Friday, 25 April 2014

Spelt porridge with honey roasted nuts

Meet my new aquaintance, the protein rich spelt grain:

Spelt is a relative of old wheat

Spelt comes in many forms - grains, pearls, semolina, flour etc. so expect more recipes in posts to come. In this recipe i have used large wholegrain spelt grains.

Spelt porridge (serves 4)
1 L milk of choice
3 dl large wholegrain spelt grains
1/2 tsp salt

Bring the milk to the boil. Add the spelt and the salt. Let simmer for 40-50 minutes, stirring every now and then. The longer you let it cook the better the spelt flavour will emerge.

Honey roasted nuts
Two large handfuls of nuts of your choice. I used cashews and walnuts.
1-2 tbsp butter
1-2 tbsp honey

Roast the nuts in a small dry frying pan til they're hot and have some colour. Put them in a bowl. Put the butter and honey in the pan and mix to a sauce. Add the nuts and cook for a few minutes.

I used 1 tbsp of both honey and butter on the nuts and that turned out delicious. However, there could have been a little more of the "sticky stuff". If you are also a fan of "sticky stuff" try using 2 tbsp of each.

Friday, 18 April 2014

Finnish Easter Mämmi

If you have ever been in Finland around Easter you might have seen it in the store, but then again, you might have missed it. Among all he colourful Easter candies, eggs and chocolates the small white box filled with black goo can't easily compete for attention. But many Finns - including me - don't feel like it's Easter without it. I dare you to try this.

The product is called Mämmi, or Memma in Swedish. It's made out of rye flour and malt, takes about 6-7h to make, and it's eaten with milk, cream and sugar. I've never made it myself but obviously you can't find it anywhere outside Finland so I went for it and was surprised at how easy it was. I had a hard time even finding ingredients, but thanks to the great guys at Dan's Homebrewing Supplies I got lots of good stuff to tinker with and the result was surprising. It was, against all odds and my cautious expectations, a great success, super yummy, and really makes Easter feel like Easter, even far away from all my own folks and traditions. The recipe is a mix of Finnish and Swedish ones I dug out from the internet, adapted to suit the ingredients I found.

Ingredients (serves 8 if they're all crazy about it, 15 if they just eat it because it's Easter)

2L water
8 dl rye flour
3 dl roasted malted barley*

3,5 dl malt extract*
1 tbsp ground bitter orange peel*
peel of 1/2 orange peel (fresh, grated)
1 dl molasses
1tsp salt
2 tbsp brown sugar

for serving:
double cream
white sugar

Heat the water to about 60oC (this is according to the recipes but I actually used water that I'd just boiled - worked fine) and pour it into a large bowl. Add the barley and the rye flour and let stand, covered, in the oven for 3h at a fairly low temperature (my oven doesn't do lower than 70oC so i turned it off a couple of times because you don't want it to start simmering). You can use the stove too on the lowest setting, in that case just give it a stir every now and then. The mixture will be quite watery at the start but get a bit thicker in the oven - not much thicker than pancake batter though, don't worry if it seems a bit thin.

Take the bowl out of the oven and raise the temperature to 150oC. Add all the other ingredients and stir until they are well mixed. Transfer the batter into an ovenproof dish (I used a rectangular oven pan about 15x30cm) and put it back in the oven. It now stays in the oven for another 3h, but you need to stir it every 15-20min to ensure that it gets evenly baked. A film will form on top of the batter and this needs to be mixed back in every now and then, hence the stirring. When it's done the consistency should be like treacle ("like proper treacle", my British husband adds, "like the kind that a spoon will stand up in"). After the 3h are up, or when the consistency is right, take the mämmi out and let it cool down. It will have become even thicker now it's cooled down, like mudcake. Serve the mämmi with milk and a bit of cream (or just cream, I guess, I think some people eat it just with cream, others just with milk) and some white sugar. Enjoy your Finnish Easter!

* Some notes on the ingredients: After lots of searching, I finally found the malted barley, malt extract and bitter orange peel in a homebrewing supply store. I don't know how important the roasted malted barley is in the recipe because in the end all the malty taste came from the extract. The barley did provide the right colour, though. It came in whole pearls but they ground it for me in the store, as fine as they could but it was still much coarser than flour. As for the bitter orange peel, it's an important part of the taste, but before I stumbled upon it in the beer brewing store I had planned to use fresh orange and lemon peel and a splash of angostura bitters, to get that slight bitter tinge that bitter oranges have. I might try that anyway next time as it took me like half an hour to grind the bitter orange peel with pestle and mortar - it was like trying to grind stone!

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Cinnamon Bun Oatmeal in a Cup

I've got a sweet tooth. When i saw this recipe of porridge disguised as a CINNAMON BUN i knew i just had to try it.

My problem with this idea was i wanted to make it for breakfast, but with a baby and a toddler, mornings are quite packed with things that have to be done as it is, without adding something more complicated than cereal and sandwiches to the mix. So what i did was i made everything ready the night before and put it in the fridge. In the morning i just mumbled to my husband who always gets up before me to put the oven on. When i finally couldn't convincingly tell myself i was still asleep i got up, put everything together in three cups and stuck them in the oven. 25 minutes later breakfast was served, and a very nice one it was.

Baked Cinnamon Bun Oatmeal (Single Serving)
1/3 cup Oats
1 Tbsp Brown Sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup milk
2 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce
1 egg white, slightly beaten
1 pecan half, chopped fine

Sugar mix
1 1/2 tsp coconut oil, melted
2 tsp Sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Cream Cheese Icing
1/2 Tbsp cream cheese
1 tsp maple syrup
splash vanilla

1 pecan half, chopped fine

I made a double batch and then put it in three cups. That way one serving was enough for breakfast since we also had sandwiches with it. 
The night before you want to have this, mix together the ingredients for the oatmeal in a plastic container. Do the same with the sugar mix and the icing. Put them in the fridge. The next morning preheat the oven to 175°C. Put the porridge in one or several cups that are suited for oven use. Drizzle half of the sugar mix on top of the porridge and put it in the oven for about 25 min. When the porridge is done add the icing. You can just use a spoon or then you can pipe it on if you want it to look fancy. Drizzle the rest of the sugar mix on top and finally add the chopped pecan. Ready to serve!

This was a really fun porridge to have for breakfast and i just thought how cool it would look if you had some friends over for brunch and you would make a couple of batches of this and divide it into espresso cups. Because the best part of brunch is to have all sorts of stuff on the table and a whole serving of porridge leaves little room for anything else.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Quinoa porridge with almond and cocoa nibs

Two weeks ago I put up my first quinoa porridge recipe, and here's another variation. I can't say which one I like better but I think maybe this one. I love the way the almond and cocoa nibs work together. The combination is a bit of a new find for me and I'll probably put almonds and cocoa nibs in everything for the next couple of weeks because that's what I do when I find a taste that I like. Then I forget it for a while and later when I rediscover it I'm just as wildly happy about it as the first time.

Quinoa Porridge with Almond and Cocoa Nibs

What you need (one serving)

1/3 cup quinoa
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup milk
1/2 mashed banana
pinch of salt
1 tbsp cocoa nibs
1 handful roughly chopped almonds

Put the quinoa, water, milk, coconut oil and salt in a non-stick pan and bring to a boil. Let it simmer for 15-20minutes under a lid. If needed, add a little more water. When it's done, turn off the heat and mix in the mashed banana. Pour the contents into a bowl and mix in the almonds and cocoa nibs. If you feel daring, try adding a dollop of plain youghurt on top for a great contrast in taste.

While I've been experimenting with quinoa I've come across some really great-looking recipes that I hope to try at some point, like Princess Misia's "Apple quinoa porridge" and the "Quinoa breakfast bake" on the Greatist food blog. Can't wait to try them!!