Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Jansons Temptation and Beet Root Salad

A breakfast, because I needed a picture!
 I offered to share my the recipes for the food in the Christmas post if anyone was interested. I actually got asked to share both the potato casserole and the beet root salad, and I am a girl of my words, so here we go.

Jansons Temptation
serves 6-8 

The potato casserole is based on a traditional Swedish dish called Jansons Temptation. Such a corny name, but it was always one of my favourite holiday food when I was a kid. It consists of potatoes, cream, bread crumbs and pickled sprats (fish). I don't have an exact recipe of my own, but I'll share someone else's instead. I didn't use this one since I didn't have all the ingredients, but mine was similar an I think this is even better. Only the best for you guys!

1 kg / 2,2 pound potatoes
2 yellow onions
1,5 dl / 0,6 cup capers + 1 tbs of the brine
1,5 dl/ 0,6 cup green olives
2,5 dl / 1 cup + 2 tbs soy creamer
1,5 dl/ 0,6 cup soy milk
1/4 tsp allspice
2 tbs breadcrumbs

- Preheat oven to 200 C/390 F.
- Peel the potatoes and cut in thin stripes. Do the same with the onions. Cut the olives in small pieces and mix them with the capers.
- Put half of the potatoes in an oven safe pan and spread the olive mixture on them. Put the rest of the potatoes on top.
- Mix the soy creamer and milk, capers brine and allspice and some salt. Pour the mixture over the potatoes and then the breadcrumbs on top of that.
- Bake in the lower part of the oven for 45-60 minutes, until very tender and browned on top.

Beet root salad
I won't share a recipe for this one, since it's soo easy that I'm sure you'll figure it out with just a few guidelines. Beet root salad is eaten all year around, with a peak during every holiday. Outside of the holidays, it's most common serving is in a sandwich together with meat balls. You should definitely try it out with some vegan meat balls!

- Take a lot of pickled beet roots and cut in cubes or small pieces.
- Cut a small onion in tiny pieces.
- Peel a small apple and shred it.
- Mix everything.
- Add vegan mayonnaise until desired creaminess. Add a splash of vinegar and a bit of non-dairy milk if you don't want it to be so thick. Add salt and black pepper to taste.
- Done!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Holiday eats.

I hope everyone had fun during the last few days, whatever you did. Mine was fine. I spent the 24th cooking, watching a movie, talking to various relatives on Skype and eating sushi for the first time since summer. Quite good, if you ask me. As I mentioned in my last post, the main celebration in the Nordic countries is on the 24th, but out only guest spent that day with her family so we invited her over on the 25th instead.

We had a pretty traditional Swedish scaled down (skipped the whole fish-department) veganized Christmas dinner. Unlike many other countries where a big dead bird is the centre piece, most people in Sweden make a lot of different dishes and you eat it as a buffet. The ham is the big meat-thing, and then there's a lot of other small dishes to go with it. I'll show you what we ate with pictures and some few words. If someone would like a recipe for anything, just ask and I'll fix it right away. After dinner we watched the movie "Fanny and Alexander" by Ingmar Bergman, directors cut which is a bit over 5 hours. It was fantastic!

The "ham", made of seitan and with a "crust" of mustard and breadcrumbs.
Vört-bread. It's a rye-wheat based bread flavoured with malt, cloves, cinnamon and raisins.
Beetroot salad.
Potato Casserole.
My plate. Red cabbage, ham, sausages, meatballs, beetroot salad, potato casserole, brussel sprouts.
Me! Very satisfied with my bread. Before the food coma.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Sweet Holiday!

It's Christmas morning, and right now I'm making rice pudding for breakfast for me and my boyfriend. We're still on the Faroe Islands, for some different reasons, which means spending Christmas quite far away from home. And while I do miss my family, it doesn't bother me spending the holidays here. Two years ago, I felt fed up with it all and went to Berlin during a few days and ate vegan hamburgers and it was great. Then I could go home and spend a "small Christmas" with my closest ones and without all the hustle.
Making Orangettes.
In the Nordic countries, the main day to celebrate is the 24th. Traditions vary, but in my family it has always been like this in short terms; waking up early and open up your stocking and having breakfast together, go to grandma and drink mulled wine, watch Donald Duck (huuuuge Swedish tradition) at 3 pm, eat loads of food, get gifts from Santa and then eat sweets and then go home with the bus. This year, we've had to make our own traditions, which actually feels really good. Since it's only the two of us, it has been a bit limiting, but we've made the best out of it. I'll write a post about our 24th and 25th once they're over, but I thought I'd share some sweets with you today.

Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti.
We don't have many close friends here, but two families has grown close to us during our stay, and we wanted to give them something. We decided on gift baskets filled with sweets, because, well, it's the holidays after all and what's better than home made sweets then? I thought about what to put in there and this is the things that made the final cut:
- Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti (from Veganomicon)
- Orangettes (from Smitten Kitchen)
- Chocolate Toffee (recipe below)
- Snickerdoodles (from vegetarian times/have cake, will travel)
- Gingerbread cut-out cookies (from The Post Punk Kitchen)
- Peanut butter fudge (recipe below)

Snickerdoodles in the making.

Super Simple Peanut Butter Fudge
This might not be the most authentic fudge, but hey, it has THREE ingredients and tastes amazing, so I don't really care. You could sub some hazelnut-chocolate spread for 1/3 of the peanut butter if you want to and garnish with what ever floats your boat. I did, and topped with chopped peanuts. This is best stored in the fridge.

3/4 cup vegan margarine
1 cup peanut butter
3 cups powdered sugar

Melt the margarine in a saucepan and add the peanut butter. Stir until melted and dissolved. Add the sugar by the cup and stir until completely incorporated. Put the fudge in a pan that is suitable for your desired thickness of the fudge. Chill until firm (about 45 minutes) and cut in cubes.

Chocolate Toffee
Yet another almost embarrassingly easy recipe, but let me tell you, it's A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. You can wrap the toffees in something if you'd like, I used aluminium foil. That way you don't have to worry about them sticking together.

100 g vegan margarine
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup golden syrup
4 tbs cocoa powder

Melt the margarine in a small saucepan on medium-low heat. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir well. Keep stirring from time to time until it reaches 120 -125 C (248-257 F), about 5 minutes from when it starts bubbling. Pour on a parchment paper and let rest in room temperature until quite firm. Use a pair of scissors to cut the toffee into pieces.

Gingerbread cut-out cookies.
Happy Holidays everyone!

Saturday, December 18, 2010


Why didn't someone tell me to go and make biscuits? I mean, I waited 21,5 years to try some, that's waaay to long. I never quite understood what defined a biscuit, I read about them in cookbooks such as Vegan Brunch and also on peoples blogs. Biscuits and gravy everywhere, and I still didn't bother to make them. Why? I'm not sure, I always had something else instead I guess. My basic scone-recipe has the same ingredients as a basic biscuit recipe I found, only in different proportions. I figured I might as well have scones instead and since I've never had gravy for breakfast, I've never really had a need for biscuits.

Some days ago, we found ourselves with nothing for breakfast other than a can of baked beans, and wanted something to go along with them. The idea to make biscuits struck me and I got going. I used Savvy Abby's recipe without any add-ins and OH MY! They were quick, easy and came out fluffy and tender with a firmer crust. They were good with the beans and even better with strawberry-orange jam. I can't wait to have biscuits and gravy now! What are you're favourite biscuit recipe? Any suggestion on a gravy to have along with them?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Lussekatter / Saffron buns

In Scandinavia, there's a tradition to celebrate Saint Lucy's day, or as we say; Lucia. It's the 13th of December and the celebration includes singing (a procession led by a girl with a crown of candles), and eating saffron buns. The focus of the day is to bring a little light into the oh so dark December. Up here, we only have day light for about 4-5 hours these days, and it's killing me. And since the wind is 20 m/s today carrying a lot of snow, we were forced to stay inside. So even though it's not the 13th, I made some saffron buns.

No daylight available.

The Swedish word for saffron bun is lussekatt, and this was not related to Lucia from the beginning. Lussekatter is supposed to come from 17th century Germany and somehow protect the children from the devil. The devil comes in only one form here today, and that's the wind. The bright yellow buns didn't manage to scare that away, but they sure kept us happy for a while. I gave them a little twist to, which I learned from Martins mother. Usually they're shaped like this and has no filling except for two raisins in the swirls. While I do like them that way too, I went for something a bit more exciting, marzipan filling!

Saffron buns with marzipan 
yields 30 small buns 

25 g fresh yeast (sub with dry if you want to)
100 g margarine
250 ml soymilk (any non-dairy milk will do)
500 g all-purpose flour
0,5 g pulverized saffron
3 tbs granulated sugar
a pinch of salt
200 g marzipan or almond paste, shredded.
margarine for the filling

1. Crumble the yeast in a big bowl.
2. Melt the margarine in a small saucepan and add the soy milk. Warm the mixture until lukewarm (37 C/99 F) and add it to the yeast. Stir until the yeast is dissolved. 
3. Combine the sugar and saffron in a small glass/mug/bowl and mix it harshly. This will release the flavour in the saffron a bit more. Add this along with the salt to the yeast mixture. 
4. Add the flour until a smooth and pliable dough has formed. Let rise under plastic wrap for about 45 minutes (a bit less if you have a warm kitchen, a bit more if it's cold). 
5. Once the dough has risen, take it out of the bowl and roll it out pretty thinly. Spread with margarine and top with the shredded marzipan.Shape however you want to. I rolled half of it up like cinnamon rolls and cut into pieces and put them kind of close in a pan. The other half I made little twists with by folding the dough into doubled so that the filling is on the inside. Then cut into strips and twist them together and put in paper cups. 
6. Bake until golden on top in 225 C/437 F. Enjoy! 

I have to tell you, they were beautifully yellow and bright, but since there was no daylight, they came out pretty pale in the pictures. I'll try to take a better picture in the morning!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A lot of things are happening right now. The organisation I'm working for runs a campaign with the aim to set focus on kids and alcohol during the holidays, and it's a lot of work with that now as you might imagine. This Friday, we have a concert with five local bands all playing live for the first time ever. Fun, but time consuming. We're driving around putting up posters, handing out flyers and doing media work. We're also moving to Iceland in less than 3 week.

So well, of course I'm cooking, and a lot too. I just don't do anything spectacular and most of the cooking is done when the dark has fallen. And taking photos after dark isn't very appealing to me.

Yesterday, I got a big package with the post from my mother. She knows me really well, seeing as she sent me only foodie stuff. Soy strips, soy cutlets, vörtmix (a spice mix for a traditional Christmas bread in Sweden), saffron for saffron buns, and home made chocolate cookies! Yesterday I made noodles with peanut sauce with vegetables and soy strips, and oh my was that tasty. The conclusion? Well, I hope the next couple of days will bring more food to blog.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Fanny clementines

Look what I found in a supermarket today! Clementines just for me!

Um, maybe I shouldn't assume that everyone knows that my name is Fanny. But it is.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Previous Christmases

This year I was ready, and in good time to. I spent the second half of November listening to Christmas songs and planning how to spend it. Two days ago, I was stoked to find that it's only two weeks left. TWO!! It must have been my trip to Finland, it messed up my rhythm a bit. So now I'm in the middle of making gifts and planning what to cook and bake. Until I have some holiday eats to share with you, I thought I'd show you what I've been up to the previous years.

 2006. I had only been vegan for 6 months and made chocolate truffles and lussekatter (saffron buns). I also made seitan sausages which everyone else in my family wouldn't touch. They were great though!

2007. A rutabaga "ham". The ham is the centre piece on the Swedish Christmas table. It's boiled and glazed with mustard.

2008. I escaped Christmas and went to Berlin. We ate lunch at Yellow Sunshine. Before I left I made gingerbread cookies and candied almonds. 

 2009. I spent Christmas at home, and made chocolate truffle cups with gingerbread crusts. The horrible picture in the bottom is my Christmas dinner spread: Janson's temptation (a traditional Swedish potato casserole), beet root salad, skagen salad (traditionally made with shrimps, but I used tofu), brussel sprouts, soy balls, rutabaga "ham".

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Lime Icebox Cookies

 It all started with an offer at the supermarket, 10 limes for a cheap price. We thought about it twice and then decided to take them home, with no plan what so ever about what to do with them. I started thinking about you and asked you for advice, and got some nice suggestions. I will probably make some lime curd soon, if I can find a good recipe for it. 

But to speak the truth, I didn't have the patient to wait for your awesome advice. Back in my mind, the Grapefruit Icebox Cookies from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar was lurking. I've wanted to make them for quite some time, but never got around to do it. I never have grapefruit at home anyway. But now, with 10 pretty limes just lying their, waiting for me to zest and juice them, I figured I might as well use lime instead of grapefruit. So I got going, and made half a batch. According to the recipe, it was supposed to yield 12 cookies. I got 52. They were just the right size for one bit, and they got eaten up in 10 minutes by the three of us while playing a card game about growing beans (!!!).

 And why is it called icebox cookies?

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Finland and vital wheat gluten.

 I'm back from Finland. It took a long time to get there and even longer to get back. I went through two time zones and 4 countries on my way home, it was quite exhausting actually. But the stay in Finland was definitely worth it! I was there for a meeting, which gave nice results even though their future is challenging. The "spare time" was even better. I enjoyed: having a social life for two days, seeing trees, the wind-free and cold snowy weather, the thai-buffet we had for lunch, ice cream and the buildings in Vaasa. Most fun of all was the activity we did on Wednesday evening: sauna and ICE SWIMMING. The procedure was easy; sit in the sauna for 10 minutes to warm up the body, then out and in the 0,5 C/32,90 F cold water. I even went swimming 5-10 meters without dying of the cold. Then up and repeat the procedure or go and put on clothes. It was really cool and I might share a picture with you if I can get hold on any. 

Anyway, on to the food. I found a small health store with some organic food, and there I found something I've been longing for for quite a while now; vital wheat gluten! I bought the big bag (1 kg/2,2 lb) and squeezed it into my bag. Now it's here, and I need all your best ideas what to use it for! I don't want a basic seitan recipe, since I can do that from scratch. I'm thinking sausages and stuff like that! And chickpea cutlets of course. Hit me with you're best ideas!

I also have 10 limes lying around, any ideas for those?