April 15, 2011

Let's spring :)

This picture is not taken in December in Slovakia, this is April in Umeå! :) Despite the snow in the background we are having a really nice spring weather. After 6 years of living in Sweden I admit, I have become Swedish in my way of appreciating nature, day light, sun. It is only possible during a few moths of the year so if you hesitate and wait for too long, you might miss it!
My friend Sara agreed to join me for a picknick today. We took a bike ride along the river and found a perfect spot to relax and eat our lunch at.
The sun joined us for a while. Not until the coffee got really cold really fast we realized how cold and windy it had become. Never mind! The day outside was totally worth it. Even though I came home completely exhausted from cycling against the wind up the hill, I wanna do it again really soon. Sunday's weather forecast looks pretty promising....:)

Enjoy your spring (and stay outside until winter)!

April 9, 2011

Express feel good dessert

Fresh figs! Very exotic. Very challenging. And a perfect picture object. I don't think that these figs would win a beauty or taste contest worldwide, but they definitely won today in my kitchen :) My philosophy of a perfect one-minute dessert comes right here:

You'll need: Mediterranean style yoghurt / Turkish, Greek etc., fresh figs, maple syrup. Done!

April 6, 2011

Go green!

I've got to thank avocados that gone bad for today's lunch..Have you tried a green pea soup before? Think about it..:)
It's easy and so versatile! All you need is green peas and some imagination. Mix in a blender and enjoy..:) My suggestion for a green pea soup pleases all your senses:

 Green pea soup with shrimp

Ingredients: (makes as many servings as desired)
frozen or fresh green peas
soft cheese
salt, sugar
chilli (optional)
lemon juice
dried tarragon (or other kinds of herbs)

1. Cook the peas in the water with a little bit of salt and sugar. No need to overcook, remove from the heat when it starts boiling.
2. In a blender, mix the peas with some of the water they cooked in together with the soft cheese and chilli until smooth.
3. Season with salt and add some lemon juice.
4. Serve with shrimp and more lemon juice.

Have a green day!! :)

A Thank you cake

Hate saying goodbye so I choose to say thank you instead :) Today I had my last lecture with a very small but very nice group of 4 students. We had so much fun together, at least I hope they also had fun and that they learned. 
Last week I tried a lovely sour cream pound cake recipe. Even though I searched for a new inspiration this week, I turned to the one I already tried in the end. To make it new, I went for blueberries and lemon this time. My lovely mum picked some most wonderful blueberries last summer for me. Just look at the size of those! No wonder I'm always having a hard time deciding how to use them. I usually take a spoonful or two with a bowl of yoghurt or oatmeal in the morning but that's about it. I tend not to "waste" them to baking but today they were totally worth the "waste"! Who wouldn't like a moist, lemony cake with the precious blueberries? I think I can tell that the cake was appreciated! :)

Blueberry&lemon sour cream pound cake

100 g butter softened
1 cup caster sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla sugar or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 eggs
2 dl sour cream
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
about 1 1/2 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen) + 1 tablespoon plain flour

1. Store the eggs, sour cream and butter at the room temperature for about 30 minutes before you start.
2. Set oven to 175 degrees. Grease and flour a high rectangular cake mold.
3. You can soften the butter a little by using a microwave oven.
4. Beat the butter and add sugar, beat again until fluffy and smooth.
5. Beat in eggs, one by one. Mix in the zest and juice of 1 lemon.
6. Mix in the mixture of flour, baking soda and baking powder alternately with the sour cream.
7. Put the frozen or fresh blueberries in a bowl together with the tablespoon of flour. Toss the bowl so that the blueberries are evenly floured. This procedure is to prevent the fruit from sinking to the bottom of the cake.
8. Gently mix the blueberries into the dough. Transfer into the cake mold and bake for about 45-50 minutes.

I wish I had baked the cake a little bit longer, but I was in a hurry and when the cake was just done, it had to get out from the oven..Next time it'll be just perfect! :)

April 1, 2011

Muffins with toffee topping for sweet addicts

I know exactly how these muffins with toffee topping happened to me. Some time ago I discovered a wondeful thing at our local food store. Toffee muffins. They were so extraordinary delicious that I've been thinking ever since how to make them at home. Especially after they vanished from the market completely.
The result is not an exact copy of those from the food store, but they are very dreamy :))
And now I can officially call myself a sweet addict-again. I'll be enjoying this status for a few more days before cutting down on sugar.
The recipe is a combination of two. I decided to make the muffins of a sour cream pound cake dough which turned out really great. As for the toffee sauce, I found the most wonderful Nigella-recipe.

Sour cream pound cake muffins with Nigellas sticky toffee topping

Inspiration: http://www.nigella.com/recipes/view/sticky-toffee-muffins-1916
90 g butter
(almost) 1 cup sugar
3 eggs
2 dl sour cream
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
a pinch of vanilla bean extract or 1 tbsp vanilla sugar

Toffee sauce:
60 g butter
75 g light muscovado sugar
1 tbsp golden syrup
125 ml double cream

1. Let the sour cream, eggs, and butter at a room temperature for about 30 minutes.
2. Set oven to 180 degrees.
3. Beat the butter for about 30 seconds. Gradually add sugar and beat until light and fluffy for about 10 minutes.
4. Mix together flour, baking soda, baking powder and vanilla/vanilla sugar.
5. Beat in eggs into the butter-sugar mixture, one at a time.
6. Alternately add the flour mixture and sour cream until well combined.
7. Fill the muffin cups with the mixture to 2/3 and bake for about 20 minutes. Let cool completely. 
8. Meanwhile, put the butter, muscovado sugar, golden syrup and cream in a pan over a low heat. 
9. Stir to combine, then increase the heat and simmer for 10 mins until thickened.
10. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature. 
For serving, drizzle the muffins with the toffee sauce or groop a hole in each muffin to fill it with the toffee sauce..