Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Tarka dal

Inspiration: Anjum Anand / BBC Food Recipes

I stumbled upon this recipe when I was looking up a Rick Stein recipe that also employs dried split yellow peas, and after trying it out a few times it's surely become a standard in this household - with a few minor modifications from the original.

- 225 g dried split yellow peas (chana dal)
- 9 dL water
- rapeseed oil
- 1 yellow onion, finely diced
- 1 clove garlic, finely diced
- 1 thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, finely diced
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 3 tomatoes, diced
- 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
- 1/2 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp mustard powder
- salt and pepper
- optional: chili

The dried split yellow peas were brought to a boil in an uncovered pot - best to keep an eye on it as it tends to foam a lot. The heat was reduced, and the pot was covered and allowed to simmer for 40 minutes. After removing from heat, the boiled peas were mashed coarsely.

Onion, ginger and garlic (and chillies, if used) were fried lightly golden in oil together with ground cumin in a large pan. Tomatoes were added and heating on medium high was continued for some minutes until the tomatoes could be easily mashed with the spatula. The mashed peas were added to the pan together with the rest of the spices. After stirring together it was allowed to simmer till the desired texture was obtained (I prefer my dal somewhat thick).

Serving suggestions:
- freshly chopped coriander
- rice and/or breads[1]
- raita
- chutney

[1] After moving back to Copenhagen I haven't baked my own naan even once. I find that the Lebanese breads sold at every green grocer is a suitable substitute.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Mushroom tomato sauce for pasta

For dinner last night I wanted a pasta dish, that should incorporate mushrooms, be meatless and go well with a glass of (cheap) red wine. The latter notion sent my thoughts towards a tomato-based sauce and reminded me of past experiments adding anchovies to achieve a greater depth of flavour.

- 90 g jar of anchovies in sunflower oil
- 2 brown onions, finely chopped
- 1/2 bulb fennel, finely chopped
- approx. 2 dL white wine
- 300 g brown mushrooms, medium diced
- 3 tomaotes, diced
- 200 g small tomatoes, diced
- 70 g can of tomato paste
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- fresh basil
- fresh oregano
- water
- salt
- pepper

First the vegetables were chopped.
The oil from the anchovies was poured into a large pot and heated on high. The anchovies were chopped and added to the pot. When the anchovies were starting to brown the onion and fennel was added and the heat reduced to medium-high. After a few minutes white wine was added in 3 portions, the liquid being reduced between each addition.
The mushrooms were added and when they collapsed a little after a few minutes, the heat was reduced to low before adding tomatoes, tomato paste, crushed garlic, basil and oregano. The pot was covered and allowed to simmer while boiling pasta. The sauce was stirred occasionally and added water in small portions to ensure it didn't go to dry.
Seasoned to tate with salt and black pepper just before serving with wholegrain spaghetti and freshly grated hard Italian cheese and lettuce.
.. and of course the planned glass of read wine. We were very pleased with the result.

Friday, 30 December 2016

Quick Ramen

On our trip to Japan earlier this year I discovered a new found joy: noodle soup. Thanks to my daughter's (equally newfound) fondness of noodle soup we explored a host of different noodle soups on our 10-day trip to Japan: Udon, ramen, soba...

The ramen made the bigger impression on me and I found myself craving it after we got back. I have indulged repeatedly at Mikkeler's Ramen to Biiru (Japanese for 'Ramen and Beer') Nørrebro location.

With inspiration from Bo Bedre's December 2016 issue we felt like a quick ramen after all the roast-potatoes-gravy that is the Danish fare around winter solstice.

- 1 L chicken stock
- ca. 5 tbsp duck roast cooking juices [1]
- 250 g egg noodles [2]
- 250 g brown mushrooms [3]
- 200-300 g pointed green cabbage [4]
- 1 tbsp sesame oil [5]
- a 2-3 cm piece of ginger, shredded
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp oyster sauce
- 3 scallions, thinly sliced
- 3-4 tbsp sesame seeds

In a pot oil was heated and the cabbage sauteed for a few minutes before adding the mushrooms. After an additional couple of minutes, shredded ginger, chicken stock, duck juices, soy sauce and oyster sauce was added and the pot was brought to a boil.

Meanwhile the noodles were boiled in a separate pot.

Portions of noodles were added soup and decorated with thinly sliced scallion and sesame seeds.

It wasn't quite as deep a flavour as the ramen I've bought in the past, but quite good for how easy it was. I am still interested in trying a more elaborate recipe.

The recipe I was inspired by used more liquid and fewer noodles (1,5 L to only 100 g noodles), but I didn't feel like we had way too many noodles for the amount of soup we had. The recipe I followed also included chicken breast (but I felt like not eating meat) and boiled eggs, which I would definitely consider adding another time.

[1] For Christmas eve I made duck roast in a tray with a bit of water, and afterwards I collected the juices. These separated into duck fat and gelatinous cooking juices.
[2] Branded as 'Chinese egg noodles' - possibly not true ramen noodles, but close enough.
[3] The recipe called for shitake mushrooms, but these were not on offer at my local store.
[4] The reipce called for kale or spinach, but I decided I liked pointed cabbage better.
[5] Because I had some. Olive oil would have been just fine.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Pad Thai

Honestly, I never even considered trying to tackle such a dish as Pad Thai before reading about it in Matthew Amster-Burton's Hungry Monkey. But now it's become something that I find relatively easy and enjoy doing.

- 200 g (6-7 oz) rice noodles
- water
- peanut oil
- 4 eggs
pad thai sauce:
- 30 g (1 oz) tamarind paste
- 10 g (0.4 oz) palm sugar
- 1 dL (0.4 cup) boiling water
- 30 mL (1 oz) peanut oil
- 1.5 tbsp fish sauce
- 2 tsp rice vinegar
- fresh coriander leaves, chopped
- scallions, chopped
- peanuts, chopped
- fresh green chillies, chopped
- lime juice (squeezed from a wedge immediately before eating)
additional optional toppings:
- shrimp, cooked
- tofu, sliced and fried
- chicken breast, fried and sliced
- fresh mint leaves, chopped
- zucchini, chopped
- bean sprouts
- rucola (rocket)

The rice noodles are divided into portions of equal size and soaked in warm'ish tap water (separately) for some 15-20 minutes while cutting the toppings and preparing the pad thai sauce.

First I make the pad thai sauce - tamarind paste and palm sugar are placed in a bowl and added boiling water. This is stirred from time to time to dissolve both. (I've read that some brands of tamarind paste will require straining, but with the brand I use (Pantai Norasingh) everything dissolves - and the palm sugar tends to be lumpy, so dissolves more easily in the hot water). The rest of the sauce ingredients are stirred into the pad thai sauce.

When softened, the rice noodles are strained.

Peanut oil is heated in a large frying pan - when hot 2 eggs are added and stirred for half a minute before adding one portion of drained rice noodles and half the pad thai sauce (make sure to stir it just before as it tends to separate). The eggs and noodles are stirred in the pan until the liquid is absorbed, then transferred to a plate. Then the other portion is prepared similarly. Both portions are garnished with the selected toppings.

Sometimes I use a hot and sweet chili sauce instead of fresh chillies.

Un jour...

One of my current colleagues apparently has 3 interests outside of work: Wine, women and tennis.

Recently I asked him for some recommendations for wines and he gave me a list of 5 wines currently available at Systembolaget. He was almost apologetic about the fact that there were no Italian wines on his list - but there simply weren't any available that were good value for the price.

One of his recommendations was "Un Jour..." 2011 from Le Clos d'un Jour in Cahors, France. I forgot to mention to my colleague that Cahors is one of the most well-known French wine districts in Denmark. Why? You might ask.. Because the husband of the Danish queen is from Cahors.

The wine was quite good, very easy to drink. When I first poured it I noticed immediately how dark it was - more purple than red.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Bloglagged 3

It's been quiet around here lately - unusually quiet.

Since my last posting our daughter was born and we've moved again (still in the Stockholm area).

Days just fly by. It's not that I don't have time for cooking these days (I'm tempted to add: obviously .. but maybe that isn't all that obvious) it's just that I'm not finding the time for sitting down and writing about it. This is something that I hope will change in the future, but I have no idea when things will start happening around here again or how much activity there'll be.

Maybe one day - when/if things start happening around here again - I'll be posting some recipes inspired by this book I recently received as a little surprise gift. I am looking forward to reading it.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Bacon Hueva-/Quesadilla

Remember the 'huevadilla' ?

I must admit I forgot about it for a while myself, but now it's back.

And how! ..in the shape of a hearty breakfast: bacon, eggs, cheese, beans and all.

- 50-60 g (2 oz) thinly sliced bacon
- 4 wheat tortillas, ~ 22 cm (8-9 inches) diameter
- 4 eggs
- cheddar, grated
- 1 avocado
- pico de gallo
- refried pinto beans

The pinto beans were refried and left over low heat while preparing the rest.

Thinly sliced bacon was fried crisp, then removed from the pan and cut in smaller pieces. The fat was poured off (and saved for other cooking purposes).

Over medium heat a tortilla was placed in the pan. Grated cheddar was put in wide ring along the rim leaving a spot for 2 eggs and half of the bacon bits in the middle. This was topped with another tortilla and left on medium heat for a few minutes - it was flipped over when the eggs were sufficiently set to do so without making a mess of it.

When suitably done on both sides, it was removed from the pan and cut in slices to be served with avocado wedges and crude salsa on top and refried pinto beans on the side.

This I'll do again for sure.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Almond-paste Rolls

When I first started baking egg-free treats I thought I would need to bake and bring for work more often than turned out to be the case. In fact, now I've been here for 2 years and the position is over, so there will be no more group meetings for me to which I have to bring egg-free baked goods. This leaves me with a surplus of ideas, so if I find the time the series will continue on this page.

These rolls are based on a recipe I got from my mother when I first told her I needed egg-free cake recipes. I baked them recently for one of the last work-related occasions: the celebration of the acceptance of my latest paper.

For these rolls I used an almond paste not sold as marzipan[1] but I think marzipan should work quite well also.

- 250 g (8.8 oz) margarine
- 2 dL (4/5 cup) milk
- 50 g (1 3/4 oz) fresh yeast
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar (+ extra for sprinkling)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 500 g (1.1 lb) flour (+ extra for rolling)
- 250 g (8.8 oz) almond paste[1]
- 1-1.5 dL (2/5-3/5 cup) heavy cream (for brushing)

The margarine was melted over low heat, then milk was poured in and heating on low was continued until the mixture was lukewarm. The milk-margarine mixture was transferred to a bowl and fresh yeast was stirred in followed by sugar, flour (in portions) and salt. This dough was set aside to rise for half an hour.

The risen dough was parted in 4 roughly equal portions, and each of these were rolled to a circle some 24-25 cm (10 inches) in diameter. Each circle was divided into 8 triangular slices. Each triangle was added a thin layer of almond paste and rolled.

The rolls were placed on a baking sheet lined with baking paper and allowed to rise an additional 15 minutes before brushing with heavy cream[2] and sprinkling with granulated sugar.

The rolls were baked 225 C (450 F) until golden (12 minutes) and transferred to a grid to cool.

The rolls were quite popular - more have already been requested...

[1] The almond paste I used is 50% almond, 50% sugar - marzipan is often a different composition (usually less almond and more sugar).
[2] If you are not in need of strictly egg-free rolls, you could certainly brush with a lightly beaten egg in stead of heavy cream.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

White Asparagus Tagliatelle

White asparagus are in season around here these days, but we've never had a habit of using these. One reason for that is that Mrs. Throat-Erator isn't a big fan of the hollandaise sauce often suggested served with white asparagus.

When we saw a recipe for a starter with white asparagus and no hollandaise we decided to try some elements of that - along the way it became a meal rather than just a starter.

- 6 large white asparagus
- juice of 1 small lemon
- same volume olive oil
- salt
- white pepper
- tagliatelle
- 1/2 dL (1/5 cup) sunflower seeds
- 1/2 dL (1/5 cup) pumpkin seeds
- 25 g (~1 oz) walnuts
- 125 g (4.4 oz) mozzarella
- fresh chives
- fresh dill

The asparagus were peeled and boiled gently for 10 minutes in water containing 1 tsp salt. The water was drained from the asparagus and they were allowed to cool a bit while preparing a marinade of lemon juice, olive oil, salt and white pepper. The boiled asparagus were then marinaded while preparing the rest.

Tagliatelle was cooked.

The seeds and nuts were chopped coarsely and roasted in a dry pan with constant stirring till turning slightly golden and fragrant.

The marinaded asparagus were served on a bed of tagliatelle, drizzled with some of the marinade and added toasted seeds/nuts, sliced mozzarella and fresh herbs.

It was quite nice, although based on this I see little reason to prefer white asparagus over the green kind we normally get...

Sunday, 5 June 2011

BBC: Bacon, Bean & Cabbage (Soup)

I'm behind here - this was something I cooked in the fall (which I'd say is a much more appropriate season for this dish). Once again with heavy inspiration from James Villas I went for a soup combining some of my favourite ingredients: bacon, beans and cabbage..

I'll trust him on his claim that this is a Serbian soup. The original recipe calls for green cabbage, but I went for red cabbage - more on this in a bit.

- 250 g (~ 1/2 lb) bacon[1]
- 2 yellow onions, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 medium large head of red cabbage, chopped
- 2 L (~ 1/2 gallon) beef broth
- 3 cans cannellini beans (drained)
- flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped

The bacon was fried in a large pot until a good amount of fat had been rendered out of it, then removed from the pot. The onions and garlic were rendered soft in the bacon fat before adding the cabbage together with beef broth, beans, bacon and parsley. The pot was brought to a boil and allowed to simmer for 45 minutes before serving.

I found the soup delicious, but I have to admit the red cabbage gave the soup a special colour. A colour I personally have no problem with but which I can see why some people might not like. So I guess going for white cabbage or maybe even kale would be a good idea.[2]

[1] I used thinly sliced bacon, which I think was a mistake - I think this recipe would work better with diced bacon.
[2] I'm not sure Villas means kale when he writes 'green cabbage' (which is what think of when I use that term). I think maybe he means what I'd call white cabbage - but there's no picture for this dish in his book, so I am not sure.