Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Authentic Spaghetti Bolognese - Recipe

I love to try out recipes and make them my way by adding extra ingredients or use substitutes. However some recipes are just splendid just the way they are. For instance authentic Spaghetti Bolognese. In this recipe they use wine, but I would just change it for beef stock and just leave out the pancetta. Enjoy a real tasty Italian dish:

Spaghetti Bolognese

2tbsp olive oil

6 rashers pancetta, chopped

2 large onions, chopped

3 garlic cloves, crushed

2 carrots, chopped

stick of celery

1 kg minced beef

2 glass of red wine

2 x 400 g chopped tomatoes

2 bay leaves

salt and pepper

800 dried tagliatelle

grated parmesan cheese

1 - Heat oil in a saucepan and fry the bacon until golden over medium heat. Add onions, garlic and fry until softened. Increase heat and add the minced beef and fry until browned. Pour in wine and bring to a boil and let it reduce in volume by about a third. Stir in tomatoes, carrots and celery and reduce the heat.

2 -  Cover with a lid and let it simmer for 1-1,5 hours, but stir occasionally.

3 - Boil the tagliatelle and serve it with the bolognese sauce and sprinkle the parmesan over the pasta.


Spaghetti Bolognese with Vegetables - Recipe

I love to enjoy a nice Spaghetti Bolognese in the middle of the week, although it takes few hours to make. That is why I like to do it my way. That is, using a recipe that is far from the authentic recipe and does not require hours waiting for it to slow cook. Now I don't think that I would dare saying this to any Italian chef, especially in Bologna, which is the home of Bolognese.  
I read in an article that Italian chefs are horrified by the way which the authentic recipe has been altered in different parts of the world. They actually have to conform to a recipe that has been set down by the chamber of commerce in Bologna in 1982.

But when you come home from work around 5-6 you dont have many hours at hand to allow for slow cooking for hours Therefore I have have come up with a lovely recipe that takes about 35-40 minutes to make :)

500 ml of tomato sauce with onions and basil (use a good quality one like Loyd Grossman)
200 grams of minced meat (use more you if you like it meaty)
1,5 cup of mixed frozen vegetables (peas, carrots and sweet corn)
3 cm of leek, choppe
half orange bell pepper, chopped
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp paprika powder
1 tsp 7 spices mix (can be found in Asian specialty stores)
salt and pepper to taste
500 g spaghetti (cook according to the package)

1- Brown the minced meat in a saucepan with 2 table spoon of olive oil. 

2- Add all the vegetables and spices and mix well and fry everything together for about 3 minutes.

3- Add the tomato sauce and add 200 ml of water and bring it to a boil over high heat.Then reduce the temperature  and bring it down to low heat and let it simmer for about 35 minutes.

4- The last 10 minutes cook the spaghetti so that it is ready at the same time as the bolognese. 


Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Light Coconut Cake - Recipe

The other day, I felt like eating something light and sweet. Instantly I thought of my sticky chocolate cake (kladdkaka) but that is way to heavy and I was craving coconut, so I decided to make a coconut cake.
Now this cake can be made in different ways, but this particular recipe have been used in my family for years and is a favorite cake we often bake. The cake is easy to make and don't require a lot of time. I actually made it quickly during a break when we were watching a lovely movie: When Pigs have Wings.

Coconut Cake

1,5 dl desiccated coconut
100 g butter
2 eggs
1 dl milk
3 dl self-raising flour
1 tsp vanilla sugar (or use 1 tps vanilla extract)
2 dl sugar
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup of toasted flaked almonds
(if you use plain flower, use 1,5 tsp baking powder)

1- First let mix the room temperature butter with sugar until it is creamy.
2- Mix in one egg at a time, then add the vanilla sugar, almonds and the desiccated coconut.
3- Sift the flour and baking powder over the mix and gently fold it in, do not mix!
4- Put the cake batter into a cake tin and bake it for 40 minutes, 170 degrees.

The lovely smell should fill the house after a while. Right before you take it out and let it rest for a little while, you should make a lovely cup of tea to enjoy with the cake. Just writing this makes me wanna go and bake it again :)

You can eat this cake just the way it is or you can make a topping. Some use a coconut butter cream topping. I have a lighter version of a topping, which I use sometimes. Do the following for the light topping:
50 g melted butter mixed with 2 tsp vanilla sugar, 1 egg yolk, 2 tbsp desiccated coconut, 2 tbsp sugar. Mix it and make small wholes in the cake top and pour it over and let it rest for a while before serving.

A lovely way of serving the coconut cake without any topping, is to use some lightly wiped cream and fresh fruits like raspberries.


Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Enchiladas - Recipe

Yesterday was time for something we hadn't had for a long time, enchiladas! I was on my way home from work and it started to get late as I had a skypedate with my friends in Sweden. So, I had to come up with something that I could make very quickly. I went to Sainsbury's and picked up some corn tortillas and chicken breast. I had some enchilada and fajita spice mix at home that was previously bought in those ready made kits from Old El Paso. Husband helped me out so we did it in no time. Here is my twist on simple enchiladas!
1,5 big chicken breasts, sliced 
1 red bell pepper, sliced
3 big mushrooms, chopped
10 cm of a leek, sliced (wash properly as dirt is hidden behind the layers)
6 cm of an aubergine, sliced
sweet corn, small can
2 tsp fajita spice mix
1,5 tbsp enchilada spice mix
3 tbsp olive oil
1 cup grated cheese
2 cups tomato sauce
8-10 corn tortilla bread

1- Slice and chop up all the ingredients. Heat up 2 tbsp of olive oil in a pan and fry the chicken until the water that comes from the chicken dries up. Add half of the enchilada spice over the chicken and fry well together with the sweet corn.

2- In another pan add 1 tbsp of olive oil and fry the vegetables with the rest of the enchilada spice mix. When both the chicken and vegetables start to get golden brown add them together and let the flavours marry for a bit. Add 1 cup of the tomato sauce and mix well.

3- Now, put some of the filling on top of a tortilla bread and roll it together and put it in an ovenproof dish. Repeat the process with the rest of the tortilla breads.

4- Mix 1 cup of tomato sauce with the fajita spice mix and layer it over the tortilla rolls. Sprinkle the grated cheese over them. Bake them in the oven for 30-45 minutes on 180-200 degrees depending on oven.

I used the Old El Paso spice mix for enchiladas in the filling and fajita in the tomato sauce as it gives it a smoky and delicious taste to them. I know enchiladas are usually made with little veggies, but I love my twist with different veggies as they add new flavors and variation. Hope you give it a try!


Moroccan Chicken & Chickpea Tagine - Recipe

After reading the food article How to cook an authentic Moroccan tagine by Rebecca Davies in the "The Telegraph" I was so inspired to make something similar today. It was such a coincidence as I just saw a food program few days ago about Moroccan Food on the bbc channel. As chicken was bought yesterday, I had just about the right ingredients at home to make a chicken and chickpea tagine. This recipe is a mix of various recipes I found online, so this is by no means an authentic recipe, just my variation :)

The taste was absolutely amazing and I will definitely try more Moroccan food inspired recipes from now on. In the past I have been reluctant in cooking anything Morrocan, as I thought it look to complicated. But I have to say that after reading and watching the food network channel, especially watching Jenny Morris Cooks Marocco I have been greatly inspired to try more recipes with inspiration from this flavorful and colorful country. Jenny Morris is so warm, informative and engaging in her programs, I simple love watching her cook and share her recipes. 

Now, back to my Chicken & Chickpea Tagine recipe!

A mix of chicken pieces (two drums, 5 wings, 1 breast)
1 cup butternut squash, diced
1/5 leek, chopped,
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, sliced
1.2 yellow bell pepper
1 can of chickpeas, rinsed
1 can of chopped tomatoes
2-3 cups of chicken stock
2 tbsp of honey
1/5 cup of dried sultanas
3 tbsp olive oil
1 1/5 cup of couscous
2tbsp oliv oil

Spice mix: 1/5 tsp of turmeric, ground ginger, ground garlic, all season salt, pepper mix, paprika, cumin and coriander. 1/4 tsp cinnamon  1 tbsp of parsley. 4-5 slices of preserved lemon. (Feel free to add more/less of these above mentioned spices, to taste).


1- Dice and slice up all the vegetables and the chicken breast for even cooking.

2- Put the chicken in a pot and put enough water to cover it and bring to a boil. Remove the water once the chicken is cooked through, usually after few minutes. Add all the spices except lemon and 3 table spoons of olive oil and mix well so that the chicken pieces are well marinated. At this point it should smell heavenly from the pot :)

3- Add all the vegetables and the cans of chickpeas and chopped tomatoes. Add 2-3 cups of chicken stock and bring it to a boil on high heat. 

4- Add the sultanas and bring down to a low-medium heat and let it simmer for 30-45 minutes until the water has gone down to half of the size and everything is well cooked and the flavors well infused.

5- Before I let the tagine simmer away I took a half cup of the soup from it. I added the soup to 500 ml of boiled water to add flavor to the couscous once it was time to make it. I added the water over the couscous, as you only need to add hot water and olive oil to it and let it become fluffy for about 10-15 minutes. Then the dish is ready to be served!


Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Indian Chicken Curry - Recipe

Curries are a great way to spice up the supper time, whether it is a chicken tikka masala or a red thai curry. Now, I love both Thai curries as well as Indian curries. For today's meal, I decided to make a Indian curry. My main inspiration for this dish is the youtube clip below. The man who is cooking this dish in the youtube clip is an Indian chef and he is really funny to watch. I've watched a number of his youtube clips of how he cooks the Indian dishes, especially curries and they are all so easy to follow. His clips are very uninformative but easy to learn from as he is so relaxed in his cooking and seem to make the dishes so easy and effortlessly. Will def try out more of his recipes.

Other recipes of various type of curries that I've tried come from the recipe collection on bbc's recipe website.

The ingredients fro this curry:
2 can of chopped tomatoes, 200 grams each
1 green paprika, chopped
1 cup of assorted frosen veggies ( peas, sweetcorn, carrots, red paprika) 
3 chicken breast, diced (in the youtube clip below he uses big pieces of chicken but I like to used diced thighs or chicken breast instead)
1/2 cup of yogurt
1 cuo of water
2 tablespoon of vegetable oil

1/2 teaspoon of: hot paprika, cumin, coriander, ginger & garlic powder, black pepper, salt, garam masala, turmeric, bay leaf, fenugreek, black mustard seed and mild curry powder. (In the clip, he uses whole seeds to roast and then grind, but I simply use the ground version of the above mentioned spices).

1- Start by putting the diced chicken breast in a pot and cover it over medium heat so that the chicken breast gets steamed in its own juices. Then remove the lid so that the liquid from the chicken evaporate. Add the oil and brown the chicken breast.

2- Add all the veggies and fry for few minutes on medium heat until the mix get a little color. Then add all the spices and let it fry for few minutes. Add the tomatoes and let it simmer for about 15 minutes. If it is to dry after 15 minutes add the water as well and let it all cook trough. I added yogurt the last 5-10 minutes, to give the curry a mild and round taste and let it simmer so that all the spices have mixed well and chicken is cooked through.

I served the curry with basmati rise. It tasted heavenly. 

The clip below is my inspiration for the chicken curry I made this time.


Monday, 22 October 2012

Feta Cheese Pasty

When I am really hungry but to lazy to cook something, I love to come up with easy recipes that are delicious and can be done in less then half hour. So the other day when I felt hungry, I checked what i had at home to make something quick and easy for an evening snack. I found the perfect ingredients for a tasty hot feta cheese pasty: herbs, feta cheese and puff pastry dough.

It is really easy to make the pasty. Basically, I just cut of a piece of the puff pastry dough and rolled it out with some flour to make it non-sticky. I cut up some feta cheese in a bowl and mixed it with a tea spoon of the herbes de provence and mixed well. 

I took some of the filling and put it on one side of the rolled out dough and folded the other side over. I folded the edges twice and pinched it so that the filling will not leak through once melted in the oven. I made small holes with a fork in the pasty so that hot are would come out. I put the pasty in the oven for 10-20 minutes on 200 C degrees and out came the most delicious and cheesy pasties :)

Best way to enjoy one of 
 these feta cheese pasty is with a cup of nice tea. Hope you will give this easy pasty a try. Trust me, you will go back to make it over and over again :)


Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Strawberry Cake with Vanilla Cream

My Strawberry Cake with vanilla cream is my all time favorite cake. I have never had a tastier cake than this. It is quite heavy and sweet, but the flavors are delicious and I never get tired of making and eating it. The way I make the strawberry cake is very similar to another very famous Swedish cake called the Princess cake (Princesstårta). It is a typical Swedish cake served with coffee for afternoon tea. The combination is so good and it really is a cake for royals, hence the name :)

The Swedish Princess cake is very similar to mine in the sense that it looks the same inside of it, with the vanilla cream and strawberry jam. The difference is that mine has whipped cream and fruit covering the whole cake, while a proper Princess Cake is covered with a tasty marzipan icing. 

There are two different ways in doing my Strawberry Cake. Either you make the sponge cake base yourself or you buy ready made cake layers. In Sweden there are sponge cake bases already cut in 3 layers which I often used when I didn't have time to bake my own cake. Here in UK, I have been looking for something similar and these 2 cakes below are the closest I have come in finding already made cake bases. If you have better alternatives please share it with me. 

So I bought 2 of these cakes and one of them I simply cut in the middle to create 3 layers.

Although my cake is called the Strawberry cake, I actually use more fruits than just strawberries, such as banana, kiwi and raspberries or blueberries. I begin with a layer of vanilla cream (not custard). There are different recipes of vanilla cream you can find online. I usually use snabb-marsan from the brand Ekströms, which is a quick  mix of vanilla cream powder and milk, but I often use a little dubble cream to make it thick and smooth.

The first layer of the cake is prepared with the vanilla cream. The good thing with these cakes are that they have a depth in the middle with higher sides so that you can fill it with the vanilla cream without spilling over the sides. I usually add bananas to this layer.

The second layer was the top part cut from the second cake base. I used the top part so I could fill it with strawberry jam and fresh strawberries. That way it will not spill or run done on the sides.

The 3d layer is the actual bottom of the cake base that I cut into 2 pieces, which I put upside down as it is flat and smooth. It will therefore make it easier to spread the whipped cream. The corrugated pattern of the sides around the cake makes  it easier as well to apply the whipped cream all around it.

Lastly, I decorate the cake with the rest of the fruits. This cake is super easy to make and does not take to much time once you have a ready made cake base. Everyone who tasted it, said it was really delicious. I would definitely recommend you to give it a try :) and if so, please share your ideas and the result with me.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

National Cupcake Week - Vanilla Cupcakes with Haribo Candy Fluff Frosting

This week being the national cupcake week, I was inspired, to bake some cupcakes today, by my friend who decided to make cupcakes every day of this week. Very ambitious!! I decided to make cupcakes today, especially as it is the cake and bake show tomorrow. I am setting the mood already today by baking :)

Cupcakes come usually with some sort of frosting. The usual one is the butter cream frosting or the cream cheese frosting. I am not a big fan of both of these. However, I have discovered something called fluff. You can basically make anything into a fluff. So I decided to make haribo candy fluff. 

There are different recipes of how to make this fluff. The one I used is as following:

Ingredients: 3 dl double cream, 80 g of haribo mix candies.

Process: Heat up the double cream in a saucepan but do not let it boil. Put in the candies and stir until the candies have melted. Put the mix in the fridge and let it set for about 4-6 hours. After the mix is set, whip the mix with a little but more double cream until it becomes fluffy.

The recipe for the actual cupcake, I used Mary Berry's perfect Victoria sandwich recipe which I have tasted before and it is really good. The cupcakes were delicious and I simply decorated them with some princess sprinkles.