Frozen december

It has been quite silent here for some time now. So about time for  a short update. A lot of things have been happening lately. The biggest change is that I have moved from the countryside to Stockholm. I could rant about it for hours, better or worse reasons for moving, but I’m not going to do it. Here I am, in a new situation, and I’m staying in this city for about 6 months, then no one knows where I’m of too.

The biggest difference I suppose is that I don’t have access to a garden, but luckily my parents don’t live to far off, and since my mother and me worked a lot in the garden this summer I can still get some veggies from there. Veggies can be quite heavy so how much I can carry on the train sets the limit of how much i can bring. I’m gonna try to get as many recipes as possible up here.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Anyhow, fuck, it’s soon christmas, and even though I might not be the most traditional guy around I still love the tastes and smells, so every time this year I do my best to recreate that childhood feeling. But of corse I do it in a new and somehow creative way. So what does coconuts and gingerbread have in common? They make splendid gingerbread vegan ice-cream, that is the perfect chiller for the hot mulled wine we drink over here. Sine the first of advent was celebrated here last sunday it is perfect timing do make for next weekend. Advent is something that goes on every sunday for 4 weeks until christmas eve. We light one candle every sunday. I suppose its religious and being a non-believer (still being spiritual) it might be off, but still SOMETIMES traditions can be damn awesome.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

So lets get started, I hope you will enjoy this winter coldness, get your ice-cream makes ready, unless there is friickin cold outside and you can make it there (which would be kind of sweet if you could).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Frozen december
 
What you need
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 0,5 can coconut cream (higher fat content)
  • 0,5 dl muscavado sugar
  • 1 dl brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 0,5 tsp vanilla extract
  • 0,25 tsp ground cloves
  • 2 tsp contreu
  • 0,5 tsp guar gum (for better smoothness, emit if you can't find it)
  • Some gingerbread cookies
How to do it
  1. Mix all ingredients in a blender (add guar slowly while it it running). Except cookies.
  2. Chill for an hour or so.
  3. Pour into cream maker according to inscriptions.
  4. Add small pieces for gingerbread cookies at the end.

Purple carrot cake oatmeal

This one is not a regular recipe just an idea, how you do it is up to you. It is an amazing way to spice up a very mundane dish that normally helps us start the day, OATMEAL. This will be vibrant. Use grated purple carrots in your favourite oatmeal recipe, with some carrot cake spice mix (cardamom, vanilla and cinnamon) and you will have something astonishing.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Almond feta

While sitting in a sofa at the Uddebo fermentation festival we had a discussion about nut-cheeses. I was curious about fermented nut cheeses, like soaking seeds/nuts, mixing them with a starter like the liquid from sauerkraut and letting it ferment for a while in room temperature. Last week I tried it and it was ok, nothing magnificent just ok, so you won’t see a recipe here. While speaking about cheeses though a girl at the festival said that you can make almond feta. This is not a ferment, rather baked and grinded almonds. Tried this recipe as well, without any real hopes of it turning out good. Tried it just for the sake of it. It was amazing, might be the best spread for a sandwich ever. This recipe will be included. Indulge.

 

Almond feta
 
What you need
  • 1 cup of soaked almonds (blanched and peeled if you want it to be paler)
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tsp salt
How to do it
  1. Mix all ingredients in a blender until smooth, add just enough water so it will blend without sticking to the sides of the jar.
  2. Using a cheese cloth place the almond mixture in it, fold it over, place it in a colander over a bowl and allow the water to drip overnight.
  3. In the morning it will be firmer.
  4. Heat the oven to 200C or 400F. Add the mixture to a small heat resistant bowl, and place it in the oven. As soon as it starts to brown on the top, remove it from the oven, mix it, and place it in the oven again. Repeat 3-4 times. This will make the almonds creamier.
  5. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  6. You epic vegan almond feta spread is done.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Gnocchi and chanterelles

I might join the entire Sweden with the statement that chanterelles is possibly the best mushroom that the forrest has to offer. Last year I hit woods with great intentions of finding lots of them, but I just got one or two. Way to few for making some real food out of them. I’m not complaining, last year offered to much mushroom anyway. It was strange though that there were no chanterelles since they often are one of the most common sorts. This year is different. It has been a really rainy summer and they are already here (very very early). A few days ago I went out shrooom-hunting and ended up in a golden ocean. So why not make chanterelles and gnocchi?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I’m making the gnocchi gluten-free since there sometimes are intolerant people around, and since there seem to be a lack of gf-free vegan gnocchi recipes this one is self developed.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Gnocchi
 
What you need
  • 2 pounds boiled potatoes
  • 1,5 cups rice flour
  • 2 tsp guar gum
  • 1,5 tsp salt
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp oil
How to do it
  1. Mash the potatoes but don't use a food processor, use a masher or something gentler. If you use blades it will release starch and create a very gluey gnocchi, not the tender one we are looking for.
  2. Mix mix all the dry ingredients together, make sure the guar gum is well mixed since is gets very sticky if not.
  3. Mix all the ingredients until they are fully incorporated.
  4. Divide the dough into 8 balls.
  5. Sprinkle some rice flour on the countertop and roll the balls into inch-thick tubes.
  6. Cut into half-inch wide disks and flatten with a fork.
  7. Boil some water on the stow.
  8. And the gnocchi in batches so the bottom of pan doesn't get full. Once they start to float they are done.
  9. You could either serve them like this or add some oil and broil them in the oven, just to get some surface.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Chantarelles
 
What you need
  • 3 minced onions
  • 1 pound of chopped chanterelles
  • 3 springs of thyme
  • 1 cup soy creamer
  • 2 tbsp rice flour
  • oil
  • salt and pepper
How to do it
  1. Fry the onions in the oil until brown.
  2. Add the chanterelles and the thyme.
  3. Fry until the mushrooms start to release their water.
  4. Mix the soy creamer and rice flour. Add to the pot, boil for a few minutes.
  5. Season with salt and pepper.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Asian fusion – last batch of spring greens

No true authenticity, a mix of local and asian food, I love it. This will be a very easy and fresh recipe. And did you know that cutting down bigger nettles (with seeds) will result in new, delicious smaller ones growing in their place? Yes there will be another batch later in summer!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Asian fusion
 
What you need
  • Enought Buchwheat noodles for two (I don't know huw much you eat)
  • 250 g asparagus.
  • a bug bunch of nettles
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp haselnutpaste
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • salt
  • some water
  • pepper
How to do it
  1. Boil the noodles according to the instructions.
  2. Steam the asparagus and nettles until tender.
  3. Mix the rest of the ingedients in a small bowl.
  4. Mix everything together.
  5. Easy and quick!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Zucchini soup

So you made the ramp presto right? You probably did like me and had it on everything, or even ate it directly from the jar. So I guess your out of it. But if you planned ahead you made alot extra, just cause the ramps have very short season, and making them into a pesto will perserv them for a bit longer than just leaves in the fridge. Another possibility is that you have ate it out of the jar for a few weeks and now it is time to come up with a new use cause your dead tired of eating it on its own. TADAH, here is a soup with ramp pesto topping (if your out, just go for another pesto).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Zucchini soup
 
What you need
  • 1 large onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp oli
  • 2 zucchinis
  • 0,5 cups red lentils
  • 1 tbsp miso
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • water
  • a splash of vinegar
  • salt and pepper
How to do it
  1. Heat the oil in a pot. Add the onion and garlic on medium until browned.
  2. Cut the zucchini into small dices, add them to the pot, fry for another 5 min.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredient and let it cook until the lentils are soft. The amount of water is relative to the thickness you want, start with less and add more if it becomes to thick.
  4. Use your hand blender to make smooth.
  5. Serve and add pesto on top

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Ramp pesto

Ramps are quite a rarity if you go to the supermarket. You will probably not find them, and if you do, you’ll have to pay big for them. Last week my mother went to a restaurant in Stockholm, quite a fancy one. They had ramps on the menu, but when she got the dish, it was only one ramp leaf included. Guess that quite describes it, what kind of tasks they have.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Ramps are like a mix between leeks and garlic. Think fragile leaves with a hint of garlic to the taste. I’m lucky, 15 min from here there is a small peninsular that is covered with them, some people here know about it, most don’t. They are very similar to Lily of the Valley which are poisonous and also grow nearby. But really, you can’t mistake them, flowers liking like most in the allium family and a smell that unmistakable.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Now it is the best time for them, they are still small and the taste has its highest concentration. We should make a pesto. This pesto is one of my favourites. Probably even better then with basil (yes we omit entirely from using basil in this recipe) since you can eat more. The basil usually overtakes and I get quite tired of pesto after a while. But not in this one. I strongly recommend using a mortar instead of a food processor for making pesto (semi, you might need help from a food processor for chopping the ramps). The texture will still be persistent, not just a running smooth paste that the  processor will create. But be careful, I broke the pestle making the first batch, and some stone got into the mixture, I’m just lucky I realised it before anyone got a broken tooth.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Ramp pesto
 
What you need
  • 150 g ramps
  • 4 tbsp raw walnuts
  • 3 tbsp dark miso
  • A pinch of salt
  • ⅔ cup olive oil
How to do it
  1. Start by grinding the walnuts into smaller bits in the mortar.
  2. The next thing would be to add the ramps, but since the fibers are quite strong in ramps I suggest that you prepare them by chopping them into small bits in a food processor first. Only using the mortar will take very long. Once chopped you add them to the mortar. Start grinding, even though they are already chopped you want them to release the flavours.
  3. Add the salt and miso. Continue to grind into a paste.
  4. As the last step add the olive oil slowly while grinding. Here you want the flavours to be released into the oil so grinding is still essential, don't just mix.
  5. Now you have the most delicious bring pesto ever.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Eat on a sandwich or an amazing sundries tomato / olives / pesto pizza like me.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Vegan kimchi

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

So this time it will be a bit different, not a main course but a side dish. I love kimchi; it’s a very versatile lightly fermented spicy Korean dish that will be good for weeks in the fridge so it is possible to store it for the right time. First time I encountered it was in Japan, It was the first night and I spent in jet-lagged in Korean town. I just had some rice with kimchi, didn’t know what I ordered but it got me hooked. It can be made from cabbage, daikon, yeah even fruit. The only thing that defines it (according to me as a self-proclaimed expert) is the spice combination of ginger, chili and garlic. Normally it houses a Korean chili but I think you can go for whatever suits your needs. For the fish sauce that’s traditionally in there, we go miso style instead. I probably got fish sauce in the one I ordered in Japan, it is impossible to avoid; you can try your best order vegetarian/vegan foods, and there will still be some fish stock in there. I just had to settle with it. Let’s go for a basic cabbage style miso.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Vegan kimchi
 
What you need
  • 2 large heads of napa cabbage
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 2-inch ginger
  • 4 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tbsp miso
  • Salt
How to do it
  1. Use very clean utensils when fermenting. But don't worry about sterilization, that’s not needed.
  2. Remove the white base from the cabbage (don't throw them away). Slice the green parts and sprinkle them with some salt, allow to rest for one hour.
  3. Meanwhile, combine the white cabbage parts with garlic, ginger, chili powder, miso paste in a food processor. Process into a paste, add water if needed.
  4. Mix the cabbage with the paste. Place in a container like a bigger glass jar or similar. Pack the cabbage tightly, you want as much of the air bubbles as possible to go away. If the water released by the salt doesn’t cover the top of the cabbage you want to add more salt water (this fermentation, lacto acid, works underwater without oxygen). Dilute salt in water until it tastes like sea water.
  5. One the liquid is over the cabbage win want to hold the cabbage down, so it doesn’t float to the top. I find using a sealed plastic bag filled with water does the trick as a weight.
  6. Allow to ferment for 2 days in room temperature then transfer to smaller jars and place in the fridge for 1 week. Now your kimchi will be ready for prime time.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Nettle soup with cardamom

Just a few weeks ago I did some waffles with dried nettles. Amazing to finally get some use for them. What I didn’t know then was how early spring would come this year. Yesterday my colleagues told me that I might find some close to the wall of my house (she used to live there) where it tends to get warmer. I didn’t believe her. NO THIS EARLY. But once I got home I took a look: And there they were. Tiny tiny nettles, just enough for two. The taste of those early ones is incredible. I’ll just get down to it; this is my favorite recipe for nettle soup.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Nettle soup with cardamom
 
Serves: 2 servings
What you need
  • 1 large onion
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 2 big bunches of nettles
  • 2 tbsp sweet miso
  • 2-3 cups of plant milk
  • 0.5 tsp cardamom
  • 1 tbsp rice flour (optional, if you want it a bit thicker)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
How to do it
  1. Mince the onion and garlic, fry in the oil on low for 20 min.
  2. Rinse the nettles (use gloves so you don't get any burns). Add to the onions with the rest of the ingredients. Boil for 5 min.
  3. Use a hand blender to make it smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Serve with fresh herbs and some bread.

Danish Smørrebrød, olives and fennel

Smørrebrød would translate into something like butter and bread. This is a quite striking example of how I used to eat my bread. The bread always had to be accompanied by slightly salted butter. Without the butter, I would not go for it. And sometimes it even felt as if the bread was more of an accompaniment to the butter, than the other way round. Turning vegan living without butter was one of my biggest scares, not the regular one like missing cheese but butter (and sometimes whipping cream). Now a few years later I’m amazed of how easy the transition has been. Not only did the cravings stop in a few days, I also got a lot healthier without that thick layer on top.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Smørrebrød isn’t just about the butter though, its more about everything else you put on it. The word Smørre just got me started. This danish bread is like an open sandwich where you put anything to your liking on top. Its normally based on a dark rye bread, some creamy spread and, then its time to get creative. The danish rye bread is quite unique, its very dense, extremely filling, and tastes like heaven (if done correctly). It will take some time with the sourdough but definitely worth it. So instead of just cooking, we’ll get into bread making.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I’ll give you a recipe for this olive-sunflower spread thats really savoury and umami-ish. But go for whatever flavour combination you like. I managed to get some organic spreads from my local supermarket for 50%. That sounds great, but it is not. The store might be a gigantic supermarket (and yes, you need a damn car to go there) but I like this store since they carry a lot of organic produce. They are closing down, to much competition. When I asked why they were out of stock for so many things they dropped the bomb. First I didn’t get what the cashier was telling me. Closing down, for the night? What did that have to do with their shelves being empty? Then I grasped it, the store will be gone, completely. This is sad news, since theres no farmers market around here. It all finished last week with a gigantic sale, great for the wallet but not for the emotions. And it was eerie walking around in the almost empty store. I just hope there will be a good substitute for this place, and please farmers, unite and start selling your own stuff! But at least I got some spreads suitable for Smørrebrød.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Danish Smørrebrød, olives and fennel
 
What you need
  • 1 tbsp active sourdough (just google it if you don't have it, it takes a few days go get it started).
  • 400 g rye flour
  • 200 g cracked rye
  • 100 g seeds
  • 20 g salt
  • 1 tbsp molasses
  • 600 ml lukewarm water
How to do it
  1. Mix the sourdough with 100 g rye flour and 100 ml water. Mix well, cover and let sit in a warm spot during the night. It should be bubbly and very active in the morning. This is our starter.
  2. Mix the rest of the dry ingredients and wet ones separately.
  3. Mix them together, make sure there aren't any lumps of flour left. You don't have to overmix this bread.
  4. Place in an oiled loaf pan. Make sure to flatten it, so there aren't any pockets of air in the pan. Add some seeds on top and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Lest it rest until it has risen about 20%, this might take between 3-8 hours depending on temperature and other factors.
  5. Heat the oven to 175°C or 350°F. Bake it for 1 hour and 40 min. You might have to cover it if it gets to dark on the top. Let it cool before you cut it.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Olive and sunflower spread
 
What you need
  • 0.5 cup sunflower seeds
  • 0.25 cup olives
  • 2 tbsp capers
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • salt
  • pepper
How to do it
  1. Mix everything in a food processor. Season to taste

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

For the fennel, just lightly fry them in some oil and your good to go. The flavour is good on its own.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Assemble by cutting thin slices of rye bread, the spread, fennel, onions and fennel greens on top. OR your own way.