The classic, favorite dessert of mine: apple cobbler, or crumble, or crisp...
Any way, shape or form, I love it!
And now that the apple trees are heavy with the fruit, it is the best time of the year to make it.
Instead of putting the apples raw into the dish, I saute them with butter, star anise, and cloves first.
The star anise gives the apples nice, refreshing taste, and takes away some of the sweetness of the dish.
In the crumble mix I use the oats that have 'gluten free' marking.
Now how you serve it, is all up to you. I do get rather high-maintenance, when it comes to my apple desserts: if it is served warm, I want ice cream with it but on the side so it won't melt. Or homemade vanilla sauce, but no thank to the store bought, that often has a metallic aftertaste. If the dessert is served cold, I want whip cream, on a top, but only if it is the real thing, not from the can.
- Peel the apples and remove the core with seeds.
- Slice the apples, and saute the slices lightly in butter, with star anise and cloves
- Mix the oatmeal crumble
- Place the apple slices in small ovenproof dishes and put the crumble on the top
- Bake in 420F (220C) oven for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown on the top
- serve warm with ice cream, vanilla sauce, or home made whipped cream...
One of the things why I enjoy autumn, is all the fresh produce at the market are at their best!! When you live up here, you have to learn to appreciate the positive things about the colder seasons!
Today's soup is one that I've made in many different ways for as many different occasions, and the original recipe and idea for this I got from my mom.
You can prepare it simply with red onions, potatoes, and carrots to get a very reasonably priced, delicious warm dish. Or you can go a bit wild, and use a variety of root vegetables that you find at your local market.
Today I used potatoes, red onions, carrots, sweet potatoes, celeriac, parsnip, and leeks. I just peeled them, and cut them in small rough pieces. Remember that harder the vegetable is, the longer it takes to cook, so for example, celeriac and parsnips I cut in smaller pieces.
I cooked them in a vegetable stock, that reached just above the cut pieces in my pot.
When all the vegetables were done, for me it took about 20 minutes,
I took the the hand blender and pureed them into the stock, adding about 2 tablespoons of pepper cream cheese into the soup. The peppered cheese adds nice creamy flavor with a little kick to it from the pepper. Also at this point I add salt and pepper as needed after taste.
And there it is! Easy, delicious meal I love to serve with some fresh bread. You can use it as a first course, as a warm lunch, or the main course with a heavier dessert coming after it.
And the aroma that fills your kitchen from the vegetables cooking will whet your appetite!
Even though in the morning I need my coffee black, strong, and dark roasted, in the afternoon I love a good cup of cappuccino with a bit of a something on the side. So what better than biscotti, also known as cantuccini, a twice-baked hard cookie originating from Italy. They are easy to make at home, and hold in cookie box as long as you have them. Great to have at hand when friends pop in for a cup of coffee, or with coffee and cognac after a festive meal.
2 cups of all purpose flour
1 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/8 cup liquor
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
1 cup of nuts
I like to use Cognac and almonds with in this recipe, but of course other options are plentiful.
To keep everything organized and make things go smoothly once I start, I gather everything I'll need together, including all the tools.
I mix all the dry ingredients, and all the liquids, until I fold them all together and add the nuts.
I like to use the almonds with skin on, because of the contrast it gives in the final product.
The dough is sticky, so with generously floured hands I form two logs into the baking pan. Before I set them in the oven, I brush the excess flour off with pastry brush, so it won't burn on top of the log.
I set them in a warm oven for 20 minutes (175 C/350F)
Few people has sent me a questions asking what is my favorite food to cook. Oh my, that's like asking for my favorite book - or a mother who is their favorite child, I imagine.
I can't pick just one dish, but I can tell you my absolutely favorite cuisine is Italian.
And I love mustard, in all forms and tastes it is just delicious. I love to taste it in different flavors and have bought some local variants of mustard to take home with me while traveling.
And I love sausages! Bratwurst, cabanossi, chorizo, salami, chipolata, kielbasa... never tasted one I haven't liked. I sometimes joke that I went for the culinary technology degree, because while I was in Pastry school, I saw them making sausages, and wanted to learn how to do it myself. But while sausage making, Charcuterie, was one of my favorite classes in culinary school, it certainly wasn't the reason I went there.
So to tie all these favorites together, I made one of my favorite meals today.
I bought some high quality, raw Italian sausages from the market, called Siciliana Picante. They were made with pork, with addition of rosemary, chili peppers, and Parmesan cheese. I like them because of the high meat content of the sausages, 88%.
I started with basic marinara tomato sauce.
Now since the sausage is raw, I wanted to cook it in liquid first for a couple of minutes, before frying it. My choice of liquid was beer, but you can do it as well in just water. Just make sure you don't puncture the skin of the sausages.
And while the pasta cooked, I fried the sausages in a pan, shredded some Parmesan cheese, cut some chiffonade of basil (stack,roll slice)
and made a green salad with some bell peppers and French Dijon mustard salad dressing.
Simple basic tastes, just few components, matching together in harmony -- that's what cooking is all about for me.
As we have been blessed with a record hot summer up here in Nordic countries, I've heard from so many friends, that the last thing they want to do in this heat is to cook. Many has said, they have a liquid diet through the day, and when temperatures cool off a bit in the evening, they binge eat all in sight, because they are starving by that point. So here are few ideas for lunches, that might perk your appetite to avoid that situation.
I went to the local grocery, and bought just about everything they had to offer on the fruit and vegetable department.
I washed and cut lots of fruits and berries, making sure they are always handy for snacks through the day.
We've had salads in all the ways you can imagine all week long. Because of all the extra liquids we intake, it's important to make sure we raise the intake of salt. So I topped the salads, for example, with salty feta cheese and crostinis.
To accompany the salads I've served croissants with lovely salty smoked ham and cheese, another day I fried some chicken tenders in a little bit of oil, mixing taco spices into the breading. Leftovers from the chicken ended up cold on top of the salad the next day.
Some of the veggies I tossed in the pan with pork, mixed a lemongrass marinade for it, and served with egg-noodles, that take much less time to cook compared to, for example, rice.
I'm loving the sunny days and warm weather, and cause I know it will not last much longer, I try to take the discomfort it might bring on a side, and focus on all good and warmth we get to enjoy!