Forest Edibles

Friday, June 6, 2014



These smell amazing, said Gaby. They smell like. . . nature!

She was sitting across the table from me, spreading our freshly made spruce sugar on a towel to dry. A few hours earlier, we have returned from a walk in the forest, where we gathered the baby spruce tips. She photographed it all.

Later, I will watch a Picasa slideshow with all her photos along with descriptions of what is happening in each one (Here is Adana shaking hands with the tree, etc.). Something tells me she had a good time.

I have discovered edible spruce and pine tips through a good friend, who regularly makes cough syrup by combining raw honey with chopped tips, and letting the mix infuse over several weeks. Packed with vitamin C, their culinary use is limited only by your imagination.

I planned to make spruce salt and spruce flavor olive oil, but with Gaby around, we ended up making sugar and cookies. The taste of citrus in shortbread is refreshing (with only a hint of resin aroma). A few of our spruce sugar jars are now tucked safely away in the pantry, to be used throughout the summer as dessert topping and who knows what else.

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Kako divno mirišu, rekla je Gabi. Mirišu na. . . prirodu!

Sjedila je preko puta mene i vrijedno istresala naš svježe pripremljeni smrekin šećer na kuhinjski ubrus kako bi se osušio. Nekoliko sati ranije vratile smo se iz šetnje šumom gdje smo sakupljale mlade iglice smreke. Od tada sjedi sa mnom i uči o raznoraznim osobinama smreke.

Naš dan u prirodi zabilježila je fotoaparatom. Kasnije ću gledati Picasa slideshow njenih fotografija, uz natpise kao: Na ovoj slici se Adana rukuje sa drvetom.

Za jestive iglice smreke sam saznala od prijatelja koji ih redovno koristi za pravljenje sirupa protiv kašlja (tegla meda pomiješanog sa šakom nasitnjenih iglica se čuva na tamnom i hladnom mjestu nekoliko sedmica, et voilà). Bogate su vitaminom C, a njihova upotreba u kulinarstvu ograničena je samo vašom maštom.

Planirala sam praviti aromatičnu sol i ulje, ali obzirom da mi se Gabi pridružila, pravile smo kolačiće i aromatični šećer. Okus citrusa kojim obogaćuju kolače je osvježavajuć, uz jedva osjetnu notu arome smole. Nekoliko teglica smrekinog šećera je spremljeno u ostavi i čeka svoj red da obogati neku osvježavajuću ljetnu salatu ili kolač.

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Spruce Shortbread

Ingredients

1/4 cup fresh spruce tips
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup flour of your choice (I used 3/4 graham flour and 1/4 white flour)
1/2 cup butter, cut in small cubes
1/8 tsp salt


Method

Preheat the oven to 140 C (~300 F). Process sugar with spruce tips, making sure to scrape down the sides of the food processor. Add flour and continue processing, until the ingredients are well combined. Add butter and keep processing until the dough holds together when pinched. You don't want the dough to form a ball as that will flatten the texture. Wrap the dough in plastic foil and refrigerate for half an hour.

Roll the dough into a 3 cm (around 1,5 in.) thick rectangle. Cut out the shapes as you desire and carefully transfer them to the baking sheet. Bake for around 25 minutes, or until the cookies start to set. If the cookies brown, you've gone too far.

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Smrekini kolačići

Sastojci

1/4 mjerice svježih mladih iglica smreke
1/4 mjerice šećera
1 mjerica brašna (ja sam pomiješala 3/4 graham brašna i 1/4 bijelog brašna)
1/2 mjerice maslaca narezanog na komadiće
1/8 kašičice soli


Priprema

Zagrijte pećnicu na 140 C (~300 F). U procesoru hrane/blenderu miksajte šećer sa iglicama smreke. Dodajte brašno i miksajte uz pulsiranje, kako bi se sastojci ravnomjerno izmiješali. Na kraju postepeno dodajite komadiće maslaca, dok tijesto ne počne da se zgušnjava. Zamotajte tijesto u plastičnu foliju i stavite u frižider na pola sata.

Nakon što izvadite tijesto iz frižidera, sačekajte nekoliko minuta da omekša, pa ga razvijte na debljinu od oko 3 cm. Izrežite na komade željenog oblika i veličine. Kolačiće pecite oko 25 minuta, ili dok ne počnu postajati čvršći na dodir.

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Spring, kind of

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Spring in Sweden is moody, to say the least. Just yesterday, we had rain, strong wind, sun with clear skies, clouds, and hail! And then it was back to the rain again, only to end with clear skies and a full moon throughout the night. Just as soon as you glance away from and back toward the window again, you can expect a change to happen. For some reason, it makes me chuckle each time.

Today, some friends tell me they woke up to snow in Sarajevo. They're not happy, especially since most of the fruit trees have already bloomed.

On my most recent visit there, I bought and brought back a bottle of homemade pear molasses. It is a traditional, thick, syrup-like, sugarfree fruit product, made in late fall/early winter. When I was a child, I ate it with a side of creme fraiche and mom's warm bread. It was my favorite dessert at the time, and my winters still smell of its subtly burnt aroma. M's mormor (Swedish for 'maternal grandmother'), has a simple molasses cake recipe that everyone in the family adores. With age, it has become the only dessert she has the strength to make. But, as you would have it, I have yet to meet a person that has not asked her for the recipe. So, a fall cake in the spring? Why not, since it already snowed anyway. . .

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Ovih dana svjedočim promjenjivosti proljetnog vremena u Švedskoj. Jučer smo u jednom danu imali oblake, sunce i vedro nebo, kišu, snažan vjetar i grad (tuču). I onda sve ispočetka. Noć je bila vedra, obasjana punim mjesecom.

Nešto južnije, prijatelji i porodica mi danas javljaju da ih je po budjenju u Sarajevu dočekao - snijeg (M. je veoma zabrinut jer je snijeg pao na behar). Pri nedavnoj posjeti Sarajevu kupila sam jednu bocu kruškinog pekmeza. Još od malih nogu volim ga jesti sa pavlakom i maminim vrućim hljebom. Suprugova nana ga stavlja u jednostavan kolač, jedini za koji još ima snage, a za koji joj svako ko ga proba traži recept.

I tako. . . jesenji kolač u proljeće? Pa, ako može snijeg, može i to.

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Mormor's apple molasses cake

Ingredients

3 eggs
1/2 cup oil
1 cup apple or pear molasses
1/2 cup sugar or 2 mashed bananas
3 cups flour
1 cup milk
1 cup yoghurt
13 g baking powder
1 tbsp sodium bicarbonate
1/2 cup walnuts


Method

Preheat the oven to 180 C (350 F).

Whisk eggs with sugar by hand. Stir in molasses, oil, milk, and yoghurt. Combine the dry ingredients separately and carefully add them to the wet ingredients, whisking throughout. Stir in the walnuts. Bake 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out dry. Serve garnished with chopped mint, vanilla curd or whipped cream sprinkled with carob dust.

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Pekmeznica

Sastojci

3 jajeta
1/2 mjerice ulja
1 mjerica jabukovog ili kruškinog pekmeza
1/2 mjerice šećera ili 2 izgnječene banane
3 mjerice brašna
1 mjerica mlijeka
1 mjerica jogurta
13 g praška za pecivo
1 kašika sode bikarbone
1/2 mjerice oraha


Priprema

Zagrijati pećnicu na 180 C (350 F).

Ručno umutiti jaja sa šećerom do pjene. Dodati jogurt, mlijeko, pekmez i ulje. Pomiješati suhe sastojke (brašno, prašak za pecivo i sodu bikarbonu). Postepeno ih dodavati smjesi iznad. Na kraju dodati nasitnjene orahe. Peći 35-40 minuta. Kolač servirati ukrašen listićima mente i kremom od vanilije posutom prahom rogača.

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