Saturday, June 25, 2005

Midsummer in Sweden! Posted by Hello

My contribution to the celebration.. Cake with vanilla custard and blueberry jam filling, garnished with creme and fresh strawberries dipped in chocolate.  Posted by Hello

Strawberries and cream. Typically swedish :) Posted by Hello

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Yemista!! (stuffed veg) Posted by Hello

Ok this is it! One of my most beloved recipes and a crowd favourite:P Good for everyone, it's light, it's good for vegeterians, but if you're not one, you still won't miss the meat. Promise! It's that good!! The boyf adores yemista...
The version depicted above is made only with bell peppers of different colours, but the usual way to make them is with half tomatoes, half peppers. What you do is basically cut the tops off carefully with your knife, and scoop out everything with a small spoon. Very carefully! So you don't rupture the veg.. Scoop out the insides of the tomatoes in a bowl, and then chop them up by hand, in largeish pieces (this is important that the tomatoes are not too thinly chopped). If you want to use only peppers (like in the pic), you still have to chop 2-3 tomatoes. It just don't work without tomato! Next, add about a tablespoon of round grain rice (it has to be round grain!!) for each piece of vegetation you're using (5 tomatoes=5 tablespoons) and a couple of extra tablespoons of rice to that. Salt, pepper, one chopped onion, 2-3 cloves of garlic, mint (important!) and a nice amount of olive oil. Make sure the rice mix is liquid enough (it has to be quite wet, so the rice will boil nicely in the veg). Then you stuff the veg evenly, making sure not to overstuff all the way up to the top of each veg (the rice needs space to boil in). Replace the lids you cut off in the beginning, add some salt and some olive oil on top as well, and stick it in the oven for 45 mins to an hour. When the vegetables seem to have cooked on the outside, you may take it out and give it a try, to see if the rice has cooked as well. If it hasn't, back int he oven. If everything seems a tad dry, feel free to add more oil.

an artistic unfocused pic of me enjoying my yemista:P  Posted by Hello

The souvlaki of the swedes! Posted by Hello
I had no idea about this before i came here.. the preferred mid-strada snack of the swedes is the humble hot dog. The one greek mothers always caution you to stay away from... ("who knows what they put those!").. With mustard, ketchup, and sometimes with a concoction they call "bostongurka"- chopped pickled cucumbers. It's deliciously decadent :P~
The weird thing is when they combine the hot dog not with bread, but with mashed potatoes... i never thought i'd be having mashed potatoes in the street!

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

It's that time again, for swedish strawberries! Posted by Hello

Look! Look! We're not freezing! Posted by Hello
I have the pictorial evidence!!
This is the thermometer outside my kitchen window. Of course it is in the sun all morning, so this is not exactly how warm it is outside... But it gives you an idea. It's so nice and sunny today! I hope it lasts...

Ahh... frappeeeee..... Posted by Hello

This is my early (not really) morning (well, not really that either, more like noon :P) frappee (or ice cold coffee, for the non greeks). Greek habits die hard! Ain't it lovely against a sunny swedish background??
Take a glass, add about 1-2 centimetres of cold water, a teaspoon of instant coffee and a teaspoon of sugar (these amounts may vary as you discover how dark and how sweet you want your frappee) and then use a battery powered whisk to whip it up (if you don't have one of those babies, get one. If you are in desperate need of a frappee no matter what, use a shaker, placing all the aforementioned in the shaker instead, with 2-3 icecubes). Whisk it (or shake it, as the case may be) until all the sugar and the coffee have dissolved. Add more cold water and icecubes (if you're not using a shaker) and top it off with milk (i prefer condensed, it's creamier). Enjoy somewhere sunny, with a nice smoke in hand, if you are that way inclined.

Guacamole ! Posted by Hello

I have been having crazy cravings for avocado lately (in any shape, size or form, as long as the colour is acid green). It's a tad weird, seeing as i had never had avocado before i came to Sweden (poor moi). My mother, always the traditional greek cook, had never used it because she had tasted it once and had forever prounounced it to be bland, yucky and tasting like butter. Such a shame, because when these babies are ripe, they can be pretty tasty. So last night we had guacamole and corn chips for dinner (ha!):
You need about 2-3 soft, ripe avocados, an onion, salt, a little bit of cayenne and some garlic powder and the juice of one lemon. Throw it all in the blender and you have yourself a nice green dip :) (i also cheated a little bit and i added a splash of vinegar.. i always seem to miss the vinegar in dips of all sorts. But it's up to you).

Friday, June 10, 2005

My own private potato gratin

So you see, this one is all mine baby, i came up with it all on my own, so i hope Jamie Oliver won't be ripping this one off! :P Ok here goes
Take your potatoes, peel them and place them in a plate or some kind of bowl and then nuke them whole for at least 10 minutes at top heat, or until they are all soft and *almost* done. Take them out, wait for them to cool down so you don't burn your delicate fingers, and then slice them thickly and layer them on a rather big baking tray. As always, quantities are yours to fiddle with. Then you slice one large onion, one large zucchini, one smallish broccoli (no objections here, it's a great match for everything else and it's also good for you.) and one bell pepper, preferably red or yellow. Or orange. Then layer all this in with the potatoes, salt everything and mix it all up with your hands. On top of that add olive oil (not too much, this is after a swedish inspired recipe..) and a mix of 2-3 eggs, some milk, salt, pepper and paprika (you can mix these in a blender or something). Feel free to tweak and add your own veg items or whatever. Make sure it's wet enough, but not too wet ;) Then you side it in the oven, and bake for , say, at least half an hour at 200-250 degrees. Basically you'll see when it's done by the nice crust. As long as the top isn't black, you're good to go ;) This item can be nicely combined with a side of some kind of meat, or even on its own it's pretty filling.

The gratin: before Posted by Hello

The gratin: after (trust moi, it's jucier than it looks) Posted by Hello

Graduation day (not for me unfortunately...)

Hehe, it was so cute: i kept hearing cars honking in the distance and people singing vaguely. It sounded like it sounds in Greece when someone is getting married and the bride is driven around town and people honk. Or when we win some kind of sporting event. I thought that was odd behaviour coming from swedes... apparently it's graduation day for the school kids, and they were being driven around on top of trucks, wearing cute captain-like caps and navy suits. And singing loudly. I've never seen that one before. The weather is total crap today, it will probably rain soon. But hey, that's swedish summer for ya! :P

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

The days are getting longer...

.. annoyingly so. We went through a whole winter, me and the boyf, looking forward to the sunny days and the nicer weather... well, it's June now (i can only tell by the calendar really...) and the days have indeed become so damn long, that we hardly get any darkness (and sleep). It's a tad hard to get used to this semi-dark state of the whole night. Progressively, it will become brighter even in the supposed darker hours of the night, meaning that it won't be darker than, say, seven in the evening (by greek standards). At least it's getting warmer! yay*

Sunday, June 05, 2005

me, doing my thing :)

Ice creams of Greece..

Today i have been craving kaimaki ice cream. There is no such thing as far as i know in Sweden... *sigh* it's the ├╝ber of ice creams. Such an ommission!

Swedish paj!

It's pronounced the same as pie, and they think it's the same, but i secretly consider it more of a quiche than a pie, simply because it does not abide with my greek concept of pies. Mainly, dough both at the bottom and on the top.
But let's have a look at the swedish paj concept shall we?
You can make a very simple dough that consists only of about 3 decilitres (or shall we say teacups?small ones..) of plain flour and about 100 to 125 grams of butter and a couple of tablespoons of water, all mixed together in a blender. You simply lay the dough out on the baking tray of your choice and add the filling of also your choice, followed by a batter type concoction. My preferred filling is compiled with feta, sliced zucchini, thinly sliced and deseeded tomato (not too much, because it gets soggy) and feta cheese. The batter is made with 2-3 eggs, depending on the size of the tray, equal amount of deilitres of milk to the eggs, salt, pepper and paprika. First you lay out the solid parts of your filling on the dough, top it off with the crumbled feta (whatever chesse you use should go on the top) and then pour the batter over the rest. Make sure you dont lay on the filling too thick, because the thicker the filling is, the more time it takes to cook. You will tell it's ready when the batter is nice and solid. Bake at about 200 to 250 degrees. Thanks to Jenny my lovely swedish counterpart! ;)