Thursday, February 24, 2011

Swedish Meatballs

These delicate meatballs, are a smorgasbord staple—made small as an appetizer, or larger as a main dish.
They are also excellent cold
1⁄2 cup bread crumbs
1⁄2 cup  cream
1⁄2 lb. ground beef
1⁄2 lb. lean ground pork
2 tbsp. grated onion
1 1⁄2 tsp. salt
1⁄2 tsp. ground allspice
1 egg, lightly beaten
3 tbsp. butter
1. Place bread crumbs in a large bowl. Add cream. Mix and set aside to soften for 5 minutes. Add beef, pork, onions, salt, and allspice. Mix well, then stir in egg and bread crumb mixture. Mix, taking care that all ingredients are thoroughly incorporated, then gently shape into 1" meatballs. (Loosely packed meatballs are more tender.)
2. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook meatballs, in batches if necessary, turning frequently, until well browned and cooked through, about 8 minutes. Transfer meatballs to a platter and serve warm as an appetizer.
Variation—A simple sauce is served with slightly larger meatballs as a main course throughout the year in Sweden. Make the meat mixture as in step 1 above and shape into meatballs, about 2" in diameter. Cook as in step 2 above, increasing the cooking time by 1–2 minutes. Transfer cooked meatballs to a serving bowl and cover to keep warm. To make the sauce, melt 1 tbsp. butter in same skillet over medium-low heat. Add 2 tbsp. flour and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, for 5 minutes. Add 2 cups beef stock and simmer, whisking occasionally, for about 5 minutes. Add 1⁄4 cup heavy cream and 2 tbsp. red currant jelly. Season with salt and pepper, mix well, pour over meatballs, and serve. Serves 4.

Thanks to Saveur for this great recipe!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Cheese and wine party

What could be easier, and more fun than a cheese and wine party?!
Here are some tips for success.
There a some basic types of cheese to choose from - one of each will make an excellent platter Don't get more than 3 to 5 varieties however, or their tastes will be overwhelming. For each person, calculate an ounce of each cheese.
 1. Blue: The most intense.
Gorgonzola  Cashel Blue, Fourme d’Ambert, Roquefort, Stilton. 
 2. Semifirm: Subtle but rich.
Manchego cave-aged Cheddar, fontina, Garrotxa, Saint-Nectaire. 
 3. Super-aged: Sharp and nutty.
Parmigiano-Reggiano Asiago, Comté, aged Gouda, aged Gruyère. 

David Prince 

 4. Pungent: (smelly cheese!)
Taleggio Èpoisses, Langres, Livarot, Pont l’Évêque. 
 5. Mild: Soft and creamy. 
Fresh chèvre  Brie, Camembert, Chaource, Robiola. 

You will also need some accompaniments like grapes, a crusty baguette or two, some crackers, sun dried tomatoes, some parma ham and some figs, fresh or dried will do! ah yes...pears also make a good accompaniment! Also,  some really good butter, maybe a dried sausage or two...well the list can go on and on!

Now for the wine:
Red or white will do as long as they dont clash terribly!

Now the fun!!
set out the cheeses and a platter, decorate with some of the accompaniments. You can also get some chutney to go with the cheese.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Featured Foodie #2

This is a great Store I found on Etsy (where I also have a store). Lyn makes the most amazing jams and preserves. if you live in the UK make sure you buy something - you will not be disappointed!

Here is what Lyn has to say:

I have been selling my baking and  preserves for about 25 years. Firstly as part of a co-operative market stall, then more recently branching out in to my own stall at Farmers Markets, Food Fairs and similar events. I also supply a couple of shops and a cafe regularly. I aim to provide good traditional home-baking at affordable prices.

My Etsy shop : Marmalady
My website: Marmalady UK

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Fish cakes

Easy to make, great cold and very handy to take to work!
I generally use canned tuna or salmon which makes it very easy! If you use fresh fish, poach the fish in a mixture of wine and water - very tasty!

3 tbsp.fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 tsp salt
4 regular size cans of tuna or salmon
1 1/2 cups dried bread crumbs
3 tbsp.  butter, melted
4 scallions, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 eggs, beaten
Juice of 1 lemon
peanut oil for frying
1. Break fish into small pieces and place in a large bowl. Add the salt along with the bread crumbs, butter, scallions, onions, eggs,parsley and lemon juice. Stir ingredients until just combined and refrigerate for 1/2 hour.
3. Spoon some of the fish in your hands and press gently to form a small  patty; transfer patty to a parchment paper–lined baking sheet. Repeat to make 12 patties. Refrigerate patties for at least 1 hour or overnight.
4. Add oil to a 12" cast-iron skillet until it reaches a depth of 1/2". Heat over medium-high heat until oil registers 325° on a deep-fry thermometer. Using a  spatula, gently transfer half of the patties to skillet and cook, flipping once with the spatula, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer fish cakes to a paper towel–lined plate and repeat with remaining patties.
You can use mashed potatoes instead of the bread crumbs (or even dried potato flakes!)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Chocolate mousse

What could be more decadent than a chocolate mousse!

Use a good quality chocolate - remember - thats what make the flavor.
You can spice up the taste with a tad of coffee liqueur added at the end of step 2.


  • 8 oz semi sweet chocolate (plus some extra to make chocolate shavings on top of the mousse)
  • 3  egg yolks
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 cups heavy cream


  1. Melt the chocolate in a medium bowl set over (but not in) a saucepan of simmering water, stirring often, until smooth. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. I use my bain marie
  2. In a small saucepan, whisk together the egg yolks, 4 tbs of the sugar, and ¾ cup of the cream. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a  spatula, until the mixture lightly coats the back of the spatula, 2 to 3 minutes (do not boil). Strain into the melted chocolate and whisk until smooth. Refrigerate until completely cooled, about 30 minutes.
  3. Using an electric mixer, beat the remaining 1 ¼ cups cream and 2 tablespoons sugar until stiff peaks form.
  4. In 3 additions, fold the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture. Divide among 8 serving glasses and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (if longer, bring to room temperature before serving). Sprinkle with the shaved chocolate before serving.
The mousse can be prepared up to 2 days in advance (do not sprinkle with the shaved chocolate). Refrigerate covered. Bring to room temperature and sprinkle with the chocolate before serving.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Banoffee Pie - almost no cook!

I am not sure how I came across this recipe but I remember making several of these pies for a restaurant. they are super easy, no fail - and extremely fattening!!!

nevertheless, they taste really good and are always a great backup if you have no idea what to make. The condensed milk turning into toffee always amazed me and i often have a can of ready made 'toffee' just in case! You can always use just a bit of it and use more bananas....

Ingredients :
1 can of condensed milk
2 oz butter
1 oz sugar
8 oz digestive biscuits, crushed ( or use graham crackers)
1 large banana, sliced
1 cup whipping cream

Method :
Boil the unopened tin of condensed milk in a saucepan for about 2 hours, topping up with boiling water as necessary.
Remove from the heat, leave to cool , then open the can. (I often boil a couple of cans as they keep well and that way I will have the 'toffee' ready for another time)
Melt the butter and mix in the sugar and biscuit crumbs.
Press the biscuit mixture into the base of a greased 20 cm/8 in cake tin .
The milk would now have become toffee like - spread this on the bottom
Top with the sliced bananas and then the whipped cream.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Lemon Curd

This is a favorite of mine - great as a filling in a simple sponge cake, swirl into a cheese cake or in a lemon parfait.

1 1⁄3 cups sugar
1⁄4 cup lemon zest 
8 egg yolks
6 eggs
1 1⁄2 cups fresh lemon juice ( try find really good lemons!)
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 1⁄2" pieces and chilled

Whisk  the sugar, lemon zest, egg yolks, and eggs in saucepan. 
Whisk in the lemon juice and cook, stirring, over medium heat, until the mixture begins to simmer and thicken.
( i use a double boiler - but if you are careful a regular pan will do)
Remove from the heat; whisk in the butter 1 piece at a time until incorporated. 
Strain the curd through a sieve set over a large bowl; 
press plastic wrap onto surface to avoid a 'skin' forming. 
Keep in the fridge !

After squeezing, strain the juice to remove any pulp. 
Cold lemons are much easier to grate. Grate lemons just before using as the zest will lose moisture if it sits too long
Use a heavy-based, nonreactive saucepan — Stainless steel, anodized aluminum, and enamel all work well. Some materials, such as plain aluminum or unlined copper, will react with the acid in the lemons, discoloring the curd and giving it a metallic flavor

Monday, February 7, 2011

Bread Pudding - Great way to use left over not so fresh bread

This recipe was the frugal housewives way of using up left over bread (back in Malta, bread was delivered to your door every morning - and sometimes even twice - by the baker himself.) Bread was also an important part of your meal. The best bread to use would be a traditional loaf and not the 'sliced' sandwich type but you really can use any type.
1 loaf bread (a few days old)
50 g butter
125 g sugar ( I mix brown and regular)
2-3 eggs
Some milk (to soak bread in)
1 apple peeled and grated (optional)
5 tablespoons cocoa powder (try use a good quality one and not drinking chocolate!)
200 g pine nuts, chopped
200 g raisins
2 tablespoons candied peel
2 teaspoons mixed spice ( I use nutmeg and cinnamon - but it’s a matter of taste!)
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 tablespoon brandy
1 tablespoon extra sugar for the top - coarse brown is the best!

Cut bread into squares and soak in some milk until soft.
Pre heat oven to 200C and grease a rectangular baking dish measuring about 30cm by 20cm. Squeeze out excess milk from the bread. (get your hands in there!)
Put the soggy bread in a processor with the other ingredients except the dried fruit and pine nuts and mix well.
Add the dried fruit and pine nuts and pulse until combined.
Spread in the baking dish and flatten surface with a spatula.
Sprinkle the extra sugar on top.
Bake for about an hour, until it feels firm . serve warm or at room temperature - but I also love it cold !

Friday, February 4, 2011

Mushroom risotto

I added some truffle salt which i bought in Seattle (instead of regular salt) for that extra kick!

The trick to a good risotto is using Arborio rice and adding the liquid bit by bit - means you have to stay put while the rice is cooking but worth the effort!


  • 1 finely chopped onion
  •  salt and black pepper
  • 1 cup Arborio Rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3 1/2 cups chicken broth, plus more if needed
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 pound mushrooms, quartered
  • Note: Use a combination of two or three types of mushrooms, such as black or yellow chanterelle, crimini, oyster, shiitake, or common. High-quality parmesan cheese is worth the expense in this dish
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese and some more to use when serving
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley


Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 6 to 8 minutes.

Add the rice and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until absorbed.

Add  the broth bit by bit, waiting till it is absorbed until adding more liquid. Do this until all the broth has been used up and the rice is tender and creamy, 8 to 10 minutes. (If the rice is not cooked through and the mixture is dry, add more broth and continue to cook until tender.)

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and season with ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and tender, 5 to 7 minutes.

Stir the Parmesan, cooked mushrooms, and the remaining tablespoon of butter into the rice.

Sprinkle with parsley and cheese

Cleaning mushrooms: Trim off tough or discolored bottoms of mushroom stems and any bruised spots or blemishes. (For shiitakes and oysters, remove the entire fibrous stem.) For firm mushrooms such as portabellas, wipe dirt off with a damp cloth or place in a colander, rinse thoroughly under cool running water, and pat dry with towels. For delicate mushrooms that have lots of places for dirt to hide, such as chanterelles and hedgehogs, submerge in a bowl of cool water and gently agitate with you hands to loose any particles. Drain, rinse carefully under running water, and gently pat dry with a towel
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All the recipes here have either been sent to me, adapted by me or found on the web. If I know the source I always give credit to the author/website. If you know of a source I may have missed please let me know.