sexta-feira, 31 de outubro de 2008

Pears for Per



Yesterday was Per's birthday and I cooked him a very simple dinner with some of the dishes that we really like. Comfort food such as carrot rice, pumpkin purê, green salad (spinat, cucumber and slices of green apples) meat stew and for dessert we had chocolate and pears flognarde.

Per loves pears and chocolate and these two together make any dessert wonderful. I am not used to make chocolate flognarde so I adapted a recipe from La Tartine Gourmande (*)

The result was a million years better than I expected. I loved it and so did Per. The chocolate flognarde was really delicious and I used, as usual, low fat milk and low fat sour cream instead of whole milk and heavy cream that Bea's of La Tartine recommends. I also added a little bit more sugar than her recipe indicates.



Chocolate and pear flognarde

2 or 3 ripe pears
4 tablespoons sugar
2 eggs
2 table spoons butter
1 teaspoon chocolate powder
50 grams chocolate at least 57% cocoa solids
1/2 cup milk (whole or low fat, whatever you prefer)
1/2 cup low fat sour cream or heavy cream
4 table spoons corn starch
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Butter four ramekins and coat the buttered ramekins with a mixture of chocolate powder and one table spoon of sugar. Melt chocolate and butte in a double boiler (bain-marie) and reserve. Mix milk and cream and warm this mixture. Whisk egg and sugar and add vanilla. Add milk mixture to egg mixture and incorporate. Finally add chocolate mixture. Cut the pears in medium-small pieces and distribute in the four ramekins. Distribute the batter on the four ramekins covering the pears. Bake at 180 C for 25-30 minutes.

Serve warm or cold with a dust of confectioner's sugar.

(*) While Bea calls this dessert clafoutis I it flognarde as clafoutis, according to some source are only made out of cherries.

quarta-feira, 29 de outubro de 2008

Norwegian Chocolate



I got two boxes of beautiful Norwegian chocolates. This is only one of them. Sfinx by Nidar, the chocolate factory of Trondheim. Deilig!

October Pumpkin Compote




The last two weeks of October and the first week of November make the period when pumpkins are available everywhere in Norway. During the rest of the year it is super difficult to find pumpkins here where they are not only of very bad quality but also super expensive. Those are normally sold in shops run by immigrants, for immigrants buyers like me, where the cost of the pumpkin can reach NOK 50,00 for a kilo.


(Danish pumpkin)




Since we are in the midst of the Norwegian pumpkin period and I was lucky to find a beautiful, big, orange and ripe pumpkin for which I paid only NOK 23,00 (R$ 8,00). The pumpkin I bought probably weight between 8 and 10 kg but I bought it where they sell it as a unit.




Norwegians in general don't eat pumpkins, they make holes and faces on it and light candles inside them, just like they do in the other countries during the celebration of the day of the dead.


(Brazilian pumpkin compote)

Brazilians, on the other hand, eat a lot of pumpkin and love this gorgeous vegetable. In Rio the best dish is pumpkin purê with curried meat (carne seca com abóbora), pumpkin risotto (arroz de abóbora), pumpkin soup (sopa de abóbora), pumpkin bread (pão de abóbora) and the classic dessert pumpkin compote or pumpkin compote with coconut (doce de abóbora com côco) are just few examples.



My plan is to use the entire pumpkin I bought, and the dishes will be: pumpkin compote, pumpkin soup, pumpkin risotto and pumpkin and white chocolate mousse.

I have started with the compote which was cooked with cinnamon sticks and vanilla pod which will be my entry in the event Waiter there's something in my... promoted by the blog Cook Sister!, a great blog from South Africa. In the link to the event you can find more about it and about the topic which are vegetables of the Cucurbitaceae family i.e: pumpkins, squashes/courgettes and zucchini are some of them. Melons are also allowed, so, go for it! The deadline is Nov 1st. The link to the event is here

This is the first event of The Missing Flavor. Brave new blogs!



(Pumpkin boiling in cinnamon and vanilla syrup)

Pumpkin Compote

Recipe:

3 cups ripe pumpkin cut in small cubes
2 cups crystal sugar
3 cups water
Vanilla pod
Two sticks of cinnamon
Two sticks of gloves (optional)
One anise star (optional)


Cook the sugar in the water with cinnamon sticks and vanilla pod until a syrup starts to take form. Add the pumpkins and cook them until they are soft, glazed but not melting. Remove the pumpkins from the syrup, drain the liquid and cook it again until it is reduced to half.



(Cooked pumpkin)


(Boiling the syrup)

Remove vanilla pod and cinnamon sticks from the syrup. Transfer reduced syrup to a compote jar, add the pumpkins to the syrup and refrigerate. Serve with fresh curried cheese such as Minas cheese (queijo de Minas) or Gräddost


(Pumpkin compote with syrup)






(Served with slices of Gräddost, Swedish cheese)

domingo, 26 de outubro de 2008

Desserts for a party at home: banana flognarde, chocolate mousse and milk jam petit gateau






We had a party last night and the house was full of friends. We had nine children and 16 adults talking, laughing and eating. It was a great time for me, the chance I was waiting to celebrate with friends some special moments of this years that is not finished yet but which has already been so intense to me.


The first thing to be celebrated was my master degree and the wonderful grade my thesis got: 'A', secondly the end of the radiation treatment and my hope that I will never have anything in my thyroid again and for that reason I will never, never need to take radiation again. The third reason for celebration was my babe's birthday which actually takes place next Wednesday. Those were my reasons to celebrate and enjoy the last day of summer time here in Norway. From today the days will be shorter and shorter until December 21st when there will not be many hours left for the days.

It was a great joy for me to have friends over and to serve them some of my favorite desserts. I was pretty lonely during the year. First I was writing, writing and writing and suffering with the difficulties of writing. Suddenly I was sick, then very sick, and then more sick until I finished writing my thesis even being sick. Then I decided to stop being sick because I couldn't handle being sick any more and decided taking a more radical treatment.

This sick mood is now over. The psychological effects of the treatment have worked faster and even though I am supposed to wait some six weeks to be cured, I feel am fine now.

It was a reason to indulge in chocolate, bananas and milk jam i.e. confiture du lait, dulce de leche, doce de leite. My favorite ingredients in a dessert.



So, even if I mentioned a party I am writing about the desserts only because the main courses took their way from the oven to the dinner table and didn't offer me any chance to say goodbye or to make some pictures. Besides, the light was horrible and the battery of the camera was exhausted making me more a dessert blogger. My mobile's camera is a disaster.

This morning I enjoyed taking pictures of the left overs of the dessert and I ate some of them again. I cooked enough for everybody to eat two pieces of everything, but they did not follow my advice. Most of them tried two of them only and now Per Olav and I have the obligation to finish the rest. The kids are controlled and have been grabbing the mousse under supervision.



Chocolate Mousse

This mousse is the one I used to eat as a child. My mom used to make it regularly since we all loved it. There were never any case of salmonella in my family or in my neighborhood and I actually never heard of a case of salmonella in my close relations. I make it clear to convince those who fear raw eggs.




12 fresh eggs free range/frittgående
12 tablespoons of sugar
300 grams 57 to 70% dark chocolate
250 grams unsalted butter
A pinch of salt

How:

Melt the chocolate with the butter in 'bain marie' or double boiler. Mix to incorporate the chocolate and the butter and reserve.

Separate the egg whites from the yolks and place each in a big bowl. First whisk the egg whites with the pinch of salt until hard picks are formed and reserve. Mix the yolks with the sugar until the batter is thick and the color became a very light shade of yellow.

Add the chocolate mixture to the yolks mixture and mix until everything is well incorporated. Add the egg whites to the mixture and mix it all with a fouet or a spoon until everything is well incorporated. It takes some time to incorporate all the egg whites to the chocolate mixture. It must be done carefully because I guarantee the lightness and the airy consistency of the mousse. Mix everything until the batter is homogeneous and there is no sign of the egg whites.

Divide the batter in cups or ramekins and refrigerate it for 3 to 4 hours before serving.





Banana flognarde

Flognarde is one of those easy, simple and delicious French desserts that conquered the world. Flognardes are very rarely made with tropical fruits such as bananas but I believe banana makes one of the best flognarde I have ever tasted.

My banana flognarde is delicious even if it is not very correct and it does not look so beautiful. The banana, vanilla, cream and egg mixture is perfect to me.



Banana flognarde:

10 ripe, R-I-P-E bananas cut diagonally in slices
1 cup sour cream, can be heavy cream also
1 cup milk of your preference
4 eggs
3/4 cup confectioners sugar + more to protect the sliced bananas from getting brown
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup corn starch
Scraps of a vanilla pod
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In a oven proof glass pan arrange the bananas in two layers and sprinkle some sugar to avoid them from getting brown.

Add vanilla scraps to milk and add this mixture to sour cream and reserve. Mix the eggs with sugar with a fouet and add this mixture to the cream mixture. Add flour and starch. Place batter over bananas and bake at 190C/325F for 40 minutes or until set. Can be served warm or chilled. Tastes even better the next day.




'Milk jam petit gateu'(Petit gateau de doce de leite)

This is the favorite dessert of my adult years. It is one of the dishes that makes me love Carlota restaurant. My recipe was made with Hapå, a kind of milk jam cooked for a longer time and for that reason darker and harder. Hapå is the closer to 'doce de leite' once can get in Norway even though Hapå is a little salty. Norwegians of my husband's generation used to spread Hapå on their breads like other do with Nutella, Nugatti and generics. Hapå looks like a cheese spread of the Norwegian brown cheese but it is much more a milk jam than anything else. Besides a jar of Hapå cost half the price of a can of condensed milk.




The gateau made of Hapå tasted fantastic, a stronger taste of toffee/caramel since it is a sort of well cooked milk jam. The important is that the filling behaved as expected and melted once the spoon took the first piece.



The recipe of the Milk Jam Petit Gateau can be found in the book:




As Doceiras, de Carla Pernambuco and Carolina Brandão.
Companhia Editora Nacional, São Paulo, 2007

And at the restaurant Carlota in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo.

sexta-feira, 17 de outubro de 2008

The 100 food you must eat, the quiz...




This is funny, it is a list of 100 food one must eat according to the blog Very Good Taste. It is very interesting list with some international, local, ethnic and trash stuff. I was quite confused by some of the names and didn't have the patience to check the dictionary to understand exactly what they were. I did quite well I think as we, Brazilians, are goat eaters.

I got this list from The Passionate Cook!

Voilá!



The originator of this "omnivore's 100" list suggests the following rules:

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment linking to your results at:

http://www.verygoodtaste.co.uk/uncategorised/the-omnivores-hundred

Check your score...


The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:

1. Venison, I live in Norway and even the salami is made of venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros, just eggs!
4. Steak tartare, i love raw meat
5. Crocodile actually it was aligator, can I mark it?

6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue, believe it or not it is a classic of the Brazilian winters, we have a swiss heart!
8. Carp
9. Borscht, I had a polish room mate once
10. Baba ghanoush, I adore aubergines (eggplants!)
11. Calamari, love it

12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart, yeah, loads of then... They say in Rio that after midnight they will not kill you.
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle, in some occasions, always with friends and garlic pasta,
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes, it was made of eple! Horriblly sweet.
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream, the best ice cream in the world. Even the bad ones are good
21. Heirloom tomatoes,
22. Fresh wild berries, I live in Norway, so...
23. Foie gras, Sure, a classic
24. Rice and beans, the number one Brazilian comfort food

25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche, the love of my life
28. Oysters, fresh from the mangrove in Northeast Brazil, paid US 1, for 10.
29. Baklava, as I said, I love pistacchios and honey. Rio has some of the best Baklavas of the world.

30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder: they love it in Norway
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar, well, it was with a thin cigar...

37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail, typical dish in Brazil 'rabada' and it is part of the popular feijoada.
41. Curried goat, another typical animal dish of Brazil. It is people's daily source of protein

42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk, the same, goat is a brazilian thing
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more, I was forced to try because it costed a fortune and was suppose to be good, nothing special, but I hate whisky

46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala and hated it, a pure fire
48. Eel, makes a good sweet sushi

49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal: guess I should try one of this days, I am faithful to Cheddar MacMelt,
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini, who didn't?
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads, almost everyday
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs, it used to be a bar classic in Rio and São Paulo. We are culturally forced to tried.
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake, I love churros!

68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain, with rice and beans. Pure comfort!
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho, i love spanish food.
72. Caviar and blini, I love buckwheat blini and I was luck to eat caviar when they were still available.

73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost, the most polemic Norwegian food.
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie, I had one just last week
78. Snail, this is something that disgusts me
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini, yes, sure, not anymore
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict, just egg!
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant, not yet.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash, it is one of those international dishes that have hit hard the Brazilian taste
88. Flowers, I love nasturiums in my salad
89. Horse, is a classic salami in Norway, but I actually avoid
90. Criollo chocolate: A friend brought me from Mexico.

91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish, yes.
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor, Maria Theresa Weiss, I love you
98. Polenta, fried with parmesan cheese on top in the bars of São Paulo
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee, so much excitement for nothing

100. Snake

terça-feira, 14 de outubro de 2008

Mini Cheese Cakes with Raspberry Swirl



I love cheese cakes and those mini ones are perfect for a party. The recipe for those you find on Martha Stewart´s site...













domingo, 5 de outubro de 2008

Cooked cream, the Italian panna cotta




Panna cotta is one of those desserts that have conquered the world. Wherever one go, see, or read, one find a version of the cooked cream with gelatin. Easy to make and to love. This simple recipe has versions in many cuisines of the world, be it with eggs or not. The Brazilian manjar, the Mexican flan, the English pudding and the French créme de pots. Each one of these recipes bares some uniqueness, a difference, but the simplicity of ingredients and the delicious soft and creamy flavor is common to them all.



There are many fake version of panna cotta, as they are also called this way. It also comes in a wide selection of flavors, as fantastic as passion fruit, tangerines and raspberries. Here I go for its classic version, since I simply adore the delicate flavor of sweet cream with a splash of vanilla seeds. The best companion to my cooked cream is a soft sauce made of dried plums with very little sugar and water.

Cooked cream Italian way with dried plums sauce.

Recipe:

Cream
400ml fresh cream
120g sugar
1 teaspoon gelatin powder
Vanilla bean scraps

Sauce
5 dried plums
50ml water
2 tablespoons sugar

Dissolve the gelatin in one tablespoon of cold water and let it stand for 2 minutes. After it is melted add it to the cream, add the sugar, the scraps of the vanilla and cook it until it boils, mixing it, and let it boil for 30 seconds. Divide the cream in 4 ramekins, let them cool and refrigerate. It will be ready for serving in 4 hours.



Sauce:

Melt the sugar in boiling water over a medium-low heat. Add the plums diced and let it cook for 5 minutes or until you have an sauce with caramel color and medium consistency.

Warm the bottom of the ramekins in hot water and transfer the cream to a plate. Add the sauce and serve. Depending on the size of the pot, this recipe can serve 4 to 6 portions.

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