Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Gâteau Marcel. A recipe for a delicious layered chocolate mousse cake (gluten-free)

Gâteau Marcel. Chocolate mousse cake. Šokolaadikook.

Happy Valentine's Day to all the lovely Nami-Nami readers out there!

Today's recipe is this gluten-free and fun cake from Denmark, where it's considered to be the French chocolate cake. The recipe is from Michel Michaud, a French chef. Well, Michel Michaud was born in France in 1946, but moved to Denmark in 1971, where he introduced the Danes to the culinary delights of French cuisine. Including this cake.

I never came across this cake when living in Denmark at the tender age of 18. I only came across the cake few weeks ago, when somebody mentioned in one Danish-language Facebook group that "oh, this [cake] is very similar to Gateau Marcel." Well, I had to check out what's behind that fancy name and turned out that it's a gluten-free cake that consists of only 4 ingredients (chocolate, butter, eggs, sugar), results in three dirty bowls and one decadent two-layer chocolate mousse cake.

Intrigued? So was I - and we loved this cake a lot!

Best made on a previous day.

Gâteau Marcel 
(Eestikeelne retsept)
Adapted from several Danish-language sources, but modfied
Serves 10

Gâteau Marcel. Chocolate mousse cake. Šokolaadikook.

200 g good-quality dark chocolate (chips/pellets or chopped)
200 g unsalted butter
200 g caster sugar
6 large eggs
a pinch of salt (optional)

To serve:
cacao powder (un-sweetened)
fresh raspberries or chocolate curls

Pre-heat the oven to 175 C/350 F.

Melt the chocolate chips and butter in a bowl set over barely simmering water. Stir until combined, then cool a little.

Separate egg yolks from egg whites. Whisk egg yolks and about 2/3 of the sugar in a large bowl until pale and fluffy. In another, very clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form, then continue whisking and adding the sugar, until the egg white mixture is shiny and stiff.

(You've got 3 bowls now - one with melted chocolate and butter, one with egg yolks and sugar, one with egg whites and sugar).

Gently fold the chocolate mixture into the egg yolk mixture. Then fold in about a third of the meringue (aka egg white mixture) until combined, then very gently add the rest of the egg whites to the batter.

Grease a 24 cm/9 inch springform tin thoroughly with butter, sprinkle lightly with sugar or cocoa powder. Spoon up to a half of the batter into the tin, smooth the top. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool a little - it'll collapse a little, which is perfectly normal.

Then spoon the rest of the chocolate batter on top of the cooled chocolate cake - this will become the chocolate mousse layer. Smooth the top, then place into a fridge for at least 4 hours or until the next day.

Before serving, remove the cake carefully from the tin and transfer onto a serving plate. Sprinkle generously with cocoa powder, then decorate with fresh or frozen raspberries or fancy chocolate curls.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

It's not Pancake Day, it's Shrove Tuesday cream bun day ;)

Vastlakuklid 2014
Photo by Juta Kübarsepp for the March 2014 issue of Kodu ja Aed magazine. 

It's time for semlor or lenten cream buns again - remember, instead of pancakes, in Estonia and other Nordic countries cream-filled buns are eaten (semlor in Swedish, vastlakuklid in Estonian, laskiaispulla in Finnish). I've got three different recipes here on Nami-Nami, all delicious :)

Recipe for classic lenten buns
Recipe for chocolate lenten buns
Recipe for raspberry and marzipan lenten buns

So, are you having pancakes or cream buns today? ;)

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Cullen Skink, a Scottish smoked haddock and potato soup (gluten-free)


Few days ago the Scots - and friends of Scotland - celebrated yet another anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns, hosting or attending a Burns Supper. Any self-respecting Burns Supper begins with a proper Scottish soup. I've shared a recipe for Cock-a-leekie before, other options are Scotch broth and Cullen Skink.  Now it's time to share my recipe for the smoked haddock and potato soup - think of it as a Scotch chowder :)

The soup is from the North-East of Scotland, from the fishing town of Cullen. Originally it's a comfort food, cheap and easy fare, and it's still popular in and around Cullen. Yet somehow that humble soup has tranformed into a fancy fare to be enjoyed at various festive Scottish occasions.

Scots know their smoked fish. Arbroath Smokie is a pair of salted haddocks, hot-smoked in a humid smoking chamber. Finnan Haddie, the traditional fish used for making Cullen Skink, is gutted and cleaned haddock that's been dry-salted and then smoked in a cool smoking chamber for 8-9 hours. If Finnan Haddie is hard to find where you live - that's probably most of the world apart from the British Isles - (and avoid the bright yellow dyed stuff, it discolours the soup), then any other nice smoked white fish would do. I used smoked cod, a user of my Estonian Nami-Nami site said that the soup worked well with smoked herring.

Cullen Skink
(Šoti suitsukalasupp)
Serves 6 as a starter, 3 as a main dish


500 g smoked haddock (ideally Finnan Haddie)
500 ml (2 cups) of water
butter for frying
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 large leek, cleaned and sliced
2-4 floury potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
500 ml (2 cups) whole milk
1 bay leaf
salt and freshly ground black pepper
fresh chives, finely minced

Place the fish into a pan, add the bay leaf and cold water. Gently bring into a boil, then simmer for about a minute or two. Remove the fish from the pan, transfer onto a plate and leave to cool. Keep the fish stock!

In another pot melt the butter gently. Add onion and leek, cover and sauté gently for a about 10 minutes. Stir every now and then, do not brown! Season with salt and pepper. Add potato pieces to the onion and leek, give it a stir. Add 500 ml/2 cups of fish stock, bring into a boil and simmer until the potato is cooked.

At the same time remove the fish from the bones carefully, flake into smaller pieces (discard the fish skin and bones). Using a slotted spoon, take couple of spoonfuls of the potato-leek mixture from the soup and put aside. Discard the bay leaf. Add the milk, bring gently into a boil. Add about half of the smoked fish. Mash the remaining soup or pureé using the hand-held/immersion blender. Season with salt and pepper.

To serve, place a large spoonful or two of potato-leek-smoked fish mixture into the middle of each soup bowl, then ladle the liquid soup neatly into the bowls as well. Garnish with chives and serve.