Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Swedish "Saft"

"Saft" is a type of fruit syrup. You can serve it in a cocktail, with fizzy water or with still water and ice, which is the way I prefer it. Here are two variations, but, really you can make Saft with any soft fruit you like!

Strawberry and Rhubarb Saft
(You can make plain rhubarb saft, but my strawberry plant is very bountiful this year and I find myself putting strawberries in virtually everything!)

~Enough Fruit to make 2 - 4 cups worth (i.e. 5 stocks of rhubarb and 6 strawberries)
~6-8 cups water- remember- this is a syrup, the water will be boiled down- but don't add so much that it dilutes the fruit.
~3-4 tlbs pure organic cane sugar (to taste- as syrup sits, it will get sweeter, so don't go overboard- remember, the fruit is naturally sweet!)

~To start, cut up all the fruit- DO NOT peal the rhubarb. Place in a stock pot and pour water over.

~Boil till all the fruit is extremely mushy.

~Pour the mixture through a cheese cloth-lined strainer, into another pot.

~Place pot back on the stove and add sugar, stirring. Let boil for 5 minutes, or until sugar is completely dissolved and liquid starts to thicken.

Skim off anything that might be left over, and pour in to an old, sterilized wine bottle. Let cool, cork and refrigerate!

There's nothing better in the hot summer!

Another variation to try would be WHITE PEACH SAFT:
Do everything the same, except with white peaches, skins on, and serve with dried lavender.
This is my personal favourite- just look that that colour- oh boy is it lovely!

Swedish Whole Grain Dark Rye Bread

This recipe make 2 large loaves of delicious bread. Please try it! You will not go back to regular, store-bought bread!

1/4 cup dark, amber honey (I used pure heather honey)
1/4 cup dark molasses (if you do not like molasses, use all honey)
1 tlbs sea salt
2 tlbs butter, unsalted
1 cup boiling water
1 tlbs active dry yeast
3/4 cup warm water
2 cups dark rye flour ( 'Bob's Red Mill' or 'Arrowhead Mills', sold at Whole Foods)
2 cups + 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flours ("365 Whole Foods" brand- great texture)

-First, combine the honey, molasses, salt and butter in a large bowl and add the boiling water. Stir to combine, then set aside to cool. (VERY IMPORTANT!)

-Next, add the yeast to warm water, whisk to incorporate and let alone to feed for 5 minutes, or until bubbles and foam start to appear on the top. (put in a warm place, like a turned off microwave oven). When you can see change in the yeast mixture, add it to the honey/molasses mixture, once it has cooled to lukewarm.

-Then, add 2 cups of the whole wheat flour to the mix, and incorporate well. Add the rest of the flours (whole wheat/rye) to the dough - MAKE SURE TO USE ALL- mixture will look dry and as if it will not incorporate, but trust me, keep kneading- all will be well. You will end up with a thick dough.

-Knead for 10 minutes, then place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and place in a turned off oven and let rise until doubled, about 11/2 to 2 hours.

-After this, punch down the surface, and place on a floured surface and knead again for 2 minutes.

- With a dough scraper, cut dough into two equally shaped sections, and shape to fit in two loaf pans.

-Cover and again, let rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until doubled.

-Bake at 375º for 30-40 minutes.

Make sure to cool them on wire racks for about 20 minutes before cutting, to prevent a gummy texture.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Rhubarb and Strawberry Crumble

As it were, I went to the farmers market last weekend and on a pure whim, I purchased some vibrant red rhubarb (in truth to make my shopping basket look more colourful). When I got it home, it stood around on my cold shelf for, oh, I don't know how many days, just asking to be used. I could not think of what to do with it... make a Swedish 'Saft" out of it ( somewhat of a rhubarb simple syrup for drinks and cooking- great on baked chicken!) or make a vinaigrette out of it- oh no, wait- can't eat a vinaigrette... darn... acid reflux makes cooking and eating very difficult- so difficult, in-fact, that I just eat very simple things... but I digress. I finally decided on making a Rhubarb and Strawberry Crumble. Here is the low cal, very VERY good and light desert idea.

(serves 4)

1 pound fresh, not all the way red, Rhubarb Stocks, chopped
8 or so Large Strawberries, chopped (cut same size as Rhubarb)
1/4 c white sugar (you can use sugar substitute)
1 tsp powdered ginger (or fresh grated, just use 1/2 tsp)

1 tlb ground cinnamon
1/2 c rolled oats (you can get gluten free oats from Whole Foods: "Bob's Red Mill")
1/2 c whole wheat flour
1/4 c light brown sugar
1 tlb unsalted butter

Prepare 4, 4" ramekins with Pam spray ( yes, I know, Pam).
Combine all compote ingredients together and divide into the ramekins.
Next, combine all crumble ingredients, except for the butter, and divide accordingly.
After you have everything evenly laid out, ( you'll want to fill the ramekins up to the top because when they bake,
they fall down considerably) quarter the 1 tlb of unsalted butter, and place one quarter of it on each individual desert. If you want to add more butter, be my guest- I can't handle the fat, so I make it this way- but by all means- please PLEASE add more!

In a preheated, 375º F oven, place the 4 ramekins on a lined baking tray and bake for 30-35 minutes. Top with some whipped cream or ice cream and your ready to go!

This is a light, seasonal, local and fabulous desert.

Happy cooking!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Quince Jelly

So, since I have been diagnosed with Acid Reflux Disease, it has cut the number of things I can enjoy down considerably. However, one thing that I have found to be perfectly fine with my delicate insides happens to be a foodies dream: Quince Jelly from a little specialty food shop called "Monsieur Marcel" in Los Angeles. Tart, subtly sweet and all natural (no preservatives- so eat it quickly!), Quince Jelly has taken the bland and made it extraordinary. Try it on toasted whole grain rye bread, as a layering for angle food cake, atop pork fillets! anything- it is really quite fabulous.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Well! Long time no see! I am so excited to write today, because my garden is starting to come up and i just built one of two raised bed garden from scratch- This is going to be a bountiful year!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

More Rain!

Today we got more rain- something we desperately need in LA. Tonight, it is raining rather hard and because of this, I have built a fire and opened a good book. Nothing better! Soon, in a few weeks, I am planing to hold a Garden/Lawn Party. My original idea was to have everybody show up in period dress- hoop skirts, bows, top hats- but then I realized I will be holding this at a park, and most people would not take well to a bunch of theatre people running 'round, playing croquet and singing mad songs dressed in Victorian garments. This was down heartening. However, I have decided to make the Garden Party (with a Capitol G and P that is) of a strict dress code: pastels, creams and white colours only and hats are requited of both sexes. Photos are to be expected. TIll then, I must dream of the warm spring sun shining down on my face- which actually will be more like the 90º heat/sun blazing down- but who cares. LA does not seem to experience seasons, like other states and locals do- in LA, we go from blazing hot, to lightly cool and back to blazing hot again! (and no, to you LA-dwellers who wear a wool hat, gloves, parka, rain boots and ear warmers in 59º weather- LA does NOT get 'cold'. We get rather cool. 28º is cold. Heck, 35º is cold! Come on! It's ridiculous. But hey, that LA for you! Were a quirky bunch of folks.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

"How to Tell the Temperature by Looking at Your Rhododendron"

"You can tell how cold it is outside by checking the leaves on your rhododendron.

- The leaves begin to cup and curl at 35ºF.
-Half the leaf surface disappears into the curl at 24ºF.
-Leaves curl tightly, turn brownish green, and dangle at temperatures in the teens."*

Can I use this information in Southern California? No. Will it behoove me to remember this information for a temperate day in Norway? Yes. I suppose I first must purchase a large Rhododendron.

The Rhododendron is a must.

*Info from "Ben Franklin's Almanac of Hit Wisdom, and Practical Advice" by the Editors of The Old Farmer's Almanac".

Friday, February 5, 2010

Lemon Cream Pots

lemon cream pots

"500ml double cream
110g caster sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon rind
60ml lemon juice

lemon wafers

35g plain flour, sifted
40g icing sugar
2 eggwhites (not a drop of yellow!)
40g butter, melted
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon rind

Place cream and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat and stir to dissolve sugar. Bring to the boil and cook for 3 minutes. Remove from heat, add lemon rind and juice and stir to combine. Set aside for 5 minutes to cool slightly. Pour into 4x185ml capacity dishes and refrigerate for 3-4 hours, or until set. (can be made the day before)

Preheat oven to 180ºC (355ºF). To make the wafers, place flour, icing sugar, eggwhite, butter and rind into a bowl and mix well to combine. Place a teaspoonful of mixture on a lightly greased baking tray and spread to create a 12cm strip. Repeat with remaining mixture, leaving space for wafers to spread. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes or until light golden. Cool on trays. (Can be made the day before- freeze to store- thaw on rack to crisp them) "
(Donna Hay Magazine Issue 45, page 100 Recipe by Jane Collings and Steve Pearce)

to serve

I used homemade lemon curd, double cream and lavender, toped with one lemon wafer. I then served them with unsweetened earl gray tea- the bergamot in the tea complements the lavender and lemon flavour, whilst not being too sweet- you will already have the sweet lemon flavour on your pallet, so sweetened tea with not be a good compliment.

Los Angeles Rains

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Dinner Party

wild onion soup with a young swedish swiss cheese

mustard seed-crusted beef with thyme butter

red potato mash & roasted asparagus with english mustard dressing

petite meyer lemon pots de crème with crème fraiche & earl grey tea

Friday, January 8, 2010

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Green transport!

I don't want to jinx anything, but, I am too excited not to show you-I'm getting a new bike! The "Vienna 2 Step Through" by GLOBE bikes. SO PRETTY. I am also going to get a basket and a bell. Ohh wee! I am so happy! I think biking is the best way to get around- it's transport at a pace one can think at.