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Tuesday, October 11th, 2005

Apple pie with almond paste and walnuts
Yesterday afternoon I went to work for my last fika and to say goodbye to everyone at the IT department. But actually the real leave-taking will be tomorrow night, at home of one of my colleagues where we’ll all have dinner due to the fact that 4 of us have left the department and company. If anyone is curious it is now official that I have accepted and signed a contract for my former employer, beginning from January 1st. I could, if I wanted to, start earlier. But as I still get salary from my old company until the last of January, I prefer to have some time off. Until January I will, as I wrote earlier, take care of myself and the family – including the cats :-)

Yesterday to the fika I brought with me luke warm pies: a lemon tart and an apple pie with almond paste and walnuts. They seemed to be a success and I will surely bake them more times. The lemon tart is a variation of the Passion Fruit Tart that I’ve made earlier, the original recipe for the lemon tart in Swedish can be found here at Arla’s homepage. It’a both sweet and tangy, and tastes really refreshing. The apple pie is from the book ?ppelkakor by Ann-Kristin Hallgren, and the recipe was published in Swedish on Aftonbladet’s homepage. This apple pie isn’t so sweet and is excellent with a cup of coffee; it has a nice taste of almond paste and walnuts which is a great combination with the apples and the pie crust.

Lemon tart

Apple pie with almond paste and walnuts

2 large apples
400 ml flour
0.5 tsp baking soda
3 tbsp caster sugar
150 gram butter

1 tbsp coursly chopped walnuts

200 gram almond paste
2 eggs
100 ml finely chopped walnuts
100 gram butter, room temperatured

1. Heat the oven to 200°C.
2. Combine the dry ingredients for the crust and mix with the butter, until you get a dough. Let it rest in the fridge for a while.
3. Roll out the dough and then cover a spring form with it. The author recommends a rectangular spring form, but I used a normal round one and it worked fine.
4. Grate the almond paste, whip the eggs lightly and then combine all the ingredients for the filling. Pour (or actually place, as it’s rather firm) the filling into the crust.
5. Wash the apples, remove the seeds and divide them into halves. Slice the apples thinly and arrange them in the filling making a nice pattern.
6. Sprinkle the walnuts over the pie.
7. Bake the pie for about 25 minutes (my oven is a bit weird, so I had to increase the time).

Apple pie with almond paste and walnuts, ready to bake in the oven.
Lemon Tart

300 ml flour
2 tbsp caster sugar
125 g butter
1 egg yolk
3 eggs
200 ml caster sugar
200 ml double/whipping cream
2 tbsp flour
1 tsp vanilla sugar
zest and juice from 1 lemon (if you want you can add one lime as well)

Combine the flour, sugar and butter to a grainy mixture. Add the egg yolk, work into the flour mixture to form a soft dough. Knead briefly and press the dough over the bottom and sides of a tart pan. Place the pan in the fridge for 30 minutes.Heat the oven to 200 °C. Beat the eggs and the sugar until light. Add the remaining ingredients. Pour the filling into the crust. Bake in the bottom part of the oven for about 30 minutes (as usual longer in my oven). Let the tart cool and then garnish with icing sugar.

Lemon tart. You can add some passionfruit to the filling to get a passion fruit tart instead.

Tender and crisp chicken legs with sweet tomatoes

Sunday, October 9th, 2005
Ready to put in the oven. Notice the beautiful tomatoes that we bought, they were called “wild tomatoes” and came in green, yellow, orange and red.

Last weekend we went to the Gothenburg Book Fair. Once a year there’s a big book fair with exhibitors and seminars here in Gothenburg and it always draws a lot of people, including us. This year I bought many cook books as the prices were really low, but I wish that I had bought even more… Anyway, one of the cook books that I bought was Jamie Oliver’s Jamie’s Dinners. I’ve been planning to buy this book for such a long time, but better late than never :-)

As most of you know, I don’t each chicken anymore. At least not that often. But sometimes the craving gets really big and then I decide to cook chicken. But I don’t think that I’ll ever dare to eat it at a restaurant anymore. This time the chicken craving appeared as I was browsing through Jamie’s Dinners; I found a recipe for Tender and crip chicken legs with sweet tomatoes. The recipe sounded great and I wasn’t dissapointed, it was excellent and I enjoyed every bite of it. The chicken gets a crips surface while the rest of it is really tender and it smells delicious. The chicken almost melts in your mouth and it’s wonderful. To the chicken we made roasted potatoes in the oven, with sea salt, pepper, olive oil and rosemary. As I’m to lazy to write down the chicken recipe, I googled for it and finally found it at Jamie’s dinner’s official web site but I’ll paste it here as well. As always, be extra careful when handling raw chicken. I didn’t add any optional beans and as I just wrote I cooked the potatoes seperately.

    Tender and crisp chicken legs with sweet tomatoes
    Serves 4

    4 chicken legs, jointed
    sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    a big bunch of fresh basil, leaves picked, stalks finely chopped
    2 big handfuls of red and yellow cherry tomatoes, halved, and ripe plum tomatoes, quartered
    1 whole bulb of garlic, broken up into cloves
    1 fresh red chilli, finely chopped
    olive oil
    optional: 1 x 410g tin of cannellini beans, drained
    optional: 2 handfuls of new potatoes, scrubbed

    Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Season your chicken pieces all over and put them into a snug-fitting pan in one layer. Throw in all the basil leaves and stalks, then chuck in your tomatoes. Scatter the garlic cloves into the pan with the chopped chilli and drizzle over some olive oil. Mix around a bit, pushing the tomatoes underneath. Place in the oven for 1.5 hours, turning the tomatoes halfway through, until the chicken skin is crisp and the meat falls off the bone. If you fancy, you can add some drained cannellini beans or some sliced new potatoes to the pan and cook them with the chicken. Or you can serve the chicken with some simple mashed potato. Squeeze the garlic out of the skins before serving. You could even make it part of a pasta dish – remove the chicken meat from the bone and shred it, then toss into a bowl of linguini or spaghetti and serve at once.

Ready to serve, be prepared for a wonderful dinner!

Autumnal walk

Thursday, October 6th, 2005

Yesterday I handed in my laptop and cell phone, so this is my first day off from work. As I hadn’t visited my parents for such a long time I decided to see them today. On the bus I read the local newspaper Metro. When I arrived I told my father about a mushroom article in Metro, about the current mushroom season and that there are plenty of them in the woods.

My father is a great mushroom expert and he always picks huge amounts of them which he and my mother either dry or freeze. The dried mushrooms are used in two of the Christmas dishes: uszki (= small ears) and pierogi, which are almost like a kind of tortellini.

My father was quite surprised about the article as he havn’t seen any mushrooms during the last weeks, however he picked a lot earlier this summer/autumn so he got very excited and suggested that we should all go out and search for them. I borrowed a pair of rubber boots and then we went by car to Hind?s, which is just outside Gothenburg. We had a very nice autumnal walk and the weather was lovely, but just as my father suspected, no mushrooms… at least no edible ones. I found some bilberries though, and we had a very pleasant walk in the the woods.

Euro Blogging by Post 2

Tuesday, October 4th, 2005
This month I’m taking part in both Euro Blogging by Post 2 ( organized by Andrew at Spittoon)and Blogging by Mail 2 (organized by Samantha at The Samantha Files). For thoose of you who don’t know what it’s all about, it is basically two events where bloggers send each other food parcels. The first one is only for Europeans and the second one is open for everyone. I prepared and sent my food parcels 1.5 weeks ago and Joanna at Joanna’s Food received her EBBP parcel last week. I won’t write my recipient for BBM until I know that the parcel has reached it’s destination somewhere outside Europe.

Anyway, this morning I received a dispatch note from the post office!! Hurrah! I’ve really been waiting for my food parcels so I was so happy. It didn’t say any sender, just that the sending country was the Netherlands. So I almost ran to the post office to get my parcel. At home I finally got to open it, and it was just like Christmas! The parcel was sent by Taina aka Kitchen Queen Tai at Something’s Cooking. Thank you soooo much Taina!!! I love everything!!! She prepared a real thoughful “cat in the kitchen” parcel. Everything was so well-considered!!! She had even drawn a cat on the address label and the card where she had written about all the contents was a cute cat card, “A-Z of cats”.

So, here are the contents of the food parcel:

Lovely Strawberry honey jam, which is the fruity theme that Andrew suggested for this month. Taina wrote in the card that she had read that I looove strawberries and yes, that I do :-) And I definately love this jam as well. It’s the new flavour of the year, and I really hope that we get this stuff to Sweden as well! Mmmm, yummy! I tried it on homebaked dark bread that I baked yesterday and it was perfect!

This month we were supposed to send something seasonal, and Taina sent me Speculaas. Taina says that the Dutch eat these spiced cookies all autumn, awaiting Sinterklaas, which is a Dutch holiday on the 5th of December. I havn’t tried the large cookies yet, but I’m guessing that they probably taste a lot like Swedish Pepparkakor. But I’ll soon find out :-) (I’m really trying not to eat all the contents today…).

Next item I just loved, and I’m really trying to keep my hands of them: mini Stroopwafels. They are so delicous and I can’t stop eating them!!! Stroopwafels are caramel wafles and Taina says that they normally are as big as a coffe coaster. This mini variant is perfect (but I’m sure that the original size is that aswell).

Sweet Taina read that I like salmiak (liqourice) so she sent the cutest candy that I’ve ever seen. They are called Kattekoppen = Cat heads (!!) and they both look and taste really great!

Andrew wanted us to send something from our cupboard which the recipient then is supposed to use in a dish. I got an easy one: noodles. I really love the package!!!

Last but not least there was a mouse with cat nip (fabric, not a real one..) for Bowser, Yoshi and Tanuki!! Taina has 6 (!!!) cats, all Somali/Abussinian. My cats love their present. If they could say “thank you” I’m sure that they would. But on second thoughts cats are self-centred and would probably never thank anyone for anything :-)

Thank you so much Taina for being so considerate and kind, the parcel was wonderful and I was really lucky to get you as my sender. I love all the things and the mouse is so cute.

Requiem for a rhubarb

Saturday, October 1st, 2005

This is Fredrik writing. I’ve lurked behind the scenes of the Kitchen Cat ™ for so long, i thought it’s time for me to make an appearance.
I am a great supporter of the endevor that this blog entails. Not only do i find it entertaining and amusing to read like anyone else, but I also have the pleasure to be the target of the actual food experiments you only get to read about.
But there is one season of the year which sets the gentle eating order of my life into disarray. It begins thus:

Episode I: The rhubarb menace
An untimely visit to Dagmar’s brother happened to take place in the daytime, mid spring, thus bringing his garden into sunlight. This would normally not be something to avoid, if you are not, like me, determined to keep a certain person from thinking about rhubarb and what to do with it.
Dagmar’s brother’s garden has these foul abominations a plenty – and they caught her eye, no doubt devilishly using their dark mind tricks to lure her.
One carrying bag full of this weed, a bus trip and some recipie scouring later, the kitchen was in full blaze, and I knew I was the future victim

Episode II: Attack of the rhubarb
At this point I would like to remind the faithful reader, and inform the new of the sheer amount of rhubarbiness (which incidently is a new word I needed to invent) which took place this past season:

Rhubarb Cornmeal Cake
Rhubarb syrup
Rhubarb and strawberry jam with vanilla
Rhubarb mania (an absolute smattering of rhubarbiness)
Fraises & rhubarbe: Tarte d’été (dont let the french fool you, it’s still rhubarb)

… and these are only the ones she wrote about.

Needless to say, I was powerless against this onslaught. While strawberry had an attempted comeback (beeing the preferred foodstuff for the 3 P’s: Pie, Pastry and Preserves) it did not prevail. Nor did I. In the end i found myself liking rhubarb. Loving rhubarb. Craving Rhubarb.

So here we are. I am a converted rhubarbitarian (another new word) and the season is as far away as it can be. There is still a bottle of rhubarb syrup in the fridge, but I hesitate to drink it; it will surely run out too soon.

Rhubarb – come back!


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