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Showing posts from 2011

Skyr brulée

Ages ago I promised to find a recipe for skyr brulée – well I finally found one!

The recipe comes from a chef: Steinar Þór Þorfinnsson of the restaurant Einar Ben.

I haven’t tested it, but here goes:

Skyr- and white chocolate crème brulée with blueberry schnapps

Skyr-crème brulée:
100 g cream
100 g pure skyr

40 g egg yolk
40 g sugar
80 g white chocolate
The juice of 1/2 lime
1 vanilla pod

Split the vanilla pod lengthwise and put in a saucepan with the cream. Bring to the boil, remove from the heat and add the skyr.

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler and add to the warm skyr mixture.

Stir together the egg yolk and sugar and add to the skyr mixture along with the lime juice. Put into crème brulée ramekins and bake in a water bath at 120 °C for 30 minutes. Cool.

Sprinkle with demerara sugar and melt the sugar with a crème brulée torch.

P.S.
Before making this, please take a look at the review in the comment.

Blueberry schnapps:
125 g puréed blueberries
500 ml water
125 g sugar
0,5 dl v…

Rowanberry jelly

European rowans (Sorbus aucupari, sometimes called European mountain ash) grow well in the Icelandic climate and are common garden trees. In the autumn after the first frost and thaw you can see thrushes feasting on the berries and getting quite drunk on the fermented juice.

Humans also eat rowan berries, especially in jams and jellies (raw berries will cause indigestion, so don't let the lovely colour tempt you to try them uncooked).

The slightly bitter flavour makes rowan preserves an excellent match with strong cheeses and game, such as wild goose and reindeer, and it's also good with lamb.

If I can get enough rowan berries from a non-polluted source I plan to try making this jelly:

2 litres rowan berries with stalks
500 gr apples with skins (Jonagold is recommended as being flavourful and rich in pectin)
750 ml water
900 ml sugar for every 1 litre of juice

Pick the berries and freeze them overnight. This removes the worst of the bitter flavour of the berries.
Bring the…

Sourdough rye bread

This bread relies on fermentation for both rising and sweetness. I have not tested this recipe.

2 kg. rye flour
1 litre of water or a 1:1 mixture of water and whey
1 tsp salt

Put the rye flour into a large bowl. Warm the water and add the salt and then add the water to the rye flour and mix well together. Turn out onto a floured table and knead until smooth and free of cracks. Rub a little bit of cooking oil on your hands and form the dough into a loaf. Put the loaf into a well-oiled container - Icelanders often use tins, but a cooking pot or a casserole dish may be used as well. It has to fit inside another, larger container. The dough must not fill the container as it will rise (the genius who wrote the recipe book unfortunately does not say by how much).

Put a damp cloth on top of the container and leave to rise in a warm spot overnight. When the dough has risen, put baking paper on top of it and then close the baking container (with a lid, or if that‘s not available, with aluminiu…

Stone bramble jelly

Stone bramble berries have a somewhat bitter flavour that goes well with lamb and all kinds of game, for example reindeer and wild goose.

I can usually only get a very small amount of them, but I often mix them with redcurrants to get a very nice, beautifully red jelly.

Pick stone bramble berries. It takes a considerable amount of berries to get a good amount of juice, but I can't tell you exactly what amount of berries will yield what amount of juice.

Flush the berries with cold water and put in a cooking pot. Bring to the boil on low and cook gently until the berries burst and release their juice. Pour the berries and juice into a cheesecloth strainer and strain away the juice. The cheesecloth may be squeezed to extract more juice.

Measure the juice and put it in a cooking pot and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and add 1 kg of sugar for every litre of juice (if it’s less than a litre, then add 100 grams of sugar for each 100 ml of juice). Stir to dissolve the sugar. The…

Holiday notice

I am going on holiday on Friday and will be back on the 24th. Until then I will not able to reply to any e-mails or comments, but send them in anyway and I will look at them when I get back.

Rhubarb drink

This is somehting I plan to try when the rhubarb is sufficiently grown for harvesting:

1 kg rhubarb stalks
1,8 ltr water
450 ml sugar
Juice of one big lemon

Cut the rhubarb into small pieces and cook in the water for 15 minutes. Don’t stir it. Strain and throw away the rhubarb pulp.

Add the sugar and lemon juice to the rhubarb juice and bring to the boil. Cool and bottle. Keep refrigerated. Serve cold and thin with water as desired.

Stewed angelica

Angelica (Angelica archangelica) is the most highly regarded medicinal plant growing in Iceland, considered more potent than even yarrow (Achillea millefolium) and Iceland moss (Cetraria islandica). It has been used to fight infections (bacterial, fungal and viral), as a local anaesthetic, to strengthen the immune system and as an aid to digestion and recent research has show it to be effective against cancer cells.

Abroad it is used to flavour alcoholic drinks such as Bénédictine , Chartreuse, Vermouth and Dubonnet, and locally the root is used to flavour schnapps (Hvannarótarbrennivín). As a medicine it is most often made into a tisane or a tincture, using leaves, root or seeds. It is also a food plant. Here is one recipe:

Take fresh, young angelica stalks, peel off the outer layer and wash the stalks in cold water. Cut away any spots. Pour hot water over the stalks, then cook them in salted water until they are soft. Drain carefully, and serve with whipped butter. May also be stir…

Fried fish Orly

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I have had several requests for this dish, so I decided to post the recipe. Apparently it was a favourite with American servicemen stationed at Keflavik airport and some of them still remember it fondly.

I'd be the first to admit that this isn't a specifically Icelandic dish, but you can buy it in many diners and restaurants all over the country.


Orly batter:
300 ml (10 fl.oz.) light lager or water
2 tbs sugar
1 tsp salt (the original recipe says 1 tbs, but this must be an error)
1 tbs cooking oil (the original recipe says 1 tsp, but this must also be an error - there needs to be more than 1 teaspoon of oil in the batter)
1 egg yolk
flour
1 egg white

Mix together the lager or water, sugar, salt oil and egg yolk and thicken with flour until the batter is the thickness of pancake batter. Let stand for 1 hour at room temperature. Whip the egg white stiff and fold into the batter just before you use it.

May be used to coat fish, scampi/langoustines, shrimp or vegetable fritters…

I've added photos to several recipes

Here's a list, if you want to take a look. 
Most of the photos can be viewed in a larger size by clicking on them.

Baking-powder breadCold bread casseroleColostrum puddingDevil‘s cake (buttercream icing variation)Dried fishFish and seafood in Iceland (fermented skate, anglerfish), also added a load of linksGravlaxHam and egg sandwich loaf (4 variations)Icelandic pancakes (cream pancake)Kleinur (different stages of preparation)Lamb soup Pineapple puddingRice puddingSalt codShrimp sandwich loaf (2 variations)Singed sheep‘s heads & brawn (brawn)Small pancakes (lummur)Smoked lambTraditional Icelandic Christmas Dishes Traditional salt cod

Pineapple pudding - Ananasfrómas

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Light and frothy cold puddings made with egg and thickened with gelatine are known as "frómas" in Icelandic and as "fromage" in Danish. Those who know their French will realise that this is the French word for "cheese". How it underwent the change in meaning from French to Danish is not known.

This recipe is in all likelihood originally Danish. This is a popular dessert in my family that my mother makes  for special occasions. With a bit of adjustment, it can be adapted to other kinds of flavours. For example, I adore the lemon version.

Ingredients:

250 g sugar
5 eggs, whites and yolks separated
12 sheets of gelatine
2 cups double cream or whipping cream
2 small cans (8. oz.) pineapple rings in juice, cut into small chunks (retain 2-3 rings for decoration)
Pineapple juice from the can
juice from 1 lemon

Method:
In separate bowls, whip together the egg yolks and sugar until light and fluffy, whip the cream until it forms stiff peaks, and whip the egg w…

Date cake with caramel sauce - Döðluterta með karamellusósu

My friends call this cake "that heavenly date cake with the caramel sauce". It is apparently an old recipe, but someone must have rediscovered it recently, because it has been served a lot at birthday parties and ladies' handicrafts clubs lately.

I haven't got a clue where the recipe originally came from, but in Iceland it's known either as döðluterta með karamellusósu, which simply describes what it is, or as Dillonskaka or Dillon's Cake, which could suggests Irish or British origins. However, it might, and this is supported by information from some older ladies I know, be named after Lord Dillon, a British aristocrat who came to Iceland in 1834, fell in love with a local woman and built a house that he gave her before he left the country. It was a famous scandal at the time, as they had a child out of wedlock and were prevented from marrying by his family. She ran a guest house in the house he gave her and sold meals there for many years. Today the house…

Danish pastries, part 3: Long Danish

Now its time for the "long Danish" I mentioned in the previous post. You will need the dough, prepared as in the previous post, but rolled out into strips, about 15 cm wide and slightly shorter than the cookie sheet you will bake them on. The thickness of the dough should be about 5 mm.

You will also need:
Almond paste (recipe in the first post) and thick jam, e.g. strawberry or raspberry OR egg custard
Pearl sugar
Flaked almonds
Icing

Spread the jam down the centre of the strip of dough and spread or pipe the almond paste on top. Fold the sides into the centre so they overlap slightly and press together. Gently transfer to a greased cookie sheet. Brush with beaten egg, milk or water, sprinkle the pearl sugar and flaked almonds on too, and bake. This is called an old-fashioned Danish in Iceland.

If you prefer custard to jam, you spread the custard down the centre of the dough strip instead of jam and leave out the almond paste. Brush with beaten egg, milk or water and spri…

My first award

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I've just won a web award, my very first:


www.Tripbase.com

Danish pastries, part 2: Spandauers

The most popular types of Vínarbrauð in Iceland are the "lengja", which you could simply call a "long Danish", and the type known in Scandinavia as "Spandauer", which is a one-portion squarish Danish with custard or jam centre. In Iceland, depending on where you come from, you either call them "sérbökuð vínarbrauð" (individually baked Viennese pastries), Dönsk vínarbrauð (Danish) or "Umslög" (envelopes). Today's instructions are for Spandauers. The most popular filling for Spandauers is custard, but jam or fruit are also good.

To put it all together:
Prepare the pastry dough as given in the last post. Cut the dough into even-sized squares. For 10 cm squares put 1 tbs of custard (or thick jam, e.g. raspberry) in the middle of each square. Fold one corner into the middle, then the opposite corner, then repeat with the other two corners. Do not crimp or overlap, as the corners are meant to pull back from the middle while baking.

You …

Danish pastries, part 1: The basics

I got my first request for Vínarbrauð several years ago, but somehow I never got round to posting a recipe until now. I am posting this in three parts.

The pastries known to most of the rest of the world as Danish pastries are called by a name that means "Viennese Bread" in the Nordic countries. In Icelandic it's Vínarbrauð. The story says that Danish bakers learned to make a type of leavened flaky pastry from Viennese bakers, perhaps similar to croissant pastry, and made it their own, Here is a longer version of the story (the article also contains images of a few of the possible variations). These kinds of pastries are very popular in Iceland, and you can buy them in every bakery and many supermarkets. I am going to give recipes for the three most popular types of vínarbrauð: Spandauers and two varieties of what are called "lengjur" in Icelandic.

For the pastry you will need:
500 g flour
ground cardamom to taste
50 g margarine
50 g fresh yeast
50 ml water
50…

To Rosemary

My reply to your e-mail bounced, so I'm posting my reply here in the hope that you will visit the blog again and see it:

Hello Rosemary,

I hear from time to time from people who have been stationed in Keflavik or who have accompanied their spouses there, and it's always interesting to see what foods they miss (usually the fish and the hot dogs, but also miscellaneous other stuff).

As it happens, both Gunnars mayonnaise and smoked lamb can be ordered on-line through the website nammi.is. The following links will take you to the right pages: for mayonnaise: http://nammi.is/mayonnaise-250-ml-p-1398.html
and for smoked lamb: http://nammi.is/ss-smoked-leg-of-lamb-13001700-gr-p-391.html
.

However, you should check if there are any import restrictions either product before you order.

Best regards and I hope you get the chance to visit Iceland again. Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with nammi.is and do not get paid for mentioning them here. I have never used them myself and don'…

Brúnkaka/brúnterta II - the brown sugar version

This is a big recipe, enough for 6 cookie sheets. You can use it to make 1 1/2 cake or a six-layer cake. It is hard to make it smaller and still retain the correct thickness of the dough.

Ingredients:
11/2 kg flour
900 g brown sugar
6 tsp baking soda
9 tsp ground cloves
10 tsp ground cinnamon
8 tsp ginger
900 g butter or margarine
6-7 eggs

Buttercream:
600 g butter, softened
900 g icing sugar
2 egg yolks
2-3 tsp vanilla essence

Rhubarb jam

Instructions:
 Mix together all the dry ingredients on a clean, dry table and crumble the cold butter/margarine into it until well mixed. (Use your hands to squish it in, or use a pastry cutter).Make a mound of the mixture and make a hole in the centre of it. Add the eggs and syrup and knead until well mixed. (This does not as much kneading as bread, only just enough to get everything well mixed).Divide the dough into six parts. Dust each with flour and roll out into even-sized portions onto well greased cookie sheets.Bake at 180°C/350°F (convection ove…

Brúnkaka/brúnterta I - the syrup version

Brúnkaka" simply means "brown cake" in Icelandic, and the alternative name, "brúnterta" means the same, although "terta" comes from the same root as the English word for "tart". In Icelandic "terta" is a fancier alternative to calling a cake "kaka".

Unlike the "Lísu brúnterta" recipe that I once posted, this one gets its colour not from cocoa powder, but from syrup or brown sugar and spices. I am posting two recipes, one today with syrup and one tomorrow with brown sugar, as some people may not have access to golden syrup.

My grandmother makes these year round, but this Christmas season I discovered that for two of my friends, this cake is closely linked with Christmas from them.

Here is the syrup version:

Ingredients:
1 kg flour
500 g white sugar
5 tsp baking soda
3 tsp baking powder
1tsp ground cloves
5 tsp ground cinnamon
900 g butter or margarine
500 g golden syrup (Lyle's is the brand most Icelanders u…

Traditional foods for the Þorri midwinter feast

It's the first day of Þorri today, a day called "Bóndadagur" in Icelandic. It originally meant "farmer's day" but has the additional meaning of "husband's day", which is how modern Icelanders interpret it. On this day it has become a tradition for wives to do something extra special for their husbands, like bring them breakfast in bed, give them flowers or take them out to dinner. The husbands then do the same on "Konudagur" ("wives' day" or "women's day"), which begins the old month of Góa. Thus you could say we Icelanders celebrate two Valentine's Days, although that hasn't stopped florists and chocolate producers from trying to get us to celebrate that as well.

Another tradition for Þorri is for us to look back to the nation's past and dine on some of the old traditional foods that were daily fare for our ancestors. Below is a link to my Þorri post, which in turn has links to all the Þorri …