Garlic, zucchinis and a precious artichoke

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After the big rains in June, temperatures have now reached an average of 33 degrees, and the garden is exploding! We’re still waiting for the tomatos but starting to cash in both giant garlics, plenty of zucchini as well as carrots and herbs.

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Golden nugget tomatoes, a new addition to our garden this year. Nice and sweet and ripens fast since they are small.IMG_3593Our pretty little italian artichoke (now eaten).

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Flowering tomatillosIMG_3562

Gorgeous big liliesIMG_3559

The cedar boxes are filled with plants now :)IMG_3429

Little cucumbers in the makingIMG_3417

Ripening strawberriesIMG_3602

Flowering yeallow onions with a little visitorIMG_3607

Ripening roma tomatoes (new for this year as well)IMG_3613

The zucchinis and squashes are dominating the gardenIMG_3615

My sister and the giant garlic harvest. I’ve been waiting since november for these guys.IMG_3617 IMG_3622

Salmon from the grave (gravlax)

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Something that we Swedes eat for pretty much every holiday is cured salmon, or as we call it – gravlax (salmon from the grave). It got it name from the fact that fishermen used to ferment it by burying fish in the sand by the high-tide line for a while (probably flavoured by some brackish Baltic sea water) but I promise you, it works just as well to make it in a plastic bag in your fridge.

The taste is similar to smoked salmon but with a slightly different consistency (it kind of melts in your mouth!). It’s quite expensive to buy pre-made and believe it or not – dead easy to make at home! All you need is:

1 filet of pre-frozen salmon (buy it previously frozen or have it in the freezer and then de-frost before you make it)

1 large ziploc plastic bag

Per 1kg salmon:

  • 3 tbs salt
  • 3 tbs sugar
  • 1½ tsp white pepper corns
  • 150 ml chopped fresh dill

Mix the salt, sugar and ground pepper corns in a bowl.

spread the mix out evenly on two pieces of salmon filet (I kind of rubbed it in a little too).

Add the chopped dill on top and press the two filet pieces together.

Put the whole package in a sealed plastic bag and let sit in the fridge for 3 days. make sure to flip the package half way through so that everything gets evenly cured.

The picture below is from the original recipe where they did it between two plates instead of in a bag:

Gravad lax

Once the 3 days have passed, take your filets out and scrape off the dill & pepper (you could wash it lightly if you want to make it a little less salty). Finish by cutting thin slices along the fish like in the picture.

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Serve rolled up like little roses to get the perfect midsummer smörgåsbord:

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Garden 2013

I haven’t been updating about all our garden preparations this year, but we have big plans, tons of seeds and things are already growing out there! Here’s a little summary of what the garden looks like at the moment:

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Sunchokes and onions peeking through.
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The front garden has been planted with tomatoes of different kinds among other things.IMG_3335

A new addition in the front are these two cedar boxes that I have stuffed with tomatillos and cucumbers.IMG_3331

Purple artichokes with leaves that look like they’ve outlived the dinosaurs.IMG_3325

The green zucchini is in full bloomIMG_3322

Our giant oregano bush survived the winter and is now trying to take over the garden.IMG_3320 IMG_3313

Bleeding hearts in bloomIMG_3309

The Purple columbine is back for the third time.
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Strawberries ripening.IMG_3305

New crop for this year – Fava beans with their huge leaves.IMG_3300

Giant garlic that was planted in the fall and some sugar peas peeking up behind them.IMG_3292 IMG_3288

Yellow plum tomatoes that we bought pre-grown from the garden centre in order to have some early tomatoes.IMG_3287 IMG_3284

Microbes in the kitchen: Home made goat cheese!

IMG_3226Yes, you herd right – I made my own goat cheese!

The whole idea started after we got to inherit a bacterial strain to try to make filmjölk (similar to buttermilk) from a friend. Traditionally, bacteria of the order Lactobacillales are used to produce dairy products like this.

To make filmjölk we mixed:

7 teaspoons of milk with culture in it

1 litre of homogenized milk

and left it out in room temperature for 24h after which it was kept in the fridge.

Since the filmjölk was a success, David and I decided to get a little adventurous and bought a 2L package of goat milk with the intentions to make some cheese. Our friend had told us that if you heated up the fermented milk it would turn into cheese curds and so the project was instigated!

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Once the goat milk was fermented in room temperature it sat in the fridge for a few days before I got the time to continue the process which was the following:

1. Heat up the thickened milk in a pot – don’t boil!

IMG_32232. Filter the tiny cheese curds out with a fine meshed cheese cloth or like I did it, with coffee filter in a funnel.

IMG_32223. Squeeze out the last liquid and pour the mass into a bowl.

4. Flavour your cheese with herbs or honey or other things you would like (the honey one was my favourite) and roll into nice cheese-rolls.

IMG_32286. Serve with a cracker or some yummy brunch frittata to an appretiative friend :)

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My photo won a garden photo contest!

I was happily surprised to discover that my photo of vegetables grown in our front yard won a shared firts place in the people’s choice -best fall fair vegetable category of the “6th Annual Blooming Hall of Fame Photo Contest” at the Greenery garden center here in Kelowna.

I’m so excited to get to receive a $25 Gift Certificate and a Gardener’s Delight Gift Basket in the spring!

Check out the other winners here.

And here’s the winning photo I submitted :)

The harvest plate

Advent treats

IMG_3208Something that becomes obvious when you’re living abroad are all the things you used to take for granted. I guess, to me, celebrating advent is one of them. Lighting one candle every Sunday up until christmas and gathering with friends and family to drink mulled wine and eat christmas treats was something I for most of my life took for granted.

Here in Canada I find that advent is mostly celebrated among religious people and people who aren’t religious find it odd to celebrate it. I wouldn’t call myself very religious, but I like following traditions religiously, especially when they involve baking, wine and gathering with friends. Therefore I still put together my buffet of advent treats and cuddle up under a blanket to christmas tunes with the first candle burning.

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Dates stuffed with blue cheese.IMG_3203

Traditional Swedish saffron buns

IMG_3174Citron knäck (lemon toffee)

I will post the recipes for the buns and the knäck another day.

Prune-stuffed pork tenderloin

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When dark nights and the cold & wet outside is creeping up on you, this meal will keep make you warm inside out. It looks fancy and tastes yummy but is actually not that complicated to cook.

This is what you need:

  • 1 pork tenderloin
  • 200 ml cooking cream
  • 8-10 prunes (depending on how large the tenderloin is)
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • A handful of mushrooms (we used frozen chanterelles from this year’s harvest)
  • 2 tbs balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbs mushroom soy sauce
  • salt & pepper
  • fresh parsley
  • a squirt of port wine (I have used lingonberry vinegar instead and I guess you could skip it if you want).

Sear the tenderloin on both sides in some butter in a frying pan. Then, take it out and put it in a glass or ceramic oven ware. Fry the mushrooms and onions in the butter+juices from the tenderloin, add the cream, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, salt and pepper to make a sauce. Let simmer on low heat for a few minutes. Make cuts in the tenderloin, approximately 3 cm apart, and stuff prunes into it. Pour the mushroom sauce over the tenderloin and roast in the oven at 200°C for 25 minutes (this might vary depending on the size, so make a cut to check that the meat is cooked through). Garnish with chopped parsely once it’s taken out of the oven.

Serve with some fresh mashed potatoes and red wine :)

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Fungal feast!

Since David and I went to Revelstoke to pick mushrooms, I have been eating chanterelles almost every day for almost a month! I have not documented all the different recipies that I’ve used the mushrooms for, but in my opinion you can for example add them to creamy pasta sauces, quiche, beef stroganoff, pizza, soup, or simply just serve them on a piece of toast.

A large part of the harvest is also stored in our miniscule freezer. Before you freeze the mushrooms though, you want to fry them in a bunch of butter with some salt and white pepper (it enhances the flavour of the chanterelles). I freeze them in old philadelphia cheese containers, it makes a perfect portion to defrost and use all year round.

The variery that commonly grows here in BC, Canada is the White chanterelle (Cantharellus subalbidus). It is said to be even more flavourful than the golden one that I am used to from back home.

When the chanterelles are just picked they still have that creamy white colour, but as soon as they get a little bruised they get yellow stains. Nothing that you need to cut off though.

Here’s a picture of some really big golden ones (the shoe is size 10) to compare with that I picked home in Sweden.

Borscht with a tomato twist

Summer heat is gone, and it’s time to enjoy the last few dinners on the patio. I love to make some hearty soup at this time of year, and since I’m a huge fan of beats, the traditional borscht is a natural choice to make. This time though, I thought I should include some of our enormous tomato harvest in it, and what would fit better than some tomatoes of the variety “Black russians”.

Here’s what I put in the soup:

  • Pulp from ~20 black russian tomatoes
  • 2 large beets
  • 2 onions
  • 2 carrots
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • a chunk of red cabbage
  • two spoons of vegetable stock mix
  • 2 bayleafs
  • ground black pepper
  • hungarian paprika powder
  • fresh cilantro (parsley works good too)
  • olive oil
  • 500 ml water
  • sour cream

I started by chopping onions, carrots and garlic finely and frying them in some olive oil in a large pot. To avoid getting the tomato peels in the soup, I grilled them in the oven for about 10 min and then pressed them through a sieve into the pot and threw out the peels. To make the beets cook faster, I peeled and grated them before putting them into the soup. Depending on how much juice you got out of the tomatoes, add water (I added another 500 ml). Add spices and let simmer until the beets and carrots are soft. Add some chopped cabbage and cilantro last to keep some crunch in the cabbage and the flavour of the cilantro.

Serve with a spoon of sour cream, some fresh ciabatta and fried chantarelles (if you have some :).

Moules marinières

One of my favourite foods all time is freshly boiled mussels. As a kid my family used to spend the summers in northern France, more precisely here:

As a consequence of this, I got spoiled eating really good mussels already as a kid. Living in Halifax for a year didn’t make me any less spoiled, and there I actually took a university course in aquaculture where we got to go out to a mussel farm to see how they grow them.

So, I guess the point I’m trying to make is that eating mussels is something very dear to my heart, and my favourite version of preparing them is the classic recipe for moule marinière.

This is how I make them:

  • 3.5 pounds of mussels
  • 1 bottle of white wine
  • 400ml cream
  • 4 chopped shallots
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 branches of fresh thyme
  • a fresh garden carrot
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • butter
  • salt & pepper
  • a big bunch of parsley

Wash the mussels. Chop the shallots and the garlic and fry them up in some butter in the bottom of a large pot. Add the herbs and the wine and the cream, pour the mussels in and let boil/steam with a closed lid until the mussels are opening.

Serve with some fresh baguette :)