“There is nothing like…..

….. staying at home
for real comfort.”

-Jane Austen

Kategorien Cottage Life / Cooking, Delightful art, Lovely Quotes . Skrevet af LE 29. July, 2011 kl 14:48

It’s end-July…..

….. and finally the sun is here!

Now, it’s time to dust off my bike and head for the beach.

But before I go, here is a little poem to celebrate this lovely summerday.

Cottage poetry:

lying and watching the sun rise
I know time is near
time to love
time to laugh
time to cheer
lying and watching the sun rise

leaning and watching the sun sway
over the green green grass
over the blue blue sky
over the white white clouds
leaning and watching the sun sway

sitting and watching the sun set
down to the sea
down to the bluest of seas
down to the wet wet sea
sitting and watching the sun set

dreaming
not breathing
not hearing
not moving
dreaming

lying and watching the sun rise
leaning and watching the sun sway
sitting and watching the sun set
loving
laughing
cheering

 

Kategorien Cottage Life / Cooking, Delightful poems . Skrevet af LE 27. July, 2011 kl 9:09

They say that…..

….. March is the cruelest month of the year, but right now, I think it just might be July - in Denmark anyway - here sunshine has turned into lots and lots of rain…… and outside my window it’s wet and gray, gray, gray.

Cottage cooking:

Since I can’t do much about the weather, I decided to change my mood reminding myself: that while it is a bit depressing outside, the weather is a greater excuse to reside in the kitchen.

So while I try to talk the clouds into clearing, I am taking a mind-trip to Paris, cooking a (at-home) bistro meal….. no passport is required.

Filet Mignon with Roquefort

All you need:
2 teaspoons olive oil
4 beef tenderloin steaks (1 in. thick), trimmed of fat
1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoons coarsely ground pepper
1 ounce(s) Roquefort cheese, crumbled

Do this:
In skillet, heat oil on high until hot. On waxed paper, evenly season steaks, on both sides.

Add steaks to skillet and cook 10 minutes for medium-rare or until desired doneness, turning over once. Transfer steaks to 4 dinner plates; top with Roquefort.

Creamy mash

All you need:
800 g potatoes, peeled, halved
60g butter, chopped
½ cup milk

Do this:
Cook potato in a large saucepan of boiling water for 20 minutes or until tender. Drain. Return potato to pan.

Tip: Stirring cooked potatoes over low heat dries them out, resulting in a light and fluffy mash.

Reduce heat to low. Stir for 1 minute. Add butter and half the milk. Mash to combine. Gradually add remaining milk, mashing until smooth.

Season with pepper.

Créme Caramel

All you need:
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cold water
2 large eggs
2 large egg whites
3 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla powder (or extract)

Do this:
Preheat oven to 200 degrees.

Heat water to boiling to use for water bath later.

In 2-quart saucepan, heat 2/3 cup sugar with cold water on medium until melted and a light caramel color, swirling pan occasionally. Immediately pour caramel into 6-ounce custard cups.

In large bowl, with wire whisk, beat eggs, egg whites, and remaining 1/3 cup sugar until well blended. Beat in milk and vanilla. Pour custard mixture into custard cups.

Place cups in large roasting pan; pour boiling water in pan until it comes halfway up sides of cups. Bake 40 minutes or until center of custard is just set. Remove custard cups from water in roasting pan; cool on wire rack. Cover and refrigerate 4 hours or until custard is well chilled.

Serve: carefully loosen custard from sides of cups. Invert each crème caramel onto dessert plate, tapping cup to help release custard. Leave inverted cup on plate for several minutes to allow caramel syrup to drip from cup onto custard.

Kategorien Cottage Life / Cooking, Recipes . Skrevet af LE 26. July, 2011 kl 13:42

If I am still not able to…..

….. guess the weather, my husband seems to know instinctively which way the wind is going to blow.

Surprising me on a gray chilly morning, by saying: “today is going to be nice and sunny, perfect for a day on the golf course”…..

And he is proved right an hour or so later when the sun appears and I have to start throwing of my rain pants and jacket.

But when I try to persuade him to risk the cold water of the bay, he reminds me that he takes to the sea only in high summer (when the water is at least 22 degrees)….. and that is a long way off.

Cottage cooking:

Despite the very wet summer weather, we were yesterday invited to participate in a golf tournament and a following shellfish feast with some of our friends.

As a small starter, Nina served Vasterbottenpaj topped with caviar, crème fraiche and red onion.’

Västerbotten cheese is a lovely hard cow’s milk cheese from Sweden that reminds me of Parmiggiano, but it’s somewhat sweeter. Sadly it’s not available in Denmark, but every time we pop over to Sweden, we make sure to bring home a chunk. It is produced in the North of Sweden, and the recipe and process has remained pretty much the same for the last 150 years or so.

It is an excellent cheese for the cheese board as well as for cooking. The cheese pie can be serve either hot or cold, accompanied with a green salad. When cold, the tart can be cut into very thin and elegant slices that is great as an appetizer served topped with caviar, crème fraiche and red onion.

Swedish vasterbotten-cheese pie is often served at the annual kraftskiva (crayfish party) held in August.

Västerbottenspaj

All you need:
Pastry:

200 g plain flour
pinch of salt
100 g cold butter, cubed
1 egg

Cheese filling:
3 eggs
200 ml fresh cream (single, whipping, double or even half-and-half)
200 g Västerbottens cheese, coarsely grated
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Do this:

Make the pastry first. Combine flour and salt in a bowl. Add the cold butter and process until you’ve got coarse crumbs. Then add the egg and process again, until the dough comes together.

Flatten the dough into a disc and wrap it in Clingfilm. Place in the fridge for an hour.

Roll the pastry on a lightly floured surface into a circle large enough to fill a 26 cm tart tin. Transfer the dough into the tin, pressing it gently to the edge and up along the sides.

Bake in oven at 200 C for about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven.

For the filling, whisk the eggs and cream until combined, and then season with salt and pepper. Fold in the grated cheese. Pour over the partially baked pastry base.

Return into the oven and bake for another 25-30 minutes, until the filling is set and the tart is golden.

Kategorien Cottage Life / Cooking, Recipes . Skrevet af LE 23. July, 2011 kl 8:42

But after sun…..

….. comes rain!

And yesterdays turn of weather took us back to reality when a sudden, drastic thunderstorm appearing in the sky above.

This is summer life in Denmark, we remind ourselves, that shows us, that there is no such thing as a perfect, unchanging day. And ironically, these rain and thunderstorms make this the most perfect country to live in.

Cottage cooking:

When the weather outside is wet and nasty, stay in and make a classic Italian Grilled Cheese-n-Tomato. These delicious sandwiches have the ability to give you a warm, cozy feeling inside, no mater how badly it’s pouring outside.

Italian Grilled Cheese-n-Tomato

All you need:
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large clove garlic, cracked away from skin
8 slices crusty Italian bread
1 pound smoked fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
2 ripe tomatoes, thinly sliced
8 basil leaves, torn

Do this:
Heat a grill pan over medium low to medium heat. Heat oil and garlic in a small pot over low heat. Brush 4 slices of the bread with garlic oil on 1 side. Place garlic oil side down on the grill. Top with sliced cheese, tomato and basil. Place another slice of bread on top of each sandwich. Brush sandwiches with garlic oil. Press sandwiches with heavy skillet or a brick covered with tin foil. Toast sandwiches on both sides to melt cheese.

Kategorien Cottage Life / Cooking . Skrevet af LE 22. July, 2011 kl 8:57

It is morning and we sit on…..

….. the terrace enjoying a moment of silence….. on a sunny day like this, there will be a mass-tourist picnic on the beach later in the day.

But for now, we enjoy the quiet summer morning, a sky of uninterrupted blue, a faint breeze and the fragrance of the lovely beach roses, along the sand dunes….. the idyllic morning feels eternal, like the endlessly repeating of small splashing waves of patterned silver in the changing sea below.

Cottage cooking:

On a beautiful summer day: the sound of waves breaking against the shore, sea grass swaying in the breeze and children and adults who eat ….. is there anything better than a beach picnic?

Bruschetta al Prosciutto con Mozzarella

These delectable little bruschetta’s can be assembled up to 4 hours prior to serving and refrigerated until you are ready to pop them under the grill.

All you need (serves 8 ):
24 slices baguette
12 thin slices Prosciutto di Parma (halved)
24 basil leaves
12 sun dried tomatoes packed in olive oil, drained and halved
24 mozzarella slices
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

To serve:
3 cups packed baby greens
Juice of ½ lemon
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Do this:

Preheat the grill.

Cut the baguette slices.

Place the halved Prosciutto slices on a pice of parchment paper. Top each slice with 1 basil leaf, then a slice of sun dried tomato, and finally 1 of the mozzarella slices. Sprinkle with pepper. Wrap to enclose the Prosciutto and place 1 bundle on each baguette slice, seam side down.

Place on the grill until the Prosciutto is crispy, the mozzarella are melted, and the bread is golden at the edges.

To serve: Toss all the ingredients in a bowl. Distribute the greens among 6 plates. Serve within minutes, while the bruschetta is hot and crispy.

Kategorien Cottage Life / Cooking . Skrevet af LE 20. July, 2011 kl 9:59

Today we’ll have a picnic…..

….. in our living room (as it is raining again).

We’ll sit on the old wood floor eating: bagels with smoked salmon and lovely salad glistening in dressing of olive oil and lemon juice.

….. and we finish the picnic with this juicy cake filled with fresh berries and lemon cud.

Cottage cooking:

Strawberries cake with lemon curd
1 cake / 12 pieces
a little syrup (see recipe here)
a glass of lemon curd

Filling
1 vanilla stick
½ dl sugar
2 liters of fresh strawberries
3 dl whipping cream

Do this:
I have cheated a little, and bought finished cake plates.

Prepare the lemon curd (see recipe below) and let it cool in refrigerator.

Scrape vanilla seeds out and mix them with sugar. Guilt and slice half of strawberries and mix them with sugar.

Spread fruit on the bottom cake plate.

Put a cake plate on top and spread lemon curd on.

Put the last cake plate on top and cover it with light whipped cream and the rest of the quilted fresh fruit.

Tip: If you want your cake juicier, you can mix a little punch (or rum) with syrup and brush the bottom cake plate with it, before you add the fruit. This will make the cake juicy and add a wonderful liqueur flavor

Kategorien Cottage Life / Cooking, Recipes . Skrevet af LE 17. July, 2011 kl 14:38

The sun is back…..

….. accompanied by a lovely smell of vanilla and lemon, which rises from a jar of homemade lemon curd, as deep yellow as the sun overhead.

Cottage poetry:

It’s bitter, sweat and yellow
it’s sunshine on a tree
plug it on a summer day
and bring it home to me

3 lemons boiled with sugar
add a little butter to
squeeze the juice and mix with cornstarch
beat an egg yolk in, or two

Sink your spoon in to the lemon
stir to it get creamy thick
pour the curd in to a glass
and cool it in the fridge

Cottage cooking:

In my opinion, most of our pies and cakes would not be anything to write home about, if it were not for the lovely cream and jam we fill them with.

Lemon Curd (1 small jar)
3 lemons
1 1/2 dl sugar
50 g butter
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 eggs
2 egg yolks

Do this:
Mix grate from 3 lemons with juice from 2 lemons and boil up with sugar and butter.

Pour liquid through a sieve.

Mix cornstarch into the juice from the third lemon and stir it into the hot liquid.

Beat the eggs together and stir them into the hot liquid, place the liquid back on the stove and let it simmer, stirring constantly until the cream gets thick.

Pour the cream into a clean glass and let it cool.

Tip: the Lemon curd should be kept in the refrigerator.

Kategorien Cottage Life / Cooking, Delightful poems, Recipes . Skrevet af LE 15. July, 2011 kl 7:58

The Cottage’s top 10 tips…..

…..to obtain happiness….. even on a rainy day!

1. First advice is simple: it isn’t better than you think it is.

Do you like cooking? singing? playing? painting?

Then cook, play, sing and paint - you are supposed to enjoy live!

2. Stay outside a bit each day. A whiff of fresh air, a little sunshine, even a splash of rain in the face makes us feel alive.

3. Take an early morning dip - the cold thrill of fresh saltwater is more intoxicating than wine.

4. Be grateful for what you have. A knot on the road of life? Yes but a challenging knot. It’s never as bad as you think, and there is always something positive to be found in life.

5. Be active. If you stand still for too long, you might get the idea that life is static.

6. Be optimistic and do the important things properly, then the rest will fix itself.

7. Have your family nearby - or if not possible, stay in touch. Remember, they are never further away than a phone call or an e-mail.

8. Rest and doze for a moment - eat a grape, an olive, a little cheese and a sun dried tomato - it will bring you immediate happiness.

9. Remember life is not suppose to be easy….. but it should not be bad either.

Misfortune kills us and the same does sorrow and worries - but think of all the joy in life: laughter, love, beauty, comfort and warmth.

Just the simple pleasure of sharing a good ciabatta and a glass of redwine with my husband, is enough for me to forget all about sorrows and anxieties.

10. As the wise men says: those who have satisfy their hunger with good and tasty food, will always be more satisfied with life.

Cottage cooking:

This is a perfect dough for those who like chewy bread with crusts crisp….. and it’s bursting with flavor..

Take five minutes today to make the starter, and tomorrow you can bake two loaves of this lovely rustic Italian bread.

Ciabatta


All you need:

For the starter:
1/8 teaspoon dried active baking yeast
2 tablespoons warm water (45 C)
5 tablespoons warm water
150g bread flour

For the bread:
1/2 teaspoon dried active baking yeast
2 tablespoons warm milk (45 C)
150ml warm water
1 tablespoon olive oil
275g bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Do this:
To make the starter: In a medium bowl, stir together the yeast and 2 tablespoons warm water and let stand 5 minutes, or until creamy. Add the remaining water and bread flour. Stir 4 minutes, then cover bowl with cling film. Leave in cool temperature for at least 12 hours and up to 1 day.

To make the bread: In a small bowl, stir together yeast and warm milk and let stand 5 minutes, or until creamy. In bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, blend together milk mixture, starter, warm water, olive oil and flour at low speed until flour is just moistened; add salt and mix until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Scrape dough into an oiled bowl and cover with cling film.

Let dough rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours. (Dough will be sticky and full of air bubbles.) Turn dough out onto a well-floured work surface and cut in half. Transfer each half to a sheet of baking parchment and form into an irregular oval about 25cm (10 in) long. Dimple loaves with floured fingers and dust tops with flour. Cover loaves with a clean, damp tea towel. Let loaves rise at room temperature until almost doubled in bulk, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

At least 45 minutes before baking ciabatta, put a baking stone on the lowest oven shelf and preheat oven to 220 C.

Transfer 1 loaf on its parchment to a baking tray, and tilt baking tray to slide loaf with parchment onto back half of stone. Transfer remaining loaf to front half of stone in a similar manner.

Bake ciabatta loaves 20 minutes, or until golden. Cool loaves on a wire rack.

Kategorien Cottage Life / Cooking, Recipes . Skrevet af LE 14. July, 2011 kl 12:30

One of the most certain signs…..

….. of summer is also the arrival of boats at the end of the small jetties along the coast.

Here you can see all the small craft ‘s bobbling in the waves made from the big boats, passing out at sea. The sea causes them to move as if they where toy boats or rubber duck’s, in comparison with the big ferry which passes us twice a day, on it’s way to the harbor in the old town.

We have borrowed an old wooden boat. In this splendidly solid vessel, two could sleep in the front cabin and two in the back. She can take us as fare as Sweden, if we whish so; and we can spend the summer sunbathing, sleeping, cooking in the galley kitchen and diving in to the sea from her bow, in the early dawn, or late at night, taking a swim in the silvery moon light.

Cottage poetry:

The sky is clear and glowing
The moon is big and bright
I feel the sea around me
It’s sparkles in the night

The shadows hide amongst the waves
I listen to the sea
A nighttime opera is performed
A magic symphony

The beauty of the ocean
Gives me passion and delight
It makes my heart beat faster
And surrender to the night

Kategorien Cottage Life / Cooking, Delightful poems . Skrevet af LE 13. July, 2011 kl 14:02

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