Saturday, February 28, 2009

a first

today sabin at long last had her first riding lesson (it was about time). it went very well. i was so impressed with the teacher--she had sabin already posting the trot (she's not got the hang of it yet) and she even cantered one round of the arena. then, for the last ten minutes, they removed the saddle so sabin could ride bareback and get the feel of the horse beneath her. it was a great intro and she sat very well from the beginning. even the teacher remarked on it to me.

she was pretty pleased with the horsehair on her breeches afterwards. must get her new boots & breeches as her boots didn't fit and these breeches are really short and way too tight! i made her wear them anyway, but she really needs some that fit properly.

the good news is that she really loved it. she seemed a little high and excited when it was over. and she said her legs felt funny. i told her how i used always feel short when i got down from the horse. we're definitely going back next week.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

bread update

pix of batch #3 of The Bread:

on this batch, we returned to ordinary organic white flour...the spelt kind did not pass the Sabin Test.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

homemade remoulade

last week i ordered fresh torskerogn from aarstiderne, the people who deliver our weekly organic veggie box. torskerogn is cod eggs and it's much more delicious than it might sound, tho' i'll admit it looks a little bit big giant pairs of lungs or something.  to prepare it, you wrap it in baking paper and give it a boil in a bath of water, bay leaves, peppercorns and thyme for 30 minutes or so.

i made homemade remoulade to serve with it and some fish "meatballs" that i also made from some fiskefars (fish daddies?) that i bought at the local fish store. that was delicious, by the way--a mix of cod, salmon and no doubt other stuff that i don't know about.

here's the recipe for the homemade remoulade, it's WAY better than store-bought and tastes a bit different--healthier and a bit more like a posh cole slaw. i suppose you could compare remoulade to tartar sauce in the US.

root vegetable remoulade

one medium carrot, grated
half a small celery root, grated
half a very small head of cauliflower, picked apart into very small bouquets and given a 10 second dip in boiling water (it really only needs 10 seconds)
1 leek, just the white part, finely chopped
1 handful of capers, finely chopped
2 tablespoons of finely chopped sour pickles (you could use sweet and get a flavor close to "real" remoulade)
1 handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 tub of cream cheese
2 tablespoons of mayo
1 tablespoon of grainy mustard (i actually added a bit more)
a couple glugs of the pickle juice
mix the cream cheese, mayo and mustard together into a smooth mixture, add the leek, capers, pickles and parlsey, then turn the whole mixture into the carrot/celery/cauliflower mixture. 
i made it a few hours ahead and put it in the fridge. despite not having cabbage in it, it was quite coleslaw-like. i thought i'd made way too big a batch, but the guests and us ate it all up. we'll definitely be making it again. note that it's a lot less yellow than the store-bought kind of remoulade.
could be served with any fish, even a fish filet, so no need to track down any torskerogn or fiskefars.

Monday, February 23, 2009

fabulous easy bread

made some really good bread this weekend, it's from a danish t.v. cooking show called "buns of steel" that's currently airing on DR2--8 episodes, all about bread.  this one's called "nix pille," which means "don't touch."

that means it's easy peasy.

don't touch bread
1.5 cups lukewarm water
1 pinch of yeast (she uses a shockingly small amount--i didn't quite dare, i used two pinches of those blocks of fresh yeast--maybe a teaspoon of dried if that's what you have)
1 pinch of salt
2 full cups of flour  (can be a mix of wheat or spelt flour and plain, normal flour)

mix the water and the yeast together in a large bowl that's suitable for leaving the dough in to rise, then add the flour and salt. stir it only enough to mix the ingredients together. it's a very wet dough. don't be alarmed by this.

cover with a towel and leave it alone for at least 18 hours, just on the counter, not in an especially cool or warm spot. it will get really bubbly. after 18+ hours, turn it out onto a floured surface and work it a bit--not heavy kneading, just fold it over onto itself a number of times, then leave it to rest again on the conter for 20 minutes.

after 20 minutes, fold it in onto itself until it forms a rather tight ball and you feel you can't fold it in on itself again. take care not to add too much flour during this process, just flour your hands to keep them from getting too sticky, but remember this is a rather wet dough.  place the dough ball into a greased bowl and set it in a warm place to rise. 

when it's double in size, heat a heavy dutch oven or other lidded pot in the oven to 250C (that's probably close to 400F), then put your dough into the heated pot, place the lid on and bake for 30 minutes. remove the lid and finish baking (another 10-15 was what it took in my oven). 
it made a bread very like the consistency of sinna's famous bread. and i didn't even get a chance to photograph it because it was gobbled down so fast. sabin ate a good 3/4 of the loaf herself. i've already got batch #2 bubbling away in a bowl--this time i used half spelt flour and half ordinary.  it's easy and delicious.

these pictures have nothing to do with the recipe, i just don't like to post without pictures. the bottom ones are through the viewfinder of my rolleicord TLR out at buresø. that snow's already gone after how warm it was today.

Monday, February 16, 2009

playin' in the snow

it's been snowing all day long. beautiful, softly falling, big fluffy flakes. it's wonderful!
so naturally, we had to build a snowman:

we used our googly ceramic eyeballs
and i made a flower sit outside and get snowed on for the sake of the macro lens:
and look how gorgeous the troll hazel tree looks!
there's even a bud on it:
and it's a bit warm, so i don't know how long the snow will last.
check out this drip:
i love my macro lens.
and one last shot of our happy snowman.
happy monday!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

a valentine's day treat

recipe from but the pictures are my own.

red velvet cupcakes

    *  3 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
    * 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
    * 2 cups sugar
    * 3 large eggs, at room temperature
    * 6 tablespoons red food coloring
    * 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
    * 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    * 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
    * 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
    * 1 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar
    * 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
    * 1 recipe Creamy Vanilla Frosting
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and lightly flour three 9- by 2-inch round cake pans, then line the bottoms with waxed paper.
To make the cake: In a small bowl, sift the cake flour and set aside. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. In a small bowl, whisk together the red food coloring, cocoa, and vanilla. Add to the batter and beat well.
In a measuring cup, stir the salt into the buttermilk. Add to the batter in three parts alternating with the flour. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated, but do not overbeat. In a small bowl, stir together the cider vinegar and baking soda. Add to the batter and mix well. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl, making sure the ingredients are well blended and the batter is smooth.
Divide the batter among the prepared pans. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let the layers cool in the pans for 1 hour. Remove from the pans and cool completely on a wire rack.
When the cake has cooled, spread the frosting between the layers, then ice the top and sides of the cake with Creamy Vanilla Frosting.
Epicurious Test-Kitchen Tip: This recipe also makes 2 dozen cupcakes. Use 2 muffin pans, each with 12 (1/2-cup) muffin cups, and line each cup with a paper liner. (There's no need to grease the cups.) Arrange the oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and bake the cupcakes, switching positions of the pans halfway through baking, until a tester comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Cool the cupcakes in the pan 10 minutes, then remove from the pan and cool completely on a rack before icing. To ice, mound about 1/4 cup of frosting on top of each cupcake and use an icing spatula to make a swirl on top. If desired, decorate with colored sprinkles. 

creamy vanilla frosting:

    *  6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    * 2 cups milk
    * 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
    * 2 cups sugar
    * 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
 In a medium-size saucepan, whisk the flour into the milk until smooth. Place over medium heat and, stirring constantly, cook until the mixture becomes very thick and begins to bubble, 10-15 minutes. Cover with waxed paper placed directly on the surface and cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
In a large bowl, on the medium high speed of an electric mixer, beat the butter for 3 minutes, until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the sugar, beating continuously for 3 minutes until fluffy. Add the vanilla and beat well.
Add the cooled milk mixture, and continue to beat on the medium high speed for 5 minutes, until very smooth and noticeably whiter in color. Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes (no less and no longer—set a timer!). Use immediately. 
NOTE:  i usually make martha's buttercream frosting, but this one is so much better and lighter and fluffier. i'll definitely use it again!

NOTE:  this recipe made 28 cupcakes. and way more frosting than needed. we should have piled it on a bit more. :-)

Friday, February 6, 2009

two quilts down

finished my teal ikea fabric "cheater" quilt (cheating because it's backed with a fleece, not really quilted):

and last saturday, karoline made this sunny, cheerful lap quilt. it's backed with black satin (that's what she wanted):

she still has to hand-stitch the binding on the back side, but then it's done. i'm so pleased that she wanted to make something. i guess we actually are influencing by example.

so we're already getting good use out of the new machine:

next up, a fairy costume for sabin's upcoming school play--she's playing a fairy in sleeping beauty.  these are the materials i bought to make it:

and i'm going to try out a few of the fancy stitches the machine can do and sew these felt flowers to a ready-made pillow case i bought in ikea:

Sunday, February 1, 2009

killing time

oh, oh, after all that fun with the campaign button maker, now we've found the obamicon maker. look at what fun it is:

go, make some too and post them here.