The winter season has it´s own rhythm. I like to think of it as a long and melancholy jazz concert. Make me cope with the darkness to think this way. The season starts really nice with the fall and its strong and beautiful colors. Maybe the most beautiful time of year I think. But as soon as all the leaves fall of the trees, and the days is getting darker and shorter we go into a different mood. We stay more inside and we make another type of food. Delicious wild meat dinners with mushrooms and root vegetables, colorful soups that buzz for a few hours, and a glass of bordeaux in reach, or a cup of hot chocolate with melting cream on top.
And I listen to Jazz. Jazz is perfect this time of year. You might be a jazz lover yourself ? Mostly I listen to the old legends like, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Etta James, Dinah Washington, Miles Davis, Sarah Vaughan, Nina Simone, Bill Evans, Monica Zetterlund, John Coltrane, Chet Baker
White Chocolate Cake
10 oatcakes (or digestive if you like)
50 g butter
400 g white chocolate
30 g pictachio
2-3 tablespoons raspberry sprinkle
Melt the butter and set aside
Crush the biscuit into small pieces and mix with the butter
Prepare with parchment paper in the bottom of a cake mold with removable bottom.
I used a regular round baking mold of 20 cm
Squeeze the biscuit mixture into the cake bottom as smooth and flat as possible
Melt white chocolate in a bowl over boiling water until it is soft and smooth
Gently mix the chopped pistachio into the chocolate, pluss the raspberry sprinkle, but save some for garnishing, or include some extra
Pour the chocolate pulp over the biscuit, spread to a even layer
Shake a little so that the bottom is covered. Sprinkle over remaining pistachio and raspberry straw.
Music is a great partner in the kitchen. I often listen to Joni Mitchell. And it is one album in particularly I listen to more than others - Both Sides Now ! If you have not had the pleasure of listening to this album yet, I can highly recommend it. It´s one of my all time favorite album. When I clean up all my mess after making food, this album makes it more easy going. I forget time and place.
Chocolate tart with cranberry and raspberry
FOR THE PASTRY
400g plain flour
200g chilled butter
170g icing sugar
4 egg yolks
A pinch of salt
First make the pastry. Add the plain flour to a food processor and blitz for a few seconds. Roughly chop the butter, add to the flour and blitz until you have something that resembles the texture of coarse sand. Remove the blade from the processor and sift in the icing sugar and a generous pinch of salt, then give everything a good stir with a wooden spoon until well combined. Add the yolks and the egg and bring the dough together with your hands, until you have something that is smooth and pliable like play-doh. If the dough is too dry and crumbly, add a tablespoon or two of cold water. Roll into a ball, wrap in clingfilm and set to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes, or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 200˚C. On a lightly floured surface, roll the pastry out into a large circle with a rolling pin. You want the sheet of pastry to be roughly the thickness of a pound coin. Gently press the circle of pastry into the tart tin (no need to grease it) and roll the rolling pin over the top of the tin to trim away any excess pastry. Use a fork to prick the bottom of the tin all over. Now, line the pastry with a sheet of baking paper and fill with baking beans, then bake in the oven for 15 mins until lightly golden at the edges. Take the tin out of the oven, carefully lift off and discard the paper and the beans, then bake again for a further 15 minutes until the pastry is lightly golden all over. Remove from the oven and set to one side to cool.
FOR THE FILLING
300 ml double cream
2 tsp caster sugar
50 g unsalted butter , softened
200 g 70% cocoa cook's chocolate , broken into small pieces
50 ml whole milk
Put the cream, sugar and salt in a pan and bring to the boil. Remove as soon as the mixture boils up. Off the heat, add the butter and chocolate. Stir until blended.
Take a couple of minutes for a breather, then stir in the milk. Keep stirring till shiny. Pour into the tart shell and leave at room temperature for 2 hours to set.
200 g rasberry
200 g cranberry
100 g sugared cranberries
Combine 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in cranberries until well coated. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to wire rack; let dry for at least 1 hour.
Working in batches, roll cranberries in remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar until well coated; let dry for at least 1 hour
Almond Cookies - This cookies is very addictive. They actually called vaniljekransar, but i replaced some of the white flour with almond flour. So they take even more of marzipan.
60 g almond
5 dl wheat flour
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 vanilla bean
1 1/2 dl sugar
225 g cold butter
1 egg, whipped
Preheat the oven 200 g
Grind almonds to flour in a almond grinder or mixer. Mix with wheat flour, almond flour, salt and baking soda. Scrape the vanilla seeds and mix them in the sugar. Add vanilla sugar in the flour mixture. Mix in the butter either by hand or in a kitchen machine. The dough will be crumbled. Tie it all together with the egg. Shape small balls and press them flat with a fork.
Bake in oven for about 7-8 minutes
Christmas Cake - It is my first time to make this kind of Christmas Cake and it tasted even better than I expected. So moist and soft. I will probably bake this cake the following years to come. And the best thing about this kind of cakes, - we can keep them for mounts in a dark cool place. So this cake can actually stay in the fridge and we can enjoy it until spring. But it´s probably gone by New Year …
As-you-Like-It Christmas Cake
1 kg mixed dried fruit (any blend of raisins, sultanas, currants, mixed peel, dried cranberries, glacé cherries, chopped dried apricots, dates, dried figs or dried pineapple)
150 ml sherry, brandy, rum or brewed tea, plus extra for feeding
zest and juice of 2 oranges, 2 lemons or 4 clementines
250 g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for the tin
250 g light, soft brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
200 g plain flour
2 tsp mixed spice (I used a mix of cinnamon, cardamum, allspice and nutmeg)
or you can find the recipe for mixed spice here :
100 g whole or flaked almonds, chopped hazelnuts, walnuts or brazil nuts (optional)
Put your chosen dried fruit mixture into a large bowl with your choice of alcohol or tea, citrus zest and juice. Mix well, cover and leave overnight. ( I used dark rum )
Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3. Butter and double-line a deep cake tin – 20cm round or 18cm square – with enough baking parchment to come about 2.5cm above the top of the tin. Wrap the outside of the tin with a few sheets of newspaper, securing with staples or string.
Beat the butter, sugar and vanilla until creamy, then beat in the eggs one by one. Tip in the flour, mixed spice, soaked dried fruit and any liquid from the bowl, plus your chosen nuts, if using. Stir everything together, then scrape into the cake tin. Using the back of your spoon, make a slight dent in the centre of the mixture, then bake for 1½ hrs.
Reduce oven to 140C/120C fan/gas 1, loosely cover the top of the cake with a double sheet of foil or baking parchment, and bake for another 45 mins-1 hr or until a skewer poked right to the bottom comes out clean. Cool in the tin, then lift out and wrap in greaseproof paper or baking parchment. Keep in a cake tin with a tight-fitting lid, or wrapped in a large sheet of foil, in a cool, dark place for up to 6 months. Open the cake every week or two to feed by poking with a skewer in several places and dribbling over a little more of your chosen alcohol or tea.
Another album that has followed me for many years, and which is still as beautiful - Lady In Satin by Billie Holiday
I used to travel a lot before and stayed at hotels, often for several weeks in a row. It is a rather lonely and boring life in the long run. Therefore, music became an important companion and comfort for me after long evenings on stage. I fell asleep to the voice of Billie Holiday in my earphones for many years, and always slept well. Even though I felt lonely, I always woke up grateful. Completely aware of how lucky I am to be born and raised in a modern and enlightened society.
Happy New Year !
300 g whole mixed nuts (pistachio, almond and hazelnut)
250 g honey
2 dl cane sugar
100 g core-free dates
3 1/4 flour (sift together with the cocoa)
1/2 dl cocoa
1 teaspoon cardamom
1 teaspoon cinnamon
200 g dark chocolate (finely chopped)
icing sugar for garnishing
Put baking sheet in a mold, about 20 x 25 cm
Put the nuts on a plate and fry them for 175 g until they have a little color. Remove them and cover with a towel so they do not chill
Pour the batter in the mold, push it flat. Bake in oven at 175 g for about 15 minutes (not too long, then it will be too hard)
Remove the Panforte from the mold, allow to cool. Garnish with icing sugar. Let the cake rest for a day. And then cut it into pieces for serving