Poems are like spices…..

what appeals to my senses
may repel to yours
some like really spicy fire
others like a slow simmering glow
some like flamboyant flavors
others like the taste of the well known
some like traditional
others have more exotic taste
and for the naughty, there will always be chili
surely there is a spice for everyone
a piece of poetic spice cake?
go ahead and take a slice

Cottage cooking:

Fresh ginger gives this soft, moist loaf cake a healthy, flavorful update.

Gingerbread (for the Rhubarb orange marmalade)

All you need
Nonstick cooking spray
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
1 cup whole-wheat flour
3/4 cup turbinado sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup light molasses
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup firmly packed minced fresh ginger
Confectioner’s sugar, for dusting

Do this:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees with rack in the lower third of oven. Spray a 9-inch square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Line the bottom of the pan with waxed paper, and then spray the paper. Dust the entire pan with flour and shake out the excess.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, turbinado sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together molasses, eggs, oil, and buttermilk.

Dissolve baking soda in the cup of boiling water. Fold the baking soda and molasses mixtures into dry ingredients until combined. Fold in the minced ginger.

Scrape batter into the prepared baking pan; bake until cake is set around edges and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Cool 10 minutes in the pan, then invert onto a cooling rack. Serve warm or at room temperature, dusted with confectioner’s sugar.

Kategorien Cottage Life / Cooking, Delightful poems, Recipes . Skrevet af LE 29. June, 2011 kl 16:16

The first signs of real…..

….. turning of the seasons always take us by surprise.

This wonderful place, old and everlasting, but still it seems to be able to renew itself with the same energy as the new cycle of the year - and it makes me think:

When we leave, will we ourselves leave any traces?

Like the cave down they’re by the beach. Was this cave where the past owners of our bay once lived? Did they know that one-day strangers would come and live in their paradise, and enjoy the shade that the rose bushes and trees provided for those walking down to the sea?

Cottage poetry:

Creaking footsteps in the past,
I am already absence
the cottage, a jam-glass,
I’m still here as a fading memory
blurred in my paintings,
and surviving recipes
as trace of fog, in orange
(sweet and sour, as summer fruit)

Cottage cooking:

Enjoy the unmistakably tart taste of spring rhubarb combined with chopped orange peels, fresh orange juice and the seeds of a vanilla bean. The results taste a bit like rhubarb pie with orange marmalade. The sweet-tart flavor of this jam would complement any dark baked goods like gingerbread or spice cake.

Rhubarb orange marmalade

All you need:
6 cups granulated sugar
2 large navel oranges
5 cups finely chopped rhubarb
1 vanilla bean
One (1.75-ounce) package regular powdered pectin
1/2 teaspoon unsalted butter

Do this:
If you are going to preserve the jam, prepare the jars and lids: place 6 half-pint jars on a rack in a large pot. Add enough water to cover the jars, and bring to boil over high heat. Boil for 10 minutes, then turn off the heat and allow the jars to rest in the hot water. Meanwhile, put the bands and lids in a small saucepan and cover with water. Heat over medium heat until the water is simmering, then remove pan from the heat and allow the bands and lids to rest in the hot water until ready to use.

Measure the sugar into a large bowl and set aside. Wash one of the oranges and remove the rind in quarters. Thinly slice the rinds lengthwise, cutting away any excess pith. Chop the strips of rind crosswise into small pieces. Squeeze juice from both oranges. You should have about 1 cup. If you don’t, make up the difference with water.

Combine the orange rinds, orange juice, and rhubarb in a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape the seeds into the pot. Sprinkle the pectin evenly over the fruit and bring to a full boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently.

Add the sugar to the pot all at once, stirring until dissolved. Add the butter and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a full rolling boil. Boil hard for one minute. Remove the pot from the stove and skim any foam from the surface of the jam.

Ladle the hot jam into the hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Wipe the rims of the jars, cover with the lids, and screw the bands on until just barely tight. Place the jars on a rack in pot and cover completely with water. Cover the pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil for 10 minutes. Turn off heat, uncover the pot, and allow the jars to rest for five minutes. Remove the jars and allow them to rest undisturbed on the countertop for six hours or overnight.

Kategorien Cottage Life / Cooking, Delightful poems, Recipes . Skrevet af LE 28. June, 2011 kl 18:11

Early signs of summer has…..

….. unusual ways of showing itself on occasions; and the most welcome is always a visit by Hanne.

Despite the (for me) clear signs of hot whether in the offering, Hanne stays draped in a long black dress with long sleeves and a big straw hat (right up to the summer solstice). We have been sitting drinking iced tea on the terrace - me red armed in a summer dress, allowing the raw sun to burn my pallid skin - and Hanne in her black robe. When I think of Hanne’s small body completely covered with the black fabric, quit the opposite of my striped summer dress, I cannot help but think that her (slightly exaggerated) caution against spring sunlight, is a bit funny.

Another wonderful attribute is Hanne’s dry, quick, delightfully nuanced voice, in which interest in everything under the sun is evident (she can talk about any conceivable topic - for hours).

Hanne has no car, but despite that, she is always an early summer visitor here in paradise. Although she must hate the long hours she have to put in, to get here, she never complains, and deal with the tiring journey with patience and dignity.

Cottage cooking:

I could eat rhubarb pie for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but it would properly mean that I would weigh about 100 kg when autumn arrives….. but if you do not feel the urge to increase your weight dramatically, the answer may be to incorporate this sweet-tart flavor into a drink.

Rhubarb iced tea, a pick-me-up that showcases the lovely flavor and gorgeous red color of early summer rhubarb. It’s an awesome accompaniment to brunch or an afternoon barbecue.

Rhubarb Iced Tea

All you need:
8 stalks rhubarb (cut into 3 inch pieces)
3 tea bags
3 quarts water
3/4 cup sugar

Do this:
Place rhubarb into 3 quarts of water bring to boil reduce heat to a simmer; simmer for 1 hour.

Place tea bags in water the last 6 minutes.

Place into a 2-quart pitcher and add sugar.

Kategorien Cottage Life / Cooking, Recipes . Skrevet af LE 26. June, 2011 kl 10:10

Happy midsummer

With the best icecream in the world: Blueberry-Lavender Ice Cream - paired with honey and ginger flavour.

Cottage cooking:

All you need:
3 cup(s) heavy cream
1 cup(s) whole milk
1 tablespoon dried lavender flowers
8 large egg yolks
1/2 cup(s) sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon(s) vanilla extract
1 cup(s) blueberries
grated ginger and liquid honey

Do this:
Make the ice-cream base: Scald the cream, milk, and lavender flowers in a medium saucepan. Remove pan from heat, cover, and allow to steep for 30 minutes. Fill a large bowl halfway with water and ice and set aside. Strain the mixture back into the saucepan and heat just until it reaches a boil. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl until they become thick and pale. Whisking constantly, add the hot milk in a slow, steady stream to the yolk mixture. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly using a wooden spoon, until the mixture coats the back of the spoon - about 2 minutes. Immediately remove from heat, strain, and cool completely in the prepared ice bath. Stir in the vanilla extract.

Make the ice cream: Process in an ice-cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to a medium bowl and fold in the blueberries. Cover completely by placing plastic wrap directly on the ice cream surface and store in freezer for up to 1 week.

NOTE: Do not eat flowers from florists, nurseries or garden centers. In many cases these flowers have been treated with pesticides not labelled for food crops.

Kategorien Cottage Life / Cooking, Recipes . Skrevet af LE 23. June, 2011 kl 11:38

My studio is…..

….. in the wing. Here everything is done quietly and with care.

Currently a stream of spring flowers are flooding from my brush to the canvas: wonderfully fragrant pink lupines, small delicate white anemones, cute purple violets and small fragrant wild strawberries - three times the size of anything you find at home crowd my paintings, just as they do at the end of the grove each spring.

Cottage cooking:

Spring flowers add much-needed bursts of colour to garden beds and planting areas, but did you know that you can make use of them in the kitchen, too?.

Sweet flowers and tangy edible leaves can be used to add elegant and unique decoration to cakes, cookies and other sweet confections. Decorative chive blossoms lend a delicate note to salads, vinegars and other dishes that call for mild, oniony flavour.

Roses, violets, lavender and clove are sweet, while purple-blue borage flowers and colourful tulip petals taste like cucumber. Johnny jump-ups and pansies have a minty hint to them and scented geranium petals, like the rose geranium, have a slight tartness that combines nicely with sugar.

How to sugar flowers

To start: Buy dry powdered egg whites and superfine sugar. Ready a bowl of water and keep tweezers, a small paintbrush, waxed paper and a cheese shaker (also known as a flower duster) on hand.

Choose the flower: Pick blooms just before using. It is best to use flowers from your own garden both for quality purposes and to ensure the plants have not been sprayed with a pesticide. 
Prepping the petals 
Flowers in the morning should be fresh, open and undamaged. Dip flowers in a bowl of water to rinse off dirt specks and place on paper towel. Gently blot petals to dry.

Make the mixture: In a small bowl; mix the dry egg whites and a small amount of water. Whisk to break up the dry egg white. Hold a flower by the stem with the tweezers and paint the egg white onto the flower covering it all, top and bottom. Sprinkle the sugar on the blossom to coat the entire flower.

Dry the blooms: Trim the stem off and dry the blossom face-up on waxed paper. You can manoeuvre and flip the blossom with the tweezers after a couple of hours to dry it evenly and prevent it sticking on the paper. Blossoms will take a few days to dry completely, so it is best to dry them someplace where they won’t be disturbed.

Pack them gently: When dry, they will be fragile and brittle. Remove them to a covered container, placing layers of paper towel or tissue in between layers of flowers. Pack them gently, leaving plenty of loose space around them. Store in a dry dark place, such as cupboard.

NOTE: Flowers used in culinary applications are best harvested from one’s own garden. This insures freshness and assurance the plants are pesticide-free.

Kategorien Cottage Life / Cooking, Recipes . Skrevet af LE 17. June, 2011 kl 8:33

When I get old…..

….. I intend to live here in Paradise, as the time I have spent here is properly the happiest of my life.

The views I have painted here, of the coastline, wild flowers that move like waves in the wind and steep narrow streets, are hanging in the Wing, and will hopefully be hanging there for many years to come - to be admired by visitors drawn upward from the beach to the terrace, by the new garden path with its border of lavender flowers, blooming until the end of August, the month of my birth (this late summer month that is the most beautiful of them all).

Cottage cooking:

Lavender is an incredibly versatile herb for cooking.

Flowers and leaves can be used fresh, and both buds and stems can be used dried. Lavender is a member of the mint family and is close to rosemary, sage, and thyme.

Lavender Pancakes

All you need:
1 ¼ cup unbleached all purpose flour
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lavender flowers
¼ teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons baking powder
¼ cup soy yogurt or vegan sour cream
¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup plain almond or rice milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ cup canola oil

Do this:
Warm a large griddle over medium heat and grease with canola oil or canola oil spray.

Combine flour, sugar, lavender, salt, and baking powder together in a medium bowl. With an electric mixer, or a strong arm, beat in yogurt or sour cream, applesauce, milk, vanilla and canola oil until batter is smooth and there are no lumps.

Ladle pancake batter onto the griddle, the batter will spread quite a bit so start out in small batches to test for your desired size. When bubbles start to appear on the pancake surface check to see if they are golden brown in colour on the other side. If they are, flip and cook until both sides are golden brown, about 1-2 minutes per side. Remove from the griddle and serve with maple syrup.

NOTE: Do not eat flowers from florists, nurseries or garden centers. In many cases these flowers have been treated with pesticides not labelled for food crops.

Kategorien Cottage Life / Cooking, Recipes . Skrevet af LE 16. June, 2011 kl 8:32

The first intimations of summer…..

….. are glorious here at last, and we sit out more often on the terrace. At lunch we enjoyed my latest dish, Italian summer pie, stuffed with asparagus and small baby carrots.

As the days lengthen, we agree to have a stiff drink laden with mint, that grows happily here in a jar next to the terrace. Whether it is as a salute to the sky about to darken as night falls or to the sea seems insignificant.

Before dinner we go down to our perfect beach to test the water, which is suddenly warm, despite the wind which blows from the north and turns the sea in to a raging maze of deep blue.

After swimming, we sit in the dunes, still warm from the day’s sun, and look out at the sea, and we say to each other, as we so often have before, this is a perfect end to an (almost) perfect day.

Cottage cooking:

Italian summer pie (6-8 persons)

Two dl wheat flour
1 dl dinkel flour
150 g butter
2 tbsp. cold water

Alternative: you can buy a pre-made butter dough (I did).

1 bunch green asparagus
1 bunch baby carrots
1 box cress
3 eggs
2 dl whipping cream
2 dl 38% cream fraise
1 ½ dl grated Parmesan
½ teaspoon salt
a pinch of pepper

Do this: Mix flour and butter to the dough (preferably in a blender).

Add water to the dough is ready. Let it rest 15 minutes in the refrigerator.

Press or roll dough out into a tin with removable rim (about 24 cm diameter).

Bake pie base for approx. 10 minutes at 200 degrees.

Clean the asparagus and carrots.

Cook the vegetables in lightly salted water for approx. 3 minutes. Guilt them in cold water and cut them into smaller pieces. Spread the vegetables on the pie base.

Mix the rest of the ingredients to an egg mixture and season with seasoning. Pour the mixture over the vegetables and punch with a fork so it runs down all over.

Bake pie at the bottom of the oven for approx. 45 minutes to the pie are solid and have a nice color (wrap in foil if needed).

Remove pie from the oven and garnish with cress.

Tip: As you can see on the photos, we served the pie in company of an Italian inspired salad, Parma ham and salami.

Buon appetito!

Kategorien Cottage Life / Cooking, Recipes . Skrevet af LE 14. June, 2011 kl 10:23

On this lovely…..

….. Danish coast, it’s easy to forget the rest of the world completely. So when our friends rang and asked if they could come over, we felt we’ve been cut off for so long that it would be good to see some familiar faces.

But the day didn’t start so well. As our road is hard to find, I went off to the main road to guide them, and at my husband’s insistence, I took his mobile phone with me. So when I was standing in the road, the phone rang and a very loud persistent city person, not our friends at all, kept demanding to speak to him. In my desire to get rid of her, I turned off the mobile, and then I couldn’t turn it on again. An hour later, our friends, who had indeed been lost, appeared, and finally we all sat down to lunch.

Cottage cooking:

Enjoy the taste of the Nordic kitchen and let yourself be inspired by what lives in the sea…. and find your own favorites using herbs like dill, fennel and horseradish.

Homemade Toast Skagen (4)

100 g peeled fresh shrimp
1 tbsp. chopped dill
3 tbsp. mayonnaise
1 tbsp. finely grated horseradish
1 tsp. lemon juice
4 slices bread

Do this:
Mix all the ingredients for the shrimp salad.

Put the salad on just before serving.

Use garnish like halved boiled eggs, caviar and a sprig of dill.

Kategorien Cottage Life / Cooking, Recipes . Skrevet af LE 11. June, 2011 kl 7:09

I wish…..

….. I had a poem for a rainy day
when raindrops drips onto my naked face

should I be dreaming of sleep
or sleeping with dreams

maybe I need an umbrella of hope
and a window for it to dry

I wish I had a poem that was dark blue as the sky
or as quiet as a raindrop

Kategorien Cottage Life / Cooking, Delightful poems . Skrevet af LE 9. June, 2011 kl 10:03

In these latest visits to…..

….. our paradise, what stands out most is the way everything is changing, thanks to tourism….. but some of these changes (contrary to received opinion) actually improves the way of life here (such as, the new bakery - they make the most delicious strawberry cakes), for visitors and residents alike. In this village so remote that it is more or less off the map, shops are selling everything from light bulb to Irish whiskey.

Of course, there are changes to out private paradise too. Once the early spring of our arrival turns in to summer, more visitors will arrive on the beach.

But still, soon strawberries will be popping up everywhere, and the lovely bay will lye there open for everyone, as the path down has always been open for fishermen as visitors alike.

Cottage cooking:

Strawberry cake is a wonderful Danish classic with Mazarin, chocolate, vanilla cream and strawberries.

So inspired by our new bakery, I baked one of my own.

The secret is a good Mazarin mass. It makes the bottom of the cake juicy and tasty and combined with the top of dark chocolate, vanilla cream and strawberries it is absolutely divine.

Strawberry Cake

Short pastry:
200 g wheat flour
100 g icing sugar
120 g cold butter into small cubes
1 small egg

150 g marzipan
150 g cane sugar
100 g soft butter
2 eggs
50 g flour

100 g good dark chocolate

Vanilla Cream:
2 1 / 2 cup milk
2-3 tbsp. sugar
grains of 1 vanilla pod
1 cup pasteurized egg yolks
1 tbsp. cornstarch

approx. 500 g strawberry

Short pastry:

Put flour and icing sugar in a bowl and crumble. Add the egg and collect the dough. Place pastry cold approx. 1 hour.

Mix marzipan and sugar to a smooth paste. Add the butter a little at a time and whisk. Then add the eggs one at a time, and finally, beat the flour in.

Roll pastry out and place it in a greased pie dish around. 28 cm diameter, so it covers bottom and edge.

Add mazarin on top of pastry and spread it evenly.

Bake cake in middle of oven at 200 degrees for approx. 25 min.

Take the cake out and cool it.

Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a water bath and brush the pie with chocolate. Let the chocolate harden.

Vanilla Cream: Pour milk, sugar, vanilla seeds, egg yolks and cornstarch in to a small saucepan and cook over low heat to the cream thicken. Remove custard from heat and cool.

Top the cake with the vanilla cream and garnish with the strawberries.

Kategorien Cottage Life / Cooking, Recipes . Skrevet af LE 8. June, 2011 kl 8:56

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