Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Tattie scones recipe to mark The Bard's 253rd birth anniversary

Tattie scones / Potato scones / Kartulikakud

Scots across the world (both true and honorary, like me) are celebrating Rabbie Burns' aka The Bards 253rd birth anniversary today. I've already ordered a sheep's pluck and will be making my own haggis over the weekend (yay! for the first time!), but today I made something less exotic - tattie scones. Tattie scones or potato pancakes are the Scottish equivalent of Jewish latkes and Norwegian lefses, and one of my fondest breakfast memories from Scotland (those of you who are new to Nami-Nami and are wondering about the Scottish connection:  I spent seven years studying and working in the beautiful capital of Scotland, Edinburgh, returning to my dear homeland in October 2006. That definitely makes me an honorary Scotswoman, I think :)).

Tattie scones are brilliantly easy to make. You can use freshly boiled potatoes,  leftover potato mash or even cold cooked potatoes. I've tried them all; the ones I made earlier today were from cold boiled potatoes ('tatties' in Scottish).

Tattie Scones
(Šoti kartulipannkoogid)
Serves two to four

250 g (cooked) potatoes
25 g (about 2 Tbsp) butter
60 g (100 ml or 7 level Tbsp) all-purpose flour
0.5 tsp fine salt
0.25 tsp baking powder

oil or butter for frying

If you're using uncooked potatoes, then peel and cut into chunks, then boil in lightly salted water until done. Drain thoroughly, then mash and mix with rest of the ingredients.
If you're using cooked cold potatoes, then grate them finely, knead in the softened butter and then add the dry ingredients and mix until combined. The dough should be soft and pliable.
Divide into two and form each into a round disk. Working with one dough disc at the time, roll it on a lightly floured surface into a flat pancake, about 5-7 mm thick. Cut into sectors (I usually cut into four large sectors or 6 to 8 smaller ones).
Heat a heavy frying pan to medium-hot, add some oil or butter. Transfer the tattie scones onto the frying pan and gently fry on both sides, until golden brown spots form (that'll take about 3 minutes on both sides, depending on your frying pan and on the thickness of the scones).
Transfer onto a wire rack to cool. Serve with some butter (traditional) or some herb cream cheese (on the photo).

Other favourite Scottish recipes @ Nami-Nami:
Cook-a-leekie soup
Cranachan (a raspberry and whipped cream dessert)
Mince and tatties

Other foodbloggers writing about tattie scones:
Wendy @ A Wee Bit of Cooking (lovely heart-shaped ones ;))
Emma @ The Laughing Gastronome
Susan @ The Well-Seasoned Cook (LOVE the sprinkling of caraway seeds!)
Valli @ More Than Burnt Toast

Monday, January 23, 2012

Molten Chocolate Cake, the way I like it

Molten chocolate cake / Šokolaadivulkaanid

You've seen this recipe on Nami-Nami already, back in 2007, but I'll repost it with slightly better step-by-step photos of eating process, not baking process :) These are super easy to make, and will bring a smile to every chocolate lover's face (that covers pretty much everyone, no?). The worst thing that can happen is that you overbake the cakes, but in that case you'll end up with wonderful chocolate cakes.

Molten chocolate cake / Šokolaadivulkaanid

Molten Chocolate Cake
Source: Food Migration

170 grams bittersweet chocolate
150 grams butter
160 grams sugar
75 g plain flour
4 large eggs

Butter six small ramekins thoroughly and dust with cocoa powder (a trick I nicked from David's blog). Place on baking tray.
Melt chocolate and butter in a small saucepan, remove from the heat.
Beat eggs and sugar together until thick, pale and fluffy. Add the melted chocolate and butter mixture. Continue to beat for another five minutes.
Add flour, beat for two more minutes.
Pour mixture into prepared ramekin tins.
Bake in a 180 C oven approximately 10 to 12 minutes - NO MORE! (Ovens do vary, so I'd test for doneness earlier rather than later).

Molten chocolate cake / Šokolaadivulkaanid

Carefully turn the puddings onto serving plates. Dust with powdered/icing sugar and serve at once, when the puddings are still warm - otherwise you won't get that oozing chocolate effect :)

Molten chocolate cake / Šokolaadivulkaanid

A good and slightly melted vanilla ice cream is a good accompaniment. Or perhaps some cherry compote?

Molten chocolate cake / Šokolaadivulkaanid

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Béarnaise sauce, grilled steak and home-made chunky potato chips

Steak, chunky chips and Béarnaise sauce / Minutipihv, Bearni kaste ja friikartulid

Playing around with food is all fine, but sometimes I want a good old classic dish. Take the Béarnaise sauce. I first encountered back in Denmark in 1992/1993 - my host mum would make it regularly and serve it with grilled steak. It came in a powdered form from a packet, but to my 18-year-old tastebuds it tasted just fine and I instantly fell for the tarragon-infused creamy sauce. A good steak and tarragon-enhanced sauce Béarnaise is truly a match made in heaven! I wouldn't touch the Béarnaise made from a powder anymore, but I still love the sauce.

Note that the sauce has nothing to do with the Swiss capital, Bern. It gets its name from the birth-place of d'Artagnan (the one in "The Three Musketeers"), Béarn province, in South-Western France :)

The recipe below is based on Paul Gayler's recipe in Jill Norman's excellent The Cook's Book. Paul Gayler suggests using clarified butter to make this sauce (as well as it's "mother sauce", Hollandaise), but I am happy enough with using just melted butter myself.

What's your relationship to Sauce Béarnaise? Love it or hate it?

Béarnaise Sauce
(Béarni kaste)
Serves 4 to 6 (makes about 600 ml)

2 Tbsp white vine vinegar
2 Tbsp water
1 tsp white peppercorns, lightly crushed
2 Tbsp roughly chopped fresh tarragon or 2 tsp dried tarragon
2 small shallots, chopped
4 large egg yolks
250 g unsalted butter, melted
1 Tbsp fresh tarragon, chopped
1 Tbsp fresh chervil, chopped
sea salt

Place the vinegar, water, peppercorns, tarragon and shallots in a small pan. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for about 1-2 minutes, until reduced to about 2,5 Tbsp. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse and cool.
Strain the liquid into a heatproof bowl. Add the egg yolks and whisk until combined
Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water (bain-marie), the base of the bowl should not touch the hot water, but be just above it. Whisk the mixture for 5-6 minutes, until it thickens and is creamy and smooth in texture.
Remove the bowl and place onto a dampened kitchen towel (this helps to keep the bowl in place). Slowly pour in the melted butter in a thin stream, whisking vigorously all the time, until the sauce is thick and glossy.
Add the chopped tarragon and chervil, season to taste with sea salt and serve at once.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Italian-style chicken with capers, anchovy and tomatoes


After lousy November and December (read: dark, wet, cold, windy) we are now in the middle of beautiful January (read: bright, snow, cold). Proper winter weather, which I enjoy, even though it's much harder to push a pram on a snow-covered street, and it's occasionally slippery and icy - sometimes I think that holding on to a pram is the only thing that keeps me upright and in balance :) Ah, the joys of snow-filled cold Nordic winters :)

You need proper hot food to keep your body and soul warm on days like these - and this chicken stew is just the thing. Rosemary and tomatoes, capers and anchovies give this dish plenty of character and a strong Mediterranean feel, almost taking you back to those sun-drenched summer days and warm sea breeze.

I used a whole chicken, cut up to feed six, but you can easily use just drumsticks or bone-in thighs or just breasts, if you're ready to give up some of the chicken flavour.

The recipe is adapted from a recent issue of a Danish food magazine, Mad (that's 'food' in Danish, not a state of mind ;)) They suggested serving this with quinoa. Though I loved quinoa, it seemed too mushy to accompany this dish, so I opted for good Italian bulgur wheat instead.

Italian-style chicken with capers, anchovy and tomatoes
(Mõnus tomatine kanahautis kapparite ja rosmariiniga)
Serves six
Takes about an hour

1 whole broiler chicken, cut up into 8 or 10
some olive oil
4 good anchovy fillets, chopped
6 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
2 onions, peeled, halved and sliced thinly
250 ml (a cup) of dry white wine
300 g cherry tomatoes, halved
400 g can chopped tomatoes
2 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 Tbsp capers, rinsed and drained

Heat oil on a large heavy sauté pan. Brown chicken pieces on all sides (do that in batches, avoid over-crowding the pan). Put browned chicken pieces on the side.
If the pan looks too dry, add another splash of oil. Add anchovies, sauté for a minute. Add the onions and fry gently for a few minutes. Add garlic, fry for another minute. Do not brown!
Return the chicken pieces on the pan, pour over the wine. Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, until the wine has reduced by half.
Add the tomatoes (both crushed and halved), season with salt, pepper and rosemary. Simmer gently for 25 minutes or so, until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce has thickened.
Add capers, taste again for seasoning and serve.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Tapas, Estonian style

Tapas, Estonian style / Kalalaud a la Viimsi talutug

Starting from the left: hot-smoked Baltic herring (Clupea harengus membras) fillets, pan-fried Baltic herring with sesame seed crust, marinated sprats (Sprattus sprattus balticus) with herbs and onions, marinated Baltic herring with lemon and garlic.

Served with black rye bread (not pictured). An excellent Saturday lunch.

All fish was bought at my local farmers market (Viimsi taluturg), sourced from three different stalls. Viimsi taluturg is open on Saturdays from 10am till 2pm.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Raspberry and vanilla friands with cacao nibs

Raspberry and vanilla friand with cacao nibs / Vaarika-vanillifriandid kakaotükikestega

Here's another delicious friand recipe, following the lingonberry and coconut friands and blueberry and lemon friands I wrote about last year. I'm still in love with those Australian little cakes, and whenever I have excess egg whites, I bake these as opposed to meringues or mini-Pavlovas.

Raspberry and vanilla friands with cacao nibs
(Vaarika-vanillifriandid kakaotükikestega)
Makes eight, suitable for freezing

Raspberry and vanilla friand with cacao nibs / Vaarika-vanillifriandid kakaotükikestega

100 g unsalted butter, melted (1 stick minus 1 Tbsp)
125 g icing sugar/confectioner's sugar (1 cup)
30 g plain flour/all-purpose flour (50 ml or 3 Tbsp + 1 tsp)
80 g finely ground almonds (1 cup)
3 medium-sized egg whites
1 tsp vanilla extract
50 g whole raspberries (a generous handful)
a handful of roasted cacao nibs (optional)

Preheat the oven to 200C. Generously butter eight non-stick friand or muffin tins.
Sift the icing sugar and flour into a bowl, add the almonds and mix.
Whisk the egg whites in another bowl until they form a light, floppy foam.
Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, pour in the egg whites, vanilla and the cooled melted butter. Stir very gently to form a soft batter.
Divide the batter among the tins. Sprinkle some raspberries and cacao nibs over each cake.
Bake in the middle of a pre-heated 200 C oven for about 20 minutes, until just firm to the touch and golden brown on top.
Cool in the tins for 5 minutes, then turn out and cool on a wire rack. To serve, dust lightly with icing sugar.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Sesame Honey Chicken

Sesame honey chicken / Meekana

I've been cooking - and eating - a lot of Chinese food recently, say, since early November. Why, you're wondering? You see, I had to choose the recipes for the Chinese cooking workshops I was organising, and test and fine-tune the ones that made the cut. Now, three workshops (and some 45 happy Nami-Nami readers later), I feel confident that I have a pretty good Chinese recipe repertoire to work with and feed my friends and family. While I was trying to use pretty authentic Chinese recipes for those workshops - mainly from Sichuan and Cantonese cuisine - then here's a delicious American-Chinese classic, sesame honey chicken.

NB For other Chinese recipes here on Nami-Nami, click here.

Sesame Honey Chicken
Serves four

Sesame honey chicken / Meekana

400 to 500 g chicken breast fillets or boneless thigh fillets
1 Tbsp light soy sauce
1 Tbsp Shaoxing rice wine or (medium) dry sherry
2 tsp sesame oil

For the batter:
4 Tbsp cornflour/cornstarch

For deep-frying:
groundnut oil or rapeseed oil

Honey sauce:
3 Tbsp sweet chilli sauce
2 Tbsp good-quality ketchup
2 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp oyster sauce
2 Tbsp light soy sauce
3 Tbsp water

To garnish:
toasted white sesame seeds

Cut the chicken into 2 cm pieces.
Mix soy sauce, Shaoxing rice wine or sherry, sesame oil in a bowl. Add the chicken, stir and leave to marinate in the fridge for at least an hour.
Sprinkle cornflour over the chicken pieces to cover on all sides, shake off excess flour.
Heat couple of cm of oil in a small saucepan until slightly sizzling. Deep-fry chicken pieces, couple at a time, until golden brown on all sides and fully cooked. Put fried chicken pieces aside.
Combine the sauce ingredients in a small saucepan and bring into a boil. Simmer for a few minutes, until the sauce thickens slightly.
Add the cooked chicken pieces into the honey sauce, heat thoroughly through.
Sprinkle sesame seeds on top.
Serve with steamed rice or cooked noodles.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Pork tenderloin with leeks, raisins and warming spices


This was our family's last proper home-cooked lunch back in 2011. I didn't expect to like it, but I did, just like the rest of my family. You see, I had some young leeks and a pork fillet in the fridge, and a putting those two ingredients into the search box of my Estonian recipe site yielded this recipe that I had scribbled  down from a Swedish Arla-site back in 2002 (Gryta med julens kryddor was it called). Pairing pork and leeks wasn't a problem, it was the addition of raisins and the spices (cinnamon and ginger) that worried me. However, a positive reader comment encouraged me to go ahead with it, and I'm so glad I did.

This is not a dish I'd be making for my family on a weekly basis, but it's definitely one I'd happily make every now and then - and perhaps even use for a casual weeknight entertaining during the cold months.

Pork with leeks, raisins and warming spices
(Jõuluhõnguline siga porruga ehk porru-rosinaliha)
Serves four

500 to 600 g pork tenderloin
2 leeks or a handful of young leeks
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
a knob of butter
200 ml whipping cream/heavy cream (a cup minus 3 Tbsp)
2 Tbsp concentrated veal stock (I used Bong's Touch of Taste)
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce
4 Tbsp seedless raisins

Cut the pork tenderloin fillet into thick slices (about 2 cm each). Season with salt and pepper.
Heat some butter in a non-stick frying pan, brown the pork slices on both sides over moderate heat. Put aside.
Cut the leeks into thick slices (larger ones) or 5 cm lengths (younger ones). Add those to the pan and sauté gently.
Now add the cream, veal stock concentrate, raisins and spices to the frying pan and simmer for a few minutes.
Return the pork slices to the frying pan, cook for another 4-5 minutes until heated through.
Serve with boiled potatoes or potato mash.

Monday, January 02, 2012

New Year's Eve 2011 @ Nami-Nami

Happy New Year to all my readers! I thought to start with an overview of our New Year's Eve feast. We stayed at home and entertained friends - we were 12 adults and 7 kids and as far as I could tell, everyone had great time. We ate and drank, competed in a quiz (a New Year's Eve tradition in our house), watched some shows at the TV (incl. the President's speech), and enjoyed fireworks outside just after midnight. Here's an overview of what we ate.

The menu scribbled on our blackboard wall:
New Year's Eve 2011 / Vana-aastaõhtu 2011

Appetizers included crostini with cream cheese and lobster tails:
Lobster tail crostini / Krõbedad saiaviilud vähisabadega

Rye bread buttons with spiced sprats cream:
Rye bread with sprat butter / Rukkinööbid vürtsikilukreemiga

Home-made rye crisps with chicken liver paté and red onion marmalade:
Rukkilaastud kanamaksapasteedi ja sibulamoosiga / Rye crisps with chicken liver paté and red onion marmalade

thinly sliced pain d'epices with Estonian goat cheese and ruby pomegranate seeds:
Pain d'epices with cream cheese and pomegranate seeds / Meeleib toorjuustu ja granaatõunaseemnetega

The salad board consisted of Waldorf salad (made by our dear friends Peter & Kristel):
Waldorf salad

Beetroot and pomegranate salad with parsley and Aleppo chilli vinaigrette:
Pomegranate and beetroot salad / Peedi-granaatõunasalat

Red cabbage, orange and Beluga lentil salad with parsley vinaigrette (as all Italians know, you must have lentils at the New Year's Eve, as this brings you wealth and money in the new year :))
Beluga lentil, red cabbage and orange salad / Läätsesalat punase kapsa ja apelsiniga

More substantial dishes included home-made chicken nuggets (well, there were teens among the guests) with a adjika and sour cream dip:
Home-made chicken nuggets / Kodused 'kananagitsad'

A wonderful hot-smoked trout from Pepe Kala, served with a simple, yet luxurious trout roe and sour cream sauce:
Hot smoked trout with caviar dressing / Kuumsuitsuforell kalamarjakastmega

Our friend Liina contributed a caramelised onion and Cheddar tart:
Vernanda juustupirukas

and a wonderful pork terrine:
Pork terrine / Vernanda sealihaterriin

I had also made two different crisp breads, one with fennel seeds and the other without:

Näkileivad / Crisp bread

For nibbling, there was fruit, gingebread cookies and sugared almonds:
Sugared almonds / Suhkrumandlid

For dessert, our friends had brought along a moist pumpkin cake, a lovely pink cherry and mascarpone cheesecake.

And to finish it all off, K. and I had made a croquembouche, complete with crème patisserie and spun sugar ribbons:

Again, may your 2012 be full of delicious and tasty bites and experiences!