Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Simple scones


I had no intentions to blog about scones today. Actually, I had a spinach and filo bake lined up. But then Peter G's lemon and date scones popped up on my blog reader and I got an urge to finally put up my scone post. I love a good scone with an afternoon tea - one of the few habits I picked up during my seven years in Scotland :) Although I love a spiced-up scone every now and then (will be so making those lemon and date scones, and also Johanna's raspberry scones soon), I actually prefer a good old-fashioned plain one. This gives me a chance to let one of our home-made jams shine, you see :)

Here's a recipe I love using for plain scones. If you've got a good plain or seasoned scone recipe, then please share the recipe or a link to it in the comments. That'd be much appreciated!

(The photos are from 2008)

Simple scones
Makes eight


225 g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
50 unsalted butter
2 Tbsp caster sugar
100 ml milk
1 large egg

To serve:
whipped double cream or clotted cream (if available)
thick raspberry or strawberry jam

Dip flour, baking powder, salt and cubed butter into a bowl. Stir to cover butter with flour, then pinch between your fingertips until you've got a crumbly mixture. Stir in the sugar.
Pour half of the milk into a measuring jug, whisk in the egg. Pour into the crumb mixture and give it a stir.
Now add the rest of the milk, a spoonful at the time and stirring very gently, until you've got a soft dough that's not sticky (it's possible that just 1 Tbsp is enough). Do not overwork!
Now dip the dough onto a floured surface and press and form into a circle. Using your hands or a rolling pin, roll the dough into a 2 cm (4/5 inch) thickness (that's about the width of your thumb :)).

Making scones / Scones-kakukesed

Take a round cookie cutter (6 cm in diameter) and dip it first into the flour, then cut out 8 circles (you need to gather and re-roll the dough to make enough scones).

Making scones / Scones kakukesed

Place the scones onto a baking sheet that's either floured or covered with a baking parchment. If you like your scones shiny, then brush with a little milk. If you like your scones matte, then dust lightly with flour.

Making scones

Bake in a preheated 220 C oven for 13-15 minutes, until the scones have risen and are golden brown (you can also test for doneness by tapping the base of a scone - it should sound hollow).

Transfer the scones to a metal rack to cool. If you prefer your scones slightly crispy, then leave them as they are. If you love yours softer, then cover the hot scones with a clean kitchen towel.


Serve warm with a spoonful or two of jam and whipped cream. A good scone can be split into two halves with a fork alone (and you can see that the recipe gives you exactly this type of scones :))

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Snickerdoodles - nutmeg cookies rolled in cinnamon sugar

Snickerdoodles / Muskaatküpsised

I'm not the first blogger to write about Snickerdoodles (SmittenKitchen, EggBeater, Pinch My Salt, Andrea Meyers have all beat me to it), but I love the photo I made, so I want to blog about them as well :) Additionally, my recipe uses metric measures, making it more useful for a lot of Internet-users out there ;)

I don't know whom to credit for the recipe. All the cookbooks I consulted - be it Nigella Lawson, Rachel Allen or someone less famous - had almost exact recipe, almost verbatim, and mine is a combination of quite a few of them. The only changes I made was making my cookies a wee bit smaller. I also seems to me that the photos of Snickerdoodle cookies in the British food magazines and cookbooks depict cookies that are slightly rounder (as opposed to the very thin and flat ones in American foodblogs and cookbooks).

These cookies keep for a week in a air-tight cookie jar.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies (2 cookie sheets)

Snickerdoodles / Muskaadiküpsised

250 g plain flour
0.5 tsp grated nutmeg
1 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
125 g unsalted butter, softened
100 g caster sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract

Cinnamon sugar:
2 Tbsp caster sugar
1 Tsbp ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 180 C/370 F.

Mix flour, nutmeg, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.
Cream egg and sugar until pale and fluffy, whisk in the egg and vanilla extract. Fold in the dry ingredients and press into a neat dough ball.
Mix cinnamon sugar ingredients in a small shallow bowl.
Take small walnut-sized pieces of cookie down and roll them into small balls (I was diligent enough to weigh that each dough ball measured 12-14 grams :)). Roll each ball in cinnamon sugar until covered, then place onto a lined baking sheet, leaving about 3 cm between cookies.
Flatten the cookies lightly with the palm of your hand or by pressing with the fork.
Bake in the pre-heated 180 C oven for about 12-15 minutes, until cookies are light golden brown.
Remove from the oven, leave to cool for a couple of minutes, then transfer onto a wire rack to cool.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Great ways with wild mushrooms: Horn of Plenty in a Mustard Vinaigrette

Black chantarelles in mustard marinade / Mustad torbikseened sinepimarinaadis

Horn of Plenty (also known as black chantarelle or black trompet; Craterellus cornucopioides in Latin) is a chanterelloid, or chanterelle-like, mushroom. It's very dark, almost black, making it a challenging mushroom to forage, as "it is like looking for black holes in the ground". Despite its rather unattractive appearance, it's a delicious and delicate mushroom that retains a good bite even after cooking.

I admit I didn't forage for these particular black trompet mushrooms (on the photo below) myself, but bought some at the Central Market in Tallinn. These shouldn't be too difficult to get hold of in other countries as well - I clearly remember buying some at a French deli in Edinburgh, and there are plenty of recipes using these mushrooms in both British and US food magazines (as compared to some other wild mushrooms I've mentioned over the years).

It's a quick recipe to throw together - but it needs to marinate overnight in the fridge. I loved the mustard flavour and the bite the mushrooms had. Great as a side dish to some meat, or on a slice of toasted light sourdough bread.

Black chantarelles in mustard vinaigrette
(Sinepimarinaadis torbikseened)
Source: Finnish magazine APU
Serves 4

Black chantarelle / Horn of plenty / Must torbikseen

a large punnet (about 400 g/1 litre) of fresh horn of plenty mushrooms

Mustard vinaigrette:
4 Tbsp vegetable or olive oil
3 Tbsp strong sweet mustard
1 Tbsp wine vinegar
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
0.5 tsp salt or 1 tsp sea salt flakes
0.5 tsp dried tarragon or 0.5 Tbsp fresh tarragon leaves
0.5 tsp fresh thyme leaves
freshly ground black pepper

Wipe the mushrooms clean. Place onto a hot dry frying pan and heat for about 3-5 minutes, until most of the mushroom 'juices' that emerges evaporates. Remove the mushrooms from the pan and let cool.
Combine the vinaigrette ingredients and spoon over the cool horn of plenty mushrooms. Give the mushrooms a good stir, then cover and leave to marinate overnight in the fridge.

Check out other mushroom recipes on Nami-Nami food blog.

Monday, August 23, 2010

French tomato tart with a lot of mustard

French tomato and mustard tart / Prantsuse sinepine tomatipirukas

I guess you gathered from yesterday's tomato posting that we're swamped with tomatoes this year. That means lots of tomato dishes - like this flavorsome tomato salad, for instance. Here's another flavoursome tomato dish - a mustardy French tomato tart that's excellent with some peppery green salad leaves. Choose tomato variety with few seeds, as then you don't have to deseed or drain them first and save some valuable time for yourself.

French tomato tart
(Sinepine tomatipirukas)
Serves six to eight

200 g plain flour
pinch of salt
100 g butter
1 egg

3 Tbsp sour cream, creme fraiche or double cream
3 Tbsp Dijon mustard
5 to 6 medium sized tomatoes
sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
fresh thyme or oregano
extra virgin olive oil, to drizzle

First make the tart crust. Mix flour, salt and cold cubed butter in the food processor until crumbly, then add the egg and give it a few turns. Press into a dough ball with your hands, then use your fingers to line a 26 cm pie dish with the dough. Pierce the bottom with a fork in a couple of places, then place into the fridge for half and hour.
Bake the cool crust in a preheated 200 C oven for about 15 minutes (you can also blind-bake, but I didn't bother with that).
Combine mustard and cream, then spread onto the base of the pre-baked pie crust.
Cut the tomatoes, crosswise, into 5 mm slices, layer nicely onto the mustard layer. Season with salt and pepper.
Bake in the pre-heated 200 C oven for about 40 minutes, until tomatoes are nicely roasted and coloured.
Drizzle with some olive oil, sprinkle fresh thyme or oregano leaves on top and serve either hot or cold.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Tomato tasting party, 2010

Tomato tasting party / Tomatite degusteerimine, 2010

We had lots of tomatoes for dinner tonight, all from our very own greenhouse :)

Tomato tasting party / Tomatite degusteerimine
Click on the photo to enlarge and see the variety names.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Plum and Cherry Compote

Cherry and plum compote / Kirsi-ploomikompott

A beautiful, delicious and simple (and vegan and gluten-free) late summer/early autumn dessert. I usually make it with plums alone, but as I had a handful of dark red cherries on the countertop, I threw these in as well. It lovely served with some whipped cream, or perhaps some curd cheese cream - or, as I ate it yesterday, au naturel.

Cherry and Plum Compote
Serves 4

Cherry and plum compote / Kirsi-ploomikompott

about 500 g (a large punnet) of plums or damsons
150 ml water (2/3 cup)
100 g sugar (just under half a cup)
3 Tbsp potato starch or cornflour + 3 Tbsp water

Wash the plums, halve and remove the stones. Place sugar, water and plums into a medium-sized saucepan and simmer for about 7-10 minutes, until plums are soft and starting to disintegrate.
Mix starch with some cold flour pour into the compote, whisking/stirring rigorously to avoid any lumps. If you are using potato starch, then remove the saucepan from the heat source just after the first few bubbles appear again. If you are using cornflour, then simmer on a low heat for a few minutes, until the compote starts to thicken. Remove from the heat.
Cool before serving.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Oven-baked zucchini and tomatoes with herbed feta cream

Oven-roasted vegetables with feta cream / Ahjuköögiviljad fetakreemiga

We've had a really good crop of courgettes/zucchini and tomatoes this year (our first year of backyard gardening, remember), and I'm trying and adapting different recipes. Here's a really simple dish showcasing both the zucchini and tomatoes, complemented by a herbed feta cream, giving it a Greek touch. Lovely as a vegetarian main dish, or as a side dish for some simple grilled meat (lamb, perhaps).

Oven-baked zucchini and tomatoes with herbed feta cream
(Suvikõrvitsa-tomativorm fetakreemiga)
Serves 4

2 green or yellow courgettes/zucchini
8 small ripe tomatoes
4-6 large garlic cloves
250 g feta cheese (softer feta-style cheese is fine here)
4 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil + more for drizzling
2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 tsp dried oregano
freshly ground black pepper
sea salt

Cut the zucchini into 1 cm (just under 1/2 inch) slices. Cut tomatoes into quarters. Peel the garlic cloves.
Take a large baking dish, oil it slightly. Layer zucchini slices and tomato quarters into the baking try, push garlic cloves between the vegetables.
Place feta cheese, olive oil, chopped basil and dried oregano into a medium-sized bowl and mash using a fork. Season with black pepper. Scatter the mixture over the vegetables.
Season with some more black pepper, drizzle with olive oil.
Bake in a preheated 200 C oven for about 45-60 minutes, until vegetables are cooked and cheese golden brown.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Tomato salad, inspired by Jamie

Tomato salad a la Jamie / Tomatisalat Jamie ainetel

It's august and we're eating tomatoes on a daily basis. Not just excellent local, seasonal, organic tomatoes, but local, seasonal and organic tomatoes from our own little greenhouse. Considering the mishaps (I put the seeds down in way too late - in late April, I overcrowded the greenhouse, not all seeds and young plants made it), we can already say that we've had a pretty impressive first crop. Hopefully it's not just beginner's luck :D

We have about 20 different tomato varieties growing (mostly one container plant of each), so there's a lovely variety of shapes, sizes, colours, textures and flavours. Here's a tiny selection of our tomato crop, picked last weekend:
We went to see friends and brought along some vegetables from our garden / Läksime sõpradele külla oma aiast korjatud külakostiga

So far we've been enjoying tomatoes raw - in salads, on top of open sandwiches, or simply eating them out of our hands (our daughter is especially fond of all the tiny cherry and plum tomatoes!). Here's a simple tomato salad that has a superbly concentrated tomato flavour because of the flash-salting process - a tip I learned from Jamie Oliver's book "Jamie at Home".

Tomato salad
(Oma aia tomatisalat)
Serves four to six

Tomato salad a la Jamie / Tomatisalat Jamie ainetel

about a kilogram (just over 2 pounds) of ripe tomatoes - preferably of different sizes and varieties
one or two red onions
sea salt
fresh (flowering) oregano

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp good-quality balsamic vinegar
a small garlic clove, crushed
freshly ground black pepper

Wash all the tomatoes, pat dry. Depending on their shape and size, cut them into halves or quarters or thick slices. Place on a large colander.
Peel and halve the onion(s), then cut into thin slices. Add to the colader.
Sprinkle generously with sea salt flakes, then toss the tomatoes and onions slightly. Leave to season and drain for about 15 minutes (no need to collect the salty tomato juices). The salting flavours the tomatoes, but also concentrates the flavour and 'dries' out the tomatoes a little, so you'll end up with extra tomatoey flavour!
Place the tomatoes into a large bowl, sprinkle with (flowering) oregano.
Combine the dressing ingredients and drizzle over the salad. Season with extra black pepper and serve.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Our first beets

Our beets / Meie oma aia peedid

A selection of beets from our own garden - some white, some long, some Chioggia, some golden, some "regular". All tasting wonderful :)

Our beets / Meie oma aia peedid

Monday, August 02, 2010

Zucchini Meatballs

Zucchini meatballs / Suvikõrvitsa-hakklihakotletid

I imagine I'm not the only food blogger who's drowning under the weight of courgettes/zucchinis at the moment. There are several wonderful zucchini recipes here on Nami-Nami already - I urge you to try the Greek zucchini pie Kourkouto, Zucchini rolls with goat cheese, walnuts and figs, roasted marrow with garlic and herbs,
zucchini carpaccio, to name just a few. Today's recipe is slightly different. It's with minced meat, and more suitable for a quick midweek meal rather than a more special get-together with friends. These meatballs - or patties, rather - are super-moist because of the cream cheese and grated zucchini in the mixture.

Serve with a cold sour cream sauce (recipe below) and some ripe, sweet tomatoes. Very satisfying, and helps you eat your way through those courgettes!

Zucchini Meatballs
Adapted from a Finnish food magazine, YhteisHyvä Ruoka, July 2010
Serves 4

400 g minced meat (I used ground beef)
300 g zucchini
100 g cream cheese
1 finely chopped garlic clove
1 egg
100 ml (7 Tbsp) breadcrumbs
1 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper
oil for frying

Grate the zucchini coarsely. Mix all ingredients and form into 10-12 large patties. Flatten and fry in oil until dark golden brown on both sides.

Serve with a cold sauce:
250 ml sour cream or plain yogurt
1 finely chopped pickled cucumber
1 Tbsp finely chopped dill
salt and black pepper

Mix all ingredients, season to taste with salt and pepper.