Monday & Moreish breakfast

One of the highlights of last week was the fact that plums were cheap at my corner shop. I do love plums and try to make the most of the season. These plums were for the most part of a firm kind so they lent themselves very well to being poached in syrup although I have made it with just about any plums I’ve gotten my hands on over the years. The thing to remember is that because the syrup is hot, the cooking will continue in the jar, so you have to be careful not to end up with a mush (which has happened to me more than once). The plums will need somewhere between just being brought to the boil to three minutes. No more. Make sure the jar is heat proof and sterilized before storing the plums.

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Plums poached in vanilla-syrup;

500 gr of plums

3.5 dl of water

2.5 caster sugar

0.5 vanilla bean ( or 2 teaspoons of good vanilla sugar)

  1.  Bring water,sugar and vanilla bean to the  boils and let it simmer for about ten minutes.
  2. While it is simmering, rinse the plums and then cut them in half and remove the stone.
  3. When the syrup is ready, add the plums and let them simmer along for one to three minutes.
  4. When they are ready, transfer them to a heat proof jar and pour the syrup over. Remove the vanilla bean if you have used one. Let it cool of a bit before closing the lid.
  5. The plums will be ready to eat the day after!! Enjoy with yoghurt for breakfast or with whipped cream (or possibly custard) as a dessert.

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The plums don’t last long, about a week in the fridge but you can put them in a plastic container (with syrup and all) and keep them in the freezer to have something delicious in winter. I haz no chill so I’m eating them all now.

-Suss

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7 great places for cardamom buns in Stockholm

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I don’t understand why people talk so much about cinnamon buns, cardamom has so much more to offer. This is not a best of list, mainly because I haven’t tried them all. A worthy goal it would be but lactose and I don’t agree so it’s a treat for sometimes when I can deal with the consequences. In no particular order, here are seven suggestions for where to cardamom buns in Stockholm. You people need more Swedish “fika” in your lives.

1. In the home of someone who bakes, and does it well. No surprise that homebaked goods are some of the best. I admire people who make the effort.

2. Fabrique. This chain has places scattered all over Stockholm(and one in London I think) and it’s very popular. Rather pricey but good coffee and buns and their places are very Instagram-able. Worth a visit.

3. Snickarbacken 7. I’ve blogged about this café before (here) and there is nothing I can add to that, except great cardamom buns. I don’t think they make them on site but rather by from a nice bakery but I don’t care.

4. Bröd och Salt. This is my “go to” as almost all their pastries are lactose free. I can indulge without repercussions. They have a few places around town, the one at Sveavägen is nicest for a “sit down fika”.

5. Saturnus. Another place I have mentioned before (here). Their cardamom buns are expensive but also big enough for two to share. Legendary.

6. Valhalla bageriet. This is where I think many cafés actually order theirs from. It’s a hole in the wall on Valhallavägen, so of the beaten path, but if you are in the neighborhood do swing by and also make sure to stock up on their sourdough bread.

7. Albert’s & Jacks. At the corner of Humlegården this place is found, great for lunch but also”fika”. I rate them very highly.

-Suss

Breakfasting, fast and slow.

When it comes to food and drink my rating of interest goes something like;

1. First and second breakfast.

2. Dinner.

3. Cocktails and crisps.

4. Fika i.e. mid-afternoon coffee and something sweet.

5. Everything else.

There is also a negative rating for that popular phenomena called “brunch”. I mostly object to it because a) brunch is an awful portmanteau and it sounds like you are throwing up when you say it b) All to often it’s just poorly prepared food. c) I’m an early bird so it doesn’t at all chime with my internal clock. But mostly it’s the word that grates me. I famously have no issues with bacon.

I do have a sweet tooth but care very little for desserts and focus mainly on chocolate,salty licorice and cardamom buns. I will at some point share with you the few dessert recipes that I always fall back on because they are easy and make guests happy, On the subject of breakfast however I can go on and on. I could eat breakfast all day(case in point; I just had french toast for dinner).

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My current weekday breakfast is Bircher-style müsli or whatever it’s called. Overnight oats maybe. It’s this Swiss style of making it when the müsli is soaked overnight in apple- or orangejuice and then served with yoghurt in the morning( that I had first time on a vist to Berlin). I find this to be a perfect breakfast in summer because it’s cold and refreshing but also keeps me full until elevenses. I prefer apple juice for the soaking, and I use granola as the base. (Granola would be the roasted version, müsli just a mix of things).

I make my own granola, dead easy I tell you. Why people buy ready-made I have no idea. I started out using the recipe from The Rose bakery cookbook and then added bits from other cookbooks and at this point I improvise every time. The base is oats and then I added whatever basically. Great with yoghurt and here is a tip; it makes a great hostess gift if you are going to a party. Impresses the hell out of everyone. Homemade granola in a nice jar is the kind of easy luxury that I love. A recipe for granola can be found here except I don’t use an egg white. Make it a few times and then start adding your own touches. I love apricots and pistachios in mine.

Where was I? Yes, Bircher. You don’t have to make granola and soak it in appleljuice overnight, a mix of oats is fine. A version can be found here (I trust Hugh Formerly-Whiffingpoof or whatever his name is a lot, me not remembering what he is called is because my brain is teflon for names. He really is brilliant).

But if weekdays are all about utilitarian breakfast  with vitamins,fiber and keeping you going all day, then weekends should be all about luxury, and indulgence.

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Look no further then the Bread&Butter-pudding with blueberries from Smitten Kitchen. I came across it the other day when procrastinating and I will never look back. You can find it here and I urge you to try it. Why the English eat this as a dessert I have no idea but the also drive on the wrong side of the road so I wouldn’t go to them looking for answers. This is the breakfast of the future.

-Suss

 

Weekend & What I’ve done with elderflower

The elderflower season is short but sweet. On these few days in June when the trees blossom their scent spreads with the wind, and the freshness after a rain is augmented by that distinct smell released by the droplets hitting the flower heads. The allusiveness is probably part of the allure. It’s a scent and taste so connected with a certain time of year; the end of the school year and the midsummer celebrations, in short; the beginning of summer.

The other day I made the by now annual collecting of elderflower; as always with foraging make sure you know what you are picking, that it’s allowed and do so away from roads with heavy traffic. Then it’s off to the kitchen!

I do not rinse them as some do, I just give them a proper shake to make sure no bugs make it into cordials etc. So far this year I’ve made vinegar, cordial and liqueur.

Vinegar

This is a recipe I got from the oft mentioned Frances Bissell. It’s very simple; add flower heads to white vinegar. Bissell recommends using 2-3 flower heads for a small bottle of white wine vinegar( which I’ve interpreted as the 37.5 cl ones). She thinks that the flowers should be replaced after a week but I have never done that because of time and availability. I find that infusing the vinegar for two weeks give a good result and supermarket vinegar is just fine. I usually make a few small bottles as it’s the kind of thing I don’t use loads but love giving away to culinary mined friends. I use it mostly when making sallad dressing or mayonnaise that’s gonna be served with seafood. Elderflower and salmon go very well together.

Cordials

I’m not gonna give you an exact recipe as the internet is full of them. It’s well worth making as mixed with water or mineral water it’s a wonderful thirst quencher to say nothing of the possibilities as far as cocktails are concerned. I will say this; play around with the choice of citrus fruit. I’ve used lemons and limes which is quite traditional but also grapefruit peels and those of oranges. I’ve used bergamot syrup instead of sugar with great results. There is room for improvising as far as that is concerned.

Liqueur

I use vodka as the base. The thing is to pour a a couple of centiliters (like 4 cl) from the bottle, then add all the elderflower and just a bit of simple syrup* (like 5 cl) as it helps the flavor develops. Then use the poured vodka to seal the whole thing. Elderflower that are in contact with air will oxidize and turn brown, giving the whole thing a bi-taste and less then savory colour. Then it should sit on the window sill for a week, a two three more weeks in the back of the cupboard. Not until it’s done do I really mix it with syrup to the desired level of sweetness. The flowers will turn a little brown and give the vodka a slightly yellow colour but usually that just looks nice. Makes it artisanal looking or something. Cordial is also a shade of yellow and no one minds that?

I don’t know if the seal is visible but there is one. Since it’s there feel free to open the bottle up and smell it during the time it infuses. Depending on how much elderflower you add it will take different amounts of time. I make a strong one, I can always dilute it with plain vodka in the end.

*I refer here to simple syrup made with caster sugar and water. It’s easier to use then pouring caster sugar into the bottle as I don’t have to shake or turn the bottle during the time it infuses to make sure everything blends.

Hopefully this can be of some help to someone.

-Suss

Weekend&how you should lobster-ify your life..

Lobsters are the hottest crustaceans around right now. Not since Schiapperalli collaborated with Dali on a dress have they been this hip.

Probably it’s mostly Dolce&Gabbana are driving this trend, those lobster earrings are everywhere. And where they go, people will follow(apparently).

1.Wear it;H&M has this t-shirt. That’s an option if you want in on this trend. A better way is to just read either Consider the lobster by David Foster Wallace(I’ve ordered a copy but it hasn’t arrived yet) or Husmoderns död och andra texter by Sara Danius if you are fluent in Swedish. Again; books are not something I think of as an accessory but I often have one in my hand so I might as well look trendy while I’m at it. The former I have not read yet but it comes highly recommended, the latter is absolutely brilliant. Danius is the permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy for a reason. The notorious eighteen knew what they did when the asked her to join(if the members of the academy were available like movie star cards in the 60’s (or Pokémon cards)  I’d probably be willing to trade quite a few of the others to have her and historian Peter Englund).

2. Eat lobster rolls; This is one of the things that Gwyneth Paltrow and I agree on, this and the usefulness of grey cardigans.  I’ve learned the hard way that I eat like a neanderthal and thus have grease stains on several delicate items of clothing, as lobster rolls always are served with a dollop of mayonnaise on top. I need a bib, and more lobster rolls. I lament my silk blouses but I really think it was totally worth it. Mayonnaise!! Always make sure to put some finely chopped chives in the Hellman’s mayonnaise you serve them with. Or make your own mayo and use elderflower vinegar(I’m sure Gwyneth would approve; I made the vinegar myself )

3.Watch Last week tonight with John Oliver; they have a mock supreme court with dogs. But when President Trump got to elect a member to the court they chose a lobster as a symbolic representative in their mock-court. Because lobsters are trendy. The could just have chosen a cat, a parrot or a pig. They didn’t. They chose a lobster. Just sayin’.

-Suss

7 things from the Asian supermarket

IMG_1863I went by the asian supermarket yesterday to pick up soba noodles, sichuan peppar and a few other essential foods, but there is more to be found there. It’s a great place to shop to be honest. Here are a few things to look out for;

  1. Fans; these are ever so useful when it’s warm out and a small fan that you can fold up is a good thing to have in your bag. I stock up on these and frequently give them as presents.
  2. Soaps; especially rose and jasmine. They smell great,cost next to nothing and are not drying. I mostly adore the packaging to be honest.
  3. Sheet masks; turns out that the asian supermarket is where reasonable priced and good quality taiwanese and korean sheet masks can be found.
  4. Fortune cookies; These are somewhere between styrofoam and something you can eat but I count them here as they are not essential food. However they are fun to have at a dinner party and can be a nice decoration on a glass of chocolate mousse.
  5. These tiny teacups; I have a weak spot for blue and white china and I seem to be partial to this, the cheapest around, and some very fancy Royal Copenhagen and Spode. These are great for chocolate mousse,chocolate fondants,to serve an espresso/macchiato or punch.
  6. Really big bowls of this kind; great to serve punch from or use as fruit bowls or possibly floral arrangements.
  7. Teapots; Have we meet? You need teapots of all shapes and sizes(obviously) but these are reasonably priced, really good quality and in worst case they have other uses. They never go out of style.

-Suss