Sunday, September 28, 2008

Recipe for Crispy Lingonberry and Oat Cookies

I was in a cookie mode yesterday. Friends of us had invited us over for dinner (thank you, Marika & Tambet!), and we wanted to bring something little and nice and edible along. Browsing through my Estonian recipe site, I came across a Finnish Valio recipe for 'Puolukka-kauracookiet', which sounded perfect, as K's mum keeps us well supplied with lingonberries this autumn (remember the lingonberry and chocolate cake, and Swedish lingonberry cake? You get the picture - we've got loads of these berries).

And these cookies were lovely! They made the whole house smell like Christmas - and as it was a beautifully sunny autumn day outside and we were on a way to spend couple of hours sailing on the Tallinn bay, that smell was a good sign of the good times ahead of us..

Lingonberry and Oat Cookies
(Pohla-kaeraküpsised )
Makes 4 dozens

200 g butter, at room temperature
275 g caster sugar (300 ml)
1 large egg
200 g plain/all-purpose flour (400 ml)
110 g rolled oats or 4-grain cereal flakes (300 ml)
1 tsp freshly ground cardamom seeds
1 tsp baking powder
half a cup of fresh or frozen lingonberries

Cream the butter and sugar, beat in the egg. You should have a pale and creamy mixture.
Measure flour, oats, cardamom and baking powder into a bowl, then fold into the butter mixture. Combine - either with a wooden spoon or by using your hands. Fold in the lingonberries.
Take a spoonful (either a heaped teaspoonful or half a tablespoonful) of cookie mixture, roll into a small ball in your palm, then press slightly. Place on a parchment-covered cookie sheet, leaving plenty of space for spreading. (I placed 3x4 cookies on a sheet at the time).
Bake in the middle of a 200 C/400 F oven for 10-12 minutes, until cookies are golden brown.
Cool completely. These will keep nicely in an airtight cooki tin for a couple of days.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Kladdkaka or a Swedish lingonberry and chocolate brownie

Photo updated in October 2013. The photo above is by Juta Kübarsepp for Nami-Nami/Kodu ja Aed

I went on a Stockholm day cruise last week with my friend Melissa and her daughter Natali. Melissa is a friend from my Edinburgh-days, who is now based in Toronto. She spent 9 days in Tallinn, and to give her a small break from my hometown, we popped over to the capital of Sweden for a day. It was lovely, if a bit chilly and wet, and luckily the ferry ride wasn't too bumpy.

On a way back to the ferry terminal I picked up two Swedish food magazines, and this Chocolate and Lingonberry Cake in the August issue of Allt of Mat immediately caught my eye. K's mum provides us with lots of lingonberries these days, you see, and although I liked the last week cardamom-scented Swedish lingonberry cake, it's fun to try new recipes. This one was a great hit with K (he had 3 slices on Saturday night alone), and his mum called me yesterday afternoon to tell how much she and her friends liked the cake, too. It's almost brownie-like in texture - smooth and velvety - with lingonberries giving a nice acidic kick to it. Well worth a try!

Lingonberry and Chocolate Cake 
Serves 12

175 g butter
3 large eggs
200 g caster sugar
120 g all-purpose/plain flour
50 g cocoa powder (unsweetened!)
a pinch of salt
100 g lingonberries

To serve:
vanilla ice cream or softly whipped cream

Melt the butter on a low heat, then cool a little.
Whisk eggs and sugar until pale and foamy.
Sift flour, cocoa powder and salt into a bowl, then fold into the egg mixture together with the melted butter.
Spoon the batter (it's pretty mousse-like) into a buttered 24 cm spring form, smooth the top. Sprinkle the lingonberries evenly over the cake.
Bake at the lower half of a 175 C/340 F oven for 25-30 minutes, until you can see the sides of the cake loosening from the tin.
Let the cake cool in the tin for a short while before transferring it onto a cake plate.
Serve with ice cream or whipped cream.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Roasted Beets with Caraway Seeds

The Beet Princess (aka me) just noticed that it's been a while since her last beetroot post (over a month!?). So it's about time for another one :)

Here's a very-very simple side dish recipe that I served just over a week ago when a bunch of my girlfriends came over for a meal and sharing of some good news. It takes no time to put together, and then it just happily cooks away in your oven while you're preparing for the party. Excellent.

I served it as part of a hot snack table, but these caraway-scented roasted beets would also be a nice hot or warm side dish alongside meat. I love how caraway seeds give this dish a very distinct Northern/Eastern European feel.

Roast Beets with Caraway Seeds
(Küpsetatud peedid köömnetega)
Adapted from Estonian women's monthly Kodu & Aed (Christmas 2007)
Serves 4

4 to 6 smaller beets
4 Tbsp olive oil
4 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp caster sugar
2 Tbsp caraway seeds
salt to taste

Using a vegetable peeler, peel the beets and cut the beets into 8-12 wedges, depending on their size. Toss all ingredients in a large bowl, mixing thoroughly.
Pour the seasoned beet wedges into a large oven dish that ideally fits them in one layer.
Roast in a pre-heated 180 Centigrade oven for about 25 minutes, until the beets are cooked.
Serve hot or lukewarm.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Jamming in 2008: French Apricot Jam and Estonian Cherry Preserve

I've already put aside a fridge full of various jams and marmelades this summer (luckily, we've got an extra fridge in the garage for that purpose), and I'm still to make some apple jam, lingonberry preserves, not even talking about cranberries and black aronia berries that are ripening as we speak. Here are photos of two jams we've made.

Here's one of K's favourite jams - a French Apricot Jam - French, as we used some very delicious French apricots for this :) K. used 400 grams of caster sugar per 1 kg of fruit, and slowly cooked the jam until desired thickness:

And here's an Estonian Sour Cherry Preserve, using 400 grams of jam sugar per 1 kg of stoned cherries:

Estonian recipes:
Ilus oranž aprikoosimoos
Kirsimoos moosisuhkruga

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Swedish Lingonberry Cake Recipe

Remember my recipe for Canadian Apple Pie? Well, it's been one of my most popular recipes - and for a good reason, as it's incredibly tasty. BUT. None of my Canadian friends could recognise the cake, that is to say, they loved the cake, but couldn't confirm its Canadian origin.

I'm a bit afraid this Swedish Lingonberry Cake recipe is the same. You see, the recipe is from a Finnish women's weekly magazine, Me Naiset, where it was published in September 2005 and called "Ruotsalainen puolukkakakku" (that's "Swedish lingonberry cake"). But I've got no particular reason to believe it's Swedish, so I apologise beforehand to all my Swedish readers :)

As I'm off to a Stockholm day cruise next Monday, I thought it's appropriate to share the recipe with you. It's a bit drier than my usual forest berry cakes, but it's tasty. A bit crumbly, almost with a shortcake-like texture. With a strong cardamom flavour, it's festive and somewhat old-fashioned. And different. We liked it, and I hope you'll like it, too.

Oh, and the lingonberries were picked by K's mum. I've got enough for another 5 lingonberry cakes :)

Swedish lingonberry cake
(Rootsi pohlakook)
Serves 10-12

1 large egg
100 ml caster sugar
100 g butter, melted
350 ml plain flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
0.5 tsp freshly ground cardamom seeds

For the topping:
400 ml whole lingonberries
75 ml caster sugar

Whisk the egg with the sugar, then add the melted butter and dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, cardamom seeds). You'll get a moist and pretty hard dough. Press that into a buttered and/or lined cake tin (appr. 20-23 cm in diameter).
Scatter lingonberries on top and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake at 175 Centigrade for 45 minutes, until the cake is cooked through.

Serve at room temperature with some ice cream or custard or whipped cream.