Trina Hahnemann's new cookbook, with photographs by Lars Ranek , is simply titled, and beautifully done. The cover, as you can see, combines luscious food, visuals from Scandanavia conjoining sky and sea, and homey saucers and cups. So does the book itself, with the pictures alongside a range of recipes I have never seen before. As her website says: "this is her first but not last cookbook in English" and, more entertainingly, "Trina sees no reason at all why rodgrod med flode' should not be as popular a dessert as 'tiramisu' all over the world." (Ok, in the dessert she names, the letter o should have a slash through it. I have no idea how to do that. Somehow there must be a way to temporarily get a Danish keyboard but that's above my level of technical capacity.) Well, if this is going to happen, this might just be the way to do it --create a cookbook that is startlingly anti-stereotype, filled with the expected (herring is what I imagined) and offerings that are in-your-face foodie delights.
The most delightful looking recipe, and one I intend to make, is for rhubarb cordial (see p. 88), a drink in a delightful shade of pink. But there are loads of recipes here I yearn to try; baked trout with new potatoes and smoked-cheese cream, glogg (this time I am missing an umlaut), venison with anise and papper, potato-celery root gratin and brussel sprouts. I look for the recipes with less of a focus on caraway (which seems a regular in Danish cooking), since this is not one of my favorites and some i know are allergic. Organized by month, and filled with visuals for which there is no other word than beautiful, the book is mouthwatering. And it is not just the food pictures --the photographs of Christmas trees, of buildings along water in the fall light, of herbs growing and Copenhagen sunshine, of snow on a church spire, all seem like sharpened angles into hope.
And what do I hope? I hope to cook from this one day and have the food taste as beautiful as it looks. I hope to see Denmark one day. I hope that you too will find a moment of hope in your world today.
For a more substantial review, click here. And for a review that mentions Minnesota, try here. For one more, where I learned that Hahnemann's cafe is in the Danish House of Parliament, use that little clicker again right here.
I love free things in the mail. And I get some. I really do. Most recently, I received the cookbook pictured here, entitled Ready, Steady, Spaghetti. You guessed it, this rhyme-y title has a subtitle that involves the word "kids." This is a cookbook for those who cook with kids. The cover, as you can see, looks just like what I make for myself when no one is looking: a heap of pasta. Written by Lucy Broadhurst, this sizable pink tome has sections entitled "little food," "dinnertime," "eat your greens," "sticky treats," "cookies, cakes and sweets," and "let's party." Recipes include stuffed peppers, bubble and squeak, and more mysterious items like san choy bau and one of my faves, pavlova. I am tempted to keep this because some of the pictures are scrumptious-looking (yes, especially that pavlova). I am even tempted by the very very simply how-to-make-a-pavlova pictures. But the sun is shining and so I thought I would see what would happen if I suggested a random-ish act of sharing: if you want this book, enter a recipe in the comments section. If I get a few, I will pick one and send along the book to you.
For a review of this cookbook, click here. Or here. Or here.
Better yet, click comment and pass along your favorite recipe. Get others to, and maybe you will be the lucky recipient of this pink pleasure.
Yes, I have read murder mysteries by Cleo Coyle before. Indeed, I reviewed On What Grounds right here. As the title of that earlier book implies, Coyle's series is about a coffee house. This one? A 2006 entry in the series, Murder Most Frothy features series heroine Clare Cosi spending a summer as "barista to the stars" or a sort of coffee sommelier in the "Hamptons." This quick read is filled with just what you would expect: coffee lore, returning characters (ex-husband -- not rendered as all bad this time, daughter, and an off the scene romantic interest), and the implication that the Hamptons is (are?) a sort of cross between "Sex and the City" and Hollywood vacationers (and similar rich folks) flexing their egos. Here and there a tiny bit of Long Island/Hamptons trivia pops up, including Jackson Pollock, for example. (Wanna look at Pollock stuff? Click here.) Robert Motherwell also gets a mention (and his quonset hut). (Still want to look at art? Click here for Motherwell's stuff. Or here for a picture of the afore-mentioned quonset hut and here for an article on its demolishing in the mid-1980s.) None of this is really germane to the mystery, despite the lamenting of the new richer-than-thou building sprees and (what we have come to call) Mc-Mansions. (Not to mention Fourth of July traffic.) These tidbits merely serve to situate this mystery away from the "Village Blend" coffee house (a coffee house located in Greenwich Village in other series entries); this, of course, allows for new characters and a bit more adventure.
Turns out Cleo Coyle is a pseudonym. The books are written by a couple! Click here or here or even here for details. (Or keep the mystery alive and click nowhere.) Anyway, I like the series and I liked this one. Frothy, Latte-ish. And complete with a few recipes for coffee with alcohol in various forms. Hurrah.
Yes, you asked for it and you got it. Two dessert recipes. Thanks for asking! So here are two recipes with no sugar, and with wonderful uses of honey.
Recipe number one is a slightly modified version of a recipe from a volume entitled Granita Magic. (See p. 86.) Its name is: Saffron and Honey Granita. First, the ingredients: (a) 1/3 teaspoon saffron threads; (b) 6 cardamon pods; (c) 3 cups of whole milk; (d) 6-8 tablespoons of orange blossom honey; and (e) 2 tablespoons of rose water. I used green cardamon pods; I have no idea what the difference is between green and black cardamon pods; I own both. Who knows? Anyway, what you do is toss the saffron threads (crushed between your fingers) and the seeds from the cardamon pods (crush these and discard the husks), milk and honey into a saucepan. Bring it to a simmer slowly. Once you have done so, take it off the heat, allow it to cool, and add the rose water. Then, make granita: pour it into a metal pan, stick in the freezer, and every once in a while, over the course of a few hours, mash it with a fork. You'll get a crystal-y, spoonable, frozen delight. (Do not let it freeze solid without mashing it up; while it might taste dandy, it is NOT granita).
Recipe number two comes from Deborah Madison'sVegetarian Cooking for Everyone. It is called "frozen honey mousse"and that is just what it is. (I served it in my best approximation of quenelles. Have no idea what that is? Click here.) What do you need to make this? (1) a cup of whipping cream; (2) 3 egg yolks; (3) 1/2 cup strongly flavored honey; (4) finely grated zest of a tangerine or 1/2 orange (I used the orange); (5) 1/4 cup of peeled pistachios, chopped; and (6) a tablespoon of orange flower water (ok, I could not find this; I used water). How do you make it? First, whip the cream (not too hard, but do make peaks). refrigerate in another bowl. Without rinsing the bowl in which you whipped the cream (I have no idea why, but I followed this direction), beat yolks and honey together. Add the zest, nuts, and water; then fold in cream and whisk until combined. Freeze it -- either in ramekins or a larger container.
And, if you are lucky, serve these in quenelles to each side of a beautiful poached pear, dining with friends.
Yes, there was a "Mrs. Darwin." She was his cousin, and her name was Emma. (Who was he? Charles Darwin, author of the famous 1859 or so (was it 1858?) book entitled The Origin of Species, a major source of controversy to this very day. Yes, think evolution. Think running away from home on a boat named the Beagle. Think . . . well, his diary from that trip, available here.
Emma too wrote, and in her case, this included writing about food -- at least in the form of recipes (aka receipts in her era and place). Both Charles and Emma were the grandchildren of Josiah Wedgwood, of pottery fame and fortune, and thus not impoverished. (No, she is not the same Emma Darwin who writes mysteries; yes, that one is a descendant of the one at issue here and her site is just a click away, here.) The historical Emma's diaries have been published, as have her letters. A biography of her has been written. (For a review of the biography, click here.) And now, selections from her recipe book have been published, suitably attempted and presented in this book reframed to enable us to make them today. It is a beautiful book, with lovely botanicals and facsimiles of Emma's hand written recipes. And there is an introduction from Nach Waxman of bookstore fame (click here for an interview and info on teh bookstore as well) -- and from the editors, a briefish introduction.
Begin, though, with this site, where you can see the source of this published book. Then go to Dusha Bateson and Weslie Janeway's volume, Mrs. Charles Darwin's Recipe Book: Revived and Illustrated. The recipes are for fairly "plain" items; and the commentary insightful and not too heavy. I learned, for example, what a posset is, and nesselrode pudding. (The picture is much much better in the book.) I was reminded of Charles Darwin's poor digestion, of the value of rice pudding and of the shifting politics (and availability) of sugar. And, I loved the illustrations whether botanical or, once in a while, of the lovely Wedgwood design the Darwin's used. (Love Wedgwood? Here's their site.) The book -- a dandy, not too demanding, addition to this year's Darwin-mania.