23 December 2009

Adventures in Perth and Margaret River

Lovely Perth

Welcome to Western Australia, a place - up until late 2009 - that neither Geoff nor I had ever visited. I meant to post this last year, but better late than never in this case. We have just returned from Europe and will be posting new recipes very soon.

We started our adventure in Perth where we stayed with Geoff's lovely sister and her husband for a few days.

On the first night we went out for a delicious meal in Fremantle at the Left Bank, where I had Moroccan lamb with couscous and Geoff had salmon of some sort...

A view from outside the Left Bank restaurant

One of the first things I noticed about WA - even in Perth - was that wild flowers were growing everywhere! Even as we drove along the highway, bushes of pink and purple flowers in every shade imaginable lined the road.

Some beautiful wild flowers

We visited the Swan Valley - Western Australia's oldest wine region - on our second day.

We did very little wine tasting for some odd reason, and rather turned our sights to the Margaret River Chocolate Company - which despite being a very ugly building indeed, housed some very very delicious chocolate. Geoff and I bought a selection of little chocolates and when we returned a few days later to their shop in Margaret River, I bought quite a bit more of their cookies and cream chocolate which was ridiculously delicious and very soon disappeared...

We then headed off to Mondo Nougat where I tried the macadamia and honey nougat (yum!) and where we spotted this very cute car (a classic Fiat 500!) inside.

Outside its newer relative lived with a number plate along the lines of ItalnStal1on. Speaking of which, WA seems to be the home of personalised number plates... I have never seen so many in my life!

So after a very delicious tour of Perth we were of to Rottnest Island, where we spent the day exploring the island by bus and on foot, but sadly did not spot a quokka.

The lighthouse at Rottnest Island

View of the ocean from Rottnest Island

The next day we explored Perth a little and had lunch at the Little Creatures brewery.

View from the brewery

We had a lovely tapas style lunch at the eccentric brewery and Geoff enjoyed a beer. I think whoever owns this brewery must have quite a good sense of humor or a little joie de vivre - at least that is the feeling I got!

A little creatures beer

After a day or two of doing very little (ok ok, a day or two of me taking over Geoff's iPhone to play Civilisations - a short lived addiction, thankfully) Geoff and I hired a car and drove down to Margaret River, which is a lovely areas filled with a very small river, vineyards and great surf beaches.

We decided to stay at the very cute Bridgefield guest house as it came highly recommended by Geoff's sister and mum.

One of our first stops was Voyager Wines, where apparently the owner does not drink at all... hmmm...

Voyager Wines

Geoff and I decided to throw caution to the wind and actually try a little wine at a winery - we are very adventurous like that. In the end however we ended up following in the footsteps of the owner and only buying non-alcoholic sparkling grape juice, which is a lot more tasty and exciting than it might sound!

Some very cute Western Australian cows (and look how green the grass is for us drought stricken east coast Australians)

The Margaret River Providore was our next stop, and it was simply heaven on earth!

The Margaret River Providore

As you can see in the picture they grown their own organic produce locally to use in their cafe and products. The shop had a very very long tabled lined with products to taste and everything I tried was delicious. Geoff and I ended up spending a small fortune there, buying products such as raspberry coulis and mango coulis (both of which have gone very well on crepes and also ice cream), salad dressing and much more. Later I was told that they also fly in dough from France and bake fresh bread each day at the store.

It is a pity their website does not list their products actually...

In Margaret River we dined at Must Bistro and the food was incredible. A wonderful multi-course meal with wine expertly pair with our orders. The menu is wonderful with the daily specials adding in a range of exciting options. Geoff had a tasting plate of a beef cheek pie and a Wagu steak on the side. Dessert melted in our mouths.

The rest of our time in WA was spent driving hours to go to a berry farm for what turned out to be very very average pancakes, visiting Dome cafe which had some yummy coffee, walking around Perth and lots of relaxing!

We also stumbled across a truffle farm on our way back. The place itself isn't anything too spectacular, but the combination of their truffle oil with some Dukkah from the Providore is simply heaven!

I am very glad now to have seen a small slice of Western Australia and I am looking forward to going back and seeing more in the future. Rumours are we will have an excuse in May 2010.

5 December 2009

Gingerbread Christmas Tree

gingerbread christmas tree

Hello everyone. We are back again after a little break in which Geoff has been overseas quite a bit for work, and I have handed in my thesis (yay!).

Today we spent a lovely day at the Scandinavian Christmas Festival at the Swedish Church in Melbourne. We had some lovely open sandwiches with Swedish meatballs, julmust, cream cakes with strawberries and some Danish æbleskiver.

I promised to post up a gingerbread recipe, so here is a very cute one using gingerbread stars made into Christmas trees with royal icing and some icing sugar and edible glitter sprinkled over the top. If you have any stars left over you can cover them in icing and eat them later (or while you are making your tree...). I used the left over dough to make some snowflake gingerbread biscuits which I intended to post here, however they have since been eaten...

I was inspired by the gingerbread Christmas tree in the latest issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller, however I have used a different gingerbread recipe.

Geoff and I are off to Paris in one week and then to Vienna for Christmas and Berlin for New Years. I am hoping to post up a recipe for gingerbread cheese cake before we leave though. But if I don't get a chance to post before then, have a merry Christmas and a happy new year and thank you for reading our blog this year!

We'll post up some pictures when we get back of the Christmas markets and so on.

So on with the recipe...

You will need:

  • 1/2 cups of brown sugar
  • 130 g unsalted butter
  • 1/2 golden syrup (or treacle)
  • 1 egg, separated
  • 3 cups of plain flour
  • 1 1/2 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tbsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp bicarb soda
  • 200 g icing sugar
  • Edible glitter (if you like!)
  • Star cookie cutters (6 different sizes)
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Combine your butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and when smooth separate your egg and add the yoke into the mix and combine. Combine in the golden syrup.

Sift in the flour, bi carb soda and spices and combine with the rest of the mixture.

Knead into a smooth ball and wrap in cling wrap and then place in the fridge for at least an hour, but I would recommend a couple of days so the spicy flavours thoroughly infuse the dough.

After at least an hour, take the dough from the fridge and lightly dust a clean surface with some plain flour and well as lightly dusting your rolling pin with flour as well.

Take a little of your dough and roll it until it is fairly thin, no more that about 4 mm high. I started with quite thin stars, but I think it looks a bit better if they are about 4 mm thick. Cut six or so of each sized star (about 12 if you plan to make two ... and you will have enough dough for two) and put them on trays covered in baking paper and place them in the oven for about 10 minutes until they are golden brown.

Repeat for the remaining dough.

For the icing put your left over egg white to good use by using an electric mixer to mix it until it forms fairly stiff peaks and then sift in the icing sugar and combine. If adding in food colouring makes you happy, add some now, however I chose to stick with white.

Once your gingerbread stars have cooled, place the largest on a plate and pipe some of the royal icing onto it and then place another star on top of that. Repeat until you have created an incredibly cute Christmas tree. Then dust a little icing sugar over the whole thing to make it look like snow and add a little edible glitter over that.

Eat and enjoy!

11 November 2009

Delicious Wiener Schnitzel

Well dreaming of winter is about all I can do here at the moment in Melbourne, Australia. We have been experiencing a heatwave of over 33 degrees each day for about 5 days in a row... yesterday was even 36 degrees, which I suppose some might find delightful, but I chose to spend it in lovely air conditioning. Salvation is nigh with 23 degrees next Monday, which I can not wait for!

Mostly I am looking out for a cooler day so I can go to Starbucks and buy a Gingerbread latte. Yum!!! They make me so happy!!! It is like a big mug of Christmas deliciousness, topped with cream and Cinnamon. Gingerbread latte's were one of the things that convinced me to get up and go to work on a cold, dark, rainy morning in London.

Actually I do make these at home myself so I will pop the recipe up in a week or two when Geoff gets back from overseas for work, and can take the photo for me. I'll also be posting up an actual gingerbread recipe... despite my constant chatter about my love for gingerbreads I have yet to post one, so it is about time. I did consider making a gingerbread house, but I am not sure how that will go in 35 degree heat... I fear it might colapse.

I am also getting very excited about our trip to Europe which is now only about 4 weeks away. I can't wait to see Paris for the first time and to catch up with my wonderful friends Marlene and Andy in Vienna. We have already arranged to meet at the Christmas Markets for a mug of glühwein our first night there. I am also quite excited about picking up my clothes, 90% of which are still living in Marlen and Andy's basement from when I came to Australia for a 6 week holiday in July 2007 and ended up staying for quite a while longer...

Lastly, I am very excited at the prospect of hopefully having handed in my thesis by this time next month (depending on what my supervisor says on the 25th of this month). Still quite a bit of work to do though...

But anyway, on with the recipe for today, a delicious wiener schnitzel (Vienna Schnitzel). This was one of my favourite things to eat when I lived in beautiful Vienna.

Schnitzel is the perfect meal on a cold winter's night, and is incredibly delicious when combined with a little lemon and served with salad or potatoes.

You will need:
(Serves 4)
  • 4 veal, chicken or pork fillets
  • 2 eggs
  • milk
  • breadcrumbs
  • oil
  • 1 lemon
If you have not been able to buy already thin schnitzel fillets then flatten your meat using a meat mallet or any other hard object, such as a rolling pin.

Whisk the 2 eggs together in a bowl with a small amount of milk and a pinch of salt.

Cover one plate in breadcrumbs and another in flour.

Coat the schnitzel fillets in flour and then dip them into the bowl containing the egg mixture, making sure the entire schnitzel is covered.

Finally cover the schnitzel in the breadcrumbs and put aside on a plate while you finish the others.

Heat some oil in a pan, enough to cover the bottom of the pan and cook the schnitzels in batches until they are golden drown. You may wish to dab access oil off using paper towels.

Serve on a plate with a slice of lemon and a green salad or even potato salad.

Enjoy! (Hopefully with a glass of wine and family/good friends)

2 November 2009

Apple Pie

Apple pie is simple to bake and delicious to eat. There are many different ways of creating the ultimate apple pie. I seem to end up with a variant every time. This recipe approximates how the last one was made.

Apple Pie #2

  • 800g stewed apple (tinned pie apple is okay)
  • 1-2 tablespoons of brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 pinch of ground cloves
  • 250g unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  • 370g plain flour
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons water
Mix the apple, brown sugar, cinnamon & cloves together in a bowl. Leave to sit in the refrigerator for an hour or two for the flavours to combine.

Sift the flour into a bowl and mix in the butter & salt. Add the water and stir until a consistent texture. Don't worry if it feels a bit damp.

Place the pastry dough into the refrigerator for 30min. This lets the dough firm enough to use.

Separate dough into two large chunks. Use one to line the bottom and sides of a medium sized cake tin.

Fill the cake tin with the apple mixture.

Spread the remaining dough over the top of the apple mixture. Baste with some milk. Make a few cuts in the middle of the lid to allow the apple to breathe while cooking.

Bake for 45 minutes in at 180 degrees.

Serve with ice cream or whipped cream (or both!).

18 October 2009

Zürcher Geschnetzeltes - Zurich Style Diced Veal Recipe

This delicious recipe is from the equally delicious book 'Winter In The Alps - Food by the Fireside' by Manuela Darling-Gansser. I fell in love with this book the moment I came across it one evening in a bookshop I like to visit when I really ought to be writing my thesis instead...

'Winter in the Alps' it is a combination of a cook book and a travel book with scrumptious recipes from Switzerland's many regions and stunning photography that really reminds me of how much I would like to travel through Switzerland by train one day.

This is the first dinner I have made from this book - I also made the Swiss pear bread a number of months ago and will post the recipe here once Geoff and I have a little photo re-shoot and I learn to take it out of the oven before it becomes a little too brown...

I did make a rösti to go with this, however it did not survive the flip out of the pan in order to be photographed, so I'll be posting that at a later date as well... I promise I am a good cook, really!

This recipe is a creamy, rich, delicious meal perfect on a wintery evening with a glass of red wine.

You will need:
  • 1 kg veal back strap sliced into strips
  • 2-3 tbsp plain flour
  • 50 g unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic finely sliced
  • 15 fresh sage leaves chopped
  • 200 g Swiss brown mushrooms thickly sliced
  • 250 ml dry white wine
  • 300 ml cream
Coat the meat in flour. Heat half of the oil and butter in a frying pan and once the butter foams add the meat and brown it quickly. Place the meat on a plate and put to the side.

Add the rest of the butter and oil to the pan and saute the onion, garlic and sage. After a few minutes add the mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes after they have started to soften.

Add the wine ato deglaze the bottom of the pan, then add back in the veal and cook, stirring until the wine has evaporated. Turn down the heat to low and continue to cook for another 10 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper and at the last moment add in the delicious cream, allowing to bubble for two minutes.

Remove from the heat, serve, enjoy and be merry!

12 October 2009

Ostkaka - Swedish Cheesecake recipe

This is a recipe for the delicious ostkaka, which is Swedish for cheese cake. It it not like normal cheesecake however, but is served warm and as Geoff commented when I made it, a little more like custard than a traditional cheese cake.

I have used this recipe which uses cottage cheese however the traditional way to make it involves using milk and ostlöpe (rennet) such as in this recipe. Try as I might, I have been unable to find rennet anywhere in Melbourne. The Swedish recipe says you can just buy it at the chemist, so I assume it must be fairly easy to buy in other countries, and I do think I have seen it mentioned in a couple of American recipes as well so hopefully you can get it there.

If anyone does know where you can buy it in Australia, please let me know as I would love to make the recipe the traditional way.

In the comments of another Ostkaka recipe, I did find a suggestion that an Indian cheese called Paneer could be used as a better alternative to cottage cheese. Another suggestion is to blend the cheese it in a food processor to give it a better consistency.

All of this said, this version of the ostkaka is very very delicious and I am sure you will enjoy it!

Anyway, on with the recipe!

Ostkaka with cottage cheese:

You will need:
(Serves 5-6)
  • 1/4 cup of almonds (I used almond slivers)
  • 3 eggs
  • 5 tbsp sugar (6 or 7 might be better though as I did not find this very sweet)
  • 1/4 cup of plain flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 500g cottage cheese
Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Celsius.

If you are using whole almonds, chop them roughly, otherwise just use slivered almonds (I put these on everything! They are very good with semolina or custard).

Whisk the eggs and sugar together and then add in the sifted flour, milk, cream, cottage cheese and almonds. (You can use all milk or all cream if you prefer, I just though I would use a combination.)

Stir to combine and then pour into an oven proof dish of some sort. I just used a spring form pan, but you could use a ceramic square dish if you like. Something capable of holding a liter and a half.

Bake for 1 hour and then serve warm with whipped cream and lingon berry jam, or any cute berries you have really.


3 October 2009

Spinach, Feta and Roasted Pine Nut Salad

Geoff and I have just been visiting Western Australia for the past 8 days, hence the absence of posts. We had a lovely holiday exploring Perth and some surrounding areas, and also had some very delicious meals which we will post about this week.

Luckily our delicious bottles of port, raspberry coulis, mustard, butterscotch liqueur, truffle oil and other tasty things we bought while we were away survived the flight intact, and we will be posting all about our visit to the beautiful wine region in WA - Margaret River - this week. We also visited the Margaret River Chocolate Company, but for some weird reason we don't have any chocolate left to photograph... hmmm...

Also today while we were killing time in Perth before our flight, we went to see the very funny movie Julie & Julia, which is great if you like food, cooking, food blogging, French food, laughter, etc...

Anyway, back to the recipe!

I don't usually equate winter with salads, but this one is a real exception. The mixture of the spinach with the roasted pine nuts and feta is delicious, warm and comforting, perfect for a beautiful winters evening.

You will need:
  • Fresh spinach - about 250 g or so
  • 3 tbsp of pine nuts
  • Bulgarian feta
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt
  • Avocado (optional)
Wash the spinach under some water, drain it and add it to a large bowl.

Crumble a good amount of the Bulgarian feta over the top of the salad. I really would recommend that you use Bulgarian or another similar feta that is quite soft and crumbles easily so that it melts and creates a delicious creamy dressing once you have added the pine nuts - Greek feta simply does not do this.

Toast the pine nuts in oil with some salt - be very careful as they cook quite quickly. Pour the pine nuts over the salad, as well as any remaining oil.

Carefully mix the salad allowing the oil to melt the feta and cover the spinach leaves.

If you are so inclined, add in some sliced avocado as a delicious extra.

Enjoy alone or as a side dish - we had this with some chicken breast marinated in mustard, honey and soy sauce.

23 September 2009

Spinach Quiche Recipe

It seems Melbourne has decided it is winter again, to my great happiness! So to celebrate I decided to make one of my favourite meals - a delicious spinach and cheese quiche.

There are so many different variations of quiche, so if you are not very keen on spinach, simply substitute it for a filling of your choice, such as bacon and onion (the traditional quiche Lorraine), leek and feta, salmon and dill, chicken and asparagus and so on.

Serve it with a salad - I'll be posting up our spinach, roasted pine nut and feta salad shortly - or even just some deliciously ripe sliced tomatoes, lightly seasoned with some salt and pepper, which is a perfect contrast to the toasty warm quiche.

You will need:
  • 4 large eggs (Sometimes I use 5 to be safe)
  • 1 1/4 cups of grated cheese
  • 250g frozen spinach - defrosted and the water squeezed out
  • 1 1/2 sheets of puff pastry - defrosted
  • Butter
  • 2/3 cup of milk
  • Salt and pepper
Butter a quiche dish if you have one, or just any sort of round cake tin if you do not. Place the sheets of puff pastry into the dish and fold the edges down so they are about even with the top of the dish.

Whisk the eggs together in a bowl and add a pinch of salt and a little pepper, along with the milk.

Sprinkle your cheese into the quiche dish and pour the egg and milk mixture on top. Sprinkle the spinach on top of this, and you are done!

Cook for about 50-60 mins on 180 degrees C and then serve.

Eat and be merry!

This makes enough for 4 large slices of quiche.

For a mini version, I use a cupcake pan and go through the same process as above, although they take less time to cook - normally 20 mins.

18 September 2009

Oliebollen - Dutch Deliciousness

This is a family recipe, as my family is from The Netherlands. I have grown up with these lovely balls of deliciousness, almost like a doughnut, but without the hole, dusted with a generous amount of icing sugar and served toasty warm.

I like the version with a little slice of apple inside, which can allow you to feel slightly healthy, but really I think it is just a delicious combination of flavours. Others prefer them with raisins (which I detest with a passion), and others still prefer theirs plain.

Traditionally these are served on New Years Eve (although you can enjoy them all year around, if you keep it on the downlow). My mother told me how the entire house was requested to tiptoe carefully around and not speak too loudly for at least 6 hours when my grandmother used to cook these many years ago... so as not to upset the olieballen and have them not rise properly. This resulted in my mother being too scared to cook them for many years, however we did make them not that long ago, and it was a huge success, although the house was strangely quite for a couple of hours and I was requested not to close the doors too loudly...

You will need:
  • 1 kg flour
  • 50 gm of compressed yeast or 3 sachets of 7gm dry yeast
  • 950 ml warm (not hot) milk
  • 1 rind of lemon zest (finely grated)
  • 3 granny smith apples
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
Mix the dry ingredients together and then add the milk and the chopped apples. Mix with your hands. The consistency should not be too stiff.

Cover the bowl/container with a tea towel and leave in a warm place to rise for a couple of hours.

When the mixture has risen, heat some oil (enough to submerge the oliebollen into) to about 180 degrees celsius and start frying amounts in the oil - it is up to you if you want little oliebollen or slightly larger ones - about a tablespoon full at least.

The oliebollen should rise to the surface when ready, and they should also flip over quite cutely by themselves, but if not, just turn them over.

Once cooked, pop onto a plate with some paper towelling to remove access oil.

Then serve sprinkled with icing sugar, or even cinnamon sugar if you prefer. And for a little Aussie twist, have it with some golden syrup! (First tried by my mothers partner one night, and it tasted very very nice. After we had gotten over the shock of course!)

Enjoy and eat many! They are too delicious just to have one or two of.


14 September 2009

Kladdkaka - Swedish Chocolate Cake

I first experienced the delicious chocolaty Swedish dessert Kladdkaka when I stayed at a friends place on the beautiful little island of Visingsö in lake Vättern in Sweden.

Visingsö on a beautiful wintery day

Luckily, I have been given permission to use the recipe so I am posting it here for you all to enjoy. It is currently written of a little piece of paper and stuck into my Ikea cookbook, so it is probably good I am posting it here so I don't end up loosing it one day.

This cake is quite dense, thin, moist and a little sticky, not to mention very delicious and very simple to make.

You will need:
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • A pinch of salt
  • 115g butter (melted)
  • 40g coco
  • 265 g sugar (about 1 and 1/3 cups)
  • Half a cup of plain flour
Preheat the over to 180 degrees celsius and butter the sides of a round pan. Mine is about 20cm.

Whisk the eggs then add in the sifted flour, salt and vanilla essence.

Melt the butter and then add the coco and sugar to it. Combine the two bowls of mixture together and then place into the pan and then into the oven.

Cook for about 25 - 30 mins. Remember the cake is supposed to be a bit sticky so be careful not to overcook it.

Serve with some cream and berries and enjoy!


8 September 2009

Gehaktballen (Dutch Meatballs) and Stamppot

This is a delicious family recipe for gehaktballen, which are Dutch meatballs and stamppot, which I make using potatoes and spinach. I grew up having this from my mother and grandmother, and it is quite a simple to make, very tasty, traditional Dutch dish (And quite healthy too!). Just the thing to have on a cold winter's night.

Dutch food (sadly) has a reputation for being a little boring and bland, but I am here to prove this silly theory wrong. Dutch food may not have the decadent reputation of French food, but it can still be sexy! Once you have tried this recipe I am sure you will also agree with me.

You will need:
This will make enough for 4 people (or 2 very hungry people).
  • 500 g minced beef
  • 1 onion finely diced
  • 2 cubes of beef stock or 2 teaspoons of beef stock power
  • 1 egg
  • Breadcrumbs
  • 6 large potatoes
  • Butter
  • 1 - 2 packets of spinach (250g) depending on how spinachy you would like the stamppot
Simply add the minced beef, diced onion and egg into a bowl, crushing the 2 cubes of beef stock over the top, as well as half a cup of breadcrumbs. Combine using your hands until all the ingredients are mixed together. If the mixture is still a little wet, add in more breadcrumbs.

Roll the meat into medium sized balls and place in the fridge for 30 mins or so.

Peel the potatoes and boil them until cooked. Mash them with some milk, salt and butter and then add in the spinach. I used a packet of frozen spinach so I just microwaved it but if you are using fresh spinach then chop it up, boil it, and then add it to the potatoes. Mix well together and warm up again on the stove just before you serve.

Then simply fry your meatballs in a frying pan with a good splash of oil and make some gravy to go with it. I used gravy powder with some boiled water added it to. My grandmother used to cook the meatballs slowly over a couple of hours in the gravy, however I do not have that level of patience for meatballs, so I fry them fairly quickly. There are pros and cons - pros for a quick cook are that the outsides of the meatballs and deliciously crisp and crunchy. Pros to slow cooked meatballs are that they are incredibly tender inside. Choose your own destiny!

I was always taught to make a little mound of stamppot on the place first, and then make a well in which to place the meatballs and gravy.

Serve with some apple sauce and a bit of mayonnaise. Yum!!

31 August 2009

Salmon with Sour Cream and Dill Sauce Recipe

I have cooked this delicious meal for many many friends and it really is perfect to enjoy on a warm summer evening with some good friends and a glass of wine or three.

Now I realise this blog is called Dreaming of Winter, and this is a summery dish, however I'll write a little variation on the theme so you can enjoy this all year around.

This might sound a little complicated, but it is really worth it, and once you have made it a couple of times it is a piece of cake!

This recipe is based on one I found in my trusty Ikea cookbook - aka one of my best purchases yet.

What you will need:
  • 4 125g salmon fillet pieces (or more depending on how many people you are cooking for)
  • 2 1/2 dl sour cream
  • Fresh dill (none of that horrible dried stuff)
  • Dijon mustard
  • Potatoes
  • Salt, pepper
  • Lemon
  • (you can also include 1 50g jar of red Swedish caviar)
The bouillon:
  • 1 1/2 dl water
  • 1 dl white wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 5 whole allspice
  • 2 whole white pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 onion
  • Fresh Dill
Method - The day before in Summer:
  1. First of all, you will need to make the bouillon – simply add 1 1/2 dl water and 1 dl white wine vinegar to a saucepan.
  2. Add in the salt, allspice and white pepper.
  3. Dice the carrot and onion and add to the saucepan.
  4. Add in the fresh dill.
  5. Let this simmer for about 15 mins.
  6. Put the salmon into another saucepan and strain the bouillon over them.
  7. Bring to boil for 3-5 mins and then leave to cool.
  8. Place the salmon in the fridge over night still in the liquid.
Method - The day of in Winter:
Same as above for steps 1 - 6, obviously making this the night you wish to serve the meal rather than the day before and then serve the salmon while still hot.

Sauce - The day before:
  1. Add a large container of sour cream into a bowl
  2. Add in a good amount of chopped fresh dill
  3. Add in 2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard
  4. Add in some salt and pepper to taste
  5. You can also add in 50g jar of red Swedish caviar – but I normally leave this out as I am not a big caviar fan
  6. Leave covered up in the fridge over night to allow the flavours to infuse
The day of happiness!
  1. Peel and boil the potatoes
  2. Strain and serve on plates
  3. Strain the salmon and serve cold in summer and warm in winter
  4. Add some sauce
  5. Enjoy!

23 August 2009

Lindt Café, Melbourne

Nothing says winter more than a hot chocolate. Melbourne, spoilt for chocolatiers, now has a Lindt Café on Collin Street. Located in beautiful surroundings, the atmosphere is relaxed and light.

After reading about macaroons in last month's Gourmet Traveller, both Michelle and I were eager to try Lindt's interpretation, the Delice range.

Macaroons, Lindt Cafe, Melbourne

Of our selection of strawberry, passionfruit, chocolate and hazelnut, we both loved passionfruit. Hazelnut, with high expectations, was good but not exceptional. Strawberry is quite sweet, but still delicious. Chocolate is a good entry point.

Lunch, or whatever we were calling this meal, needed something more substantive. Lindt's range of cakes was exactly what we needed.

White Chocolate Framboise, Lindt Cafe, Melbourne

White Chocolate Framboise caught Michelle's eye and did not disappoint. A delicate layering of flavor, it was the pick of the day.

Chocolat Cerise, Lindt Cafe, Melbourne

I chose the Black Forest cake, called a Chocolat Cerise. I am still undecided on this. The chocolate was wonderful, as expected. I was not so enthused by the cherries. Michelle was more of a fan.

Lindt's Café is well worth a visit. A great way to spoil yourself or someone close.

20 August 2009

Daal Moong


As a vegetarian, daal was my defense against hunger. It is almost the perfect food. Healthy, tasty, and rich in proteins.

At the Indian restaurant after tennis each week, I would devour a large bowl of rich daal. Every week. The same dish. I spent months trying to replicate it at home.

Daal is quite easy to make, and is in essence just boiled lentils. However, like a good Italian Bolognese, there are a few tricks to a great daal.

This recipe will get you started.

Best served over freshly cooked jasmine rice, with some papadums on the side.

Daal Moong
  • 1 cup Red Lentils
  • 2.5 cups water
  • 1 dessert spoon of Ghee, or butter (or good cooking oil for a non-dairy option)
  • 1 medium onion, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon garam-masala
  • 2 tablespoons broken coriander (cilantro) or any other fresh herbs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder (optional)
  • a small piece of ginger (or 1 teaspoon crushed ginger)
  1. Soak the lentils for 30 minutes.
  2. Boil the water and add the drained lentils, salt, turmeric and chilli powder (if Michelle isn't home).
  3. Bring the lentils to the boil and then reduce to simmer for 15 minutes or when the lentils become soft and tender.
  4. Melt the ghee in a frying pan, then add the chopped onion and ginger.
  5. Mix in the coriander & garam-masala just before removing from the heat.
  6. Serve the daal topped with the onion mixture.
For everyday cooking, it is possible to use dried supermarket ingredients. These keep in the pantry for a long time. I also keep a jar of minced ginger in the fridge. The only fresh requirement is an onion.

The recipe works best with fresh coriander and fresh ginger. It makes the difference.

To vary, try different pulses. Red beans go well mixed in with the lentils.

19 August 2009

Hazelnut Chocolate Mousse

Sorry for my long absence. I have recently discovered that my masters thesis is due earlier than I had expected … if anyone happens to be an expert on the integration of immigrants into Swedish society, I’d be very happy to hear from you!

So on with the show…

This is possibly the easiest recipe in the history of humankind, and one of the most delicious too!

All you need is:
  • 1 200g block of hazelnut chocolate – now while I am a huge fan of chocolate with whole hazelnuts, and am completely up in arms about Cadbury’s decision to stop making this, I would for this recipe recommend you use chocolate with crushed hazelnuts. I still think Cadbury chocolate should be very ashamed of itself though.
  • 50g of dark chocolate – just to make the mousse a little more intense.
  • I large bottle of cream.

Simply whip the cream and pop it in the fridge. Now for the lazy part- break your chocolate bars up and pop them in a bowl and into the microwave.

Microwave in 25 second increments, stirring in between until melted. If it makes you feel better you are more than welcome to use a double boiler, however I have yet to see any negative side to using the microwave.

Let the chocolate stand for about 2 – 4 minutes to cool a little then simply stir gently into the whipped cream to combine.

Pipe or spoon the mixture into glasses, although I would not fill them as much as in the picture – I think we all severely regretted having that much chocolate mousse after we had finished.

To finish it off grate some left over chocolate onto the top and pop the glasses into the fridge until you are ready to serve.

This recipe would be perfect to make lovely layered mouses. I was thinking of a bottom layer of Lindt dark chocolate and chilli, with a layer of hazelnut chocolate mousse on top and finally a layer of white chocolate mousse. I also noticed that Lindt is selling dark chocolate and pear, which I think would make a beautiful mousse, perhaps with some slices of fresh or even poached pear on the top.

There must be unlimited variations on this theme, so if you are not a hazelnut chocolate fan, substitute in your chocolate of choice.

You will notice in the picture there is a layer of white chocolate mousse. I was not happy with how this turned out, so have not included the recipe here.

I realise all the recipes thus far have been desserts, so keep an eye out over the next couple of weeks for my schnitzel recipe, and also a delicious Swedish poached salmon recipe, with potatoes and sour cream and dill sauce. Geoff will also be posting his ridiculously delicious Daal recipe.

2 August 2009

Glühwein Recipe

A few of you have asked for my secret glühwein recipe. Passed down the generations of my family, from mother to daughter...in whispers late at night by the fireplace on the eve of our 18th birthday. It was first learnt from a wandering monk who stopped at the house of my great great great great grandmother in Amsterdam one frosty winters evening as thanks for a place to stay for the night... or perhaps I just made it up as I went along...

Really the beauty of glühwein is that you can tailor it to your own tastes. I like mine to be rich in spices, however if that is not your cup of tea, then just reduce amount of spices you add. Just take this recipe as a base and then go in the direction that best suites your tastes.

To 4 liters of red wine you'll need:
  • Caster sugar (amount proportional to quality of red wine, the worse the wine the more sugar you need, add it to taste, but start with about 2 cups)
  • 6 - 8 cinnamon sticks
  • Whole cloves
  • 2 oranges
  • Whole allspice
  • 2 cups of orange juice - recently I tried this with mandarin juice and it was also lovely
  • If you wish to get your friends and yourself tipsy even more quickly, or just to add a little extra kick, add brandy, sweet sherry or port to the mix (optional but rather tasty).
  1. Pour the red wine into a large pot and put it on the stove on a very low heat – you must not let the wine boil or the world could end… and that is not something you want to risk...
  2. I tend to cut the oranges into slices and then put about 4 cloves into each slice, then put them in with the wine.
  3. Break the cinnamon sticks in half or thirds and put them in with the wine as well as 10 of the whole all spice.
  4. Add in the sherry or port as well as 2 cups of orange juice.
  5. Add in 2 cups of sugar and stir.
  6. Stir on and off for about 30 minutes to give the spices time to infuse with the wine and for the magic to occur, then taste it, and add more sugar as needed (possible up to 4 or 5 cups more in the wine is really bad).
  7. Let it cook/infuse/whatever for about 30 minutes more (again, not letting it boil).
  8. Drink and be happy!
Sometimes I like to add berries, which soak up the alcohol quite nicely and add to the cuteness of the drink.

Also, in a more glögg-esque version (The Swedish version of glühwein/mulled wine), having this with gingerbread is quite yummy.

I have also tried some consisting of amaretto with white wine instead, and that was also delicious - I'll post this and other variations on the glühwein theme in the future, so keep an eye out!

If you'd like something warm and spicy, but without alcohol, then try this delicious mulled apple cider recipe.

28 July 2009

Basic Cupcake Recipe

At last, a non-gingerbread recipe! Welcome to the wonderful world of cupcakes.

The beauty of this cupcake recipe is that you can use it to make fairy/butterfly cupcakes, as well as ones with icing.

You could also add in berries, white chocolate, (white chocolate AND berries), anything your heart desires, really!

Now, run down to the supermarket, get yourself the following ingredients, pop on your chefs hat, and let's begin!

Cupcake Ingredients:
  • 120g butter
  • ½ cup of caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 decently sized eggs
  • 1 ½ cups self raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ cup of milk
(makes 12-ish cupcakes)

Buttercream Icing:
  • 200g butter
  • Icing sugar (I just keep adding it until it tastes decent)
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • Food colouring if you are so inclined

Philadelphia Cream Cheese Icing:

  • I packet of Philadelphia cream cheese
  • Icing sugar (I just keep adding it until it tastes decent)
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • Food colouring (if you like)
  • 50 g butter

For Fairy cupcakes:
  • Thickened cream
  • Icing sugar
  • Strawberries


Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius

Mix the sugar, butter and vanilla essence in a bowl, hopefully with an electric beater, or you are in for a bit of a challenge (however you will feel very ye old days, which might be satisfying), until they are thoroughly combined.

Add in the eggs and then slowly add in the milk and flour (which you will have sifted).

Line your cupcake tray/pan thingy with cupcake containers (not sure of the technical term here) and evenly distribute the mix. If you don’t have a cupcake tray thing, you could always try putting the cupcake containers on a normal tray, and hope for the best (I did try this at Ola’s place once, and it worked) – just make sure you use two containers for each cupcake to be sure.

Leave in the oven for about 15 minutes.

Once cooked, wait until the cupcakes have cooled to ice.

For fairy cupcakes:
Slice the top off, and cut this part in half for the ‘wings’
Place a tablespoon of cream (which you will have whipped earlier on) on top. Then place the ‘wings’ in a wing like fashion on top of the cream. After this, sift a little icing sugar over the whole cupcake to create an air of fairyness, and then add a sliver of strawberry to the top.

For butter icing cupcakes:
Make sure the butter is rather soft, and then use an electric beater to combine it with the icing sugar – sift ½ a cup at a time – you will probably need at least 2 cups of icing sugar, if not 3, but taste it along the way to see. Then mix in the food colouring if you are so inclined (but remember, you only need the tiniest drop, or you might end up with tangerine coloured cupcakes, like me)

From past experience, blue cupcakes are not very appetising (although highly entertaining) to look at, but will probably be a big hit at a children’s birthday party. I thoughtfully inflicted these on my mother as a child, generally while making the cupcakes themselves green, which goes quite well with blue (or even red) icing. She seemed to love them...

For Philadelphia Cream Cheese Icing:
Follow the butter icing recipe above, however begin by first combining the cream cheese with the 50g of butter before adding in the icing sugar and food colouring.

I then just use an icing bag to pipe the softened icing onto the cupcakes, and there you have it. The cupcakes pictured here are using the Philadelphia cream cheese icing.

Now all you need to do is make a pot of tea, invite some friends over, and indulge!

26 July 2009

Gingerbread Truffle Recipe

Here is another gingerbread recipe for you to enjoy, this time gingerbread chocolate truffles. I told you I love gingerbread didn't I? It just conjures up all sorts of lovely images of Christmas and winter, and a lovely snowy day in Austria, at least for me anyway. :)

This recipe is a mixture of other gingerbread truffle recipes I have found across the internet, however I decided to make a little variation of my own by including crushed gingerbread biscuits for a little extra texture and flavour and changing around the chocolate proportions and so on.

These are so easy to make, and so delicious, the key I think, is to make the inside filling the day before, so you are able to coat them in chocolate more easily they next day.

So on to the recipe!

Cream mixture:
  • 3/4 cup of thickened cream
  • 15 whole allspice
  • 15 whole cloves
  • 1 tablespoon of golden syrup
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • A pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoon of grated ginger (fresh)
Chocolate and gingerbread mixture:
  • 1 cup of white chocolate
  • 1/2 cup of dark chocolate
  • 1/2 cup of milk chocolate
  • 10 - 15 Anna Ginger Thins (Pepparkakor) or 6 speculaas, or any other dry gingerbread biscuit that can be ground, ideally using a mortar and pestle.
  • 1.5 cup white chocolate
  • 1.5 cup dark chocolate
  • Extra ground gingerbreads
  1. Begin by adding the cream mixture into a small saucepan and bring to the boil, turn down the heat and allow the mixture to cook for another 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow this mixture to stand for at least one hour.
  2. Place a saucepan of water on the stove and bring to the boil, turn down the heat and place a metal bowl over this and add in the chocolates - stir until the chocolates melt then remove the bowl from the stove.
  3. Add the strained cream mixture into the chocolate mixture and stir to combine. Add in the crushed gingerbread biscuits. If the gingerbread biscuits do not combine smoothly into the chocolate, place the entire mixture back onto the saucepan and stir over the water until combined.
  4. Place the chocolate mixture into the fridge - I have had the best results by leaving this in the fridge overnight, however a couple of hours until set should suffice.
  5. Ideally the next day - remove the chocolate filling mixture from the fridge and use a teaspoon to remove even amounts from the bowl. Roll these into balls using your hands and place onto a tray covered in baking paper.
  6. Place the tray of rolled balls back into the fridge (and even possibly the freezer if you have not been able to chill over night, or if your mixture does not seem too firm).
  7. After 1 -2 hours melt the white chocolate in a metal bowl over water.
  8. Remove chocolates from the fridge and begin to dip these into the melted chocolate which you have removed from the stove, sprinkling with more ground gingerbreads while the chocolate is still wet. Place these onto another tray lined with baking paper and allow to set. Repeat for half of the batch.
  9. Repeat this process with the remainder of the melted milk or dark chocolate - depending on your preference.
  10. Peel off the baking paper and serve.
  11. Enjoy and be merry!

22 July 2009

Gingerbread Ripple Cake Recipe

As I am madly in love with gingerbread, I am always looking for new ways to use gingerbread in desserts and thought I might try a gingerbread ripples cake - a variation on the trusty old chocolate ripple cake.

Bascially there are two variations - one using Anna Gingerbread Thins (Or any other very thin gingerbread you can find) and the other using Speculaas, a Dutch biscuit. Or you could use a thicker dry gingerbread biscuit if you can't buy Speculaas.

Gingerbread Cream:
  • 1 large bottle of thickened cream
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 tbs brown sugar
  1. Add the gingerbread cream ingredients into a bowl and whip until stiff.
  2. Place a spoon of cream onto a plate and then place a gingerbread biscuit on top.
  3. Add cream to cover the bottom of the next gingerbread biscuit and place on top of the other gingerbread biscuit. You should need a bit more cream if using speculaas rather than gingerbread thins.
  4. Repeat for 6 or so biscuits, depending on how large you would like each serve to be.
5. Cover the entire stack with cream so no biscuit can be seen.
6. Sprinkle the stop with some crushed gingerbread.
7. Repeat steps 2 - 4 for each serve.
8. Refridgerate for at least 2 hours for the gingerbread thins, and at least 7 hours for
speculaas or other thicker gingerbreads to allow them to soften.
9. Enjoy and be merry!

20 July 2009

Welcome to Dreaming of Winter

Welcome to our cooking, food photography and travel blog!

Geoff and I will be using this to record all our favourite recipes, for Geoff to improve his food photography, and also for us to post about lovely meals we have tried in our travels, including our trip to France, Austria and Germany this christmas.

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