domingo, 30 de novembro de 2008

Waiter! There is something in my roasted rib

Norwegians love their pork specially the people of the Trøndelag region, where we live. This region is the traditional pig farming region of Norway. Roasted rib is one of the traditional dishes of Norwegian Christmas but it is also a must on Sundays all year round. When I saw the November theme of the event Waiter! There is Something in My.... I immediately wanted to make my roasted pork ribs with potatoes and shallots for a perfect Norwegian Sunday lunch. I used a small piece of rib since we were only three at home today and I don't like left overs of pork ribs.

Roasted Pork Rib

1 kg of pork rib
8 shallots
5 garlic gloves
8 potatoes
180 ml white wine
120 ml orange juice
sal and pepper

Cut the skin of the rib in both directions with deep cuts making small square cuts to open access to the meat. Make a marinate with wine, garlic, shallots, salt and pepper and put the rib in the marinate turning the meat around so the marinate can penetrate the whole piece. Let the rib stay in the marinate covered inside the refrigerator for at least two hours. Heat oven at 200C/350F and transfer the rib to the oven when it is very hot. Let is roast for about half an hour or until the wine and the marinate is almost dried, then add the orange juice on top of the skin and let it roast for another 15 to 20 minutes and add 1/4 cup of water. Keep adding liquids if the pan starts to dry but not more than 1/4 cup at a time. The meat will be ready in one hour or one and a hal hour and it all depends on how done and how roasted you like the skin to be.

While the rib is being roasted you can half cook the potatoes in boiling and add them to the roast and let them finish cooking with the meat, in the meat juices, for at least half an hour before the rib is ready to be served. You can make a graving with the juices on the pan or serve the meat with previously prepared tyttebaer sauce.

Scandinavian late night snack: pickled herring and lumpfish eggs on 'white' blini

Herring is a very popular fish here in Norway. It is an everyday fish which is eaten mostly pickled and served for breakfast. Sweet-sour pickled herring is a breakfast food. However, I must confess, I can't eat herring for breakfast. I can't have fish for breakfast at all. My darling Per used to eat herring and fish for breakfast but have dropped the habit to please and avoid cultural shock with his multicultural family. Our kids don't like to have herring for breakfast either, actually they don't like having herring at all. For me it is cultural, I just can't stand the strong smell of fish being served with yogurt, honey, jams, fruits and cups of coffee and milk.

But there is more to this family than cultural shock. Outside breakfast time I eat a lot of herring and I simply adore pickled herring with lots of onions. Actually I dare say that pickled herring is one of the most delicious fish served in Norway and I regularly serve it at night, as an adult snack. Herring fits perfectly with a diverse selections of white wines and mostly with vodka, preferably Finnish vodka 'Finlandia' or Swedish 'Absolute'.

I made some white blini (with wheat and not buckwheat flour) and served the herring with a sour cream based sauce and a small spoonful of lump fish eggs (Cyclopterus lumpus). Lump fish eggs are very popular in the entire Scandinavia and this one is produced in Sweden. Lump fish is a bottom fish found in the both sides of the North Atlantic and the eggs we ate last night came from the coast of Iceland.

Blini are easy to make, light, delicious and fit with the Norwegian way of eating herring which is on white bread or on the extra thin 'leaf bread'. Norwegians normally eat dark whole grain breads, ultra dark and the darkest breads in the planet but herrings are preferably served on white bread over a line of butter and with a spoonful of sour cream. For this reason I started to serve herring on white blini, made of wheat flour only. To the sour cream I add some garlic, chives, parsley, extra virgen olive oil and salt and pepper to make a sauce and finish with the lump eggs.

This snack is pretty easy to make since I buy the herring ready to be served. Some people here fish their fish and deliver their catch to special places where they can have their trouts, salmons or herrings smoked, salted or pickled. A lot of people do it around here but we are not exactly fishing people in this house. Well, Per would love to spend his days fishing and eating him own catch only but reality bites. The herring we find in the market is very good and pretty fresh. Herring can be found fresh, in mustard sauce, pickled, in tomato sauce, in pepper sauce, in oil, fermented, smoked or salted and dried. Herring make a really delicious late night snack, to eat while watching a movie when it is snowing outside.

White blini with pickled herring and lump fish eggs

For the white blini:
2 cups wheat flour
1 table spoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs room temperature
1 cup lukewarm milk

Sift flour, salt and baking powder and set aside. Beat eggs as to make an omelet. Add beaten eggs to flour mixture and mix until incorporated. Add milk, slowly, mixing well to make a very homogeneous batter. Butter a non adherent frying pan with butter, removing the excess with paper towel and add small spoonfuls of batter. Let it cook until golden one side (around two minutes) and turn around to cooked the other side. The blini will look like a very small butter-less slightly inflated pancake.

Sour cream sauce:
1 cup of sour cream, creme fraiche(crème fraîche) or whole yogurt
1 'boat' of garlic grained
1 table spoon extra virgem olive oil
Salt and pepper

Mix garlic and olive oil to cream and mix well to incorporate and soften the sour cream. Add chives, parsley, salt and pepper and mix again. Serve the blini with a spoonful of sauce, a slice of fish and a small spoonful of lump fish eggs on top.

terça-feira, 25 de novembro de 2008

In the lunchbox: puff pastry fish

This little fishes are an idea of Moira of the blog Tertulia de Sabores here who made them for a 'finger food' event promoted by the blog Mirepoix. If you like my fishes you can vote for Moira here.

I totally fell in love with Moira's idea and knew I had to make it to the kids. Made out of puff pastry molded to look like a fish these little treats can be filled with anything your child enjoy to eat. Moira's fishes had tuna filling while my fishes have ham, cheese and parsley filling. It remains quite impossible to make the kids in this house eat tuna. They can eat the fish made out of puff pastry but not with tuna filling, at least not yet.

(before going into the oven!)

Aren't they beautiful? Well, my fishes can not be compared to those made by Moira, which are much more handsome than my little ones but this is my first time. Next time I will try making them smaller and I won't be so lazy to make nice drawings on the 'skin' of the fish. By the way, I have just baked these fishes and they will be a surprise in the lunch box tomorrow.

sexta-feira, 21 de novembro de 2008

Living in Narnia...

The weather around here shows that it is officially winter even if it was suppose to be autumn. During autumn the leaves are supposed to turn yellow and red and fall. But not here, not in Trondheim, not in Norway. Autumn here is something more symbolic, when the days get really, really short and dark and it gets pretty cold, and colder and colder and even colder. The temperatures go below zero and everyday life is a serious issue. We can also count that there will be a lot of snow in autumn, sometimes by the end of October the snow is already here, everywhere in this country except for a thin stripe on the West coast.

This year we were quite lucky and what I call the Narnian life style has caught us a little later since it was not until yesterday that the snow storms began to last the entire day and night. Esthetically the result is amazing, white landscape which turns blue in the pictures, with amazing forms, textures and colors. I can't deny the beauty behind the cold white days. The snow creates a different environment, the colors as I said, but even the sound. The acoustic changes and it feels like one is in a dream. It is pretty weird for me because I am a girl from the tropics and I feel I am inside a fairy tale, living on the pages of an adventure book such as Narnia for example.

I love to experiment with the camera and I have been doing some with speed and flash experiments with an old digital Nikon. It was just for fun but I found that some of the results are pretty amazing.

Inside the wardrobe

While the children love to play outside with the snow and talk about winter all year long I feel happy for them. Although inside I am the most miserable person in the world. While the days are white and cold I stay inside the 'wardrobe' cooking and thinking how much I would love to make time goes faster so I could move our life to the beaches of Narnia 2. That would be fun for me.

Sweet potato bread

Today I baked a delicious sweet potato bread which was so soft and tasty. The recipe of the Sweet Potato Bread is from the blog Magia na Cozinha, and can be found in English here

As I preferred a slightly salty breads I added only one table spoon of sugar instead of the five recommended by the recipe and I also added an extra table spoon of salt to the recipe. The potato is already sweet so the bread didn't get salty keeping the sweetness of the potato very subtle. It tasted perfect for me. Thanks Xará!

quarta-feira, 19 de novembro de 2008

A sick girl's craving: Dark and white chocolate truffles

Since last week a craving for chocolate truffles started to grow inside me. It was strongly influenced by Leonor's Flagrante Delícia post on'caramel truffles' and by the provoking post made by Glaucia which reminded me how much I love to have chocolate truffles for breakfast. In Portuguese only here

Even if I am at home because I am sick with one of the worst flus of all times, I just couldn't stop myself from making chocolate truffles. I am a quite experienced chocolate truffle maker and I feel as I have been making them for more than a thousand years already. However, today it was very difficult to make chocolate truffles and each part of the operation took at least half a day instead of two hours. I must confess that it was not easy to make truffles being sick. Another difficulty was caused by my will to eat both white and dark chocolate truffles. The bad quality of the white chocolate I used in the white ganache became an extra difficulty as the ganache wouldn't set at all, not even after a night in the freezer.

( The dark truffles after their chocolate bath)

Even surrounded by difficulties I made the truffles and the result was pretty acceptable. The white chocolate was definitely a mistake but the look and the taste were still great since they were mixed with dark chocolate. I very seldom use cream only to make the truffle as I prefer to work with yolks, butter and sugar instead of cream but my urgency forced me into a short cut. The results are: dark chocolate truffles with a white chocolate filling and white chocolate truffle with nougat filling. I used danish nougat and Danish semi sweet chocolate with 57% cocoa solids by Anton Berg. Quite good chocolate I must say.
I also used Dronning Hvit Sjokolade by Norwegian chocolatier Freia, which was a mistake, as mentioned, since the white ganache didn't set. Freia, no more!

The nougat tasted delicious as I used 40% hazelnut nougat with a 57% cocoa chocolate. It is so easy to make your own home made Nutella after all, and you can also make it less sweet by using darker chocolates with higher amounts of cocoa solids and keep a higher amounts of hazelnut as well. Remember that Nutella and its similars carry between 4% and 7% of hazelnut only while in a home made version you can easily double this amount.

White Chocolate Filling

100 grams white chocolate
50 ml heavy cream

Break the chocolate into small pieces and lay the pieces on a glass recipient. In a pan cook the cream when it boils transfer to the glass recipient, over the chocolate pieces. Let it stand for one or two minutes before mixing cream and chocolate together to make the ganache. Mix well to incorporate cream and chocolate completely. Let the ganache cool slightly and refrigerate it for two or three hours. Take the ganache from the refrigerator and using a spoon make small balls, one at a time, and roll them with the palm of your hands. Must be fast because the ganache balls will melt very easily with the heat of your hands. You can grease your hands with some butter which will help with the rolling. Lay the molded truffles on a tray layered with parchment paper. After the balls are finished transfer the tray to the refrigerator and let it stay refrigerated for 3 hours or over night.

Nougat Filling

60 grams semi sweet chocolate (57% cocoa)
50 grams Danish Nougat
40 ml heavy cream

Break the chocolate into small pieces and cut nougat in small pieces and lay the pieces of the chocolate in a glass recipient. In a double boiler cook the cream with the nougat and when it boils transfer to the glass recipient, over the chocolate pieces. Let it stand for one or two minutes before mixing cream mixture and chocolate together to make the nougat ganache. Mix well to incorporate cream and chocolate completely. Let the ganache cool slightly and refrigerate it for two or three hours. Take the ganache from the refrigerator and using a spoon make small balls, one at a time, and roll them with the palm of your hands. Must be fast because the ganache balls will melt very easily with the heat of your hands. You can grease your hands with some butter which will help with the rolling. Lay the molded truffles on a tray layered with parchment paper. After the balls are finished transfer the tray to the refrigerator and let it stay refrigerated for 3 hours or over night.

(White and nougat truffles waiting for their chocolate bath)


100 grams white chocolate branco
100 gramas semi sweet chocolate (57% cocoa)

Melt chocolate in a double boiler, one type of chocolate at a time, and transfer the melted chocolate to a glass or another cold surface pan or pot where it will be temperate. Chocolates have to be temperate before they can be used to coat. The process involves removing the air from the melted chocolate and reaching the right temperature in which the chocolate can be used. If you know how to temperate chocolate it is easy for you to know when the chocolate is ready to cover the truffle if you are not familiar with the tempering chocolate you can find how in many books. Here I will be very brief since there are many ways of doing it correctly which will lead to the same results. Mainly you have to use a spatula and spread the melted chocolate like butter on a big piece of bread on the cool surface where it was layered. Spread it from one side to the other moving it softly and lifting the spatula to remove the air from the chocolate every now and then. The chocolate is ready for use when the temperature is that of your body, when you touch it and it is not cold nor warm.

Dip the ganache ball and with the help of a fork roll the ball on chocolate to coat the entire surface of the balls. remove the ball with the help of a fork and transfer them to a tray with parchment paper.

The chocolate might start to harden while you are coating the balls and in this case you have to stop the process of coating and melt the chocolate again. You must repeat the entire process of melting and tempering the chocolate before you can continue the coating the ganache balls. After the ball were coated in chocolate they must be refrigerate once more, for 15 to 20 minutes and after that they can be kept in room temperature if the ambient is not very warm, but it is safer to keep them refrigerate a little longer.

You can coat the white ganache with the dark chocolate or with white chocolate. The same with the nougat which can have also white or dark chocolate coating. Since these truffles are coated with chocolate they don't need to roll the truffle in cocoa powder but you still can sprinkle some cocoa powder just for the look. Coated truffles are more resistant to room temperature and to finger touch than non-coated truffles.

You can make 25 to 30 truffle with this recipe.

(The material used to make these truffles)

domingo, 16 de novembro de 2008

Vanilla cream and banana cinnamon compote

Yesterday I was a little sick, not as sick as I am today I must say, but totally in the mood to make a dessert out of the banana compote I made on Thursday. I had a Brazilian dessert on my mind, which was a little bit too complicate for the moment and sweeter than I wished. You can find the recipe here but in Portuguese only. I also had another dessert on my mind, a spiced cream with apple compote published by Bea at La Tartine Gourmande here:

The result of these different influences led me to a completely different thing which still shows some connections to its two inspirations. I promote a little renovation in the flavors of Delicia de Banana from my childhood and also added to my banana compote a little of the soothing sensation of the Spiced Cream with Apple Compote promised by Bea of Tartine Gourmande.

So I made a vanilla cream to be served with the banana compote which was made few days before. On the base a thin layer of the compote and on the top a thin layer of vanilla cream. Instead of eggs I used gelatin and cream because I did not want it to be a custard, just a fresh cream. I served in a water glass made by Rosendahl from Denmark.

Vanilla cream with banana cinnamon compote

Banana compote
10 ripe bananas
300 ml water
2 sticks cinnamon
300 grams sugar (use as much as you prefer)

Over a medium high heat melt the sugar with the cinnamon sticks in the water and add the banana after the sugar is melted. Let the bananas boil for five minutes and reduce the heat to low. Let the fruit cook for 30 to 40 minutes, mixing once in a while, until they get a red-brown color. When the compote has got the color you like take it from the heat and let cool for a couple of hours.

Vanilla Cream
300 ml heavy cream
100 ml milk (I used always extra low fat milk)
Scraps from half vanilla bean
80 grams of gelatin sugar (or use a tea spoon of gelatin if you don't find this sugar)

Melt the gelatin with a table spoon of water if you are using gelatin powder. In a pan mix cream, milk, vanilla scraps and sugar and cook it until it boils. Remove it from heat and let it cool slightly before distributing the cream on the glasses over a thing layer of banana compote. Serves 4.

Can be served with a white chocolate sauce or some cinnamon.

quinta-feira, 13 de novembro de 2008

In the lunchbox

It was simply impossible not to send two financiers with my girl this morning. I had baked them late last night and we ate most of them by ourselves watching a movie. She ate one this morning and was so pleased. Even if it is not allowed to send cakes or candies to the school I have made a little surprise and added an extra box with two financiers. She will not eat before during school time but before her singing lessons, after school. I know her, she will be so happy!

quarta-feira, 12 de novembro de 2008

Late night hazelnut financiers

Monday night while I prepared to freeze two more egg whites I noticed that the egg whites' bowl in the freezer was really full. It had 20 egg whites waiting for a recipe. Better, some recipes. I use plastic ice makers to store egg whites in the freezer because it helps to count them and to remove them before use. Each egg white fits in the space reserved for one ice and after frozen it can be removed by twisting the ice cube tray.

While I added two fresh egg whites I removed six frozen ones which I left outside the refrigerator to use in some financiers. It was Monday, it got late, I got tired and the egg whites went back to refrigerator where they would wait until the next day.

Yesterday I was also not in the mood for baking financiers because I was still very tired and I craving some warm dessert. So I made some crumble which I ate with vanilla ice cream. Whenever I opened the refrigerator door I looked at the pot filled with egg whites and think: 'wait for me, I am coming soon'.

Today I came home exhausted, carrying many supermarket bags but with the egg whites in my mind. I thought about them all day long and I just couldn't wait to make the financiers. I could feel the taste of the hazelnuts financiers but instead I made dinner, helped Estela with the homework, shower and bed. Then I rested a little bit before going back to the kitchen to work on my project.

It was so easy and delicious. The hazelnuts were peeled and slightly toasted. I made a very thing flour of it and sifted with wheat flour and confectioners sugar. Then I melted and cooked the butter with some vanilla scraps. Finally I whisked the egg whites until hard peaks. Then I added the flour mixture to the egg whites in two or three times mixing to incorporate, added a teaspoon of vanilla extract and finally I added the butter (beurre-noisette)

E voilá! Here are they, my hazelnut financiers with strawberries and raspberries added. The scraps of the vanilla bean were cooked with the butter and the perfume that came out of it was incredibly delicious. It also tasted delicious and after one hour there were only seven of the 15 financiers left!

Hazelnut Financiers:

4 egg whites
1/2 cup wheat flour
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons hazelnut or almond flour or grounded hazelnuts/almonds
1 cup confectioners sugar
125 grams unsalted butter melted and cooked until golden brown
Scraps of half vanilla bean
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

Melt butter with vanilla scraps and let cook until golden brown ( a stage known as beurre-noisette) and reserve. Sift hazelnut flour, wheat flour and sugar mixed these ingredients and reserve. In a large bowl whisk egg whites with pinch of salt with a fouet until had peaks form. Add the flour mixture until well incorporated. Add the vanilla extract and mix. Finally add the butter still warm and mix well to incorporate all the ingredients. Bake in small tins at 180C/300F for 20 minutes until golden on the edge of the financiers. Can add some fresh or frozen fruit to the cake before baking. Sprinkle some confectioners sugar before serving.

This recipe makes 15 financiers.

If I ever tried to make a heart with a frozen strawberry on a financier I would be able to make it but accidentally the strawberry formed a beautiful heart on the cake! I served it to my babe which came back from China with a terrible flu.

domingo, 9 de novembro de 2008

Honey Cake with Pears

I was planning to bake this cake yesterday since I had the ripe pears and I was in the mood to eat this cake. The public was small in my house yesterday since the kids were away in a party all day (they had two parties actually)and they did not eat much. So I decided to bake the cake today. It was delicious freshly baked cake with coffee after our late Sunday lunch.

The original recipe of the 'honey cake' asks for many different spices and a chocolate frosting. However, today I was not in the mood for spicy cake so I have used only cinnamon and brown sugar. The pears substituted the chocolate. I added pears just because I love cakes with fruits and because I had many pears at home.

Honey Cake with Pears

2 large pears (I have used Dutch Conference)
3 eggs
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups wheat flour
100ml honey
100ml sunflower oil ( can used also canola or corn oil)
100 ml milk
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnanmon

Butter a bread pan and set aside. In a bowl mix flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon and set aside. In another bowl beat the eggs with both sugars (brown and white) until fluffy and double the volume. Then add oil, milk and honey to the egg mixture and beat until very well incorporated. Finally add the flour mixture to the egg mixture in batches mixing very well between them. Put the batter in the buttered pan and add the peeled and picked pears. Sprinkle some white sugar over the pears and bake the cake for 40 to 50 minutes at 180C/320F or until a match inserted in the cake comes out clean.

Serve 10 to 12.

sábado, 8 de novembro de 2008

Plums and white chocolate flognarde

There was a failure of white chocolate ganache in my refrigerator since Thursday when I baked a batch of cupcakes for a cake sale in Estela's school. They were collecting money to sent to the children of Thailand, something the kids in her school do few times during the year, every year. The cupcakes were delicious, dark chocolate cake which was suppose to receive a white chocolate ganache frosting. I am not sure what went wrong, but the ganache wouldn't settle, even after I had added double the amount of chocolate. There was some problem with that chocolate so I made a last minute cream cheese and vanilla frosting and the cupcakes a huge success.

Today, when I was conceiving the dessert for this Saturday, I knew we had the fruits and at least 350 grams of floppy ganache to rescue. The solution recipe was a flognarde with the white chocolate ganache and the plums which made a great pair. I make flognarde a lot because I simply love this dessert. It is really comfort food and one of my favorite desserts for everyday life.

The result was delicious. The white chocolate cream was so good, so good, that I really became proud of my idea. The plums were ripe and soft but not very sweet what made a gorgeous partnership with the already sweet white chocolate. I am always a little bit afraid of the results of cooking with white chocolate because it can get really sweet sometimes.

The fact is: I am not sure I can ever repeat this recipe because it is the result of a series of unique situations that occurred during the day. First the rescue of the ganache which had wrong amounts of cream and chocolate, second the only milk package I had at home was spoiled even if the date was still good and Per was out with the kids and the car, third the box of corn starch was also empty even if it was still inside the kitchen cabinet. In face of those I had to rearrange things and it ended perfectly well.

Plums and white chocolate flognarde

10 plums
200 grams of white chocolate
150 ml of heavy cream
1 cup milk or sour cream/heavy cream
4 eggs
4 tablespoons of sugar
4 tablespoons butter
8 tablespoons corn starch/flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Butter and sprinkle sugar in six large but individual ramekins. Place the plums cut in medium-small pieces in the ramekins and sprinkle some of the sugar on the fruit. Make a ganache with the chocolate and the heavy cream and let it cool completely. Whisk the eggs with sugar and vanilla. Mix the chocolate ganache with milk/sour cream. Add chocolate mixture to egg mixture. Add butter and mix well. Add flour/corn starch and mix until incorporated. Divide batter over fruit in the ramekins until the fruit is covered by batter. Bake for 20 minutes at 190C until you get a dry stick from the batter.

Drizzle some confectioners sugar on top before serving. Can be served warm.

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