Balsamic roasted carrots with carrot top gremolata

This is a very simple side dish for today’s recipe, but isn’t it pretty? And it tastes pretty great, which always helps, I guess! I’m always trying to think of new ways to make vegetables more exciting (aren’t we all?), particularly since in our family, I try to downplay any meat quantities on our plates (fish, on the other hand, is allowed to be let loose in any shape or size). Therefore, I usually attempt to make two side dishes alongside to not only make us less aware of the lessened meat quantity, but to make things a more rounded out meal all the same.

Oh, and unless it’s sweet potatoes, potato-y things like mash do not count. Particularly not with the way we make mash — just because you could make something like mash a lot healthier, doesn’t mean you always would 😛

But in all seriousness, it’s pretty simple. Balsamic and roast veg pretty much always guarantee great things. Add a garlicky gremolata, and we’re just adding a bit more greatness. Who doesn’t want that? Not to mention, we’re being all eco-friendly and all what with using the carrot tops for our gremolata, therefore cutting down on waste. Basically…just give this recipe a gold star already.

You’ll probably get a lot more gremolata than you need/want for your carrots, but treat it a little like pesto and slather it on chicken, toasted bread, fried eggs, and the whole excess gremolata thing isn’t precisely a problem…

Serves 4 as a side.  Read More

Parmesan & garlic stuffed swordfish rolls

I have never been all that crazy about pasta. Sorry, but it’s probably just not gonna happen. It hasn’t happened yet for twenty years, and I’m still not nuts about it. Like it’s good, but I will probably pass on it if I have the chance. Sometimes, this means people stare at me like I’m from outer space and ask “so that means you don’t like Italian food, then?”, which is totally false. But I guess for some people, Italian food begins and ends with pasta and pizza (which is probably why I have so many friends who have been rather whiney about the food when they’ve returned from a holiday in Italy).

And that just shouldn’t be the case. Yes, the Italians win at pizza and pasta (sorry Chicago, but your deep-dish style is just too much bread for my liking, and I love bread), but their cuisine goes beyond that. Which is why, we come to this recipe. I find it just as comforting and slightly-naughty like a bowl of pasta, but betterYeah, sorry, I went there. It’s the perfect way to keep the meatiness of swordfish still succulent, but keeping all the great flavours from the slightly burnt, crusty bits that sear on the pan, and when those crispy bits get soaked up by the white wine sauce? Oh, man. This one’s a goody. I hope you love it just as much as my family do, because it’s become a real favourite treat when set on the dinner table at our house.

Serves 4 with sides.  Read More

Upside-down cardamom and cinnamon peach cake

I gotta say, this has been a long time coming. Tarte tatin, and all things sweet that happen to be upside down and full of sticky, caramel-y goodness, has been on the list for SO long, even since I was a little girl. Upside-down tarts and cakes were some of my childhood favourites, and I would always beg my mother to make one for me, and she’d usually distract me with words of how difficult it was and the promise that I could get a bought one from a bakery instead (and she did hold to the latter one usually).

But there’s always something fun about managing to make your own! Yet, on the other hand, that caramel was always going to be a problem…burning sugar has always been something that came with a strong warning in our kitchen when I grew up (with good reason, of course). Perhaps I’ll graduate to a more traditional type of upside-down cake/tart, but for now, this one serves its purpose. And a great one at that.

This cake is sticky and gooey and sweet with the peaches and brown-sugar butter that cooks itself in the oven (no burnt hands here!), and the actual cake itself rich and spiced with cinnamon and cardamom, both of which lend another layer of warmth for a dessert that seems both perfect for warming up a cold autumn’s evening, or topped with ice-cream for the end of a summer BBQ. I guess the TL;DR version of it is that it’s just plain great.

Adapted from here.
Serves about 10
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Honey-roast figs and mozzarella on sourdough toast

Ah, figs and cheese on toast. This isn’t really bringing anything revolutionary to the table, but let’s be honest, I’m not even trying to do so. This combo is a classic, and for good reason. This is another assembley-list with figs, but I love figs on toast, and I also just sort of wanted to show off my pictures for this one (shameless).

Serves 4, as a snack.

You’ll be needing;

4 slices of sourdough bread
4 figs, halved
2 tbsp of runny honey
pinch of sea salt
200g of mozzarella
black pepper for serving

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. Lightly oil a small roasting tin, and pop in the fig halves. Drizzle with honey and sprinkle over the sea salt, and roast for twenty minutes. Near the end of the roasting time, preheat the grill (or BBQ, I guess), and grill the bread on one side, before turning over, tearing the mozzarella and scattering it over the toast. Grill again until the cheese has melted, then remove both the toast and figs from the heat.

Serve two fig halves over each slice of toast, and finish with some cracked black pepper if desired.

Blueberry brownies

So I’m not just on a baking spree, but also a brownie/chocolate-themed baking spree, which is exciting for me — not really because of the chocolate part, (I’m not one of those people who’d go crazy for a piece of chocolate — I could probably forget its existence if I had the chance…!) but because my history of baking chocolate-y things is not so great. Or at least the results weren’t. Unless it came from a boxed brownie mix, the results were never much to shout about.

This is sort of-maybe-just kind of cheating, since this is at once both a brownie, but also very close to a Swedish favourite of mine; kladdkaka, which, if done correctly to my judgement, is like a giant cake version of the most gooey, wonderfully unbaked brownie, usually dusted with icing sugar and served with whipped cream. I just mentioned that I’m not a chocolate person, and I stand by that, but even childhood me (who was a lot less tolerant of chocolate than I am now, in fact) would sell a piece of her soul for kladdkaka, especially the fresh-out-the-oven, homemade version. So this, combined with the fresh bursts of blueberry flavour, is like a dream.

Note; to make sure the blueberries don’t sink to the bottom of the batter whilst baking, I coat the blueberries in 1tsp of flour and 1tsp of icing sugar (see the recipe for more details). Don’t worry about the flour, because after baking, you couldn’t tell that there was any flour (or icing sugar, for that matter!) around them in the first place!

Makes about 12 large brownies.  Read More

Salted butter mint brownies

So, we need to talk about salted butter for a moment. I’m sure most of us know that the large majority of recipes call for unsalted butter,so that you can then control the salt in your baked goods, but in this case, the saltiness is a perfect addition to the richness of an otherwise classic brownie recipe, and adding the mint as last minute idea totally worked out in my favour, since it too works well with the chocolatey-fudgey taste.

On top of all that, this is such a simple brownie recipe without the need for a boxed mix. Overall it takes very little effort, and if you’re not feeling the idea of mint, it’s fine to just skip it (or change it for another essence, perhaps — like almond, maybe?)

Makes roughly 12 brownies
Adapted from here.
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Chai shortbread

I don’t mean to brag, but I think I’m becoming a pro at this shortbread thing. A baking thing, no less — exciting times (for me)! I always like to add a little twist on simple shortbread, so this time, I wanted to add a tea flavour, after seeing a few baking recipes adding green tea, chamomile, and early grey flavours and that just got me inspired.

I was a little limited by what I actually owned, however. I was still in the process of unpacking all my things from university, including some of the kitchen stuff (such as my tea boxes!), and settled on chai. I’m not a huge fan of chai, in fact, since I prefer the flavour in a latte, but I had a few tea bag samples from our local health store, so what better way to use them up?

They’re perfect for a cup of tea (!), or a cup of coffee, or just when you fancy something sweet, but not too sweet (if you get me).

Makes about 30 biscuits, depending of course on what cutter you use.  Read More