apr 07 2010

Terteskjell

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In the spirit of Easter and fresh herbs I made an old fashioned Norwegian speciality – Terteskjell. Savoury pastry shells – they’re flaky buttery delicious – are filled with a super thick bechamél sauce that is propped full of sea food goodies : in this case; tiny prawns and cubes of fish pudding. Oh, fish pudding. That’s a whole post in itself. Think meatloaf, only with white fish and heavy cream and eggs instead of meat. I’ll get back to it. Additional goodies : baby carrots and petit pois (baby peas), some finely chopped shallots, fresh lemon juice and loads of chopped dill herb. I love dill herb. And fresh lemon juice.

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feb 17 2010

It’s all about balance

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I believe in a diet where I do not forbid myself any kind of food. If I feel like a hamburger on a Tuesday, I’ll make a hamburger, but then maybe have soup or a salad on Wednesday. A voice in my head – or was it my stomach – convinced me to make spaghetti and meatballs last night, and the same voice made me melt some butter, soften half a clove of garlic in it, then pour the cooked pasta into the garlic-butter heaven and coat the pasta with it. As if that wasn’t enough, I added a small mountain of cheese on top. And I didn’t feel guilty one second whilst eating, only happy. Because today, I first took a 2 hour walk with my walking buddy Caesar, and then came home and invented a new kind of tomato-based fish casserole with pollock and black olives. I accidently dropped half a teaspoon of dried tarragon into it along with basil and thyme. I would never think of adding tarragon but it brought out the sweetness from the carrots and tomatoes wonderfully and gave a dish a special and nice flavour. It’s a stayer!

I added red lentils to the potatoes for some extra fiber, and the potato-lentil mash turned out nicely. It too got an extra clove of garlic, I must be on some garlic craving frenzy.

A quick list of ingredients and how-to’s for the pollock/saithe tomato casserole:

  • Fry two chopped medium onions,  along with two small, diced carrots in some rapeseed oi. Add 1-2 minced clove of garlic (I used one whole chinese garlic bulb) and fry gently until fragrant.
  • Add 2 cans of whole tomatoes.
  • Add  a pinch each of the following: dried basil, oregano, marjoram, tarragon and thyme. Then add a pinch of dried red chili flakes,  a teaspoon of sugar and a pinch of salt or celery salt. You’ll add more salt later through olives, so don’t salt as much as you normally do.Let simmer without a lid for 20 minutes.
  • Add the fish, either fresh or frozen. I used frozen, and let it thaw in the tomato juices. I let the casserole simmer at a slight boil for an hour all together, until the sauce had thickened slightly and the fish was cooked through.
  • About 10 minutes before you’re done add a handful of olives, and check seasoning for taste.
  • Lentil – potato mash: Cook potatoes with red split lentils and a clove of garlic in unsalted water. When the potatoes are cooked through, the lentils are too. Pour off the water, add a tablespoon of butter or oil, and enough milk or cream to give the mash the wanted consistency. Season with freshly ground black pepper and grated nutmeg, and salt. Divine!

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feb 10 2010

Fish au gratin

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Fish au gratin, macaroni and fish casserole or fiskegrateng as we call it in Norway, is not a beautiful dish. But it’s tasty, and comforting. Norway has a long coast line and fishing has always been an important part of our culture. Fish au gratin is a convenient dish for utilizing left over fish and feeding lots of people. I guess it’s some kind of national dish. I’ve never tried my hands at making this dish before but there are lots of recipes out there. I borrowed some measurements from Grass Onion since I liked her «secret» ingredient – ketchup! (I guess it’s not so secret anymore). Most kids slather their fiskegrateng with ketchup and I did too – and still do, because it just compliments and balances the rich flavour of the dish really well !
I’ll give you the recipe and how I did it in english:

The grandmother of Grass Onions’  fiskegrateng

4 servings

Ingredients (metric)

  • 5 dl milk
  • 100 g flour
  • 400 grams cooked, cleansed fish, I started with 600 grams of raw cod that I simmered in salted water for 10 minutes.
  • 1 big onion
  • 1 ts salt
  • 1 ts curry powder
  • 1 ts ground black pepper
  • 1/4 ts nutmeg
  • 4 eggs
  • 100 grams macaroni (I used whole grain macaroni)
  • 3 tb ketchup, tomato purée or tomato sauce
  • grated cheese
  • breadcrumbs

I started with cooking the cod in salted water until it just started to flake. I also started heating up water for the macaroni. While the fish cooked I made a white, thick sauce from mixing the flour and milk in a casserole, stirring continuously. I got a thick, almoust doughy paste, which is what you want, since the eggs and fish bring moisture when you add them later. I seasoned the sauce,added the onion and fish when it was ready. Then I separated the yolks from the whites, and started beating the whites into a stiff foam. When the sauce had cooled down a bit I added the yolks, then I cut the whites carefully into the sauce carefully. When the macaronis had cooked almost  al dente (in salted water) I mixed them with some tomato purée and ketchup. Then I buttered an ovenproof pan, and layered the fiskegrateng like this: First half the fish sauce, then the macaroni, then the other half of the fish mix. Then I sprinkled the top with grated cheese and breadcrumbs. The cooking time says 1 hour, but mine turned out great with only 1/2 – 3/4 hours cooking time. It depends on how much it will rise in your oven. The top got a bit too dark for my taste, so I covered it with a sheet of aluminmum foil about halfway into the cooking time. I served it with råkostsalat – simply grated carrots and a green apple plus some lemon juice.

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feb 06 2010

Dinner in a package!

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Weak of hunger I stumbled home from the bus stop this afternoon. I had 8 hours work at the old people home and two hours of commute behind me. I wanted something quick, cheap and healthy for dinner..I craved fish! And fish I got. Boldly, I took some frozen cod fillets, laid them down on a bed of a chopped red bell pepper and half an onion, drizzled some basil pesto on top and wrapped them up smugly in an aluminum foil sleeping bag. Can you cook frozen fish like that? Why, yes, you can! YES YOU CAN! It even works out just fine. And pesto works woondeerrfully with cod.
It did take half an hour of cooking time in the oven, so I threw in some potato wedges to cook along with the fish. And then I stirred some teaspoons of pesto into a tub of sour cream, and dinner was ready!

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jan 22 2010

Breaded plaice, rutabaga mash and pickled red beets

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Last nights dinner looked kind of..brown, but boy was it good! Findus had a big sale on their fish products, so I grabbed as many items I knew would fit inside my tiny one-shelf freezer. The breaded crust wasn’t outstanding, but the plaice (a kind of flounder) was delicious, nestled nicely inside the crust with a dill-champignon sauce.
The mash was from the day before, and tasted even better than the  night I made it. How can you go wrong with a mash made of rutabaga, a few potatoes and loads of dairy butter ? Some nutmeg accompanied the salt and freshly ground black pepper, as they always do in my mashes. The pickled red beets were added in a spur of the moment, but their sweet and sour, earthy flavour went along nicely with the rest.
Later that night Mr. T and I went to the movies to watch the Avatar movie. The graphics were outstanding, but all the characters were very stereotypic and the plot was as big a cliché as it could get. If you take Disneys Pocahontas and add some components from the Aliens movies plus the special effects, you get Avatar. No surprises, but good entertainment anyway. I’d give it a 5/6. I regret paying the extra bucks for seeing it in 3-D format; it didn’t do the movie much better, and the glasses gave me a headache, and kept on sliding down my nose, which was annoying. Enough with the complaining, I loooveed the Leonopteryxes:

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