November 28, 2011

Christmas Candy Creation afternoon 2011

Marzipan Christmas candy coated in dark chocolate and decorated with almond splits

Beautiful candy decoration
Yesterday afternoon I managed to get 14 persons
seated around the large table in the common house for the annual Christmas Candy Creation afternoon. It was actual the fifth time we were meeting up for this event.


Nougat "bread"

It is actual a combined occasion, where the "Tupperware Woman" comes and tell us about the "wonder" of using Tupperware. However, the most important thing is, that she is bringing all her many plastic things, which we can try out, while we make our various types of Christmas Candy.

Mountain of "Snow Balls"
My "responsibility" is to take care of my guests serving tea, coffee, white wine, different "creations" from my little kitchen.
And the most important task for me is to make my home-made potato soup, which we eat after some busy hours, before we pack up and go home with all of our creations.








video

Here you can see, how to give the final touche to "Snow Balls"

Winter decoration of marzipan candy
It is always a great inspiration of me to see and perhaps taste as well, what the participants are making of the marzipan, nougat, chocolate and alcohols, which every one is bringing with them for this afternoon´s "production" of Christmas Candy.
Cooling process of the Christmas candy
With 15 busy people in-side the common house and a big storm out-side the house, it can be tricky to find a place, where the chocolate coating can cool down, before it can be packed down in it´s boxes.
Moss for Christmas decoration arrived at my door step
Besides from the wonderful company of some great friends, I also got some nice hostesses gifts, so as a box of moss placed in front of my entrance door, so I can make Christmas decorations. I also got some chocolate, glögg extract, tea, Christmas decoration, Christmas Rose and some bathing salt.

A big thank you to all of you, who participated yesterday afternoon, for your great company and nice presents :-)

I think, I will invited you again next year :-)
Nice hostesses gift - thank you very much :-)

November 27, 2011

The annual Christmas Candy creation afternoon


This afternoon I have for the fifth year invited various friends to come along with their marzipan, chocolate, nougat etc for the annual Christmas Candy creation afternoon. In 2010 we had heavy snow, so some people decided to stay at home. And this afternoon we will have a storm with wind of hurricane strenght coming by !

We will spend the afternoon making different types of Christmas Candy, while we talk, taste and look at each other creations to get new inspiration. This event is combined with a Tupperware demonstration, so we can use all the many different of plastic things for our individual candy work.

We end the afternoon by eating the classic potato soup, before we leave with a big amount of Christmas Candy ready to greet our coming Christmas guest. So now I will leave you and go down in my kitchen making the potato soup.

November 26, 2011

Skål - Selection of THE BEST fruit alcohol 2011



Yesterday evening was the selection evening of THE BEST FRUIT ALCOHOL OF 2011.

To help me with this important task I had "called in" a group of sensory trained tasters. Also a collection of various glasses for enjoying the fruit alcohols and pipettes for accurate measuring of the fruit alcohols were gathered around on the dining table. We started off having 5 ml of the first alcohol, but soon adjusted the volume down to between 3-4 ml of each fruit alcohol in order to get safely through this important job !!

While drinking, talking and comparing tasting notes, we were eating some salty biscuits with tzarziki followed by Flammkuchen as main course. I will share the recipe on these food later on with you. We decided not to have dessert, as the Flammkuchen really did fill us up.

We started off tasting three aquavits being Apple Aquavit, Crab Apple Aquavit and Christmas Aquavit. It was amazing to smell as well as taste the difference between the two apple aquavits coming from to the type of apple used. The apple Aquavit had a wonderful smell of apple, but actual tasted of cinnamon, whereas the Crab Apple Aquavit smelled of alcohol, but with a lovely taste of apple. The Christmas Aquavit was disliked by all the tasters due to the alcohol dominance.

Both the Raspberry Vodka and the Raspberry Aquavit had an amazing smell and taste of real raspberries, no artificial/candy-like raspberry flavour
here. The raspberry Aquavit was preferred due to the sweeter taste, so now I know how to adjust next year's production of Raspberry Vodka.

Next on the "agenda" was the tasting of Blackberry Cognac and Blackberry Aquavit. The Blackberry Cognac has a good balance between sweetness, fruit flavour and cognac taste. But my personal preference would be to change next year's production from cognac base to either rum or vodka as the alcohol. The Blackberry Aquavit was a ugly tasting product, no need for you to buy this product yourself.

However, the Polish Plum Alcohol took the "winning" price as THE MOST UGLY SMELLING AND TASTING product. And therefore it ended today in the kitchen sink. Good-bye !!!

Afterwards we moved on to Blackcurrant Liquorice Alcohol and Blackcurrant Rum. Again two different tasting fruit alcohols, the
Blackcurrant Rum had a wonderful colour and tasted like real Ribena for grown-ups, so not allowed for children.

At the end of the alcohol tasting we taste two Walnut Liqueur from 2007 and 2010. The 2010 version was like fluid Christmas !!!!

Blackcurrant Rum was selected by all tasters as the BEST FRUIT ALCOHOL OF 2011 followed by a strong number two in form of Raspberry Aquavit.
So next year I will have to make more than just one portion of Blackcurrant Rum.


Hannibal the Cat decided to join us in our
"important task" being a part of the decoration on the dinning table regardless of two burning candles located here.

And as usual Hannibal the Cat selected to be "close to" the person in the group, so is suffering from animal allergy. It is "funny" to noticed to a cat always has the ability to locate the one or two persons in a company, who needs special attention due to their allergy or general dislike of cats.

A big THANK YOU to my good friends, how were up to the task of smelling and tasting. You are invited again for a new session, when needed again.



November 25, 2011

SKÅL - Sensory evaluation of fruit alcohols - production year 2011



This evening a group of good friends will gather around by my dining table for a sensory evaluation of the various fruit alcohols, which I either have making here in 2011 as project "Putting Summer on bottles" or I have been buying.

The "menu card" contains an interesting and a varied selection of fruit alcohols based on various alcohols and different level of added sugar:

Polish Plum Alcohol
Blackcurrant Liquorice Alcohol
Walnut Liqueur

In order NOT to get my friends TOO drunk I will measure a 10 ml of each fruit alcohol into individual glasses for each participants. The volume is a starting point, where refill of cause is possible.

The "more firm" part of the evening in form of food will be:

I will share the out-come of our "expert" sensory evaluation with you in the coming future.

SKÅL
CHEERS

November 23, 2011

Patty shell with mushrooms and thyme


This is a wonderful warm dish for a nice long lunch in the week-end.

Patty shells with filling is classic Danish food also known as "Grandmama Food".

I am big fan of patty shells with various fillings. The classic filling in Denmark is made of white asparagus and chicken. However, I think this filling is my favourite patty shell filling.

If you making to much filling or you are eating too little, you can always freeze any left overs to later use.

Patty shell with mushrooms and thyme: serves 8 - 12 patty shells
  • 250 g mushrooms
  • 1 carrot
  • 4 shallots
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 150 g bacon
  • 1 tablespoon rasp oil
  • 8 sprigs of thyme
  • 1 tablespoon wheat flour
  • 1½ dl white wine
  • 2-2½ dl whipping cream (38% fat)
  • 1 dl peas
  • 75 g Parmesan (grated)
  • salt & pepper
  • 8-12 patty shells
  1. Clean the mushrooms and cut each into 8 pieces.
  2. Peel the carrot and cut into small pieces.
  3. Peel and mince the shallots and garlic finely.
  4. Place the bacon in a cooking pot and slowly melt the fat.
  5. Add rasp oil, thyme leafs and the vegetables to the melted bacon fat.
  6. Let it fry together for 10 minutes without it taking colour.
  7. Add the flour and stir well.
  8. Add the white wine and let everything cook for 5 minutes.
  9. Add the cream and it cook until the mix was a reasonable viscosity.
  10. Add peas.
  11. Season with salt and pepper.
  12. Meanwhile heat the patty shells at 200'C for 5 minutes with the bottom up-side.
  13. Stir in 2/3 of the grated Parmesan into the filling.
  14. Use the rest of the Parmesan as topping on the filling.


November 22, 2011

THE LAST portion of fresh blackberries in 2011


This is THE VERY LAST portion of fresh blackberries picked in the season of 2011, which I received from a good work colleague yesterday.

And I very thankful for the outcome of  the blackberry vote on how I should use this last portion of fresh blackberry :-) as your decision was, that I used eat the last portion fresh on my breakfast cereals. It would have been a bite of a challenge for me to make raw blackberry jam or marinated blackberry of 22 blackberries !!!!!

So this morning I am enjoying these blackberries for breakfast and I will also have some blackberries for my breakfast tomorrow Wednesday.

November 21, 2011

Food shopping in Germany November 2011


I have returned from a week-end tour to the West coast area of Schleswig Holstein in Germany, where we visited Friedrichstadt, Husum and the Nolde museum in Seebüll.

Besides from sight seeing there were plenty of opportunities to do some food related shopping.

In Friedrichstadt I found these two different teas in one of three tea shops in this small town. The first tea is Friedrichstädter Friensblattmischung, where I have no idea, what it inside the teabag besides from black tea !

The second tea is "Adventstee", which is Christmas tea based on black tea with mandarin, cinnamon, orange peel and rose petals. The smell of the tea is fresh without over sweet, which many Christmas tea is "suffering from".

I also "found" some Christmas candy in form of marzipan "potatoes", which for me is a typical German type of Christmas candy.
These "potatoes" are made from marzipan, which is sharped like balls rolled in cocoa powder. So in theory it is a pretty simple Christmas candy to make yourselves.

Also my "collection" of different kitchen equipment has been expanded with a new tool, which I apparently can not "live without". I have brought this apple core removed, which is a luxury model, as it contains a pin to push the apple
core out the remover part.

My storage of various cake decorations has also been filled up at a very reasonable prices compared to the price level here in Denmark. Also my flavour collections has been expended, again at the low German price level.

Finally I brought my favourite German Christmas cookie in form of Lebküchen. I also found a bag of Lebkücken spices, which I am looking to test making my own Lebküchen.

You still have a very good chance of winning some Christmas blog give-away from my little kitchen.













November 15, 2011

Status on blackberry vodka


Have a look at how beautiful, the colour of this blackberry vodka has developed from clear to wonderful red during the last week :-)

I am looking forward to taste it, however, it will not be ready for the upcoming tasting evening with focus on various fruit alcohols in one week´s time.

The portion of blackberry used in this blackberry vodka turned to be the "last" portion of freshly picked berries from the blackberry season 2011.
Thank you to those of you, who voted in the last voting, what I should used a new "last" portion of blackberries in. Your decision was, they should have been used on my breakfast cereals. But I am unable to follow your decision as the blackberry season is over :-(

You still have time to participate in the my very FIRST birthday give-away. Hopeful you will do so :-)

November 14, 2011

Zebra marzipan cake


I got "voted off" Friday evening from Strictly Ballroom 2011 !!!! as my "couple" Nicolai and Victoria "lost" the right to continue in the ongoing TV show "Strictly Ballroom".

So as "looser" I have to bake / create home-made cake for my colleagues, who are participating in our "Strictly Ballroom 2011 cake competition" at work.

I negotiated the "right" to get the couple Nicolai and Victoria, as I promised my colleagues to make home-made marzipan cake and NOT just buy these marzipan cakes.
My colleagues also "demanded" to have chocolate coating on the marzipan cake. As one of my colleagues is suffering from allergy against hazelnuts, the use of nougat in these marzipan cake was not an option.

As I had both plain marzipan as well as cocoa marzipan in my kitchen, I decided to create Zebra marzipan cake. White (plain) marzipan cake with dark chocolate coating and Dark (cocoa) marzipan cake with white chocolate coating and white icing.
The dark icing did not cooperate as it should, so all the marzipan cake all have white icing.
The original marzipan cake recipe I have from the magazine "Isabella". However, I have changed the ratio, as I using less marzipan, as the portion size from Odense Marcipan has been reduced from 500 g to 400 g !!!!!!, while the price level has been increased !!!!!!

Zebra marzipan cake:
  • 400 g marzipan (plain or cocoa)
  • 100 g icing sugar
  • 100 g almond flour
  • 1 egg white
  • 50 g chocolate mass (white or dark) - optional
  1. Heat the oven to 220'C (conventional oven).
  2. Slip the almond. And grained them into flour using a mill.
  3. Knead the marzipan, almond flour, icing sugar and egg white together.
  4. Divide the marzipan cake mass into 20 pieces of equal size.
  5. Form the marzipan cake mass into a longer sharp.
  6. Bake the marzipan cake mass at 220'C for 7-8 minutes.
  7. Cool down the marzipan cake.
  8. Melt the chocolate using the microwave oven.
  9. Coat the bottom of the marzipan cake with melted chocolate.
  10. Let the chocolate dry.
  11. Turn the marzipan up side down.
  12. Decorate the top of the marzipan cake with icing sugar.
  13. Let the icing sugar dry.
  14. Enjoy !!!!



November 13, 2011

Happy birthday blog


Hannibal the Cat waiting on his "land lady" to take the photo, before she opens the garden door out to freedom and perhaps some fresh "mouse sushi".

Happy birthday to my little blog !!!! 

My blog becomes 1 year today (13 November 2011). It has been 1 year of good relaxation for me and my mind sharing life in my kitchen as well as my little garden park.

I have decided to celebrate the birthday of my blog with a small give-away competition :-) So it is a reverse birthday gift situation, where you are getting a birthday gift instead of giving it !!! The build-up of this lottery is looking like the majority of many give-aways out here in blog country.

For you to make the decision, if you would like participate or not, I will tell you, that the content of this birthday give-away is home-made Christmas food stuff from the my little kitchen. However, if you living out-side Europe I will convert the give-away into non-food Christmas stuff, as sending food stuff out-side Europe is close to impossible requiring tons of paper work. There will be two give-away presents.

You can tickets to this birthday blog lottery like this:
  • one lottery ticket for leaving a comment to this blog post
  • one lottery ticket for becoming a follower of my blog
  • one lottery ticket for linking from your blog to this blog post - please leave your link in your comment
The closing of this blog birthday give-away is Wednesday 30 November at 21.00 (CTE time zone). I hope you want to play along in this little give-away :-)

An update on my KPIs for the blog looks like this (In my professional life colleagues and managers are discussing Key Performance Indicators on a regular basis):

Review day: 13 November 2011 - 1 year birthday
Start day - first posting: 13 November 2010
Development on "Hjemmebagt": 73 recipes - 13 accomplished = 60 recipes to bake
Amount of cooking books in my kitchen: 52 books
Page views: 13091
Publish posts: 274 excl. this
Followers: 5
Blogs followed: 15
Top 5 of published posts:
  1. New mile stone 200 blog postings
  2. TUC cake
  3. New mile stone 250 blog posts
  4. Product test 2 cup-cakes from Kvickly
  5. Fantastic fast-food meal at Beta
It is actually quiet interesting to see, how 2 out of the top 5 posting is not about food, but about development on this blog !!!!

Page view per country:
  • Norway: 1%
  • Netherlands: 1%
  • India: 1%
  • Moldova: 1%
  • UK: 2%
  • Russia: 2%
  • Germany: 2%
  • Portugal: 11%
  • US: 13%
  • Denmark: 66%

Thank you for dropping by. Hope to see you soon :-))

November 12, 2011

Spaghetti sauce with pepper fruit and sausages


This spaghetti sauce used to be one of my favourites, when I had to cook at home as a child. I learned the cooking of this specific spaghetti sauce on a girl scout camp many years ago. Meanwhile I lost the recipe, but I keep remembering, how easy it was to make this tasteful spaghetti sauce. Original the tomato part of the spaghetti sauce came from tomato ketchup (as I recall it) or tomato concentrate and vegetable stock.

However, on my go on re-creating this sauce again I decided to use mashed tomatoes and a little amount of tomato ketchup. It would have look better, if I had used green pepper fruit instead of the red pepper fruit, which was available for cooking today in my kitchen.

You are still welcome to participate in the going vote about, what I should a new "last" portion of blackberry, if I receive yet another "last" portion of blackberries from my work colleague. I would reallt like to hear your opinion.

Spaghetti sauce with pepper fruit and sausages: 4 servings

  • 3 tablespoon rasp seed oil
  • 400 g sausages
  • 2 pepper fruit
  • 2 shallots
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of pasta spice
  • 500 g mashed tomatoes on glass
  • 2 dl water
  • 1 teaspoon balsamico
  • 4 tablespoons of ketchup
  • pepper
  • salt
  • 90 g spaghetti per person
  • Parmesan - grated - optional
  1. Chop the shallots and garlic
  2. Chop the sausages into smaller pieces
  3. Chop the pepper fruit into smaller pieces
  4. Heat the oil in a cooking pot
  5. Add the onion and garlic and fry it for 2 minutes
  6. Add the sausage pieces and let them fry as well for 2-3 minutes
  7. Add the pasta piece and stir well
  8. Add the pepper fruit and let them fry for 2 minutes.
  9. Add the mashed tomatoes and the water.
  10. Season with balsamico, ketchup, pepper and salt.
  11. Let the sauce cook for 10-15 minutes.
  12. Meanwhile cook the spaghetti
  13. Serves the spaghetti and sauce together, top with grated Parmesan

November 08, 2011

Blackberry Vodka



I have been mentioning again and again the last 2-3 weeks, that NOW it was the "last" portion of fresh blackberries of 2011, which I was using in my little kitchen !!!! And when I received yet a "new" portion of freshly picked blackberries from my work colleague. And this is the situation again for this blog posting.

So during my evening walk (doing my best to "collect" the needed daily 10.000 steps for my virtual walk between Copenhagen and Berlin) I took the decision to make a twist to this recipe on raspberry vodka from "Almanak" by Claus Meyer, replacing the raspberries with blackberries.

In case, that I receive a "new last" portion of fresh blackberries, I will the decision in your hands, what I should use this portion of blackberries to. So use this opportunity and participate in the on-going vote, which is starting now.




Blackberry Vodka a la "Almanak":  - 1 bottle of 0.35 l
  • 100 g fresh blackberries
  • 1 tablespoons of sugar
  • 0.35 l vodka (plain)
  1.  Add boiling water to a glass bottle - leave for 4-5 minutes - empty the bottle.
  2. Fill the bottle with cleaned blackberries.
  3. Add sugar afterwards.
  4. Fill the bottle up with plain vodka.
  5. Close the bottle.
  6. Place in a dark place.
  7. Shake the bottle regular.
  8. Remove the blackberries after 30 days.

November 07, 2011

Chocolate cake buffet


We were eight out of approx 20 colleagues with Danish, Norwegian, French and Portuguese background, who participated in the our department´s very first ever chocolate cake 2011 competition.

 It was amazing to participate, as you were given the opportunity to taste eight very different types of chocolate cakes having variuos sharpes, texture and sizes. So it was a question about not being to ambitious, and limiting oneself to only take one small piece of each chocolate cake.

Below you can see my plate with my selection of all the different chocolate cakes.

However, my classic chocolate cake did not win me the title of chocolate cake baker/creator 2011. But perhaps it will your win your vote ?


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