Friday, 29 February 2008

Picks of the Month Feb. 08

Leap day. According to folk tradition in Finland, as in many other places, this is the day when women may propose marriage to men. If the man refuses, he is supposed to buy the woman material for a skirt. So, this morning when I sat in the metro on my way to work the female metro driver made an announcement to remind all the women onboard not to forget to propose to someone today, as all men are surely not carrying some skirt material with them! ;)

In case you want to learn more about leap day/year here's a few useful links:

Information on leap year on
Leap year traditions on

Wikipedia article on leap year

Ok, well, back to business then. :) Not only is today the leap day, it is also the last day of February (what a surprise! ;)) and that means time for Cinnamonda's Picks of the Month no 2.

My favorite posts around the blogosphere this past month were in no particular order:

1. Kate/Kajal from Aapplemint started February with a very interesting post on coffee in Ethiopia. Her photographs are just great, aren't they?

2. Annemarie from Ambrosia and Nectar posted a very nice recipe for a rhubarb crumble cake. Rhubarb being one of my favorite ingredients I just had to try the recipe. Luckily I had just enough rhubarb left in the freezer for one cake, as it is still some time before rhubarb season starts in Finland.
I had to improvise a little, as I did not have all the incredients mentioned in the recipe and my large cake tin was in the dish washer, but the cake turned out ok. Very tasty actually! :)

3. This month I really fell in love with the curried egg salad recipe by Heidi from 101 Cookbooks. This salad is absolutely fabulous! So easy to make, so tasty! So good that I had eaten it all before I remembered that I might have taken some pictures of my rendition of it... Well, I will definitely be making this salad many times in the future.

4. Pascale Weeks from C'est moi qui l'ai fait posted a very informative video on how to make petits pots de crèmes au chocolate. Plus I learned a few new words of French listening to her instructions. :)

5. Anya from Godful Food was kind enough to share with us food bloggers her grandmother's pancake recipe. If you want to make real Russian pancakes, this is the recipe for you!

Sunday, 24 February 2008

Three Fruit Spaghetti

I've been leafing through Nigel Slater's wonderful, wonderful book "The Kitchen Diaries" lately. The book is so full of recipes I would like to try that I don't know where to start, but in additiond to the recipes, what really got me hooked, was the very first lines of the introduction (The Kitchen Diaries, p. vii):

"Right food, right place, right time... this is the best recipe of all."

Could it be said any better? No, it couldn't. That kind of sums everything up. That is the motto I want to live by. That is the motto I want to keep in mind every time I cook anything. Right food, right place, right time. An elaborate meal or a quick snack, good, red Bordeaux or water from the tap, 500 ml of Ben & Jerry's Phish Food eaten straight from the container or a fruit salad composed of homegrown, organic fruit. There is the time and place for everything. Although, in my case, it is not always the most obvious time and place...

This should be the heart of winter (at least according to the calender, if not weatherwise just now) and shouldn't I be craving for hearty, fullfilling meals, red meat, potatoes, lovely, creamy soups, warm chocolately pies and tarts with heaps of whipped cream on top? Ok, I'm ALWAYS craving for warm chocolately pies and tarts, but my point is, what I really wanted to cook the other day, was, once again, something really summery, well suited for a lunch eaten outside in the sun on a lovely July afternoon when the temperature is nearer to +25 or even +30 C than zero. Hmm, maybe I'm just really looking forward to summer...

Three Fruit Spaghetti

Serves 2-3

170 g spaghetti of your choice
1 red apple
1 orange
1 ripe avocado
100 g ricotta
a big handful of thai basil
a pinch of salt
ground pepper
some olive oil

1. Cook the pasta in salty water.
2. While the pasta is cooking peel the orange and avocado, and cut them into small cubes. Don't peel the apple, just wash it properly and cut into small cubes. Shred the thai basil leaves with your fingers.
3. When the pasta is ready (don't overcook it!) drain it and set into a large bowl.
4. Sprinkle the pasta with some olive oil. Add the fruit cubes, the basil and the ricotta. Mix well.
5. Season with ground pepper.
6. Serve immediately.

The three fruit pasta is best served at once as the idea is to only cook the pasta and add fresh fruit. I would recommend to eat any leftovers cold, as you will not necessarily want to eat your pasta with cooked apples the next day! ;)

Friday, 22 February 2008

Coconut and Almond Cookies

Well folks, to celebrate just because it's Friday and today was such a nice, sunny day and weekend with all its promises of lovely relaxation...or hmm, in my case work on Saturday:) ... looms ahead, let's bake some cookies! This is my slightly altered version of a super easy recipe from ICA Provkök's cookbook "Seitsemän sortin leivonnaiset" that I have mentioned before here.

Anyone interested in knowing what some basic ingredients used in this recipe are called in Finnish?

Ok, here comes:

coconut = kookospähkinä
almond = manteli
sugar = sokeri
wheat flour = vehnäjauho

And in case you are not familiar with the letter ä, it is pronounced like the a in "that" or "cat". And any two identical vowels one after the other make a loooong sound. :)

Coconut and Almond Cookies

Pre-heat the oven to 175 C

For 1 full baking sheet of cookies you will need:

50 g unsalted butter
1 dl granulated sugar
1 tablespoon light-coloured syrup (I used my favorite = Amaretto syrup)
1/3 dl cream
1 dl coconut flakes
1 dl almond flakes
1/2 dl wheat flour

1. Melt the butter in a small saucepan and let it cool a little.
2. Mix all other incredients in a bowl. Add melted butter. Mix with a spoon until smooth.
3. With a teaspoon spoon little heaps of batter onto a greaseproof paper covered baking sheet.
4. Bake for about 10 minutes or until the edges of the cookies are nicely brown.
5. Let the cookies cool before moving them from the baking sheet. The cookies may still have soft centers when you take them from the oven. That is ok. They harden as they cool down.

If you want to make your cookies a little more special, dip them half way to melted chocolate. Let dry before eating.

Have a lovely weekend!

Thursday, 21 February 2008

Tagged For The Very First Time!

White on rice couple from California have a truly wonderful blog, and not only they, but their dogs, too! I'm honoured to have White on rice couple as regular visitors to my blog and now they have challenged me to share 5 facts about myself. I'm still new to blogging and this is the first time ever that I've been tagged! Very exciting! :)

So, here goes...

Five facts about myself:

1. I'm a lefty. :)

2. I am passionate about two sports:
dancesport and tennis

3. I am very partial to chocolate!

4. I own all too many books.

5. I also own the complete 7 seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer on DVD. ;)

To share in this fun, I'm tagging 5 fellow bloggers whose blogs I enjoy very much. Actually, I would have liked to tag more than 5, but some of my other favorite blogs have already answered this meme quite recently, so I will not be bothering :) them with this now.

And the rules are...

1. Link to your tagger and post these rules.
2. Share 5 facts about yourself.
3. Tag 5 people at the end of your post and list their names (linking to them).
4. Let them know they’ve been tagged by leaving a comment at their blogs.

1. Godful Food = Anya from Moscow, Russia

2. Ambrosia and Nectar = Annemarie from London

3. Aapplemint = Kate/Kajal from Ghana

4. Rubber Slippers in Italy = Rowena from the province of Lecco in Italy

5. Anne's Food = Anne from Stockholm, Sweden

I hope these fab 5 will have time to participate!

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Buckthorn Smoothie

Sometimes something goes so wrong that it goes right! I have been wanting to try and make ice cream for a long time. The thing is I don't have an ice cream machine, but I know it is not necessary to have one in order to make ice cream. I was, also, well aware that making ice cream without a machine would be a long process and mean quite a lot of churning. What I did not take into account was that my freezer might not be able to freeze my ice cream-to-be!! Or, I don't know, maybe the milk I used was the wrong kind, or maybe I just was not patient enough. Anyways, after 1 hour the mixture had thickened a little, but no freezing in sight. After 2 hours, no more freezing. After 3 hours, nada. After... ok, the mixture smelled really nice, and it tasted really good, and...I gave up. It was not going to freeze, but I most surely wanted to eat it! It was not ice cream, but it was one extra silky and rich buckthorn smoothie worthy of a king...or an emperor!;)

Buckthorn Smoothie

Makes 1 big or 2 small smoothies

2 dl organic milk
2 dl organic cream
100 g (or less) granulated sugar
150 g buckthorn jam

1. Mix all the ingredients. Reduce the amount of sugar considerably, if the jam you are using is very sweet.
2. Freeze for a while. (Not for hours, 1/2-1 hour will probably be enough.)
3. Mix again.
4. Pour into a tall glass/two smaller glasses and enjoy right away.

Sunday, 17 February 2008

Chicken Filets with Honey and Cream

Okay, maybe I got a bit carried away when cooking my lunch today! :) Not only did I use cream and honey, I also included saffron and pomegranate seeds into my menu. Well, it's Sunday, it was cold outside, and a girl really got to pamper herself with an extra nice lunch sometimes! Plus I bought some plane tickets today, so I was celebrating a little. :) A clue to where the tickets will take me follows at the end of this post...

Chicken Filets with Honey and Cream

Serves 2

2 chicken filets
3-4 tablespoons honey
3-4 tablespoons flat leaved parsley, chopped
2 dl (low fat) cooking cream
2 tablespoons sunflower oil

1. Smear the chicken filets with honey, lots of it. Add some chopped parsley on the filets.
2. In a large saucepan warm the oil. Add some chopped parsley.
3. Add the filets into the saucepan. Fry for a couple of minutes on both sides.

4. Add the cream.

5. Lower the heat and let simmer under an almost closed lid for a while.
6. Enjoy with saffron rice.

Saffron Rice

Serves 2

2 dl cooked basmati rice (you will not need quite this much for the hearts, but save the rest for later)
2-3 tablespoons Greek yoghurt
some threads of saffron
2 teaspoons water
You will also need 1 heart shaped cookie cutter

1. Add the water into a small bowl.
2. Crush the saffron threads with your fingertips and mix with water.
3. Add the yoghurt, and mix with a spoon.
4. When placing the rice on a plate, use a heart shaped cookie cutter as a mould. With a teaspoon fill the mould with the saffron rice. Remove the cookie cutter carefully.

Pomegranate Jus

1 teaspoon unsalted butter
juice and seeds of half a pomegranate
2-3 teaspoons granulated sugar

1. In a small saucepan melt the butter.
2. Add 2-3 teaspoons of sugar and mix.
3. Add the pomegranate seeds & juice.
4. Let simmer for a while.
5. Use to decorate the rice hearts.

Saturday, 16 February 2008

Foodclub Meeting February 9th

I belong to a foodclub. The members of the club are myself and three of my friends. Once in every six weeks or so we gather together to cook and eat a meal. In December I played the host, the theme was French cuisine, and we managed to cook duck filets with raspberry sauce in my small kitchen and with my grill-less oven. It was a challenge, but the end result was delicious!:)
Last weekend three of us gathered at Merja's house to cook some Indian food. The unwritten rules of the club are that the host chooses a theme and the recipes. The others will be told the theme in advance, but the recipes will be revealed only at the meeting.
This was the menu Merja had chosen for us to cook:
  • Red Lentil and Carrot Soup
  • Chicken in Spiced Coconut
  • Aromatic Pilau
  • Mixed Vegetable Bhaji
  • Chocolate Squares
I was put in charge (actually I volunteered :)) of the (not very Indian) dessert department, while Merja and Mirja started with the soup. Both the soup and the dessert were prepared without any problems, and in no time a large baking pan full of chocolately goodness was in the fridge to cool down and lovely, spicey fumes were rising from the soup pot. At this point we all were already so hungry that we decided on eating the soup right away and only then continue making the main course!

Here you can see what the soup looked like:

After strenghtening ourselves with this lovely, golden soup we were ready to cook the rest of our menu. Merja prepared the pilau, while Mirja worked on the mixed vegetable bhaji, and I with the chicken. Except for some spice related mishaps :) (No, it was not I toucing my face after slicing some chillies this time! I did slice some chillies, though, but wore plastic bags in my hands just to be extra careful! :)) everything went really well.

In this picture Mirja is stirring the chicken:

Merja's rendition of aromatic pilau:

The mixed vegetable bhaji:

The whole main course:

I liked all the dishes we cooked and really fell in love with the taste of coriander once again! But we still had the dessert to taste. I have already written about our history with chocolate or mocca squares in my Valentine's Day post, so I will just say that, oh boy, oh boy, wasn't that an extra rich chocolate dessert! :)

Thanks Merja for choosing a lovely menu for us to cook! And for Merja and Mirja both for a lovely evening! Next meeting is scheduled for April, and the theme will be Spain! Olé!

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! On a day celebrating love and friendship, what would be better than serving your loved ones some extra chocolately, extra spongy -and extra easy-to-make -chocolate cake? This is a recipe I and my friends grew up with. We all ate "mocca squares" or "chocolate square" as they were called, when we were young teens, and most of us also baked them. They were probably one of the first things I ever baked in my life.

I and two friends Merja and Mirja had a foodclub meeting (more about that later :)) last Saturday at Merja's, and she had chosen "chocolate squares" as a dessert. Yours truly was put in charge of making the dessert and it was such a pleasurable job to do that I repeated the process at home the next day!:) I must admit the delicious taste of the "squares" had someting to do with it! The recipe I used at Merja's was one she had clipped out off some magazine. At home I modified the recipe very slightly to bake this chocolate cake:

Chocolate Cake

For the cake you'll need:

3 eggs
2,5 dl sugar
4,5 dl wheat flour
3 tablespoons cocoa powder (I used Green & Black's organic cocoa)
3 teaspoons baking powder
3 teaspoons vanilla sugar (you may also use vanillin sugar)
1,5 dl water (you may also use milk)
150 g liquid vegetable oli product for baking (or melted margarin)

For the frosting:

100 g
liquid vegetable oli product for baking (or melted margarin)
3 tablespoons
cocoa powder (I used Green & Black's organic cocoa)
3 teaspoons vanilla sugar
(you may also use vanillin sugar)
2 tablespoons Amaretto syrup
250 g confectioners' sugar

1. Mix the eggs and sugar in a bowl with an electric mixer.
2. In another bowl mix the dry ingredients.
3. Add the dry ingredients int
o the eggs and sugar mix. Mix properly. Add the liquid vegetable oli product (or melted margarin) and mix.
4. Pour the batter into a greaseproof paper covered baking pan with high sides (circa 20 x 25 x 5 cm) or use a cake tin with a removable bottom.
5. Bake in 200 C for approximately 15 minutes.
6. Let cool.

7. To make the frosting mix all the ingredients into a smooth paste. Spread on top and over the sides of the cake.
8. Set into the fridge overnight to let the frosting settle.

This cake is very, very rich, so eat cautiously! :) For a nice variation slice a peeled apple into small cubes, add some Greek yoghurt and a thin slice of the chocolate cake. The sourness of yoghurt and apple make a very good contrast to the sweet yumminess of the cake.

Sunday, 10 February 2008

Pomegranate and Citrus Fruit Salad

I've been thinking about food and colour quite a lot lately. The world of food is so full of wonderful incredients in such wonderful hues of all the rainbow. As I have also been eating quite a lot of fruit salads in these past few weeks, it was only natural that I wanted my salads to be colourful! If its gray outside, let my plate be sunny and bright!

In this salad I used oranges and sweeties (also called oroblancos), but you could choose any two citrus fruit you like, just choose two with different colour. Also instead of roasted chestnuts, you could use rosted pecans or hazelnuts.

Pomegranate and Citrus Fruit Salad

Serves 2

2 oranges
1 sweetie
2 handfuls pomegranate seeds (=about 1/2 pomegranate)
some roasted chestnuts
2-4 tablespoons Turkish or Greek yoghurt

1. Peel the oranges. Cut each section into 3-4 parts. Set into a bowl.
2. Cut the sweetie into two halves. Using a grape fruit spoon remove the juicy pulp from the sections. Add into the bowl with the pieces of orange.
3. Cut the pomegranate into two and remove the seeds from one part. Add into the bowl.
4. Add some small pieces of roasted chestnuts. Mix.
5. Divide the salad into two deep plates or bowls.
6. Spoon 1-2 tablespoonfuls of Turkish or Greek yoghurt into both bowls.
7. Decorate the yoghurt with some cinnamon.
8. Enjoy!

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Tofu and Basmati Rice with Pumpkin Seeds and Rosemary

About a week ago I bought a little potted rosemary that I have tried to nurse as well as I can. As I like rosemary a lot, I was hoping to be able to get the little plant to flourish and already dreamt of all the dishes I could season with fresh rosemary straight from the pot on my kitchen shelf. Well, it seems that either I am not a very good gardener when it comes to rosemaries or then these plants just don't last very long during winter, as my little rosemary has started to look a bit dry (I did water it!!) and I thought I better use the good parts of it here and now. As I also had this little packet of tofu sitting in a cupboard, I decided to fry it and use rosemary as part of the recipe. This is what I came up with:

Tofu and Basmati Rice with Pumpkin Seeds and Rosemary

Serves 2

350 g tofu
1 white onion
2 handfuls of pumpkin seeds
1,5 dl basmati rice
1-2 tablespoons sunflower oil
2-3 tablespoons soya oil
ground pepper
fresh rosemary

1. Cook the rice in 3 desilitres of water.
2. Rinse the tofu under cold water. Dry with paper towel. Cut the tofu into small pieces.
3. Chop the onion.
4. Add 1 tablespoon sunflower oil into a sauce pan. Add chopped onion and pumpkin seeds. Add 1 tablespoon of soya oli. Sauté. Remove from the sauce pan and set aside for later.
5. Using the same sauce pan (add some sunflower oil, if needed) start frying the tofu. Add some pepper, 1-2 tablespoons soya oil and leaves from 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary. Fry until the tofu is nicely golden.
6. Add the onion and seeds mix into the sauce pan. Mix.

7. Add the cooked rice. Mix again. Let stir under an almost closed lid for some minutes.
8. Serve decorated with some fresh rosemary leaves.

This dish is great for lunch or as a little something to enjoy while watching your favorite TV-show!

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Cardamom Meringues

After browsing many food blogs that featured the Daring Bakers' latest challenge lemon meringue pie, I got into mood to make some meringues of my own. I chose a simple recipe from a cookbook by ICA provkök in Sweden. The original title of the book is "Sju sorters kakor" (Seven sorts of cake (or maybe all sorts of cakes would be a better, if not a literal, translation)).

For a baking sheet full of meringues (circa 35) you will need:

3 egg whites
1 dl sugar
1 dl confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons Maizena
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom.

1. Heat the oven to 150 C. The original recipe actually says to heat the oven to 100 C, but such a low temperature is not possible using my oven, where 150 C is the lowest temperature. The little higher baking temperature seemed to work just fine and also shortened the baking time somewhat.
2. Combine the egg whites and 1/2 dl sugar. Using an electric mixer beat until soft peaks form.
3. Add rest of the sugar without ceasing to mix. Beat until you cannot hear the sugar in the bottom of the bowl anymore and hard peaks form.
4. Combine confectioners' sugar, Maizena and cardamom in another bowl and then fold carefully into the eggs and sugar mixture.
5. Using a piping bag pipe the mixture onto a baking paper covered baking sheet little at a time forming the meringues into any form you like. Instead of a piping bag you can also use a spoon.
6. Bake in 150 C for about 45 minutes or until the meringues are dry and feel very light.
7. Let cool properly before eating.

These meringues have a very nice cardamom flavour and a lovely, slightly golden colour.

Sunday, 3 February 2008

Supersized Shrove Buns

Today is Shrove Sunday or Quinquagesima meaning we are 7 weeks from Easter and only a few days from Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent. Traditionally in Finland Shrove Sunday was a happy, even a bit boisterous celebration, the last occation to eat meat and greasy food before the Lenten fast. After the Lutheran Reformation in the 16th century fasting lost its importance, but many aspects of the old Shrove celebrations continued. Shrove buns became popular in the 19th century. They are buns with whipped cream and marzipan or jam filling, and are sold in every supermarket in Finland in the weeks leading to Shrove Sunday either individually or in packets of two.

Heated discussions are sometimes had between supporters of marzipan and those saying that the only real Shrove bun is one with jam inside. Which party do Cinnamonda belong to, you may ask. Well, I am a pro-marzipan person. :) Today, however, because my corner store had run out of marzipan (not so unusual at this time of year) and I did not have the time to make my own, I had to change sides and use jam. Actually jam worked just fine. Jam is good. Jam is very good! I like jam, too.

The dough I used for these buns is a rather typical "pullataikina" i.e. a dough for Finnish-style coffeebread. You can make any kind of buns or braided coffeebreads from it. I spiced up the recipe a little by using not only cardamom, but also some Mallorcan saffron bought from Madrid last November.

Supersized Shrove Buns & 1 Extra Large Braided Coffeebread

For the dough you will need:

5 dl (organic) milk (can be substituted with water)
22 g dried yeast (or 50 g fresh yeast)
1 egg
2 teaspoons salt
1 dl sugar
1 tablespoon ground cardamom
14 dl wheat flour
200 g liquid vegetable oil product for baking (or melted butter)
a pinch of saffron
some egg for brushing

1. In a large bowl mix 7 dl flour, salt, sugar, saffron and cardamom with a spoon.
2. Heat the milk to 42 degrees Centigrade (a little warmer than your hand) if using dried yeast or to 37 degrees Centigrade ( same temperature as your hand) if using fresh yeast. My method of getting the milk (or water) just warm enough is to keep my fingertips in the milk (or water) while heating it. :) Too cold or too hot will lead to the dough not rising. Pour the milk onto the dry ingredients and mix with an electric mixer using dough hooks.
3. Add the vegetable oil product or melted butter and the egg. Mix again.
4. Start adding more flour 1 dl at a time until the dough feels silkysmooth to your hand and does not stick to the sides of the bowl anymore. This should happen after 14 dl of flour, but sometimes you may need a bit less or a bit more flour.
5. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel. Let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.
6. Take the dough from the bowl. Knead it with your hands on a clean (slightly floured) surface. Cut 9 good-sized pieces of the dough and mould into round buns between your hand and the surface. Place the buns onto a baking paper covered baking sheet. Cover the baking sheet with a kitchen towel and let rise for 30 minutes.
7. While the buns are rising, heat the oven to 225 C, and make the braided coffeebread from the remaining dough.
8. Cut the dough into 3 parts.
9. Knead each part into a long (circa 30 cm), thin bar.
10. Braid the bars, and let the braid rise for 30 min in a warm place and covered with a kitchen towel.
11. After the buns and the braid have risen brush them with some slightly beaten egg and decorate with flaked almonds.
12. Bake the buns in 225 C for about 15 minutes or until they are beautifully golden. After taking them from the oven lower the temperature to 200 C and bake the braided coffeebread for about 25 minutes or until it, too, is beautifully golden.

For the filling of 9 buns you will need:

6 dl cream
berry jam of your choice (it should actually be strawberry, but let's not be too strict here :) I used raspberry jam)

1. Whip the cream until its quite hard (not butter, though!:))
2. Cut off the tops of well cooled buns. Place 2 teaspoonfuls of jam in the middle of the bottom part of each bun.

3. Add lots of whipped cream. It should show between the "hat" and the bottom part of the bun.
4. Enjoy!!

Saturday, 2 February 2008

Rockin' Rolls and Cinnamonda's Bread Spread

The other day I happened to run out of bread and thought to bake something else than my usual breakfast rolls. I did not have much time to browse for an interesting recipe, so I decided to simply bake this spiced up, or rather more colourful, version of the recipe I often use. You see, I have been using quite a lot of beet roots lately and still happened to have a couple of large ones waiting for their turn in my fridge.

This recipe is an adaptation from a breakfast roll recipe published in Siv and Key L Nilson's book originally called in Swedish "Alla tiders bröd" (Bread for all times) .

Rockin' Rolls

For 15 round rolls you will need:

25 g fresh yeast
5 dl warm water (37 degrees Centigrade)
1 tablespoon rapeseed oil
2 teaspoons salt
1 large red beet root ( circa 150 g when peeled)
4 dl rye flour
circa 14 dl wheat flour

1. Peel and grate the raw beet root and set aside for a moment.
2. Crumble the yeast into a large bowl.
3. In a small pan heat the water until it's about the same temperature as your hand (37 C).
3. Pour the water onto the yeast and mix (with your hand) until the yeast has totally dissolved.
4. Add the rapeseed oil (you may also use sunflower oil or olive oil) and salt.
5. Add the grated beet root. Mix slightly.
6. Add the rye flour. It is not necessary to shift the flour, but you may do so, I you wish. Mix with a mixer using dough hooks.
7. Add the wheat flour 3 desilitres at a time until you have used 12 desilitres of flour and mix properly between each addition. Add the rest of the flour just a little at a time and mix, mix, mix until the dough does not stick to the sides of the bowl anymore.
8. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place preferably for 30 minutes. If you are in a hurry 20 minutes will d0.
9. After the dough has risen remove it from the bowl and set onto a clean, slightly floured surface . Knead slightly with your hands. Then shape the dough into an oblong shape and cut it into circa 15 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a round roll between your palms.
10. Set the rolls onto a baking paper covered baking sheet. Cover with a kitchen towel. Let rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes. Again, if in a hurry, even 15 minutes may do.
11. While the rolls are rising, heat the oven to 225 C.
12. Just before putting the rolls into the oven sprinkle them with cold water.
13. Bake for circa 15 minutes.

These blushing, but not shy, rolls are sure to stand out in any breakfast table! They have a distinct taste of beet root in them and go best with savoury toppings, but I have also eaten them with organic cherries & berries jam and liked that taste combination, too.

Here is my suggestion for a savoury topping: 1-2 teaspoonfuls of Cinnamonda's Bread Spread and some ricotta cheese.

Cinnamonda's Bread Spread

1 bunch i.e. 10-15 g fresh cinnamon basil (or ordinary basil)
30 g sunflower seeds
30 g pumpkin seeds
1-2 teaspoons cinnamon
olive oil

1. Roast the seeds slightly in a sauce pan.
2. Put the roasted seeds into a mixer and mix until they are fine pulp.
3. Shread the basil leaves into smaller pieces with your hands. Add into the mixer. Add the cinnamon. Mix properly.
4. Add some olive oli and mix. Continue mixing and adding olive oil little at a time and until you get a pesto like consistency.
5. Spoon into a jar and refridgerate. The bread spread keeps in the fridge for at least one week.

Oops, not much bread spread left in this jar!:)

Friday, 1 February 2008

You Say a Cup, I say 2,3659 desilitres!

Some of my favorite recipes are from cookbooks or websites that use American cooking measurements. By now I have baked Heidi's holiday cupcakes enough times to know by heart approximately how many dls is 1 or 1/2 or 1 1/2 cups, but it is a pain, a small one, but a pain nevertheless, to have to do some calculations every time I want to bake something from a "non-metric recipe". And of course, the same applies the other way round, if you are used to cups and ounces and would like to bake using a "metric recipe".

Also I might be able convert cups to desilitres, but! 1 cup equals to 2,3659 dls. If your average metric measurement cup gives you wholes and halves then 2,4 or 3,6 etc. are a challenge, not to mention 2,3659!!! I know we are not talking about rocket science here! It is perfectly fine to use approximate measurements and still succeed when baking, but sometimes I've wondered whether it would make a difference to be able to be a bit more exact when using American recipes. Well, ta-daa!! Now I will be able to do just that. See what I found in a store today! I am the proud owner of this measuring cup that has both cups/oz and ml/liter marked on it. I'm one happy camper today! :) Plus it snowed, quite a lot, too! :)

Here are a couple of useful links if you need to convert kitchen measurements: