Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Grilled Lamb koftas with mint salad and a sumac yoghurt

On my households demand, lamb koftas it is...This recipe is from Jamie Olivers book, Jamie at Home, with a little twist of mine.

500g lamb mince
A handful of mint and parsley leaves
1 tbsp ground cumin
2 tbsp thyme leaves
1 tsp hot chili powder
4 tbsp sumac, in case you don't find it use zest of 1 lemon but nothing compares to the original flavoring of sumac
Salt and pepper
A handful of shelled pistachios
20g butter

A handful of mixed salad leaves
A handful of mint  and parsley leaves
1 lemon, juice
1 red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
Large flat breads or pita bread
Olive oil
150 ml natural greek yoghurt
...some more sumac and chili powder

1. Put your grill or oven on 200C and heat up a griddle pan to maximum heat.
2. Place the lamb in a food processor with the thyme, chili powder, cumin, sumac, a large pinch of salt and pepper and the pistachios. Mix well in the food processor until all the pistachios are crushed.
3. Get yourself some skewers, wet your hands slightly and take a handful of the mix and shape around and along the skewer. Press little indents with your fingers as this will give it a better texture when cooking.
4. In a bowl, mix the salad leaves and mint. Dress with a little bit of olive oil and lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Place the sliced onion in a separate little bowl, press some lemon juice over it and pinch of salt and squeeze with your hands. The acidity will take the edge off and pickle the onion slightly. Add the parsley to the onions.
5. Grill the kebabs in the griddle pan, turning them so they get a nice color.
6. Once nice and grilled transfer the kebabs onto a trey, put a tiny bit of butter on top of each and place in the oven for 10 min.
7. In the meantime, warm your flat bread in a pan or microwave and divide between the plates.
8. Put the yoghurt in a bowl, add a squeeze of lemon, salt and a pinch of sumac.
8. Place some of your salad on top of the bread. Once your kebabs are done, take them off the skewer and place either whole o break into bits on top of the salad and bread. Sprinkle with some of your pickled onion and parsley, put a spoon of yoghurt on top. Sprinkle with some more sumac on top and drizzle with olive oil.

Cumin spiced Rack of lamb with merguez sausages, lentils and a carrot spaghetti

Yesterday i fancied lamb so i decided to buy some merguez sausages and a lovely rack of lamb. I wasn't quite sure what i fancied to do with it but knew i didn't want to eat any heavy carbs, just something lighter and healthier. Scanned my cupboards and fridge and found some lentils, carrots, celery and herbs.. and this recipe was born. I promise you, my guests were licking their plates to get the last lentil of the plate and god forbid leave some of the jus behind. It looks fabulous and tastes heavenly, a great recipe for a dinner party. It took me 45 min to get this meal together so give it a shot! 

Rack of lamb, count cutlets per person(count 3 bones each), trimmed and cleaned(layer of fat left on)
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Ground cumin
1 celery stalks, peeled and roughly chopped
1 carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
1 red onion, peeled and roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
10 sprigs of thyme
2 bay leaves
250ml red wine
500 ml veal or chicken stock
1tbsp redcurrant jelly

4 merguez sausages

300ml lentils
1 clove of garlic, peeled
1 red onion, peeled
2 celery stalks, cut into 1-2mm cubes
bunch of mint, finely chopped
bunch of parsley, finely chopped

6 large carrots, cut into long spaghetti strips using a mandolin
splash of olive oil
1 garlic clove, peeled
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 180C
2. Put the lentils in a saucepan, washed with water and drain. Put back into the saucepan, cover with 600ml water, add 1/2 red onion, a garlic clove and pinch of salt. Bring to boil, cover with a lid and cook for 20-25 min. You want them to still have a bite to them, not lentil mush.
2. Rub the rack of lamb with olive oil and season with salt, pepper and cumin.
3. Heat up a frying pan to maximum heat.
4. Color the lamb on all sides, making sure you don't burn the bones. Set the pan aside, don't put into the wash yet.
5. Wrap the bones with kitchen foil to prevent burning in the oven.
6. Put 5 thyme sprigs on an oven trey and put the lamb on top, fat side up. This way when the fat melts slowly in the oven it will flavor the meat. Place the sausages on the trey around the lamb as well.
7. Place in the oven and grill for 25-35 min depending on how you want it cook. I suggest a slight pinkish color to it. You can check by putting a skewer through, pressing on the meat and checking what color the juices are.
9. Place the roughly chopped red onion, celery stalk, carrot and garlic cloves in the pan from the meat and color the vegetables slightly.
10. Deglaze with the red wine and reduce until there is almost none left. Add the thyme, bay leaf, red currant jelly and chicken/veal stock. Bring to boil and cook on high heat for 10 min.
11. Chop the celery stalk and left over 1/2 red onion and herbs for the lentils now if not yet done. Make your carrot spaghetti on a mandolin. Put aside.
12. If the lentils are cooked, drain them and put back into the saucepan. Leave aside.
13. Sieve the sauce into another bowl and put then back into the pan. Keep boiling it until you end up with a spoon cover consistency. Taste and adjust seasoning.
14. The lamb should now be ready. Take out of the pan and wrap in kitchen foil and leave in a warm place to rest. Keep sausages warm.
15. Heat up a wok pan and add a splash of olive oil. Add the carrot spaghetti and a garlic clove. Season with salt and pepper and cook until cooked but still crunchy, this should only take a few minutes.
16. Add the chopped celery, red onion and herbs into the lentils. Stir around, season with salt and add a spoon of your reduction(the sauce) to the lentils as dressing.
17. Cut up the rack of lamb into equal cutlets.
18. Serve up in a large bowl or plate. Place a large spoon of the lentils first, add a nest of the carrot spaghetti on top, cut merguez into half and put on the side. Finally arrange 3 cutlets on top. Drizzle with the sauce and serve. Bon appetite.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Sauteed King Prawns with quinoa in a coriander, ginger and chilli dressing

Quinoa is a tiny ancient, Peruvian seed once considered "the gold of the incas". It has a mild, nutty flavor which goes particularly well in salads, as well as a side dish with meets and fish. It has a protein content that is far superior to that of most grains, because it contains all the essential amino acids. 
This is a delicious lunch dish, that can be stirred up in 30 min with a little preparation in the morning. 
Packed with goodness and flavor, this is a dish you have to try and you'll end up making over and over again.

Serves 4

20 raw King prawns, cleaned and without the shell

1 red chili, deseeded and finely chopped
3 cm ginger, grated
1 lime, juice
2 garlic cloves, crushed
5 tbsp olive oil
Handful of coriander, chopped

100g Quinoa
Handful of coriander, leaves picked and roughly chopped
Handful of cherry tomatoes, quartered
2 spring onions, finely sliced
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Mix all the ingredients for the marinade in a bowl and add the king prawns. Cover with cling film and put in the fridge for 1 hour at least. The longer the better but not exceeding 12 hours (due to freshness of prawns)
2. Put the quinoa in a saucepan and add 250 ml water. Add some salt, bring to boil and cover with a lid and simmer for 20 min.
3. Heat up a wok or frying pan to maximum heat and add the prawns and all the marinade. Cook for a few minutes until the prawns change color to pink and are cooked through.
4. Pour all the sauce and prawns onto the quinoa and combine. Add the cherry tomatoes, spring onions, herbs and season with salt and pepper.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Lentil salad with celery, apple and mint

I try to prepare lentils at least once a week at home, because their versatility makes it so easy to makes different salads, use instead of potatoes with chicken or lamb or use to make a delicious soup. Packed with goodness for the body and soul, lentils are rich in protein and iron, as well as vitamins and fibers.
This recipe is inspired by the lentil salad i ate at Le Petit Maison in London, i love the combination of crunchy celery and apple. If you want to take it to the next level you can add some feta cheese as well, but i quite like the simplicity of this salad. You can make more of the lentils, use half of it for this salad and refridgerate the rest to use another day with different ingredients.

Serves 4

150g lentils
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 red onion, peeled
1/2 apple, granny smith, cut into 1-2mm cubes
2 celery stalks, cut into 1-2mm cubes
bunch of mint, finely chopped

3 tbsp Olive oil
1 lemon, juice
salt and pepper

1. Put the lentils in a saucepan and cover with 450ml water. Add the garlic clove and 1/2 of the onion.
2. Bring to boil and cover with a lid. Let simmer for 20-25 min until the lentils are cooked but still have a slight bite to them. You do not want to end up with a lentil mush.
3. Prepare the celery and apple now. Finely chop the other half of the onion too. Once you have chopped the apple, put it in a bowl with water and lemon juice, otherwise the apple will start turning brown.
4. Drain the lentils and cool down under cold, running water.
5. Put them in a bowl, add the apples, onion, celery and chopped mint. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice to taste. Season with salt and pepper.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010


Pancakes are probably considered to be one of the easiest things to make yet i could never get them perfect until i got this recipe at school. They always tore when i tried to flip them, where a little to thick and bland. This recipe is tried and tested and anyone can end up making the perfect, thin and crisp pancakes. 
You can also cut out the sugar and make savory ones, with some grated cheese,  diced tomato, chives and smoked salmon... delicious as a main course with some salad on the side.

Serves 4

125g flour, sifted
1 egg
pinch of salt
10g sugar, for sweet use
300 ml milk
20g butter

oil for frying

1. In a bowl, mix the egg, sugar and salt.
2. Add the sifted flour. It will look far to dry and lumpy, don't panic.
3. Add milk, a little at the time, mixing thoroughly.
4. Melt the butter and boil it until it starts turning nut brown. This is an amazing trick which will give the pancakes an amazing, slightly nutty flavor.
5. Add the nut brown butter to the mix.
6. Push the pancake mix through a sieve in order to get rid of any lumps.
7. Cover with cling film and let it rest in the fridge for about 20 min. This is very important, you need to let the starch rest, it is the trick in order for the pancakes not to tear and get that elastic consistency.

8. Put some oil in a cup and dip some kitchen towel in it. Just a little.
9. Heat up a pan and grease it slightly with the kitchen towel.
10. Pour some of the pancake mix in to the pan and foe about 30-45 sec on each side.

Serve with jam, marmalade, lemon, sugar and melted butter, nutella, fresh fruit and whipped cream, ice cream.. whatever you feel like! bon appetite!

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Maroccan Tagine with chestnuts, saffron and pomegranate served with cous cous

My favorite time of the year - Christmas is lurking around the corner and i am getting into christmas mode more and more with every day that passes. This is a delicious and super easy recipe to make at home with typical winter flavors and scents such as saffron, chestnuts, pomegranate, cinnamon... you will love this recipe.

2 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed
3 cm piece of ginger, peeled and finely grated
pinch of saffron
2 cinnamon sticks
1 kg lean lamb, from leg or shoulder, diced
250 g peeled chestnuts ( buy the ready prepared ones from the shop)
2 tbsp runny honey
1 pomegranate, seeds
1 handful of mint leaves
1 handful of coriander leaves
salt and pepper to season

Fruity Cous cous
350g cous cous
600 ml chicken stock
2 tbsp olive oil
1 handful of sultanas
1 handful of flaked almonds
1/2 lemon rind and juice
salt and pepper, to taste

Spicy, lemony yoghurt
150 ml of natural, greek yoghurt
a squeeze of lemon
drizzle of olive oil
sprinkle of cayenne pepper

Making the tagine:
1. Preheat the oven to 150C.
1. Heat up the olive oil in a large casserole or tagine. Add the onions and garlic and sweat for 3 min until soft and start coloring slightly.
2. Add the saffron and cinnamon sticks, stir and let infuse for a few minutes.
3. Toss in the diced lamb. Stir around and pour in enough water to cover almost all the lamb.
4. Bring to boil and then reduce the heat, cover with a lid and put in the preheated oven for about 1 hour.
5. Take out of the oven, stir in the honey and add the chestnuts. Cover with the lid again and put back in the oven for another 30 min.

In the meantime, prepare the cous cous:
1. put the cous cous in a large bowl and pour in the chicken stock. Cover with cling film and leave for 10 min.
2. Soak the sultanas in warm water for 5 min until soft and drain of the excess liquid.
3. Put the almond flakes in a pan and roast over high heat and continuously string until golden.
4. Add the sultanas, roast almond flakes, lemon rind and juice, olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Make the yoghurt:
1. Put the yoghurt in a bowl and stir in the lemon juice.
2. Drizzle some olive oil on top and sprinkle with cayenne pepper.

6. Now the meat should be tender and falling apart in your fingers -  then its done.
7. Season to taste, add the pomegranate seeds, mint and coriander. Serve immediately.

Thursday, 18 November 2010


I am not sure what I was thinking travelling to lappland  in my red lambskin ankle boots and a leather blazer but I blame it on the hangover. When I met my friends in their Canada goose jackets and sorrel boots at arlanda I figured it was time to fish up those awful moonboots and warm jacket from the suitcase.
Only one airline flies up to vilhemina, probably a good indicator of the popularity and population of the place. The airplanes operating are more like small private jets, but why them make the ceiling so low will remain a mystery. The top of my head nicely cleaned the ceiling all the way down the plane.
Once the plance had landed, gracefully gliding on the ice covered landing strip like bambi on ice, the doors of the plane were opened and a cold breeze rushed through the plane, the reason for warm clothing become obvious. I, however, madly in love with snow and the idea of a calm weekend in front of the fireplace, was not worried.
The next thing that took me by surprise, was what I saw once I got out of the plane, the so called airport.  As many times as id flown private or been to small islands with hardly an airport, this was another level. One little hut, departures and arrivals separated by a thin wall, a band for the luggage and a info desk, dealing with immigration, enquiries and car rental. Two minutes and all done. Awesome.
The drive to Gaemo was 1,5 hour in the dark, with snow slapping the car and a road that never seemed to end. Even though one couldn’t see anything, the fresh, crisp air and brightness of the stars didn’t leave any doubt that we were somewhere far north in the middle of nowhere.
The car came to a halt and parked on the street where for the first time in a 100 miles we saw a car. Apperently the arrival of us to the house is as exciting as things get up here and by the next morning half the village had had time to stop by and welcome back our hosts, peaking inside if they had brought any celebrities with them this time. Last time princess Madeleine of Sweden had visited, it was the front page of the local paper for a few months running.
Snowscooters picked us and the luggage up and drove us up a little road through the forest to the house. Pitch dark as it was, I had never expected to wake up in winter wonderland.  Snow and forest as far as the eye could see except for straight ahead of me, a large lake, like a mirror reflecting the snow covered trees and mountain tops. As cold as the morning air was, minus 15 showed the
My 3 days in lappland consisted of long walks in the snow, following moose prints in the snow, waiting to see the lynx family living in the garden or the bear sleeping under the bridge on the estate, sweating in a finish sauna with a cold lapin kulta in my hand, eating a lot of cheese (my biggest addiction) and drinking a lot of coffee(as we Swedes do), sledging down the mountain like a child head first and lying on the couch in front the fireplace, watching tv with a cigarette and a glass of red wine. It is the first time in a long time I got to actually get to know my friends a bit better, to actually spend some quality time.
Got to indulge in some amazing, yes amazing, swedish food such as skagen toast, home made swedish meatballs and venison... all recipes coming up next!
Cannot wait to come back in February!