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Showing posts from September, 2007

Icelandic cookbooks in English: Delicious Iceland: Tales of unique northern delicacies

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If you enjoy gorgeous photography, haute cuisine and chefs on ego trips, this is a book for you. It also happens to be quite informative about Icelandic food and traditional ingredients.


The book is too big for my scanner,
so I had to borrow an image of the cover from another website.
It is therefore not quite as large as I would have liked.

This prizewinning food book (honorary Gourmand Cookbook Award, 2007) was written by Chef Völundur Snær Völundarson, assisted by Haukur Ágústsson, with photographs by Hreinn Hreinsson, and published by Salka (Iceland), in 2006.

This is a heavy, large format book, more suitable for the coffee table than the kitchen. It combines the subjects of Iceland and cooking, with gorgeous photographs of Icelandic nature, people and food, and text about the same. The recipes are original and were conceived by the author to showcase how Icelandic ingredients can be used in fine cooking.

The author is very central to the book. He writes of his personal experiences and …

Red pudding - Rauðgrautur

This is something that should appeal to kids:

1 litre red or purple fruit or berry juice, for example redcurrant, blackcurrant, raspberry, cranberry or pomegranate juice
60 g cooking starch (e.g. potato flour, cornflour, or sago)
Sugar to taste
Water, if needed

Put the cooking starch in a saucepan and stir in the juice. Heat gently to boiling. Add sugar to taste and thin with water if the flavour is too strong. When the juice boils, it should be thickened. Remove from the heat, pour into a large bowl and sprinkle sugar on top. Cool. Serve as a dessert.

Icelandic cookbooks in English: Cool Dishes and Cool Cuisine

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There are a number of Icelandic cookbooks available in English, most of them published in Iceland and aimed at the tourist market. Most are printed on heavy, glossy paper and some have gorgeous colour photographs in them, both of which makes them expensive. Buying one for the equivalent of 50 US Dollars or more and then discovering it isn't what you were looking for is an expensive mistake. Therefore I decided to review as many of them as I could get my hands on, to make it a little easier to decide which one to invest in.

Not all of the Icelandic cookbooks in the book stores are available from the library. I will stick to the ones I could get from the library, as I have been able to read them all the way through.

First up are Cool Cuisine and Cool Dishes, which is a baby version of the former. They were written by Icelandic food writer Nanna Rögnvaldardóttir, with photographs by Gísli Egill Hrafnsson and published by Vaka-Helgafell in 2004.







These books combine gorgeous food photog…

Spice Cake - Kryddkaka

I got this recipe from my aunt several years ago and make it often. It has a delicious, rich flavour and is great with lots of butter. This is a big recipe, so I usually reduce it by half. I imagine it could be iced with cream cheese icing like a carrot cake, but I like it too much as it is to try that.

850 g (30 oz) flour
850 g (30 oz) dark brown sugar (this can safely be reduced to 700 g (25 oz))
2 1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon, ground
1 tbs ginger, ground
1 tbs cloves, ground
1 tbs nutmeg, ground
660 ml (22 fl.oz) sweet brown ale (Egils Malt if you can get it)

Mix all the dry ingredients well together and then mix in the ale. Pour into an oven pan or loaf pans and bake at 175°C (350°F) for about an hour.
Very good with or without butter.

Creamy mushroom soup

This is actually a classic recipe that has by now become international, but since it is mushroom season here in Iceland I thought I would show one way of using all those delicious wild mushrooms that are cropping up all over the place.

While I usually use instant packet soup as a base when I make creamy soups for myself (and then work a little kitchen magic so as to make it into something you would never suspect wasn't made from scratch), it is well worth the effort to make soup from scratch. Here's a recipe for mushroom soup:

200 g fresh mushrooms. Wild mushrooms are best, but you can use button mushrooms too and still get a very good soup.
50 g (2 tbs) butter
1 1/2 litre meat stock (you can use vegetable stock as well, but the flavour will be slightly different) – or try mushroom stock if you can get some
1 small onion or leek
100 ml cream
Salt, pepper

Brush the mushrooms gently to remove any dirt. Chop half of them very finely, and do the same with the onion. If the remaining mushr…

Poll

The poll has ended and the results were a tie. Half of the participants preferred to send in requests through commenting and half by e-mailing me. Therefore I decided to make both possible. I will put an e-mail address on the sidebar soon that I can be contacted through privately. It may not be a live link, as I don't like spam, but whatever I do it will be easy to figure out how to use it.