Black fried rice

Black fried rice

Shopping for five takes time. Today I decided I would rather spend my time with a good book and a cup of tea in my hands than go grocery shopping in the rain. So tonight’s meal consists of vegetables from the fridge and beautiful, black rice from the back of the cupboard.

Cooking black rice takes about an hour, but once it simmers on the stove, you can return to your book. See instructions on the back of the package or cut time by using white rice, frozen rice or store bought rice. Usually when making fried rice, the rice should be cold, so it doesn’t get mushy when heated. But I served the warm rice in one bowl and the topping in another.

Simply chop the vegetables you have on hand and cook them quickly over high heat in sesame oil or regular oil. Season with soy sauce and then scramble in an egg or two.

Serve with chopped, salted peanuts and avocado chunks.

Suggested vegetables for fried rice:

  • Carrots
  • Bell peppers
  • Corn
  • Green peas
  • Cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Asparagus
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Spring onion
  • And many more veggies cut or sliced

Bonus info

Did you know that you can freeze rice? Cook the whole package and you will have a quick meal during the week.

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Carrot muffins with applesauce

Apple carrot muffinsThese muffins don’t look like anything special, but honestly one is not enough. Each moist bite is bursting with spices and subtle sweetness. Really, really good – and good for you – any time of day. Definitely a keeper!

  • 1 1/2 cups / 375 ml flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup / 110 gr softened butter
  • ½ cup / 1,25 ml acacia honey
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup/ 250 ml unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 large carrots, shredded
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F/ 190 C.
  2. Put all the dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl and whisk them together.
  3. In a large bowl mix the butter, honey, egg and vanilla together and beat until well combined.
  4. Fold in the applesauce and carrots using a spatula.
  5. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups.
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the muffin tops are golden brown.

Yields 12

 

 

 

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Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream

  Nitrogen ice cream          Salty caramel

Liquid nitrogen ice cream has become more mainstream and Copenhagen now has its own liquid nitrogen ice cream shop called Istid, which translates into Ice Age. Apparently using liquid nitrogen is a much older invention than you would think. Supposedly the first nitrogen ice cream was made as early as 1901 by Agnes B. Marshall. Go figure! The term molecular gastronomy was first introduced by two scientists in the late 1980s when experimental cooking first began a more scientific approach to cooking on a wider scale. The molecular gastronomy movement has had and still has a profound impact on modern cooking. Learn more here – or just enjoy the stunning imagery of experimental cuisine. Amazing, right?! The past couple of years more liquid nitrogen ice cream shops have opened and I am sure more will follow, because:

  • The taste is divine
  • The texture is the creamiest and smoothest, you’ ll ever have
  • It doesn’t come any fresher than that
  • Seeing your ice cream being made right in front of you in a cloud of fog is simply cool
  • Value for money most definitely, which is what we consumers want

So if you are in the Copenhagen area, I recommend a visit to Istid. I also hear Ice Cream Lab in Los Angeles is pretty awesome and it is definitely on my list of must-try-places for my next visit!

 

 

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It’s all about matcha

 

Matcha

Matcha

Matcha is high quality powdered green tea with a bright green color. The tea plant is covered before picking to accentuate the beautiful color. One of the many health benefits of matcha is the high content of antioxidants. Matcha is also rich in Vitamin A, C and potassium. Ingesting the entire tea leaf thus receiving 100 % of the nutrients of the leaf is one of the reasons matcha is considered such a miracle elixir and simply superior superfood.

I just came back from Japan where I enjoyed a daily matcha latte. Highly addictive. I also splurged on matcha treats. They all have the very unique, hard to describe, complex, slightly vegetative, umami taste with a subtle sweetness.

Matcha has been an important part of Japanese culture for decades and is the tea used for the traditional tea ceremony. I think matcha has been underrated in the Western world, but things are changing and I notice matcha and recipes with matcha appearing in the trendsetting food magazines, eateries and coffee shops. When I googled matcha is the new black this recent article  in TimeOut New York appeared confirming that matcha is indeed on the rise and popping up on restaurant menus all over – also in Copenhagen.

On a final note – Japan exceeded all my high expectations. The people are friendly and respectful. The food is incredible and even fast food is served in ceramic bowls. It’s all about aesthetics and the Japanese certainly seem to understand the psychology of enhancing the joy of a meal. Check out the research by Charles Spence, an experimental psychologist at Oxford University, for more on how our environment affects the way we experience food and drink. Here is a brief teaser with some of his findings. By the way, did you know that Japanese people do not eat in the street? Food is supposed to be enjoyed sitting down – not in a rush from point A to B. A code of conduct I plan to stick to.

I could go on and on about amazing Japan, but it’s time for a cup of matcha!

 

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Warm kale salad

Warm kale salad

 

Here is a suggestion for a quick lunch or dinner.

Chop some kale and heat it on a pan with olive oil for a few minutes. Squeeze lemon juice over the kale, season with flaky salt and toss with cooked lentils e.g. beluga lentils and shaved parmesan. You may also want to add some finely sliced fresh fennel.

That’s all.

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Swimming pool cake

Swimming pool cakeI make my kids eat so much healthy food. When my 6-year-old son had to bring a cake to his class at school, he really wanted to bring a swimming pool cake. I have no idea how he came up with that, but of course I couldn’t say no to a cake challenge and I made him a swimming pool cake.

I used a basic cake recipe and covered the cake with a cream cheese frosting. I cut marshmallows in half for tiles and used licorice lace for the divider and the stairs. Then I let gummy bears have some fun. Jello is not sold in Denmark, so for the water I made a simple syrup, which I colored with food color and thickened with sheet gelatin. The trick here is to watch the temperature. If you pour the jello when it is too warm, your frosting will melt and if it is too cold, it will have become too thick to pour. So you have to watch the jello carefully and as soon as it starts to set on the side of the bowl, your water is ready for the pool.

To make a simple syrup bring 6 oz/175 ml sugar and  6 oz/175 ml water to a boil until the sugar has dissolved completely. Let it cool before adding the color. I used 5 sheets of gelatin to thicken the water.

There wasn’t a crumb left by the end of the day!

swimming pool cake recipe

 

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Juicing Celeriac and Apples

Celeriac and apple

Since watching the Joe Cross documentary “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead” and the sequel “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead 2″, I have have made an effort to incorporate juicing in my diet. Watching Joe Cross transform his body from diseased to bursting with health was very inspiring and a bit of an eye opener with regards to the many benefits of juicing.

So if you  have a juice maker and need a quick boost of energy and a refreshing kick, then here is one of my favorites: celeriac and apples. The juice is mild in flavor and very refreshing plus the list of health benefits in celeriac is long. To name just a few, celeriac contains several minerals and vitamins, such as vitamin k and vitamin C. The root vegetable is also high in iron and antioxidants. Read more here.

  • 1/2 peeled celeriac
  • 2 apples

Try adding lemon, lime or ginger. Yum.

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Cod, Beluga Lentils and Salsa Verde

Cod and salsa verdeWhite, black and green. Keep it simple. In my part of the world cod is in season and I pair it with beluga lentils, because of their beauty and bite, with latin inspired  salsa verde for color and flavor. In Southern California where I have spent many magic years, salsa verde contains tomatillos and cilantro, the Italians add anchovies. This is my weekday version.

Salsa Verde

  • 1 handful parsley
  • 1 handful basil
  • 1/3 cup / 85 ml olive oil
  • Juice from 1 small lemon
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • Salt to taste
  1. Put all ingredients in a food processor and pulse a few times. You want to keep a bit of texture. At least that’s how I like it. A smoother salsa works too as does a more coarsely chopped salsa verde.

Cod and Beluga Lentils

  • 1 pound cod
  • 1 cup / 2.5 dl beluga lentils
  • 2 tbsps butter
  • 1 shallot, optional
  • 2 tsps olive oil, optional
  • Chili flakes, optional
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F/190 C.
  2. Cut the cod into serving size and place on parchment paper.
  3. Bring 2 cups of salted water to a boil. Rinse the beluga lentils and cook uncovered according to instructions for 15-20 minutes.  Taste once in a while after 15 minutes to avoid mushy lentils. You are aiming for a delicate al dente bite. If you have the time you can mince the shallot and fry in olive oil with a drizzle of chili flakes before adding the lentils.
  4. Top each piece of cod with a dollop of butter and flaky salt. Bake for 12-15 minutes depending on the size. Test with a fork, they are done when they are flaky.
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Amazing Colorful Quinoa Salad

Colorful quinoa

This salad is light, full of flavor, beautiful and so simple. I saw this version  on the inspiring site of Chef Marcus Samuelsson. I added the quinoa and feta cheese to turn it into a meal rather than a side dish – and it is a keeper for sure.  Don’t worry about cooking more quinoa than you can eat. Try quinoa for breakfast for a nice change.

#funfact Blood oranges are in season right now. The temperature affects the color of the blood oranges. The colder the temperature, the deeper maroon color the blood oranges will develop. Apparently it’s been a warm winter in Sicily this year.

Amazing Colorful Quinoa Salad 

  • 1 cup / 2.5 dl quinoa
  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 3 blood oranges
  • 1/4 cup / 60 ml black olives
  • 2 tbsps feta cheese, crumbled
  • A small handful of mint
  • 2 tbsps olive oil
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • Flaky salt

Procedure

  1. Cook the quinoa according to instructions.
  2. Finely slice the fennel.
  3. Cut the peel of the blood oranges and cut circles, because blood oranges are too pretty to cut into segments.
  4. Simply layer the salad: start with quinoa, then fennel, blood orange slices, olives, feta and mint.
  5. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon then sprinkle the flaky salt and serve.
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Herb risotto with prosciutto wrapped salmon

Herb Risotto

I recently read in a Danish newspaper that roughly half of us care about the food we eat and the other half doesn’t. What surprised me the most was that so many people don’t care. As for me, I am pretty much guaranteed three highlights every day.

Obviously cooking is more fun, when you love to eat. But everyone can learn to cook, especially these days with cooking shows on every channel. So what’s stopping you?

I want to share my Monday evening meal with you. It took just 30 minutes to make. So worth it. For your taste buds, for your health and for your wallet. Before you start, you should know that under that salty prosciutto and on top of that fatty fish is a slice of tart, yet sweet apple. Are you hungry yet?!

Risotto with herbs

  • 4 cups / 1 liter chicken or vegetable bouillon
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 14 oz / 400 gr arborio rice
  • 1 cup / 2.5 dl white wine
  • 1 3/4 oz / 50 gr butter
  • 2.5 oz / 75 gr parmesan
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Handful of parsley and chives, chopped
  1. Preheat the oven  to 375F/190C, if you plan to serve with the wrapped salmon.
  2. Start by heating the bouillon.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a medium pot and chop the onion, celery and garlic.
  4. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then add rice and cook another for 1-2 min while stirring.
  5. Add white wine and cook while stirring until all the wine is absorbed.
  6. Use a ladle and add about 1/2 cup of the bouillon to the rice and stir well until the liquid has been absorbed. Repeat this step for about 15 min until all the bouillon is used.
  7. Taste the rice, it should be al dente. You can add some boiling water if the rice is still too hard. Just add a little at a time and keep tasting. You don’t want it to be mushy.
  8. Take the pot off the heat and stir in the butter, parmesan and chopped herbs. Cover the pot and let rest for 2 min. Then serve right away.

Salmon wrapped with apple and prosciutto

  • 4 salmon steaks, skin removed
  • 8 slices of prosciutto
  • 1 green apple
  1. Peel and slice the apple.
  2. Cut the salmon steaks in two pieces.
  3. Place a slice of apple on each salmon piece.
  4. Wrap each with prosciutto
  5. Bake for 12-15 minutes
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