September 29, 2013

Product test - Della Nonna Soup from Il Fornaio

I assume you from time to time find yourself in a similar situation, where you have no idea at all, what to serve for dinner in the evening ! And if you want to stay clear from the fast solution like fast food like take away, it can be difficult to find an interesting and tasteful option.

Recently, I found such a quick solution from Il Fornaio for dinner in form of a soup meal kit. The main ingredients in this soup is whole grain rice, beans, peas and lentils, potatoes, carrots, onions and tomatoes. It is giving you two servings.

The plastic bags contains all the dry matter for the soup. As other ingredients you need as well to have olive oil and water, which I assume you can find in all kitchens.  The total cooking time is 15-20 minutes, this is not a quick fix-it solution, if you are looking to have a hot meal in less than 10 minutes.

The taste is decent, but no magic happens from a flavour view point. I do not think, I will be making a new purchase of this soup due to the lack of a great taste.

September 28, 2013

Coffee cake with cognac flavoured icing

Looking ugly on the outside - tasting great on the inside
Well this photo is not revealing the great taste of this cake, even though is made with coffee, and I am not a coffee drinker due to the nasty bitterness of coffee. I found this specific recipe in the weekly magazine "Alt for Damerne" - issue 16/2013. And the one and only modification, which I did, was to replace whisky with cognac, as I did not want to open an entire bottle of whisky, because I needed 2 tablespoons of whisky.

Coffee cake with cognac flavoured icing:

  • 175 g butter - soft
  • 75 g brown sugar
  • 100 g sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ dl strong coffee - ½ dl hot boiling water with 3 teaspoons of instant coffee
  • 250 g (cake) flour
  • 1 pod of vanilla - only the corns
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2-3 tablespoon strong coffee
  • 2 tablespoon cognac
  • 3 tablespoon plain cream cheese
  • 200 g icing sugar
  1. Heat the (conventional) oven to 200'C
  2. Whip the butter, brown sugar and sugar with an electrical whipper until it is light brown in colour and has a fluffy texture. This takes approx. 5 minutes.
  3. Add the eggs one by one, and whip thoroughly after each egg addition.
  4. Add coffee, flour, vanilla corns, salt and baking to the cake dough and whip until it look homogeneous and shinny.
  5. Cover a bread form of 1½-2 liter with baking paper, so you easily can get the cake out again. Fill the cake dough into the form, smooth the surface.
  6. Place the cake in just below the middle of the oven, bake it for 35-45 minutes at 200'C. Check if the cake is actually with a cake tester , before removing it from the oven.
  7. Let the cake cool down. Meanwhile you can make the glazing.
  8. Mix all the glazing ingredients together and whip it very well, until the icing is smooth and shinny without any lumps. Add more icing sugar, if the glazing is too thin in consistency.
  9. Pour the icing over the cold cake.
  10. Serve together with a cup of coffee or tea, if you are drinking tea like me.

September 26, 2013

Fruit and mixed seed flapjacks from "A Country Cook´s Kitchen"

It is always with excitement that I checking what theme the hostess (either Karen from Lavender and Lovage or Kate from What Kate Baked) of the blogging event Tea Time Time has selected for the monthly virtual tea table. And for September Karen from Lavender and Lovage has selected the theme to be flapjacks, oats and tray bakes.

I have no clue at all, what a flapjack or an oaty cake is being a Dane !!! This is something very English and something very un-Danish !!!
A tray bake would have been a too easy way around this theme, I could have selected this tray cake called "Plums hiding in cake", so I decided to have a look in the cooking book called "A Country Cook´s Kitchen" by Alison Walker. And here I was luckily enough to find a recipe on flapjack with fruit and mixed seeds.

And when I saw the "massive" amount of butter (175 g) used in this recipe I was certain, this was just the recipe for me to make my very first flapjacks at all (do not forget the blog´s motto of "plenty of butter). A flapjack somehow seems to be equal amount of butter, sugar and oat flakes. And I assume the oat flakes is only added to make flapjacks a little more healthy !!!

I did no make any modifications at all to this recipe. I really like the texture from the oat flakes together with sweet flavour boost coming from both the raisins and dried cranberries.
In connection with tasting these my very first flapjacks I got some inspiration for a Christmas-style flapjack !!

Fruit and mixed seed flapjacks from "A Country Cook´s Kitchen": - 24 flapjacks

  • 175 g butter
  • 125 g sugar
  • 50 g light brown syrup 
  • 225 g oat flakes - finely rolled
  • 2 tablespoons (cake) flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 125 g mixed dried fruit - 50 g raisins + 50 g dried cranberry + 25 g dried apricot
  • 50 g mixed seeds - 25 g sunflower + 25 g sesame seeds
  1. Heat up the (conventional) oven to 200'C.
  2. Cover a baking tray (30 x 35 cm) with baking paper.
  3. Melt the butter, sugar and syrup together in a cooking pot over low heat. Stir the mix well together during the heating process.
  4. Dry-mix the oat flakes, flour, salt and ginger.
  5. Dry-mix the dried fruits and seeds together.
  6. Stir the the flour-spices mix into the the melted butter-sugar mixture. Afterwards stir in the mixture of fruit and seeds.
  7. Fill this mixture into the baking tray.
  8. Bake the flapjacks in the middle of the oven at 200'C for 25-30 minutes until golden.
  9. Cut the flapjacks into squares of equal size.
  10. Store in an air tight container.

September 24, 2013

Ice cream election here in September 2013

Ice cream election for September 2013

Your are THE ONE (well together with the other blog readers), which is taking THE decision, which should be the very first ice cream, I should make on my Nemox ice cream machine.

I am giving you three different ice creams to vote among:

It seems like it will be a close race between liquorice and cherry, so every single vote is counting !

The election will be on-going on my blog until Wednesday 25 September. You can find the voting part in the side panel to the right at the top. So grab the opportunity to influence, which ice cream I should make as the very first ice cream :-)

September 22, 2013

"Apple Break" - bun with apple

This will be last apple recipe for this apple month of September for the time being. This time I have making this recipe from Dansukker on brydebrød med æbler as starting point making modification on yeast amount (reduced) and raising time (increased). And instead of using dl of wheat flour, I as usual done will weigh the flour amount and use the "magic" ratio of 700 g water/liquid to 1000 g flour. And for these buns I increased the flour weight, as I was adding grated apples as well, which is adding extra water into the dough.

As you keep baking over and over again you get a good feeling for, if the dough needs more or less flour depending on the dough sticks to your fingers during the kneading process.

"Apple Break" - bun with apple: - 20 buns

  • 500 g water
  • 25 g yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 50 g sugar
  • 2 apples - cored, peeled and grated
  • 70 g sunflower seeds
  • 750 g wheat flour

  1. Stir the yeast and water together. 
  2. Add the salt, sugar, grated apple and sunflower seeds into this liquid.
  3. Add the wheat flour. Knead the dough together, I usual knead for 10 minutes.
  4. After the kneading process, let the dough raise warm for 1½-2 hour.
  5. Divide the dough into equal size buns (80 g each), I always a kitchen scale for this purpose in order to ensure equal baking of the buns. 
  6. Place the buns close together in a baking tray covered with baking paper, and let the buns raise for another 30 minutes, so they grow together.
  7. Heat up the (conventional) oven to 225'C.
  8. Bake the buns at 225'C for 25-30 minutes in the middle part of then oven, until the bottom of the bun is brownish in colour.

September 21, 2013

Apple Financiers

I have got this recipe in form of a promotional post card in connection with the release of baking book called "Meyers Bageri" by Claus Meyer 2-3 years ago. And the card has been standing looking at me since when, however now was the time to bake these cakes for the Apple Afternoon Tea. By the way I have no idea how to pronounce, I keep trying to pronounce the name in French style, do you have a clue how to pronounce "Financiers" ?

Reading the description as to how the cakes should be created, I have the impression, that the cake dough should be stirred gently by hand. So here I decided to do my own way, so I used my electrical whipper, only whipping until the dough look homogeneous and when I stopped and add in the next ingredients. If you plenty of arm muscles you can just use a spoon for mixing together the dough !!! And I will use my electrical whipper, as I have no arm muscles, even though I do water aerobic once a week and am rowing 2-3 times every week !!!!

These Apple Financiers are as well containing something like 20 g butter for each cake, which means that you will get approx 23% of your "fat ration" being female calculated by the GDA (Guideline Daily Amounts) formula. And when I have calculated in the fat coming from the almonds, eggs and marzipan. So if you are terrified of fat, you should by no means even try to bake these cake in your own kitchen. If you are strong believer in "plenty of butter", which is cake fulfilling your butter dreams :-)

Apple Financiers: - 15 cakes
  • 250 g butter - soft
  • 250 g sugar
  • 125 g marzipan - grated
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 190 g whole almond - blended into flour
  • 50 g (cake) flour
  • 1-2 apples - cored, peeled and finely chopped
  1. Heat the (conventional) oven to 200'C
  2. Mix marzipan and sugar well together
  3. Add the soft butter into this sugar-marzipan mix, I used an electrical whipper in order to get a homogeneous mix.
  4. Add the egg yolks, followed by whipping. Add the whole egg, one by one, followed by whipping after each egg.
  5. Finally add in the flour and almond flour, and whip again.
  6. Fill the cake dough into smaller paper muffin forms.
  7. Afterwards push down apple pieces on the top of the cake dough.
  8. Place the muffin form on the baking tray, which is place in the middle of the oven.
  9. Bake the cakes at 200'C for 15-20 minutes.

September 19, 2013

Scones with apple and walnuts

Some time ago I tried this recipe on scones with apple and walnuts a la Baking Mad, as I really like to walnuts in my little kitchen. However, this recipe "only" contained 40 g of butter, so they turned out to be quiet dry !!!!

So being in line with subtitle of this blog "plenty of butter" I turned my eye to the brilliant baking book "A piece of cake" by Leila Lindholm, which has some excellent recipes on scones with "plenty of butter" inside, actually something like 20 g of butter for each single scone :-)

I made a few modification such as using a mix of wheat flour and whole grain wheat flour to make these scone more healthy !!! This is a joke of mine :-) I mixed in some whole grain wheat flour, as I am having a bag of 2 kg whole grain wheat flour in my kitchen looking at me every day, which is not seeing any significant reduction in it´s weight, so this was just a great opportunity to use some of this flour.

And when I added apple and walnuts on top of the basic scone recipe from ""A piece of cake".

These scones had a fantastic taste and texture, perhaps I should twist another time with addition of some cinnamon, which always is making a great partnership with apples.

As a finishing touch these scones was served together with apple jam, so apple with apple :-)

Scones with apple and walnuts: - 6 pieces
  • 300 g wheat flour flour
  • 150 g whole grain wheat flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 50 g sugar
  • 125 g cold butter
  • 1 apple - cored, peeled and diced
  • 25 g walnuts - diced
  • 1 egg
  • 200 g milk
  1. Heat the oven (conventional) to 250'C.
  2. Mix the flour, salt, baking powder and sugar together in a mixing bowl.
  3. Cut the cold butter into small pieces.
  4. Grind the butter pieces into the flour mix.
  5. Mix the milk and egg together.
  6. Add the milk and egg without kneading into a dough.
  7. Place the dough on a pieces of baking paper.
  8. Flatten the dough into a height of 3 cm.
  9. Use a glass to cut out scone pieces.
  10. Bake the scone at 250'C for 12-15 minutes.

September 17, 2013

Dinner at Fransmanni, Seinäjoki

During my recent stay in Seinäjoki we decided again to eat at the hotel restaurant (Fransmanni), as we could not find other interesting options in the city centre upon our arrival.

As starter I had scallops served together with an unknown fresh tasting sauce. Also on the plate was a little salad made from cucumber and rocket place on top of celery pure. All in all a good tasting starter.

As main course I had pork tenderloin with chanterelle sauce served along with some sort of bacon, green beans and potato boats. The meat had a little to much pork taste for my taste buds.

In total I ended to with paying approx 60 € for food, a GTI, a glass of white wine and a cup of tea. I will give another 3 stars for this evening meal.

September 15, 2013

Traditional Danish apple cake

Continuing with yet another apple recipe, I this time share a very, very, very easy cake for you to make. The preparation for this cake does not require any baking or freezing at all !!!! It is the recipe on a traditional Danish apple cake, which I grew with at home. My mother would make the cake during Autumn , when guests were invited over for coffee, she would never serve it as a dessert in connection with a meal, but always together with coffee.

Even if it is very, very, very easy to make, you still need to make some preparation in advance in form of the apple mash/compote. However, this can be done quiet easy be done 1-2 days in advance (as the preparation of the apple boats without peel is quiet time consuming).

You can either serve this cake as a single serving or in one big bowl. From my childhood home I am used to have this cake served in one big bowl. I am not used to the tradition of adding small lumps of red jams such as redcurrant jam, as my mother never did that. However, in some family this is another tradition, when serving Danish apple cake.

Tradition Danish apple cake:
  1. Start by filling a layer of breadcrumbs into the glass/bowl.
  2. Afterwards fill apple mash/compote on top.
  3. Filling a second layer of breadcrumbs on top.
  4. Followed by a second layer of apple mash/compote.
  5. Continue to fill layer of breadcrumbs and apple mash, until the glass/bowl is almost filled.
  6. The last finishing touch is a top layer of whipped dairy cream.
  7. Let the apple cake rest in the refrigerator for 1-4 hours before serving it.

September 14, 2013

"Apple Appeal" - apple cocktail

I do not know, if my good girl friend from Horsens is having bad dreams about this drink (Apple Mac with modification) from her last visit to Vejle. But in order to give her and the rest of us a good start to this Apple Afternoon Tea I decided, that the guests should be involved in the development of a new cocktail made from sparkling wine, apple must and a secret apple ingredient !!!

This drink is called "Apple Appeal". During the "development process" we each stood with individual straws, so we could taste the effect by adding the different ingredients. Luckily we agree in harmony, how the recipe should be put together, and I hope you will enjoy this apple cocktail as well :-)

"Apple Appeal": - 1 cocktail
  • 1/4 teaspoon crab apple aquavit
  • 6-8 cl apple must - with dry taste
  • 6-8 cl sparkling wine
  1. Fill the champagne glass with crab apple aquavit followed by apple must
  2. Fill the rest of the glass with sparkling wine
  3. Cheers

September 12, 2013

Apple jam with lemon and vanilla

A strong wind can make the apples tumble down from their tree in large quantities, when you can actual eat them as fresh fruit. So one way of "saving" them for later use is to turn them into an apple jam. I decided to twist the taste of this apple jam with a combination of vanilla taking inspiration from another Danish traditional way of eating apple in form of apple mash/compote with vanilla AND lemon (both zest and juice) to boost the fresh fruit flavour of this apple jam, which very easy can become plain sweet in taste.

Apple jam with lemon and vanilla:
  • 500 g apple boats - apples being peeled and core removed
  • 150 g water
  • ½ organic lemon - zest and juice
  • ½ vanilla pod - only the vanilla corns
  • 350 g jam sugar
  1. Cook the apple boat slices in water together with the lemon zest and vanilla corns for 15 minutes in a cooking pot with the lid on.
  2. Stir the apple boats into a homogeneous mass.
  3. Add jam sugar and lemon juice. Cook everything together for 5 minutes.
  4. Prepare the jam glasses by filling them with boiling water. I do not use any preservatives in my home-made jam, so this is important to increase shelf-life of your jam. Another thing you can do is to store the jam cold afterwards.
  5. Fill the glass with jam and close the glass.

September 10, 2013

Having dinner again at Scandic Oulu - Torilla restaurant

Another return visit eating out in Oulu, this time at the Torilla restaurant at the Scandic hotel in Oulu. The decision was taken again to eat at the hotel, as my colleague upon arrival to the hotel was very, very hungry, so we once again decided to eat at the hotel instead of spending time to find a restaurant in down-town Oulu.

The starters in form of various small tapas dishes are actually very, very good and something, which is a high-light on the menu card compared to the rest of the menu. As tapas starter I selected salmon served together with avocado dressing, green asparagus with green salad leaves (so green with green) and final a little creamy pie with morel filling. This pie was the best of these three tapas dishes with it´s mushroom taste and great creaminess.

As main course I choose a pepper steak served together with vegetable of the season and French fries. The steak had a good strong taste of pepper, which I really like. Also the sauce had a great taste.

In total I ended to with paying approx 60 € for food, a GTI, a glass of white wine and a cup of tea. I will give 3 stars for this evening meal.

September 08, 2013

Apple Afternoon Tea

Apples on the menu card
September is the month of harvesting apples here in Denmark, so why not make an entire afternoon tea for some good girl friends dedicated to apples !!!! It could at the same time boots the overall amount of apple recipes on this blog from 17 recipes containing apple as the main/important ingredient to many more inspiring new apple formulations. So let´s see at the end of this month, how many new apple recipes this September will bring alive in my little kitchen.

Cheers - Apple Appeal
Yesterday afternoon was the day dedicated to the enjoyment of apple besides from celebrating the birthday of Hannibal the Cat. I had used three different apple types for the many different items on the tea table, so on top of eating and enjoying this tea table menu, my two guests also had to guess, which of the three apples had be used for the various menu items. The score card ended with a draw between the participants in form of 1-1 out of maxium score of 6, so there is room for improvements - ladies !!!!

All three of us started the afternoon tea session with developing a new cocktail together from sparkling wine, apple must and a secret apple ingredient. This drink is called "Apple Appeal". During the "development process" we each stood with individual straws, so we could taste the effect by adding the different ingredients. Luckily we agree in harmony, how the recipe should be put together.

The menu was:
Traditional Danish apple cake

"Apple Appeal" - cocktail with sparkling wine and juice must
"Apple Break" - bun with apple inside
Apple scones  served together with apple jam and whipped cream
Apple Financiers
Traditional Danish apple cake
Apple sorbet together with some rhubarb sorbet
And all this will be served together with three different apple teas :-)

It was a "tough" menu to get through. I started my day with breakfast, had nothing for lunch, enjoy the Apple Afternoon Tea and ended up with stomach being to full, so an evening meal was not needed at all. And mid way through the afternoon tea we decided to go for walk for half a hour just to get some fresh air and hopefully some more "storage room" in an overfull stomach.

Both the apple scones and Apple Financiers are both fulfilling the motto of this blog "Plenty of butter". As we sad discussing these two recipes, it turned out, that each single serving of scone and Financiers each contained 20 g of butter !!!! So you easily refer to them as baked butter food.

I will be posting the various apple recipes during this month of September.

Birthday gift for Hannibal the Cat

Hostess gift for the "land lady" of Hannibal

September 07, 2013

Hannibal the Cat turns 5 year old

Today Hannibal the Cat turns 5 years old, and as he grows older and wiser (perhaps not wiser, but definitely older), he is also becoming a little more lazy/relaxed, so he does not have to be on the go all the time ! He can actually spend more time sound asleep either on a dining chair or in "his" armchair standing next to the window bay.

He has a funny habit, where he likes to sleep behind towels or sheets hanging over the banister, and in his desired to hide behind the towels/sheets, he many times ends up with dragging the entire stack of towels to the floor.

Hannibal the Cat is quiet an independent cat, who is capable of supporting himself from a food view point as he is a great mouse hunter. However, he never brings any mice home with him, as he is fully aware of, that I will take these mice away from him and throw them away. And the only reason why I know, that he is eating mice is due to the fact, that he regulars get worms from enjoying his favourite food "mouse sushi".
Another strange habit of Hannibal the Cat is, that the water in his cat bowl is not good enough for him ! He prefers to drink water directly from the water tap in the kitchen or bathroom. Or he can drink the water from the cat bowl, if it stands in the kitchen sink.

Besides from drinking water in washbasin in the bathroom, he likes to lay in the washbasin looking at me, while I brush my teeth or cleanse my face, making it tricky for me to use the washbasin, so I have to use the kitchen sink.

And if it is very rainy, when I am away during a normal work day, Hannibal the Cat will go and visit "his best" neighbour, who will either let him inside her house or she will find the spare key for my house and let him inside his own home.

Another funny thing about rain is, that Hannibal the Cat can not understand why it is raining on both side of the house ? So he can walk from the kitchen door to the garden demanding to be let out, until he notice it is raining, and when he will walk back to the other door to be let out there.
So happy birthday to you Hannibal and wish you all the best in the coming year and many mice to be caught and eaten as fresh as possible.

September 05, 2013

Kitchen equipment 22 - ice cream machine

I have upgraded myself and my kitchen with a new thing, which I apparently can not live without ? Well, if you have read the headline of this blog post you already know, that I have brought myself an ice cream machine with compressor in form of a Nemox machine - model Gelatissimo - 1.7 l  capacity with removal ice cream bowl. If you ask why did I select this specific machine, I will say this is a very good question. I brought this machine as I could a discount of 700 DKK, so the price instead of being 2895 DKK was 2195 DKK, when buying it at Coop web shop.

I am looking forward to be making more ice cream in my little kitchen, as I do not need first to freeze down the ice cream bowl for 3-4 hours before making being able to freeze any ice cream at all.
I also have a very ambitious plan about being making ice cream every month, where you as reader will be a part of the process, as I will be making votes on the blog, where you can be voting among 2-3 suggestions of ice cream, which I when will be making afterwards.

So if you can not lick the ice cream bowl/serving plate, when you can be licking the photos without actually getting the calories !!!! I have no idea, if you find this a good deal of not.

Please feel free to leave a comment, if you should have any suggestions for the ice cream vote here in September :-)

September 03, 2013

Having lunch at Sockeri-Jussi in Oulu, Finland

Back in Oulu, Finland 7 months later on from my last (and first) visit, which took place during the middle of the Winter in January, and the surroundings are completely changed. I wonder what they have done to the cold, white stuff, which was covering both land and water in January ?

Instead of being dark, freezing cold (-20'C) and white, it is sunny, warm (+20'C) and green & blue :-) What an amazing difference.

I decided to have lunch at this Lappish style restaurant called Sokeri-Jussi, where I had dinner in January  inside. However, now I could sit outside in a T-shirt and short enjoying both the view and the sun, while I had lunch.

As lunch dish I tried one of the Summer classic from the menu card, which was called Hunter´s sandwich. This is grilled pork sirloin steak and creamy mushroom sauce on white bread served together with salad made from fresh vegetable of the season and Tavern salad dressing. The pork and mushroom sauce was good with great level of creaminess. And the Tavern dressing gave good taste twist to the salad.

In total I ended to with paying approx 30 € for food, a glass of white wine and soft drink. I will give this lunch experience 3 stars.

September 01, 2013

Welcome to September - the first month of Autumn

Welcome to September

September is the very first month of Autumn, where we still can get some amazing days full of sunshine and blue heaven, even though it look very much like Autumn looking out though the windows to grey sky, plenty of wind and strong showers dropping by from time to time.

September is also the month here in Denmark, where you can pick apples grown in your gardens, if you are so lucky to have one or more apples trees in your garden. I have two apple tress, one is column tree of some unknown apple sort and the second tree is a family meaning one tree seeded with three different apple sort: Aroma, Ingrid Marie & Fillippa. And the apple harvest looks very promising this year with plenty of apples, actually some many apples on the family apple tree, that the small branches are bending closer and closer to the lawn.

So I would like to invite you to take a good big bite of freshly picked apples and enjoy a wonderful month of September by sharing these four apple recipes of appetizer with you. I will working with more recipes having apples as an important ingredients during this coming month.

Crab apple aquavit is easy to make and has an amazing taste of apple and keep you warm in a cold Autumn/Winter.

Lønnestræde´s apple jam with various spices

Apples with oat flakes crumble - an easy cake to make, when you need comfort on a grey day.

Apple mash with rosemary and vanilla, which is a great way to use surplus apples or apples, which the wind have knock off the tree. You can eat the apple mash as it is, served it with milk or use in a traditional Danish apple cake combining apple mash, breadcrumbs, whipped cream and jam for optional decoration.


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