Monday, March 03, 2014
Photo by Juta Kübarsepp for the March issue of Kodu ja Aed magazine.
It's time for semlor or lenten cream buns again - remember, instead of pancakes, in Estonia and other Nordic countries cream-filled buns are eaten (semlor in Swedish, vastlakuklid in Estonian, laskiaispulla in Finnish). I've got three different recipes here on Nami-Nami, all delicious :)
Recipe for classic lenten buns
Recipe for chocolate lenten buns
Recipe for raspberry and marzipan lenten buns
So, are you having pancakes or cream buns tomorrow? ;)
Saturday, March 01, 2014
Photo by Juta Kübarsepp for the March 2014 issue of Kodu ja Aed magazine.
March. While in some far away corners this means new season's rhubarb and spring greens, then here in far North it's time to dig out the last of the last season's root vegetables and do something nice with them. Beetroot is one of my favourites (see all those beet recipes!?) and luckily it's one vegetable that's still nice and good at this time of the year.
Chocolate-laden brownies are loved by many, and here's a lovely version I've been baking recently. The cooked (either boiled or roasted) beet makes these extra moist and soft, and you can easily make this gluten-free by using appropriate flour (see notes below).
Beetroot and Dark Chocolate Brownies
Makes 16 small squares
200 g unsalted butter
200 g dark chocolate (70%)
200 g cooked beetroot
3 large eggs
200 g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla sugar or extract
100 g flour*
50 g coarsely chopped almonds or walnuts (optional)
* A note on flour: As my son is sensitive to wheat, I use rye - and a wholemeal rye - when baking this. You can use regular wheat flour for this, or even buckwheat or rice flour for a gluten-free version.
Pre-heat the oven to 200 C/390 F. Line a 24 cm (10 inch) square cake tin with parchment paper.
Break the chocolate into pieces, cut the butter into chunks. Place both into a small saucepan and heat gently on a low heat, stirring every now and then, until the chocolate melts. Remove from the hob and stir until combined. Leave and let it cool to room temperature.
Finely grate the beets, fold into the melted chocolate and butter mixture.
Whisk the eggs and sugar until thick and pale. Gently fold in the vanilla, then the beet-chocolate-butter mixture. Finally fold in the flour and the nuts, if using. Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake tin.
Bake in the middle of the oven for 20-25 minutes - or only until the cake looks cooked from the top. Remove from the oven and let cool before cutting into squares.
Photo by Juta Kübarsepp for Nami-Nami.
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Here's a posting I didn't think I'd be doing - after all, kodused kotletid are such a humble comfort food and they're not exactly the runner-up for the "Most Photogenic Food" title. Yet I've recently understood that there is something wee bit unique about the typical Estonian hakk-kotlet - namely, the main ingredient. Of course, that's minced meat, but majority of Estonians would use a mixture of beef and pork, 50:50 ratio. And while it's perfectly acceptable to go and buy a packet of one (say, beef) and a packet of another (pork), then more often than not we simply reach out and buy one of the mixes. I'm not talking about seasoned sausagemeat or some other minced meat mixes here, but about a 50:50 mix of pure minced beef and pure minced pork. Here's one by Atria (you can choose between 300 g and 500 g), but all Estonian meat producers have this product in their portfolio:
I hadn't really given this much thought, but at a recent press event a local meat and BBQ guru, Enn Tobreluts claimed that this type of minced meat product is pretty untypical outside the Baltic region, and indeed, I don't think I ever came across it while living in Scotland. Of course, there are plenty of Estonian cooks who make meatballs - flat or round - with just beef or just pork or even just lamb, but a mix of beef and pork is most popular for making this humble dish. We even have a special name for this type of minced meat mix - kodune hakkliha aka domestic minced meat :)
What's your choice of meat for making meatballs? Can you get "domestic minced meat" at your country of residence? I'd love to hear your comments!
Serves 4 to 6
100 ml (about 7 even Tbsp) dry breadcrumbs
200 ml liquid (water, single cream, milk, sour cream)
1 onion, finely chopped
500 g minced meat (preferably a mixture of pork and beef, see above)
1 tsp fine salt
0,5 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Mix breadcrumbs and the chosen liquid in a mixing bowl and let stand for about five minutes.
If you don't like the harshness of raw onion, then sauté it gently in a bit of oil until translucent.
Fold the (fried) onion, the meat, egg and seasoning into the breadcrumb mixture and stir until thoroughly combined.
Using wet or oily hands, form the mixture into meatballs or patties. Fry in hot oil or batter on both sides for a few minutes, until golden brown and thoroughly cooked.
PS I LOVE cold meatball, halved, on my rye bread, so these are also perfect for a lunch box!