Sep 24, 2009

another veggie soup & home decorating tip

first "bring lunch to work" after rehab. i'm not sure i should be using that particular word, rehab isn't primarily associated with getting fitness, nutrition and vocational advise. for a lack of a better word (any suggestions?) i will use it anyway.

had these veggies in the fridge and wanted to make some soup

i coarsely grated the celeriac, parsnip, carrots, potato, chopped the leek and sweet potato (that cooks fastest). put all that in a pot, add water to barely cover the veggies and bring to a boil, cook for 15 to 20 mins, or until the sweet potato is starting to fall apart, all other veggies will be cook by then (since they're in smaller pieces). i used vegetable fondi from this company. if you have homemade stock it's best to use that.(i was making this at my apt, all my stock is frozen at the schack)

i also had some cream cheese (light!), added approx ½ dl to the pot, along with chili powder (to taste), white and black pepper and thyme. the fondi has some salt in it so i didn't add any, you can actually taste the veggies when not using salt. i had wanted to make this very smooth, but my immersion blender wasn't home, so i used hand held mixer

this was what i got, almost smooth but yet some bite. somehow i always end up making too much soup, this time was no exception. i had it twice for lunch, froze 2 portions and there are some left for a very light dinner tomorrow

the soup was yesterday's lunch before work, i took these to work: lingonberry pudding, slaw-type (cabbage, carrots, red bell pepper, leek, no sauce) salad with cottage cheese and a sandwich (i did have some sinfull chunky blue cheese dressing left at work, but only a tbsp!)

i got a new chair for my desk at home not too long ago. i like the chair but the seat gets kinda warm after some time on it. one day i remembered i have these indian style pillow covers tucked away somewhere, took one out and it was a perfect fit for my chair

the covers are made of sari fabric and are quite stylish, i think. i've had these covers for ages, they are a bit tedious to wash (dry cleaning isn't that big in finland) but since they didn't cost that much, and i'm not using them for anything else, i might as well use them up one by one and toss them out after they start showing tear and wear

it's a wonder i haven't cut myself more seriously when chopping and peeling veggies. these 2 fingers lost only a small piece of nail... although i do remember one time, when i was approx 16 and working in a huge kitchen, that i cut my left middle finger quite bad. i was chopping lettuce and the cutting board suddenly turned red... they didn't let me touch a knife for a week

ps. although i managed to surprise myself with my computer skills not too long ago, i have some, well big, problems with downloading pics from my new camera to my laptop which refuses to recognize the new camera. i've done all the tricks to test all possible variations, no luck. so i took the easy way and switched the memory card from the new to my older camera and we're back to business, but there has to be another way... and yes, i do realize that i'm in a desperate need of a manicure

Sep 23, 2009

whipped lingonberry semolina pudding & sunflowers

little did i know, you don't cook up a porridge out of semolina, it's called a pudding, i stand corrected. i whipped up a pudding out of semolina and lingonberries yesterday. that pudding was my childhood staple, and probably thousands' of others as well. it's very easy to make, provided there are lingonberries where you live. you might be able to make it out of lingonberry jam but that might be awfully sweet, at least to my taste. if you're feeling experimental, i guess there is no reason why you couldn't try this with any berry.

i halved the recipe on the box of semolina and cut down on the sugar, the full recipe calls for:

1 liter of water
4 dl (or approx 200 gr) of lingonberries (or red currants)
1½ dl semolina
1½ dl sugar
pinch of salt

you start by boiling (medium heat) the water and berries (some mash the berries a bit, some cook them whole, i use mashed) for approx 10 mins. after that you add the semolina, stirring it in well in order not to have lumps. turn down the heat to medium low, and cook for another 10 mins. turn off the heat, add sugar and salt. as of rule, i don't put salt to my porridge, so i don't put any in this either. the amount of sugar is totally up to you, i have some sugar in my lingonberries so i used only 2 tbsp for the half recipe, and i don't like this very sweet.

this is how it looks like bubbling away after semolina has been added. some strain the liquid before adding semolina to get a very smooth pudding, but then you loose those valuable fibers

the whipping part comes next, you'll need to cool the pudding down to lukewarm. then take your hand mixer and whip the pudding for 3 to 5 mins, or until it turns pale pink, like here

i eat mine with very cold non-fat milk, any milk (or whipped cream, if you want to go fancy) will do, or none at all. this company makes semolina in finland, but i'm sure semolina is available anywhere. after i'm sone with my box of wheat semolina i am going to switch to oatmeal semolina 'cause it has more fiber. while googling semolina and found fineli, i'm not going to freak about my food but i'm going to check, from time to time, what it says about the food i'm eating

i associate sunflowers with summer, like most people do, right? well, this summer, and spring and the start of autumn for that matter, have been weird, at least in finland. like in the spring we (at the shack) lost almost all of the apple blossoms and now have next to nothing in the trees. i got my first sunflowers (all four of them!) on the second week of september, and this is not your "late" variety... this wall at the shack gets a lot of sun, but look how twisted these came out

the bigger one got little help from me to "pose" for this picture. there won't be that much to eat for the birds coming winter and i so need to find another spot for sunflowers next summer

Sep 21, 2009

lingonberries & plum kuchen

i made a detour driving home from rehab on friday and stopped at my brother's house in my hometown. mom had been busy picking lingonberries, she had left 2 pails for me to take home. since i had to work the weekend, taking care of berries took its time. i bagged and froze half of them on saturday evening, but had time for other pail only today. i had planned to mash and jar them with tiny bit of sugar (just to make them keep better, they are still super-tart), which i made today.

these here and a few more got frozen saturday

got the berries, jars and gadget out

i started with my bamix thinking that it'd be perfect for the job. well, it was until i pulled it up too soon and red splatters were all over. made me regret not putting on my apron, 'cause i do have one, quite many in fact. somehow i ended up making a mess on my clothes, the tiles etc. this seems to happen a lot lately (remind myself to take out some aprons and hang them in the kitchen)

next i took out my kenwood blender. in case you always read the manual and know that you should have the lid on, well, the "rule" is in the book for a reason... (more red on the wall)

got all this from one pail. this is approx 6 litres, i used 1 kg of sugar for the whole patch. certain someone can have them as tart as they come, i need some sugar to go along. they'll keep like this refridgerated until next summer. in fact, i still have some jars from last year (remind myself to make "whipped porridge" tomorrow)

downstairs fridge at the shack, barely room for beer in it...

alexis had made plum kuchen and posted it on her blog. i know, lame, but i wanted to try if this kuchen could be made of nectarines. here is what goes in the batter

my kitchen aid doing all the hard work

nectarine slices on pan, remember to put the "good" side down

batter poured on, starting the second rise

fresh from oven

nice pattern, but i do think i need to make some adjustments when i make this again. first, i used lime peel instead of lemon peel, that worked fine with nectarines, not so sure it would be equally good with plums. second, our yeast must be different and i need to use more of it (it did bubble up with water so it was working). third, oven temp and/or time needs to be adjusted, the bottom seems a bit raw. i will also used less butter, or maybe some other fat and less sugar or maybe canderell instead of sugar (see, last week is starting make me into a health freak, never!)

i did like this, the nectarines have a very peachy taste to them. however, i think it should have risen a bit more, taste is still great

today's lunch, thick bed of lettuce, half a chicken breast, half an avocado, some mozzarella, mini tomatoes and a pinch of chile powder on top, and some lemon vinaigrette