Thursday, December 29, 2005

A taste of the swedish Christmas table (courtesy of mother in law to be)

The illustrious Julskinka! The Christmas ham in all its mustard and breadcrumb glory. Sliced thinly, placed on a slice of hard bread (the special kind called kn�ckebr�d) and enjoyed best with a thin layer of grainy honey mustard. My favourite and a swedish must! Posted by Picasa

The egg halves with mayonaisse & red caviar topped with dill and a small lemon wedge. Posted by Picasa

The sylta... three kinds of processed, jelly-encrusted pork bits (mmm! :P). I can't say I really eat this concoction, but I thought the colour arrangement looked charming :D Posted by Picasa

My swedified Christmas cookies, complete with pink frosting (that was my own little touch). These are the pepparkakor mentioned earlier, seen in plain heart form on a platter in another picture. Posted by Picasa

This marzipan... Posted by Picasa

..became these! Julgrisar, or Christmas pigs caught in a moment of frolic:D These charming, if slightly rhino-like marzipan thingies were moulded and placed in the freezer for a little while, to make sure they were a little more stiff and that they wouldn't lose their shape too easily, and then dipped in melted dark chocolate, but only their bottoms, not the whole thing.
I placed these pigs in some small hampers I made as presents to my fiance's parents, his sister and her husband and their grandmother. In the hampers, I also placed a bag of flavoured coffee and special Christmas tea, some pepparkakor with pink frosting (see above), some chocolates that I simply just bought (I don't make everything you know:P) and some almonds in a coating of marzipan flavoured with cinnamon (in little oval shapes, rolled over a little heap of cinnamon on the kitchen counter). Everything was wrapped in red cellophane (which is a real bastard to handle and cut at the desired size I can tell you). Looks like I picked the wrong time to quit smoking!
Oh yeah, I think I've managed to quit smoking, but I haven't had the time or the inclination to realize it yet. It's probably better that way. I will always have a soft spot for smokers though!

my Luciabr�d- be kind, it's only a first attempt :P Posted by Picasa

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas!! Enjoy the family, your loved ones and your free time :)

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Thursday, December 22, 2005

The lovely pepparkakor, a very traditional swedish kind of thin biscuit. I love the heart shape. They make the house smell of ginger and spices:) Posted by Picasa

Honey and grapefruit glazed root vegetables Posted by Picasa

The above might seem a touch pretentiously named to some (pff stop being so negative already:P), but it just so happens to be so because I only had one pink grapefruit to take advantage of. We're talking potatoes (5), parsnips (4), carrots (5), onion (a big one) and fennel (2 roots), all nicely chopped up and lovingly glazed with honey and grapefruit juice. I used about 3-4 tablespoons of honey and the juice of one pink grapefruit, putting the honey in the microwave oven for a minute or so, to melt it and make the stirring with the juice easier. Aside from the above, I also seasoned with salt, pepper, olive oil, sugar and some garlic powder. Cook at about 200 degrees until the potatoes are soft, but the edges of all the vegetables are all crunchy, as pictured above. Great, sweet sidedish which utilises some of the cheapest vegetables (in Sweden anyway).

Thursday, December 15, 2005

My new curtains! The pattern is called Lingon, which is a small, red berry that grows in the forests in Sweden in the winter. I felt it would be cute to have up for Christmas, but not exclusively. Should be good for winter in general. Posted by Picasa

This is the Christmassy hangy thingie I just made out of some felt ornaments, an air freshening pig (it smells like oranges and freshly baked cookies:D) and some thin cooking skewers. I love Christmas :D Posted by Picasa

hehe Christmas is coming soon!! Off to do some vicious present shopping! I have some high aspiring plans to make some marzipan pigs this year... Typical swedish thing for Xmas. I love those little suckers! Also thinking of making heart shaped pepparkakor with a chocolate frosting... Might be a nice idea as an extra gift to the loved ones. Bought me some Xmas curtains yesterday, and I was so excited to put them up, only to come home and find out my length calculations were SO wrong. So going back with those...
mwahs to all:D Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Peas and carrots
Edited to add that this is not my pic, but it is the most accurate pic I could find on the net... I know, it's not very attractive! But I promise you it's better than it looks ;) Posted by Picasa

Peas and carrots, the greek way

For those days when you just want to make something for dinner and get the whole deal over with, if you want a dish that is superfast, super easy, light, tasty, healthy and even suitable for vegeterians, then you can try cooking some peas the greek way.
I generally am not crazy about peas, and this is the only way I really think they are tasty. This is a very common everyday greek dish, which works best teamed with feta cheese and bread. It takes about 10 minutes to prepare, provided you can peel potatoes and chop onions that fast...
Start with the onion: peel one onion and chop it finely. Warm up some olive oil in a pot and sautee the onion. Peel about 5-6 potatoes, dice them and add them to the pot, letting them sautee as well. Add some chopped carrotsand a couple of cloves of garlic, and after about 5 minutes add a bag of frozen peas.
Season well with salt, pepper and dill, turning the whole thing over with a spoon. Add a can of chopped tomatoes or tomato sauce, and plenty of olive oil (oil is a very, very basic component to this recipe, you need to definately let go of all inhibitions and add loads of the stuff- it makes a huge difference in the taste).
Boil everything until the potatoes are cooked and soft. And that's it really. Smooches to Kate, maybe you can try this one out, seeing as you don't eat meat and all ;)
This type of recipe can be made with other vegetables than peas as well, such as artichokes, plain potatoes, string beans, or a nice mix with eggplant and zucchini. This is exactly the kind of dish that makes my formerly meat-once-a-day fiance ask for more and more veg dishes. :)

The Christmassy lussebröd Posted by Picasa


Time for some Swedish baking tradition! Christmas IS around the corner anyway, so here is the recipe to some traditional swedish saffron bread with marzipan filling. i LOVE marzipan!

50 gr butter
2 1/2 dl milk
25 gr yeast
1 1/4 dl milk curd, or I think creme fraiche might also do the trick..
1 bag of saffron (0,5 gr)
2 pinches of salt
1 teaspoon cardemum (or as much as you want hehe)
3/4 dl sugar
8 dl flour
150 gr marzipan (keep it in the fridge!)

Ok now!
You place the butter in a big bowl and stick it in the microwave for a couple of minutes, and then you add the milk and warm it up a little more altogether. Make sure it's about 37 degrees (warm but still cool enough to put your hand in it).
Add the crumbled yeast and use a whisk to make sure the yeast is completely dissolved.
Add the sugar, the saffron (I dissolved it in a little bit of water first), the cardemom the curd or creme fraiche, the salt, (so basically everything but the marzipan) and then start adding the flour.
Add it slowly, blending everything with your hand. In the end the whole mixture should be wet and fluffy, but not TOO sticky. Also make sure you don't add too much flour , so that it's too dry. The goal here is a juicy dough, just dry enough so you can work it without everything getting stuck on your fingers. After it's all kneaded, cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and let it ferment for 15 minutes. I actually wrapped everything up with a blanket to assist the process ;)
In these 15 minutes, take the marzipan out of the fridge and cut it in small, thin slices. When the 15 minutes have passed, take the dough and spread it out on a floured surface with a rolling pin. Cut it in three pieces and form them in long pieces. Flatten out the pieces and then add the marzipan in the middle of every long, flat piece. Spread evenly to all 3 pieces.
When you're done, roll up the pieces, so that they will be like long, thin rolls stuffed with marzipan (I hope the description helps..). Take the three long rolls and braid them together into a bread. You can either leave the shape long, or you can shape the bread into a round, braided form.
Cover the bread again with plastic foil and blanket, and let it ferment again for another 30 minutes. After that, you can decorate the top of your bread with one egg applied with a brush and chopped almonds, or grain sugar.
Bake in the preheated oven at 225 degrees for about 15 minutes. Let it cool and then cover it well, so it doesn't dry up.