Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Back from Greece!

And here's a little salad to prove I had a marvelous time!
Compiled with cherry tomatoes cut in half, fresh basil leaves and purslane plucked from the garden. The tomatoes were also picked from a nearby garden by a very good neighbour who loves to share the wealth, thank goodness for us. The best tomatoes I have ever had! The cherry tomatoes were of a sort that is native in Santorini.
Added to the salad was a cheese which defies description: also made by our neighbour, this was a sweet, saltless goat's milk cheese, which I diced, floured and lightly fried (we were advised that this was the best way to enjoy this particular nameless cheese). I think it was a fun addition, sort of made the whole salad look like it's enriched with cheese croutons.
The salad was properly tossed by hand and adding olive oil, vinegar, salt and a touch of freshly ground pepper. I can smell the basil reading this! Or maybe it's because of the basil seeds resting on my desk, waiting fofr the right opportunity for planting to come along.
Great starter salad!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Zucchini carpaccio with rosemary and raspberry vinegar

Last night we had some friends over for a last minute dinner type of situation, so I had to think fast, as I only had an hour and a half before they were due to come over. I had just finished all my tomatoes at lunchtime, making a cool gazpacho, so the salad options were minimal: all I had was lots of zucchini. I remember having seen a recipe mentioned on Chocolate & Zucchini for a zucchini carpaccio... All it took was the seed of an idea, and this is the version I came up with:
I sliced one large zucchini in very very thin slices and arranged it in a circle on a large plate. I chopped a couple of handfulls of fresh raspberries (fresh berry season in Sweden) and put it in a shaker with some olive oil, white vinegar and a couple of tablespoons of sugar (it's important to make it rather sweet). I salted and peppered the raw zucchini (YES you can eat it raw hehe), drizzled some more olive oil on it and then shook the vinaigrette and drizzled that on top as well. I finished it off with a sprinkling of rosemary and some chopped rocket. It is necessary to let the dish stand for about 10-15 minutes, preferably not in the fridge, but somewhere cool nevertheless. The longer it stands, the more the tastes are absorbed by the zucchini. We enjoyed our unorthodox salad as a starter. Lovely!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Pesto a la Katerina

.. Or how to make the best of the situation and not get frustrated over not finding the right ingredients at your local store.
Last night I had decided to make pasta with pesto, an idea which had been brweing for a few days, partly because of this post made by Clotilde and partly because I saw a relevant episode of Jamie Oliver's show. I had decided I would like to try "risotto" style pasta, or absorption pasta, as referred to by the the lovely and talented Clotilde in her blog. Jamie's version which combined the wet pasta with homemade pesto convinced me it was time to try it.
Alas, I did not succeed in finding any pine nuts, which you can imagine dampened the mood at first, but since the idea had been brewing for a while, I decided to try it with another kind of nut. Specifically, I chose plain peanuts. A daring choice, and one that didn't go over too well with the fiance (meh, he usually has a weak objection or two when I try something radical, but he never complains when he actually eats the food..).
Anyway! Pesto! Two small pots of fresh, juicy, plumb basil (they sell them by the pot here...), two cloves of garlic, an abundance of olive oil, salt, and in this case, a couple of handfuls of peanuts. Trust the intuition!

Grind everything up to a nice, tight paste. Boil the pasta (I used mini fusilli) for as long as is recommended on the pack and strain. Place the pasta again in the pot, lowering the temperature, and toss with the pesto, adding a little bit more olive oil and gradually adding a small amount of water. Keep adding small amounts of water (the equivalent of an espresso cup, shall we say), like one does with risotto, adding more every time the pasta has absorbed the first amount. Remove the pasta from the stove when you have reached the desired density and consistency. Enjoy!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Bruschetta with tomato gremolata

The world cup is in full effect here in Sweden. I am half-watching, half- surfing, originally mildly interested in the cute english players, but I am pretty bored by now...
Under normal circumstances, I would be in the kitchen popping out one dish after the other and inflicting them upon my unsuspecting, yet willing victim, the fiance. As luck would have it, he is down with a stomach flu today... Which almost destroyed all plans of dabbling in the kitchen.
Here is the one thing I've gotten him to eat all day:

I placed a thin slice of feta cheese on a chunky slice of bread, on which I drizzled some olive oil and sprinkled a small amount of garlic powder, and then toasted in the grill for a few minutes (in the oven- keep an eye on it because it turns to blacken fast!). I topped the sandwich with a mi of chopped tomato, chopped parsley, a dash of olive oil and a dash of balsamico, and half a clove of garlic really, really thinly chopped. Don't forget to season with salt and pepper and taste it before it goes on top of the cheese.

Note: I know it's not "really" a gremolata in the traditional sense of the word, since I didn't use any lemon juice or zest, but balsamico instead. Let's just call it a different version :)

Friday, June 09, 2006

Orange and mango chutney chicken


I get very easily bored in the kitchen. The concept of chicken and potatoes is so good, yet nothing new. So in an effort to do something different with an old concept, I came up with the little twist described below.
I took some chicken fillets and scored them on one side (drag the knife over the top diagonally, to create diamond shapes) and then rubbed in some spices, about two spoonfuls of mango chutney and some orange zest. For this dish I didn't use any of the juice.
Spices used:
Salt, pepper, ginger powder, garlic, rosemary, a dash of curry powder and a small sprinkle of oregano. I still have the 3 bags of spices I brought back from Greece last time we were there (although reduced heftily): hand picked oregano, rosemary and mint, so I use them at any possible occassion. Also about 1-2 teaspoons of orange zest for 3 fillets, but you can adapt that to your tastes, as it is quite a strong flavour.
Make sure you rub everything in well so the spice mix will go in the lines you cut on the top of the fillets. Add the ubiquitous splash of olive oil and youre done. You can, if you want, use the juice of a small lemon as well. Bake until the chicken looks sort of like in the pic, and the juices have reduced to a thick, sirupy sauce.
The potatoes were baked with garlic powder, ginger, rosemary, oregano, the juice of a big lemon and olive oil. Give everything a good stir with your hands or a couple of spoons, to make sure the spices and oil have been distributed evenly.

Friday, June 02, 2006

At a local fair...

The best name for sweet gelatinous concoctions I have ever come upon.
Love my tänder, love my sweets!
You know that song?
Tänder means teeth in swedish... :D Pretty imaginative!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

The devil's dessert

I have finally managed to remember the name of the confection that has been plaguing me for ages now. And thy name is Tunnock's Tea Cakes!
They're British. I'm Greek. In Sweden. I can't have them! I am desperate. This is probably the tastiest, most sinful chocolatey and marshmallowy little sugary seductress I have ever tasted. And I don't throw these terms around lightly, you know! It's a sin they're not available here...