Thursday, November 06, 2014

Estonian lamb soup with cabbage

Time for soup! Earlier this year I came across a recipe for Islandic lamb and cabbage soup in the blogosphere. Lovely soup and justifiably popular - and almost identical to the Estonian way of making lamb and cabbage soup. Not surprising, giving the fact that both Iceland and Estonia are "up North" and the range of vegetables traditionally available is pretty similar.

It's a simple and rustic soup, as many Estonian soups are. Hope it'll become as well and widely known as the Icelandic one ;)

Note that it's even better on the next day, so feel free to make it a day or two in advance.

Lamb soup with cabbage
(Kapsasupp lambalihaga)
Serves 6 or more as a main dish

500-750 g of lamb on the bone (shank, neck, ribs)
2 l (8 cups) water
salt and black pepper
1 medium head of cabbage
2 medium sized onions, chopped
a handful of pearl barley, soaked (optional)
3-4 carrots, sliced
5-6 potatoes, cut into chunks
fresh dill, finely chopped

Place the meat into a large saucepan, pour in enough cold water to cover. Bring into a rolling boil, let boil for a few minutes. Then drain the whole lot over a colander. Rinse the saucepan thoroughly, return to the hob.

Rinse the meat under a cold running water to remove any impurities. Return to the saucepan. Add 2 litres of water and bring slowly into a boil.

Add the peppercorns and a generous pinch of salt. Bring into a boil, then reduce heat and simmer on a low heat for about 1,5-2 hours, until the meat is really tender and easily falls off the bones. (Skim off any fat or scum that appears at the top of the soup with a slotted spoon). Remove the meat from the soup, put aside.

Now add the onions and shredded cabbage into the pot, and simmer for about 30 minutes (if using pearl barley, then add it alongside onions and cabbage). Add carrots and cook for 15 minutes. Add potatoes and simmer until carrots and potatoes are cooked.

While the vegetables are cooking, remove the meat from the bones and cut the lamb into small pieces. Return the meat into the broth and re-heat thoroughly. Season to taste, sprinkle with dill and serve.

Similar recipes:
Icelandic lamb soup @ TastyTrix
Icelandic lamb soup @ Diary of a Tomato
Irish lamb stew with a twist @ Simply Recipes
Scotch broth @ Milk and Mode
Lambalihasupp aedviljadega @ KÖÖK (recipe in Estonian)

Friday, October 24, 2014

Home-made granola recipe

Home-made granola. Kodune krõbe müsli.

This was originally posed in January 2009. I'm reposting this with new photos. 

I'm not sure why it took me so long to make my own granola to sprinkle on yogurt for breakfast, considering how incredibly easy it is! The recipe below is a mixture of various ideas, and it's pretty simple. I'm especially fond of the addition of malt extract* that I got from Moosewood granola recipe included in the Moosewood Restaurant New Classics - it adds a lovely, well, malted flavour to the end product. I've used a mixture of chopped apricots, seedless raisins and dried cranberries to 'buff up' my granola, but the choice of dried fruit is obviously yours.

What do you do? Make your own granola/müsli or buy from a shop? If you buy, then what's your favourite brand/type? Just curious :)

Home-Made Granola
(Kodune krõbe müsli)
Makes enough for 2 persons for a week

100 g old-fashioned rolled oats (about 1 cup)
3 Tbsp dark muscovado sugar
5 Tbsp unsweetened coconut flakes
1 Tbsp flax seeds/linseeds
1 tsp cinnamon

3 Tbsp neutral-flavoured oil
2 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp malt extract

To 'top up':
half a cup or so chopped dried apricots or prunes or dried cranberries or seedless raisins

Mix the oats, sugar, coconut flakes, linseed and cinnamon in a bowl. Stir in molasses extract, oil and water, stir to combine.

Line a small baking tray with a parchment paper and spread the granola mixture on top.

Home-made granola. Kodune krõbe müsli.

Bake in a pre-heated 200 C/400 F oven for 15 minutes, stirring once or twice while baking, until the granola is golden and very aromatic (it will crispen up after you take it out of the oven).

Take out of the oven and cool completely, then stir in the chopped dried fruit.

Home-made granola. Kodune krõbe müsli.

Keep in a closed jar and serve with your breakfast yogurt or milk.

* Moosewood recipe uses "barley malt syrup or unsulphured molasses", explaining that "Barley malt is a liquid made from fermented barley and often used in baking bread. We use it here for sweetness and moisture. If unavailable, any unsulphured molasses except blackstrap will work fine". I used a local product which is meant for brewing your own beer at home, but is also widely used for baking bread at home. 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Gravlax with sea-buckthorn berries

Sea-buckthorn is a popular autumn berry here in Estonia. I'm afraid it's not so widely known in the US where most of my blog readers are based. However, given that Doctor Oz has been touting sea-buckthorn as one of the superberries, this may change :) 

Sea-buckthorn berries have a pleasant, but very tart flavour. They can be used instead of lemons - and here sea-buckthorn juice is used as a replacement for lemon juice in curing some nice salmon. 

Use highest quality fresh fish to make this dish. 

Gravlax with sea-buckthorn
Serves four to six

500 g fresh salmon filet
2 Tbsp natural/unsweetened sea-buckthorn juice
2 Tbsp kosher salt or Maldon sea salt flakes
1 Tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp freshly ground black or white peppercorns
handful of sea-buckthorn berries

Remove any bones with pliers. Brush with sea-buckthorn juice. 
Combine salt, sugar and pepper, spread the curing mixture over the fish and rub it gently in. Cut the filet into two even chunks, place them together, flesh sides touching. 

Wrap the salmon tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 24 hours or up to 48 hours. 

Unwrap salmon, discarding the curing mixture (rinse quickly, if necessary, and pat thoroughly dry). 

Tp serve, place gravlax skin side down on a cutting board. Cut the gravlax into thin slices with a fileting-knife (a long, narrow-bladed knife), cutting against the grain, and slightly diagonally. 

Other sea-buckthorn recipes:
Mulled sea-buckthorn drink @ Nami-Nami
Sea-buckthorn jelly with kama mascarpone mousse @ Nami-Nami
Sea-buckthorn and Amaretto cheesecake @ Nami-Nami
Sea-buckthorn and apple tart @ Nami-Nami
Sea-buckthorn sorbet @ Nami-Nami
Cardamom panna-cotta with sea-buckthorn and apricot compote @ Nami-Nami
Sea-buckthorn juice @ Russian Season
Sea-buckthorn @ Real Epicurean
Gelbe grütze @ Küchenlatein
Coconut cream custard on sanddorn mirror @ Vegalicious Recipes
Sea buckthorn curd with raspberries @ Swedish Food
Sea-buckthorn cheesecake @ Bumpkin Mag
Sea-buckthorn mousse @ Andie's Veggies
Sea-buckthorn kissel with Greek yoghurt @ Suvi sur le vif