Fruity pear pie

My eldest son had his birthday two weeks ago but we haven’t had the opportunity to celebrate him properly until today. So for this occation I made him a delicious, fruity pear pie served with whipped cream and a cup of coffee.

Pie crust

  • 125 gr butter
  • 3 dl flour
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 eggyolk

Filling

  • 100 gram butter
  • 1 dl granulated sugar
  • 1 00 gram almonds
  • 4 bitter almonds
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 large can (800 gram) of preserved pears
  • Whipped cream for serving

Preheat oven to 200 degrees

  1. Mix the ingredients for the pie crust and press it into a pie dish.
  2. Blanch and grind the sweet and bitter almonds.
  3. Stir butter and sugar until fluffy and add the almonds and flour.
  4. Whisk the eggs and add to the batter.
  5. Let the pear halves drain thoroughly and cut them in thin slices across the short side
  6. Keep the sliced pear halves together and place them gently in the pie shell.
  7. Gently press the pear halves so the slices slightly separate and look like tiles on a roof.
  8. If  there are pears left over cut these into smaller pieces and placed in the gap between the halves.
  9. Spread the batter over the pears and bake the pie for about 30-35 minutes or until batter is set.
  10. Cover with waxed paper if the cake is getting dark.

Serve the pie chilled with whipped cream.

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Charcoal buns or Kolbullar

Today two of our grandchildren, H & H, have come for a sleep over.They are 4 and 5 with much love to run, so with spring in the air we went for a walk along the nearby lake, fed the ducks and then lit a fire and baked some charcoal buns for lunch – or kolbullar as we say in Swedish.

Charcoal buns? Are you going to give the kids black burnt buns?  Are you out of your mind, that’s unhealthy, bad tasting and most likely cancerogenous! No, no, no…, don’t worry. Charcoal buns are not some blackened buns, it’s simply a kind of pancake with salted pork or bacon (the modern version).Heavy and robust food from the time when loggers, navvies, charcoal burners and log floaters had to live away from home for months and work in primitive conditions. This was food containing few and sustainable ingrediens – flour, water and salted pork – and was baked in pork grease in an cast iron pan over open fire.

Today you don’t have to bring along a heavy cast iron pan, nowadays there are special light metal pans with a long handle that you can easily carry in your backpack together with matches, chunks of pork and the in advanced prepared batter (in a PET bottle).

Charcoal buns

Serves 4

  • 300-400 gr of salted pork (or bacon) cut into smaller cubes
  • 4 dl barley flour (replace with wheat flour if you don’t want to buy barley flour for this purpose only)
  • 4 dl  wheat flour
  • about 9 dl water
  • salt to taste
  • grease or butter to fry
  • cast iron pan or a charcoal pan with long handle
  1. Mix flour, water and salt into a rather thick batter, thicker than regular pancake batter.
  2. Brown the butter in a hot pan, add a heaping tablespoon of pork and let it fry for a couple of minutes (you can also fry them in advance at home) and pour the batter over, about twice as much compared to making ordinary pancakes.
  3. When the top is almost dry and flip over the charcoal bun and bake for another few minutes. The charcoal bun should have a crispy, golden brown surface.
  4. Serve with lingonberry sauce/jam (cranberry sauce will do just as well) and enjoy!.

This is very stout food, that’ll keep you going for the whole day, but don’t overeat!

Risotto with autumn chanterelles

Ever thought of nature as your pantry? Take a walk on the fields or in the woods from early spring ‘til late autumn and you’ll always find something that can contribute to a healthy and delicious dinner – and also at no cost at all. Bread, soup or pesto made of the first nettles, a salad of tender dandelion leaves, nuts, all kind of berries, from the first wild strawberries ‘til the late lingonberries, and mushrooms.

One of the best things about autumn is when the autumn chanterelles appear. Their brownish yellow color makes it difficult to spot them at first, but once you find the first one you only need to look around and realize that they are growing everywhere.
Dried and crushed the chanterelles is a great seasoning for soups and the whole ones, dried or frozen, can be used in a good sauce, in stews or, as here, in a good risotto.

Risotto with autumn chanterelles

Serves 4-5

  • 200 gr fresh autumn chanterelles or 100 gr dried
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 finely chopped shallots
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4 dl avorio rice
  • Salt, black pepper
  • 2.5 dl of dry white wine or juice from 2 lemons (if you use lemon juice, taste before you pour in all of the juice)
  • 8 dl of hot vegetable stock
  • 1 dl grated Parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons mascarpone or cream cheese or creme fraiche
  1. Clean and fry the fresh chanterelles in a dry pan until all the liquid is gone. (If you use dried chanterelles, let them soak in water for about 20 minutes first.)
  2. Now add some butter and cook for another few minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Melt butter in a saucepan and add olive oil.
  4. Saute the onion soft a few minutes without adding color.
  5. Add minced garlic and scratched thyme and cook for another few minutes.
  6. Add the rice and stir until it is covered by butter/oil.
  7. Add hot broth little by little and let it boil properly between each time over low heat.
  8. The rice is ready in about 25-30 minutes.
  9. Add the mushrooms at the end along with the grated parmesan and mascarpone.
I like to serve my risotto with a salad of sliced tomatoes (both red and yellow), black olives, sliced red onion and fresh basil and seasoned with salt flakes, olive oil and a dash of white balsamic vinegar.

Stick bread and hot dogs

If you can get your children already at an early age to join you on your activites, whether it’s sports, music, outdoor life or whatever, in their own pace of course, there is a good chance they will share your interests later in life. On the other hand, they might just as well hate you for it and you will end up paying expensive money for your children’s therapeutic counceling. But let’s hope for the best!

This weekend we took two of our grandchildren, 3 and 6 years, hiking and birdwatching around the lake Angarnsjöängen, a bird sanctuary and recreation area. Warm, shiny sun, snow and ice rapidly melting away and the trails filled with water puddles for jumping and splashing.

But outdoor activities and a lot of fresh air make little children hungry and nothing seems to thrill them as much as cooking over open fire, for instance barbecueing some hot dogs or making charcoal buns (I’ll come back to those later).

Here is our somewhat more filling version of the hot dogs.

Stick bread and hot dogs

For the dough you’ll need:

  • 5 dl flour (any kind of flour will do, your choice)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1-2 tsp salt
  • 2 dl water

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –  – – – –

  • Hot dogs
  • Bacon, 1 slice/hot dog

Prepare the dough at home and wrap it up in plastic foil or put the dry ingredients in a plastic bag to bring along. Then, when it’s time for the barbecue, pour water into the bag, little by little, and knead the dough to smooth consistency, like play-doh.

Light a fire/grill and look for some thin but sturdy sticks and sharpen one end.

  1. Portion the dough into 12 equally sized pieces.
  2. Roll each piece into a thin rope and flatten it.  
  3. Wrap a slice of bacon around a hot dog and on top of the bacon wrap the strip of dough.
  4. Load the hot dog to the stick and place over the coals of the fire.
  5. Rotate the stick now and then to cook the coated hot dog evenly. Takes about 4-5 minutes to get ready.  Be careful not to burn it.

Your children will love it, I promise!

Ever heard of the Vasaloppet?

Every first Sunday in March (as today) about 16 000 cross-country skiers, both male and female professionals and amateurs, from all over the world gather in Dalarna, Sweden to compete in one of the world´s longest and by no means most popular ski race over 90 km (56 miles) from the villages Sälen to Mora, the Vasaloppet. During the race the competitors are fuelled with a total of more than 30 000 liters of blueberry soup besides water, energy drinks and a hell of a lot of cinnamon rolls.

Actually, the whole week before this main race is one long festival of a variety of races for all ages as the Half Vasa (half the distance), the Relay Vasa and Open (noncompetitive) Vasa (both 90 km), the Ladies Vasa and the Short Vasa (both 30 km) plus several races of different length för teens and children.

Today´s weather conditions seem to have been just perfect and the winner of the race, the Swedish professional skier Jörgen Brink, finished on the fastest time ever, 3:38:41. Using a football (soccer) term you could say he did a “hattrick” as this victory was his third in a row. The winner of the women’s race was the professional skier Vibeke Skofterud of Norway, also with the fastest time ever in just over four hours.  

Even if you just “ski” the race in front of the TV, comfortably seated on your sofa, it can be just as gruelling. I know that for a fact, I and Devoted Husband do it every year. That means you need to fill up with a proper breakfast, well in time for the start, a breakfast that lasts for about four hours, all the way to the finish line. For us it’s usually ordinary oatmeal porridge with lingonberries and milk, whole wheat bread and coffee.

If you are in for a strenuous outdoor activity like skiing, skating, hiking or biking my tip for a hearty breakfast is this version of oatmeal porridge. It will take you through a good deal of the day

Oat meal porridge extra all

  • 1/2 dl chopped dried prunes
  • 1/2 dl chopped dried apricots
  • 1/2 dl whole flaxseed (linseed?)
  • 1/2 dl raisins
  • salt (after your own taste)
  • 7 dl water
  • 2 dl oatmeal
  • 1 dl oat bran

Mix all ingredients except oatmeal and oat bran with water in a pan. Allow to stand overnight. Add oats and bran and boil for 3-5 minutes while stirring stirring. Add more water if necessary. Serve with lingonberry sause (jam) and milk.

When the race was finally over, at least for the professionals (the amateurs might still be struggling in the dark on their way to Mora), the afternoon was still young, the sun warm and shining and the trees beautifully covered in silvery frost. Time for a walk!

 

Sauerkraut casserole with spicy sausages

Trends come and go, in cooking as well as in fashion. Up, down, in and out. For the health conscious the Mediterranean diet is in, making your own sourdough and baking your own bread is still hot, at least in this country (and especially among newly retired men!), and the next food trend to come might very well be making your own lacto-fermented vegetables.

While waiting for that to happen, I’ll here serve you my Sauerkraut casserole.

Sauerkraut casserole with spicy sausages

Serves 4

  • 4-5 dl sauerkraut
  • 3 spicy sausages (chorizo or chicken chorizo style)
  • 1 silver onion
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsps caraway seeds
  • 2 tsps thyme
  • 1 jar roasted peppers
  • 1-1.5 dl single cream
  • 2-3 tsps Touch of Taste veal or vegetable stock/fund
  • 2-3 tsp soy

Rinse the sauerkraut in cold water and pat dry.
Slice the onions thinly and fry gently in butter or oil. Sprinkle with sugar but make sure the onion doesn’t burn.
Cut the sausages into thin slices and fry with the onion.
Drain the peppers, shred and cook with the sausage and onion mix for a few minutes.
Mix the cream with the fund and soy sauce, pour into skillet and bring to boil.
Add the sauerkraut, mix throughly and allow to simmer until the sauerkraut is hot.
Serve with dijon mustard.

Dinner is ready in less than 20 minutes!

Useless facts
Sauerkraut is German for “sour cabbage” and is still a common dish in Eastern European and Germanic kitchens, although Chinese sauerkraut, made from shredded cabbage fermented in rice wine, was standard fare for Chinese workers already more 2000 years ago, while building the Great Wall of China. According to history sauerkraut was most likely brought to Europe 1000 years later by the founder of the Mongol Empire, Gengis Kahn, after plundering China.