New Teapots – part 2

When I was in London back in June, I came across one of the many touristy giftshops there. I had been considering getting a small teapot containing no more than two cups of tea for a while. I have done so as I have had a tendency make an entire pot of tea (the only pots I had here in Gellerup up until then both hold about a liter of tea), but for various reasons I haven’t been able to drink more than a cup or two before the rest of the tea went cold. This is especially a problem around Advent/December/Christmas, seeing that a huge part of my everyday that time of year is the Christmas tea.

As I write this, I start thinking that I might just as well use teabags or use one-cup filters for loose tea – but nevertheless, I found this teapot+cup in said tourist trap museum gift shop and thought I would kill two birds with one stone: get a souvenir from London and get the tiny teapot I had been thinking of getting for so long.

I can’t quite remember what I had with the inauguration of this one – probably a muffin – but with a quick cuppa I could just as easily have had freshly baked vanilla cookies (the dough freezes well – and if coming directly from the fridge, one can easily slice a few slices from the dough and bake them accordingly).

New Teapots – part 1

I was fortunate enough to inaugurate a new teapot back in the fall. It’s not that the old one wasn’t good – but it just didn’t work as well as I wanted it to. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t regret buying it – I just ended up realizing how unpractical it is.

The old teapot is a Bodum teapot – Bodum is the firm behind most quality French press coffee pots in Denmark if I’m not wrong – and this teapot is derived from the French press idea; pressing the loose tea down to the bottom of the filter when the tea is done steeping. Very convenient for black teas, there are no holes in the lower part of the filter, preventing the tea from going bitter from the tannin.
But with time, a couple of problems with this teapot occured; 1) it is impossible to get the stains off of the filter, and 2) it’s just awkward to brew tea with teabags (yes, you heard me – I use teabags) in it; you can’t use it without the filter since the opening is otherwise too wide to support the lid.

The Tea Pot - without the filter

Then one day, I saw this teapot and small matching mugs in a store in central Aarhus – and I fell in love.

Teapot and small mugs in store

The irony? The teapot and seven mugs (the number of my study group at the time) didn’t cost much more than half of what the Bodum teapot alone cost me. This teapot also has a filter for lose tea, but the design of it is so subtle that no matter what, the lid of the teapot fits the opening like a glove. This means that I can use it for both lose tea and for teabags. Yay! On top of that, the filter is very easy to clean. Double-Yay!

I celebrated the new teapot with muffins made from a new recipe (rather: new at the time of the inauguration) – they are so freakin' easy and are made from ingredients I usually have in the kitchen anyway, and the end result is an appropriate (as in: not overwhelming) number of muffins. So I almost need an excuse not to make them these days. You can find the recipe in the previous post on this very blog.

Yum.

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Recipe: English Muffins

Source: This is based on another recipe – but as with any other recipe on this blog, I edited a bit. The original recipe can be found right here.

I found this one while looking for a simple muffin recipe, and one must admit that this must fulfill that demand – even to an extend that I didn’t expect. But since I don’t like raisins other ways than how they come in the package, that was a no-go, and since I had no lemon, so was that. But although the muffins are great without, a dash of lemon might dress it well.

Another perk is that these muffins freeze well.

Yield: 9 muffins.

Ingredients
150 g butter
150 g sugar
150 g flour
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking powder

To-do
Let the butter soften – this makes it easier to work with.
Preheat the oven to 200º C (390º F).
Mix butter and sugar.
Mix in the eggs.
Mix flour and baking powder – and mix it in with the rest.
Divide between nine muffin tins/moulds.
Bake for 15 minutes or until golden and unwobbly.

Enjoy with your afternoon/evening tea/coffee – eg. a good Earl Grey.

Recipe: Vanilla cookies, v2

These are the cookies I brought for the rocktour with Brorson’s Church. I discovered too late that I used 350 g of butter instead of the 375 the original recipe called for – but it worked out perfectly in the end.

Vanilla wreaths/cookies can turn out to the dry side (as small cookies usually do) – but to me, there’s not much in the world of cookies that can’t be cured by being dipped in a cuppa tea or coffee (or whatever wonderful, drinkable liquid you’ve got in front of you).

The original recipe calls for hazelnuts or almonds – but since there was some experimenting with it even back then, I think it’s safe to make your own special tune and sing your own special song when it comes to kernels. (Edit: Experiment with the kernels of sunflower seeds turned out successfully).

Ingredients
550 g flour
350 g butter
250 g cashew nuts
160 g light cane sugar
3 teaspoons (-ish) vanilla sugar
1 egg

To-do

  • Blend the cashews – whether they should be chunky or fine is up to you.
  • Mix the flour, blended almonds, cane sugar, and vanilla sugar.
  • Fold in the egg as well as possible – you can rub it in if you find it necessary, but be warned that it doesn’t assemble all of the dry goods.
  • Rub in the butter (by now it should start sticking).
  • To make the cookies, take a piece of dough, roll it into a ball with a diameter of 1-1½ cm, and press it flat.
  • To make the wreaths, you can either use a mincer or roll it into small sausages and shape the wreaths from that.
  • Bake in a preheated oven at 200º C (390º F) for 10-11 minutes.
  • Let them cool. Keep in airtight container (say, recycle an old ice cream container or somesuch).

The dough freezes well – so you can make “sausages”/“salamis” (app. 10 cm/4 inches in diameter) of leftover dough and freeze them. When you need more cookies, defrost a “salami” in the fridge overnight, cut it in slices (4-5 mm/one-fifth of an inch thick), and bake them according to the instructions above. If you are making the dough a day in advance, skip the freezing step, just pop it into the fridge.
Just remember that it’s easier to cut the dough straight from the fridge since the significant amount of butter in the dough does have a tendency to be a wee bit too far on the soft side if it isn’t cooled down first.

Enjoy!

Mmmmm! – Smell the wonder of cookies!

Cookies'n'Tea!

There was just enough dough for one batch. Served with Sweet Chai. Yum!


And thus, my very first piece of Royal Copenhagen was taken into use. (it's the bowl!)

Recipe: Vanilla cookies

This is really a recipe for vanilla wreaths (or garlands, as the original recipe calls them). The original recipe is on a print from a homepage I can’t find any longer (www.danish-deli-food.com; the print is from 2005) – so unfortunately I can’t legally proof anything on this; but yes, I made changes on this one, too, and wrote this recipe in my own words.

I think I have a general problem with vanilla wreaths – they crumble the very instant they enter my mouth. Of course, most cookies have a tendency to do so, but this is really… Well. And it doesn’t matter how good they are otherwise. So next time I make a batch, I may just add an extra egg or extra butter or something like that.

Or I’ll just have to keep dipping them in my Christmas tea.

Anyway – they were a success with my family, so here is the recipe I used:

Vanilla cookies
You can use other kinds of nuts – the original recipe calls for hazelnuts, but suggested almonds.
The original recipe says that the dough freezes well (I still have the leftover dough in my freezer).

Ingredients
550 g flour
375 g butter
250 g almonds
160 g cane sugar
3 teaspoons vanilla sugar
1 egg

To-do

  • Blend the almonds as finely as possible.
  • Mix the flour, blended almonds, cane sugar, and vanilla sugar.
  • Fold in the egg as well as possible – you can rub it in if you find it necessary, but be warned that it doesn’t assemble all the dry goods.
  • Rub in the butter (by now it should start sticking).
  • To make the cookies, take a piece of dough, roll it into a ball with a diameter of 1-1½ cm, and press it flat.
  • To make the wreaths, you can either use a mincer or roll it into small sausages and shape the wreaths from that.
  • Bake in a preheated oven at 200º C (390º F) for 10-11 minutes.
  • Let them cool. Keep in airtight container.

Enjoy!

Recipe: That Ham!

This is something that I pull out for special occations – like holidays or special dinners where a roast is absolutely necessary. Like the family julefrokost. Although it’s a bit odd, cooked in cola and all, everybody love it and ask for it, and have been doing so since the first time I cooked it.

It used to be my mother cooking the ham back in the days, but she cooked it in some way that made the entire house stink. When I then found a special (or should we continue with calling it odd?) recipe I wanted to try a few years back, I took my chance to suggest that I cooked the ham that year. And I’ve been cooking the ham for the annual family julefrokost ever since.

Now, it’s no big secret that I got the recipe from Nigella Lawson. Then it’s said. But I *did* make some adjustments.

I know Nigella has talked of making soup from the cooking liquid – now I can’t remember which one, but I will post it if I find it.

Now, here’s what happened this year:

Colaham
Although I think I got all the good tips on timing worked into this recipe, I think it’s a good idea to read Nigella’s recipe, too, as I may not get all of the goodies on cooking and roasting into my version of the recipe.

Ingredients
1 678 g gammon (US: ham)
1 1½ liter bottle of Coca-Cola
1 onion, peeled and cut in halves

For the glazing
1 tablespoon organic dijon mustard
1 tablespoon organic maple syrup
1 small handful (or 1 unit) of cloves.

For the leftover Coke
A large glass.
A slice of lemon.
Ice cubes if desired.

To-do

  • Put your gammon into a pot, fat side down (if possible). Add the onion and cover ham and onion in Coca-Cola. Cook for 45 min. (add 15 min. if the gammon comes straight from the fridge).
  • Put possible ice cubes into the large glass, pour the rest of the Coke over the ice/into the glass, squeeze lemon juice into it, and enjoy while cooking.
  • Mix mustard and syrup in a small bowl.
  • Preheat oven to 240º C.
  • When the gammon has been cooked (and is now officially a ham, I suppose), take it out of the liquid and put it on a chopping board.
  • Slice off the fat, leaving a thin layer, score the thin layer with a sharp knife to make fairly large diamond shapes, and stud each diamond with a clove.
  • Place the ham in a roasting pan. Cover the “diamonds” with glaze, and pour the rest of the graze over the rest of the ham.
  • Put it in the oven – the original recipe says it should be there for 10 minutes, but my nose could tell me different before the 10 minutes had gone, so keep an eye (and nose!) on it. Take it out (before it burns!) and let it rest.

Enjoy!

The Ham, Christmas 2009 The Ham, Christmas 2009

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