Vanilla meringue with mango & lime curd

vanilla meringue mangoEver since New Years Eve, where I served this for dessert, I have been dreaming about meringue. In fact, every time I come by a bakery the meringues catch my eyes. Not the croissants, not the cream buns, not the danishes. No, the simple crispy meringue. Just waiting to be eaten as is, or crumbled on top of desserts. It’s a great excuse to eat sugar in its almost pure form. And a bit more grown-up than eating sticky pink candy floss (although yay for summer fun fairs).

Cravings shall not go unfed in my household. So, to make up for the grey, cloudy and cold rainy weather that is Denmark in February, I decided to make the sun come to me. In the form of tropical flavours. I paired the sweet crisp and chewy vanilla meringue with a tart mango and lime curd. For even more beachy dreamy feels, I sprinkled coconut and lime zest on top.

Meringue is actually really easy to make and not very intimidating, if you follow the directions. But please don’t be like me and use a hand blender with a whisk that is going to break in the middle of everything, splashing egg whites on the floor, your clothes, the walls, your eyes. Also it really hurts your hand when the metal wires snap. But then I learned that, and also that making meringue in the food processor is not worth it. At all. Please just use a good electric hand mixer.

vanilla meringue mango lime curd


VANILLA MERINGUE WITH MANGO & LIME CURD
Makes 6 servings

FOR THE MANGO & LIME CURD:
1 mango
120 g (1/2 cup + 2 tbsp) sugar
Juice of 2 limes
3 egg yolks (see notes) 
50 g (3,5 tbsp) cold butter, cubed
FOR THE VANILLA MERINGUE:
(very slightly adapted from here)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp distilled white vinegar
170 g (3/4 cup) granulated sugar
½ tbsp cornstarch
4 egg whites
Juice of half a lemon

  1. FOR THE MANGO & LIME CURD: Peel and cut the mango into cubes. Puree in a blender. Strain the puree through a fine meshed sieve.
  2. In a small saucepan combine sugar, lime juice and egg yolks. Heat it up on the stove at low-medium heat, while whisking gently. Don’t let it come to a boil. When it starts to thicken a little, add in the mango puree and butter cubes.
  3. Continue whisking until everything is combined and the butter has melted. The curd should start to thicken. Keep on heat, while still whisking, until it comes to a boil. Let it boil for 20 seconds. Remove from heat. It should have a consistency of slightly thinner crème pâtissière. While it cools it will thicken even more.
  4. Let cool completely.
  5. FOR THE VANILLA MERINGUE: Heat the oven to 125°C (255 Fahrenheit).
  6. In a small bowl mix together the vanilla and vinegar.
  7. In another bowl combine the sugar and cornstarch.
  8. Combine the egg whites and lemon juice in a large mixing bowl. With an electric hand mixer, whisk until the mixture holds soft peaks.
  9. Slowly, while whisking, add in the sugar/cornstarch mix, 1 tablespoon at a time, increasing the speed to maximum at the end. 
  10. Whisk until the mixture is glossy and makes stiff peaks.
  11. Add in the vanilla and vinegar and whisk until combined, a few seconds.
  12. On a baking tray lined with parchment paper, divide the meringue and form into 6 circles with a spoon, working quickly so as to not disturb the mixture.
  13. Bake in the oven for approx. 60 minutes. They are done when they are a little cracked, slightly brown and hollow when tapped.
  14. Cool completely.
  15. TO SERVE: With the back of a spoon, carefully make an indentation in the meringue, spoon over the mango & lime curd, sprinkle with coconut and lime zest. Voila!

Notes: • Both the meringue and mango & lime curd can be made in advance – up to several days. Store the curd in the refrigerator and the meringues in an airtight container. • The recipe for the mango & lime curd will make more than you need for this recipe, but is delicious on toast, on ice cream and just eaten with a spoon. • Use whole eggs; you will need three yolks for the mango & lime curd, save the egg whites for the meringues.

crème fraîche, potato and pancetta pizza

Potato pancetta pizzaHere’s a pizza recipe that you’ll be making over and over again. That is if you like your food to be quick to throw together, tasty as, you know, and impressive.

I have found that I enjoy a white pizza more, than one with a tomato sauce base (exception: pepperoni!). Then, when I found some serious pizza-topping ideas for pizza biancas in the Polpo cookbook, I had to make a few. They turned out great – our favorite at home being a pizza with zucchini, chili and mint, a very unusual combination that just works.

The different combinations from the book, gave way to me thinking about what I really wanted on my next pizza. And what I really wanted was the taste of comfort; this pizza is inspired by the flavors of a favorite pasta dish, that, when we make it, we end up craving for the rest of the week. I promise I will post that recipe the next time we make it 3 days in a row. But for now, something that is just as satisfying – if not more so, because: pizza!potato pancetta pizza



CRÈME FRÂICHE, POTATO AND PANCETTA PIZZA
Notes:
• Everything can be easily doubled, for more pizzas. • Please use a good quality, strong-flavored truffle oil, as this makes the pizza perfect. Perfect! • Blanching the potatoes makes sure that they’re cooked through when then pizza is done. • I recommend baking one pizza at a time, to ensure even crispness. But if your oven is the bomb, do two or all three at a time.
– Dough recipe slightly adapted from Polpo – a Venetian Cookbook of Sorts

Makes 3 (25 cm/10-inch) pizzas

For the dough:
150 ml lukewarm water
8 grams of fresh yeast
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
240 g white tipo 00 flour

For the pizza:
1 medium potato
100 g (3 oz) pancetta, cubed
3 tbsp crème frâiche
3 handful grated parmesan
Salt+pepper
Good truffle oil

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. FOR THE DOUGH: In a medium bowl, with a fork whisk the fresh yeast into the lukewarm water until dissolved. Add in the olive oil and salt. Add in the flour a little at a time, continue whisking with the fork.
  2. When all flour is added, and you can form the dough into a ball transfer to a floured surface. Knead with hands pushing both back and forwards for about ten minutes, adding a bit more flour if the dough sticks too much. The dough is done, when it springs back when you poke it.
  3. Transfer dough to a clean bowl, brush the top with a little olive oil, and leave to rise until doubled. About 1 hour.
  4. FOR THE PIZZA: Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat. Slice the potato thinly, either on a mandoline or the slicer attachment on a food processor. Fill a medium bowl with ice water.
  5. When the water is boiling, add in the potato slices, swirl them around to make sure they don’t stick to each other. Blanch for 45 seconds. Then remove and plunge the potatoes into the ice water. Drain and pat dry.
  6. Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add in the pancetta and cook until the fat is rendered, and they have turned a little brown, but not too crisp. Remove and drain on paper towels.
  7. Heat your oven to 250°C/480 Fahrenheit and keep a baking tray in the oven while heating (this ensures a crisp bottom).
  8. TO ASSEMBLE: When the dough has risen, divide into 3 equal pieces. On a floured surface, thinly roll out 1 piece of dough until it measures about 25 cm (10 inches) in diameter. Transfer to parchment paper and roll out again if the dough has shrunk a bit.
  9. With the back of a spoon, spread out 1 tbsp of crème frâiche. Sprinkle 1 small handful of grated parmesan. On top, lay a third of the potato slices, sprinkle a third of the pancetta and season with pepper and a little salt (being careful, both the pancetta and parmesan is salty).
  10. Repeat assembly with the 2 other pizzas.
  11. Bake in the, now hot, oven for 7-9 minutes until the dough has puffed up, browned and is crispy, but not burned.
  12. Remove from oven, drizzle with a small amount of truffle oil, and serve immediately.

how to make any fruit chutney + two recipes: mango chutney, spiced plum chutney

Being the obsessed foodie that I am, I enjoy making stuff from scratch. This goes for most of my cooking, but in some areas I fall behind. Such as condiments. Let’s be real – I am not going to try to recreate a more perfect ketchup than Heinz or ferment a batch of soy beans for a rustic version of soy sauce (but please, someone, free up my time, give me a test kitchen and I will go to town). These are condiments that are of so high standards and some of these (ketchup) I use so sparingly, that to make them from scratch seems unnecessary (again, please hold in store for me a future, in which I can make 76 types of ketchup!).

Chutney on the other hand, I find to be less than desirable when buying from the supermarket. A quick note: in this post I am talking about the kind of chutney that is cooked with sugar and vinegar. The thick goopy type. According to the holy grail (Wikipedia) these are ‘Western-style chutneys’ which ‘originated from Anglo-Indians at the time of the British Raj’.

Back to the supermarket super-goo chutney. Although I like the flavour in most, I just can’t get over the consistency. They are firm and yet super sticky. You put some on your food and swirl it around only to find that you didn’t really mix it that well. So you end up with a clump of chutney which is still refrigerator cold in the middle. No thank you!

I decided to take matters into my own hands. I was going to make chutney. I researched a lot, finding that none of the recipes out there really resonated with me. So, without any formal chutney training and never before making it, I made it the way I would like it. While some may crucify my method, I am just going to say: they taste damn good and my boyfriend love them. That is a seal of approval you can count on. Trust me!

Tips on making any fruit chutney

Here are some tips on making any (western-style) fruit chutney:

  • Use any fruit you like. Pears, apples, pineapples, plums, mangoes, papayas and quince are some good choices. Even berries, such as strawberries, can be used, but I would recommend starting with a less ‘bold’ choice.
  • Choose your sugar and vinegar: brown sugar has a more spiced taste, than white sugar and will complement a darker chutney. Apple cider vinegar has a fruity taste and will lighten up your chutney. There are so many options (how about a quince chutney made with coconut sugar and elderflower vinegar?) so mix and match. Use what you have. Use what you want.
  • Play around with spices. I use my trusted book to find inspiration.
  • Depending on the fruit and/or ripeness, the cooking time will be different for every batch of chutney you make. There is no fixed time. This is where you need to trust yourself. Let’s say we are making a batch of mango chutney, but your mangoes are not ripe. Either you wait for the mangoes to ripen (which will make the chutney taste another kind of delicious) or you can go ahead and cook the chutney anyway. You risk running into the problem of your liquid being too reduced before your mango is cooked, right? Yes, that’s correct, but you can fix it. Instead of adding more liquid, and altering the taste, put on a tight-fitting lid. The steam will collect in the top and drip down on your fruit, steaming it and making reduction minimal. Just remember to remove the lid at some point.
  • No need to use too much sugar. Sugar conserves, but if you make small batches there is really no need. I for one don’t enjoy a burning throat sensation from sugar overload
  • On the subject of ripeness and sugar. Use less sugar for riper fruit, and more for unripe fruit. Taste as you go. You can add sugar in later, just make sure you give it enough cooking time to dissolve and mix nicely into the chutney.
  • Make small batches – this way you will be able to eat it up, make more and thus experiment more!

Two Recipes
I knew I wanted to make a mango chutney, as this is a favourite of mine. The idea of a spicy plum chutney came when talking about the idea for this post with a dear colleague of mine. I totally trust her flavor palette and also – she eats a lot of indian food as do I!

mango chutney papadum


MANGO CHUTNEY
Makes approx. 1 1/2 cup – 1 small jar
In my eyes, a classic chutney. It is essential as a dipping sauce for a crisp papadum. Or as a topping for a chana masala. Or to mix in with yoghurt. Or….

1 hot red chili
2 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp oil
1/2 tbsp cumin
1 tsp nigella seeds
2 mangoes
2 tsp sea salt
70 g white sugar (approx. 1/3 cup)
120 ml (approx. 1/2 cup) white wine vinegar

DIRECTIONS

  • Deseed the chili and slice thinly. Chop the garlic. Cut the mango into cubes. 
  • In a small saucepan, big enough to hold everything, heat the oil over low-medium heat. When hot add in the chili and garlic and fry for a few minutes without the garlic browning too much. Add in the cumin and nigella seeds. Cook until fragrant. About 1/2 a minute.
  • Add in the mango and salt, stirring well to coat the mango. When the mango has released some water, about 2-3 minutes, add in the sugar and cook until sugar has dissolved. Let it cook for a few minutes after the sugar has dissolved. 
  • Add in the vinegar and, if not already, make the mixture come to a boil and turn down the heat to low. Let simmer until fruit is soft, and easy to mash, and the liquid has reduced to a jam-like consistency. Mine took about 50 minutes. 
  • Pour into sterilised airtight glass jars. Should keep for a week in the refrigerator.

SPICED PLUM CHUTNEY
Makes approx. 1 1/2 cup – 1 small jar
This chutney, as the mango, is great with papadums. It is also brilliant as a side to a pork chop, or as a topping on any respectable cheese platter. 

2 small shallots
4 plums
1 tbsp oil
1 star anise 
1/2 tsp crushed coriander seeds
2 tsp sea salt
85 g (between 1/3 and 2/3 cups) dark brown sugar
100 ml (1/3 cup + 1 tbsp) apple cider vinegar
A splash of balsamic vinegar

DIRECTIONS

  • Chop the shallots. Split the plums, remove the pit and cut into medium cubes.
  • In a small saucepan, big enough to hold everything, heat the oil over low-medium heat. When hot add in the shallots and cook until translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Add in the star anise and coriander seeds and cook until fragrant, about 1/2 a minute.
  • Add in the plums and salt, stirring well to coat the plums. When the plums has released some water, about 2-3 minutes, add in the sugar and cook until sugar has dissolved. Then, let it cook for a few minutes after the sugar has dissolved. 
  • Add in both the vinegars and, if not already, make the mixture come to a boil and turn down the heat to low. Let simmer until fruit is soft, and easy to mash, and the liquid has reduced to a jam-like consistency. Mine took about 40 minutes. 
  • Remove the star anise, since leaving it can create a strong and a bitter taste.
  • Pour into sterilised airtight glass jars. Should keep for a week in the refrigerator.

spicy broccoli soba noodle salad with peanut dressing


Broccoli, broccoli oh broccoli. You are a vegetable with not much use in my home. For that I am sorry. I am not entirely at fault. I do blame my boyfriend for uttering not so friendly phrases your way, polluting my mind. Making me recall memories of grainy green soup with lumps and water filled overcooked florets to go along with my sausage consistency-like carrots.

Luckily I have since realized you are so much more. You are controllable in texture giving me both a bit of crunch and tenderness. You are cheap and easy to handle. You are versatile. But there is something to you, that makes you far superior to other vegetables – you are a vessel for flavor beyond comparison. Spices and sauces will nestle in your thousands of buds making every bite a little explosion of flavor. And cooked like the recipes below even my ill-word spewing boyfriend kind of accepts you.
As for me – I kind of love you, Broccoli!


SPICY BROCCOLI SOBA NOODLE SALAD

250 g soba noodles

Peanut dressing:
2 tbsp crunchy peanut butter
Juice of 2 small limes
2 tbsp soy
1 tsp honey
Sriracha to taste

Spicy broccoli:
2 tbsp sesame oil
Pinch of chili flakes (hot!)
1 head of broccoli
A 2-3 inch piece of ginger
2 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp soy
1/3 cup water

3 spring onions, thinly sliced
A small bunch of coriander, roughly chopped
A handful of toasted peanuts

DIRECTIONS

  • Start by cooking the soba noodles according to the package. When cooked, drain and transfer to a bowl with icy ice water. They can stay here while you make the rest of the salad.
  • Next, make the dressing by combining all the ingredients and adjust to taste. Set aside.
  • For the broccoli, prep first: cut the broccoli into small florets, grate the garlic and ginger.
  • Heat the sesame oil in a pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is very hot add the chili flakes (to your liking) and stir fry for about 20 seconds. It should sizzle. Add in the broccoli florets and keeping the heat high, stir occasionally. About 2 minutes.
  • Add in the garlic and ginger and stir very quickly. About 10-20 seconds. It will stick to the bottom that’s okay (just don’t let it burn), it will loosen in the next step.
  • Add in the soy and water and cook, still on high heat, until almost evaporated. This should take about 2-4 minutes. Check for ‘doneness’ – the broccoli should be tender, but crunchy still. Remove from heat and cool for 5-10 minutes.
  • To assemble toss the (now drained) soba noodles with the broccoli, spring onions and coriander. Serve in bowls and spoon over the dressing and top with toasted peanuts.

Salmon roe poke bowl


I love sushi. I also crave sushi. Very often. I crave it almost daily. However, I also love making food myself, and in that regard sushi is just one of those things I prefer to outsource. I can only aspire to become a top sushi chef, but insofar I am not. Then there’s the Hawaiian poke. I am not in any way claiming that poke doesn’t require skill – but I find it easier to make at a satisfactory level and a bit more susceptible to free play. Also it requires less time (and mess) than sushi, making it a perfect weeknight dinner or a fancy weekend lunch.

Usually I use tuna, but where I live, getting a hold of fresh tuna of a certain quality is not only difficult but extremely expensive at times. That doesn’t incorporate very well into the whole breeze and ease of a weeknight dinner. So that got me thinking. About salmon roe. In some poke recipes, roe, and in particular salmon roe, is a part of the marinade for the fish or used as a topping when served. I adore salmon roe – it has both flavour and texture in its favour, and substituting fresh fish for good quality salmon roe doesn’t seem too shabby. Voila – a poke that is missing nothing in regards to flavour and punch, but is (if possible) easier, quicker and cheaper to make than the traditional. So that you can make it over and over and over and over and…


SALMON ROE POKE BOWL
serving size: 4 small-medium bowls

250 g (1 cup) short grained rice

2 tsp tamari
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp shallot, finely chopped
100 g salmon roe

1 small cucumber
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp sugar
A pinch of salt

1 avocado, thinly sliced
Furikake
Shichimi togarashi

DIRECTIONS

  • Start by cooking the rice according to the package (I use a rice cooker with rice to water ratio being: 1:1,2). After cooking, let the rice come to room temperature.
  • In a small bowl, combine the tamari, sesame oil and shallots and mix to combine. Add in the salmon roe and mix carefully, so as to not break the roe. Set aside in the refrigerator, while you prepare your other ingredients.
  • Slice the cucumber very thinly, by either using a mandoline or honing your knife skills. Add to a medium bowl and add in the sesame oil, rice vinegar, sugar and salt. Mix by hand, and adjust, if necessary, to taste. Set aside on the kitchen counter.
  • To assemble put the room temperature rice into 4 bowls. Arrange the marinated cucumber and avocado on top, then add the salmon roe and finish by sprinkling generous amounts of furikake and shichimi togarashi.