scottish broth

Having some Scottish roots and all, of course I have to celebrate Burns night! (actually I stumbled across it this year as well…). Burns night is about honoring the Scottish poet Robert Burns (1759-1796), and any tradition celebrating the man who wrote Auld lang syne must be an important one. I am not being silly now, the song makes my eyes tear every time I hear it.

I am not sure what one does on Burns night (except sings Auld lang syne I guess) but when I goggled it I found some recipes that I immediately got tempted to nutmeg and chivesify.

The traditional Scotish food are very much about haggis and lamb and other heavy meaty stuff (trust me, I intend to have a go at both vegetarian haggis and Scottish eggs but I just haven’t got there yet). But there is also many flavours that I find tempting, specially now in the winter time. The oats, the root vegetables and the earthy, warming flavours that comes from bay leafs, thyme and leeks, among others.

I found two dishes at a Jamie Oliver site with Burns night recipes that felt very Scottish to me.

Potato scones I tried a few years ago when I visited a friend in Glasgow. Golden brown and steaming hot with the butter running down the sides they were a total calorie bomb, but also absolutely wonderful. I made my version a little bit healthier, substituting the potato with sweet potato and some of the flour with oat flour. I choose to call them sweet tattie scones (after the Scottish word for potatos). I think it sounds quite cute.

I know there is nothing Scottish or brittish about sweet potatos but they are just such a good, funny vegetable and they are said to have less calories then potatos so I will have no shame making this crazy Scottish caribean/african mix.

The soup is inspired by Jamie Olivers Scotch broth with root veg but instead of chicken I used big white beans and I also added some sun dried tomatoes for extra saltyness. Its not a soup with huge flavours, but I like how you really can feel the taste of the carrots and the swede, and the thyme, sage and bay leafs are like a comforting lingering in the background.

I barely had time to photograph the food before it got dark, so the focus is not great. But with some positive thinking one can imagine that the blurry corners and the dark colours makes it look like a painting, from say the days of Robert Burns.

scottish broth 2

Scottish broth with root vegetables and white beans

(serves 4)

½ leek

2 garlic cloves

2 carrots

1 small or ½ swede

1 litre vegetable stock

1 tsp dried thyme or oregano

½ tsp dried sage

3-4 bay leafs

1 decilitre white wine

5-6 sun dried tomatos

Lemon juice to taste

Salt and pepper to taste

Slice the leek thinly and crush the garlic. Slice the carrot and swede. Fry with some oil until golden. Add 1 litre of water and 1 vegetable stock cube. Season with dried herbs and boil until the vegetables are soft. Add the wine, lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Garnish with fresh parsley if you prefer.

 Scottish sweet tattie scones

(serves 4)

2 big sweet potatos

2 dl oat flour (can be rolled oats that are grinded in the blender)

1 dl wheat flour

(1/2 decilitre cheddar cheese)

Salt and pepper

Butter to season and to fry

Peel the sweet potatoes and cut in to big cubes. Boil until soft, drain and place back in pot. Mash the potatoes with a knob of butter, salt and pepper. Mix in the flour, and the cheese if you prefer that (I realised that I am not a fan of cheese in bread so will rather put a big nice slice on top of the scone next time).

Steer everything well, heat some butter in a pan and form flat, round scones with your hand. Fry the scones a few minutes on each side, until they are golden.

Serve with some butter together with the soup.

Vegetable stuffed pumpkins

stuffed pumpkin 1

These baked pumpkins stuffed with mushroom, vegetables and barley are a great dish for halloween or bonfire night that are coming up this  weekend and next week. Until a year or so ago I didn’t know about bonfire night, or Guy Fawkes day as it is originally called. Here follows a short description of why Guy Fawkes night is celebrated, all though I cant promise that I get all the facts absolutely right: On November the 5th 1605 the catholic activist/terrorist Guy Fawkes was arrested trying to blow up the British parliament. As a celebration of his failure people started to light fires and make this day full of festivities. Later the tradition started including shooting fireworks (maybe as a symbol of the failed explotions?). In recent years Guy Fawkes has had a revival, becoming the symbol of the anti capitalistic movement Anonymos. I will celebrate bonfire night for the first time this year. Not so much because I am for or against Guw Fawkes, but more as an excuse to gather with friends on a dark autumn night, and because I like alternatives to Halloween. There wont be any chances of fire watching and probably no fireworks either, so I choose to focus on the important stuff; the food. Apart from these stuffed pumpkins I also plan to serve a celeriac and apple soup and some kind of sticky ginger parkin as a desert. More about that later, now lets cut the rambling and go straight to how to make these delicious pumpkins. They might not be the most typical food for Britain or for Bonfire night, but I still think they fit in quite well for the occasion, and that the flavours are typically British autumn flavours. And I am sure they will impress any dinner guests when you put it on the table!

. filled pumpkin 2

Vegetable stuffed pumpkins

(serves 4) 2 small eatable pumpkins or butternut pumpkins

2 carrots

1 parsnip

3-4 kale leafs

10 mushrooms

1 apple

2 garlic cloves

½ red onion

2 tbsp white wine

1 tsp dried thyme ‘

1 bay leaf

2 decilitre barley

1 cube vegetable stock

Salt and peppar to taste

(parmesan or other strong cheese for topping)

Turn the oven to 200 C. Boil the barley with the double amount of water and the vegetable stock, until it is soft but still has some resistance when chewing.

Split the pumpkins in half. Cut a piece at the bottom of the two half’s so that it can stand steadily. Scrape out the seeds and most of the flesh, until about one centimetre remains together with the peel. Cut the flesh of the pumpkins to small pieces. Cut the onion and the garlic finely. Fry it in oil until it starts to turn golden. Add the pumpkin flesh, grated carrots and the parsnip to the pan and fry for some minutes more. Add thyme, bay leaf and white wine. Let it fry gently while stearing.

Chop the mushrooms and the kale and add to the pan. Fry it until the vegetables starts to feel soft. Season with salt and peppar. Finaly add the cooked barley to the mixture.

Scoop the mixture in to the pumpkins, top it of with some cheese if you like and bake in the oven for about 20- 30 minutes, until you easily can pinch a fork through the pumpkins.

Serve with some ajvar (sauce from roasted red peppers) a large salad and possibly some roasted vegetables.

If you like it even more fancy, save the seeds from the pumpkins and fry them in some oil and salt and sprinkle it over the pumpkins before serving.

If yofilled pumpkin 3 Source historical facts: Wikipedia

Blackberry Eton mess with honey and cardamom roasted oats

blackberry Eton mess 1

About a year ago I had just come home from my 3 weeks long trip to Cornwall, Devon and London, and I was completely absorbed with my new passion for British food, and for wanting to give it a better reputation. I started this blog in order to learn more about traditional English, Welsh, Scottish and northern Irish dishes, and to experiment with making them more healthy in some way. Maybe I got water over my head, for some reason or another I haven’t been as active with my posting as I wanted to. It doesn’t mean that I have stopped thinking about, or cooking British food. Some times to a higher degree, sometimes not as much. These couple of days I have been thinking a lot about my trip and how much I loved it. I have been longing for the dramatic Cornwall coastline, the green hills and just all that atmosphere that I love so much. And the blackberries. Walking in the UK countryside this time of the year basically means free access to as much blackberries you can eat. They are everywhere! In Malmö, south Sweden where I live you have to know the secret spots, get there before everyone else and be equipped with full coverage against the evil thorns. It is much more of a hustle to get your hands on blackberries here. Anyway. Since I started this blog with a recipe containing blackberries, I would like to add another now, one year later. And with that comes a hope (I wont promise) that this year there will be more activity here on the blog.

Eton mess is a typical summer desert, with meringues, cream and usually strawberries. It originates from Eton collage where it is served at the annual cricket game. In Sweden we have something similar called meringue swiss, but that has ice-cream, banana and chocolate sauce in it as well. Very scrumptious, but Eton mess feels like a lighter and less sinful version.

Blackberry Eton mess 2

This desert turned out to be one of the best I have ever eaten, if I may say so myself. It is like a mix between Eton mess and a trifle, which are booth very good things. It is not very much more healthy then the original thing, I just switched some of the cream for sour cream. It gives it a nice, slightly zingy touch that goes really well with the sweet meringue. The oats brings a bit of sweetness and some extra crunchiness, almost as if there where pieces of little, super quickly baked oat and cardamom biscuits in there. The cardamom goes really well with the juicy, somehow earthy blackberries. It is a super easy desert/pudding to make, with pre- picked or bought blackberries and already made meringues you put it together in 5 minutes while your friends digest their dinner. Just try it!

Blackberry Eton mess with honey and caramom roasted oats

Blackberries (as much as you like)

Meringue (as much as you like)

1, 5 decilitre whipped cream

0,5 decilitre sour cream

1 decilitre rolled oats

½ tsp grounded cardamom

1 tbsp honey

If the blackberries are frozen, take them out of the freezer to defrost a couple of hours before you are serving.

Roast the rolled oats lightly in a dry pan. Add the grounded cardamom. Take from heat and stir in the honey. Let cool.

Whip the cream and stir in the sour cream.

Crush the meringues and divide in 4 glasses or the bottom of a big bowl. Add the cream over the meringues. Add the blackberries and finish with the roasted oats. Serve.blackberry Eton mess 3

Restaurant day and vegan elderberry fudge

fläderfudge 1

Have you heard of Restaurant day? It is an event where anyone can set up a restaurant for one day, and serve food to people in their home, in the park or anywhere in the street. I think it is a great initiative, and may 17 th was the first time it took place in Malmö (it started in Helsinki, Finland a few years ago where it now has hundreds of participants).

I had to join of course, but not really having a lot of space in our apartment, I decided to set up a bike café.

I built a mobile café on my bike, with a little table, hanging baskets and even a bouquet of fresh mint.

restaurant day 1

restaurant day 2

The theme for the café was cakes for every one, which meant some gluten free cakes, some vegan and some without white sugar. There was for example rhubarb and cardamom muffins, rhubarb jam cookies, raw nutballs with rom, coconut, lemon and raspberries and some vegan elderberry fudge that turned out very well.

Fudge is my favourite sweets, I just love how it crumbles and melts in your mouth. Any visit to Britain are not complete without munching on at least on bag of assorted fudge at some point.

Fudge is not very easy to make “healthy”, I would say it is almost impossible if you want to keep the crumbly texture, but I am happy to be proved wrong. But making vegan fudge is not an easy task either (I found out from a English journalist who visited the café and praised my fudge).

For me it took two tries to get it right, and I can not say what the trick is, I think it was just luck. I added the vanilla and the elderberry squash in the end, and then steered the mixture until it started to thicken.

fläderfudge 2

Vegan elderberry fudge

3, 5 decilitre caster sugar

3 decilitre oat milk

100 gram vegan butter

½ tsp vanilla sugar or vanilla essence

1 tbsp elderberry squash

1 pinch of salt

Mix the sugar, milk, salt and butter in a pot. Turn to heat and boil until the mixture can stand the ball test ( a teaspoon of the mixture can be formed to a firm ball in a cup of water) or until it mixtures around 115 Celsius.

Take the pot of the heat and add the vanilla and the elderberry squash, steering rapidly. Keep steering until the mixture starts to thicken. Pour the mixture in to a bowl cowerd with baking paper and let it cool completely. Cut in to squares.

Have you seen and pop up- restaurants on restaurant day in where you live? Or have you maybe participated yourself? It would be great to hear from other cities!

restaurant day 3

Hot cross scones and sugarfree raspberry-mint jam

hot cross scones 1

I’v had a crush on hot cross buns since I found out about them a few years ago. I never heard of this typical Easter bread when I lived in London, it was later, after starting to regularly browse British food blogs that our paths crossed. They just felt so much like my cup of tea, I like brown bread a lot and they looked so fluffy and delicious, and also different than other bread with that cross on top.

Reading the recipes they did seem a bit too sweet for me though, with the glaze and all. So tried to make my own, a bit less cakey versions without the glaze. I have hade some failures and some more successful tries. But I think these scone versions are the best ones so far. They turned out light and fluffy, more like buns than scones in the consistency, but still with a nice crumbly surface. The black treacle adds some sweetness, and also a bit of that brown colour that I like.

To go with them I made a simple and quick raspberry and mint jam with no processed sugar. Instead I used stevia powder, a sweetening that they say have half the cholesterol from sugar. I also used some flax seeds to thicken the jam. It is like eating fresh raspberries with a hint of sweetness and mint!
I also think some kind of fig jam would go great with the scones.

hot cross scones 2

Hot cross scones

2 decilitre light spelt flour

1 decilitre wholewheat spelt flour

1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

75 gram butter

1 decilitre natural yoghurt

1 handfull sultanas

½ tsp mixed spice

1 tsp black treacle

 

For the crosses:

2 tbsp light spelt flour

2-3 tbsp water.

 

Tunt the oven to 175 C.

Mix the two kind of flour with salt and baking powder. Mix in the butter until a crumbly dough has formed. Add the yoghurt, mix spice, treacle and sultanas and steer to a smooth dough.

Divide the dough in to four round balls and place on a oven tray.

Mix the flour with water until it is a smooth mixture. Put the mixture in a piping bag and pipe a cross on every bun.

Make the buns for 20-25 minutes.

Sugar free raspberry- mint jam

2 dl raspberries

½ decilitre stevia powder

1 tbsp flax seed

1 fresh mint leaf

Mix everything in a pot and turn to heat. Boil for about 10 minutes, until the raspberries has dissolved and the jam feels sticky. Eat with in a few days.

hot cross scones 3

hot cross scones 004

This will be my contribution to this months Teatime treats, hosted by Lavender and lovage and the Hedge combers.

Tea Time Treats

Homemade date nutella Easter eggs

chocolate eggs 1

Over the years, Easter has grown to be my favourite holiday. There is spring in the air, buds are bursting, the first spring produce are here, every thing is colourful and there is a tradition to eat a lot of chocolate. What could be better then that!
It feels as if the modern British Easter traditions are mainly about chocolate (fill me in if I am wrong). I have never seen so many different chocolate sweets as when I was in Manchester around Easter a couple of years ago. Chocolate bunnies, chickens and of course the chocolate eggs. How can there be so many version of chocolate eggs?! I am not complaining, I am just fascinated. Of course there is also the hot cross buns, which I adore, and the sinnel cake, which I am not a big fan of since I don’t like marzipan. The Easter lamb I attend to have my own vegetarian go at soon, so look out for that.
We have a lot of chocolate for Easter in Sweden as well, but the focus are more on sweets in general. Instead of Easter eggs made of chocolate we traditionally get these paper versions filled with assorted sweets, a little toy or money. Its a nice tradition that I still quite like. We also have the traditions of the kids dressing out as witches for maundy thursday, going from door to door handing out cards and expect sweets in return. A bit like our own Halloween.

My own version of Easter eggs is chocolaty, but they can still be said to be good for you. They contain no refined sugar and no fat except from the hazelnuts. It’s a chewy, rich nutella, with a hint of salt that makes it more exciting. If you like you can make them more decadent by dipping them in melted, dark chocolate. The batch is made in no time and with minimum work effort. So there is no excuse not to make them over and over again the next couple of days…

chocolate eggs 2

Home made date nutella chocolate eggs

Makes 8-10 eggs

1 decilitre hazelnuts

7-8 fresh dates

1 tbsp cacao

1 pinch of salt

For decoration:

Shredded coconut, cacao or chopped nuts.

Roast the hazelnuts in a dry pan. Let them cool and rub of as much of the peel that you can in a clean kitchen towel. Mix the hazelnuts finely in a blender. Soak the dates in water and rubb of the peel and take out the seed. While mixing, add the dates, the cacao and a small pinch of salt. Keep mixing for a few minutes. If the mixture doesn’t stick together, add a few drops of rapeseed or coconut oil.

Mould the nutella in to eggshaped balls. Roll them in shredded coconut, cacao or chopped hazelnut or other nuts. Chill or eat all at once.

chocolate eggs 3

 

 

Banoffe pancakes (GF, SF)

banana pancakes with date toffee and vanilla yoghurt

 

I just recently learned that Shrove Thuesday is also known as Pancake day in Britain! In Sweden we call it “Semeldagen” after this cake we traditionally eat; semla. Its a cardamom bun filled with lots of cream and almond paste. As delicious as it sounds a am not a bit fan. It just all gets a bit too much, with the white bun, all that cream, the overly sweet almond paste and then powederd sugar on top.

Pancakes on the other hand, I could eat every day! Its such a simple, filling food, and I love how you can make them in so many variaties and different flavours. It is equally scrummy just with lemon and sugar or jam as with several luxerious fillings.

banoffe pancakes 2

The other day with a idea for a cross over between a pancakes for Shrove Thuesday, and a banoffe pie, that I have been wanting to do for some time. To use bananna- and oat pancakes instead of a pie crust, make toffee from dates and swop the cream for vanilla yoghurt would make it sugar and gluten free, and make a mix between desert and breakfast that could be irrestisteble. And it was! It is one of the best pancake dishes I have ever had! The pancakes turned out fluffy and light, with perfect sweetnes from the banana, the somewhat sickening sweet date sause was balanced by the light and slightly sour yoghurt, and the sliced bananas and roasted almonds on top gave it that little extra sweetnes and crunchyness in the end. It may not be perfect surface, but the context make you want more. And it makes you full enough to acctually manage all the way through lent : )

I used a base for scotch pancakes, and added ground oats to the mixture to make it even more Scotish. So I guess the correct name could be…

Scotch banana-oat cake banoffe pancakes

Pancakes:

1 banana

1 decilitre grounded oats or oat flour

1 organic egg

1, 5 decilitre oat milk or cow milk

1 pinch of salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

Ground the oats if you use whole oats. Mix the banana, egg, salt and milk with a mixer. Add the oat flour and the baking powder. Let set for about 10 minutes. Fry small pancakes and let them cool.

Date toffee sauce:

10-11 dates

1/2 decilitre oat cream or cow cream

1-2 tbsp oat milk or cow milk

1 pinch of salt

Rinse the dates and peel of the thin shell and take out the seed. Mix dates with cream, milk and salt with a mixer untill it turns in to a smooth sause

Additionals:

Aprox. 2 decilitre vanilla yoghurt or plain yoghurt mixed with some vanilla sugar

1/2 banana

1/2 decilitre chopped and roasted almonds, hazelnuts or walnuts

Place a pancake on a plate. Spread a layer of vanilla yoghurt and one of date toffee. Do the same with 2 layers more. Sprinkle the sliced banana and the chopped roasted nuts on top. Serve!

banoffe pancakes 3