Friday, December 28, 2007

Christmas Cookie Recipes: Cardamom Cookies aka White Gingerbread

K. playing around with gingerbread. See another example of his food styling here. The cookie cutter (do you recognise the Moomin character?) is a gift from Dagmar.

I baked a lot of cookies this Christmas - gingerbread cookies, matcha madeleines, sweet mayonnaise cookies, coconut macaroons, and these lovely pale cardamom cookies - to give away as gifts. The recipe is from a Finnish site, and they were called white gingebread cookies, if I remember correctly. The naughty bit is that they don't look like gingerbread cookies - which are supposed to be, of course, dark brown (see the colour contrast on the top photo?) - but they contain a generous doze of cardamom, which gives them a very Christmassy feel. Sneaky, eh?

Oh, if you don't have ground cardamom, then seeds from about 20 pods give you about 1 tsp of ground spice at the end. And be careful not to overbake them - you want white gingerbread after all!

White Gingerbread aka Cardamom Cookies
(Valged piparkoogid e. kardemoniküpsised)
Recipe from the Finnish Pirkka-site
Makes about 4 dozen

125 g butter, at room temperature
100 g sugar
1 egg
50 ml double cream
150 g plain flour
100 g potato starch/potato flour
2 tsp vanilla sugar
1 tsp ground cardamom
0.5 tsp baking powder

Cream butter and sugar until light, then whisk in the egg.
Mix the dry ingredients (flour, potato starch, vanilla sugar, cardamom and baking powder), add to the butter mixture together with the double cream. Press into a dough ball and place into the fridge for about 3 hours (I left it overnight).
Roll the dough out on a slightly floured surface into 3-5 mm thickness. Cut out cookies and place onto a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper.
Bake at 200 C for 6-8 minutes, until the cookies are very slightly golden.
Cool and decorate with sugar glazing (recipe here).

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Recipes: Red Cabbage with Prunes (perfect with roasted goose)

We've just finished doing all the dishes after yet another Christmas party. For the second year already, K. and I have invited our respective families over for a festive Christmas meal. And instead of the traditional black pudding and sauerkraut (we've already had three traditional Christmas meals this week), we served something different this year: roast goose (sourcing and roasting courtesy of restaurant Stenhus, Tallinn*) and braised red cabbage, alongside with some lovely Estonian potatoes, creamy goose giblet gravy, and pickled pumpkin salad. (And

The recipe is from the Christmas 1998 issue of BBC Good Food magazine, but I've fiddled with it a little. You cannot really see the prunes on the photo below, but they were an excellent addition to the braised cabbage, adding a much-needed sweetness.

Hope you've all had a lovely holiday so far.

Braised Red Cabbage with Prunes
(Hautatud punane kapsas ploomidega)
Serves 10

2 Tbsp olive oil
2 red onions, halved and finely sliced
1 kg red cabbage, cut into fine shreds
250 g prunes, halved
a cup of orange juice
2 Tbsp balsamic or sherry vinegar
1-2 tsp salt
coarsely ground black pepper

Heat the oil on a large saucepan. Add onion and saute for about 5 minutes, until it starts to soften.
Add cabbage and saute, stirring every now and then, for 7 minutes.
Add the prunes, orange juice, balsamic vinegar, season with salt and pepper.
Cover the saucepan with a lid and simmer on a low heat for about 30-60 minutes, stirring every now and then, until the cabbage is cooked to your liking (I like it with a bit of bite, but it's also lovely when cooked until soft).
If the cabbage looks too dry at the end of the cooking process, add some more orange juice or water.

* One day I'll reveal why the executive chef of the best gourmet restaurant in Estonia was roasting my Christmas goose this year :)

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Estonian Christmas Recipes: piparkoogid aka Gingerbread Cookies

Häid jõule from me and K!!!

Piparkoogid actually translate as pepper cakes, but as spicy Christmas cookies tend to go under the name 'Gingerbread' across the world, I'm sticking to this English name instead. They're a must-have in Estonia. Various newspaper articles and TV programmes compile their "best gingerbread dough in 2007" lists. Mums and dads across the country are rolling and cutting and baking gingerbread cookies with their delighted offsprings. Coffee shops replace the traditional chocolate-with-your-cuppa with piparkook-with-your-cuppa. And those of us with extra time in our hands even make the gingerbread cookie dough.

Previously on Nami-nami, I've shown you pictures of stained-glass gingerbread and shared a recipe for gingerbread cookies with almonds. This year I used a different recipe, and liked the result a lot, so you'll get another gingebread recipe from me. Whereas the previous one used honey and almonds, this time I used Dansukker's light sugar syrup. You can either make your own syrup from scratch (don't burn it!), or use a light corn syrup, I guess. And if you don't have all the individual spices on hand, just use your pumpkin pie spice mixture (in the US) or mixed spice (in the UK) to get a rather similar result.

The gorgeous Moomin cookie cutters below are a gift from the very sweet Dagmar of A Cat in the Kitchen. Tack, Dagmar!!

Piparkoogid - Estonian Gingerbread Cookies
Yield: 1.3 kg of gingerbread dough

250 g light (corn) syrup
200 g sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1-2 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp ground ginger
0.5 tsp ground allspice
0.5 tsp ground nutmeg
250 g butter
2 large eggs
600 g plain flour
2 tsp baking soda

Mix the syrup, sugar and ground spices in a saucepan and bring to the simmer.
Add the cubed butter and stir, until the butter melts. Remove the pan from the heatand cool.
Add eggs, one at a time, stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon (a simply use your KitchenAid mixer).
Mix flour and baking soda, then add gradually to the syrup and sugar mixture.
Knead until all ingredients are thoroughly combined. Wrap in a clingfilm and place into the fridge for at least overnight, preferably for a few days.

To make the cookies, divide the dough into manageable chunks and roll into 3 mm thickness on a slightly floured working board. Transfer to a cookie sheet.
Bake in the middle of 200 C oven for 6-9 minutes, until cooked through.

Cool, then decorate with a sugar glaze.

To make the sugar glaze:
Mix 1 egg white with enough icing sugar to get a thick and glossy glaze. Put into a piping bag with a very small hole, and decorate.

Friday, December 21, 2007

David Lebovitz's Chocolate Sauerkraut Cake with Chocolate Glaze

In every household there comes a time when one has 100 grams of finely shredded sauerkraut left (like after making some boozy sauerkraut) and needs to find a good home for that. Granted, one can just nibble the cabbage shreds (an excellent source of vitamin C). Or one can bake a chocolate cake.

Yes, you understood me correctly..

When I finally received David's book a few months ago, his version of Maida Heatter's chocolate sauerkraut cake immediately caught my eye. Sauerkraut, you see, is very common in Estonia - there are quite a few sauerkraut recipes on my blog to prove that. However, I had never encountered a cake recipe using sauerkraut before. So when I did end up with some extra sauerkraut and extra time earlier this week (K. had popped over to Finland for the night), I decided to give David's recipe a go. I finely chopped up the cabbage, creamed and mixed and poured the batter (which looks - as you can see on this photo - like your 'normal' chocolate cake batter), baked, waited, glazed, sliced and devoured. Mmmm... I must admit that I couldn't taste any sauerkraut in the cake - but it was incredibly moist, extremely light and very chocolatey.

NB! Note that the recipe is also the cover image of the US edition of the book. I think David is strongly suggesting you'll give this one a go :)

Chocolate Sauerkraut Cake with Chocolate Glaze
Source: The Great Book of Chocolate by David Lebovitz
Serves 12

There is no recipe for this cake on David's blog, so if you're after the US cup-and-buttersticks measurements, buy his book (US/UK), or check out the recipe on Leite's Culinaria. The measurements below are for the people cooking in metric Europe when butter tends to be sold in 50 gram increments and not in tablespoons or 113-gram sticks :)

For the bundt cake:
100 grams sauerkraut
50 grams unsweetened cocoa powder
280 grams plain/all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
0.25 tsp salt
150 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
300 g caster sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
250 ml milk, cold

For the chocolate glaze:
100 grams dark chocolate (I used Fazer's 71% chocolate)
50 grams unsalted butter
1 tsp light syrup (Dansukker) or light corn syrup

Preheat the oven to 160°C. Butter a 3-litre Bundt or tube cake pan.

Rinse the sauerkraut in cold water, gently squeeze dry and chop finely.

Sift together the cocoa powder, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Beat the butter and sugar until light and creamy. Add eggs, one by one, beating after each addition.

Stir in one-third of the dry ingredients, then half of the milk. Then stir in another third of the dry ingredients, then the remaining milk. Finally, mix in the remaining dry ingredients, vanilla extract and the chopped sauerkraut.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool completely then invert onto a serving plate.

To make the chocolate glaze, heat the chocolate, butter, and syrup together until melted and smooth. Let stand until room temperature, then spoon the glaze over the cooled cake, allowing it to run down the sides.

This recipe was also included in my second cookbook, Jõulud kodus ("Christmas at Home"), published in Estonian in November 2011.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Estonian Christmas Recipes: Sauerkraut Braised in Beer

Õllekapsas ehk õlles hautatud hapukapsas. Sauerkraut braised in dark beer.

Sauerkraut is another must-have ingredient on our Christmas table - a lovely side-dish to all those fatty chunks of roast pork and crackling black sausages. Here's an adaptation of an earlier recipe of mine - more beer, fewer ingredients, less hassle. Still as wonderful, however, if not better - the porter beer (I use A Le Coq Christmas Porter) and brown sugar give such a lovely, slightly caramelised flavour to the cabbage.

Traditional wisdom says that you need something fatty and greasy to give a proper flavour to sauerkraut (and many of our traditional dishes indeed combine sauerkraut with fatty pork cuts). I constantly - and very successfully - ignore that wisdom. I often replace fresh cabbage with sauerkraut in my meatless and virtually fat-free borscht, to no loss of flavour. And although this beer-braised sauerkraut contains just a hint of butter, my lighter and more modern version has received praises on my Christmas table for the last few years. I doubt anyone has missed the traditional sauerkraut instead..

You'll find 'fresh' sauerkraut in Eastern European stores. Failing that, use sauerkraut in a jar (try to look for one with added salt only; rinse before using), and shorten the cooking time a little.

Beer-Braised Sauerkraut
(Õlles hautatud hapukapsas)
Serves 12 as a side dish

1 kg fresh sauerkraut
100 grams of soft brown sugar or honey
1-2 tsp salt
500 ml porter or other dark strong beer
a generous pinch of caraway seeds
50 grams butter

Put all ingredients in a large saucepan and put on a medium heat. Simmer, stirring every now and then, until the cabbage is golden and softened. This takes about an hour.

Keeps in a fridge for a week (just reheat before serving).

This recipe was also included in my second cookbook, Jõulud kodus ("Christmas at Home"), published in Estonian in November 2011.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Russian Vinaigrette Salad, and confusion with culinary terms

Vinaigrette is the oil-and-vinegar dressing so popular across the world for livening up salad leaves, right? Wrong, at least as far as the vast Russia is concerned. And Estonia, for that matter. Most deli counters in supermarkets here would sell something called 'vinegrett' (that's vinaigrette in the local lingua), and it's not the dressing they're selling, but this bright Russian vegetable salad. My version is possibly a bit beetier (khm? is that a word?) than others, but I simply couldn't resist the colour.

Note the Russian vinaigrette salad is lactose free/gluten free/vegetarian/vegan, so should suite a wide array of diets- in addition of being really bright and beautiful to look at. I served it on crisp dark rye bread triangles, but usually it is eaten just as a side salad.

Russian Vinaigrette Salad
Serves 10 as a side dish

300 g boiled potatoes
200 g boiled beets
100 g boiled carrots
300 g sauerkraut
200 g pickled or salted cucumbers
150 g red or yellow onions or spring onions

5 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp strong mustard
a generous squeeze of lemon juice*
coarsely ground black pepper

fresh herbs (e.g. dill, parsley, chives)

NB! All cooked/boiled vegetables must be cool before starting to prepare the salad.

Peel the potatoes, beets and carrots and cut into thin julienne sticks or grate coarsely. Cut the cucumbers into thin slices lengthwise, then cut into stick crosswise. Mince onion finely.
Mix gently all the vegetables (sauerkraut, beets, carrots, cucumbers, onions) in a large bowl, until well combined.
Season the vegetables with salt, then dress with oil, mustard and lemon juice. Check for seasoning - and add salt, sugar and/or pepper, if necessary. The vinaigrette salad should have a slightly sweet-and-sour flavour.
Put into the fridge for about an hour, so the flavours and colours could mingle.
Sprinkle generously with fresh herbs and serve.

* It is traditional to use vinegar, but we prefer the much milder lemon juice.

You may add any of the following ingredients:
* fresh or preserved green peas
* salted Baltic herring slices (place on top of the salad)
* chopped salted wild mushrooms (add about 25 g per person)
* chopped hot-smoked fish
* chopped fresh or pickled apples
* chopped bell peppers (add about 100 g to the above recipe)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Christmas Cookie Recipes: Danish Coconut Macaroons (kokosmakroner)

I've been making lots of Christmas tiramisu recently (post coming soon), and therefore end up with lots of eggwhites. I've already made meringues, but one can only eat so many airy-crispy egg white cookies. Here's another way to use up those egg whites - Danish coconut macaroons. I must admit that I don't really know what makes these so Danish - it's just I learnt to like these while exchange student in Denmark back in 1992, they're very popular among the Danes (especially during the festive season), and this particular recipe I've been using for years is from the Danish Karolines Køkken site.

Note that the bases of these coconut cookies can be dipped into melted dark chocolate - I've never bothered, however. They're exquisite the way they are..

Kokosmakroner - Danish Coconut Macaroons(Kookosmakroonid)
Yields about 4 dozens

50 g butter, cubed
4 egg whites
250 g caster sugar
250 g unsweetened desiccated coconut
1 tsp vanilla extract or seeds from 1 vanilla bean

Mix all ingredients in a heavy saucepan. Heat on a low heat, stirring, until all ingredients are combined (about 5 minutes).
Remove from the heat. With the help of two teaspoons, take the coconut mixture and form into small round heaps. Place on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Leave about 1-2 cm between cookies (they do not spread much during baking).
Bake in the middle of a preheated 200 C oven for about 10-12 minutes, until the cookies are light golden.

More Coconut Macaroons:
Chocolate-Covered Coconut Macaroons (Orangette, January 2005)Coconut Macaroons à la Dahlia Bakery (Orangette @ Seattlest, December 2005)Rochers à la Noix de Coco (Chocolate & Zucchini, November 2003)Baking With Dorie: Coconut Domes (Dorie Greenspan, September 2007)Lemon Coconut Macaroons (Alpineberry, May 2007)Barefoot Contessa's Coconut Macaroons (Alpineberry, April 2006)Lampreia Coconut Cookies (Tastingmenu, April 2005)Coconut Macaroons with Lime and Orange (Anne's Food, January 2006)Very Coconutty Coconut Macaroons (Kitchen Chick, January 2007)Coconut Macaroons with Condensed Milk (Carrie's Cooking Adventures, December 2007)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Estonian Christmas Recipes: Pickled Pumpkin

During Christmas all self-respecting Estonians feast on black pudding, roasted pork, sauerkraut and roasted potatoes. These are accompanied by lingonberry jam and pickled clove-scented pumpkin. At the end of the feast we nibble on piparkoogid (that's Estonian gingerbread cookies) and caramelised almonds and sip copious amounts of hõõgvein (mulled wine/glühwein/glögg). And then we're off to do some cross-country skiing in the midst of our beautiful pine forests to burn off all those calories. Well, some of us :)

I must admit this was the first time I pickled my own pumpkin - usually we have my mum's or grandmother's pumpkin on the Christmas table. I'm not even particularly keen on pickled pumpkin per se, but couple of yellow chunks alongside another portion of black pudding is kind of semi-required. My university friend Piret dropped by the other day and brought me a small pumpkin from her parents' country home. When trying to think what to do with this beauty of a pumpkin, somehow, this year, I really wanted to make my own pickled pumpkin. Here's the recipe I came up with. And it's not half as bad, believe me..

Pickled Yellow Pumpkin, Estonian Style
(Marineeritud kõrvitsasalat)
Makes 3 half-litre jars

1 kg prepared pumpkin/winter squash (see below)
1 L water
200 g sugar
1-2 cinnamon sticks
5 black peppercorns
1 whole cloves
5 allspice berries
fresh gingerroot, about 2-3 cm, peeled and sliced (optional)
2 Tbsp vinegar (30% strenght)

Cut the pumpkin into wedges, then peel, remove the soft bits and seeds. Cut the flesh into small chunks or sticks (even julienne, if you can be bothered). You need about 2 pounds or 1 kilogram of pumpkin chunks/sticks.
Mix water, sugar, cinnamon stick, gingerroot, black peppercorns, allspice and whole cloves in a large saucepan. (You may add a teaspoon of salt to the marinade, but it's not necessary). Bring to the boil, then add the vinegar and then your pumpkin.
Simmer on a moderate heat until pumpkin pieces have become translucent, but not too soft and mushy.
Transfer the pumpkin with a slotted spoon into sterilised jars, then pour the hot marinate over.
Close and keep in the fridge or very cold larder. Wait for about a week before eating, so the flavours could really mingle.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Sesame and Lemon Chicken Recipe

Somebody somewhere commented that my blog is very nice, but a bit baking-heavy. Well, I cannot help it. I consider myself to be a much better baker than a cook. And with Christmas around the corner, I'll be baking and baking and baking. According to the traditions, one must have seven different types of cakes and cookies on the Christmas table, so I must obey - and keep up a certain reputation I've acquired among my family and friends:)

But just to show I can cook as well, I'm going to post a non-baking recipe today and tomorrow. Tonight I start off with a very easy supper recipe for Sesame and Lemon Chicken. I discovered the recipe from a tiny cookbook by Tami Lehman-Wilzig & Miriam Blum, called "The Melting Pot: A Quick and Easy Blend of Israeli Cuisine" - a gift my friend Hille brought me back from her trip to Israel few years ago. I've made this dish couple of times, and can really recommend it. Again, I love the easiness of this dish, the subtle lemon flavour and the crunch of sesame seeds in my mouth. And I know that kids like this, too - I've checked!

Aitäh raamatu eest, Hille!

Sesame and Lemon Chicken
Serves 4

4 small to medium chicken fillets
half a lemon
0.5 tsp salt
0.25 tsp black pepper
1 egg
6 Tbsp plain flour
3 Tbsp sesame seeds
3 Tbsp breadcrumbs
vegetable oil for frying

Flatten the chicken fillets slightly by placing them between two sheets of clingfilm and gently beating them with a rolling pin. Place in a large shallow dish, season with salt, pepper and lemon juice on all sides. Cover and leave to marinate for half an hour in a fridge.
Break the egg into a soup plate, whisking it a little.
Place flour into another plate.
Mix sesame seeds and breadcrumbs on the third plate.
When ready to cook, toss the chicken fillets, one after another, in the flour, then quickly dip into the egg, and finally press into the sesame seed mixture, to ensure they're covered evenly.
Heat oil in a large skillet/frying pan over moderate heat, and cook the chicken fillets on both sides until golden brown and cooked through.
Serve with lemon slices, steamed rice and some steamed broccoli or other vegetables. Or simly with some dressed salad leaves.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Juhhei! I'm a 2007 Food Blog Awards finalist!

I've just read over at Wellfed Network that Nami-nami is one of the five finalists in the RURAL category of the 2007 Food Blog Awards. How exciting and what an honour!

I must admit that I was a wee bit baffled at first, as I consider myself a 100% city girl. But then I guess my frequent mushroom forageing trips (for saffron milkcaps, yellow morels and others), my proud and fruitful forest berry picking missions (lingonberries, bog bilberries, wild strawberries, cranberries, cloudberries - all regulars in our kitchen in one form or another) and general exploratory-culinary use of wild plants (making meadowsweet cordial, enjoying nettle soup, experimenting with ground elder pie, dressing up dandelion leaves and adding chopped wild garlic leaves to salads, drinking freshly collected maple sap and sweetening my tea with either dandelion 'honey' made of dandelion blossoms or flowering quince extract), not to forget my exciting encounter with these chicks (you can see more chicken photos here) - do give my blog and my cooking a slightly rural slant :)

It's a tough competition - I'm running against very strong (and rural:) Susan (Farmgirl Fare, who won the category last year) and Ilva (Lucullian Delights, also a finalist last year). In any case, I'm thrilled and pleased to have been nominated in the first place! I am very pleased to see many of my favourite foodbloggers as finalists in other categories - there's David Lebovitz running for Best Food Blog (Chef) category, Food Blogga's Susan for Best Food Blog (New) category, Bea, Matt and Meeta (how can one possibly choose between them???) for Best Food Blog (Photography), Susan (again!) and Molly for Best Food Blog (Post), Jeanne in Best Food Blog (Writing), and Heidi, Bea and Ilva in Food Blog of the Year category. I'm sad my blogging buddies Johanna, Melissa, Kalyn, Nicky and Alanna didn't end up in the finals, but then there's always next year :)

In any case, you can go and cast your vote until Friday, December 14th. For rural category, click here, for all other categories, see here.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Nigella Lawson's Rosemary Loaf Cake Recipe - rosmariinikeeks

Rosemary, you see, doesn't just complement hearty lamb dishes and fruity carrot and orange salads and tender potato focaccia. It's a versatile herb that can also be added to desserts, like this sweet rosemary loaf cake by the original domestic goddess. The recipe is from Nigella's book How to Be a Domestic Goddess: Baking and the Art of Comfort Cooking. I've played with the amount of flour - we do not use self-raising flour here in Estonia, so I've had to add baking powder to the recipe. We really enjoyed the cake, even if the idea of rosemary in sweet baking did sound curious in the beginning. But be not afraid - as Nigella herself says, 'there is something muskily aromatic about [rosemary] against the sweet vanilla egginess of the cake'. Exactly.

Nigella suggests you eat this with cold stewed apples. We spooned some softly whipped cream over sliced cake instead.

Nigella Lawson's Rosemary Loaf Cake
(Nigella Lawsoni rosmariinikeeks)
Serves 10

250 g soft butter
200 g caster sugar
3 large eggs
300 g plain/all-purpose flour
3 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
4 Tbsp (1/4 cup) milk

Preheat the oven to 170 C (325-350 F).
Mix flour, salt and baking powder.
Cream the butter until softened, add sugar and cream them both together until pale and smooth and light. Beat in the eggs one at a time, folding in a spoonful of flour after each addition, then add the vanilla extract. Fold in the rest of the flour and finally add the rosemary.
Thin the batter with the milk - you're aiming for a soft, dropping consistency.
Pour the batter into a buttered (or lined with parchment paper) 450 g loaf tin.
Cook for 60 minutes or a bit longer, until a cake-tester comes out clean.
Leave to cool in its tin on a wire rack. When completely cold, unmould and wrap well in foil until you need to eat it.
Keeps well for a few days.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Cottage Cheese Muffins

Great minds really think alike.

You see, four weeks ago I made these lovely cottage cheese muffins for breakfast. Ideally, of course, I would have wanted to blog about these muffins earlier, but then I was in Budapest, spent a day on the seaside, took part in the Daring Bakers and WTISIM blog events, plus I've been spending time trying to learn how to cook from the real masters. Somehow the whole of November came and passed without blogging about these muffins..

Although I do follow Heidi's blog, it was only after making my cottage cheese muffins that I came across the recipe for Sun-dried Tomato Cottage Cheese Muffins over at Heidi's blog. Last night I decided that today is the day for my cottage cheese muffin post. Imagine my delight then when I spotted Kalyn's version of Heidi's muffins first thing this morning: Cottage Cheese and Egg Breakfast Muffins with Ham and Cheddar. You see what I'm telling about great minds thinking alike??

My version is simpler - just cottage cheese and herbs. If you fancy a more substantial version with ham or sun-dried tomatoes, check out Kalyn's and Heidi's posts, respectively.

The recipe is adapted from "Kohupiima- ja kodujuusturaamat" (100 Rooga). I've added fresh herbs that make the muffins so much more interesting, and also adjusted the quantities to fit the size of most commonly available cottage cheese tubs.

Cottage Cheese Muffins
Makes 12 muffins

350 g cottage cheese
2 eggs, lightly whisked
125 g butter, melted
3 Tbsp sour cream
50 g cheese, grated
a handful of chopped fresh parsley
100 g plain/all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt

Mix cottage cheese, grated cheese, eggs, melted butter, sour cream and chopped parsley.
Mix flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl, stir into the cheese and egg mixture.
Spoon the mixture into prepared muffin tins* and bake in the middle of 200 C oven for about 25 minutres, until the muffins have puffed up and golden.
Cool a little and serve. The muffins are even better on the following day, so they'd make an ideal picnic item (or breakfast item, of course).

* I suggest using silicone muffin pan (12 hole capacity) to make these cottage cheese muffins (I've also began using silicone muffin pan for making Molly's beautiful Bouchons au Thon, as these slip out of a pan very easily). Alternatively, use paper muffin cups, or butter your regular metal muffin tin thoroughly.