Month: December 2012

Pannukakku (Finnish Apple Pancake)

Pannukakku (Finnish Apple Pancake)

This is a recipe from the old country (Finland) that my mother makes. My kids love it. I made it this morning for breakfast in my monster cast iron frying pan. Ingredients 1 large apple quartered and sliced thinly (or more if you like lots…

Meri’s Chickpea + Squash Burgers

Meri’s Chickpea + Squash Burgers

This recipe is my Mom’s reincarnation of a recipe that appeared in one of those liquor store magazines. It can be used to make burgers or you can roll them into little 1″ cocktail sized balls and use them as appetizers. They are very flavourful…

Pulla aka Finnish Coffee Bread

Pulla aka Finnish Coffee Bread

My mother Marja-Terrtu (Meri for those of you who can’t roll your ‘r’ s) was born in Finland and this recipe is a tweaked version of her Mother’s (my Mummu’s*) recipe.  It’s a little time consuming but you get 4 braids out of it so it’s worth the effort. This bread freezes well and makes amazing toast. The Swedes and the Finns are always claiming this recipe for their own but since this is MY blog I say it’s Finnish.

*Note: Mummu is Finnish for Grandmother and not to be confused with a Hawaiin house dress.

You will need:

40 cardamon pods peeled. Grind the contents of the pods (not the pods!) in a clean coffee grinder or use a motar and pestle if you need a work out. My Mummu used to use a clean tea “tow-vel” and a hammer…she was low tech my Mummu but it worked and I have very fond memories of stuffing my face with this rich and flavourful bread. This holiday season my Auntie Leila sent us a loaf of her pulla and a jar of her wild blueberry jam…yum.

Ingredients
5 eggs (1 for basting)
1/3 lb butter
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 c. milk
3 c. all purpose flour plus 4 3/4 c
1 tsp salt

Yeast Mixture:
4 packages yeast
2 Tbsp sugar
1/2 c. warm water

Dissolve sugar in water. Sprinkle yeast over top, mix and let rise about 5 minutes

Mix butter, oil, sugar and milk in a pot and warm up – don’t scald. Add 3 c. flour to the yeast mixture and stir out the lumps. Beat in the 4 eggs one at a time. Add remaining flour until it is combined (you may need to use your hands at the end). Sprinkle with flour and cover with a sheet of parchment paper and a clean, dry tea towel (or towvel as my Mummu used to say). Let the dough rise in a warm place for about 1 hour or until doubled. After dough has doubled, turn it onto a floured surface (I have a marble pastry board which works very well). Kneading as you go, add just enough flour to make a soft dough. It shouldn’t be sticky. Cover with parchment and your towel and let it rise until doubled again.

Preheat oven to 350.

Cut the dough into 4 portions (each of these will make one loaf). Cut each portion into 4 and make a 4 stranded braid. If you don’t know how to do that then here is a very handy YouTube video that shows you how (thanks to Margaret!): http://youtu.be/R8K6SHj43lY. I just roll out 4 strands and pinch them together at the top (it works just as well).

Place loaves (2 each) on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Whisk remaining egg and use it to baste the loaves. Sprinkle with a cinnamon sugar mixture (the same stuff you use to make cinnamon toast…I use a 1:3 mixture of cinnamon to sugar). Put in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes checking the bottom of the loaves after 25 minutes. When the bottoms are brown they are ready to come out. If the top starts to get a little too brown then cover with a sheet of tinfoil. Remove from oven and let cool. Eat warm of cool completely and put in freezer bags for the freezer.

 

Christmas Cookies Round 2 (Grammy’s Chocolate Cookies)

Christmas Cookies Round 2 (Grammy’s Chocolate Cookies)

Sometimes it just does not pay to try to be prepared for the holidays. All of the cookies I made on baking day with my friend Laura are gone. All of them. So now I’m into round 2. This recipe is from a Martha Stewart…

Savoury Cheese and Onion Pie…Without the Bacon

Savoury Cheese and Onion Pie…Without the Bacon

Friday is usually pie day at my office but this week we received more than our fair share of chocolates and sweet goodies of all sorts. This meant no one felt like making a sweet pie so we opted for a savoury version. Further, the…

Roasted Yam Salad with Pomegranate and Feta

Roasted Yam Salad with Pomegranate and Feta

My friend and fellow dance mom Annabel makes an amazingly yummy Tuscan salad. But her recipe calls for grape tomatoes. Sadly, I didn’t have any BUT I did have a pomegranate so I thought I’d see how that worked out. Turns out it works out very well. You could use sweet potatoes instead of yams but I like the deep orange colour and sweetness of the roasted yams (and yams are what I had).

Ingredients:

3 large yams washed, peeled and cut into smallish chunks (think 1 cm x 1 cm for faster cooking)
1-2 Tbsp of olive oil
sea salt + fresh ground black pepper to taste
1 tsp dried thyme
Juice and zest of one lemon (or lime)
1/2 c. toasted pine nuts
1/2 c. chopped or crumbled feta
1 pomegranate seeded
If you’ve got left over roasted veggies (I had roasted peppers and eggplant) then toss that in as well.

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. Toss yams in oil in a big cast iron frying pan. (or use a baking sheet lined with parchment paper).
  3. Grind salt and pepper over top and sprinkle with dried thyme. Pop in the oven for 35 minutes turning once after 15 minutes. Check to make sure yams are soft (not mushy). If they are still hard roast for another 5 or 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let them cool to room temperature.
  4. While the yams are roasting zest and juice lemon and toast pine nuts in a dry pan being careful not to burn them.
  5. Seed pomegranate. It’s less messy to do this under water. For a good video on how to seed a pomegranate check this video out. I don’t cut it in half. Instead I cut through the skin just a cm below the top and peel the top off. Then I slice through the skin along the membranes and break it into sections. Then seed it under water. It’s pretty easy once you get the hang of it. Drain off the water and any of the white pithy membrane.
  6. Take yams out of oven and let cool to room temperature. If you used a baking sheet put the yams in big non-metallic bowl. Me, I just kept everything in my frying pan because I’m lazy and hate doing extra dishes…although I will move the works into a storage container later.
  7. Pour on lemon juice and sprinkle on zest and gently toss. Add remaining ingredients except pine nuts and gently toss again.
  8. Sprinkle pine nuts over top before serving so they don’t get mushy.

The tang from the lemon and the sweet juicy “pop” of the pomegranate seeds make a nice foil for the roasted yam and veggies. Delicious, low fat and oh so good for you.

Serves 4 as a meal or 6-8 as a side.

Rosemary + Samantha’s Phenomenal Citrus Spiced Chicken

Rosemary + Samantha’s Phenomenal Citrus Spiced Chicken

Rosemary ran the Queen’s University daycare back in the day and I was part of the first graduating class. Having recently immigrated to Canada from the UK I thought Rosemary had the most enchanting accent (ever) and I would do my very best to speak…

Holiday Cookies 5 (Shortbreads)

Holiday Cookies 5 (Shortbreads)

My Dad’s side of the family is Scottish so I decided to make a couple different kinds of shortbread this year. I did up a traditional Scottish shortbread which is basically butter, brown sugar and flour and a whipped shortbread which is butter (again), confectioner’s…

Holiday Cookie 4 (Christmas Tree Cookies)

Holiday Cookie 4 (Christmas Tree Cookies)

These are my friend Laura’s famous Christmas Tree Cookies. I forgot to write out the recipe and in truth they are super fiddley to make (even Laura says so). They are basically a linzer cookie (hazelnut cookie) filled with raspberry jam. I don’t know that I’ll ever make them on my own but they are so pretty and so tasty I’m sharing the photo. I’ll get the recipe from Laura later and post it for those of you who want to feel like Martha.

Holiday Cookie 3 (Ginger Snaps with White Pepper)

Holiday Cookie 3 (Ginger Snaps with White Pepper)

I make this recipe every holiday season. My kids love them and this recipe makes a tonne of cookies that freeze really well. In fact, they are great straight out of the freezer. My friend Stacy gave me the original base recipe and my friend…