Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Pear frangipane tart

I have made this pear tart twice before in the past and both times with canned pears. Since pears are in season now (well, at least here), I decided to make the poached pears from scratch this time. It went well, if I may say so myself. I never get a chance to photograph this tart properly when I make this, simply because this tart is so delicious and once it is out of the oven I start to dig in immediately. However this time, I made two pear frangipane tarts, to make sure that I would have something to click. The recipe is modified from Dorie Greenspan's pear tart recipe. The recipe is actually for one tart but I always have some crust leftover that I eventually throw away. This happens every time I make pies and tarts so I doubled the filling instead so that I could make two pear tarts. 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Middle Eastern Salad

I am not too fond of salads (unless it's fruit salad) and I'm definitely not proud to say that. I would love to include fresh greens in my diet and I think this recipe is a good start. The only salad that I ever enjoyed was this Middle Eastern salad that a Syrian friend of mine prepared for me a couple of years ago. She explained to me that the salad was of Lebanese origin. However, the name of that dish did not stick to my mind as the dish did. I initially did not want to eat it, but took some only to taste, and to my surprise I ended up liking that salad so much so that I took some home with me. It was very flavourful and she served this salad with something that looked like a pizza (a delicious oven-baked flatbread with a filling on top) and dolmas, that means stuffed and cooked vine leaves.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Mocha cake - Mockaruta

This cake is one of my childhood favorites. Mockaruta a delightful chocolate cake with a pretty sweet mocha frosting. It goes by many names in Scandinavia. In Sweden, it is often addressed as mockaruta or chokladruta (literally meaning mocha square or chocolate square) because it is baked in rectangular baking pans and then cut into squares, like brownies. I used to order this at every single cafe I visited in my school days. But those cafe visits were very expensive for me back then and I had look up other alternatives. Even though I was under the impression that this cake was difficult to make at home I gave it a shot. It turned out wonderful the second time and there was no stopping me every since from making this. 

150 g butter
2 eggs
1 cup caster sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanillin sugar (or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract)
2 tsp baking powder
3 tbs cocoa powder
1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole milk

75 g butter
2 tbs cold coffee (1-2 tsp espresso coffee powder + 2 tbs hot water)
1 tbs cocoa powder
1 tsp vanillin sugar (optional)
3/4-1 cup icing sugar/confectioner's sugar

Desiccated coconut or sprinkles (optional)
Strawberries (optional)

Melt the butter at below medium heat. Put aside and allow to cool down. Lightly butter either a 7*9 inch square baking pan or a 9 inch round baking pan. Place a parchment paper at the bottom and butter the parchment paper lightly. Prepare the dry ingredients by mixing flour, vanillin sugar, baking powder and cocoa powder and sift twice. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs with sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the butter and mix until well blended. First, drizzle half of the milk into the egg mixture. Then sift half of the dry ingredients in there and fold with a spoon. Then drizzle the remaining milk and then the dry ingredients. Fold until well-blended.

Spoon in the cake batter into the baking pan and put the cake in the oven. Bake the cake in a preheated oven at 200 C (about 400 F) in the bottom third rack for about 25 minutes or until the skewer comes out clean when inserted in the centre of the cake. Take the cake out of the oven and allow it to cool down and meanwhile, go ahead and prepare the mocha frosting.

To make the frosting, add the coffee powder in a small cup and then pour 2 tbs of warm water and mix. Put aside. Melt the butter at low heat. Once the butter has melted, sift the cocoa powder and then drizzle the coffee. Whisk until well blended. Measure up the icing sugar and sift it in the same bowl, add the vanilla sugar and mix. Cook at low heat for about 2-3 minutes while continuously whisking until it is completely free of any lumps. Once the frosting looks smooth, take it away from the stove. Let it cool for sometime (but not completely) before spreading it on the cake. Drizzle it on top of the cake and spread it evenly. Sprinkle some desiccated coconut or sprinkles on top, if desired. Allow the frosting to stiffen completely before cutting into slices. I prefer to keep this cake in an airtight container at room temperature but you can also store them in the fridge.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Boondi Laddu

I thought I would celebrate my completing six months of food blogging by reposting the boondi laddu recipe. Boondi laddu is my all-time favourite sweet. This recipe was one of my earliest posts and the previous picture made no justice to this delectable sweet, which is why I'm reposting this recipe with new pictures.    

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Oven-baked potatoes - Klyftpotatis

It's been eerily quiet in here for a while so I decided to post this simple potato recipe that I made today. It's one of my favourite vegetables and one of the few vegetables that you can never go wrong with. They taste delicious whether deep-fried, baked, roasted, mashed, curried or made into soup. They are not only a comfort food to many, potatoes are also a staple in many countries. Here in Sweden, one of the popular ways to prepare potatoes is by cutting them into 6-8 pieces and baking or roasting them, usually with the skin, with herbs and spices. This way of preparing the potatoes is called klyftpotatis in Swedish. You can season klyftpotatis with endless herbs. I have used a classic Swedish combination, dill and potatoes. You could replace dill with thyme or rosemary.