Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I'm still picking chanterelles...

I have found this wonderful place in the forest behind my house.
It's a little opening between the trees, and the ground is covered in orange, meaty and delicious chenterelles.
I call it my heaven.
I have lost count on how many pounds I have picked so far. Most of them are already in the freezer, but last night - after another hunt for the forest gold - I sauteed some of the mushrooms in REAL butter and ate them with brown rice.
It was so good, I decided I deserved a little treat. You know, I had picked the mushrooms, cleaned them and sauteed them, of course I deserved a treat.
So I opened a bottle of Chardonnay white wine and poured myself a glass.
I am pretty sure, at least about 99 percent sure, I would pick last nights chanterelle dinner over any ice cream.
Yup.....pretty sure!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I'll never grow tired of pasta salads

There is nothing fancy about pasta salads.
But if you ask me, I think that the community of pasta salads haven't gotten the credit they deserve. They are often a great way to add more vegetables to the table and if you don't use too much dressing, it's actually healthy too.

But, this blog is not about health, it's all about taste.
This pasta salad is one of the few I've had that doesn't use a vinaigrette, but a yogurt dressing. The yogurt adds a zing to this dish that makes the pasta less boring.
You can basically add whatever vegetables you want to this salad, but do not omit the spring onions, the cashew nuts or the rucola. Those three ingredients are definitely necessary for the flavor.

To make this pasta salad, you'll need:

1/4 pounds of pasta (any short pasta will do)
4-5 spring onions
1 cup champignon mushrooms
8-10 red cherry tomatoes
1 bunch of green asparagus
3 tablespoons unsalted cashew nuts
a handful of rucola
2 tablespoons of canola oil

For the dressing:

1/2 cup unflavored yogurt
1 tablespoon chili sauce (I used Heinz chili sauce)
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon of sweet paprika powder
salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to package.

Mix the ingredients for the dressing and set aside.

Chop the spring onions, quarter the champignoins and cut the asparagus into 1/2 inch pieces.

Heat a couple of tablespoons of canola oil in a pan. Add the onions, the asparagus and mushrooms. Saute over medium heat for 8-10 minutes. Add tomatoes and cashew nuts and saute for another 5-6 minutes.

Drain the pasta in a lolander. Mix the sauteed vegetables with the pasta in a big bowl. Add half of the rucola and the salad dressing. Mix well. Sprinkle the rest of the rucola on top just before serving.

The good, the bad and the still not tried

I love it when people create interaction on the net.
One of my favourite occupations lately, is reading peoples Omnivore's 100 (aka food lists) at

Here's how it works:

The Omnivore’s Hundred
Here’s a chance for a little interactivity for all the bloggers out there. Below is a list of 100 things that I think every good omnivore should have tried at least once in their life. The list includes fine food, strange food, everyday food and even some pretty bad food - but a good omnivore should really try it all. Don’t worry if you haven’t, mind you; neither have I, though I’ll be sure to work on it. Don’t worry if you don’t recognise everything in the hundred, either; Wikipedia has the answers.
Here’s what I want you to do:

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment here at linking to your results.

Eva's Omnivore’s Hundred:
1. Venison

2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

Monday, August 18, 2008

Dark and sinfully sweet honey cake

I don't eat a lot of sweets. I'm more into salty foods.
This honey cake though, is an exception.
The sweet honey, combined with spices and almonds, are totally orgasmic. (If there is such a word.)
Also, once baked, this cake can be wrapped in aluminum foil and plastic wrap and it will keep in the fridge for weeks. Not that the expiration date is a problem in this house hold. The cake barely lasts a week, and we are talking a good week here.l

I bring this cake to family gatherings, to picknics or to work. It travels well and there is never a problem with leftovers.

This recipe comes from A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking by Marcy Goldman
Serves 8 to 10

3-1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup honey
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed (light or dark- think I tested with light)
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup warm coffee or strong tea
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup rye or whisky
1/2 cup slivered or sliced almonds

You can bake this cake in a 10-inch tube or bundt cake pan, a 9 x13-inch sheetpan, or three 8 x 4-1/2-inch loaf pans.

Preheat oven to 350 F.
Lightly grease the pan(s). For tube and angel food cake pans, line bottom with lightly greased parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. Make a well in the center, and add the oil, honey, sugars, eggs, vanilla, coffee, orange juice and rye or whisky.
Using a strong wire whisk or electric mixer on slow speed, combine the ingredients well to make a thick batter, making sure that no ingredients are stuck to the bottom of the bowl.
Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle the top of the cake evenly with the almonds.
Bake until the cake springs back when you touch it gently in the center. For angel and tube cake pans, bake for 60 to 70 minutes; loaf cakes, 45 to 55 minutes. For sheet-style cakes, the baking time is 40 to 45 minutes.
This is a liquidy batter and, depending on your oven, it may need extra time. Cake should spring back when gently pressed.
Let the cake stand for 15 mintues before removing it from the pan. Then invert it onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Note: If you prefer not to use the whiskey, replace it with orange juice or coffee.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

I think today is my lucky day

I took the dog for a walk this afternoon.

We went into the woods behind the house and I met a sweet older couple there, on their way home with a bucket full of freshly picked blueberries.

I told them I was looking for mushrooms and this sweet lady offered to show me a place where chanterelles grow.

I couldn't believe it! First of all, people usually don't share where you can find wild mushrooms. Second, the place she took me to was literally loaded with pretty chanterelles.

I picked six pounds before I had to call it a day and went straight home.
I cleaned them and washed them (I know some people are against rinsing mushrooms. I'm not one of them) and decided to give myself a treat.
It's really simple, but totally to die for. I toasted a slice of bread, sauteed some chanterelles in butter, as in REAL butter, gave it a sprinkle of salt and voila - one of my favourite dishes in the whole wide world!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Vegetable Moussaka and a small problem

Lately we've had a tiny problem in this household.
You see, food keeps disappearing!
Not from the cupboards, but from the dinner table. Now don't get me wrong, I enjoy that people enjoy my food, but today is the second time in a row I didn't manage to get a decent photo of a dish before it was gone. I managed to snatch a slice of aubergine with tomato and cheese and a spoon of sauce for todays picture but to be honest, this picture doesn't give full credit to this dish. Think silky smooth aubergine, sun ripe tomatoes, potatoes and white sauce, a little mustard and melted cheese on top.
Am I the only one drooling now?

Vegetable Moussaka

50g/2 oz green or brown lentils (I used red and it worked just fine.)
570ml/1 pint water
4 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
110g/¼lb mushrooms, wiped and chopped
2 - 3 tbsp tomato purée
2tsp dried oregano
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
salt and freshly ground black pepper
350g/12 oz or 2 medium aubergines, washed and sliced
2 potatoes, scrubbed, boiled and sliced2 tomatoes, washed and sliced thickly

For the sauce:
20g/¾oz butter
1 tbsp flour
225ml/8fl oz milk
1 small egg
½ tsp mustard powder
salt and freshly ground black pepper
75g/3oz grated cheddar cheese.

1. preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
2. Pick the lentils over for sticks and stones, wash them thoroughly, then bring them to the boil in the water. Cover and simmer for 40 - 45 minutes or until they are soft.
3. When cooked, drain and reserve the liquid for stock.
4. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a frying pan and fry the onion and garlic gently so that they remain translucent.
5. Then add the chopped mushrooms and cooked lentils and cook for a further few minutes, mixing well.
6. Remove the vegetables from the pan using a slotted spoon so that as much oil as possible is left in the frying pan.
7. Put the vegetables in a bowl and mix in a little stock, 2-3 tbsp of tomato puree and the oregano.
8. Season well with nutmeg, salt and freshly ground black pepper. Then add a further 2 tbsp of oil to the frying pan and fry the aubergine slices until soft, turning them over constantly. (You may need a little extra oil for this.)
9. Put the slices onto a piece of kitchen paper to drain and let them cool.
10. Grease a 1.75L/3pt ovenproof dish and put in a layer of lentil and mushroom mixture, then a layer of aubergines, then of potato and tomato slices.
11. Next make the white sauce. Melt the butter in a small saucepan and stir in the flour. Cook the roux for 2 - 3 minutes.
12. Pour on the milk and bring the sauce to the boil, stirring constantly.
13. Simmer for 5 minutes and then allow to cool.
14. Beat in the egg and season the sauce well with mustard, salt and freshly ground black pepper.
15. Pour the sauce over the top of the casserole and sprinkle over the grated cheese.16. Bake for 40 minutes until the cheese is golden brown and bubbling.
Serve piping hot.

(From BBC Food)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

So, what's new in the world?

I just got back from vacation.

I spent four wonderful weeks with family and friends and I came home tanned, broke and a few pounds heavier than I was when I left. In other words, I've hade a great time!
I have hardly cooked in four weeks so by the time I came home I couldn't wait to get back into the kitchen.

Also, with the temperature dropping and the rain starting, I was craving comfort food (- as opposed to weeks og BBQ food and salads.)
I created this tasty cauliflower soup but, alas, my company loved it too. It was all gone before I had the time to take a picture of it. I'm so sorry.

I hope the picture of the beautiful sky can compensate a little for it.....I took it while on vacation and I love the dramatic light around the clouds.
Here's the recipe for the cauliflower soup:
2 heads of cauliflower, rinsed and cut into flower heads
1 carrot, peeled and sliced
2 potatoes, peeled and sliced
2 quarts vegetable broth (equals 8 cups)
1 garlic clove
1 teaspoon salt
a pinch of cayenne (I mean a really small pinch. The cauliflower is so delicate in taste the cayenne can easily overpower it.)
black pepper to taste
a small dash of heavy cream
Heat the vegetable broth in a large casserole. Add the vegetables, salt, pepper and cayenne. Bring to a boil and let it simmer until the vegetables are soft (about 40 to 50 minutes).

Let the soup cool a little before you run it through the food processor - you might have to do this in a few batches depending on the size of your food processor.
Pour the soup back to the casserole, add heavy cream and bring back to a boil before you serve it.

I served this soup with garlic bread.