It’s all feeling a little Nordic

Something had been reignited again. It started with a holiday and then snowballed from there.

I’ve been reading.

Congratulations, I hear you mutter. But really it is a big thing. Books were getting piled up in ambitious piles and not moving. The newspaper was taunting me.

Then it all changed. Three books in three weeks and the ball was rolling, really quite fast. They were fat books too. The most I had been reading before that, was the back of the peanut butter jar… Even that was skim reading.

So what got me going again?

Stieg Larsson. The Millenium triology.

Goodbye Monkeys, goodbye Mr Chocolate, goodbye tv, *ahem* goodbye cityhippyfarmgirl blog… hello Sweden and your criminal mysteries.

Thoroughly enjoyed the books, all three of them.

Now with that being said, I have been immersed in all things Scandinavian and my taste buds are calling for food that would be fitting. Rye bread was obviously a must, along with anything else I could make happen.

I had also kept in the back of my mind this beautiful lady’s crisp bread recipe from the beginning of the year. It was time to give that one a go, and I’m so glad I did. They make the perfect base for an open sandwich, and I think they will definitely become a staple around here.

 

Knekkebrod

200g spelt flour

200g whole oats

100g pepita

100g sunflower seeds

100g LSA (linseed, sunflower and almond meal)

25g sesame

350mls water

These are the ingredients I used as it was what I had on hand. I can see how they would be incredibly versatile though, and using any ingredients that you really like. I loved them, and am definitely going to make them regularly now. See here for Turid’s original recipe though.

The Split Pea Soup I suspect is not just restricted to Swedish eating, however Jamie Oliver has a recipe for it in his Swedish section in this great book, and while I adapted it to what I had on hand and my taste buds, the one thing that I think is genius was to put mustard on top. Now, I love my mustard but I would never have thought to add it to a Split Pea Soup, so thanks Jamie.

Split Pea Soup

adapted from Jamie Oliver’s “Jamie does…”

A good couple of slurps of olive oil

add a couple of diced sticks of celery, and an onion

cook it down a little

add 500g of washed split peas

and about 1.5 litres of stock (I use vegetable stock)

1 tsp oregano

and simmer it for about 45 minutes or until soft.

Serve with a dollop of mustard and knekkebrod.

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M’hanncha

M’hanncha. A traditional Moroccan dessert, meaning “the snake”. I’m not sure I quite got to the snake… but I gave it a red hot go.

I had seen Jamie Oliver make this dessert on his latest TV series and thought it looked delicious. After I was given his lovely cookbook as a present a little while ago, the delicious recipe again beckoned to me. Whispering its moroccan song from the books pages. The recipe needed to be made. Now I just needed a kitchen with more bench space than mine (you need two metres of rolling room). A visit to my mums kitchen and I had the bench space I needed.

Time to get cracking.

Mixture looks good, and it comes to the pastry part and rolling….oophh!

He made it look so easy! Was my pastry no good? Was I too slow? Were my arms too Neanderthal? Was my technique decidedly lacking when it came to putting the thing in the tin?… Probably yes to all the above. After much huffing, puffing and sighing, it was plonked in the oven and resigned myself to the fact it wasn’t going to be the standout dish I had hoped for.

However…It was delicious!

Didn’t look a thing like the book. Not a tooting thing, but the taste got me by. Thanks Jamie.

Banana Honey Bread

Honey is such a versatile ingredient for cooking. My pantry is never with out it, and no small jars of it for us. I have a 3 litre container of bush honey which my dad got for me from his local area and a pot of creamed honey I had bought at a local old lady charity shop down south. Both are delicious. Even though nobody in this household actually eats it straight, it is used in lots of different cooking. From smoothies, tea, coffee, chai, muffins, apple crumble, cakes, biscuits and for this recent recipe Banana Honey Bread.

Honey can be traced back to Egyptian times, used for the making of Mead, used medicinally, you can preserve  it for a really long time and as I like to use it- as a natural exfoliant when doing a facial. (Try it, the honey works really well.)

Today its for making bread though. Add some bananas that need to get used up, add a few more bready ingredients and you are away. A cheap, tasty snack or something different for breakfast.

 

Banana Honey Bread

* adapted from Jamie Oliver’s Happy Days with the Naked Chef

3 1/2 cups strong bread flour

100mls water

whizzed up banana- about 4 medium sized ones

1 tps cinnamon

1 tbs raw sugar

1 tbs salt

2 1/2 tps dried yeast

2 tbs honey

1/2 cup linseed meal

* extra honey and flaked almonds for the top.

Mix all ingredients with a dough hook in mixmaster, until combined well and pulls away from the edges. The dough looks quite wet and glossy. Cover with cling wrap and leave in a warm spot until doubled in size. Knock it back, quick knead, and leave to prove until doubled in size again. Shape the dough into small balls and place next to each other on a lined tray. Leave for half an hour. Drizzle more honey on top and scatter flaked almonds.

Cook at 210 C for about 20 minutes.

Easy thing to have for breakfast, a snack, or whack in the freezer and get out as needed. The Little Monkey loves these, and if he is having a fussy day eating, these always get gobbled down.