Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Quick elderflower mousse

Elderflower and cottage cheese cream / Kodujuustukreem leedrisiirupiga

One of the quickest and most typical desserts in Estonia is curd cheese pudding - a mix of whipped cream and some curd cheese - that's usually served with some fruit or berries. Here's a twist on that recipe that uses more widely available cottage cheese. Instead of sugar, I've used undiluted elderflower cordial to sweeten the mousse, and give the dessert a lovely floral fragrance. The cottage cheese leaves tiny lumps in the dessert that I loved, but you may want to "warn" your guests (or press the cottage cheese through a sieve first).

Looking for more elderflower recipe ideas? Here are some:
Elderflower, coconut and lemon curd cake
Elderflower curd
Strawberries with elderflower zabaglione

Quick elderflower mousse
(Kiire leedrikreem)
Inspiration: Swedish Arla site
Serves 4

200-250 ml whipping cream
1 tsp of sugar
250 g plain cottage cheese
50 ml (3-4 Tbsp) elderflower cordial

Whisk the cream and sugar until soft peaks form. Add the elderflower cordial and continue whisking, until thick and airy. Gently fold in the cottage cheese.
Spoon into four dessert glasses, decorate with sliced fruit or berries.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Lemon curd recipe

Lemon curd / Sidrunikreem

Lemon curd is something I make quite regularly. K. LOVES the stuff, and is happy to dash to the grocery store to pick up some lemon at any time, and I'm rather fond of that tangy and lemony spread as well. Last night I made yet another batch and gave a spoonful to our 15-month-old daughter. She would have happily licked some more :)

I love how versatile it is. You can eat it straight out of the jar, au naturel. Spread it over a slice of toasted brioche. You can drizzle it over some home-made vanilla ice cream, or, even better, fold it into the ice cream mixture before churning it into a delicious lemon curd ice cream. A simple raspberry meringue roulade/Raspberry Pavlova roll gets lifted to a totally different level when the filling includes some lemon curd. And, of course, it can play a star role in a festive cake.

Obviously, I'm not the first blogger to share their lemon curd recipe - Meeta, David, Lydia, and countless others have done it before me. But each one of us makes the curd slightly differently, so here's my recipe after all.

Lemon curd
Makes 350 g

Lemon curd / Sidrunikreem e. sidrunivõie

100 ml lemon juice (1-2 lemons, depending on size)
1 Tbsp finely grated lemon zest
3 large eggs, at room temperature
150 g caster sugar
100 g unsalted butter, at room temperature

If you're not using organic and unwaxed lemons, then wash them thoroughly with hot water. Juice and zest the lemons.
Bring about an inch / 2-3 cm of water into a boil in a small saucepan.
Take a heatproof bowl that neatly fits over the saucepan and whisk eggs, sugar and lemon juice in the bowl*. Place the bowl over the saucepan (the base of the bowl should not touch the simmering water!) and heat the mixture, whisking regularly, until it thickens. This will take about 10 minutes, the candy thermometer should register 71-72 C.
Take the bowl from the heat. Whisk in the butter, and fold in the grated lemon zest.
Pour into sterilized jar(s).

The lemon curd keeps for a couple of weeks in the fridge. It never lasts so long in our house.

* If you're very brave, then you can simply use a heavy saucepan over a low heat and whisk rigorously. I do it this way and have never failed, but the risk of cooking the eggs instead of slowly thickening them is obviously much highter.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Birthday cakes 2010

I threw two birthday parties this year - one to my university friends, one to my extended family (parents, aunties, soon-to-be-90-granny). That obviously meant two different birthday cakes :P

Coffee cake (my traditional birthday cake, recipe here):
Kohvitort / Birthday cake

Here's a close-up of the cake slice:
Coffee cake / Kohvitort

Raspberry meringue cake with cocoa nibs (recipe is still work-in-process, but the cake was absolutely delicious!)
Raspberry cake with cocoa nibs / Vaarikatort kakaoubadega

Saturday, April 24, 2010

It's cake time! Elderflower, coconut and lemon curd cake

Spring cake with lemon curd, coconut and elderflower / Kevadtort kookosbiskviidi, sidrunikreemi ja leedrivahuga

This isn't the cake I'm serving today (this one is ;))

It was one of the cakes at our Easter Brunch a few weeks ago, and it was tasty and it's festive and pretty, so I'm sharing the recipe anyway (after all, I do deserve a cake today!) It's a coconut sponge, layered with lemon curd and topped with whipped cream spiked with elderflower extract. Perfect for spring with its light yellow colours.

Hope you'll enjoy it as much as I did!

Elderflower, coconut and lemon curd cake
(Kookose-sidrunitort leedrikreemiga)
Adapted from the Swedish BAKA magazine 1/2010
Serves 10 to 12

Spring cake with lemon curd, coconut and elderflower / Kevadtort kookosbiskviidi, sidrunikreemi ja leedrivahuga

Coconut sponge:
4 large eggs
250 g sugar (300 ml)
150 ml water
80 g plain flour (150 ml)
80 g potato starch (150 ml)
100 g flaked unsweetened coconut
2 tsp vanilla sugar
2 tsp baking powder

Separate egg whites and yolks.
Whisk egg yolks with sugar until thick and pale and frothy. Add water and continue whisking for a few more minutes.
Combine flour, coconut flakes, vanilla, baking powder and potato flour, then gently fold into the whisked egg yolks.
Whisk egg whites until stiff peaks form, then slowly fold into the rest of the dough.
Pour the batter into a 26 cm spring form tin that has been buttered and lined with a parchment paper.
Bake in the middle of a preheated 175 C oven for 40-45 minutes, until the cake is golden and fully cooked.
Cool completely, then remove from the tin and cut into two discs.

Between layers:

300 g lemon curd

Either use a good quality shop bought one or make yourself using your favourite recipe (I make my own lemon curd, using the juice and zest of 2 large lemons, 3 large eggs, 150 g caster sugar and 100 g butter).
Spread the lemon curd between the cake layers. (This can be done a day in advance. Wrap the sandwiched cake into clingfilm and keep in a cold room/larder or fridge until ready to decorate).

Cream topping:

400 ml whipping cream
50 ml undiluted elderflower syrup
Whisk the cream until soft peaks form, then add the elderflower syruo and continue whisking until you've got a strong cream. Using a spatula, spread the cream on top and on the sides of the cake.

To decorate:

grated lemon zest
fresh lemon balm leaves

Decorate the cake with long thin lemon zest strips and fresh lemon balm leaves.

Spring cake with lemon curd, coconut and elderflower / Kevadtort kookosbiskviidi, sidrunikreemi ja leedrivahuga

To serve, cut into wedges.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Bircher-muesli (fresh muesli)

Bircher-müesli / Kaerahelbe-toorpuder e. Bircher-müsli

Our little family spent a week in Davos, Switzerland at the end of March. I wish I could show you gorgeous photos of the impressive slopes, hillside restaurants and skiing chalets. The truth is, that K. spent a week enjoying the slopes, whereas I and our little daughter spent most of the time trying to recover from the rather annoying cold that had hit us out of the blue :( At least by the time we were back in Zürich we were recovered enough to have enough energy to check out the Ladurée shop and Café Péclard in town, so it wasn't all wasted on us. During our vacation we had breakfast at three different hotels in Switzerland, and true to their local traditions, they all served Bircher-müsli ;)

If you haven't heard of Bircher-müesli before, then it's cold cereal or "fresh müsli" that was first served to its patients by a Swiss physician Maximilian Bircher-Benner over a century ago. Since then müsli has become popular all over the world, although the original müsli has changed quite a bit when travelling across time and space. The Bircher-müeslis we tried in Switzerland were quite different, and some versions were better than others, but it truly was a breakfast staple and found everywhere. (And not just for breakfast - we saw it on the menu at a riverside café in Zürich, where it came topped with a huge pile of whipped cream!!! I'm not convinced that the doctor would have approved that ;))

Here's a version I've been making for a few years now.

Serves 2

Night before:
250 ml/1 cup rolled/old-fashioned oats
125 ml/half a cup (boiled) water
half a lemon, juiced

In the morning:
150 ml (10 Tbsp) plain yogurt
one large green apple, grated (Granny Smith is excellent)
2 Tbsp honey

To serve:
fresh fruit or berries or soft raisins
toasted nuts
a little honey

Place oats on a bowl, pour over the water and lemon juice. Leave to soften overnight in a cool place.
In the morning stir in the yogurt, honey and grated apple.
Top with sliced fruit or berries and a drizzle of honey.
Serve and enjoy.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Oatmeal with peanut butter, and on breakfast cereal compromises

Alanna's oatmeal with peanut butter / Kaerahelbepuder maapähklivõiga

First I complain that I don't post nearly as many breakfast recipes as I should and then I post two in a row!!! Again, this is one of several Alanna's oatmeal recipes, and this particular one has been praised by Kalyn as well. I did adapt the recipe for using the stovetop-method. Although we do have a microwave in our kitchen, we don't use it for cooking, just reheating food occasionally. Somehow the stovetop method seems more wholesome to me, plus it only takes few minutes longer. If you are in a real rush in the mornings then refer to Alanna's original post for microwave instructions.

What about the breakfast cereal compromises mentioned in the post title? Well, K. likes his breakfast porridge/oatmeal with milk, I'm happy with half-and-half (that's half milk, half water, not half milk, half cream, mind you). So depending on who's making the oatmeal for breakfast, one of us always gets the less preferred version. That's relationships to you, eh :) The curious thing is that Alanna's peanut-butter-oatmeal is made with just water, and neither one of us - not even the only-milk-no-water-type K - complained about the lack of milk in the oatmeal ;)

Oatmeal with peanut butter
(Kaerahelbepuder maapähklivõiga)
Serves 2 to 3

1 cup of old-fashioned/rolled oats
2 cups of water
0.5 tsp salt
2 Tbsp peanut butter (I used sugar-free organic brand)

Mix oats, water and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat and simmer for a 5-7 minutes, stirring every now with a wooden spoon, until the oats are ready. Stir in the peanut butter and serve at once.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Oatmeal with banana and maple syrup

Oatmeal with banana and maple syrup / Kaerahelbepuder banaaniga

I don't post nearly as many breakfast recipes as I should. You see, although Nora is eating solids now and is a very happy eater, then there's still only two proper eaters in our house. Despite of that we bake lots of cakes and quiches and tarts and pies (all for the good of the users of my Estonian site). On most days, we have something for dinner and then eat the rest of the cake or tart for breakfast the following morning, so I rarely make special breakfast dishes (Sunday morning pancakes is an exception, of course). I know I should eat oatmeal or other hot cereal for breakfast much more often, but a slice of yesterday's cake is a lazy, but quick alternative.

However, I may have just stumbled upon a hot cereal recipe that I might bother to make even if there's some cake in the house. My dear blog friend Alanna has posted several healthy oatmeal recipes (one of which - Alanna's famous oatmeal with peanut butter - she served me when I visited her in St Louis in Summer 2008). I added a generous drizzle of maple syrup to her Stovetop Oatmeal with Whipped Banana, and LOVED IT!

What's your favourite breakfast? And how do you like your oatmeal?

Oatmeal with banana and maple syrup
(Kaerahelbepuder banaaniga)
Serves 2 to 3

1 cup of old-fashioned/rolled oats
1 cup of milk
1 cup of water
0.5 tsp salt
1 large ripe banana, peeled and thinly sliced
maple syrup, to serve

Mix oats, milk, water and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat and stir for a few minutes.
Add the sliced banana and continue simmering the porridge for about 7 minutes, stirring regularly with a wooden spoon, until the oats are ready.
Serve at once with a generous drizzle of maple syrup.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Georgian recipes: creamy mushrooms with spices and herbs

Georgian mushrooms / Koores ja vürtsidega hautatud seened Gruusia moodi

Another Georgian recipe on Nami-Nami. When I gave couple of Georgian cookery classes back in March, I had chosen 15 carefully selected recipes for the class. Little did I know that this humble and simple mushroom dish would prove to be such a great favourite with the participants. The mushrooms are slowly cooked in cream, alongside with some spices you wouldn't usually associate with mushroom dishes - cloves, bay leaves, cinnamon. Just before serving, some finely chopped fresh herbs are added, which lift the whole dish nicely (a bit like gremolata on osso buco, you know :))

Serve as a side dish or on a buffet spread. For best results, choose large mushrooms or use whole button mushrooms.

Creamy mushrooms with spices and herbs
(Vürtsidega hautatud šampinjonid)
serves 4

500 g mushrooms
1 Tbsp butter
0.5 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper
200 ml whipping cream/double cream
6 whole black peppercorns
3 cloves
2 bay leaves
small cinnamon stick
large handful of fresh dill, finely chopped
large handful on fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

First, prepare the mushrooms. If they're very dirty, then rinse them quickly and dry thoroughly. Otherwise just wipe them clean with a wet kitchen paper. Cut mushrooms in halve or into thick slices.
Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the mushrooms. Season generously with salt and pepper, then sauté for a few minutes, until the mushrooms take on some colour.
Meanwhile, place the spices and bay leaves on a piece of muslin or cheesecloth:
Georgian mushrooms / Koores ja vürtsidega hautatud seened Gruusia moodi

Tie them up with a cotton string:
Georgian mushrooms / Koores ja vürtsidega hautatud seened Gruusia moodi

Place the "spice pouch" into the saucepan and push it snugly between the mushrooms. Pour of the cream. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer on low heat for about 40-45 minutes, until the cream has reduced considerably.

Remove the "spice pouch", stir in the chopped herbs and serve.

Mushrooms with herbs, Georgian style / Seened ürdikastmes, Gruusia stiilis

Friday, April 09, 2010

Ottolenghi's cucumber and poppy seed salad

Ottolenghi's cucumber salad with poppyseeds / Kurgisalat mooniseemnete ja tšilliga

Although the best tasting cucumbers will be available in July/August, then the cucumbers on sale at the moment aren't really so bad. So when I was looking for dishes to serve at our Easter Brunch table, this vivid green salad in Ottolenghi's book immediately caught my eye. The Ottoleghi guys recommend you make this with small cucumbers (sometimes called 'Lebanese cucumbers' in British recipes), but those won't be available until mid-summer. Until then, nice thin long ones will work as well.

I loved the colour, the piquancy of the dressing and the crunchiness of the poppy seeds. Again - suitable for gluten-free and lactose-free and vegan and vegetarian diets.

Cucumber and poppy seed salad
(Krõmpsuv kurgisalat krõmpsuvate mooniseemnetega)
Recipe from Ottolenghi: The Cookbook (slightly adapted)
Serves 6 to 8 as part of a buffet

500 g fresh cucumber (about 2-3 long green cucumbers, choose slim ones with small seeds)
1 mild red chilli pepper, deseeded and thinly sliced
3 Tbsp chopped fresh coriander/cilantro leaves
4 Tbsp white wine vinegar or rice vinegar (I used Prosecco vinegar)
5 Tbsp rapeseed or sunflower oil
2 Tbsp poppy seeds
2 Tbsp caster sugar
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Wash the cucumbers, cut off the ends and discard. Halve the cucumbers lengthwise, then cut into 1 cm slices at a slight angle. Place into a large bowl.
Add coriander leaves, vinegar, oil, poppy seeds and sugar, then season with salt and pepper. Use your hands to massage the flavours into the cucumbers. Taste for seasoning - you're aiming for a sweet and sharp taste sensation.
Serve immediately.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Beet and Quinoa Salad

Quinoa and beet salad / Kinoasalat peediga

I'm on a quinoa mood these days. First I gave you colourful quinoa salad with crayfish and avocado, then a vegan quinoa salad with coriander/cilantro and lime. Both have been served with a success on several occasions at our house, and I have it on good authority that my brother-in-law served the crayfish version to a grateful audience on his recent birthday party as well. Having been so successful with the first two quinoa salads, it was only natural that I decided to serve some kind of quinoa salad at the Easter Sunday brunch. It's was universally enjoyed by our over dozen guests and thus provided another great opportunity to introduce this rather unknown "grain" here in Estonia.

The recipe is very slightly adapted from a book by a New York based holistic health and nutrition councelor Marika Blossfeldt (you can read more about her practice here), who also runs an international center for the performing, visual and healing arts here in Estonia).

As it happens, the salad is vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, lactose-free and very pretty on top of that :)

Beetroot and Quinoa Salad
(Kinoasalat peediga)
Serves 6 to 8, or more as part of a buffet

200 g quinoa (1 cup/250 ml)
2 cups water
0.25 tsp salt
200 g cooked beetroot, grated
1 small fennel, thinly sliced and cubed
1 small bunch of scallions/spring onions, chopped
large handful of fresh basil, chopped
1 to 2 lemons, juiced
4 Tbsp olive oil
freshly ground black pepper

Rinse the quinoa under cold running water, using a fine mesh sieve (this is an important step, as otherwise the quinoa can be bitter). Drain.
Place the quinoa and stock (or water and Marigold bouillon powder) in a saucepan. Season with salt, then bring to the boil and simmer on medium heat for 15-20 minutes, until quinoa is soft and the water has evaporated.
Stir in the oil and the lime juice. Place the quinoa into a large serving bowl. Stir in the grated beets, chopped basil, spring onions and fennel. Season with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper and serve.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Nami-Nami Easter Brunch 2010

Easter eggs 2010 / Lihavõttemunad 2010

Hope you all had a lovely Easter weekend, wherever and however you celebrated it! We hosted our traditional Easter Sunday Brunch yesterday, with 11 adults, 6 children and 3 toddlers around the table. Last year I tried to follow a green/yellow colour scheme. This year I simply chose dishes that made me think of spring :)

Here are the dishes from yesterday:

We started with Mimosas again:
Easter Mimosas 2010

Baby spinach with hot-smoked salmon, quail eggs, green beans and asparagus spears:
Quail egg, spinach and smoked salmon salad / Spinatisalat vutimunade ja kuumsuitsulõhega

Quinoa salad with beets, fennel and basil
Quinoa and beet salad / Kinoasalat peediga

Savoury cheesecake with chives and goat's cheese:
Chive and goat cheese cake / Kitsejuustukook murulauguga

Ottolenghi's cucumber salad with chilli and poppy seeds
Ottolenghi's cucumber salad with poppyseeds / Kurgisalat mooniseemnete ja tšilliga

Bean salad with lemon and parsley:
Beans with parsley and lemon / Valged oad sidruni ja peterselliga

Estonian national fish, Baltic herring, with cherry tomatoes and herbs (recipe from an Estonian foodblogger Mari-Liis):
Mari-Liisi rokkivad räimed :)

Home-made Estonian cheese with curd cheese, eggs and caraway seeds, served with dark rye bread:
Estonian cheese with caraway seeds / Sõir e. kohupiimajuust köömnetega

Choux puffs with ricotta, mint and green pea filling (recipe from the latest issue of the French Regal magazine; the only dish that didn't rock and won't be repeated)
Choux puffs with minty ricotta and peas / Keedutainapallid ricotta-herne-münditäidisega

As for the sweet dishes, our friends Paavo & Kristiina brought along a delicious paskha:

I made a traditional British Simnel cake, topped with 11 chocolate eggs that we bought from the gorgeous Péclard café in Zürich last weekend:
Simnel cake / Simneli kook

And last, but not least, a delicious cake with coconut, lemon curd, elderflower cream and lemon balm leaves (recipe from the Swedish BAKA magazine):
Spring cake with lemon curd, coconut and elderflower / Kevadtort kookosbiskviidi, sidrunikreemi ja leedrivahuga

Spring cake with lemon curd, coconut and elderflower / Kevadtort kookosbiskviidi, sidrunikreemi ja leedrivahuga