30 May 2012

Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb with Root Vegetable Gratin, Green Peas and Brown Sauce

Preparing the meat in this way is generally called the French was of preparing a rack of lamb, where more care is taken toward preserving the ribs themselves. You trim the sides and remove some of the meat from the ribs so the bones stand out. My father-in-law, who had so generously brought the lamb over from Iceland, got an Icelandic butcher to sort out the preparation of the meat - so little remained for me but to throw myself into the cooking!

Savory root vegetables prepared for the gratin

Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb with Root Vegetable Gratin, Green Peas and Brown Sauce

As the title implies, with the meal we served a slightly different gratin. We peeled and sliced both potatoes, carrots, celeriac and chioggia beetroot, which reveals characteristic circular patterns when you cut them. Spread oil around the inside of an ovenproof dish and then layer the root vegetables into it. Generously season. Pour a reasonable amount of cream into the dish and top the whole thing with freshly grated cheese. Bake in oven for around an hour at 200 degrees. 

Icelandic lamb-racks 

First the rack was washed and dried. Season with salt and pepper and then browned on the outside on a hot pan, just long enough to close the meat. Place to the side while you attend to the next steps.

Mixture of herbs

The herb mixture was made from a handful of grated parmesan, garlic, handful of breadcrumbs, handful of parsley, basil and fresh thyme, and of course, salt and pepper. The concoction was minced in a food processor until it turned into dusty and lustrous mossy green crumbles which smelled amazingly. 

I love dijon mustard!

Next, the rack of lamb is anointed with the loveliest French dijon you can find - in this case, Edmont Fallot. 

Ready for the oven

Then, cover them with the crumbly herb mixture, carefully layer them into an ovenproof dish and bake at 200 degrees or until the core temperature had reached 65 degrees Celsius.

With a meal like this you absolutely need good red wine 

With the food we drank this great red wine from France. E. Guigal Gigondas from 2007. The wine is from the southern part of the Rhine valley and is made from a blend of Grenache (65%), Mourvédre (25%) and Syrah. It is a lovely sip - deep red in color. The taste reminiscent of pungent fruit, a little acid and good, balanced tannin. Good aftertaste. The wine has received very good reviews from a variety of critics, like many other wines from the same producer. 

Holy moly ... Bon appetit!

The sauce was as simple as it gets. I had prepared lamb stock before which I had kept in the freezer. Lamb stock is easy to make - the only things required are a big pot and plenty of time. First, fry onion, carrots, celery, garlic until soft. Add browned lamb bones and water, enough to cover the ingredients and then boil for a few hours. In the beginning there emerges a sheet of brown froth on top which is wise to remove, i.e. if you are in search of a clear stock! The stock I had made was quite powerful, but it needed to be sharpened slightly. To achieve this simply boil and reduce until it begins to taste along the lines you are searching for. Thicken the stock with roux, and season to taste. Voila! 

Bon appetit.

24 May 2012

Super healthy Bruchetta with multicoloured tomatoes

These past days have been busy. I have been working hard both on my research and the leadership training program I am a participant of. A few weeks ago I gave my first presentation of my research and next week I will be delivering a oral presentation on a project I have been working on the past five months. So it is a rather pressing period. 

All the more reason to eat right. This is a recipe I blogged about on my Icelandic website last fall. Now sommer is upon us once more and tomatoes will soon be in season. We have already gotten a glance from the early crop from southern Europe but we will have to wait a few weeks before the local varieties arrive.

Super healthy Bruchetta with multicoloured tomatoes

It is hard to call this a recipe. This is more just a description of a delicious open sandwich. A truly delicous open sandwich packed with sweet summery tomatoes and tasty herbs.

Take a large handful of red cherry tomatoes and then a handful of some lovely yellow ones - any color will do just fine, even just the red ones would suffice but the variation sparks some life into this otherwise simple dish. Then tear some basil leaves and some flat leaf parley into the mix and stir together with a spoon. A couple of tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, dash of balsamic vinegar and then season with salt&pepper. Leave to settle for a few minutes so the tomatoes would marinate a short while in the oil and vinegar.

A slice of wholewheat bread bathing in warm oil
Well, the next step, is to bake some bread - something that would have been a good idea to have done beforehand. For a good recipe for some savory wholewheat bread, check this out. Anyways - having done all that slice a thick piece of the the bread and fry gently in some garlic oil till the bread has a yellow brownish colour. Take care not to burn the garlic. 

tomatoes and bread!

Then place the bread on a plate and just pile the tomatoes on top. An then just enjoy this lovely lunch! 

I couldn't resist putting a closeup... it was just so lovely

Bon appetit!

17 May 2012

Delicious Oven Baked Plaice with Leeks and Shrimp Served with Simple Rice and Salad

Plaice is one of the few varieties of fish you can purchase here in Skåne that is caught locally, just off our shores. This type of flatfish is in abundance along the coastlines of Skåne and which usually translates to the quality of the product. But nothing really beats the freshly caught fish that you can get at home in Iceland. But that is a luxury that is not easily accessed here on the mainland. But plaice is a tasty fish - so there is no reason to complain! It has a certain firmness to the bite, but also lightly flaky with a mild sweetness!

The onions sizzling on the pan

Delicious Oven Baked Plaice with Leeks and Shrimp Served with Simple Rice and Salad

For this particular dish I used three types of onions. A whole leek, one red onion and couple of gloves of garlic - I also added a stick of celery. All this was cut down into slices and the fried over low heat for about 15 minutes until the vegetables where soft and tender.

Tossing the vegetables
I even managed to toss the vegetables on the pan while taking a photograph with my left hand. I was pretty impressed with myself! Then I added 200 ml of light creme fraiche, 100 ml of water, a stock cube of fish, plenty of salt and pepper and lastly a splash of agave syrop.

The plaice in place 

I put four fillets of plaice on an oiled oven drawer. The drawer was seasoned with salt and pepper. In my opinion fish requires an ample amount of seasoning to draw out its potential - to lift its often subtle taste to the palate.

The juicy shrimp

When the vegetable sauce on the pan had cooked for a few minutes and then reduced, it was scooped up and a divided between the fillets of plaice. I then put 40-50 grams of shrimp onto each fillet.

Gato Negro Chardonnay

With the meal we enjoyed some white wine. When you are preparing a good meal it often just calls out for at least a glass of wine. Just a tinker to wet the palate. This is a good bag in box. It originates from Chile - from last years harvest. It tasted lovely! Potent fruit and a citrus note that was in good harmony.

Ready to eat!

We served the fish with some Jasmin rice and a simple salad that was thrown together in the last minute. You know... just some green leaves and a few slices of tomatoes and peppers. It needed no more as the main course was riddled with onions and celery.

Bon appetit!

13 May 2012

Rachel Khoo's Croque Madame: Open Sandwich, Muffins-Style, with Ham, Egg, and Bechamel Sauce

Last year's herb garden

We have been diligent in the garden today! The weather has been especially pleasant so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to clean up and prepare for sowing and planting. In the morning we drove to a beautiful green house in Flyinge here in Scania, and bought earth, a few flowers, potato seeds and herbs. My herb garden last summer was abundant and fertile but unfortunately little survived the winter. Although, out of all the herbs it seems like the chives, estragon and thyme displayed the strongest will to live, and might just survive the season.

Organizing the garden for the summer is great fun. I intend to plant three types of potatoes; almond potatoes, Asterix and then Maris Piper. I will also plant a few types of leafy greens, courgettes, among other treats. I also bought loads of herbs; thyme, rosemary, sage, mint, and of course parsley, coriander and basil. There is something extremely satisfying about being able to leisurely strut into the garden and just pick the herbs you are going to use for dinner! The picture above was taken in early June of last year!

The following recipe I got from Rachel Khoo, a British cook based in Paris who has operated a number of home restaurants from her Paris flat. Nanna Teitsdóttir, who runs the cooking blog site, eldar í vesturheimi - ,posted a link on Rachel's cooking shows which premiered on BBC2 recently and can also be found on Youtube. In the shows she cooks her own twist on classic French dishes and among them is this version of the legendary sandwich, Croque Madame! 

Rachel Khoo's Croque Madame: Open Sandwich, Muffins-Style, with Ham, Egg, and Bechamel Sauce

This is of course super simple, and making a savory muffin instead of the traditional sandwich is obviously quite clever. And apparently a wave of muffins-fever swept the Icelandic cooking scene recently, so I am not sure if my contribution here manages to catch the wave at the right time, or whether this is in actual fact an anachronistic muffin. Let's see what happens.

making the bechamél

First you make the bechamel sauce, which is, as everyone should know, one of the mother sauces, and is, it goes without saying, very simple to make! Melt 15 grams of butter in a pot, add the same amount of flour and stir vigorously. And there you have some roux. To which you add 200-250 ml of milk, stirring throughout the process. Once the milk boils the sauce will immediately thicken. Season, and if you feel so inclined, you can add a touch of nutmeg, or even a teaspoon of djion mustard, which Rachel indeed did, and turned out to be a lovely idea.

Bread placed snugly in to the muffins mold

Next step is to cut the crust off the bread slices and then flatten them out. Brush with melted butter and place into the muffin tray, with the buttered side toward the tray, so it will be easier to remove once it is baked. I put a slice of ham into the bread fold, and added around a teaspoon or so of the bechamel sauce.

Beautiful organic eggs and bechamel sauce

Then break an egg on top (if the egg is big you can pour away a little bit of the white), followed by a topping of bechamel. 

Add cheese... add alot of cheese!

Finally, the cherry on top, or rather, grate a generous amount of cheddar cheese over the lot and place the tray into a preheated oven, and bake for 10-15 minutes at 180 degrees. 

If this doesn't induce an healthy appetite, what will?

Served with a few leaves of rocket and diced tomatoes. 

In all honesty, this turned out to be so devine that I found it difficult to fathom, I was in tears!

Delicious savory treats
Bon appetit!

6 May 2012

A Sunday Morning Treat: A Scrumptious Galette with Ham, Cheese & Eggs

A galette is a simple treat that originates from France. It is sold widely over the country and has many similarities to the ever so delicious Crepe which is even more popular and sold even more widely than the aforementioned Galette. I am a huge fan of pancakes, in all shapes and sizes. I do however favour mainly savoury pancakes that can be staked with savoury goodies! But on occasion I do like an odd sweet one - and then I root for a thin crepe with melted chocolate and bananas, which is a famous classic.

Now, back to the Galette. A Galette is usually made from a flour called buckwheat which interestingly enough bares no relation to other type of wheat's as they are not cereals per se, but are related to sorrels and rhubarbs. It is darker than normal flour in colour and has a rich flavour, even with a slight earthier note than wheat.

O, and another thing, I would also like to apologise to my few, but precious, readers about the sparsity of entries in the past two weeks. It has its explanations! I was recently in London along with my beautiful and pregnant wife where we rolled from one restaurant to another gorging on the cities lovely and attractive food venues. We met some good friends and had a wonderful time. When we got home I had to attend a course in Torekov, which is a beach side town in northwestern Skåne. So this weekend I was home at last - and this was one of the little rewards!

A Sunday Morning Treat:  Scrumptious Galette with Ham, Cheese & Eggs

First is to make a simple pancake batter. I decided to mix my wheat's. So I blended 50/50 normal white flour with the buckwheat (as I didn't have much buckwheat left in my pantry). So here comes the recipe, simple and tasty. Get a bowl, add 75 g of strong white flour and 75 g of the buckwheat, a pinch of salt, two good quality eggs (medium sized), and then 400 ml of milk. Mix thoroughly together with a whisk until you have a batter that has the consistency of heavy cream.

Then you warm your crepe pan, put a teaspoon of butter - which you allow to melt and sizzle. Then scoop in one ladle of the pancake batter. Roll the pan around to cover the surface and then you pour the excess batter back into the bowl so that the pancake remains thin. Bake for a moment and then flip the pancake to bake it on the other side. Some always through the first cake in the garbage - but you be the judge of that. If it looks good - it's a keeper!

Very soon after you flip the pancake you smear it with some dijon/mayonaise, place the cheese on top, then the good ham and lastly - but importantly - the fried egg! Fold over the edges and cook for a minute so the cheese will melt. 

Season with some salt&pepper. Put on a plate. Then you sit yourself down at the kitchen table and admire on what you have created this Sunday morning. Then you cut into the galette and observe how the cheese comes oozing out of the pancake. 

Can a sunday have a better beginning? 

Bon appetit!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...