Sunday, September 30, 2007

I'm a Daring Baker: Sticky Buns & Cinnamon Rolls

After Jewish Purist's Bagels, a fancy Strawberry Mirror Cake and delicious Milk Chocolate & Caramel Tart a la Eric Kayser, it's time for daring comfort baking. Pip in the City's Marce chose a recipe for Sticky Buns/Cinnamon Rolls from Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice. I've been really busy all September, so I didn't have a chance to make these buns/rolls until today, which was a bit nerve-wrecking. What if the dough won't rise/burn in the oven/collapse in the tin? Luckily, they turned out just well. I'm not intimidated of using fresh yeast in the kitchen, and I've made cinnamon rolls for years (remember this?) Remember, the task of any daring baker is to use a recipe without changes. However, Marce had given us some allowances. I made one portion of dough, and used half of it to make a batch of sticky buns and used the other half for making fondant-glazed cinnamon rolls. As orange extract was allowed in the glazing, I cheated a little and added some of my precious Boyajian Pure Orange Oil in the dough instead of lemon zest/juice. I had used this orange extract for making madeleines few months ago, and liked the intense orange flavour it yielded. Continuing the theme, I used finely chopped crystallised orange zest - lovingly made by my dear K. - instead of nuts and almonds for the sticky buns (well, dried fruit was allowed, and crystallised orange zest surely counts, no?)

Both the sticky buns (above) and fondant-glazed cinnamon rolls (below) were delicious. Very, very rich, both of them, but yummy. As they were not more difficult to make than my usual cinnamon rolls, then I might make these again when I want something more luxurious..

Below are quantities 'converted' to my European metric kitchen. The quantitites for the dough make one batch of sticky buns, and one batch of cinnamon rolls. Quantities for fondant glaze and sticky caramel layer have been reduced accordingly.

Enjoy! We're dashing off to my parents place to share some of the still-warm sticky buns with them :) You can learn how other Daring Bakers did with this month's challenge by browsing through the blogroll here.

Cinnamon Rolls & Sticky Buns

The dough:
90 grams caster sugar
1 teaspoon salt
75 grams butter
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon orange oil
450-550 grams plain/all-puprose flour
40 grams fresh yeast
240 ml milk, at room temperature

For sprinkling:
100 grams sugar
1.5 tsp ground cinnamon

For sticky buns:
See below.

White fondant glaze:
250 ml icing sugar, sifted
0.25 tsp orange oil
2-3 Tbsp warm milk
Add orange and milk to the icing sugar, then whisk vigorously until you've got a thick, smooth paste.

To make the buns:

1. Mix body-temperature milk with crumbled yeast, let dissolve.

2. Cream together the sugar, salt, and butter on medium-high speed in an electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a large metal spoon and mixing bowl and do it by hand). Whip in the egg and orange oil until smooth. Then add the flour, yeast+milk. Mix on low speed (or stir by hand) until the dough forms a ball. Switch to the dough hook and increase the speed to medium, mixing for approximately 10 minutes (or knead by hand for 12 to 15 minutes), or until the dough is silky and supple, tacky but not sticky. You may have to add a little flour or water while mixing to achieve this texture. Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.

3. Prove room temperature for approximately 2 hours, or until the dough doubles in size.

4. Sprinkle the table with a light coating of flower, transfer the dough to the counter. Roll out the dough with a rolling pin, lightly dusting the top with flour to keep it from sticking to the pin. Roll it into a rectangle about 1-1.5 cm thick and 14 inches wide by 12 inches long for larger buns, or 18 inches wide by 9 inches long for smaller buns.
Don´t roll out the dough too thin, or the finished buns will be tough and chewy rather than soft and plump.

5. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the surface of the dough and (C) roll the dough up into a cigar-shaped log, creating a cinnamon-sugar spiral as you roll. With the seam side down, cut the dough into 8 to 12 pieces each about 1 3/4 inches thick for larger buns, or 12 to 16 pieces each 2.5 cm thick for smaller buns.)

6. For cinnamon buns, line 1 or more sheet pans with baking parchment. Place the buns approximately 1/2 inch apart so that they aren´t touching but are close to one another.

7. For sticky buns, coat the bottom of 1 baking dish pans with sides at least 4 cm high with a 6 mm layer of the caramel glaze. Sprinkle on the chopped crystallised orange zest. Lay the pieces of dough on top of the caramel glaze, spacing them about 1/2 inch apart. Cover loosely with plastic wrap.

8. Proof at room temperature for 75 to 90 minutes, or until the pieces have grown into one another and have nearly doubled in size. You may also retard the shaped buns in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, pulling the pans out of the refrigerator 3 to 4 hours before baking to allow the dough to proof.

9. Preheat the oven to 175°C with the oven rack in the middle shelf for cinnamon buns but on the lowest shelf for sticky buns.

10. Bake the cinnamon buns for 20 to 30 minutes or the sticky buns 30 to 40 minutes, or until golden brown. If you are baking sticky buns, remember that they are really upside down (regular cinnamon buns are baked right side up), so the heat has to penetrate through the pan and into the glaze to caramelize it. The tops will become the bottoms, so they may appear dark and done, but the real key is whether the underside is fully baked. It takes practice to know just when to pull the buns out of the oven.

11. For cinnamon buns, cool the buns in the pan for about 10 minutes and then streak white fondant glaze across the tops, while the buns are warm but not too hot. Remove the buns from the pans and place them on a cooling rack. Wait for at least 20 minutes before serving.

12. For the sticky buns, cool the buns in the pan for 5 to 10 minutes and then remove them by flipping them over into another pan. Carefully scoop any run-off glaze back over the buns with a spatula. Wait at least 20 minutes before serving.

Caramel glaze for sticky buns
90 grams butter, at room temperature
4 Tbsp caster sugar
4 Tbsp soft brown sugar (I used 'fariinsuhkur')
0.25 tsp salt
4 Tbsp light syrup (I used Dansukker)
0.5 tsp orange oil
Mix sugars, salt and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer, and cream together for 2 minutes on high speed with the paddle attachment. Add 4 Tbsp light syrup and 0.5 tsp orange oil . Continue to cream for about 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Spread at the bottom of the baking pan with a 6-7 mm layer.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Waiter, there is something in my ... spicy gooseberry chutney

It's already the 9th installment of WTISIM foodblogging event, also known as Waiter, there is something in my ... My friend Johanna is hosting this round, and has chosen savoury preserves as the theme. She's put forward a rather delicious-looking Italian concoction, Pecorino sott'olio herself. My contribution for this month's WTISIM is a tangy little chutney made of gooseberries. Excellent with roasted chicken and pork - as you can see from the photo below.

[Update 2.10.2007: You can read Johanna's round-up here]

The original recipe used raisins, which I like in very few and carefully selected dishes. Also, as I wanted to keep the beautiful colour of the gooseberries (remember this oh-so-pretty-in-pink gooseberry sorbet?), I replaced the turmeric-laden curry powder with whole spices in my chutney.

Gooseberry Chutney

600 grams red gooseberries, topped & tailed
2 medium sized red onions, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil + 3 Tbsp water
1 tsp cumin seeds, slightly crushed
1 tsp coriander seeds, slightly crushed
0.5 tsp ginger powder
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp wine or sherry vinegar
200 grams caster sugar
1 tsp salt

Heat oil and water in a heavy saucepan, add garlic and onions and simmer gently for 5 minutes.
Increase heat, add cumin and coriander seeds and stir for 2 minutes, to bring out the aromas.
Add ginger, gooseberries, lemon juice and vinegar and sugar. Stir thoroughly, bring to the boil. Reduce heat, season with salt, and simmer on a low heat for 10-15 minutes, until gooseberries are starting to break up and the chutney thickens.
Remove from the heat and spoon immediately into small sterilised glass jars.
Keep in the fridge or a very cold cellar.

Here are links to my previous Waiter there is something in my ... entries:
August 2007 (MEATLESS BBQ):
Roasted onions with blue cheese.
July 2007 (SAUCES):
Munakaste alias my grandma Senta's egg & smoked ham sauce.
June 2007 (DUMPLINGS):
Vareniki dumplings with curd cheese filling, served with home-made apricot jam & pistachios.
Stuffed tomatoes with two types of salad - cod liver salad & cucumber and wild garlic salad.
April 2007 (BREAD): a traditional Estonian quick mushroom bread,
March 2007 (EASTER BASKET): a selection of various
Easter delights.
February 2007 (PIE): a great Russian puff pastry and fish pie,
Salmon Kulebyaka.
January 2007 (STEW): my version (in collaboration with Anthony Bourdain:) of the French classic
Boeuf Bourguignon.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Something exotic: Coconut Chicken Curry, Trinidad style

I've got quite a few Estonian recipes lined up for you during the next few weeks - so much so that I thought it might be a good idea to post something exotic for a change. Although while I certainly do want you to come here whenever you want to read about and cook something Estonian, I don't want to be typecast as 'that Estonian blogger who only posts about Estonian salted broad beans, nettle soup, beef liver gravy, and desserts made of kama.

I can do more than that :)

Here's a recipe for a Coconut Chicken Curry adapted from Globetrekker TV I made last weekend. We both enjoyed this mellow and fragrant curry, and will be making it again when we fancy something more exotic.

Coconut Chicken Curry, Trinidad style
(Trinidadi kana-kookoskarri)
Serves 4

500 grams chicken breast or thigh fillets (I used the latter)
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 lemongrass stalks, inner parts finely chopped
2 Tbsp rum*

2 Tbsp oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1 Tbsp curry powder**
250 ml coconut milk
1 red chilli pepper

a small bunch of fresh coriander/cilantro, finely chopped

boiled rice or quinoa to serve

Cut chicken pieces into bite-sized chunks. Mix rum, finely minced garlic and lemongrass stalk in a small bowl, add chicken chunks, toss, cover with clingfilm and put into the fridge to marinate for at least an hour or overnight.
Heat oil in a heavy saucepan, add onions and sauté for 5 minutes on a low heat. Increase heat, add chicken pieces and fry until the colour has changed, stirring to enable even browning (about 8 to 10 minutes).
Add curry powder, stir for a few seconds, then add coconut milk and finely chopped chilli pepper.
Simmer on a low heat for another 5 minutes, until the sauce thickens and chicken cooks through. Remove from the heat, stir in chopped coriander/cilantro and serve with boiled rice or quinoa.

* I used Havana Club Añejo Reserva rum
* I used Caribbean Poudre de Colombo Curry Spice Blend from Seasoned Pioneers, which contains cumin seeds, coriander seeds, fenugreek, black peppercorns, turmeric and cloves. My dear foodblogging friend Johanna gave it to me as a gift this summer.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Just a food photo: Cherry tomatoes

Did you know that cherry tomatoes can be easily grown in a container on your windowsill?
We do. Now :)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

What a difference a spice makes: Feta, Spinach and Onion Quiche with Nutmeg

Yes, I'm amazed what a difference a spice makes. Of course I knew that dusting some cinnamon on my apple pie or cumin on my carrot mash makes a huge difference. Yet it still took me by surprise when I took the usual ingredients - spinach and feta cheese and a good puff pastry (as I often do for my spanakopita) - but instead of dried Greek oregano used some freshly grated nutmeg, and got something utterly, totally different. Yes, still a delicious feta and spinach pie, but with a very distinct and different character. I made this just days after the Cheesy Feta & Spinach Pie, and not once did I think that one is too similar to the other..

Go on, try it yourself!

Feta, Spinach and Onion Quiche with Nutmeg
(Feta-spinatipirukas muskaadiga)
Serves 8
Adapted from a recipe on the Finnish Pirkka site

300 grams puff pastry*
150 grams spinach, leaves only
200 grams finely chopped onions
2 Tbsp oil
200 grams feta cheese, cubed
200 ml single cream
3 medium eggs
a pinch of salt
0.25 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
a quarter of a nutmeg, freshly grated (or a very, very generous pinch)

Roll puff pastry into 4-5 mm thickness and line a pie dish with it (you can use a round, 23 cm pie dish, or a square dish). Put aside.
Wash the spinach, do not shake too dry, put onto a hot frying pan and heat, until spinach has wilted. Refresh quickly under cold running water, then drain thoroughly and chop spinach roughly.
Heat the oil on a heavy frying pan and saute onions on a gentle heat until softened. Do not brown!
Spread spinach on the puff pastry, then scatter fried onions and feta cubes on top.
Whisk eggs with single cream, season with salt**, pepper and nutmeg, pour the mixture over the quiche.
Bake at 200 C for about 45 minutes, until the egg mixture has set and puff pastry is lovely golden shade.
Cool a little and serve as a light meal.

* I use the leavened one with yeast, as it gives a lighter and puffier texture, but plain puff pastry would work, too.
** The amount of salt depends on the saltiness of the feta you're using, so be careful here.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Give offal a chance: Beef liver gravy, Estonian style

The eGullet Society for Culinary Arts and Letters, or eGullet for short, as some of you may know, is a huge online food forum with thousands of members. I've been a member since February 2006, and although my main food-related online presence is certainly here on Nami-nami, I do use eGullet quite frequently. It's a great source of food-related information and inspiration, though the style and format are very different from foodblogging as we know. Every now and then the hosts of the forum ask one of their members to do a week-long foodblog, where an eGulleteer keeps a picture diary about shopping for food, preparing food, and eating food, with various tidbits about life and food in general thrown in. Well, I had a chance to do one of those eG foodblogs last week, which was fun, if a bit exhausting (I hardly had time to spend with this foodblog!) On the first day, one of the readers asked me if I could cook any exotic meat a la caribou and such like. I jokingly replied that we only eat pork, beef, veal, rabbit/hare, wild boar, venison, elk and brown bear* in Estonia, and none of them qualifies as exotic :) So I decided to go with an unusual cut of meat instead, and do something Estonian with it, and that's how I ended up making an Estonian beef liver gravy, maksakaste.

Beef liver gravy, Estonian style
Adapted from Eesti Köök/Estonian Cooking (2003)

500 grams beef liver, cut into thin long strips (1 cm x 4-5 cm)
2 Tbsp plain/all-purpose flour
1 tsp black pepper
2-3 Tbsp oil
1 onion, finely chopped
200 ml cold water
100 ml sour cream
fresh dill

To serve:
boiled potatoes
fresh dill, finely chopped
salted cucumbers, sliced

Mix flour with pepper.
Cut liver into thin strips**, drench in flour/pepper mix.
Heat oil in a frying pan, add liver and onion and brown on low heat.
Add any leftover flour, add cold water and heat, stirring regularly, until the sauce thickens. Simmer for 5-7 minutes.
Add sour cream, stirring regularly, and simmer on a low heat for another 5 minutes.
Season with salt, garnish with dill.
Serve with boiled potatoes and sliced salted cucumbers.

* I am not claiming that I have tried all those various meats, nor that they're all eaten regularly in Estonia.
** Click here to see a photo with step-by-step instructions.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Beautiful flowers, fragrant fruit: Chaenomeles or flowering quince

Most of you are familiar with quinces (Cydonia oblonga), the ancient fruit used to make the Spanish membrillo paste that's wonderful with cheese (for fantastic quince posts see here, here, and again here). But how many of you know that the flowering quince (Chaenomeles Lindl) - related, but by no means the same fruit - is also edible?

Not many, I suspect. Known as the Nordic lemon because of their high Vitamin C content, they also contain a lot of pectin as well as citric and malic acid, which makes them excellent for jam-making or canning. Above you can see fruit still attached - and picked - from my mum's very beautiful flowering quince bush. They're popular in Estonia, as flowering quinces are very ornamental - and they yield some useful fruit as well! The seeds - and there's up to 100 per fruit! - of flowering quince should not be eaten as they're high on amygdalin that some people react to. However, as there's twice as much vitamin C in the peel as there's in the flesh of the fruit, then it's best to leave flowering quinces unpeeled.

Flowering quince extract
My mum's recipe

The easiest way for using is to cut the deseeded fruit into small slices and mix with equal amount of sugar. The jars filled with this mixture should be kept in a cool storage for a few weeks, until sugar has dissolved (you need to shake the jar every now and then for best result). The resulting flowering quince extract should be kept in the fridge, and can be used to sweeten and flavour tea, or just hot water - it has a lovely and a bit lemony taste. (Or, if you prefer, you can use honey instead of sugar for making this extract). This is my mum's preferred way of preserving and using flowering quinces..

However, being into jamming and canning as I am, I made jam with my flowering quinces. I made two different versions - one sweet (as prescribed in the book), one less so (as to our preference). Both were lovely on their own. The high pectin levels help to turn this jam into a nice think almost marmelade-like concoction that will be tasting of early autumn when spread on a slice of toast during the soon-to-arrive dark and cold Estonian winter..

Apple & Flowering Quince Jam
Adapted from Hilda Ottenson "Hoidised" (1977) and Loreida Eisen, Toivo Niiberg & Karl Veber "Ebaküdoonia aias ja köögis" (1999)

1 kg apples
0.5 kg flowering quinces
200 ml water
0.75-1.3 kg caster sugar

Wash and core the apples and cut into chunks (no need to peel the apples, if you're using organic/non-sprayed fruit). Cut flowering quinces into small slices, remove the seeds. (I weighed my fruit after this preparatory stage).
Put the quinces, sugar and water into a large saucepan and bring slowly to the boil. Simmer for 5-10 minutes, until the fruit appears to have softened and the sugar has dissolved into a syrup, then add apples and bring to the boil again.
Simmer for 10-20 minutes, until apples have softened, and you've got a nice, thick jam (it will thicken as it cools down, so you don't want it to be too thick at this point).
Cool just a little, then pour into sterilised cans and close.
Keep in a cool and dark storage for best results.

WHB: This is also my entry to the Weekend Herb Blogging, this time hosted by Myriam of Once Upon A Tart. Click on the logo below for more information about this established foodblogging event.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Another way of serving haggis, neeps & tatties

That's exactly how I saw haggis, neeps & tatties served at Peckhams on Nicholson Street in Edinburgh earlier this month (see photo here). I dined there with my friend Melinda on my first night in town, and I simply had to try this at home. Not bad, not bad at all :)

My sauce is a bit different, however - although unconventional, I want my haggis with a caramelised onion gravy.

MacSween of Edinburgh haggis is one food-related thing I miss from Scotland every now and then...

Friday, September 14, 2007

Estonian Desserts: Curd Cheese and Apple Souffle (kohupiima-õunavorm)

Plums and apples seem to the cornerstone of our diet at the moment, as whenever we leave my parents place, our car is ladden with various containers full of autumn's bounty. We're not complaining, of course, as it makes for a happier and more versatile cooking. It's slowly getting darker and cooler here, so on Monday night we bot felt that an apple cake would hit the spot. It was only then that I remembered we had run out of all-purpose flour on the previous day (we bake a lot in the house - plum cakes and cheesy spinach tarts most recently - so it was not surprising), and neither one of us volunteered to pop to the nearest grocery store to replenish the stocks. Luckily, we had some curd cheese in the fridge, and some 'manna' (cream of wheat/semolina farina) in the cupboard that we use for making breakfast porridge occasionally, so I ended up making a real Estonian comfort dish for us. The dish is called kohupiimavorm alias curd cheese souffle, to which I added some apples (raisins would be often used, too), and garnished it with sliced almonds. I served it with a sweet soup made of leftover plum and damson jam - you see, I'm relying heavily on my mum's garden at the moment indeed...

That's a real nostalgia dish, and would bring back sweet memories of home cooked and canteen meals for most Estonians, I'd like to think..

Curd Cheese and Apple Souffle
Adapted from Salme Masso's book Õunaraamat (1985)
Serves 6-8

500 grams curd cheese or ricotta
4 large eggs
75 ml cream of wheat / semolina flour*
150 grams sour cream or plain yogurt
100 ml sugar
a pinch of salt
500 grams apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced

sliced almonds

Wash the apples, peel (optional - I never peel non-sprayed apples from my mum's garden or other trustworthy source), core and slice thinly. Sprinkle with lemon juice to avoid them turning dark.
In a large bowl, mix your curd cheese until smooth. Add eggs, one by one, mixing thoroughly between each addition (use your KitchenAid mixer or a large bowl and a hand-held electric mixer).
NB! If you prefer a fluffier souffle, whisk the egg whites separately and fold them in gently at the end.
Add semolina farina, sour cream, sugar and salt, stir until combined. Fold in sliced apples.
Pour the mixture into a large buttered oven dish, sprinkle with sliced almonds and dot with butter.
Bake at 180Celsius for about 45 minutes, until the souffle has risen and turned into light golden.
Serve either hot or cold. A warm curd cheese souffle is best served with cold milk; a cold one goes well with Creme Anglaise or with fruit soup (as on the photo above).

* I'm talking about the non-durum semolina farina here, i.e. coarsely ground semolina farina, known in the US as Cream of Wheat

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Culinate, Epicurious - it's been a good week so far

"Everybody eats. At Culinate, we invite people to reconsider the table: not just what goes on it, but what goes on around it. Food, after all, is the stuff of life."

Culinate is an American food site, launched in 2007. Few weeks ago I received an email from Liz Crain, one of Culinate columnists, who wondered if I'd be willing to be interviewed for her column. I knew that some of my virtual blog friends and heros had been interviewed already - Matt, Lara, Joey and Stephen. Joining their ranks would be an utmost honour, so of course I said yes. It took a few emails back and forth between Oregon and Estonia (and Scotland), and as of today you can read the little interview, Food for the taking: An Estonian blogger forages the forests and the fields, here.

And my little blog was also mentioned on the mother of all food sites, Epicurious, this week. Epicurious launched EpiLog earlier this year, where staff contributors share the latest "food news and views from all over". On Monday one of its guest contributors, Amy Sherman of the Cooking with Amy, fame wrote a piece of the life of Daring Bakers, and credited Nami-nami for sharing both my successes and failures. I knew it was a good idea - and a fair thing to do - to post a picture of my burnt recipe notes, but I never expected this to be a ticket for appearing on Epicurious :)

Thank you, Liz & Amy, for your posts!

PS I've already got some exciting news in store for next week, so stay tuned :)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A Cheesy Feta & Spinach Pie

Feta cheese and spinach are a match made in heaven. I'm yet to get tired of this combination, and I hope that neither have you, as I've got two feta & spinach pie recipes in store for you (that's in addition to my Spanakopita á la Pille that I wrote about almost two years ago). They're all very different, so I hope you won't be too bored, and will stick around :)

The first recipe is for a cheesy (no, not in that sense!) tart, adapted from a Finnish Apu-magazine, where a recipe for juustoinen pinaattipiiras was published on 20 July 2001. It's rather rich and cheese-laden, so not a pie for those trying to lose a dress size. I found that this tasted even better on the following day, so I've added it to my savoury pies and tarts folder with a note 'best made day before' - quite useful for picnics, that is...

A cheesy feta & spinach pie
(Juustune spinati-fetapirukas)
Serves 6-8

Cheesy crust:
100 grams butter
50 grams grated cheese (Cheddar is good)
115 grams plain flour (about 200 ml)
2-3 Tbsp cold water

Spinach & feta filling:
250 grams fresh spinach
200 grams feta cheese
100 grams grated cheese (Cheddar is good)
200 ml single cream
3 eggs

First prepare the pastry: mix flour, butter and cheese with a knife until crumbly, then add the water and bring the pastry together. Press into a pie dish and put into a fridge for about 30 minutes to rest.
Meanwhile, blanch the spinach leaves in boiling water, then quickly cool under a running cold water, drain and squeeze dry. Cut coarsely, then mix with the other filling ingredients.
Blind-bake (see photo here) for 10 minutes in 200 C, until the crust is slightly golden.
Pour the filling into the pre-baked cheesy pastry shell and bake for another 20-25 minutes in the middle of the oven, until the filling is set and the top of the pie is lovely golden shade.
Cool a little, then serve with a green salad.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Soolaoad, alias salty broad beans, Estonian style

Broad beans, Estonian style. Simple, humble, rustic. All you need is fresh broad beans (Vicia faba L, still in pods) - in season just now, some large dill sprigs, water and salt. A perfect late summer dish again..

Beans and peas have been two of the staple ingredients in Estonian peasant diet, and considered almost as important as our other staple, rye bread. Whereas rye bread was usually accompaning every meal, then pea and bean dishes were served on their own. Beans were considered especially nutritious, and in their fresh form were cooked and eaten in pods. That's my preferred way of eating fresh broad beans, too. Broad beans, by the way, formed an important part of European diet until the 17th century, when they was pushed aside by the more elegant green beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L), newly introduced potatoes and corn. So consider this dish as 'back to your roots' style of eating...

For a much more elegant version for eating broad beans, see Haalo's WHB entry. To see the same dish pictured elsewhere (I'm talking about the rustic Estonian version), see a post over at Clivia's Cuisine in Sweden.

Salty broad beans, Estonian style
(Keedetud põldoakaunad, lihtsal moel)

fresh broad beans (pods)
coarse salt
dill sprigs
sour cream, for serving

Wash the pods (topping & tailing them, if you prefer) and place into a large saucepan of water. Add dill sprigs and about 3-4 Tbsp of salt into the water (alias a lot more than you think you need, as the salt needs to permeate the pods).
Bring to the boil and simmer for about 30 minutes, until the beans are tender.
Drain and serve either hot or cooled, sprinkling with extra salt, if you wish. You don't eat the pods (and you can also remove the skins of the beans, if you so wish, though that's not usually done in Estonia). The individual beans can be dipped into sour cream before eating.

WHB: This is also my entry to the Weekend Herb Blogging, this time hosted by Katie of Thyme for Cooking. Click on the logo below for more information about this established foodblogging event, and here to read Katie's round-up (44 entries!!!).