Recipe: Crema Catalana

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If you love a creme brûlée but don’t always have the patience to make it, then this is for you. This Spanish cousin of the creme brûlée is much easier to make as it doesn’t need the water bath oven time, but it still offers that caramelised lovely sugar on top of the vanilla crème.

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Crema Catalana, serves 6

100 ml (80 g) caster sugar 

300 ml cream 

1 tbsp corn flour

5 egg yolks

250 ml milk 

1 tsp vanilla 

1 pinch of sugar per bowl for serving 

Whisk ety yolks, corn flour and sugar until fluffy in a bowl. Bring milk, cream and vanilla almost to the boil. Remove from heat and pour little by little into the egg yolk mixture while whisking. Pour the milk mixture back into the pan and let it thicken on low heat while stirring. Pour into bowls when it has thickened and leave to cool. Refrigerate until serving. 

Scatter the bowls with a little sugar and blow torch until golden (or in lieu of a blow torch use the grill on the oven to caramelise the sugar). Serve with berries. 

Recipe: daim ice cream cake

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In my family we all love the daim bar. I grew up eating them for fika instead of a cookie sometimes (but only half a daim bar each!) and my favourite ice cream is still the daim ice cream. Either as scoops or the daim cone we have in Sweden.

So I don’t know why it took me so long to try this daim ice cream cake recipe, as it basically has my name written all over it!

I made it for pudding in the summer for some friends of mine and we all loved it, although I thought it was borderline too sweet. (Who have I become?!) So when I made it for the second time, only a few days later, for dinner with my parents, I changed the proportions a bit. The cake base is really lovely but also very sweet so by adding more ice cream on top the base appeared less dominant and sweet. So this is not the original recipe, but my adaptation of it,  and isn’t that the beauty of sharing recipes really?! That we can all change them after our own preferences.

And yes, of course it was a hit with my daim bar loving parents as well!

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Daim ice cream cake, serves 6-8

Translated from and adapted after Söta Saker’s recipe.

Base:

100 g butter, softened

100 ml golden caster sugar

100 ml oats 

2 tbsp cocoa 

1 tsp vanilla

2 daim bars

Filling:

150 ml double cream 

75 ml caramel sauce 

3 daim bars 

Dekoration:

daim sprinkles

caramel sauce

Mix butter, sugar, oats, cocoa and vanilla to a sticky batter. Chop the daim bars coarsely and mix into the batter. Press the batter onto a baking parchment covered cake tin. 

Whip the cream and add the caramel sauce bit by bit, while whipping until soft peaks. Chop the daim bars and add to the cream mixture. Pour the cream mixture into the tin. Cover with cling and put in the freezer for at least 4 hours or over night. Remove from the freezer a few minutes before serving and decorate with caramel sauce and daim sprinkles. 

 

Recipe: Italian meringue covered fruit

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This is a perfect Friday night pudding as it’s quick to whip up (don’t let the Italian meringue scare you, I promise it’s easy!) and feels really fresh after a pizza or whatever Friday night cravings you may have.

Use any (seasonal) fruit and berries you like – they don’t get warm even if you use the grill to brown the meringue, but it’s even easier with a creme brûlée torch, and then you could also put the fruit in a glass so you can see it. Very pretty!

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Italian meringue covered fruit, serves 2

Mixed fruit, cut into pieces and berries (enough to almost fill the vessels you’re using), such as:

1 blood orange

1 apple

blueberries

raspberries

Italian meringue:

1 egg white

75 ml caster sugar 

75 ml water

50 ml caster sugar

To serve:

lightly whipped cream

Divide the fruit between two ramekins (or glasses if not using the oven) – they should be almost full. 

Pour 75 ml caster sugar and 75 ml water into a saucepan and bring it almost to the boil. Once the sugar has melted the syrup is done. Remove from heat. Meanwhile beat the egg white until fluffy with an electric whisk. Pour in some of the remaining sugar and beat some more. Pour in the syrup while beating continuously. Then add the remaining sugar and beat until you have a glossy meringue that is set enough that you can turn the bowl upside down without it sliding out. 

Use a spatula to cover the ramekins with the meringue. Put the grill on the oven to 250C and place the ramekins underneath it. Keep the door open and an eye on the ramekins as the meringue browns quickly and you don’t want it going too dark. Remove with mittens as the ramekins go warm (but the fruit inside doesn’t). Or skip this step all together and use a creme brûlée torch to brown the meringue. Serve with lightly whipped cream. 

Second week of holiday!

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My second week in Sweden I tried to take it a bit easier than the first. Try to wind down, not set an alarm and lower the pace. The first day that didn’t happen as I had invited eight adults and five children over for lunch, but I think I managed OK the rest of the week.

But back to the lunch. I skipped a starter so the children didn’t have to sit still for too long; instead everybody could mingle around with a glass of rosé in hand and snacking on these lovely crisps with browned butter, lemon juice and grated cheese.

For the main course I made chicken with lots of garlic and lemon, potato wedges, caramelised garlic sauce and a nice salad.

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And for pudding I let everybody put together their own pudding of soft meringue (everybody loves this one!), ice cream, lightly whipped cream, chocolate sauce. berries and figs.

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In the evening I had a simple supper consisting of Danish red pølse and all the trimmings. So yummy!!

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The next day I went to the beach in Skanör with friends and their three children.

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They brought a lovely picnic and there was a lot of swimming with the kids mixed with chatting to their parents. Such a lovely day that we finished off with a late lunch in the harbour nearby followed by ice cream.

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Wednesday I slept late and spent my time in the sun in the garden before going for dinner at a friend’s new house! They’d made salmon with salad, potato wedges, two sauces and nice bread and for pudding we had rhubarb pie with ice cream. A perfect summer’s evening.

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The next day was another quiet one, with some rain but also some time on the beach (yay!) before having dinner with my parents in the evening. I made lots of pizzas which I will blog about later.

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Friday started off the same way (not bad eh?! three lazy days in a row!) and finished with dinner at Badhytten with all the seafood!

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My last full day in Sweden I spent partly with my best friend, partly with my parents. Friends of the family came by for fika in the afternoon and in the evening my parents and I had something we never get tired off; fillet of beef with homemade bearnaise sauce. This was the first time we had dinner indoors as the weather turned, but I’m grateful for the sunny days I got!

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Sunday was my last day and my best friend and her family came over for lunch with my parents. I got lots of cuddles from my god daughter but we also had some lovely food. Mamma cooked arctic char with potatoes, mange tout, carrots and two sauces; one with caviar and this one with apple. The pudding was a huge success too (although dad would have liked a sweeter version) and I will blog all about it later.

Then off I went to the airport with a quick pit stop at my parents’ house where I hadn’t been all summer. Thank you, near and dear ones, for a lovely two weeks! ❤

Recipe: rhubarb parfait

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The base recipe for this parfait I’ve known since childhood, so full credit for it goes to mamma. It’s delicious on its own, and so much easier to make than ice cream. And it’s infinitely adaptable.

I’ve made it with elderflower before, and when I was at home in Sweden at the end of May mamma and I came up with this rhubarb version together. We wanted to keep the fresh acidity from the rhubarb while still keeping the sweetness of the custard-tasting parfait and I think we managed to do just that. It’s sweet but not too sweet with a hint of acidity for balance and freshness.

Rhubarb parfait, serves 4

3 egg yolks

80 g caster sugar

300 ml whipping or double cream

Rhubarb filling:

300-400 g rhubarb 

approx 2 tbsp caster sugar

Rinse and slice the rhubarb. Mix with sugar and place in a pyrex dish. Place in a 180C oven and bake for approx 20 minutes until the rhubarb has softened and most of the liquid has evaporated. Leave to cool completely.  

Beat egg yolkd and sugar until fluffy in a mixing bowl. Whip the cream in a separate bowl and add to the egg mixture.

Line a bread tin with cling film and place a 1 cm wide line of rhubarb compote in the middle of the tin lenghtways. Mix the rest of the rhubarb with the cream mixture and pour into the bread tin. Cover with cling and put in the freezer for at least 5 hours, but preferably over night. Serve with oat thins, berries, more rhubarb, whipped cream or as is.

 

 

Recipe: chocolate cake with white chocolate truffle

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The last couple of years I’ve had a standing brunch around Christmas time for some of my Swedish friends and their families. As their brood is getting bigger brunch seemed like the ideal concept; there is something for everyone and you don’t have to sit down to eat at the same time.

Sadly, this brunch in December will probably have to be the last one as there’s now too many of us and apart from cooking for a large amount of people there is quite a lot of furniture carrying required to make it happen. But we’ll see, maybe I can work out a way to make it easier… Any ideas welcome!

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The concept has been more or less the same every year; people arrive at midday, and I provide both savoury (always eggs, bacon, different types of bread with toppings such as cheeses, jams, paté, ham etc. – we love our open-faced sandwiches in Sweden as you know) and sweet (usually two types of cake) dishes, and we eat and chat and eat and chat and play with the children.

This year I substituted the usual brunch eggs with my take on shakshuka (recipe to follow) and mum made an large omelette with creamed mushrooms on top as well.

Although people always love the savoury element I seem to have gathered a group of friends with very sweet teeth so I always try my best to come up with something super yummy on the sweet side.

This year I was quite pleased with my efforts of serving madeleines (best recipe ever!) straight from the oven and just lightly dusted with icing sugar. And although people liked them, this chocolate cake was the star of the show: chocolate cake with pieces of white chocolate dispersed like little surprises, covered with a white chocolate truffle and colourful smarties (although you can of course decorate it however you like). The texture is quite dense and chewy (in a good way – just don’t expect a fluffy cake) and rather filling, so one cake could probably feed 10-12 people, but as my friends love sweets I thought it safer to count 8-10 people per cake.

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It’s (sadly) not my own concoction at all, but I know I can always trust fabulous Annika and her reliable recipes.

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Chocolate cake with white chocolate truffle, serves 8-10

Translated from and adapted after Annika’s recipe.

The cake itself (without the truffle) freezes well and can be made ahead of time. Defrost slowly and add the truffle and decorations a few hours before serving so it has time to set.

2 eggs

240 g golden caster sugar 

2 tbsp vanilla sugar or 4 tsp vanilla 

1/2 tsp salt

100 g melted butter

4 tbsp cocoa

90 g plain flour

100 g white chocolate, broken into 1 cm large pieces

Truffle:

150 g white chocolate

50 ml double cream

Pre-heat the oven to 175 C. Line the bottom of a springform with parchment paper. Grease the paper and the edges of the tin. 

Beat eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt until pale and fluffy. Stir in the melted butter. Sieve cocoa and flour and fold into the batter. Pour the butter into the tin and press down the chocolate pieces.

Bake in a low oven for 35 minutes. Leave to cool and cover the tin and let it set overnight. 

Truffle:

Heat up the cream in a saucepan. Break the chocolate into pieces and add to the warm cream. Mix slowly until smooth. Leave to set, then spread it onto the cake. Keep in the fridge until just before serving. Decorate with smarties or other sweets, sprinkles, chopped nuts etc. Serve with lightly whipped cream. 

Recipe: rhubarb meringue pie

 

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We have a good thing going in my family. We all like mayonnaise and bearnaise sauce A LOT so we use a lot of egg yolks. Not wanting to waste food the egg whites go into little containers in the fridge (they keep for weeks!). But conveniently my dad loves everything meringue-y so we get to use up the egg whites quite frequently too.

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The whole little family (there’s only three of us; mother, father and me) loved this rhubarb meringue pie. It still has the tang of a lemon meringue pie but is slightly less heavy as no butter or egg yolk in the rhubarb filling.

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The pie on the pictures had approx 500 g rhubarb in the filling which was fine taste wise but looked a little silly with all that meringue, so in the recipe below I’ve adjusted the recipe to 800 g rhubarb. It cooks down a lot in the oven, so I promise it’s not too much.

Also, when making the meringue, please note that it needs a lot of beating with an electric whisk and that it’s important the syrup boils and reaches (or almost reaches) 118C.

Rhubarb meringue pie, serves 8

Pastry:

180 g plain flour

100 g softened butter

2 1/2 tbsp cream or water

Rhubarb filling:

800 g frozen rhubarb pieces

3 tbsp potato flour (starch)

4-5 tbsp caster sugar

 

Italian meringue:

4 egg whites

120 g caster sugar

Syrup:

120 g caster sugar

100 ml water

Mix all the ingredients to the dough in a bowl or using a food processor. Press into a Ø 20 cm pie dish. Bake in a low oven using baking beads at 180C, for approx 10-15 minutes or until golden and baked through. Leave to cool. 

Place the defrosted rhubarb pieces in an ovenproof dish and scatter with potato flour and sugar. If using fresh rhubarb I would start off by using less potato flour adding more if needed.  Place in a 200 C oven for approx 20 minuter. The mixture should be bubbling, almost caramelised and thickened. Leave to cool. 

Make the meringue: Add egg whites and sugar to a clean bowl and beat for 10 minutes with an electric whisk. Meanwhile make the syrup by adding water and sugar to a saucepan and bring to the boil (don’t stir). Remove when 118C (the boiling point for sugar). Add the hot syrup to the meringue and beat for a further 15 minutes, until you have a thick and glossy meringue. 

Assemble: Add the rhubarb mixture to the pie crust once both are cool. Spread the meringue on top and burn the edges with a brulee torch. Serve with lightly whipped cream.