- Heston Blumenthal's triple-cooked chips – posted Jul 29, 2013
I have added another item to my list of kitchen utensils, the quintessential deep fryer, the pinnacle of fast, fatty food, that leaves you stuffed too early and regretting you ever went for fast food. So, why would you ever want one of these? Because deep fried food can be so much more than fast, fatty food that leaves your innards feeling a sense of regretable greasiness. It can give you soft chewy centres with light crisp exteriors like nothing else.
- Sous vide duck leg with home made linguine and spring vegetables – posted May 15, 2013
One of the joys with having a sous vide setup at home is that you get to cook great tasting dishes with a minimum of fuss. Just vacuum seal the food, leave it at the set temperature for some time, remove it from the water bath and sear it with a blowtorch. Easy, and you get to play with fire. What's not to like? So with some lovely duck legs on sale, I vacuum sealed four pre-seared duck legs and cooked them at 65°C for 48 hours (remember to pre-sear meat before leaving it in this long or you'll wind up with a yucky unplatable mushy mass).
- Sous vide chili oil – posted Mar 16, 2013
Flavoured oils come in many shapes and tastes: basil, mint, chili, garlic, chili-garlic, ginger... The imagination seems to be the limit, but the store bought ones seem a bit, well, flat, oftentimes, and they usually only come in quantities that they either go bad before they are used up, or get stale and boring toward the end as they have been left open for so long. So, why not make your own?
- Sous vide eggs – posted Feb 16, 2013
Being busy with real life tends to not only kill the time that one has for maintaining an online presence, but also for doing imaginative things that are worth writing about, so the past year has mainly been occupied with rehashing the same old things rather than experimenting with new things that are interesting to share. I hope that is enough foreshadowing, so without further ado, I present to you my newest gadget...
- Garlic-chili dutch oven bread – posted Feb 26, 2012
This is very much an afternoon/dinner/evening bread with its strong notes of garlic and chili. Works wonderfully with stews and fish. Since it is winter time and the cold north is, well, cold, the fresh herbs we can come by are not particularly fresh, so we turn to the dried variety. For this loaf I've used dried thyme, basil, and rosemary, and a sprinkling of chili flakes. To get them worked into the dough and distributed more nicely, I crush the herbs in my trusty mortar until they're just small flakes.
- My new cool baby – posted Jul 10, 2011
We have recently acquired an ice machine with a built-in compressor, and we are enjoying every little bit of ice cream it's churning out. One of the huge limiting factors of being allergic to dairy products is that, well, most ice creams are made with milk and/or whipping/double cream (granted, there are some products based on soy with an uncomfortably grainy feel, and a few made on oats, but you pretty much have to travel to another country to obtain these).
- New bread knife – posted Jun 5, 2011
I have recently acquired a new bread knife from Yaxell, a Ran knife, made from 69 layers of Damascus steel. It is a thing of beauty and it carves bread like a wooden knife cuts through soft butter, mmmm. I normally score my breads using the bread knife and our old bread knife just wasn't sufficiently sharp to create interesting patterns, but here and now this changes. Now with even more fancy patterns: It carves beautifully and the crumb isn't mashed together like our old knife had a tendency to do.
- Sausage rolls – posted Nov 14, 2010
The typical sausage roll is made from puff pastry, wrapped around sausage meat, brushed with egg and baked. I simply cannot stand these! When I think sausage roll, I think some nice bread rolled around a real, actual sausage, not just ‘sausage meat’ (whatever that is). So, I take some nice basic french dough bread recipe and let it preferment for about 3–4 hours, then when we get to shaping, I roll out the dough (very much like making croissants, really, just with a single layer of dough and no fats), place a sausage at the fat end of a slice of dough and roll it up into the typical croissant shape (translated literally, we call these ‘sausage horns’ in Danish).
- Chocolate-covered marshmallow treats – posted Nov 5, 2010
While many forms of candy are rather ubiquitous in Denmark, a lot of chocolate-covered marshmallow treats are produced here every day. The Danish factory, Elvirasminde, produces between 1 and 2 million chocolate-covered marshmallow treats daily to the entire world. There are also several high profile confectioners making exclusive chocolate-covered marshmallow treats with better forms of chocolate, specialised marshmallow filling, marzipan bottoms, and all kinds of other variations on the theme. While Wikipedia currently attributes the creation of chocolate-covered marshmallow treats to Denmark (by way of a now defunct reference to Jerusalem Post...), it is more likely that they were invented in Switzerland or Austria, but the exact origin seems lost in the mists of time.
- Marshmallows – posted Oct 30, 2010
Home made candy will usually always be better than the store bought variant (granted, home made candy can be abysmally botched as well, but with a bit of effort and control it is usually better). In particular the marshmallow, which from the store is kinda dry and mushy will, when fresh, be dry on the outside, but creamy and luscious on the inside. And when it comes to candy it's practically one of the easiest candies to make.
- Forest berry slices – posted Oct 9, 2010
There is this small cake that is a staple at almost any Danish bakery, the raspberry slice. While it is small and not terribly fancy compared to a lot of other cakes, it has a rather religious following of people who simply cannot do without it. At the basic level it's two thin layers of baked shortcrust pastry on top of each other, separated with a layer of raspberry jam and decorated with layer of glacé icing and hundreds and thousands.
- Highly hydrated doughs – posted Apr 17, 2010
Since the time I started baking I have read copious amounts of information on baking, primarily perusing titles from master bakers here and there, and some successful owners of bakeries in Denmark, Sweden and the United States. Some give good advice, others not so good, but the main thing I've taken away from having read all this is... it's food, experiment and find something you like (though do be accurate about what you do so you can recreate it).
- Chocolate cupcakes – posted Nov 14, 2009
Recently, my youngest sister wanted to bake these ‘advanced’ cupcakes, so she asked whether I would bake them with her. Never avoiding a chance to bake with others, I immediately agreed, and we had a lot of fun preparing, decorating, and not least eating the cakes. It's a fairly standard chocolate cake with whipped egg whites carefully folded into the chocolate batter. After a good bake we piped butter frosting over the cupcakes and drizzled candied violet over it.
- Slow durum bread – posted Nov 14, 2009
If one has better time, it is, of course, preferable to give the bread a slow rise, which brings out more flavour nuances in the bread. There isn't that much difference in consistency to the quick durum bread, but it does have better flavour. The ingredients are: 700 g wheat flour 300 g durum flour 10 g fresh yeast 20 g sea salt 700 g water The ingredients are mixed together for 3 minutes at first speed to incorporate the ingredients, and then continuing on first speed for another 7–8 minutes to develop the gluten.
- Apple medals – posted Feb 8, 2009
In Denmark we have a range of cakes that are called something with ‘medal’ in them – these are typically shortcrust cake layers around… something. The most traditional ‘medals’ have whipped cream in a layer between two shortcrust layers and with icing on top of the top layer. A few ‘medals’ are actually closed as in the two shortcrust layers are glued together, typically with egg, a bit like mini-cobblers. This blog post is about one of such ‘medals’, the apple ‘medal’ – I have been unable to find a traditional English name for these cakes, so if you know it, please let me know.
- Sonnenblumenbrot – sunflower seed bread – posted Jan 28, 2009
Since I have started working full-time on a new job and have a longer commute, and I like to spend the hours when I am at home with my daughter, I have neglected both this blog and baking for a while. With a child in the house both my wife and I tend to make recipes we know so they do not require so much focus, but by doing that we risk getting set in our habits, only eating the same kinds of bread, the same kinds of things for dinner, for the next many, many years.
- Cinnamon loaves – posted Dec 16, 2008
One of the glorious things from my childhood was the sunday trip to the bakery where we got to pick our Sunday morning treat. Normally this treat was to be a single item like a rum snail, a croissant, or the like, but just once in a while I managed to sweet-talk (read: emotionally bribe) my parents into buying a cinnamon loaf. For those unfortunate enough that they haven’t come across this wonderful bread before, it is a butter and egg enriched dough that is rolled around a cinnamon-enriched remonce cream (mix of butter and sugar).
- Pain rustique rolls – posted Dec 15, 2008
Pain rustique is a wonderful savory bread that not only tastes great, but is also relatively fast to make (including the poolish it only takes like 15–18 hours from start to baked loaf). They are prepared much like regular pain rustique, just divided into smaller amounts of dough. Here I have prepared what would usually be four small loaves and each of these I have divided in four to create rolls.
- Potato garlic bread – posted Dec 11, 2008
While I really love and adore the French and Italian white breads, I was brought up on Danish rye bread, which, usually, uses more or less 100% rye. Now, I’m not really ready to consume rye bread again after having sworn it off once I moved away from my parents, however, I’m usually coaxed into trying different kinds of breads with whole meat wheat, maize, or in this instance, potatoes and garlic.
- If Salvador Dali baked bread – posted Nov 23, 2008
- Retarded filone bread – posted Oct 5, 2008
While the filone bread is a description of the shape of a traditional bread from Toscana (Tuscany) where it is made without salt due to an old salt feud, filone has come to mean a special kind of white, rustic bread here in Denmark, made slightly different from the ciabatta (another shape description for the saltless Toscana bread). In the Danish bakeries the filone is a rustic bread, with salt, that is slightly elongated, typically with pointy ends (which makes it fairly impractical to cut in regular slices, but nevermind that).
- Apple blackberry tart – posted Aug 20, 2008
Starting as an experiment on creating whipped cream from an oat-based cream, the apple blackberry tart is a nice dessert, but since it is fairly dry it really needs whipped cream. The tart dough and fruits applied does look rather appetising. The blackberries are fresh from our garden, so I think they deserve a closeup. This is a closed tart receiving a lid of more shortcrust dough. It is supposedly possible to whip the oat-based cream by adding some gelatine, but even after we threw it in the freezer for a while to strengthen the gelatine's properties (they were not working without this step at all) the result was lumpy and disappointing, nowhere near the impressive tops and lightness of regular whipped cream.
- Pain rustique – posted May 20, 2008
While baking alone has a certain meditative quality, baking with others can be a lot of fun as you talk over the ingredients, help each other measure and fold and generally just have a good time creating food. So I took the chance when I had my sisters visiting to help my youngest sister try out one of the breads from Hamelman's book, Pain Rustique. This bread, which requires a poolish, is very easy to make, and you do not have to wait 5 or 6 hours until it is completed (ignoring the activation time of the poolish, of course, which we left to sit overnight), but only require short 25 minute breaks, which is a lot nicer to have when you are focused on cooking.
- Feeling peckish – posted May 20, 2008
I have so far gotten the hang of creating bread for our daily consumption by baking four .5 kg loaves once a week, freezing two of the loaves and taking them out of the freezer as needed. It's a nice, relaxing routine to bake Hamelman's straight dough French breads, and they have such a lovely taste. So as part of the celebrations of my oldest sister's rite of confirmation, I offered to bake some bread and cakes to remove some of the stress from my parents as they were having the house filled with guests.
- French bread with pâte fermentée – posted May 4, 2008
After having read through several bread baking books and websites there is one common thing I keep hearing, namely that breads baked with sourdough is the epiphany of breads, giving it a delectable, nutty taste. I must admit I have tried a bit of this and that, be it a poolish or a biga, and this time I have tried the pâte fermentée sourdough. The pâte ferments for about 12 to 16 hours before it needs to be used in the ‘actual’ dough.
- Fresh Vietnamese spring rolls – posted Apr 25, 2008
Normally spring rolls is something with extreme amounts of fat and the hassle of deep frying them, so it was quite a refreshing change when I stumbled across fresh Vietnamese spring rolls on Haalo's blog Cook (almost) anything at least once. Since these spring rolls require rice paper I had to find a small specialty store in central Copenhagen where I was able to buy it, fairly cheap taking into account how many spring rolls we have been able to make with it.
- French bread, take two – posted Apr 4, 2008
It is one thing to make a good bread once, but making it consistently is the goal here. Of course, my old statistics professor would tell me that two samples is a horrible basis for any form of statistic, but let us ignore that for a bit (I used to doze off in her classes anyway, not the most riveting topic). I attempted Hamelman's straight dough French bread recipe again yesterday, but got started a bit late due to work.
- French bread – posted Mar 31, 2008
All the breads that I have featured here have, so far, been recipes collected by two Danish food journalists and they have been published by one of the largest Danish publishers around. There is little competition for their book, there are only one or two other real contenders for bread and pastry recipes. Despite the fact that Denmark has experienced a flurry of interest for cookbooks of all sorts and kinds, the diversity is still rather depressing compared what you may find if you venture abroad into English books.
- Home-made pappardelle and torta con le mele – posted Mar 25, 2008
Pasta is one of the two things that Italy has really succeeded in exporting far and wide (pizza being the other), and we see them everywhere, the penne, the conchiglie, the fettuchine, the farfalle, and the list just keeps on going and going. One of the bit more expensive pastas here is the fresh pasta, and it only really comes in one form: fettuchine. On the bright side it comes both plain and with spinach.
- Country and rye bread – posted Mar 14, 2008
Another favourite white bread of mine is the country bread. I suspect that the one that you can buy in bakeries is made on sourdough, but the recipe book I have is without a sourdough starter for the bread. The dough is slightly sticky, but otherwise elastic and fun to work with. I had not quite counted on how much this bread rises during fermentation, so I had to transfer it to our largest bowl during the process, and it almost rose out of that as well!
- Why is the rum gone? – posted Mar 5, 2008
So it has been a bit since I have posted any lovely baked goods that I have produced (mainly because I have been busy with other things and mostly just have baked the same breads I have already shown). One of the things you get to miss a lot when you are allergic to milk (and have had some time where this wasn’t the case) is wienerbrød or in English, danishes.
- Marzipan ring cake – posted Jan 11, 2008
Sugar is good, marzipan is made of sugar, so marzipan is good, marzipan ring cake is made with marzipan and powdered sugar, so that must be very good! Well, my tastes in sugar are very refined as you might be able to tell, so with Ida out partying, what better endeavour for the evening than to bake marzipan ring cake... just not, well, in a ring. This is the fourth time I bake these within the past two weeks, and I have been meaning to take photographs of them each time, but due to their very fine quality they mysteriously evaporate almost immediately after being baked.
- Toffee pie – posted Dec 22, 2007
One particular kind of food that we are very fond of is cakes of all sorts. The photo below shows the toffee pie, which is a regular pie dough with home-made caramel poured onto the baked dough and with a cover of meringue. Lovely.
- Boiled sweets – posted Dec 13, 2007
Sweets. It is the ever corrupting sugary epiphany that drives us back to their delectable temptations. Home-made boiled sweets doubly so. Sorry about the flash reflection, it's really hard getting these shots good (either that or I need to work on my photography skills) due to the less than ideal lighting conditions in our house in these dark winter months. We really need to figure out what lamps we'd like to get.