Category Archives: condiments

Sofi’s Caramelized Rhubarb Jam

Currently I’m in Sweden taking care of an old house in the countryside. It’s as beautiful and lovely as its sounds. In the garden there is rhubarb, stinging nettles and leeks. The strawberries are flowering which shows that there will be delicious and fresh treats to pick in a couple of weeks . The deep red poppies are surrounded by bumblebees and the fish are jumping in the pond.

This weekend I had some dear friends over for dinner. I had successfully baked sourdough bread which we enjoyed with dried sausage, aged goat cheese and olives while my friend Johan Kohnke prepared the rooks that was one of the sensations of the evening. The rooks are a delicacy similar to quail. In this part of Sweden there is an old tradition for farmers to hunt them as the birds often collect the seeds from the new seeded fields. Instead of just feeding them to the pigs, my friends and I had the pleasure to enjoy them with a creamy porcini mushroom sauce spiced with plenty of wine and herbs from the garden.

For dessert my Sofi Meijling made a Cardamom Panna Cotta with a jam she cooked with freshly picked rhubarbs from my vegetable plot. The panna cotta was made with both heavy cream and Greek yogurt (about 50/50) which gave the pannacotta a slight sour flavor (see example of other panna cotta recipes below). Sofi used about one teaspoon crushed cardamom to flavor this evening’s final dish.

This rhubarb jam was such a great reminder of how much I love having a vegetable garden. You don’t really need mush to make something so simply delicious.

Sofi’s Caramelized Rhubarb Jam
(for about 4 people as topping to pannacotta or ice cream)

About 6 rhubarb stalks
2 tablespoons regular sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar (Sofi used Swedish farin which is a similar sugar type)
1/3 cup water

Melt the sugar in a pan together with the water and let it cook for awhile. Keep an eye on the sugar so it doesn’t burn and stir a little now and again. You may need to lower the heat to medium. Clean the rhubarb and cut them into one inch long pieces. When the sugar is thick and sticky add the rhubarb and let them simmer until soft but not totally mushy. Set aside to cool before serving.

If you think this jam is too simple you can spice it up with either ginger, cardamon or licorice root.

The jam is also great together with aged cheese on bread but then I recommend you make a larger batch (just add more of everything).

Here are some Pannacotta recipes:

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall makes Yoghurt and Vanilla Panna Cotta

Jules Clancy makes Panna Cotta with Mascarpone and serves it with pot roasted pears.

Ilva Beretta spices her Panna Cotta with lavender.

This article was originally published at EcoSalon on 16 June 2012.

Pump up the Carrots! (by Sofi Meijling)

One of the first times I met Sofi Meijling she treated me to a fantastic eel salad. It was Christmas eve and the salad was blended together with apples and dill. Since then we have become really good friends and she is somebody who I really enjoy having around in the kitchen. Sofi is that kind of person who could turn a catastrophic moment in the kitchen into a culinary adventure. She always has a great idea of how to turn a bland stew into something sensational.

Sofi, who used to be a graphic designer, works as a dramaturge (litterary adviser for theater plays) in both Malmö and Copenhagen. She is an excellent translator and is fluent in both Danish and English. She can also get around with some Russian. Impressive!

For some time Sofi lived without a normal kitchen and instead of getting a microwave she cooked her meals with an electric kettle and a soup thermos. She developed methods to steam different kinds of vegetables, boiled soft eggs and, according to Sofi, made the best couscous ever. She mastered the kettle and thermos so well that she once cooked an entire dinner for 4 adults and two kids.

I hope Sofi one day will start her own blog as I really enjoy her cooking and stories. Until then I’m happy to host her here.

Pump up the carrots!
by Sofi Meijling

This time of year I am getting a bit bored with the old swedes, parsnips and carrots. Roasting them in the oven, blending them in a hot lentil soup, mashing them into a golden puree is all nice and comforting, but now’s the time to wake them from the dead of winter and let the sunshine in! This delicious way of enjoying them raw suits any blend of roots, or carrots on their own. They will keep for several days, so you can make a large batch at a time. (Just make sure to use clean tools when you fish out the portion needed.)

Orange Cured Carrots
Fill a glass storage container with thinly sliced carrots. I recommend the use of a mandolin, if you are not particularly fond of slicing.
Use one orange per pound of roots to make the marinade. Choose organic oranges, since you want to use the zest, but tart or sweet variety doesn’t matter, the acidity will have to be balanced to taste anyway. Grate the zest off first, then press the juice from the halved fruits. Add double the amount of sunflower oil, a pinch of salt, a pinch of sucanat, a pinch of Korean chili flakes, a little ground black pepper, and a clove of garlic, cut in half but not crushed. Now add your apple cider vinegar, generously if your brand is full-bodied, a little less if the oranges were tart to begin with; the mix should be fresh and pleasantly sour.
Pour the marinade over the carrots and leave in the fridge overnight. Try it as a side dish with pork, with roman lettuce and rocket in a green salad, gently heated with lots of blue poppy seeds for your vegetarian buffet – or as I did last week: add their glory to a fish soup.

Waiting for spring Fish Soup
Sweat thinly sliced fennel, coarsely cut spring onion (or the green part of a leek) and a little thinly sliced garlic with olive oil. Season generously with salt, black pepper and some lovage. Set portion-cuts of haddock, pollock (saithe) or cod on top of the vegetables and add boiling water until just covered. Simmer gently for a few minutes. Add the oranged carrots when the fish is almost done, let them get warmed through but not softened. Sprinkle each serving with freshly chopped tarragon and/or cilantro.

(kokblog recommend to always check what fish to buy…
Seafood Watch (US) and WWFs fisk guide (Sweden)

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related links

Quick Pickled Cucumber

Rhubarb Chutney

I can’t remember if it was the possibility of fast internet or the fact that there was rhubarb growing in the garden that made us buy this house. Anyway both me and M love rhubarb in every possible way… crumble pie, cordial, jam or chutney. For maximum treats, I cut the plants down completely when harvesting them so new shoots can develop. If I’m lucky I can have 3 harvests every summer!

Here is my latest… a quick and simple Rhubarb Chutney:

1 liter rhubarb
half an onion
small piece of ginger
one teaspoon fennel, roasted and crushed in a mortar and pestle
¼ liter sugar
½-1 teaspoon chili flakes
one slice of lemon

Rinse and peel the rhubarb by stripping off the outer layer. Cut them into smaller pieces. Chop the onion and sauté on low heat with some butter until soft and sweet. In the meantime chop the ginger into small pieces.
Place all the ingredients in a pot and cook on medium heat until mushy. Take out the lemon slice and run the rhubarb mixture in a food processor for a smoother texture. Pour it in a clean jar, close and turn upside down and let cool.

Store in the refrigerator. Serve the chutney with meat or on toast with cheese.

Pear Marmalade

the scout 2

I don’t know what this has to do with marmalade… but I have a friend who once poisoned a whole scout camp, just because he didn’t wash his hands!

for the marmalade you need

some pears
less than a ¼ part of brown sugar
small piece of fresh ginger, minced
a splash of water

Peal the pears and chop them into small pieces. Pour the sugar over the pieces and stir. Add the ginger and a little water. Bring mixture to boil, then lower to a gentle heat and cook for about an hour until pears are soft. If you want a smoother texture, process the jam in a blender. Pour the warm jam into a clean jar, screw the lid on and turn the jar upside down on the counter. Leave to cool. Serve with ripe goat cheese or / and aged cheese that has been taken out of the fridge for at least a half hour.

Note: as this jam is not conserved I suggest you eat it while its fresh!

Raw Stirred Cranberries (rårörda tranbär)

kokblog_turkey

When I was a child, I often helped my mother picking lingonberries. Unfortunately we didn’t live in the north where there are lots of them so it was kind of tedious. I also didn’t like the taste so I couldn’t really get the point of wasting my time. It was different with blueberries.

Well it is even harder to find fresh lingonberries in NYC. But luckily there are plenty of cranberries. You may even find organic berries. Uncooked Cranberries Preserved Jam or what you may call, Raw Stirred Lingonberries (rårörda lingon) is a very common side dish to plenty of Swedish dishes. I have also heard that it is very similar to a cranberry and orange relish that is common on a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. In my jam or relish I used lime instead of orange and (of course) sucanat instead of white sugar.

½ kg (1 lb) cranberries or lingonberries
150 ml (0.6 cup) sucanat
peals of one lime

Rinse the berries carefully. Crush the berries with a potatoes masher to make the berries softer. Add the sugar and start stirring with a big spoon. Keep stirring and stirring and stir until the sugar is completely melted and you have a nice consistency. For quicker results, run the berries very briefly in the food processor before adding the sugar. It will make it easier to stir. But please don’t use the food processor too long as it will mash them and its nice to see some whole soft lovely berries in the jam. Finally add the lime peals and let the jam rest overnight.

Serve the jam with duck, chicken, turkey, meatloaf, body cakes (kroppkakor), potaoe panncakes, patties or meatballs. M likes it on his breakfast oatmeal (if there is any left…)