Welsh amber pudding with grapefruit

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I celebrate the start of the first spring month with a pudding that feels like sunshine, and makes you think of the yellow and purple crocuses that start to pop up in the gardens!

I thought it was time for a welsh cake here, and I have been wanting to try the welsh amber pudding that I found a recipe for in a issue of Olive Magazine.

I had never heard of amber pudding, or Pwdin marmaléd Cymreig as it is apperntly called in welsh. But a tart with a marmalede custard filling did sound tempting! Acording to the magazine the origin of the cake is unknown, but maybe there is some one out there who knows more?

Of course I wanted to try to make it ”healtier” in some ways. I followed Olives advice to use red grapefruit marmalade, which gave it a wonderfull orange color. I also swopped the flour to ground almonds and coconut flour, and the sugar for stevia sweetening. I made a marmalade with stevia instead of sugar, and cut down on the butter in the filling. The result turned out better than I had hoped for.

It just taste so very british (and/or welsh I guess, but I had never yet had the chance to go there, so I couldn’t say). I guess it is the chevy and distinct pieces of peel that made me think of marmalade, combined with the custardness of the egg mixture and just the whole look of the cute little induvidual pie. The almonds are totaly my own invention, but it feels like they go very well together with the bitter- sweet grapefruit filling, and I like the extra crunch that it gives.

I used small tart moulds because there wasn’t enough dough for a big one, but that you can make one and a half load if you want to make one big tart. The crust didn’t stick together well enough to transform from the moulds. If you don’t want to eat the puddings straight out of it try cut the oil by half and add a egg to the dough.

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 Welsh amber puddings

 2 decilitre almonds

 2 tbsp stevia

 3 tbsp coconut fluor

 1/3 dl rapeseed oil

 Pinch of salt

Filling

5 tbsp grapefruit marmalade

1 tbsp butter

1 egg

1 egg yolk

1 tsp lemon juice

Turn the oven to 180 C. Ground the almonds to flour, or use ready made almond flour. Mix with coconut flour, sugar, salt and oil. Stir together well. Line the moulds with some oil and coconut flour. Take one forth of the dough and spread it out evenly in the mould.

Bake the crust for about 10 minutes.

In a bowl, mix some of the marmalade with the egg, yolk and stevia. Pour the mixture in to the prebaked crust, all the way to the top. Continue baking 10-15 minutes until the egg mixture is stiff and the crust is golden.

Red grapefruit marmalade

Juice and pulp from 1, 5 red grapefruits

The outer peel from 1 grapefruit

0, 75 dl stevia sweetening

Wash the grapefruits well. Peel thin slices of the outer peel of the grapefruit. Scrape of and white stuff remaining on the inside. Cut in thin slices.

Scrape out the pulp and juice of the grapefruits in to a pot. Mix with the peel, the stevia and the cut peel.
Heat to medium heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes until some of the fluid has absorbed and the peel is soft. Cool.

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Lemon drizzle slices with mango and coconut (gluten free)

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I really love lemony cakes! There is something irresistible with the mix of the tangy, slightly sour citrus with sweet cake. Now when we are at the peak of the citrus season, and we can indulge in all kind of wonderful oranges, lemons, grapefruits and so on, both as they are as in cakes like lemon drizzle cakes and slices. I got inspired to make this cake from Aime at Wallflower girl and her Lemon drizzle slices. I wanted to do something similar, but then I came to think of the mango that had been taking up space in the freezer for a long time. Maybe I could use the pulp as a base for the cake? I realized I was taking a big risk, I could have ended up with some kind of runny warm milkshake. But the experiment did work, the cake got firm but still moist and soft. I think the coconut flour played a big part in that. Coconut flour is soaking up a lot of moisture, and thats probably what it did from the mango pulp. The mango gives the cake that fruity, sweet and almost perfumed flavor that is so significant for mango. It mixes very well with the coconut, and get lighten up by the lemon juice. I dont think anyone would be able to guess that this cake is gluten free and has very little sugar in it! If you would like a sweater cake with a more distinct icing you can mix the lemon juice with a few tablespoons icing sugar instead of honey.

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Lemon drizzles slices with mango and coconut

200 gram mango pulp
1 dl coconut flour
1/2 dl shredded coconut
2 tbsp caster sugar or coconut sugar
1 tsp baking powder
2 eggs

Juice from 1 lemon
2 tsp honey

Mix the mango pulp with the shredded coconut. Stir in the coconut flour and the baking powder. Whisk the eggs and the sugar until fluffy. Stir in to the mango mixture.
Spread the batter in a oven tray lined with baking paper.
Bake in 180 C for 30-40 minutes until firm and golden.
Let cool, pick the cake and pour lemon juice mixed with honey over the surface. Sprinkle with shredded coconut. Cut in to squares.

Minuature hazelnut Victoria sponge cakes

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The new year has started in a grey, wet and grisly way here in south of Sweden, and I can not say how happy I am to escape to the sunshine, beaches and tapas of the Canary island Tenerife for a week tomorrow. For those of you who need other kind of comfort I share this recipe for miniature heart shaped hazelnut Victoria sandwich cakes. They have very little sugar and are almost healthy and a definitely a guilt free desert or treat on any gloomy, or for that matter sunny day.

The hazelnut flour gives them a nutty touch that goes very well with the cream and the vanilla, and makes them a bit more exciting then the regular sponge cake that is commonly used for Victoria sponge cakes.

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In Sweden we have a cake called “gräddtårta” or cream cake, that is very similar to a Victoria sponge cake, but it usually has cream on the outside as well. It is traditionally eaten in the summer, for children’s birthday parties or for midsummer or graduations. The soft sponge, the fluffy cream and the sweet and a little bit sour raspberries brings me back to sunny summer days with the smell of green grass and a warm sothing brezze in the air. That is something that can be nice to dream away to at times like these.

On thing that confuses me is if the right name for this cake is Victoria sponge or Victoria sandwich cake? Both versions are used in recipes online. Anyone who can clear it out?
Also, does anyone know if there is any rules for whether you should put the cream or the jam on to the cake first, in a similar way that there is with the scones in Cornwall and Devon? I found it more practical to put the cream first…

From the research I have done about the cake I have found out that it was part of the very first tea time, or after noon tea rituals! The tradition is said to be invented by a Dutchess of Bedford; Anna Maria Russell, who was one of the ladies-in-waiting for Queen Victoria at the time. She would get a craving in the afternoons, and came up with the idea that small cakes should be eaten together with tea. Soon the tradition had spread across the country. The small cakes filled with cream and jam was said to be Queen Victorias favorites, and therefor got named after her.

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Mini hazelnut vicotoría sponge/sandwich cakes

1,5 dl spelt flour
1, 5 dl hazelnut flour or ground hazelnuts
1 tsp baking powder
75 gram butter
2 eggs
½ decilitre sugar
½ tsp vanilla powder
1 pinch of salt

1 decilitre of frozen raspberries (or fresh in the summer
Whipped cream
Icing sugar or vanilla powder to dust over the cakes

Heat the oven to 180 c.
Melt the butter and leave to cool. Mix the flours, the salt, vanilla and baking powder in a bowl. Beat the sugar and the eggs to a fluffy consistency. Fold the flour mix in to the egg mix and pour in the butter. Steer everything well.
Butter some small baking trays (heart shapes if you have) and line them with hazelnut flour. Pour mixture in to the trays, about 1 cm from the edge (the cakes will rise a lot)
Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown and a skewer comes out dry.
Leave the cakes to cool and cut them in half.
Mash the raspberries together, add some sugar if you want it sweater.
Spread the cream and then the raspberries evenly on the lover half of the cakes. Place the other half on top. Dust some icing sugar or vanilla powder over the cake.

I just love how the cakes look underneath, perfectly smooth almost like concrete moulds

I just love how the cakes look underneath, perfectly smooth almost like concrete moulds

I am admitting this recipe to the Tea Time Treats challenge, hosted by Lavender and Lovage and The Hedgecombers, that this month has the theme eggs.

Tea Time Treats

Gingerbread and pumpkin flapjack

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When I lived in London I used to buy a flapjack at Holland & Barret almost every day on my lunch break. They were only a pound or so, and there were so many different kinds to choose from that I never got tierd of it.  After moving back to Sweden I forgot about them for some years, but recently they have been on my mind again. A flapjack is such a great snack! Crunchy and still soft, with that great oat flavour and the additional spices, chocolate or dried fruit to give it a bit more excitement. They might not be so healthy as we want to think, but they can easily be made with less sugar or with more natural sweeteners if one prefer. And it is really easy to make it vegan or gluten free, just use vegan butter and oats that are free of gluten.

For this Christmas season I have been experimenting with some traditional Swedish christmas flavours in my flapjacks. I made one that taste of “glögg” (mulled wine) and are planning a saffron one. But I think the one I like best so far is the gingerbread version, with some added pumpkin. The pumpkin gives it some floral and fruity flavours, that mixes up nicely with the warmth of spices like ginger, cinnamon and clove.

Gingerbread and pumpkin flapjack

Gingerbread and pumpkin flapjack

(6 pieces)

50 grams butter

3 decilitre rolled oats

½ decilitre golden syrup

1 decilitre pumkin pure (the meat of about ¼ small pumpkin, boiled and mashed)

1 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp ground ginger

6-7 cloves

1 pinch of ground black pepper

(1 tsp black treacle or molasses)

Heat the oven to 200 C.

Melt the butter and let it brown a bit, until it smells slightly nutty. Let it cool for a moment.

Mix oats, syrup, pumpkin pure and spices. Add the butter and mix well until a sticky dough is formed.

Press the dough in to a tray in a 1 cm thick layer. Packing it tightly helps keeping the dough together during the baking.

Bake for 10- 15 minutes, until the surface feels crispy and has turned golden.

Let cool and cut into squares. Spread melted chocolate or any other preferred topping on the surface.

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It feels as if flapjacks are the everyday snack for the brits. Not anything fancy, but still much loved. Not many contestants in the GBBO has been trying to impress Paul and Mary with flapjacks for example, although I was happy to see Howard have a go at it this season.

Trying to research the origin of the flapjack didn’t give me much, and no clues about where the name comes from. It seems to originate all the way back to the 17th century, but then it meant a flat tart or even pancake and is believed to come from the Middle East. Shakespeare speaks of flapjacks in his play Pericles, Prince of Tyre:

“Come, thou shant go home, and we’ll have flesh for holidays, fish for fasting-days, and moreo’er puddings and flap-jacks, and thou shalt be welcome.”

I wonder if he preferred them with yoghurt or chocolate at the top?

1935 was the first time that the word flapjack meant a cake made out of oats (thank you Wikipedia).

If anyone has more information about the history of flapjacks please share it!

With this recipe I will for the first time take part of the Cooking with herbs blogchallenge at Lavender and Lovage, who this month has added christmas spices to the ingredient list.

Cooking with Herbs

Vegan (tofu) fish and chips

picture of fish and chips made from tofu

Some people would probably say that is false to call this dish fish and chips, since it doesn’t consist of any fish what so ever. I could have made up a whole new name (tofish?) or just have called it fried tofu and seaweed with root vegetables. But that wouldn’t have been quite true to the dish. Because it has the feeling and the look of fish and chips, and some how the flavours as well.
I used dried kelp in the tofu,  that I soaked and mixed for a few seconds before I added the tofu. I think any other kind of dried seaweed should work just as well. If you happen to find powder that is probably the best to get it evenly distributed.

When I started thinking about making a vegan version of fish and chips, and to match tofu with seaweed to get something similar to fish, I wasn’t expecting that it would turn out as well as it did. By mixing the right amount of seaweed with the tofu, shaping them in to pieces resembling the ones you use for fish and chips and frying them in breadcrumbs I came surprisingly close to the original thing. Of course it doesn’t taste exactly like fish but the seaweed gives it that fishy feeling that you want to get. I found that I almost liked it more then the original.

I am not a big fan of deep fried stuff, and although chips can be nice sometimes (perfect for a hangover day) I think that they can often be too thick, dense and soggy, and just plain potato doesn’t really taste much. I usually roast root vegetables in the oven instead of making chips, and mix up the good old potato with things like carrots, sweet potatoes, parsnips, swedes and so on. Whatever I can find in the fridge at the moment really. It doesn’t just taste better, but also looks really nice with the different colours.

I love sauces and of course I felt that my version needed some sauce to go down with it. I did some reseach on that kind of sauce that is traditionally eaten with fish and chips, and found the tartar sauce. Funny enough it resembles the remoulad sauce that we have in Sweden. It was always served with fried fish and potatoes in school, and was one of my favourite lunches. I think the tartar sauce is a bit more exciting though, with the addition of strong mustard. I all worked really well together!

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Vegan tofu fish and chips

4 portions

300 gram of firm tofu

Around ½ decilitre of kelp or seaweed, soaked

1 tsp lemon juice

Salt and pepper

2 decilitre of bread crumbs (I used whole wheat)

Vegetable oil for frying

Soak the kelp or seaweed at least 15 minutes. Mix it in a food processor or with a mixer for around 1 minute. Add the tofu and keep mixing until it is all well mixed together. Season with lemonjuice, salt and pepper.

Heat a pan or wide pot with about 2 centimetre of vegetable oil. Shape the tofu mixture in to patties in the size of small fish pieces. Coat the pieces in the breadcrumbs so that it is evenly covered. Fry the pieces until golden brown on both sides.

Root vegetable chips

Heat the oven to 200c. Peel and chop up the root vegetables you have at hand. I used potatoes, blue carrots, parsnips and celery root.

Drizzle some oil and salt over the vegetables and roast on a tray for about 30 minutes, until they are soft and golden.

Tartar sauce (modified from BBC Good food)

2 decilitre plain greek yoghurt

1 tbsp mayonnaise

2 tbsp gherkins

1 tbsp capers

1 tsp Dijon mustard or English mustard

A few drops of lemon juice

Salt and pepper

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and stir together.

Serve the tofe pieces and the fries the traditional way, in pages from a newspaper, or on a plate. Dont forget to drizzle plenty of tartar sauce over it.

Chickpea and mushroom “pie” with a squash crust

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I love my pies, and specially now when the weather is turning cold and wet it is nice to have something hearty, comforting and mushy for dinner. But to not have to get in to that food coma feeling over stuffed after eating it I started thinking about how it would be possible to have a pie with all the scrummy filling, and a crust like topping without actually having a crust. Immediatly I came to think of the squash. What if that was cut in slices and laid over the filling, wouldn’t that kind of be like a crust? It was actually, and the result was even better then I had hoped for. It does not really resemble a pie, in the sence that there is no bottom or sides with “dough”. Someone who is feeling crafty could probably lay out squash slices in the bottom or on the sides as well, but for me on a lazy sathurday afternoon the lid was enough. Of course it doenst taste or feel exactly the same as a pie with a dough brust, it is different but equally delicious. I toped my pie with some cheese, and when that melted it got that crunchy top that gave the dish some real pie feeling. The squash was soft and rich and had that earty flavour that is so nice in the autumm, and when served the creamy filling was floating out under it spreading some lovely aromas.

For the filling I chose the classic chicken and mushroom, but switched the chickens for chickpeas, which is really healty, filling and cheap as well. I also threw some grated turnips in there, which gave the dish a bit of a sweet touch. I used sour cream for the sauce (what is called crème fraice in Sweden, I am not sure what the right product is for that in other countries) which made it very creamy and nice.  For seasoning I threw in some of my favourite spices, that I luckily also found in most traditional recipes for chicken and mushroom pie; parsley, chives, thyme and nutmeg. With some good vegetable stock it mixes up to a delicious, filling and comforting dish.

I used canned cooked chickpeas because I didn’t have any precooked ones at home, but I think they often have a bit of a canned aftertaste and prefer to use dried ones that has been soaked over night and cooked ahead. For the squash lid I used acorn squash but any kind of big squash should work out well. Butternut is a personal favourite as well. Try to stay away from the orange pumpkin that is used for carving, as they are usually watery and quite tasteless.

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Chickpea and mushroom “pie” with a squash crust

Around 10 large button mushrooms, sliced

400 gram precooked chickpeas

2 turnips, grated

300 decilitre of sour cream, crème fraice or similar

2 garlic cloves, crushed

½ yellow onion, chopped

1-2 cubes of vegetable stock+ ½ dl water

Parsley, nutmeg, thyme and chives to your taste

Salt and pepper

½ of a small acorn squash, sliced. Enough to cover the dish that you make the pie in.

1 decilitre of grated cheese, preferably cheddar.

Preheat the oven to 200C. Fry the garlic and the onion in some oil or butter until it turns golden. Add the sliced mushrooms and the turnip and fry until browned. Add the stock and the water and boil for 5-10 mniutes, then add the sour cream and the chickpeas. Season with the spices to your taste. Don’t forget some salt and a good dash of black pepper.

Move away from the heat.

Slice the squash in approximate 1 cm thick slices. Cut of the peel.

Pour the mushroom and chickpea filling in to a oven proof dish. Cover the filling with the squash slices, so that there is only small uncovered spaces left.  Spread the cheese on top of the squash.

Bake for around 20 minutes, until the cheese has a golden crust and the squash feels soft.

Serve with a steady salad.

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The picture does not quite make the dish justice, it as a lot scrummier than it looks here.

This dish is my contribution to this week Made with love mondays at the blog Cookin w/ Luv

Whole wheat scones with apple and fennel

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Scones. I can’t think of many things as good as a warm, newly baked scones with dripping warm butter on and some sweet jam,  or as a prefer it, some slices of strong cheddar washed down with a cup of steaming hot tea.  It is easy to just whip up in no time and the ingredients are mostly things you have in the fridge and cupboard anyway. But no matter how good it is, after a few pieces (because it is impossible to just eat one) I always get a bit of a stomach ace and that feeling of being stuffed. So I have been playing around a bit with more “healthy” scones with less plain wheat flavour and more whole wheat and rye. This morning I made some with dried apples and fennel seeds in it, and it turned out really delicious. Crunchy and filling, so you can’t actually eat too many, and the apples gives a nice sweetness. I used dried apples that I still had laying around from last year, but to shred a fresh apple in to the mixture probably works out fine as well. Maybe reduce the yoghurt slightly in that case.

There are so many possibilities for your scones; they really don’t have to be just wheat and white. Or what do you reckon? What is your favourite?

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Whole wheat scones with apple and fennel

2 dl whole wheat flour

1 dl flour

1/2 dl sunflower seeds

1/2 dl whole flax seeds

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp fennel seeds

1 dl dried apple pieces

1/2 tsp salt

1 tbsp honey

1 dl plain yoghurt

1/2 dl vegetable oil, preferably rapeseed

Turn the oven to 175 Celsius. Mix the flours, flax seed, sunflower seeds, salt and baking powder in a bowl. Ground the fennel seeds lightly to bring out the flavour and mix with the dry ingredients. Cut the dried apple pieces in smaller parts if they are big and add to the bowl.

Stir in the yoghurt, honey and the oil. Mix well to a dough that is sticking together but still feels wet.

Put a parchment paper on a oven tray and divide the dough in to four balls. Flatten them on the tray so that they are about 1 cm thick (or do as you usually do your scones). Pick them with a fork or a knife. Spread some sunflowerseeds over the surface.

Bake for 20-25 minutes.

It would be fun to know  more about the history of scones, why did the British start eating them and how they became so loved. Why is the traditional filling jam and clotted cream? Have they always been eaten at afternoon rather then at breakfast? Anyone who can fill me in?

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