Recipe: Lobster soup with toast

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For New Year’s Eve my assignment was to make a lobster soup with sherry, so that’s what I set out to do. But as I needed lobster shell for the stock I thought it best to incorporate the lobster meat as well and did so by serving a delicious lobster toast (on butter-fried bread!) along side it. So yummy!

Obviously one can make the soup sans toast the day after a lobster feast or freeze the shells and use them another day. Same goes for prawn shells; you find a great recipe for prawn soup here.

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Lobster soup, serves 8

4 cooked lobsters

2 carrots

1 onion with skin on 

1 fennel or celery 

a bunch dill stalks

1 tsp fennel seeds

300 ml double cream 

50 ml dry sherry

approx 2 tbsp maizena or corn starch to thicken the soup

concentrated lobster stock (to taste)

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1 tbsp butter

a splash of sherry

2 shallots, finely chopped 

1/2 bunch dill, finely chopped 

Remove the lobster meat from the shells and set aside. Chop the shells very coarsley (it’s only so they fit better in the pan later). Place the shell in a large cooking tray with a little oil. Also add large pieces of carrot, onion and celery/fennel. Roast for approx 20 minutes on 180/200C. Transfer the shells and vegetables to a large saucepan with a lid. Add plenty of water (3 litres) and bring to the boil. Add dill stalks and fennel seeds. Place the lid askew and cook for 30-45 minutes.

Sieve the stock and reduce (high heat, no lid) until approx 1 litre remains. Add salt and pepper and taste. Add some concentrated lobster stock if needed. Add the sherry to a clean non-stick pan and let it bubble for a minute. Add the stock and cream and let it thicken. Add the maizena/corn starch to thicken the soup further. Sieve if you see any lumps. Season to taste with concentrate, salt, pepper and sherry. 

From the lobster meat I used approx 1/4 of the meat, the smallest pieces, to place in the soup bowls. Melt the butter in a pan and add the chopped shallots. After a minute add the lobster meat and add the sherry. Add salt and pepper. Remove the pan from the heat and add the dill. Divide between the bowls and pour in the soup. 

Lobster toast, serves 8

6 slices white bread

2 tbsp butter

remaining lobster meat from the 4 lobsters

1 batch homemade mayonnaise

1 tsp dijon

1 bunch, finely chopped

1 pinch cayenne pepper

salt, pepper

Chop the lobster meat (not too finely). Add 4 tbsp mayonnaise to a bowl and mix in the meat. Add more mayo if needed. Add mustard, dill and cayenne after taste. Season. Place cold until serving. 

Remove the crusts on the bread and cut into two diagonally. Fry the slices golden brown on both sides in butter on medium-low heat. Divide the lobster mayonnaise between the toasts and serve with the soup. 

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New Year’s Eve luncheon

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I know a lot of people think NYE is a real anti-climax, but I really enjoy celebrating it. Any excuse to dress up and drink champagne works for me!

Growing up, my parents and their friends made it special, always making it an occasion. Us children got to play with each others new toys (one NYE turned into Super Mario tournament), but also celebrate with the grown-ups, cheering with alcohol free cider instead of champagne, watching the fire works through the windows (to this day I still don’t like to go outside in the cold on the stroke of midnight), and watch the speech and the countdown on Swedish Television. It felt magical and that’s the feeling I carry with me now on New Year’s Eves with friends.

Nowadays the food make it special, and we really enjoy the Kalix roe, lobster and fillet of beef, but we have also realised that it’s really nice to do something on the day. So we prep as much as we can the day (or days, depending on the ambition) before NYE, so that we have the day free to hang out together until it’s time to get ready and cook dinner.

 

 

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This year, we thought a lunch in Malmö would be ideal. We went to Copenhagen last year for lunch and although lovely it felt a little rushed. But, it turned out, no restaurants in Malmö were open for lunch on New Year’s Eve. Maybe it’s un-Swedish to go out for lunch before a big evening celebration, who knows?! Luckily, after a lot of googling, we did find ONE restaurant open for lunch so we quickly booked a table and enjoyed a nice French lunch.

La Bonne Vie is a cosy French restaurant in the middle of town, just on Davidshalls Torg, and when we arrived for a late-ish lunch the restaurant was full up. And, just like us, most guests were drinking bubbly.

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The lunch menu was classic French with a few Swedish touches and very affordable. Emma and I both had the Toast Skagen with a very generous portion of prawns with mayonnaise and dill on butter-fried bread. Delicious!

Claes had the moules frites and also received a very generous portion of mussels, nice crispy fries and rouille.

We had a lovely lunch and will certainly be back this year too. Thank you for staying open!

La Bonne Vie, Davidshallstorg 7, Malmö, Sweden

New Years Eve 2015

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New Year’s Eve. A bit like Marmite – some people hate it, some people like it. I’m definitely in the latter category. I like all the cosiness Christmas brings, but I’m not a fan of the stodgy food that we traditionally eat in Scandinavia, so New Year’s is for me the perfect opportunity to cook and eat food I really like. Food worthy to end the year.

The last few years I’ve spent the evening with my closest friends and we have worked out the perfect New Year’s Eve menu, for us at least.

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We start off with champagne, Swedish Kalix (bleak) roe, butter-fried bread, creme fraiche and chopped red onion., with champagne. It’s the most simple thing – yet incredibly delicious (and very Scandi!).

Next we have lobster, usually with melted garlic butter, and this year I opted for caramelised garlic butter – another simple and delicious dish!

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For mains we usually have fillet of beef, with potatoes and greens. This year the beef fillet was served with mini Pommes Anna (made in a muffin tin), mange tout and a mushroom sauce with Dijon mustard.

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For pudding we had individual chocolate pavlovas with chocolate crème and creme fraiche (whipped cream would be better but I forgot it), decorated with daim and Noblesse chocolate thins. A jug of chocolate sauce was put on the table so everyone could help themselves.

Lobster with caramelized garlic butter, serve 4

2 lobsters, cooked 

1 whole garlic

100 g salted butter, at room temperature

a bunch of parsley 

1 slice of lemon, cut into 4

4 slices of baguette

The day before (or at least a few hours ahead of) serving: Wrap the garlic in tin foil and bake for 40 mins in 180C oven (until soft). Leave to cool.

Mix the butter with as much caramelized garlic you like. It’s sweeter and not as strong as fresh garlic, so I thought 5 cloves was a good amount. Chop the parsley and mix in. Add pepper too. Roll into a roll and cover with cling. Place in the fridge to set. 

To serve: Cut the lobsters in half lengthways, remove the gooey bits in the head and the bowel string. Rinse the shell with the meat still inside. Crack the claws and get the meat out. Place in the shells and place the shells in an ovenproof dish. Cut the butter into thick slices and distribute on the lobster halves. Place in 180C oven for approx 10 mins until the lobsters are hot and the butter has melted. Serve immediately with a piece of lemon and a slice of baguette. 

Mini Pommes Anna with thyme, serve 4

Adapted from Bon Appetit’s recipe.

850 g potato of a firm variety (Maris Piper works well)

100 g butter

a bunch of fresh thyme 

salt, black pepper

Preheat oven to 180°C . Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Brush 8-10 wholes in the muffin tin all over with butter. Line bottoms with parchment-paper rounds. Arrange 1-2 small thyme sprigs in center of each round. Drizzle 1/2 teaspoon butter into bottom of each cup.

 

Add chopped thyme and garlic to remaining butter in saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

 

Using food processor, moulinex or mandoline, slice potatoes crosswise into very thin rounds , placing them in a large bowl as you work. Pour herb butter over and season with salt and pepper; toss to coat well.

 

Divide potato slices among muffin cups, layering overlapping slices to create a circular pattern. Lightly press center of each to make compact. Drizzle any remaining butter and seasoning from bowl over.

 

Cover muffin pan tightly with foil and place in the oven. Bake until potatoes can be pierced easily with the tip of a knife and are golden brown, about 35 minutes.
Remove foil; invert a rimmed baking sheet over pan. Turn, lightly tapping on counter, releasing potatoes onto sheet. Rearrange any slices that may have fallen out. Discard parchment.
Individual chocolate pavlovas, served 4

Translated from and Adapted after Roy Fares’ recipe.

Chocolate crème:

50 g dark chocolate

30 g (3) egg yolks

37,5 g caster sugar

15 g maizena corn starch

1/2 tsp vanilla

175 ml milk

10 g butter

Pavlovas:

37,5 g dark chocolate

70 g (2) egg whites

110 g caster sugar

4 g maizena corn starch

1/2 tsp white wine vinegar 

Chocolate sauce:

50 ml caster sugar

50 ml cocoa

50 ml cream

15 g butter

To decorate:

300 ml lightly whipped cream

1/2 packet daim balls (or a chocolate bar, chopped)

12 Noblesse chocolate thins or similar 

4 sparklers

Chocolate cream: Chop the chocolate and place in a bowl. Mix egg yolks, sugar, corn starch and vanilla in another bowl. Bring the milk to the boil in a saucepan and mix it into the egg yolk mixture (little by little as to not scramble the eggs). Pour the egg yolk milk mixture into the saucepan on medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture has thickened. Cook for another 2 minutes, on low heat, to get rid of the corn starch flavour. Pour the custard over the chocolate, add the butter and mix until the chocolate has melted. Cover with cling and place in fridge until cold. 

Pavlovas: Chop the chocolate and place in a bowl, melt either over boiling water or in the microwave. Pre-heat oven to 150C. 

Beat the egg whites until foamy and add the sugar bit by it while beating until stiff and glossy. Add the corn flour and vinegar and mix carefully with a spatula. Drizzle with the melted chocolate and create a marbled effect by folding the mixture 2-3 times with a spatula. Divide the meringue mixture into four small rounds on a lined baking tray. 

Bake in the middle of the oven for 60 minutes. Turn the oven off and leave the meringues in the oven while cooling. Let the meringue discs cool completely. 

Chocolate sauce: Mix sugar, cocoa and cream in a saucepan. Bring to the boil. Let the mixture simmer for 3-5 minutes. Leave to cool completely. 

Assembling: Place a meringue disc on each plate. Fill up with the crème and top with whipped cream. Decorate with daim, noblesse and sparklers. Heat up the sauce and serve it in a jug on the side.  

 

 

 

Baked Alaska with oat crisps, raspberries and passion fruit

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Two New Year’s Eves in a row I’ve made the same fabulous dessert and even though i love it, it’s fun to change things up a little, so this New Year’s Eve I decided to make a Baked Alaska. The base is oat crisps, as well as the decoration and the centre is homemade vanilla ice cream topped with passion fruit and wrapped in Italian meringue. Raspberry coulis, fresh raspberries and half a passion fruit to serve. It was delicious and looked just as impressive as I had pictured in my head.

Baked Alaska with raspberries and passion fruit, serves 4

1 batch oat crisps 

1 batch vanilla ice cream 

Italian meringue:

4 egg whites

150 ml caster sugar

Syrup:

150 ml caster sugar

100 ml water

Raspberry coulis:

1 litre frozen raspberries 

a little sugar (to taste)

100 ml water

1 tbsp potato flour 

To decorate:

1 punnet fresh raspberries 

4 passion fruits

Make the oat crisps using the link above. These can be made a few day in advance, just store in an airtight container. Use a dessert spoon to measure the oat crisps for the base and half a teaspoon for the small decorative oat crisps. Still bake them for the same amount of time. 

Make the ice cream and divide between four ramekins lined with cling film, freeze until needed.  

Make the raspberry coulis: place all the ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to the boil, sieve to remove the kernels and leave to cool. Can also be made ahead of time. 

Montage:

Make the Italian meringue: Add the egg whites and sugar in a bowl and beat for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, bring the water and sugar for the syrup to the boil in a saucepan. Pour the (very) hot syrup into the meringue mixture and beat for another 15 minutes until you have a thick, glossy meringue.

Place a large oat crisp on each plate. Remove the ice cream from the ramekins and cling and place on top of the oat crisps. Scrape out the seeds from half a passion fruit on top of each ice cream block. Cover the whole lot (apart from the base) with the meringue using a spatula. Use a cream brulee torch to torch the meringue until golden brown. Decorate the plate with the raspberry coulis and fresh fruit. Top each dessert with a small oat crisp and maybe a sparkler. Serve immediately.

Lunch at Marchal, Copenhagen

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I have a long list of Copenhagen restaurants I want to try, but they were all closed for lunch on New Year’s Eve. But that was lucky in a way because that made us discover Marchal, the one Michelin-starred restaurant in Hotel d’Angleterre.

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The lunch menu was really nice, but a little tricky to figure out which dishes were starters and which were main courses, but I think we did alright. Claes and I had poached oysters with potato and root vegetable balls, crispy potato, horseradish sauce and dill oil. Such a great dish – subtle flavours in absolute harmony.

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Emma had a chicken salad with crispy chicken skin and loved every bite.

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And Linus had confit pork breast with onions, apples and jus. Also really, really nice!

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The portions were not very big, but still felt quite substantial so it was perfect to follow it up with two plates of cheese (with fried rye bread, figs and strawberry conserve) to share. It was a fine balance to eat enough to feel full and content but not too full as we had a quite large dinner planned for the evening.

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We had a nice Sancerre with our dinner, recommended by the sommelier, and I must say the service was really good over all.

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Marchal offered exactly what we wanted for our New Year’s Eve luncheon; some flair and big city buzz but still a relaxed ambiance. And of course wonderful food! We’ll be back.

Marchal, Hotel d’Angleterre, 34, Kongens Nytorv, 1050 København K, Denmark

NYE 2013

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My bestie Emma and I have always liked a good party and quite often organised New Year’s Eve parties ourselves. Although it has always been lots of fun it takes quite a lot of time and effort to do it well so, in lieu of a big NYE party to go to, we decided to go back to basics for once. Just a few people, four in fact. Easy but classic and very tasty food, champagne and nice wines to drink and just lots of fun because you’re among great friends.

I wouldn’t mind a repeat this year, guys!

After watching some ice hockey in the afternoon (the Junior World Championship was on in Malmö) we started our evening with Champagne and canapès consisting of crispy bread fried in butter topped with creme fraiche, Swedish caviar (löjrom), red onions, dill and lemon slices. It doesn’t require much cooking but it is so delicious it still impresses your guests!

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Our starter was lobster with melted garlic butter and puff pastry twists. Again very simple, but absolutely gorgeous!

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The even bigger hit was the main course with incredibly tender fillet of beef that I managed to buy in a regular (but very good) supermarket (where I also found bone marrow  – I was in heaven!). Served rare with a wonderful mushroom crème, tenderstem broccoli, caramelised shallots, Hasselback potatoes and creamy red wine sauce, I think this was everyone’s favourite dish. So so delicious!

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I made the same dessert as last year, as it was such a success! Fluffy parfait with chopped dark chocolate and caramelised hazelnuts served with honeycomb and butterscotch sauce. Delicious!

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Just before midnight we walked down to the Opera in Malmö where the fire work display was going to be, toasted in some more bubbly, watched the fireworks and went back inside to eat and drink some more. It was a great evening!

The Recipes

Swedish caviar with butter-fried bread, serves 4

4-6 slices of nice white bread

2 tbsp salted butter for frying 

1 packet Swedish caviar (löjrom – bleak roe)

200 ml creme fraiche

1/2 red onion, finely chopped

dill lemon slices to decorate

Heat up a frying pan on medium heat and melt half the butter but don’t let it burn. Fry the bread slowly first on one side and then on the other until crispy and golden brown. Add more butter when you turn the bread. Cut into smaller pieces. 

Chop the red onion and let it soak in icecold water a few minutes before serving to lose some of the sharpness. Drain before serving. 

Either place a dollop of creme fraiche, caviar and some red onion, dill and a small lemon segment on each bread piece or serve in bowls and let people assemble their own canapès. 

Lobster with garlic butter and puff pastry twists, serves 4

2 fresh lobsters

100 g salted butter, at room temperature 

1 medium garlic clove, pressed

1 handful fresh parsley, chopped

white pepper

1 roll all butter puff pastry 

sea salt flakes

lemon slices to serve

Start with the puff pastry twists. Cut the roll of puff pastry into 2 cm wide strips. Twist each strip a few times and place on a lined baking tray. Sprinkle with sea salt flakes and bake in 225C oven for 8-10 minutes or until golden and crisp. Leave to cool. Keep in an airtight container. 

Mix the softened butter with garlic, parsley and some white pepper.

Cut the lobsters in half lengthways with a sharp yet sturdy knife. Remove the black vein and any roe. Rinse very carefully. Remove and open the claws and keep the claw meat on the side. Place the lobster halves on a baking tray, spread with butter and place in a 200C oven for about 10 minutes. Serve with a lemon wedge, a fresh claw each and the puff pastry twists. 

Fillet of beef with Hasselback potatoes, tenderstem broccoli, mushroom crème, caramelised shallots and creamy red wine sauce, serves 4

1 kg good quality beef fillet, trimmed of any tendons and cut into 3-4 cm thick medallions 

1 kg medium Maris Piper potatoes (or another firm type)

2-3 broccoli stems per person

1 batch red wine juswith approx 400 ml liquid

200 ml double cream

Start with the sauce, crème and onions (recipes below). Add the cream to the red wine jus, let it thicken and season to taste. Can be reheated before serving. 

Peel the potatoes and cut in half lengthways. Put them flat side down and make small incisions creating a ridged effect with a sharp knife. Don’t cut all the way through and leave 1-2 mm between the incisions. Place the potato halves on an oiled baking tray, drizzle with mild oil and add salt and pepper. Bake until crisp and golden brown, approx 30-40 minutes in 200C. 

Brown the meat on all sides. Season well with salt and black pepper. Place in oven on 150C until the inside temperature of the meat is 55C (for medium-rare). Rest the meat a few minutes before serving. 

Cook the broccoli in salted water until soft but not mushy. Drain and add some more salt. 

Plate with the mushroom crème underneath the meat. 

Mushroom crème, serves 4

125 g chestnut mushrooms

1 handful dried ceps (porcini) in pieces 

1 shallots, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, pressed

2 tsp Dijon mustard

1 tbsp Cognac

50 ml double cream

salt, white pepper

Soak the ceps for a few minutes then squeeze out the excess liquid. Chop all the mushrooms roughly. Heat up a knob of butter in a frying pan/sauteuse on mediun heat and add shallots, garli and mushrooms. Fry slowly adding more butter if needed. Once the mushrooms have browned, add the mustard and Cognac and let the liquid evaporate. Add the cream and let the mixture thicken. Blend to a smooth paste using a stick blender. Adjust the seasoning. Heat up again before serving.

Caramelised shallots, serves 4

10-12 shallots, peeled and cut in half

1 knob salted butter

200 ml red wine

100 ml beef stock

2 tsp Acacia honey

salt, pepper

Use a non-stick pan. Caramelise the onions in the butter on medium heat, it takes about 5 minutes. Add red wine, stock and honey and let the liquid evaporate (without a lid) until you have sticky dark brown onions. Add salt and pepper. 

NYE 2012 – the dessert

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Being more a savoury than sweet person, I must admit, that when it comes to this particular dessert I may have changed sides. Because it has everything I like! Sweetness of course, different textures, creaminess and lightness and the lovely combination of sweet and salty in the sauce.

Ladies and gentlemen I present to you my favourite dessert: Iced chocolate nougat parfait with honeycomb and butterscotch sauce.

Neither one of the recipes are my own, although I have altered the nougat parfait a bit. But even so, I am just proud for bringing them together. As the last of four courses and plenty of wine on New Year’s Eve people still asked for seconds and loved it. I think that illustrates just how good this is.

You can also prepare it all ahead of time, and just heat up the butterscotch sauce, which makes it ideal for dinner parties. With that said, I must admit that although most of this dessert is fairly straight forward, one element can be rather tricky; caramelizing the hazelnuts.

But fear not, Delia can provide help with this very useful tutorial.

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Iced chocolate nougat parfait with honeycomb and butterscotch sauce, serves 6

Adapted from Michel Roux Jr’s recipe.

I doubled this recipe too serve nine, but you could easily stretch just one batch to eight or nine people.

150 g caster sugar

150 g blanched hazelnuts

200 g chopped dark chocolate, not too bitter

6 egg whites, at room temperature

225 g caster sugar

2 tsp vanilla

375 ml double or whipping cream, whipped until soft peaks

Start by melting the sugar in a saucepan (use Delia’s guide for a good result) until golden brown. Add the hazelnuts and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Spread/pour the mixture onto a tray lined with baking parchment. Leave to cool and set. Then roughly chop or break up the caramel by using a wooden spoon. 

In a bain marie, beat egg whites and sugar frothy until the sugar has melted. Then remove the bowl from the heat and continue to whisk until the bowl has cooled and you have stiff peaks in the meringue.

Fold in the hazelnuts, chopped chocolate, vanilla and whipped cream using a spatula. Pour the mixture either into individual containers or one large container, lined with clingfilm. I prefer to use a bread tin. Cover the mixture with cling film and tin foil. Freeze over night.  

Honeycomb, 1 batch

I used about half of this to serve nine people, but no point making half a batch, the honeycomb is so tasty and can either be eaten like sweets or used as sprinkles for icecream or other puddings.

Adapted from this recipe.

80 g butter

160 g caster sugar

80 g golden syrup

2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Line a 20 cm tray with parchment paper. Heat up butter, sugar and golden syrup in a saucepan on low-medium heat until the sugar has melted. Turn the heat up and let the mixture boil rapidly, without stirring until golden in colour, about 5 minutes. 

Add the bicarb and stir, but take care as this makes the mixture bubble a lot. Pour the mixture into the lined tray and leave to set. Then cut into pieces.

Chop or crumble in a pestle and mortar for rough crumbs for the parfait. 

Butterscotch sauce, 1 batch

One batch sauce is enough for two batches of nougat.

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s recipe.

60 g butter, I used salted

110 g soft light or dark brown sugar, not Muscovado

120 ml double cream

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Mix butter, sugar and cream in a saucepan. Bring to the boil and let it boil for 5 minutes until the mixture has thickened. Stir occasionally. Add salt and vanilla after taste. Can be kept in the fridge for three days and can be reheated.