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˜‰

***

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.

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Refreshing rhubarb kompot

Summer is now in full swing, the temperatures going over 20C mean that the hottest season of the year has finally arrived to the Northern latitudes! Nothing complements the lovely weather like a light, refreshing drink made from seasonal fruits or veggies. I have spotted this lovely rhubarb kompot on Around the kitchen table blog. Kompot (that has not much to do with a French compote) is a simple central European drink made most commonly from fresh seasonal fruits boiled with sugar. When I was a kid, my grandmum was serving all kinds of kompots luke warm, but I prefere it much more when they are icy cold. Yumm!

***

INGREDIENTS

500g of rhubarb
1.5 l water
4-5 tbsp Demerara sugar
a bunch of fresh mint
zest and juice of a big lemon
2 zest and juice of 2 limes
1 small piece of cinnamon bark
3-4 cloves
2 green cardamom seeds cracked
optionally 8-10 tbsp of pink wine
ice cubes
***
1.Β  Boil the water in a big pot, add a bunch of mint, spices and zest of 2 limes and a lemon.
2.Β  Boil for 5 min. Meanwhile prepare the rhubarb. Wash it thoroughly and cut into 2-3 cm pieces (leave the skin on, the more red it is, the more vibrant colour you’ll get).
3. Add rhubarb and sugar to the boiling water and simmer for 10 more minutes. Add the juice of lemon and limes, set aside to cool down. Transfer to the fridge and let it stay there overnight.
4. Drain the kompot through a fine sieve, pressing the rhubarb against the grid, to squeeze as much of the juice as possible. You may add a bit of pink wine if you wish.
5. Serve with ice cubes, garnish with mint and lime slices.

Cod in pistachio crust

Ohoh, summer has really come here, I’m so lazy with writing new posts πŸ˜€ Not that I don’t cook, but I just don’t feel like writing somehow…. at all…. Lately I have lots of writing to do at work and in the evenings I just can’t put myself to write several simple sentences. IΒ  need holidays. Fortunately, they are nearly here! We’re flying on Saturday to Poland for whole two weeks πŸ™‚ Can’t wait, I also hope we will make a day trip to Slovakia and be sure I’ll post lots of pictures from our beautiful Tatra mountains :). However, now time for a copy-cat recipe πŸ˜‰ I’ve found it on Trissalicious blog, it’s fast and gives a really nice outcome. I’ve just noticed I’ve never posted any fish recipe here before. And again it’s the same story we eat them but I don’t write about them, or no wait… it’s rather that I don’t find fish photogenic. Or …. ok, well ok I’ll just admit it… I can’t make nice fish pics… there I said it…. snif…. I kept to recipe pretty much, apart from folding the fish and adding still a spoon of Parmesan to the crust as well as omitting egg white (ups … I forgot about it). Below is an original recipe, enjoy πŸ™‚

INGREDIENTS:

2 cod fillets, skinned and deboned

35 grams butter

75 grams pistachios

2 cloves garlic, crushed

3 springs thyme

salt and pepper to taste

1 egg white

4 slices lemon

  1. Preheat the oven to 180c
  2. Season the fillets with salt and pepper
  3. In a food processor combine the pistachios, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper (Parmesan optionally)
  4. Melt the butter in a small saucepan and add the pistachio mixture. Cook for around 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. Allow the mixture to cool for a few minutes. Add the egg white and mix well (not necessary)
  6. Bend fillets in half, put 2 slices of lemon inside. Coat the fillets in the pistachio mixture
  7. Place the coated fillets in an ovenproof dish
  8. Bake the fillets for around 10 to 12 minutes until cooked through.

Summer spaghetti with tomatoes confit


We are really lucky with weather this week. Ok, it’s not exactly Canary Islands here, but we have pretty decent Finnish summer with temperatures round +20. It feels somehow so “too early” for that. Just 3 weeks ago, when I was leaving to USA ,there were still no leaves on the trees. And now suddenly the summer is here! Somehow we missed spring this year, the winter was long and believe it or not it’s green around from less than a month! I believe that’s why when I recently spotted strawberries and cherries on the market I was pretty much in shock, it just didn’t feel like it’s already time for those! There should be spring before! Well now I just feel I have to rush and buy all the seasonal produce before the winter comes back…. a big shopping is definitely awaiting us in the weekend πŸ˜‰ Anyway with suchΒ  a nice weather, I like to enjoy a light vegetarian dish. So I decided to make light lemony spaghetti that was elevated with bursting with flavor tomatoes confit (oh I love so much those little jewels πŸ˜‰ ) Ahh lazy summer lunch, nothing can beat you….

INGREDIENTS:

300g cherry tomatoes

olive oil

provencal herbs, salt, pepper, spicy paprika

spaghetti

handful of basil leaves

1 mozzarella shredded in pieces

zest from half a lemon

juice from half a lemon

4 tbsp of small capers

olive oil, salt, pepper

1. Prepare tomatoes confit. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half. Pour olive oil into an oven proof dish (there should be 1-2mm layer of oil in the dish). Dip the tomatoes with their cut side in the oil and then face them up in the dish. Sprinkle them with dried mixture of Provencal herbs, salt, pepper and a pinch of spicy paprika or chili. Heat the oven to 100C and leave them for several hours in, till they are wrinkled and a bit dried up (or heat it up till 50C and leave overnight).

2. Boil spaghetti. Mix all the ingredients together.