Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Happy Halloween!

I'm not normally too involved with Halloween, it was not as big when I was little as it is now in Sweden. In Sweden we had something different which was during Easter, we called it påskkärringar and we dressed up as little witches (cute ones though, not evil). We went from house to house giving out drawings we have made in exchange for sweets. More of that and those traditions when we come to Easter.

So anyway, I wanted to come home from work and make something Halloween inspired but oooh...a day which started as glorious as the below.....

Sunny with dark rain clouds, spooky....
ended with unfortunate delays at Waterloo, meaning I got home later and ready for bed. I had such plans too, I wanted to make chocolate cupcakes with pumpkin puree I had bought especially. However I turned to my trusty box of cake mixture from Sweden, the one my mother kindly packed into my brother's tiny bag when he came to London a couple of weeks ago.
I never use cake mixes but it never hurts to have a box in your cake cupboard!
The chocolate cake mix only required water (which I exchanged for milk) and 50g of melted butter. It went into the oven for 20 minutes.
I was determined to make them as Halloweenie as possible so I made some cream cheese frosting which I coloured orange (not much effort but I am so tired).
I used Hummingbird Bakery's recipe for the cream cheese frosting (I can eat it on it's own....almost!):
125g cream cheese
50g butter (softened)
300g icing sugar (sifted)
I added 1tsp of vanilla extract and add colour to personal preference.
Mix the butter and icing sugar together in a standing mixer with the paddle attachment. Once incorporated, add the cold cream cheese. Mix/ beat well until it's smooth and fluffy.
Pipe as desired.

The chocolate mix tasted surprisingly nice and I will definitely pick some up on my next trip home.
Hope you have a spooky wookie Halloween! x

Friday, 26 October 2012

Swedish goodie bag and bullar!

Last week my brother was here and we went to watch Cirque de Soleil's Michael Jackson Immortal World Tour. It was a great show, with a mixture of acrobatic tricks and dancing. It made me remember how amazing Michael Jackson was an artist. Realising my brother was about to come to London, I took the chance to order my favourite Swedish food/ingredients.

Bilar (foamy like sweets), mandelmassa (almond paste), pärlsocker, vanilla socker, marsan sås (custard), choklad pudding mix and a box of choklad tårta mix! Yum!
The week started on a foggy note and I went into Paul's to "admire" the cakes in order to comfort myself because it was so early in the morning. I was tempted to buy a Palmier but as I looked at it, it gave me an idea.....
It was a very misty morning indeed!
I have been meaning to make kanelbullar for a while now, partly because I have been craving some and also it's a good thing to keep in the freezer when you want a quick cake fix.
The recipe for Kanelbullar is pretty straight forward, the recipe has been on the back of the main Swedish flour (Kungsörnen Vetemjöl) pack for years and years. And this is where I got my recipe from;
150g butter
500ml milk
50g fresh yeast or 25g of dried ( big thanks to my local bakery for giving me the fresh yeast, x)
100ml sugar or 150ml depending on how sweet you like it
½ tsp salt
2 tsp ground cardamom (can be omitted but it's very Swedish to use)
850 g plain flour
1 egg (for the egg wash)
1. Melt the butter and milk, make sure it's no warmer than 37 degrees, so "finger warm"
2. If you are using fresh yeast, crumble it into a separate (very large bowl, you can tell by the amount of flour how big the bowl needs to be). Add a bit of the liquid to the yeast and after a couple of minutes pour it all in. I normally add the cardamom here as well.
3. Once the yeast has dissolved, add the sugar and salt and then fold the flour in (keep about 100g for the kneading)
4. I kneaded the dough by hand because it was far too much to put into the KitchenAid. It took be me 10 minutes of decent kneading to get a nice dough. 
5. Put the dough back into a bowl and let it rise for 30 minutes
6. Once the 30 minutes are over, cut the dough into half or keep it as one and roll out into rectangular shape/s.
For the filling, you have two options;
Cinnamon butter or Almond paste butter (then it's not really called cinnamon buns...)
With the cinnamon butter;
100g sugar ( I used golden caster sugar)
2 tbsp cinnamon
100g softened butter 
Mix it really well, you can even pulse it in a mixer but make sure it's spreadable.
Spread it generously on the rolled out dough and roll it up.
With almond paste butter;
100g the almond paste (mandelmassa)
100g softened butter
Mix it really well until spreadable
Spread it generously on the rolled out dough before rolling it up.
With both of these fillings you can adjust it to your taste, more or less butter, cinnamon, almond etc,
Once you have spread your filling, you would normally roll the dough up, very much like a roulade and then cut it up in whatever size buns you like.
After my encounter with the Palmiers I wanted to try something different and rolled two opposite sides up until they met in the middle. This created a heart shaped bun(!?) :0)
 7. You can proof the dough after you have filled them for another 40 minutes. I baked mine straight after (because I wanted to eat them sooner :0) and skipped the proofing. They turned out very nice anyway but do proof them if you have the patience.
8. Gently brush egg wash on them before going into the oven and spread some pärlsocker (very Swedish). If you aren't near any Swedish shops in order to purchase pärlsocker, you can use almond flakes which would go nicely with the almond paste version.
This recipe yields different amounts depending on what shapes you with. But if it's normal "bullar" (buns), it should make about 40 of them.
They looked a bit like owls to me....
These are what bullar normally look like!
Mine were the size of a small bun so they only took 8-10 minutes. I would test one and keep it in for longer if needed. Max 15 minutes, I would say depending on size.

The heart shaped once came out beautifully and the little ones in the cases as well but I didn't capture them on camera unfortunately.
We brought these up to my boyfriend's parents, to enjoy over the weekend....but first I had to test try one or two whilst hot with some milk.
 I much prefer these to any Chelsea, sticky or iced buns. It's the perfect fika bulle!
Ciao! x

Sunday, 21 October 2012

A tarty pie...

I love this time of the year, you can spend all the time you want indoors without feeling like you are not taking advantage of a "sunny" day (as sunny as they get London...). You don't have to think about whether you have a tan or that you need to wear a skirt/ dress without tights. Well maybe that's just me. It's the season of comfort, I love the feeling and comfort of knowing that winter and Christmas are around the corner but not here just yet.

So to celebrate autumn or fall as they say in the US, I decided to make mini pies (in tart pans...). Without a shadow of a doubt, I associate pies with America. I have also been reading US wedding posts and it seems to have been the rage at weddings too. It's a great idea, I would gladly have pie over stiff fruit cake any day. We love a good blueberry pie in Sweden too, even if it's not freshly made, especially on cold winter nights and we have quite a few of those!
I have lost count of how many times I have had Frödinge paj!

On with the post...

I used Mary Berry's pastry recipe;
175g plain flour
50g butter (cold)
50g vegetable shortening, I used Trex.
2 tbsp of water

Rub the flour and butter+ shortening together to get a breadcrumb texture and then add the water. Knead the dough gently into a dough and wrap up in a clingfilm. Put it in the fridge.

I made the filling with Waitrose's frozen smoothie berry mix. I drained the berries and added a tbsp of cornflour. The bag will give you quite a lot of filling and you can make more then the four mini tart tins I did. I wanted them to be filled to the brim! Add sugar to your taste, I put in 4 tbsp of golden caster sugar and mixed.

The mixture doesn't look very appealing but works great in pies!

I rolled out the pastry and lined four mini tart pans. I brushed blackcurrant curd at the bottom of each tart and filled them with the berries. I cut the lids out with a tart pan and used a flower cutter to make the pattern.

I brushed them with just milk because I didn't want to waste an egg...silly I know.

As you can see; filling these to the brim has a downside too, we had some spillage issues.
I have learnt for next time :0)

I served them on blue and red plates as a homage to the American pie, though these were probably far away from the typical pie. They were delicious and warmed us right up after a walk about in the rain!

My younger brother was here this weekend and generously brought a bag of Swedish goodies, more of that in the next post!

Hope you have a great week!

Ciao! x

Monday, 15 October 2012

Luxury ingredient!

There are times when you are lucky enough to get your hands on something amazing and I have to thank my grandad for my luck.

He managed to send over two, yes two, sachets of saffron!!

It's the gold of the culinary world!
I have had them since July when I forced my dad to come and visit us for a week. And as the winter is on it's way, I thought it would be a brilliant idea to make some ice
But I am so glad I made this ice cream despite the cold weather, the flavours were delicious and I wanted to finish the whole tub!

This is an adapted recipe by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall:

200ml whole milk
A pinch of saffron
3 yolks
60g golden caster sugar (or refinded caster sugar)
200ml double cream
1-2 tbsp of runny honey ( I used Waitrose Honey Orange Blossom, it has a lovely scent to it)

A small handful of crushed pistachios (my addition)

Put the milk and saffron in a saucepan and heat, stirring a few times. Wait until bubbles appear on the sides and set aside to infuse for 20 minutes.
Whisk the egg yolks and sugar in a heatproof bowl until pale and creamy.
Add the milk into the egg mix and place the bowl over a bain marie, stir until the custard coats the back of a spoon.
Remove from the heat, stir in the honey and cream, cover the surface with clingfilm or greaseproof paper to prevent a skin forming, and leave to cool.
Pass the custard through a fine sieve and pour it into your ice cream machine, using the machine's instructions when doing so. Once done, freeze for at least a couple of hours.
Remove from the freezer about 15 minutes before serving.

I decided to have a middle eastern theme to the treat, having the cold ice cream followed by a nice warm chai.

Heating and ice cream don't go well!
 The colour of the ice cream was just gorgeous, when I was looking for the right recipe one of them actually suggested to use colouring. That would have ruined everything if you ask me. Who would use saffron with artificial colouring!

And as my boyfriend pointed out, where are the spoons?!

I can't wait to make this for my own and my boyfriend's parents. I think they will both enjoy it!

When (if perhaps) the British summer comes around again, I will be revisiting this recipe without a doubt! I'm just glad I have some left in freezer which I can scoop into sooner!

Ciao! x

p.s Don't forget the final of GBBO tomorrow!!

Sunday, 14 October 2012

The end of the glorious chocolate week!

The weekend has come to an end, which means tomorrow is Monday :0( After Friday's delay disaster at Waterloo, I am dreading the commute even more. But such is life.

The week of chocolate came to end and I am honestly happy to see the back of it......until later on next week probably! And then I will have some again.

I made some Kärleksmums which translated means Love(kärlek)yum(mums), Loveyum! Anyway I prefer Kärleksmums. They are delicious but you do have to like coffee as there is some in the icing. My mum used to make these all the time, it was one of her go to recipes for fika when we had guests. Fika is a word which doesn't exist in the English language, it translate to cake and coffee time. When you say fika in Sweden people will drop what they are doing to join you.

Kärleksmums recipe from Arlas kök;
Preheat the oven to 150c in a fan oven, 175c non fan.

150 g butter
150ml milk, I used semi skimmed
3 eggs
300ml sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
75ml cocoa
2 tsp baking powder
400ml plain flour

75g Butter
75ml Coffee
50ml cocoa
1 tsp vanilla extract
400g icing sugar

Desiccated coconut

Grease and line, with grease proof paper, a long brownie type tin, preferably 30x40cm.

Melt the butter, pour in the milk and let it cool.
Whip the eggs and sugar until fluffy and pale, add the vanilla extract, cacao, baking powder and flour through a sieve. Add the butter and milk mixture.
Mix it all together until the batter is smooth and even. Pour it into the tin and bake in the middle of the oven for 20 minutes. Check with toothpick before removing from the oven. Set it aside to cool.

Melt the butter then add the coffee, cacao, vanilla extract and icing sugar. Mix it until everything has been incorporated properly.
Once the cake has cooled a bit, pour over the icing and finish it off with desiccated coconut.


I know the recipe is in millilitres and I am sorry but if you have an electronic scale, this shouldn't be a problem. In Sweden we measure things in dl, decilitre, and I had a hard time finding conversion websites but I turned them into ml in case it would be easier.

The weekend started with a test recipe for profiteroles, after the GBBO I was inspired to make choux pastry. I wanted to make chocolate profiteroles, the results were OK.


I like how a few ingredients like these can create something so tasty like profiteroles and so quickly!

Recipe adapted from Mary Berry's Baking Bible
Preheat the oven to 200c fan oven

50g Butter, diced
150 ml water
65 g plain flour, sieved 
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp of cocoa powder, sieved.

400-450ml of whipping cream, this really depends on how much you want to fill the buns and what size you make them.

Melt the butter and water in a saucepan over low heat, bring to boil until the butter has melted.
Remove from the heat and add the flour and cocoa, beat the mixture with a wooden spoon until it becomes a softball and comes away from the sides of the pan. Gradually add the eggs until the mixture goes glossy.

Spoon the mixture into a pipping bag fitted with a round nozzle and pip on a tray lined with nonstick baking paper.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, take them out to pierce the bottom of the buns and return for another 3-4 minutes. My buns were not done after 25 minutes so I left them in for about 30 minutes and pierced them. Then they returned for another 5 minutes with the oven turned off but still hot.

Once cooled, pipe the whipped cream into the holes created.

The little chocolate ball heavens
Well I am all chocolate-d out! Have a lovely week, ciao! x

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

The week of chocolate continues

Midst the chocolate mania, it dawned on me that I had miss Kanelbullens Dag on the 4th of October, I got a bit sad. I try to remember the Swedish things which I still dearly love and kanelbullar is definitely one of them! I have promised myself to make a batch this weekend. They are perfect for the winter time when you get in from a long day and it's cold outside, you curl up with some tea and a warm kanelbulle! They freeze brilliantly too.

But still it's chocolate week and armed with my extortionate tin of match I decided to make a batch of macaroons with the green tea and use Green and Black's 70% cacao to make a dark chocolate ganache.

I swapped my usual Delicious Magazine recipe and used The Pink Whisk's one. But I decided to make a change to it and make it a Swiss meringue to see if it would be more stable.

Preheat the oven to 140c, organise your piping bag and the baking sheets.

110g egg whites (I also used Two Chicks because it saves on wasting yolks!)
75g caster sugar
125g ground almonds
175g icing sugar
1 tsp of green tea match powder

I used a bain marie to beat the egg whites with the sugar. You beat them until the sugar has fully dissolved, you can check this by rubbing the mixture between your fingers. Once done, pour it into another bowl or your standing mixer, beat it until the mixture has cooled and is stiff.

You can pulse the icing sugar and ground almonds in a food processor to make sure they are as fine as possible before folding it in. I skipped this part...oops. If you want smoother macs then definitely do this part.

Gently fold the icing sugar and ground almonds in with the meringue, I do this in three stages and make sure you check the consistency now and again to prevent the mixture to become too runny.
Once you are happy with the mixture, fill a piping bag with a round nozzle, ensure your baking sheet is stuck to your baking tray with some mixture and pipe circles. Then bang the baking tray on your worktop to knock the air out and let them sit for 15 minutes to form a skin. The recipe calls for 30 minutes but I normally only do 15 minutes.

Once in the oven, leave them for circa 13 minutes. My oven is ghastly so the feet came out a bit burnt unfortunately. I brushed some gold dust on mine once they cooled.

I made the ganache by mixing 140ml of heated double cream (what I had left) with 100g of G&B's dark chocolate and one tablespoon of golden sugar. Once cooled I piped it to sandwich the macaroons.

They were pretty awesome and beautiful looking, perfect accompaniment for the GBBO. I was sad to see Danny go, we thought John should have gone, last week even!

Hope you are having chocolate galore-y week as well:0)

Ciao! x

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Génoise sponge and a week of chocolate!

It's Sunday and we have just finished having our roast chicken with veggies, we went off piste and had cous cous instead of roast potatoes! Controversial I know, but we wanted to keep it light....well leave room for dessert.

I have been itching all week to bake and when Saturday came, I went to the shops in search of Matcha Green Tea powder. One of our local health shops did not disappoint, although at £18.00 per pop I will be using it rather sparingly! My boyfriend's face was a picture when he saw the receipt....whoops:0)

The tin is smaller than a small Green Giant corn tin!!

I have been wanting to make a Genoise ever since I have been watching the GBBO and I had a recipe in mind when I bought this. You can find the recipe here Matcha- Almond Génoise Layer Cake.

The recipe doesn't call for mixing the egg and sugar in a bain marie but instead mixing yolks with icing sugar until the mixture has gone really pale. Génoise sponge recipes don't use any chemical help to rise and it's all meant to be up to the poor little eggs in the recipe. Therefore this recipe involves whipping the egg whites separately until you get stiff peaks, like a meringue. Then you incorporate it with the yolks+ icing sugar mixture.

The mixture did not look pretty.
Nor did the sponge......
But the final product looked good, I'm a bit annoyed because somewhere between the picture below and the living room I managed to forget to take a picture of a slice of the cake. I also skipped the white chocolate mixture and went with whipped cream because Strictly Come Dancing was starting!

It was delicious and there are sceptic green tea people out there whom I don't blame, but there is no bitter taste and the almond goes really well with it. The best part is there is NO fat.

This week is CHOCOLATE week, it must surely be one of the better weeks out there. So I decided to kick start the week, yes on this week's Sunday, by using my cupcake moulds and make tiny desserts for tonight.

These are pretty wonderful cakelets with swirled whipped cream. They are sat in a puddle of chocolate ganache:0)

Hope you indulge in as much chocolate this week as I will! Ciao!x

Monday, 1 October 2012

A meal to remember (second post)

My lovely friend James took me out for a birthday treat the other week to a handsome (yes, I am using the word handsome to describe a place) restaurant called The Delaunay. I felt compelled to write a short post about it. This restaurant has an old fashion cool about it and the dark wooden interior with the silver plated cutlery just tops the look off. It was so cool that I was too scared to take more than one picture. The reason for the picture was the dainty bread on the table, a bread I have tried to make in the past;
Pain D’epi
For starters I had the Romano peppers stuffed with spiced aubergine and James had Tarte Flambee with smoked bacon and shallots. For mains I had Mackerel and James had Cordon Bleu Schnitzel with mash and greens. It was delicious and I'm delighted to have been taken there.

To top the evening off, we went for a drink at The Waldorf Hilton next door and I also got a lovely gift which I have yet to try out.
Adorable! Thanks James.

Seeing and eating the Pain D’epi reminded me of last Christmas, I made a Swedish Jul Bord for my boyfriend and his family. I had just seen Lorraine Pascale make the bread and thought let's give it a try! The bread didn't turn out amazing but looked the part....
Köttbullar, prinskorvar, skinka, leverpastej, ägg med citron majonäs, potatis and rödbetssallad plus some salad.

I can't wait for Christmas so we can spend time with our loved ones and eat lots of delicious food.

Here is to a white winter! x

A week full of events!

Since the national cupcake week I have been so busy that I had no time to update my blog:0(
I managed to make a second batch of cupcakes, they were yummy Hummingbird Bakery red velvet cupcakes;

They were pretty delicious but I didn't manage to get the colour just right this time. I'm not sure if liquid colour suit red velvet recipes better than gel. I'm going to try it with the liquid colouring next time.

The best part of that week was that I made a celebration cake called Prinsess Tårta/ Princess Cake, this is a cake first made by Jenny Åkerström back in the early 1930s. The cake was called "Grön tårta"/ Green cake (due to the green marzipan "lid" on the cake), but since the Swedish princesses liked it so much they changed its name to Princess Cake. Now there are a lot of disputes regarding what was originally in the cake and whether the additional ingredients jam and cream have turned this cake into something called "Opera Cake". I personally will always call it Princess Cake and will forever associate it with any celebration occasion we had back home in Sweden as there was rarely a birthday, anniversary or graduation without a Princess Cake on the table. I guess this is were my love for cakes come from.

The recipe is quite straight forward (the source is Sju Sorters Kakor);
4 eggs
170g sugar
60g plain flour, sifted
60g potato four (not starch, I found this at a health food store), sifted
2 tsp baking powder

I made twice the amounts because I wanted decent sized layers.

Preheat the oven to 150c fan

This recipe requires a 26cm diametre cake tin, start by preparing the tin with butter and grease proof paper.

Mix the eggs and sugars until light and fluffy.
Add the flours and the baking powder.
Mix gently until incorporated and pour into the tin (the mixture is very liquidy unlike normal sponge cakes), put it into the oven for circa 40 minutes but do check after 30 minutes.

The filling is straight forward if the custard is shop bought but can also be made if you have time. Just make 200ml of your favourite custard recipe and add 4 gelatin leaves for it set. I skipped the gelatin part as I rather not have it if I can avoid it.

I used reduced raspberry sugar, 2/3s of Waitrose's Madagascan's Vanilla bean custard and a large tub of double cream+ 100ml extra in case.

Be GENEROUS with the jam!
First layer is simply raspberry jam. For the second layer, I whipped 100ml of the double cream to the point it was pretty thick and mix it with the 2/3s of the custard. You can do more but I was scared it wouldn't set! Once done, whip up about another 150ml and ice the cake.

Put the third layer on the iced cake and fridge it fully covered!
It's important to do the top layer on the same day as you are going to eat it, otherwise the marzipan goes too soft from the cream underneath. You can prevent this with a tiny bit of buttercream spread on the marzipan lid before putting it on the cake but that's faffing around a bit too much in my opinion. Plus, this cake should be consumed, fully, on the day it's made :0)

 The last part is to smother the cake with whipped cream and ensure that you create a dome-esque form on the top.

I made some tiny flowers to cover up a fold I could not get rid of!

I had some marzipan already in yellow and decided to use that, I wouldn't recommend rolling marzipan out like I did. It's hard work if you are pressed for time and I rolled it out 24 hours before hand to let it "sweat", although it was wrapped up properly. Use the rolled out ones and save yourself some time.

Dust the cake with icing sugar and add your decoration. This cake is just amazingly tasty and light. We had it for breakfast with a rather large Magnum of champagne which made it a great start for our 30th birthdays! Puss och kram to my family who unfortunately weren't there.

That weekend we also visited Denbies Vineyard for a train tour around the vineyard with an English sparkling wine tasting with canapes at the top of a hill. Excuse the poor quality photos.

This was on the way up, it felt like we were in France or Italy, minus the sun!

On the way down, it was beautiful and very romantic. I manage to have three glasses of Denbies' finest!
It was very chilly.... but our three course meal warmed us right up!
The weekend also included a trip to Tower of London which was great. I didn't manage to take a lot of pictures but I liked this view because it showed how diverse London's skyline is, mixing old with new. Awesome!
 Hope you have enjoyed this post which is somewhat a short novel:0)

Ciao! x