Whole wheat blueberry rolls

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Long time no blogging. I know. Seriously a long time. And I can´t really blame life of getting in the way or something like that, as I´m ending my 2-months long summer holiday with no job, no – or very little studying and not really any good summer-weather either, “forcing” me outside… So there should have been plenty of opportunities to bake, cook and blog, but too much time makes me lazy… What can I say? The less I do, the less I….do. But now I´m back! Because I´ve really actually cooked and baked and eaten a lot of good food this summer, so I guess I ought to share some of it, and not keep it all to myself!

The last weeks, when there was several days in a row without rain (yeah, I know) I packed my blueberry-picker and went hunting. (Appearantly the picker is a somewhat Norwegian, or maybe scandinavian? thing, because it really attracts tourists!) I´ve had heard that the blueberry season was started, and some friends had already been having good luck finding berries, so I was pretty optimistic. But I have to say I was a little disappointed. There weren´t as many as previous years, and besides, they were small, but I thought to myself that a cold summer with a slow ripening process would produce even better berries, as the case is for strawberries. It wasn´t until some old ladies came along and spotted me and my picker in the woods, who also noticed the small size of the berries and claimed that they weren´t sweet, that I actually took a berry-tasting-test. I thought they might have said it to scare me off and have the berries to themselves, but they were right. The blueberries weren´t really sweet. Bummer. But I finished the surrounding blueberry bushes and started to walk home. On my way I came to talk with another guy curious about the berry situation, who asked about ripeness, size and flavour. When I said that they were pretty small and also a little sour, he said “Well, then it´s almost a complete waste of time!” And I wondered, was it? Did I spend so many hours for nothing? I would prove him wrong! These blueberries maybe aren´t the best for snacking, but put into baked goods in companionship with sugar and butter, that would probably make up for it! I made some jam right away, which was lovely, but now, it´s time to do some baking, I figured! Today I invited a friend over for coffee and something home-baked, so I figured it was a nice opportunity to use some of the berries. I finally made a decision on what to bake (my first intention was a blueberry bundt cake, eventually a pie – but as there was just the two of us, I figured it would be better with something in a serving size that also could be frozen) and landed on these blueberry rolls.

I was a little short of time, so I tweaked my single-rising yeast recipe, and adapted it to a more suitable number of rolls. I substituted most of the wheat with whole wheat, and used fresh blueberries, butter, sugar and marcipan for the filling. They turned out delicious! A little burned, but still good!

Whole wheat blueberry rolls

  • Prep time: 1 hour and 30 minutes (or more if you have the time)
  • Cooking time: 15 minutes
  • Total time: 2 hours

Ingredients – makes 12 rolls

  • 2 dl milk
  • 100 g butter
  • 100 g powered sugar (which I replaced with regular sugar)
  • 30 g fresh yeast
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
  • 500 g flour (I used about 3/4 whole wheat, and 1/4 regular wheat)
  • 2 dl blueberries
  • 50 g sugar
  • 50 g butter
  • 50 g marcipan

Instructions:

Bring milk, sugar and butter to a boil in a large pan. Remove from heat and allow to cool until it reaches a lukewarm temperature. You can speed up the cooling-down process by putting the pan in the zink filled with cold water. Add the yeast into the mixture, and stir in cardamom and the flour. (If the pan isn´t big enough, simply pour the milk-mixture into another bowl, and then add the flour) Knead the dough into an elastic large ball, using your hands dusted lightly with flour. (If you have them time, put the dough in a covered bowl, and let rise in a warm place about 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in size – but the original recipe actually skips this point!)

Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celcius. Roll the risen/or unrisen dough out on a lightly floured surface, until it is approx 30×40 cm long and 1/2 cm thick. (The thinner you get it, the more area you have for filling, so that might have to be adjusted up or down accordingly if you roll it thicker or thinner)
To make filling, combine all ingredients in a bowl, mashing the berries slightly.
Spread the filling evenly over the surface of the dough.

(Whereever you go from here, is entirely up to you, whether you want to roll them like a cinnamon roll, or make them something like mine. I won´t say how I my rolls got their look, cause I did it wrong (again) and it turned out quite messy… If you´re like me, and cannot figure out the twisting, here´s an instruction video: How to twist a cinnamon-roll, or else, here´s how it goes)

Now fold a third of the dough towards the middle, and fold the other third over the first one, so you have 3 layers of dough. Cut the dough into 12-15 strips about 2 cm wide. Twist each strip until the dough stretches 20 cm long. Twist it around to shape it into a snail shell (roll) tugging the end of the dough under the roll Place the buns on a baking sheet covered with baking paper, with the twists facing upwards. Cover and let them rise to reach the double size for approximately 1 hour. Sprinkle the buns with sugar and chopped almonds. Bake them on 200 C for about 12-14 minutes or till they turn golden. Cool on a rack, or enjoy immediately, when they´re still warm and the filling is gooey…

Perfect to break apart and eat it bit by bit, making room for a zip of black coffee in between the bites! I love to eat them like that, getting a feeling of all the different textures and flavors. And the berries were perfect in these rolls! The buns turned out sweet and buttery, hearthy and filling because of the whole wheat, and the marcipan gave a lovely almondy flavour! I knew the berry picking wasn´t a waste!

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World peace cookies

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If you´re well known in the cookie buisness, you might have heard of these. If not, let me introduce you. These cookies come from Dorie Greenspan´s “Baking – from my home to yours”. When I finally got my hands on this book, I was kind of overwhelmed. First of all by its size and weight (it was a gift) – it was enormous! And secondly, and maybe most importantly, by the number of recipes. (I guess I should have predicted that, given its size, but – well, what can I say…) The book doesn´t waste a lot of space or pages on pictures – which I normally don´t think is a waste – on the contrary, it´s what makes me want a cookbook, and what makes me purchase it. But here, I´m thankful the pictures are left out to make room for more recipes. After all, it was a struggle to get that book, as you can read here

But, when I was going to start baking, I had no idea where to start. I mean, where does one start with over 300 recipes? And almost without any pictures to tempt me? Hmm. One starts at google, of course! I searched for “best, or favourite recipes”, and after a little googling, there were a few recipes that seemed more popular than others. One of them were something called world peace cookies. (Another was Swedish visiting cake, so that´s next on my list!) A cocoa-cookie with sea salt and chocolate chunks. Well, that didn´t exactly put me off! Though, normally I like my cookies non-chocolate. That is, without cocoa in the batter. But not completely without chocolate! Hell no! Bring on the chocolate chunks! But, I decided to have an open mind. So many people can´t be wrong. And it´s not like I dislike chocolate cookies, they´re just not my favourite. Until now.

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I made these for the first time a while ago, but they turned out butt ugly, delicious though, but not to be broadcast worldwide. Sorry guys, I´m shallow. These turned out better. And I know what you´re thinking: They´re not that good looking. And seriously, can they be that good? Isn´t it just another cookie?
No – it´s not. It´s a cookie, yes, but it´s a really, really good one.

The taste is rich and very chocolatey. It´s enhanced by the addition of sea salt. Oh chocolate and sea salt. How I love you two together. And my photos don´t really do them any justice, and that´s not just because of my lack of photo-skills, it´s because any photos of these cookies can´t show how yummy-tasty they are! Appearantly these cookies got their name, by Dorie’s neighbour who thought that a daily dose of these cookies would be enough to instigate world peace. Well, I don´t know about that. I see his point, but on the other hand, these cookies might as well start a world war. You get the point: They´re good.

World Peace cookies

1 1/4 cups (175 grams) all-purpose flour
1/3 cup (30 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 stick plus 3 tablespoons (11 tablespoons or 150 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup (120 grams) (packed) light brown sugar
1/4 cup (50 grams) sugar
1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel or 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 ounces (150 grams) bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chips, or a generous 3/4 cup store-bought mini chocolate chipsWhisk flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda into medium bowl.

Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until smooth and creamy. Add both sugars, vanilla, and sea salt; beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add flour mixture; beat gently just until blended (mixture may be crumbly). Add chopped chocolate; mix just to distribute (if dough doesn’t come together, knead lightly in bowl to form ball). Divide dough in half. Place each half on a sheet of plastic wrap or parchment. Form each piece into 1 1/2-inch-diameter log. Wrap each tightly and chill until firm, about 3 hours. (Note: this can be done in advance – logs can be stored in the fridge up to three days before slicing and baking).

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Preheat oven to 325°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a sharp knife, cut logs crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick rounds. Space cookies 1 inch apart on prepared sheets. Bake 1 sheet at a time until cookies appear dry (cookies will not be firm or golden at edges), exactly 12 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool before enjoying with a large glass of milk.

Makes 20-22 cookies.

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Cottage cheese-apple-pancakes

Pancakes are back! Well, where they ever really out? Nahhh, not really. Just took a break after a pancake overdose some time ago. And ironically enough, a holiday in the US, consuming a lot of breakfast-pancakes, was what made me want more! I had a lot of pancakes over there… When I´m in the states (sounds as if I go there regularly – but frankly, this is just my second visit! But I´ll be back, for sure! Love it!) I try to eat as american as possible, and by american I mean all the classic american stuff. And of course local specialites. Well, I try to do this whereever I go. When in Rome, right? (And when I actually was in Rome this summer, I indulged in risotto, pizzas, gelato….need I say more? But that´s another story!) So – I was in the states, and breakfast was not included in our hotel, so we went out for breakfast each day. And pancakes were always appealing to me – speaking to me – choose me, choose me! So I did. Over and over again. By the end of our holiday, I´ve had my decent pancake-share- Some really great, some mediocre pancakes, but most importantly, I remembered how tasty a pancake-breakfast can be. So, one week later, my jetlag was more or less gone, it was weekend, and my pancake cravings began. I gave in. Though, not the typical american classic kind. I tried to make them a little healthier, non-US-style! (But then again, I´m no longer in America, but in healthy whole-grain scandinavia, surrounded by health-freaks from my study. So I adapt, once again!) I bought some cottage cheese for some reason (I never eat it) and decided to use some of it for pancakes. Since I didn´t have blueberries or bananas and was to lazy to get out, and I was beginning to get a cold as a result from 10 days in Miami, and then back to cold Denmark, I had to make them without fruit or use what I had. I had half an apple, and decided to use that. Grated it into the batter. And then I was ready to make some pancakes! They turned out really moist because of the apple and cottage cheese, though the texture was a little different then the usual pancake. I also made them whole grain to make them a little healthier. And then I drenched them in butter and syrup….. Next time, I think I´ll go for the real thing though! But as a less-guilt-free pancake this is really good! And moist!
After a little research online, I had a certain idea of a recipe, and mine went something like this:

Cottage cheese-apple pancakes (about 10)

1/2 cup cottage cheese
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp syrup (I used agave, but maple or honey will do!)
½ cup all purpose flour
¼ cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
Butter/oil for frying.

Puree the cottage cheese and eggs in a food processor for about 30 seconds. Add in the dry ingredients, then and pulse just until combined, and stir in the grated apple.

Preheat a griddle, skillet, or any flat bottomed pan on medium/low heat.

*The pancakes need to be cooked on a lower heat for a little longer than normal pancakes.

Add some butter to the pan if you’re pan isn’t non stick. If it is, you probably won’t need any addition butter to prevent sticking. Scoop the pancakes onto the preheated griddle and use the back of the scoop to spread the pancakes a bit. Cook for about 4 minutes per side.

*The outside of the pancakes will be a deep golden brown when they’re done, not a light golden brown. Serve with syrup and butter, bananas, berries or whatever you fancy!

Tomato salad

There were tomato days in the supermarket the other day. Meaning, they offered more than one kind, and other colours than red. OMG, they do really exist! Yellow, orange and green tomatoes – totally crazy…! Well, not really, but around here, that stuff don´t come around to often. Tomatoes is a neglected buisness in Scandinavia, but it´s slowly improving. But of course, the climate does set certain limits… The season is short, and imported tomatoes are picked before they are ripe, and end up here, tasteless and boring. I know I´ve made my tomato complains before in this previous post, BUT, like I said, tomato days! Many kinds! I had to buy a bag of course. Didn´t know what to do with them initally, but I quickly found out. Tomato heirloom salad is obviously a hit at tastespotting at the moment! And the pictures of that salad really looked good. Really good. And I don´t really know what a heirloom salad is (or what heirloom means for that matter), but I knew what I needed to know: I was gonna make a heirloomish tomato salad. Or at least a tomato salad. Since I was planning this for supper, I needed some more ingredients besides tomatoes. Red onion. I think that´s allowed. Heirloom wise. And basil, of course. And some kind of lettuce. Hmmm, what else could I put into this… Google time! And then I found a recipe for heirloom salad at one of my favourite blogs 101.cookbooks, where Heidi roasted half of the tomatoes. And since I´ve tried her recipe for oven roasted tomatoes before in this delcious pasta dish, I knew this would be good. So off I went to get some rather dull, bigger tomatoes to go into the oven. The other ones, were cherry tomatoes in different colours and shapes, so I wasn´t going to do anything to those pretty little things! And what can I say. It was good. It was very good. And simple. And so perfect for today, which was a very summerly day in september. I spent the afternoon walking around the lakes, meeting up for a friend for some ice cream in the sun, talking, laughing and returning home for a light dinner. A heirloomy tomato salad-dinner with home made sour dough bread. Perfect end to a perfect day.

Heirloom Tomato Salad a la Malin – for 1
400 g tomatoes

A handful of torn lettuce leaves

1/2 Red onion

Olive oil

1 teaspoon of sugar

Sea salt and fresh pepper

Optional: Cheese of choice, like mozzarella or ricotta for instance. I guess feta would work too.

(Ok, I realize this is hardly a recipe, and instructions are hardly needed, but here we go!)

First, turn the oven to 180 C (375 F)

Cut half of the tomatoes, and toss them with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and sugar.Toss the tomatoes you will be roasting gently (but well) in a bowl along with the olive oil, sugar, and salt. Arrange them in a single layer, cut side up, on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake, without stirring, until the tomatoes shrink a bit and start to caramelize around the edges, 45 to 60 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Tear up the lettuce, cut the rest of the tomatoes and the onion, and toss everything together. Mix in the roasted tomatoes, eventually the chunks of cheese and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper after taste. Serve with good bread and butter.

No knead bread – in a pot!

Making bread has never been easier! Or better! (Because when is easy not better, really?) Bread is not what it used to be. It´s still delicious, warm from the oven with butter melting into it, and a nice crust that holds it together. That hasn´t changed. What has changed, is the making of the bread. If I only knew what I know now… That all that kneading – is not really necessary! I was taught that when making bread, the most important thing is to knead the dough, for a loooong time. And several times. If you didn´t do that, the bread wouldn´t rise, it´d turn into a compact brick-like-bread-wannebe, and without the light fluffy texture you want from a good bread. So, that was the rule! Knead like crazy!

Still, I must admit, I didn´t always have the patience (or muscle strength for that matter…) to do that. I kneaded for some time, but never as long as the recipe demanded. Maybe I could have if I had, like, a pink or turquoise Kitchen Aid…? (Ahem….someone´s birthday is coming up soon…) And do I need that now that I don´t knead anymore! I do… It has other qualities! Besides, it´s pretty! Anyways, back to the bread. I know the no-knead-thing is kind of yesterday´s news around blogland, or any land, I guess. Even this particular kind is to be found on various blogs and sites around the internet, but to me, it was new! This is my first attempt at baking bread in anything else but a bread-pan. You see. The thing is. You bake the bread in a pot! Yup – that´s right! And doing that you get a crackly crust and a moist and fluffy inside – aka – yummy bread!

The simple method involves mixing all of the ingredients, letting the dough rise for a rather flexible stretch of time (8-20 hours-ish), and baking it at a really high heat after some minimal shaping and some extra rising time in a preheated dutch oven. The steam trapped by the pot’s lid contributes to a crispy, chewy crust, while an extremely hot pot assures a high and fast rising.

And the result: A perfectly symmetric round, beautiful tasty bread!
Looks good, and tastes good. And it´s dead easy! (And no kneading involved!)


No knead bread (1 bread)

250 g wheat flour
175 g spelt flour
3,5 dl water
0,5 ts dry yeast
2 teaspoons salt

1: Mix everything together in a big bowl, using a wooden spoon. There´s no need to get your stand mixer out, but if you want to, go ahead using the paddle attachment. When everything´s throughly mixed, and there are no lumps, cover with plastic wrap and let sit 12-20 hours in room temperature.

2: Shape & preheat: The dough will now be wet, sticky and bubbly. With a wet spatula, dump the dough on a floured surface. Fold ends of dough over a few times with the spatula and nudge it into a ball shape. You can use your hands if you like, just keep your hands wet so that the dough does not stick. Transfer to a bowl, and let it nap for 2 hours. When you’ve got about a half hour left, slip your covered pot into the oven and preheat to 200C/ 450F.

3. Bake: Your dough should have doubled in size. (Mine didn´t though…but it did increase!) Remove pot from oven. Carefully transfer the dough into the hot pot, making sure not to puncture it too much. It doesn’t matter which way it lands, though. Shake to even dough out. Cover. Bake 30 minutes. Uncover – aka remove the lid – and bake another 15-20 minutes or until the crust is beautifully golden. Remove and let cool on wired rack.

4: Enjoy! (Like most breads, it´s best eaten within a couple of days.)


Red pesto pasta with slow-roasted tomatoes

Wow. Why haven´t I made oven-roasted tomatoes before? That´s the question. Holy tomato, that stuff is good! And what a perfect way to turn dull tomatoes into deliciousness. And dull tomatoes are, unfortunately, the rule rather than the exception around here. Of course you can get your hands on some tomatoes that taste at least of something, but they are a little pricey, as most good things are. Actually, I don´t mind paying for quality, when it comes to food (that´s where I really don´t compromise – life´s just too short not to enjoy good food!) but it´s nice to know there´s an opportunity to make something tasty of the cheap stuff too! Especially for a poor student like myself.

I bought some tomatoes last week – more than I could possibly consume before they would start turning into raisin-like creatures. But I feared not! Because I had great intentions for these babies! Fresh or not – it didn´t matter, because they were going to be roasted – shrunken in size but maximized in flavour! (I didn´t know that at the time, but so I´ve had heard. And that´s pretty much the thing with everything: time equals flavour! I mean, just think of cheeses, wine, parma ham, sourdough….it´s the umami that developes. Umami is the fifth flavour, described as a rich savory meat-bouillon-like taste. Umami exists naturally in tomatoes, but roasting the tomatoes intensifies the flavour to the maximum!) And that´s the magic here! Turning tasteless tomatoes into taste-explotion! Allright, let´s get down to buisness:

Like I said, these tomatoes were bought not only with a particular purpose in mind, but with a particular recipe in mind, too. I had read about oven-roasted tomatoes at the Norwegian blog veganmisjonen.com, and the pictures left me drooling and craving wanting to try this! And I don´t know if I searched for a recipe, or if it just appeared, either way, it was perfect! I found it at one of my favourite blogs 101.cookbooks, and like most of Heidis recipes, this sounded and looked delicious. In her recipe she makes her own pesto, which probably is better, but I had a jar I had to finish. And I don´t have a blender. And this wasn´t about pesto. This was about roasting tomatoes. One thing at a time.


Pasta with red pesto and slow-roasted tomatoes (recipe adapted from 101.cookbooks.com)
Serves 1

80 g whole grain pasta
Red pesto
5-6 sundried tomatoes
12-15 cherry tomatoes
A few slices of red onion
1 teaspoon sugar
A handful spinach
5-6 walnuts
Feta cheese
3 tbs Xtra virgin olive oil

Directions:
Cut the tomatoes in half, and arrange them in an oven-proof pan, hollow side up. Sprinkle with sugar. Roast for 1,5 hours on 160 C (320 F) – starting with a cold oven! (Turn on the oven as you put them in!)
When the tomatoes have shrunken, splash over a decent amount of olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Turn up the oven to 225 C/440 F, and roast them for another 5-10 minutes, until they have a slightly grilled look. But keep an eye on them, you don´t want them to be burned after waiting patiently for them for all this time!)

(Eventually – if you´re in a hurry – you can do the speedy version and bake them for 40 minutes on 200 C/400 F)

Coarsely chop the walnuts, and give them a roast on the pan. (Or in the oven I guess! It´s already turned on) Cut some fine slices of red onion, and some bigger slices of sun-dried tomatoes.
Cook the pasta – al dente, of course, and mix with red pesto, onion and sun-dried tomatoes.

Arrange the spinach on a platter, and toss over the pasta. Pour over the oven roasted tomatoes – making sure you get all the juices where all the flavour lies, and sprinkle with walnuts and crumbled feta.
Enjoy! Trust me – you will!

Roasted butternut squash with bulgur and chickpeas – and a yoghurt-cumin dressing!

This was my first encounter with butternut squash. The first date. The make or break. First impression is everything, right? Pumpkins, hokkaidos and butternutsquash(es?) are not regular guests in Norwegian supermarkets. Actually, have I ever seen either one? Well, yeah…I have, now that I come to think about it. Around halloween it´s possible to get your hands on a pumpkin in the bigger supermarkets, but I think that´s pretty much it. And that´s just the last couple of years. Every time some new food arrives, I get very eager to try it. Especially with fruits and vegetables. I don´t wanna miss out on anygthing! What if that weird-looking/ weird-named thing is the new apple? OMG! There´s no time to loose! Even so, I yet have to try a regular pumpkin. They´re so expensive, and like I said, only available during halloween… But now that I´ve moved to Denmark, it´s another story. Vegetables are cheap, and in abundance all year round! Even pumpkins! But the thing is, I´m living alone here, and the pumpkins are too gigantic for one person and my mini-fridge, so I´ve put that on hold. And that´s where the butternut squash comes in! I saw my roomie bake this thing (which I didn´t even know what was), but I imagined it would be really good. So a few days later, I went out to get what appeared to be something called butternut squash. Okeydoke. So far so good. Now – what to do with this thing? I wanted to roast it, and after some googling around the net, I found a tasty-looking recipe from this lovely blog. I replaced the farro with bulgur, but apart from that, I followed it precisely. And what can I say? What a vegetable! So sweet, so nicely coloured and totally perfect in this dish! I´ve already made it about 5 times! So off you go! Whether you´re well acquainted with butternut squash or not, give this recipe a go! It tasty, yummy and makes you feel all good inside.

Roasted butternut squash with bulgur and chickpeas (recipe from thevintagemixer.com)

Ingredients

1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 1/2 tablespoons (or more) fresh lemon juice
3 garlic cloves; 1 minced, 2 thinly sliced
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
4 cups 1/2-inch cubes peeled butternut squash
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 cups bulgur
2 tablespoons chopped chili
3/4 cup 1/2-inch cubes red onion plus 1/4 cup thinly sliced
1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
Extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions

Toast cumin seeds in small skillet over medium heat until fragrant and beginning to smoke, 4 to 5 minutes. Cool; grind in spice grinder. Transfer 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin to small bowl. Mix in yogurt, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and minced garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and chill.
Preheat oven to 400°F. (200 C) Coat large rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray. Place squash in large bowl. Add 2 tablespoons oil; toss to coat. Spread squash out on sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until tender, about 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook bulgur in large pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 5 minutes. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sliced garlic and 1 tablespoon chile; sauté 1 minute. Add onion cubes and garbanzo beans; sauté 1 minute. Add roasted squash and cooked farro and toss to blend. Sprinkle with 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin and 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice; toss to blend. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and more lemon juice, if desired.

Mound farro mixture on 4 plates. Spoon yogurt mixture over. Sprinkle with cilantro, sliced onion, and remaining chile. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and serve.

Blueberry scones

It´s easter!
That means I´m home back in Bergen, I have some time to kill while everyone´s at work, and later I have some more time because of the holidays which is perfect for some staying in-activities, such as baking. And, I have people to feed, plus room in the freezer for whatever leftovers there might be! Oh, the opportunities! And not to mention, I have a lot of stuff, like berries, in the freezer, so I don´t have to get out buying overpriced supermarket-berries. Or getting wet. And like I said, it´s easter, which means some easter-treats has to be made. Only in case the easter bunny doesn´t show up, of course.

Today is a perfect day for baking. The rain is pouring down, the shops are closed, and although my boyfriend was supposed to start his holidays today, he had to arrange a quick meeting in a café. How rude! Taking clients to cafés instead of me – on our holiday! Well, there´s only one thing to do. If I can´t come to the café, the café must come to me. Which is actually a better option in this weather. Now I only had to choose a café-like snack. Like always I´ve done some baking-research before I got home. The list of recipes to try, I´ve realised is a never-ending project, as people like myself keep adding tempting recipes, and I keep both buying and borrowing cookbooks. I don´t make it easy for myself. So many recipes, so little time! And the fact that I´m on a daily search for recipes – without any other reason than just for the sake of it – well, I better get baking!

Starting with this scone recipe. These scones immediately made it to the top of my baking list, pushing down brownies, pound cake and other things that have been lined up for quite some time – poor things. But sometimes, you see a picture of something so appealing, you can´t get your mind around anything else, and there´s only one thing to do. Bake it. Get it out of the system. See if they taste as good as they looked at the picture. And of course, compare yours to the original. Uglier, prettier? It´s usually the first. But these turned out quite decent, if I may say so.

Taste wise – well, I don´t have anything to compare with, but I thought they were pretty darn good! The recipe calls for partly whole wheat flour, which I substituted for rye flour. (That´s what I had) That made them more filling and hearty, without feeling overly “healthified”. They´re still sweet and moist, but just perfectly balanced. You could easily have these for breakfast – or any other time of the day!
I enjoyed mine fresh from the oven with a cup of tea for a late lunch. I couldn´t resist adding some butter (can I ever?) – butter melting into warm baked goods – seriously, how can anyone resist?
Even so, they are flavourful enough on their own, so they don´t necessarily need anything. But I imagine a dollop of whipped cream wouldn´t hurt either. So you can dress it up or down, and serve it as breakfast, afternoon snack or dessert! Or all of the above. Go crazy!



Berry Almond Scones
(slightly adapted from thevintagemixer)

1 stick (8 tbsp)butter, cold, plus 1 Tb melted
1 cup frozen blueberries
1/4 cup sliced almonds
½ cup milk
½ cup Greek yogurt
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the work surface
1 cup whole wheat/rye pastry flour
½ cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
2 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt

Instructions

Yields 8 generous blues-killing scones
Adjust an oven rack to middle position and preheat to 220 C/ 425˚ F.
Grate the frozen butter on the holes of a large box grater.
Whisk together the milk and Greek yogurt in a medium bowl; refrigerate until needed. In another bowl, combine the flour, ½ cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and almonds in a medium mixing bowl. Whisk to combine. Add the grated butter to the flour mixture and toss with fingers until thoroughly coated.

Add the milk-yogurt mixture to the dry ingredients and fold with a spatula just until combined. Transfer the dough to a generously floured work surface. Dust the top of the dough with flour, and knead with well floured hands, 6-8 times. Add small amounts of flour as needed to prevent sticking.
Roll the dough into a 12-inch square.

Sprinkle the berries evenly over the surface of the dough, and gently press down so that they are slightly embedded in the dough surface. Fold up the edges of the dough up so that all of the berries are concealed inside the dough. The dough should resemble a ball. Flatten the dough and gently form into a circle (about 7 inches by 7 inches). Using a sharp, floured knife, or a sharp dough scraper/chopper cut the circle into 8 equal triangles (like pie wedges). Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet. Brush the tops of the scones with melted butter and sprinkle lightly with sugar or more sliced almonds. Bake until the tops and bottoms are golden brown, 18-25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool at 10 minutes before serving. If you can wait that long!

Nutella rolls


So – finally my family pack of nutella was put to use! Or some of it, at least. That thing is huge! Like I may have mentioned earlier, I have a thing for big food, or food that come in large sizes or packages. I´m drawn to anything supersize when it comes to food. I´m just fascinated by food that goes beyond the usual or ordinary sizes, whether it´s nutella, apples, cinnamon rolls or pepper grinders. Don´t judge me!

This time, it´s about nutella. Once I saw that jar of 1-kg nutella, I knew it was coming home with me. And by US standards, 1 kg probably isn´t all that, but here it is. I´d never seen anything like it! So to me, 1 kg is a-lot, especially considered that I normally don´t buy or eat nutella. So I really didn´t know why I bought it or what to do with it, but I had to have it. Some girls shop for shoes, I shop spreadings. So I got it home and put it away. I googled for recipes, and decided that nutella rolls would be a good way to start. But somehow, I never got around to it. After some time I had to move it from my kitchen into my little pantry of things I seldom use. Probably a bad idea, cause you know, out of sight, out of mind. I would have kept it in my kitchen as a reminder to use that freakin thing, but due to extremely limited storage possibilites in the kitchen, priorities had to be made. But now, finally, the time has come to nutella rolls. We´re going on a foodexpo with my class tomorrow, and I´m bringing these for the 3-hour busdrive. To spread some nutella-joy! Maybe not the most transportable baked goods there is, though. So the verdict: What can I say? They were worth waiting for! Oh my… Sticky, gooey sweet hazelnut bliss!
And if you top it off with some roasted hazelnuts, and some extra nutella (just to glue the hazelnuts, of course) – well, that´s as good as nutella gets! Try it!

Nutella rolls (25-30 rolls)

1 kg all purpose flour
200 g sugar
200 g butter
6 dl milk
12 g dry yeast (50 g fresh yeast)
1 ts baking powder
1 ts cardamom

Melt the butter.
Add the milk and warm it up until it´s lukewarm.
If you´re using fresh yeast, dissolve it in the warm mixture. Set aside.

Mix together the flour with sugar, cardamom, baking powder and eventually dry yeast. Pour the butter-milk mixture into the the dry ingredients, and incorporate. Add more flour if necessary. Once evenly mixed knead the dough in a floured board. Form into a large ball then place in a bowl covered in cling wrap. Place in a warm place and let it rise for 1 hour or until it doubled in size.

Remove the dough from the bowl, deflate and roll into a floured surface. Thickness about 1/2 cm or so, but that depends on how you like the dough vs filling ratio. I like it 1:1 more or less. There must under no circumstances be short on the filling, that´s for sure! Spread on nutella, as much as you like, and get rolling! Cut them into suitable sizes, using a knife or dental floss. (This is a very loose recipe, I´m starting to see…) Mine were about 4 cm in height and 8 cm diameter. Place them tightly if you don´t want edges, or seperately if you do! Bake for about 15 minutes, or until they are golden and irresistible!

And – voilá! It´s served! I do recommend roasting some hazelnuts to go with it. That extra crunch in combination with the soft melting nutella bun is just divine…

Carrot spice muffins

We´re having a group project at school for the moment. It´s not really hard. There´s really not a lot to do. It´s not very time consuming. We just have to get together, from time to time, to figure out what to do next and to plan and divide the tasks between us. Quite frankly, I feel like I´m having a vacation, because there are so little to do, so few lectures, and the ones we have finish before noon, so there´s a lot of time waiting to be filled! It´s not like I have a job, a specific hobby or workout schedule, so what else to do than bake! Wait, I guess that IS my hobby! 😉

I´ve been trying out a few recipes from my beloved Baking from my home to yours, which I feel obliged to, as it was such a hassle to get it. But within the muffin section I have only tried one recipe – the great grain muffins. On the other hand, I´ve baked them a couple of times, cause they are so tasty! But if the rest of the muffins are as good as them, I think I ought it to myself to bake my way through them! I wanted to bring some muffins to school for my group to enjoy, for a day we planned to stay at school finishing our project. And since I and my fellow students study nutrition, I decided the carrot muffins would be appropriate! Slightly healthier, but still with the sweetness and moistness of a regular carrot cake, but without the frosting. Though frosting probably could work out very well too… (Or maybe omitting the frosting is the the health-alibi. Whatever. When you put vegetables into muffins it equals healthy in my world!)

So, the verdict: They were absolutely lovely! I got praises and requests about the recipe from the group, they were a total hit! I loved their moistness, but without that greasy feeling. And they´re just sweet enough, without leaving you with a feeling of going into a sugar-coma. And – believe it or not – I actually didn´t miss the frosting! I did put some butter on, just to try it out, but I guess that´s just me. I butter everything! But there was really no need to. I did cut back a little on the oil and sugar, which wasn´t a problem, and next time I´ll try to substitute some of the flour with whole wheat too. And, before you dig in, I have to say: let them cool. It´ll be worth it. The flavour intensifies and they become so much better! And I loved the different textures provided by the carrots, raisins and walnuts. I didn´t have coconut, so I left that out, but I guess that would be a nice addition texture- and taste-wise! I´ve actually never tried coconut in carrot cake, so I guess it´s time to face that fear! Next time. Because there will certainly be a next time with these!


Carrot Spice Muffins

from Baking: From My Home to Yours, by Dorie Greenspan
makes 12 muffins

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar
2/3 cup flavorless oil, such as canola, safflower or corn
2 large eggs
3/4 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup shredded carrots (about 3, peeled and trimmed)
1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut
1/3 cup moist, plump currants or raisins
1/3 cup pecans or walnuts, toasted, cooled and chopped

Getting Ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter or spray the 12 molds in a regular-size muffin pan or fit the molds with paper muffin cups. Alternatively, use a silicone muffin pans, which needs neither greasing nor paper cups. Place the muffin pan on a baking sheet.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, and salt. Stir in the brown sugar, making certain there are no lumps. In a large glass measuring cup or another bowl, whisk the oil, eggs, milk, and vanilla extract together until well combined. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and, with the whisk or a rubber spatula, gently but quickly stir to blend. Don’t worry about being thorough – a few lumps are better than over-mixing the batter. Stir in the carrots, coconut, currants, and nuts. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups.

Bake for about 20 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted in the center of the muffins comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for 5 minutes before carefully removing each muffin from its mold. Or just leave them the way they are!