Dec 18, 2011

Mung Bean, Beluga lentil and Cremini Mushroom Burger

I am going through a semi vegetarian phase. This phase will probably meet its death at the hands of bacon like my previous phases. All it takes is the smell of bacon sizzling #willpowerfail! My very carnivorous, but very supportive husband was in a mood for burgers and this is what we came up with, with ingredients we had at hand. 
My main grudge against 'vegetarian burgers' is their dryness. This one though, was moist and lovely with a very filling and earthy taste. The mushrooms did the trick. While most recipes call for soy sauce or garlic paste in some variations, we used harissa paste. Magic happens when lentils meet piri-piri peppers, coriander and garlic. And the saltiness from the capers...that deserves an ode to itself. You will have to agree that it is quite a good looking burger too.
Any kind of lentil or beans will do really. It may take a bit of planning with soaking and cooking of the beans and lentils, but if like me, you are the proud owner of a pressure cooker, it takes only 5 minutes for dried lentils and beans to become mush.

You will need ( Makes 8 patties)
1/2 cup of mung beans (washed, soaked and cooked)
1/2 cup of black belugua lentils (washed, soaked and cooked)
1 cup finely chopped brown cremini mushrooms. 
1 egg
1 tablespoon harissa paste.
2 tablespoons chopped capers. 
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic.
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup breadcrumbs/ rasp
Vegetable oil 

16 slices of whole wheat bread of rye bread cut into circles. Or go ahead and buy burger buns.

For garnish:
Sliced cucumbers
Onion sliced in rings
Tomato cut in rings

In a bowl mix mung beans, black beluga lentils, mushrooms, harissa paste, garlic, chopped capers and salt. give it a good mix with your hands. Add egg and mix again.
With slightly oiled hands, shape the mix into patties. 
Spread bread crumbs on a baking sheet. Gently and lightly coat patties with breadcrumbs.
Heat a heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat and put 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Cook patties on each side for 3-5 minutes until they are brown and slightly crisp on the outside. 

To serve, cut slices of bread into circles and toast them. Smear a slice with mustard/ ketchup.  Place a patty on top, garnish with onion, tomato, cucumber, more ketchup and mustard if you will and seal the deal by placing another slice of bread on top. 
The one with rye bread to the left and the one with whole wheat bread  to the right

Dec 11, 2011

Creamy Caramel with Pistachios/Flødekarameller med pistacie

Would you believe it! Norway is out of butter. Last I heard, Denmark sent some butter to Norway and now there is no butter in the supermarkets (at least in my Copenhagen neighbourhood) People are trekking from one supermarket to the other in search of butter. Oh Christmas season and the first world problems it brings!
I scored the last block of butter in my neighbourhood Netto. I felt like a grinch stealing someone else's Christmas baking merriment. But my bad conscience dissolved with the first bite of these creamy caramel squares I used the butter for. Mmmm ...
Without further ado, recipe for this caramel, buttery, melting goodness. I used a recipe from Mette Blomsterberg.

You will need:  ( Makes 60)
1/2 litre Cream 38%
250g Sugar
100g Honey (You can also use 100g glucose syrup)
60g Butter
40g Unsalted, whole pistachio kernels

You will also need:
A kitchen thermometer
An 18x18 container
2 tbsp, any neutral oil to oil a baking sheet.

Cook cream, sugar, honey, and butter a thick bottomed saucepan. Let it simmer till the caramel is golden in colour, and has a thick, creamy consistency. Stir occasionally, especially towards the end. Cook it long and slow over medium heat. (Mine took approx. 35 minutes)

The caramel is ready when the mix begins to leave the bottom and sides of the pan and has reached 124C. Use the kitchen thermometer to check temperature. (The 'when the mix leaves the bottom of the pan' sounds vague, but you will know what I mean when you are stirring)

Take pan off the stove, add pistachios.

Pour the caramel into the 18x18cm container lined with an oiled baking sheet. Cover with another oiled baking sheet on top.

Allow it to cool and set overnight. Cut into small bite sized squares once set.

I have been wrapping them in cellophane paper and packing them in little boxes as pre-Christmas visit gifts for friends and family. They love it! A very Merry Christmas to all of you!

Aug 4, 2011

Redcurrant Cupcakes.

I love how in Copenhagen we can live in the city but still walk to forests and shrubs where we can pick berries. I  love redcurrants especially their tart sweetness. I picked a bunch of them from some shrubs at Holte yesterday and washed them before I got the "dont wash them if you want to freeze them" advice. We usually toss redcurrants into salads but this time I had small basket full of them- too much for salad, too little to be turned into preserve... so cup-cakes it was. I used lemon zest and lemon juice in the batter which makes perfect love to the tartness of the berries. My kitchen smells so good, I would lick the air if I could.

My cupcakes look a imperfect because I don't own a cupcake mould. In my head, a mould ONLY for cupcakes is a bit overdoing it. But that has not stopped me from wishing for it every birthday and Christmas, but everyone else seems to think it is a silly thing too. Dammit, tangent! Here is how I made them.


·         170g plain flour
·         2 tsp baking powder
·         140g sugar
·         2 eggs, separated
·         8 tbsp sunflower oil
·         6 tbsp milk
·         Juice and zest of ½ lemon
·         170g redcurrants, stripped from stems

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.
In a big bowl, sift together flour and baking powder. Grate lemon zest over the flour.
In another bowl, mix together sugar, egg yolks, oil, milk and lemon juice.
Whisk the egg whites until stiff and fold into the cake mixture. Stir in the redcurrants, put batter into cup cake forms and bake for 15-20 minutes.
I plan to eat mine just the way they are or maybe with some sour cream on the side, but that should not stop YOU from adding a frosting or topping of your choice.

Jul 13, 2011

Dun Dun Noodles a la Heidi

I don't know why I waited this long to make these Dun-Dun noodles. I have been telling everyone about them ever since our friend Heidi brought it to dinner once. I finally made them a few days ago. They are spicy, garlicky, peanutty, sesamey and all the things nicey. They may or may not cause you to make up your own words! Heidi first tasted these noodles at Mary Chungs restaurant in Cambridge and liked it so much that she wrangled a recipe out. And are we glad she did! She calls it Mary Chungs Dun Dun Noodles. But Heidi has made the recipe her own over time and in its Copenhagen avatar it will forever be known as Heidi's Dun-Dun noodles. These noodles have a complex taste but are surprisingly easy to make (Thank you time saving store bought Chinese sesame paste) 
*Heidi's recipe called for 6-8 cloves of garlic, I reduced the amount since I am not fond of too much raw garlic. You can up or lower the amount according to your taste.

This will serve a party.
4 inch piece of ginger, peeled and loosely chopped
5 cloves garlic
4 T water
1 t salt
3 T hot pepper flakes in oil
3-4 T light soy sauce
3-5 T Siracha hot sauce
1 12 oz jar Chinese Sesame paste
2 T sesame oil
2 T sugar
1-1 1/2 packages noodles
5 scallions, chopped

Optional toppings:
Bean sprouts
Shredded cooked chicken

Puree garlic, ginger, salt and water in food processor. Add pepper flakes, hot sauce, soy sauce, sesame paste, oil and sugar and process until smooth. Taste for sweetness. Add more sugar if it's not as sweet as you'd like.
Prepare the noodles and toss lightly with sesame oil before topping with sesame sauce. Add scallions and toss. Serve with bean sprouts and shredded cold chicken if desired.

I told you it was SO easy.

Jun 9, 2011

Beef Rendang : Spicy Beef Stew with Roasted Coconut

OH. MY. GOD. I don't usually use 'Oh My God' to describe satisfaction, but this has OMG stamped all over. The recipe and instructions are from Rasa Malaysia. I have been so busy trawling her archives that I have ignored all other sites bookmarked. She has a book out and I can't wait to buy it as soon as it releases in Europe.

This rendang was so aromatic, you could smell it from our common stairway! The 'curry' boils, simmers and then reduces till it is almost fried in its own sauce. What you are left with is beef so tender and infused with all the taste and aromas of the spices.The taste is a hearty balance of creamy, spicy with just the right hint of tangy and sweet.

The ingredients list may look intimidating, but they are not that hard to find. I didn't have 'kerisik', so I bought some dried coconut flakes and toasted them till brown. And I didn't de-seed my chillies. Seeds are the WHOLE POINT! There is nothing like 'too spicy'. If you disagree, go eat a cucumber. And oh you will need patience! It took me 2.5 hours to cook this batch. I will try cooking it in a pressure cooker next time.

What I love best about Asian cooking is it's versatility. A pinch of this, a pinch of that. If something goes wrong, there is always something else at hand to save it. ( In my case potatoes. I haven't not seen potatoes in any beef rendang recipe but I had a little accident called -too much salt- which the potatoes troubleshot quite effectively)

700 grams boneless beef short ribs (cut into cubes)
5 tablespoons cooking oil
1 cinnamon stick (about 2-inch long)
3 cloves
3 star anise
3 cardamom pods
1 lemongrass (cut into 4-inch length and pounded)
1 cup thick coconut milk
1 cup water
2 teaspoons tamarind pulp (soaked in some warm water for the juice and discard the seeds )
6 kaffir lime leaves (very finely sliced)
6 tablespoons kerisik ( toasted grated coconut)
1 tablespoon sugar/palm sugar or to taste
Salt to taste

Spice Paste:
5 shallots
1 inch galangal
3 lemongrass (white part only)
5 cloves garlic
1 inch ginger
10-12 dried chilies (soaked in warm water and seeded)

  1. Chop the spice paste ingredients and then blend it in a food processor until fine.
  2. Heat the oil in a stew pot, add the spice paste, cinnamon, cloves, star anise, and cardamom and stir-fry them until aromatic.
  3. Add the beef and the pounded lemongrass and stir for 1 minute.
  4. Add the coconut milk, tamarind juice, water, and simmer on medium heat, stirring frequently until the meat is almost cooked.
  5. Add the kaffir lime leaves, kerisik (toasted coconut), sugar/palm sugar, stirring to blend well with the meat.
  6. Lower the heat to low, cover the lid, and simmer for 1 – 1 1/2 hours or until the meat is really tender and the gravy has dried up.
  7. Add salt to taste. If not sweet enough, add more sugar to taste.
  8. Serve with steamed rice.