in these Easter Eggs, so another time I would double the amount of liquorice powder from 1 teaspoon to 1½-2 teaspoons. This combination of nougat and liquorice did also give me an idea for some Christmas Candy, even though there is a long time to Christmas.

    Easter Egg with nougat and liquorice: - 15 pieces

    • 300 g marzipan
    • 150 g nougat
    • 1 teaspoon English liquorice powder
    • 150 g dark chocolate
    1. Soften the nougat by heating it up in the microwave oven.
    2. Stir the liquorice powder into the nougat.
    3. Divide the marzipan into 15 pieces.
    4. Turn the marzipan mass into a thin layer.
    5. Place the nougat mass in the middle. Cover the nougat mass totally in the marzipan mass. And turn the marzipan mass into egg shape.
    6. Melt the dark chocolate - I am using the microwave oven for this purpose.
    7. Coat the marzipan mass with dark chocolate.
    8. Let the chocolate coating try, before you place the marzipan eggs in tin(s)

    Easter Egg with elder flower

    Easter Egg either in form of plain chocolate or as combination of chocolate and marzipan is a very typical "candy" in connection with Easter. Normally you will buy these Easter Eggs, however, I have for the very first time been making my own Easter Eggs. The first version is Easter Egg with elder flower cordial. I decided to use this recipe from Odense Marcipan paaskeaeg med hyldeblomst.

    My overall impression is, that the use of white chocolate for these Easter Eggs is giving something, which is quiet sweet, so another time I would use dark chocolate instead of. Also I find it a little tricky to work with the white chocolate for the coating part.

    I still need some more training in forming the marzipan mass into egg shape.

    Easter Egg with elder flower: - 15 pieces

    1. Knead the marzipan, elder flower cordial and icing sugar together.
    2. Divide the marzipan mass into 15 pieces and roll them into egg shape.
    3. Melt the white chocolate - I am using the microwave oven for this purpose.
    4. Coat the marzipan eggs with white chocolate
    5. Decorate the marzipan eggs
    6. Let the chocolate coating settle, before they are placed in tins.

    April 01, 2012

    Earl Grey afternoon tea

    Some very good friends of mine living in Horsens hosted an afternoon tea Friday after work, which was a perfect start to my Easter vacation. Earl Grey was THE ingredient as we were drinking only Earl Grey tea as well as eaten some great tasting tea time treat, where Earl Grey was playing an important part as flavouring ingredients inside the actual food. Below you can find the link to the recipes, which my friends had prepared for this lovely tea table.

    It was very interesting to taste how different these five different Earl Grey teas were flavour wise. And somehow we managed to get them line up in the right tasting order :-)


    I think I scared the other tea drinks a little bite, when I shared my idea of having afternoon tea having focus on FLOWERS. Some of the participating tea drinkers still remember these meringue with lavender and orange blooms.


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