Sunday, January 23, 2011

Recipe: Rosettes

Rosettes are thin, waffle-like deep fried batter pastries, of Scandinavian origin. They are traditionally made at Christmas time, but are also served on May Day in Finland. To make them, intricately designed irons are heated in hot oil, then dipped into a sweet batter, then back into the oil and fried until crisp. They are usually just simply served with a dusting of icing sugar.

There are many different iron designs, and different batter recipes to try. With the irons I received for Christmas I tried the following recipe:

Basic Batter - makes 36 rosettes

-225ml milk
-1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
-3 tablespoons granulated sugar
-1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
-1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
-175g all purpose flour
-2 large eggs, beaten
-Oil for frying
-Icing sugar for dusting

1. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla and whisk with the milk. In a separate, larger bowl, mix together the sugar, salt, cardamom and flour. Add the milk and eggs and whisk until smooth. Chill the batter for 30 minutes.
2. Heat the oil in a deep frying pan or large saucepan until the temperature reaches 375°.
3. Carefully dip the irons (with handle attached) into the oil and leave to heat for 2-3 minutes. Blot on a paper towel. At this point it is handy to have some paper towels laid out on the work surface, as it can get messy!
4. Dip the hot iron into the batter up to the top edge of the iron- do not totally submerge. Then dip into the hot oil for around 15 seconds or until golden brown. Remove from the oil and gently remove the rosette, using a fork if required. The rosette may detach itself from the iron whilst it is still in the oil, in this case carefully remove from the oil with tongs. Drain the rosettes on paper towels then serve dusted with icing sugar.

A video on how to make them can be found here:

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Recipe: Blitva (Swiss chard and potato side dish)

This week we got some Swiss chard in our veg box, and at first I wasn't sure what to do with it. Then I remembered my Dad saying he had had a nice Swiss chard dish when he was working in Croatia.

So here it is, 'Croatia's most popular side dish' !



1kg Swiss chard (or mangold as they call it in Croatia), sliced into 3cm pieces
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 2cm chunks
3 tblsp olive oil or to taste
1 - 2 cloves of garlic, to taste
Salt & pepper to taste

1. Boil the potatoes until done (around 10 minutes). Towards the end of the cooking add the chard and cook for a further 3-4 minutes.
2. Drain the chard and potatoes. In the pan heat the olive oil and sautée the sliced garlic, making sure it doesn't brown (this will make it taste bitter).
3. Return the chard and potatoes to the pan, add the seasoning and stir through.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Cheese of the Month: Appenzeller

Appenzeller is a Swiss cheese from the Appenzell canton. Known as 'the spiciest cheese in Switzerland', it acquires it's unique flavour during the ripening process, when the rind is regularly washed with a herbal brine. The unique herbal brine is made from distilling a selected mixture of herbs, roots, leaves, flower petals, seeds and rinds. The recipe for the brine is so secret, that apparently there are currently only 2 people who know the exact recipe.

There are three main types of Appenzeller, the difference between each being the amount of time the cheese is ripened for:

Appenzeller Classic: 3 months
Appenzeller Surchoix: 4 months
Appenzeller Extra: 6 months

Cheese enthusiasts will be glad to know that there is a show-dairy in the mountain village of Stein, where you can learn all about the cheese and the production process.