Lavender and lemon creme brulee

– NO!!! I don’t want it!

– But….

– NO! Don’t spoil it with some freaking flowers!!!! For that matter I WON’T EAT ANY FLOWERS!!! Make the one I like, you know the chocolate one? Mmmm… chocolate….

Well, that’s kind of our standart conversation, when I try to introduce a novel, “suspicious” ingredient in our kitchen. It’s like a tiny little war that I nearly always win (yes, yes, I know…. the infamous onion problem…). Fortunately the “war times” are basically over, for the last 5 years we went through most of the things you can buy here up North, as well as some that you actually can’t. With a touch ofΒ  nostalgy I remind myself of the times when even a simple broccoli was an enemy on the plate. Nowadays, though, those talks don’t happen anymore, or so I though, cause last weekend we just had one.

And all that fuss about lavender, you say? I know that for many of you lavender is a kitchen staple, yet I have never seen it on sale in Finland. Even more, I brought mine from the USA just a couple of weeks ago, so I guess it’s a kind of exotic ingredient here. Anyway, over the years, I acquired a perfectly working strategy, that let’s me push through whatever I want to be cooked the kitchen (yes, yes…. apart from onion). I like to call it the “peaceful diplomat” strategy πŸ˜‰ As an answer to Mr No Onion Please poison accusations, I simply murmur “aha, yes, yes, uhumm” and slowly walk away to proceed with my plans anyway. Once I’m done, I approach him joyfully, pretending to suffer from a severe dementia and say in delight:

– Looooook! It worked!, Look what I managed to cook!!!

He doesn’t have much choice at this point and that’s why it’s a perfect way to make him try new things. Yes… so this is the peaceful diplomat strategy… I have a feeling our governments are also pretty fond of it πŸ˜‰

This lavender and lemon creme brulee was an instant hit, and it surprisingly dethroned even the current favourite – the chocolate creme brulee! It is a definite must try! Mr No Onion Please reccomends, and that means a lot πŸ˜‰

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INGREDIENTS:

500ml cream (30% fat)

1 tbsp vanilla paste or seeds from 1 vanilla pod

finelly grated zest from one lemon

2 tbsp lavender

60ml caster sugar

6 egg yolks

some more caster sugar for carmelising on top

***

1. Heat the oven to 150C. Assemble six shallow ceramic tarts in a roasting pan.
2. Stir the yolks to homogenise, beware not to incorporate air into the mixture.
3. Slowly heat up the cream with sugar, vanilla, lemon zest and lavender. Bring it to simmer and keep for several minutes. Set aside for 10 min and let the lavender infuse the cream. Strain through the sieve.
4. Slowly add small amounts of cream to the egg mixture. Mix well and repeat till you incorporate everything. Try not to make any air bubbles
5. Pour the mixture between the tarts, tapping the roasting pan gently on the counter to settle the custard and remove any air bubbles. Pour hot water into your roasting pan so it comes up roughly as high as the custard.
6. Transfer to the oven and bake till they are set for 20-25min (for my size of ramekins).
7. Take them out, once they are cooled down to room temperature, transfer to the fridge (I find it is best to keep them overnight before you eat them).
8. An hour before serving toss some sugar on the top of each creme brulee and carmelise it with kitchen torch. Cool it down in the fridge again before serving.

Pimp up your porridge I – the youth serum

I thought of making a short series of fast and tasty breakfasts that are packed with nutrients. You see, Finland is THE country when it comes to porridge love. No, I can’t tell any statistics here, but I bet that puuro, as it is called here, is actually the most commonly eaten breakfast in this part of the world. And yes, it’s very healthy and yes, it is hated by many as they were forced to eat it as kids.Β  But believe me, you just need to spice it up with some seasonal additions to actually like or WHOA, even love it (and add even more nutritional value to your meal). In many countries porridge is simply called oatmeal, and as the name says it’s made of oats. Here though, an addition of rye is very common, that’s why I’ll be talking always about porridge on my blog. No matter if you just eat oats, or just rye or combination of those two or any other grains, porridge is one of the superfoods to bring you health and wellbeing.

To pimp up your porridge you really don’t need much, a handful of seasonal fruits plus a complementing spice is already plentiful. Here I combined cherries with cinnamon – those two fit so well together! Do you know that cherries are packed with vitamins, antioxidants and can even assist in regulating the blood pressure, not to say how darn tasty they actually are. Cherries have hit the list of so called superfoods and they are so valuable that a glass of cherry juice is said to be equivalent of 23 fruit portions! So, eat cherries and make your momma proud πŸ˜‰

You thought I would stop there? Ah, life with me isn’t that easy πŸ˜‰ To boost the antioxidant levels even more, I added several spoons of Goji berries. Have you heard of those yet? They are the new craze among the superfoods fans. I’m quite sceptical to call them wonder berries, yetΒ  no one can deny they are tasty and full of “youth chemistry” we are so much for in this porridge. Oh, and did I already mention that even cinnamon isΒ  plentiful in antioxidants and antimicrobial agents? Yes, search no more for the youth serum, just pimp up your regular porridge πŸ˜‰

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INGREDIENTS

rye and oat porridge

milk

2 handfuls of cherries, halved and pitted

4 tbsp goji berries

1 tbsp cinnamon

1-2 tbsp demerara sugar

pinch of salt

***

Prepare your porridge on milk (a portion for 2), add cinnamon, salt and sugar and slowly simmer till ready. Just before taking it off the heat, throw Goji berries and cherries in.