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NYE 2014 Soup

Posted in cod, dairy, leeks, parsnip, potato, shellfish, soup, stock, vegetarian with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 4, 2015 by oskila

It says soup, but the concoction in question has a few similarities to a stew, a casserole, a chowder, a bisque or a bouillabaisse. Anyway, it’s a soup I made for the NYE dinner main course at my mother in law’s. Since it turned out rather excellent I feel like sharing.

The most important ingredient of all is good stock. I had two pints of lobster stock that I forgot to blog when I made it, so we’ll deal with that first.

Lobster stock (serves: you right)

1. Have your mother or similar invite you for a lobster party.
2. Nab the shells.
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3. Lug a bucket of lobster peel home.
4. Cut up some good stock vegetables such as onions, carrots, leeks, garlic, parsnips (fennel, celery and celeriac are good too) and give them a sizzle in a large pot.
5. Cram the lobster remains in. Be as violent as you need. (I used a potato masher). If the shells refuse to be properly seared, oven roasting them first is a good idea.
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6. Top up with water, wine and perhaps a bit of sherry.
7. Simmer for as long as you like I’d say, skimming frequently and seasoning to taste.
8. Strain the solids. I ended up using a pillowcase.
9. Simmer down to a more manageable volume
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10. Use soon or freeze in a suitable container, for example a milk jug.

Freezing it in a milk jug will likely mean you end up using all of it in one go rather than a little here and there, since you’d have to defrost it to get anything out (apart from the bit with all the salt in it sloshing around the bottom unless the freezer is very very cold.

Since I’m a bit of a cheapskate I didn’t want to use this luxurious stock on just any soup and was at risk of waiting for too long when the opportunity of New Year’s dinner came along just in the nick of time. Also, wanting to defrost the stock well in advance of NYE to see if it was OK I took it out a couple of days early and discovered that we accidentally had turned the freezer off some time around Christmas eve and the temp inside was hovering around zero. Without the stock we’d probably gone for another day or two without checking the freezer, spoiling everything in it.

Aaanyway – for this soup you’ll need:

1 tbsp tomato paste
1 onion, finely chopped
4 carrots, cut to matchsticks
3 cloves garlic, minced or finely chopped
3 inches leek, julienned
1 kilo almond potatoes (or other mealy fingerling) cut to pieces or large dice

1 quart stock, for example lobster (see above)
1-2 glasses white wine
½-1 pint double cream
crème fraîche
water (optional)

400 grams fish fillet, diced
100 grams smoked mussels
peeled shrimp

In a pot suitable for soup-making, start by sizzling the tomato paste and onions, then add potatoes and garlic. I left the potato skin on since almond potatoes are very mushy when cooked and will be held together a bit better by the skin. The reason for the comparatively large amount of potatoes is that they absorb salt and the stock was very very salty. Add water as needed.

Deglace pot with a small amount of wine, then add the stock and wine to taste. Bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are nearly done, then add leeks, fish, mussels and cream to taste and cook until everything is nice.

Serve with a dollop of crème fraîche and a few shrimp as garnish. Garlic bread or croutons are nice on the side.

The above recipe was cooked up for five adults as main course, but turned out to be enough for seconds for three and thirds for two and also leftovers for lunch for two a few days later, which should add up to 12 servings, but not the largest ones.

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Three year celebration

Posted in dairy, eggs, italian with tags , , , , , , , on October 22, 2014 by oskila

The little wordpress notification gnome just told me it’s three years since I registered nerdcuisine.wordpress.com! How time flies… Regular readers (if any are left) have noticed a decline in activity over the last year or so. Baby Olivia says hi :)

There’s an obvious need for some kind of celebratory action, but I don’t have any material for a proper recipe post, so here’s just a pretty nice picture from last week of panna cotta with home made strawberry jam.

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The picture is also available from my all new instagram page

That’s it for this time. Hopefully the next year will have more regular posting. Thanks for hanging around!

Long time no see marmalade

Posted in condiments, fruit with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 14, 2014 by oskila

My last post was in March. I’ve got a backlog of stuff that I’ve photographed that would take very long time to get up on the blog, but I’m doing new stuff instead, because making it felt exciting. My daughter takes most of my time these days since I’m on paternity leave, but I’m slowly learning to get stuff done in the window between her and my bedtime.

I’ve never made marmalade with oranges or any other citrus but suddenly felt a need to preserve. (I’ve also discretely been pickling cucumbers. A 7 oz. jar of baby food holds one sliced pickling cucumber). I’ve also seldom followed any recipes (except for the sake of consistency) and didn’t want to this time either, so I read a dozen and then made my own up. The important part is really to use equal amounts of fruit and sugar.

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Pot, sieve, tea-strainers, jam funnel, juicer, fruits, potato peeler, scotch, preservatives, knife, preserving sugar, muscovado sugar, granulated sugar. Who knew marmalade was so equipment-intensive…

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Also, jars. Lots of baby food jars for obvious reasons, but anything with a tight lid is good.

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Take the fruit – in this case five oranges, a red grapefruit, four limes and three lemons – and peel the rind off with a potato peeler or contraption of choice. Some recipes says to take care to get as little pith as possible, while others simply peel the fruit and slice the whole peel, rind, pith and everything. I found some sort of middle ground. The pith contains pectin which is desirable for a good wobbly marmalade and also causes bitterness, which is desirable in my book.

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Next, we slice the rind. It’ll take forever but turn out nice. Or you can make like a barbarian and have at it with a food processor.

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Juice extracted and then strained into the pot with the rind. Collect pits and pulp and put in tea strainers.

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Juice, rind, a dash of whisky, a pint of water and a small heap of dark muscovado sugar combined in a pot. Tea strainers full of pulp, pith and pits (the three Ps of marmalade??). Simpler and more economic recipes for citrus marmalade make use of the pulp in the actual marmalade, but I felt like giving the juice and rind only-path a go, if, perhaps, only for the nice translucent effect. Simmer for some time to get the pectin release going.

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Mixture boiled for some time, then carefully skimmed, then mixed with lots of sugar and boiled for some more time. About half my sugar was preserving sugar, which is a mixture also containing pectin, citric acid and a bit of potassium benzoate. Note the difference in cloudiness and stuff. There’s a million recipes for citrus marmalades out there, so I don’t feel a need to explain the finer points to marmalade making or what the marmalade test is.

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After arriving at an agreeable texture, pour the marmalade into cans that until recently were huddling in the oven at 100 degrees (C) to sterilize. Lids were boiled. Take care not to spill marmalade on your or anyone else’s person since it’s like napalm – it sticks to anything and burns for a long time. Dishing the rind out evenly between the jars can be tricky, but I tried.

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Apparently, if the marmalade is poured when scalding and one manages to get the lid on properly, the container will be vacuum-sealed in the morning (central bit of lid won’t ‘click’) which is good because it means longer shelf-life. Also, baking cups make excellent lid covers. Also, I worked for quite some time on a full color label (complete with table of contents) only to discover that the printer was all out of cyan and yellow.

That’s it for today! It’s good to be back and I hope it won’t be six months until the next installment!

My Big Fat Swedish Pancake

Posted in bacon, eggs, pancakes, scandinavian, vegetarian with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 8, 2013 by oskila

After a bit of surfing around I came to the conclusion that baking pancakes in the oven is a quite local Swedish/Finnish thing, with oven pancakes more often being served as a main dish and ‘normal’ pancakes for dessert. This only came up because we had one for dinner yesterday and I’d be interested to know whether similar dishes occur in other parts of the world. Also, since I’m given to understand that pancake batters are different in different places I’m going to include an actual list of ingredients, with measurements, which is pretty close to a first.

I’ve always been a bit skeptic about oven pancakes, probably because of the ones served in school cafeterias (commonly known as wrestling mats) but homemade ones are clearly much better (ooh, surprise…)

Oven pancake batter (serves 2-3)

600 ml milk

300 ml wheat flour

½ teaspoon of salt

3 eggs

A standard recipe contains just the above (and can also be used for pan-fried Swedish pancakes) but I have to be different of course, so I’d suggest adding a small amount of fat, like oil or butter, and half a teaspoon or so of baking soda.

Mix everything together thoroughly and pour into a greased baking tray or ample size dish. Bake for 20-30 minutes at 225 C. Serve with jam.

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This particular pancake has some bacon in it and is served with a sprinkle of leeks and blueberry jam. I would have wanted the leeks in the batter as well, but the oven pancake aficionado of the household vetoed that. You can put all kinds of stuff in the batter though. Carrots, apples or berries would probably be nice.

Shrimp Soup and Pão de Queijo

Posted in brazilian, bread, cheese, leeks, potato, shellfish, soup, stock, vegetarian with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 5, 2013 by oskila

We were invited to a potluck dinner on Easter Monday and my mother had kindly donated a pound of shrimps, which, combined with the shellfish stock made last Easter provided a good base for a most excellent soup.

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Leeks and carrots to begin with, along with some potatoes to give a bit of body.

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The haphazardly shelled shrimp keeping the defrosting stock company.

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Stock, water, shrimp and seasoning added. Classic bisque recipes call for brandy and/or sherry, but I don’t keep those in the house. Nothing wrong with a bit of white wine though.

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Ten minutes of blending and a pint of cream later the soup is done, if a bit on the lumpy side. For a proper bisque the shrimp shells would have been along for the whole ride, but one doesn’t want to attempt a smooth creamy soup with shells and only a hand blender.

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This has to be the most horrible phone pic I’ve ever voluntarily put on the web. It’s a plate of soup accompanied by a pão de queijo (Brazilian cheese bread) which we also made. The process mostly involves stirring tapioca starch into liquids and adding cheese, so I’m skipping that part. There are a lot of fine recipes online though, so try it! If you’re in a country where tapioca flour isn’t readily available in most supermarkets (such as Sweden) try the Asian grocery stores.

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