Monday, February 29, 2016

Same Procedure as Every Year

It's the Oscars again, and in what has become a time-honoured tradition, Rosettli is coming over for our annual allnighter with Hollywood, booze, and copious amounts of food. For this year's desert, I chose the easy-and-fucking-delicious way: miniature peanut butter cheesecakes. You will need:

2 regular cupcake trays
24 paper cups for cupcakes

24 Oreos
400g Philadelphia or similar cream cheese
200g sour cream
200g sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
150g to 200g of smooth peanut butter
2 eggs

Basically, you whisk everything together into a smooth mass. I found it easiest to first beat the cream cheese into submission, and then adding everything in the above order. The peanut butter was pretty resistant, but I added it in smaller blobs, and didn't add the next one until the previous one was perfectly blended in. Personally, I err on the side of more peanut butter, but just add until you are satisfied with the taste.

Put an Oreo in every paper cup. Fill the cup with the batter until about two thirds full. Bake at about 150°C for 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool.


Friday, January 29, 2016

Fast Food: Fish

So, one of the main reasons I sometimes eat crap is that crap is easily available, cheap, and able to basically make itself. Frozen pizza? Pop it in the oven, run a dungeon, voilà - done. I forget that healthy food is actually not really a hugely difficult or time-consuming thing to prepare, given the right ingredients. So here's some awesome food, done in a flash, with little effort.

Red Snapper with Virgin Mary Vegetables

400g canned tomatoes
1 large red bell pepper
half a celeriac bulb
salt, pepper, Worcester sauce
2 strips of bacon
1 clove of garlic
half a red chili
fillet of red snapper

Cut up the bell pepper and the celeriac into nice, medium-sized cubes. In a pot, heat the canned tomatoes, add the vegetable cubes. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer on medium heat until the celeriac is soft. Add the desired amount of Worcester sauce.

Cut the garlic clove and the chili into very fine slices. Fry the bacon in a frying pan with no added oil or fat; the bacon itself will provide what we need. When the bacon is crisp, remove from pan. In the remaining bacon grease, sautee the chili and the garlic on medium heat. Before the garlic begins to brown, pile all the vegetables to one side of the frying pan and add the fish, skin-side down. Fry for about two minutes, then turn and leave for another minute or so. When serving, place the fried garlic and chili on top of the fish with what remains of the grease. Bon appetit!

Remember: everything is better with bacon.  

Tuesday, January 26, 2016


Do you wonder how the people of a given region view the foods named after said region? After living in Spain, and seeing what they call a "Swiss" (molten chocolate in a cup, basically), I have often felt curious whether we are doing other people wrong in the same way. Indeed, Wikipedia informs me that, "Outside Italy, the phrase "Bolognese sauce" often refers to a tomato-based sauce to which mince (beef or pork) has been added; such sauces typically bear little resemblance to ragù alla bolognese."

Since my sister - whose Bolognese is far superior to mine - was slow to respond today, I pieced together what I remember from eating it a lot, and got some inspiration from our beloved Betty. This is the result.

Ragù alla Bolognese

1 tbsp of oil of choice
1 onion
2 cloves of garlic
2 carrots
1 zucchini
300g minced beef
3 tbsp tomato paste
1 dl red wine
400g canned tomatoes
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
pepper to taste
basil, thyme, rosemary according to personal preference

The tedious part first: chop up all the vegetables into itty bitty pieces, brunoise-style.

Itty. Bitty. Fucking. Pieces. 
Put the oil and the vegetables into a frying pan and sautee everything until the onions are soft. Add the beef, the tomato paste, and the wine. Allow the wine to cook, then add the canned tomatoes. Season, and let simmer for a few minutes. Serve with the pasta of your choice. My favourites are the spirally ones.

My sister is still in shock that I needed assistance with something "as basic as Bolognese". Ah, well. My relationship with Italy is ambivalent at best.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Things in Jars

Snacking is the enemy of the healthy diet. Fact. Eating good things for lunch or dinner is easy if you're someone who cooks. Snacking is evil, because all the things that are highly convenient - bite-sized pieces in a neat little pack - are usually awesome, but not recommended in large doses.

So I became the enemy of my enemy. I put convenient, bite-sized things in jars.

You will need vinegar, sugar, and spices. For every cup of vinegar, you add 3/4 cup of sugar. The choice of vinegar is important, since it's the flavour you're going to taste, along with the spices. My personal favourite is apple/pear vinegar, or white wine vinegar. Please note that red vine vinegar will also colour your veggies a little bit. If you don't mind that, go ahead.

Bring the vinegar and the sugar to a boil, cook until all the sugar has dissolved, then let cool. Cut your veggies into nice, medium-sized pieces, and put them in jars. Fill 2/3 of the jar with the vinegar. Add dried spices.

Preferred veggies: cucumber (duh!), peppers, onions, carrots, zucchini, cauliflower, broccoli. Be creative, use your favourites! In a jar in the fridge, your pickled salad will keep for about two weeks.

Preferred spices and herbs: everything dried; parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme (sing it!).... basil, you get the idea. I also like to use pepper, cardamom, cumin. I don't like anise, personally, and it's a very strong ingredient, but if you're into it, give it a shot.

A note on tomatoes: tomatoes are not vegetables, they are fruits. Fruits, in general, contain too much water to conserve well. You can add tomatoes, but you have to eat the result soon.

A note on garlic and ginger: use very, very little, if at all. Time is a close friend of those two, and after a while, that's all you're gonna taste in that jar.

A note on beets: the content of your jar will be pink. That's what beets do best. They are a well-known dye. I personally like to combine cauliflower and beets.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

New Year's Eve Menu

For NYE, in a radical departure from past habits, I decided to spend a quiet evening in with a few friends. I wasn't in a mood for partying. The best thing about having guests, of course, is serving them awesome food, so I came up with a stress-free menu for the occasion. One complication was that it had to include a vegetarian dish. A complication, because I'm a meat-eater, and the centerpiece of a main meal, to me, is the meat. On the other hand, I didn't want to take the easy way out and serve my vegetarian friend just the side dishes or some such indignity. Where I did go the easy road was with the side dishes: potato puree and peas practically make themselves. Also, it's important to have a dessert that can be made hours in advance.

The menu

Carrot-Mango Cappuccino

Glazed Pork Roast or Vegetarian Königsberger Klopse
with Potato-Chestnut Puree and Green Peas


As always, when you have an entire menu to cook, preparation and planning are everything. One thing to make life easier, is to do a dessert that can be prepared well in advance, which is why I went with the Tiramisù. Once assembled, it has to rest in a cool place for a few hours. Let's start with that. 

200g princess fingers biscuits
2 egg yolks
50g sugar
250g mascarpone
grated zest of half a lemon and half an orange
2 egg whites
1 tbsp of sugar
a pinch of salt
2,5 dl espresso
2 tbsp sugar
5 tbsp Amaretto 
cocoa powder

If you have no Amaretto around, there are a few more commonplace types of alcohol that work just as well. Personally, I used Bacardi Spiced Rum. Whisky might work, or Cognac. 
For the cream filling, beat the two egg yolks with the sugar until the mass is fluffy and light yellow. Add the mascarpone and the fruit zests. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with the salt until stiff. Add the tbsp of sugar and continue beating until shiny. Carefully add to the mascarpone cream. 
Cover the bottom of a flat bowl with half the princess fingers. Soak in half of the espresso-sugar-amaretto mix. Spread half of the mascarpone cream over the fingers. Dip the second half of the fingers into the espresso mix, layer on top of the cream. Spread the second half of the cream over them. Store in a cool place for about two hours. Before serving, dust extensively with the cocoa powder. 

Glazed Pork Roast
1kg pork, from the neck
1 dl maple syrup
1 tbsp mustard
1 clove of garlic

Again, the roast was a good choice because it requires minimal attention, once everything is put together. The amount here was enough for three people. Since the roast needs a lot of time in the oven, this should be your next step. 
Crush the clove of garlic and mix with the maple syrup and the mustard. 
In a frying pan, fry the pork until golden brown on all sides. Put in an oven-proof vessel, glaze with half of the maple syrup mix and roast in the middle of the oven at around 180°C for an hour. Pour the rest of the glaze over it, leave in the oven for another half hour. 

Vegetarian Königsberger Klopse
200g tofu
fresh horseradish, grated
zest of half a lemon, grated
salt, pepper
1 tsp mustard
1 tbsp breadcrumbs
1 small egg
5 dl bouillon for boiling
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
2 tsp lemon juice
100g capers from the jar
salt, pepper

Tear the tofu up into a fine, crumbly mass. Mix with everything up to and including the egg. You should be able to mold the mass into small balls, like meatballs. Should the mixture be too dry, add a tiny bit of mustard or water (taste it first to check if you need more or less flavour), if it's too wet, add more breadcrumbs. Set aside. 

Carrot-Mango Cappuccino
400g carrots
1 small onion
1 clove of garlic
small piece of ginger, about 2cm
5 dl bouillon
1 mango
1 lime
tabasco, sugar, salt
200ml coconut milk
100ml cream

Peel and chop the carrots and the onion into even pieces. Remember, the smaller the pieces, the faster they will be soft. Peel and chop the garlic and the ginger. With a little oil, sautee the carrots, onion, garlic and ginger, until the onions are soft. Add the bouillon and cook until the carrots are soft. 
In a separate pot, bring the coconut milk and the cream to a boil. Cut off two fine strips of lime zest and simmer in the coconut cream for five minutes. 
When the carrots are ready, puree the soup and add lime juice, tabasco, sugar, and salt to taste. Remove the zest from the coconut cream. 
Fill the carrot soup into the heat-resistant glasses. Beat the coconut cream slightly foamy and carefully layer on top. Serve. 

Yes, I could have smoothed out the edges of the carrot soup somewhat. Next time. 

Königsberger Klopse, continued

Boil the prepared balls in bouillon, for about five minutes. Remove from bouillon, reserve the liquid. In a separate pan, melt the butter and stir in the flour. Gradually add the bouillon to make a creamy sauce. Stir in the cream. Add the lemon juice and the capers, salt and pepper to taste. 

The vegetarian in question liked it. 

Potato-Chestnut Puree and Green Peas
600g potatoes suitable for mash
300g chestnuts, peeled and probably frozen
butter, milk, salt

500g frozen green peas

For the puree, peel the potatoes and cut them into even pieces. Boil in salted water, with the chestnuts, until soft. Remove from water, puree. Add butter (I used about 50g), stir in well. Add milk to taste, additional salt if needed. 
Cook the frozen peas in bouillon until ready. 

Remove the roast from the oven, pour a tiny amount of maple syrup over the cut slices. Arrange everything neatly on pretty plates (I used an ice cream scoop for the puree), et voilà! 

Friday, March 15, 2013


Chocolate is all kinds of awesome. Also, I recently acquired Hello Kitty-shaped molds, so I needed something to do with them. What could be better than home-made chocolates? Now, obviously, "home-made" is a bit of a misnomer. Because, in all honesty, we don't "make" the chocolate ourselves, we just re-purpose it. But that's a fun and sticky activity, and the results are supercute and tasty. 

The Materials

You will need: 

150g of nice chocolate or couverture
1 tsp of a softener, such as butter, or cocoa butter if you can get it. 
two silicone molds for chocolates
Interesting ingredients of your choice, such as chopped nuts, dried berries, spices, crispy things, etc.
Also extract of vanilla, or rum, that kind of thing. 

I use plain chocolate. I contemplated buying couverture chocolate, but decided against it. Mainly, because it tastes like crap, unless you buy the really expensive stuff. So I used plain chocolate bars. Obviously, that's bars without anything in them, because I'm gonna put all the good stuff in, myself.

In order to make the final product slightly softer than the original bar, I add one teaspoon of coconut oil per about 150g of chocolate. Coconut oil is actually solid at room temperature.

Melting the Chocolate

Chocolate is hard work.
The crucial part of creating chocolates is obviously melting the chocolate bar without burning it. This cannot be stressed enough: the chocolate should be liquid, but never boiling. Most people choose to use a bain-marie for this procedure. I am fortunate in that I have a gas stove, where temperature can be regulated with great flexibility. 

First, I chop the bar into tiny pieces. That way, everything melts faster. Two thirds go into the pot, the rest remains on the side. 
When everything in the pot is liquid, remove the pot from the stove and add the remaining chocolate. Stir until melted. 

 Adding Extras

As a rule, I put chopped nuts and similar ingredients directly into the liquid chocolate. "Centerpieces" like dried fruit, on the other hand, are carefully positioned. For this example, I added finely chopped, roasted, hazelnuts to the chocolate. Then I put on teaspoon of chocolate into each little heart. On top of that, I sat a dried cherry, before filling each cavity with the rest of the chocolate. 

Et voilà! Your fridge will do the rest. That's where you leave your chocolates now for about twenty minutes, until they are solid. Remember: silicone is very flexible, and the chocolate is very liquid. Just saying. 

Dark chocolate with roasted hazelnuts and dried cherries.
On average, it takes me thirty minutes to fill two molds. There is no limit to your imagination. Find inspiration right here.

White chocolate with chopped pistachios and rum-soaked raisins.

Tiny Hello Kitty chocolates are so awesome, they glitter when you look their way. True story.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Chocolate Muffins

Hi there. Remember me? Sooo... Yep, that was a bit of a break. A longish one. To make it up to you, I bring you one of the crowning glories of my kitchen. Behold:

Chocolate Muffins!

You are not impressed? Give it some space to build up. You'll see.

First, the basic recipe. This is the one that works best for me.

150g of dark chocolate
125g butter

215g flour
2 tsp baking powder
30g cocoa powder
55g sugar

185cl milk
2 eggs

Melt the chocolate and the butter. You can use a bain marie, but I usually just put it on the stove. You'll just have to keep an eye on it; you don't want it to boil. Let the mix cool.
In a bowl, combine the dry ingredients. In a different receptacle, whisk the eggs with the milk. Add the liquids and the non-hot chocolate-butter-mixture to the bowl with the dry ingredients. Mix with a fork, so that the mass remains a little bit lumpy.

This is the basic recipe. Now we add awesomeness.

Chocolate Muffins with Moar Chocolate
Fill the muffin forms to about 30%. Add a bit of chocolate, preferably a "praliny" kind. I love to use Lindor - the bar. Adding an entire Lindor ball might be a bit much. The one I use is dark chocolate with orange, but you can use anything that strikes your fancy. The important thing is that, after it melts, it is still a recognisably distinct flavour in your muffin.Cover with the rest of the batter.

Yes, this is an insidious product-placement.

Chocolate Muffins with Cream Cheese
For this filling, simply whisk cream cheese with sugar until you find it sufficiently sweet. I use half a pack (100g) of cream cheese for twelve muffins. Again, fill form to 30%, then add a fat layer of cream cheese, cover with the rest of the chocolate mix.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Bacon
Ba-dum-pssh! You heard me. With BACON. Why? Because everything is better with bacon!
Fry eight strips of bacon until they are crisp, but not burnt. Set unto a bed of kitchen crepe, and crumble. Keep some of the crumbled bacon for decoration, mix the rest in with the batter.

For the butter-cream topping, mix 250g of butter with two tbsp of maple syrup and ample amounts of confectioner's sugar. Add the sugar by the tablespoon, and keep testing it to make sure you have the right taste and firmness.

For all the muffins, bake them at 190°C, for 15 to 20 minutes. I err on the side of short, since longer baking times make for drier goods.

After they've cooled down, decorate the bacon cupcakes with the butter-cream and the crumbled bits of bacon. I usually use the ends of the bacon, that didn't get the full brunt of the heat from the frying.

See the missing one? Yes, that good.

Eat your delicious cupcakes. They are among the most fabulous food you've ever tasted. Should you be unconvinced on the subject of bacon (what??), then you should probably listen to Jim Gaffigan. He knows.