February 28, 2011

Kolasnittar - Swedish toffee shortbread


 As I'll be spending quite some time outside home this week, I thought I'd rather make a batch of homemade cookies than getting a chocolate bar of 1000 calories and additives from a sweetshop. Smart, ain't it? I seem to never find it difficult coming up with reasons to bake - not even on Monday morning :))
Searching for some quick and easy recipe, I remembered having kolasnittar at one of our morning breaks at work. They were just perfect with a cup of black coffee! "Kola" means caramel or toffee in Swedish which suggests the richness of taste. If done properly, the inside remains chewy.
I chose to follow Leila Lindholm's recipe because I liked her idea of using ginger in the dough.


2 1/4 dl all-purpose flour
1 tea spoon ground ginger
1 tea spoon vanilla sugar
1/2 tea spoon bicarbonate (soda)
100 g butter at room temperature
1 dl caster sugar
2 table spoons golden syrup

1. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees.
2. Mix flour, ginger, vanilla sugar and bicarbonate in a bowl.
3. In another bowl, beat butter, syrup and sugar until light and fluffy.
4. Add the flour mix and work quickly into a smooth dough.
5. Split the dough into two pieces and roll out to "sausages".
6. Put the sausages on a baking sheet. Flatten them out by using hands or a rolling-pin.
7. Use a fork to make a pattern if you like.
8. Bake for about 15 minutes. Let cool a little and cut diagonally.

Store in a jar or freeze in some.

Have a great week and don't skip the coffee breaks! :)

February 20, 2011

Almost tiramisu :)

I call this dessert (almost) tiramisu even though I know it's thousands of miles far from the classical one. I bet that the Italians are pretty selective with what should and what shouldn't be called Tiramisu. There certainly are a number of "rules" to follow when making tiramisu, as using espresso for instance - not just any kind of coffee and most preferably an Italian brand like Lavazza, Illy, Cello etc. Using raw eggs is another rule and most importantly, Mascarpone.

My "tiramisu" doesn't tick a single box of these rules but let's face it, if I think of it as of "almost tiramisu", who's to be hurt? :)
For those who suffer from lactose intolerance, is Mascarpone no option. At least I haven't been able to find a lactose-free one here in Sweden. I use a lactose free variant of "kvarg" instead, cream curd (jemny tvaroh in Slovak). It's delicious, light (only about 1% fat) and as close to Mascarpone as I could come.

When not following the rules, I can just as well be consistent about it and break the rest of them too: used neither Cognac nor Brandy. Instead I chose cacao liqueur which I think corresponds well with the cocoa powder decoration. At this point I must say that the best tiramisu I've ever had was a variant made with Baileys. Heavenly good.
As they say, "there aren't two tiramisu that taste the same", so why not experiment a little and make one that you can label as "your own"? Do any of you have some special "tiramisu tricks" you are willing to share?

Almost tiramisu:

Ingredients: (makes about 6 servings)
savoiardi lady fingers (about 18-20 pieces)
500 g light cream curd  
1 cup espresso
2 shots cacao liqueur
vanilla sugar (or sugar and vanilla powder)
cocoa powder

1. Make the espresso and let cool to a room temperature. Pour it into a shallow bowl and add the cocoa liqueur. 
2. Dip the savoiardi in the espresso (both sides) and place one by one in a rectangular bowl.
3. Mix the curd with sugar and vanilla and spread a half of it on the savoiardi.
4. Make another layer of espresso savoiardi and cover with the rest of the curd.
5. Place in the fridge for a couple of hours. Sprinkle the cocoa powder on top before serving. Enjoy!

February 18, 2011

Bake easy - bake muffins :)

I'm visiting a friend this evening and even though I was told not to bring anything, I made these muffins. They make a great appetizer or a snack. I can even imagine having these instead of bread to a soup or sallad. I didn't follow any recipe this time, just used igredients that I think work well together. The muffins turned out just as I expected them which made me glad and even more keen on further experimenting in kitchen :) Yes, I know, to bake muffins is one of the easiest things to do but on the other hand, the most rewarding!

Feta&sundried tomatoes muffins with rosemary and lemon zest

Ingredients: (makes about 12 medium size muffins)
3,5 dl all purpose flour
1,5 dl spelt grain (can be replaced by same amount of oatmeal, or just use 5 dl flour)
1 tea spoon sea salt
1,5 table spoon baking powder
1 tea spoon dried rosemary
1,5 dl milk
1 dl oil (can use olive oil if you like)
2 eggs
feta cheese cubed
sundried tomatoes
lemon zest of 1 lemon

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
2. Mix flour, spelt grain, salt, baking powder and rosemary in a bowl.
3. Beat the eggs lightly in another bowl, add milk and oil.
4. Pour the egg and milk mix into the flour mix and work carefully into a dough.
5. Add the feta, sundried tomatoes cut into pieces and lemon zest.
6. Spoon the dough into a muffin baking pan and bake for about 20-25 minutes. If you are not using paper muffin containers, butter and flour the baking sheet first.

Have a great weekend everyone!

February 17, 2011

Roasted carrot and beet soup with zucchini

Is there anything better and more comforting than a bowl of a really nice and rich soup? Don't think so! Especially when the thermometer is showing no less than -20...brrrh!
Thanks to my friend Matka and her sensational food experiments I gave it a shot and tried to make a soup of roasted vegetables. Ever since I've been experimenting with different vegetable variations of the soup. In Matkas recipe is the soup made of roasted carrots and red onions.

This soup helped me "survive" the last two days of detox :)
PS I used very little cream and the soup was still delicious!

Roasted carrot and beet soup with zucchini
(makes 4 portions)
500 g carrots
1 big or 2 small beets
2 cloves of garlic
olive oil
5 dl vegetable stock
1,5 dl single cream
dried rosemary and oregano
salt and black pepper
1/2 lemon
1 zucchini
squash seeds (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Peel and clean the carrots and beets.
2. In a bowl, stir together oregano, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Toss with vegetables until they are coated. Spread evenly on a baking sheet. Roast in the oven for about 30 minutes.
3. Prepare the vegetable stock meanwhile.
4. Put the roasted carrots and beets into a blender with a little bit of the vegetable stock and two cloves of fresh garlic. Puree until smooth.
5. Mix with the rest of the stock in the pan, add the lemon juice, rosemary, cream and cook thru. Season with salt and pepper.
6. Roast the zucchini rings in the pan with a table spoon of olive oil until golden-brown.
7. Garnish the soup with the zucchini rings and some squash seeds.

Look at the color and thickness of the soup, I just must say I love it! :) 
Have a lovely day!

February 12, 2011

Carrot "cappuccino"

Hungry for something good and sweet but sugarfree? Juice some carrots and kiwis (or apples). Serve in a cappuccino cup and garnish with cinnamon spice.

February 11, 2011

Juicing for health

Are you considering getting yourself a juicer? We bought one this week and I'm so excited about it! Probably the best investment this year. It does take space in the kitchen and it is a bit clumsy to get clean but that's totally worth it. Juicing is easy and fun! A lot of juicer recipes and information on juicing I found here.

Detox day number one was yesterday:
  • breakfast: fresh juice made of beets, celery stalks, apples, and carrot
  • lunch: avocado soup
  • dinner: frittata made of egg whites, broccoli and lightly smoked pork loin, asparagus on the side
  • snack#1: carrot, apple and celery juice
  • snack#2: avocado soup 

 Well yes, I admit that I had a little bit of the avocado mousse I made yesterday :) I hope it didn't make so much damage but I'll have to watch out for such temptations. I'm trying to enjoy my detox, looking at the bright side of all the health benefits I'll probably experience later on. I'm lucky that I'm staying at home for one more week, I can imagine that detoxing while working must be quite a hard work.
I did have a minor headache yesterday but other than that I did not experience anything unpleasant. Craving for sugar was not that bad as I was expecting, the juiced apples and carrots helped to prevent it maybe?

These pictures I have taken today, my morning juice consisted of beets, carrots, celery stalks, lemon and ginger. A real vitamine boost!

Have a great juicy day everyone!

February 10, 2011

A as in avocado

I didn't know the taste of avocado until I was about 25 years old. We were having dinner with friends in a cosy mexican restaurant in Prague and had guacamole among the dishes we ordered. I remember there was a "mexican" restaurant in my home town Nitra, but I don't remember anything made of avocado on the menu! :) Today avocado is a often on my menu. My two favorite recipes, a soup and a dessert with avocado, follow:

Avocado soup with lime and chilli

Ingredients: (makes about 3 portions)
2 avocados
1/2 liter vegetable stock
1 lime, juiced
1 clove of garlic (optional)
chillipepper (fresh or dried)
sea salt

1. Cut the avocados in half and remove the pits. Spoon the avocados into a blender and puree together with a little bit of the semi-cold vegetable stock.
2. Add chilli, lime juice, garlic and the remaining vegetable stock. Blend until smooth.
3. Season with sea salt and serve.

Trust me, it's wonderful. I make this soup very often and I never get tired of it :)

Recipe adapted from 500 soppor, den enda bok med soppor du behöver by Susannah Blake.

Avocado mousse

 Avocado in a dessert? Oh my, it's so surprisingly good! I can only recommend because even Andreas, who is not an avocado fan, liked it!

Ingredients: (makes 2 portions)
1 avocado
zest and juice of 1/2 lime
100 ml heavy cream
2 tbsp light muscovado sugar

1. Cut the avocado in half, remove the seed and peel. Mix the avocado together with the sugar, lime juice and zest until smooth. Use a handheld blender.
2. Whip the heavy cream and blend it into the avocado mix.
3. Cool for about 2 hours before serving. Yummie! :)

Recipe adapted from Höstens goda mat, Ica Kvantum.

February 9, 2011

Chocolate brandy coffee cups

A real chocolate treat for grown ups :) 

I love making chocolate cups and candy at home. Playing with flavours and ingredients makes a different result every time..

The combination of chocolate, whip cream, brandy and coffee just melts in your mouth. So easy and so delicious!

As promised, the recipe is extremely easy:

Ingredients: (makes about 20-25 mini chocolate cups)
140 ml whip cream (heavy cream)
100 g chocolate (70% cacao)
1-2 tbsp brandy
1 tsp instant coffee
1 egg yolk
15 g unsalted butter

1. Cut the chocolate into ground pieces.
2. Heat up the whip cream in a sauce pan, do not bring to boil.
3. Remove from heat, add the chocolate and mix until melted.
4. Add the brandy, instant coffee, egg yolk and mix until smooth.
5. Mix the butter into the chocolate cream.
6. Fill small candy cups with the chocolate mix and cool for a couple of hours in the fridge.

The chocolate mix will retain a slightly soft consistence so it works perfectly well to use mocha cups instead of these aluminium cups. It will make a wonderful dessert!


February 6, 2011


My two favorites on one plate. Refreshing. Delicious. Made of 4 ingredients: avocado, mango, lemon juice (lime juice), sea salt.

................................................ Loooooooove :) .............................................