At the beginning of the summer I spotted a cake on twitter that I just couldn’t resist. It was a Chocolate & Hazelnut Cake by Ana Vega. The cake is not a dessert cake, its more like a breakfast cake or something perfect for an afternoon cup of tea. From Ana I later learned that the cake was a remake of her Plum cake corriente y moliente (plum cake with dried fruits). Sounds amazing, doesn’t it? Ana runs the cake & dessert blog Biscayenne (all in Spanish) where she share recipes and stories from her tiny kitchen in Bilbao. She also has an online vintage shop with pretty cutlery, porcelain and other kitchenware.
I have now baked this cake several times and just a few weeks ago I added some black cherries to the cake. It made it very moist and delicious. The cherries worked really well with the dark chocolate. I can also imagine adding some banana but in the end its absolutely fine just as it is.
I have only made a few changes to the recipe: Instead of regular sugar I used brown sugar. I also reduced the sugar as I wanted a less sweet cake, which Ana also suggest when using fruit in the cake.
Ana’s Hazelnut Cake with Chocolate
180g (7/8 Cup) brown sugar
250g (1 2/3 cup) flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
125g (a little more than 4 oz) butter
150g (1 cup) hazelnuts
60g (70%) (about 2 oz) dark chocolate
Melt the butter in a saucepan. Mill the hazelnuts finely in a food processor or nut grinder. (If you don’t have either just chop it finely). Chop the chocolate into small pieces. Beat eggs and sugar together before adding flour and baking powder. Blend well together to avoid any floury lumps in the batter. Pour in the melted butter and stir together before adding the milled hazelnuts and the chocolate.
Grease a loaf tin or similar mold and pour the batter into it. Bake the cake for 15 minutes 355°F (180°C). Lower the heat to 320°F (160°C) and continue baking until the top has a brown crisp crust and a toothpick comes out dry (about 40-45 minutes).
Enjoy at breakfast, brunch or with an afternoon tea!
This article was originally published at Honest Cooking on 12 September 2012
Instead of enjoying the Swedish summer by growing vegetables and foraging for berries and mushrooms, I have been stuck with NY’s summer heat. I can’t say it has all been miserable though, it just hasn’t been the same. In Sweden I would have picked wild black cherries instead of gluttonized on local peaches. I would also have picked yellow chanterelles instead of trying to grow my own oyster mushrooms. Its all good as both places have their own unique quality.
I have found it a little hard to be in my kitchen cooking when the city gets too hot and humid. Some nights I end up just eating cold watermelon with feta or something like that. Delicious and simple. Luckily we have had direct access to a really lovely garden so many dinners have been cooked outside on the terrace. Often vegetables such as eggplant, zucchini and field mushrooms (sliced up and simply marinated with herbs, garlic, olive oil and tamari) served together with steak, just barely grilled and thinly sliced.Other specialties are BBQ’d mussels and shrimps (see below). The mussels can be BBQ’d as is and eaten with squeezed lemon. You can also precook them and grill them topped with garlic butter and breadcrumbs.
Grilled Spicy Shrimps
one lb un-shelled raw shrimps, small or medium
about ½ cup olive oil
juice from ½ a lime
fresh chili (what kind depends on how spicy you want the shrimps)
two cloves of garlic
plenty of cilantro
sea salt (seasoning)
Rinse the shrimps and let them dry. Mix together olive oil, lime juice and finely chopped cilantro, garlic & chili. Season with sea salt. Place all the shrimps on the grill on high temperature (but no flames). Turn the shrimps over to the other side when they have got some nice color (after about a minute). They are done when they are cooked through and they all have a nice pink color.
Drop the shrimps directly from the grill into the olive oil mixture. Stir around and serve immediately together with bread and salad.
This article was originally published at Honest Cooking, 27 August 2012
Before buying any fish check with Seafood Watch (US) for the most sustainable options.
After being tired of not finding great Knäckebröd, Scandinavian Crisp Bread in the stores around my neighborhood in East Village, I started to make my own. Traditionally they are made as round wafers with a hole in the middle so you could store them hanging on a stick in the roof. They are often made with rye flour and rolled out with a special rolling pin with knobs. However I usually don’t use this tool and I like my home made knäckebröd as small crackers flavored with either or a combination of some: caraway seeds, fennel seeds, sesame and rosemary. My recipe is based on Alice Brax knäckebröd recipe.
25 grams fresh yeast
1 tablespoon honey
200 ml (almost 1 cup) kefir or yogurt
400 ml (1 2/3 cup) water
600 ml (2 ½ cup) rye flour
about 600 ml (2 ½ cup) regular flour
100-200 ml ( ½ – 1 cup) regular flour
caraway seeds, toasted and crushed
fennel seeds, toasted and crushed
sesame seeds, toasted
dried Rosemary, crushed
flaky sea salt
Warm the yogurt with the water to 37°C (100°F). Dissolve the yeast in some of the warm yogurt mixture. Add the rest of the liquid and blend in honey and rye and regular flour. The dough will be quite sticky. Cover the bowl and keep at room temperature in a non-drafty area overnight or for at least 6 hours.
When the dough is ready, work in just enough of regular flour. Knead the dough on a floured counter top until the dough is smooth. Preheat the oven to 225°C (435°F).
Divide the dough into 15-20 equal parts. With your fingers sprinkle either caraway, fennel, sesame or rosemary together with flaky sea salt over each part and roll them into balls. Use a rolling pin and some regular flour to roll out every ball of dough very thinly. Using a cookie cutter or a sharp knife, cut into approximately 5 cm (2 inch) shapes. Place as many as you can fit on a greased baking tin. Bake the crackers immediately for about 8-10 minutes in the middle of the oven. depending on your oven you may have to turn them around to get nice all around color. When finished let the breads cool on an oven rack or a clean table. Keep the crackers in sealed containers.
This recipe was first published at Honest Cooking, 21 September 2011
Also check out my Wild Fennel Knäckebröd I baked in Sicily, with sourdough and Perciasacchi semola.
A couple of years ago I visited Cologne for a few days and my biggest impression of the city was how alien the dome looked like. The church is like a huge mother ship that landed in the middle of the city. This kind of huge contrast in architecture is something I enjoy very much! Another memorable moment was when, after a long walk, my husband and I sat down at an outdoor pub where we immediately were served beer in tiny glasses. As the beer was delicious we kept drinking accompanied with herring. Until recently I had no idea I was drinking Kölsch. Kölsch is a warm fermented beer that is a specialty of Cologne.
Read Steen Hanssen‘s article about Kölsch (illustrated by me) over at Honest Cooking and learn much more about this big beer that is best served in small glasses. (This is my second job together with Steen, see also White Asparagus).
At the end of June or the beginning of July is when St John’s wort starts to bloom. In Sweden, the plant is both common as a perennial in gardens and wild in the woods. I find them every year next to my house on the edge of our gravel road. I pick the flower or rather the buds to soak in vodka. In Sweden we call the spirit Hirkum Pirkum which comes from the Latin name of the plant, Hypericum perforatum.
As I’ve said before, St John’s wort is supposed to heal angst and depression. In the old days it was used to drive spirits away. You just needed to hang some twigs of the herb over an image of the ghost or even the devil and that specific spirit would leave you alone.
For the snaps essence: Pick about two tablespoons of St John’s wort buds (skip the flowers that are in full bloom). Rinse and clean them if neccessary. Put the flowers in a jar or a bottle. Cover with 200 ml vodka and soak for about 8 hours. Strain and add some more vodka if you like (I added about 200 ml). The result is a pink and pretty delicious snaps! (You can soak it longer if you want a sharper taste).
This recipe was first published in Honest Cooking, 4 July 2011.