Thursday, April 17, 2014

Dyeing Easter Eggs with Onion Skins, Estonian style

This was originally posted in 2011. You'll find all my Easter recipes here

Easter eggs / Lihavõttemunad

We don't really 'do' chocolate eggs for Easter here in Estonia, but real, chicken eggs. Dyeing eggs for Easter is very popular, and using onion skins is probably the most popular method. Using onion peels gives you most beautiful dyed eggs, each one unique and special. Here are some photos of the process that I took few years ago.

Pille, onion skins

Here's what you need to do:

* Few weeks before Easter start collecting onion peels. Yellow ones are better than red onion skins, as they give a nice colour.

* You need white eggs for doing this (this gives the shops a chance to sell specially packaged white eggs for a much higher price before the festivities).

Dyeing Easter eggs

* Take an egg and neatly put few onion peels around it:

Dyeing Easter eggs

* Take a piece of mesh/muslin/kitchen foil or even an old nylon stocking and wrap it around the egg to keep the onion peels on place. I used foil here:

Dyeing Easter eggs

* Boil as usual. Cool, then unwrap and unpeel.

Here's the result - each egg is unique and gorgeous:

Easter eggs / Lihavõttemunad

Natasha describes a similar, though less complicated way of dyeing eggs with onion peels that's popular in Russia and Ukraine: Russian Easter Eggs. My 91-year old grandmother uses the same method - she says she's too old to "play around" with the onion peels too much :)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Wild garlic pesto aka ramson pesto recipe

Wild garlic pesto / Ramson pesto / Karulaugupesto
(From the recipe archives - originally posted in April 2011. Three years on, this is still my favourite way of preparing wild garlic pesto. You can use either ramson or ramps).

Wild garlic has arrived! Wild garlic, also known as ramson or bear's garlic (Allium ursinum, 'karulauk' in Estonian), is a very close relative to the wild leek aka ramp (Allium tricoccum, 'grislilauk' in Estonian). I've been eagerly waiting for this spring green, as I love both the flavour and the versatily of it, and it's a good health-booster at this time of the year. Well, if it's good enough for big brown bears, it's good enough for us :D

Although I've been happily making a wild garlic pesto with pinenuts for a few years now, this one is a new favourite. There's more flavour, and somehow it's much more gutsier than the 'regular' wild garlic pesto. The idea to use almonds instead of pinenuts in a wild garlic pesto is from a German food magazine. I've upped the amount of almonds and cheese, and used regular almonds instead of blanched.

Let me tell you - this was a huge hit at my recent birthday brunch, where the guests were spreading it on thin slices of ciabatta. I'm heading to my secret wild garlic field later today, just so I could make this one again :)

You could definitely try this with ramps or even with garlic scapes. If you love garlic, you'll love this, I promise!

Other recipes using wild garlic/ramson @ Nami-Nami:
Wild garlic tzatziki
Wild garlic and potato mash
Wild garlic butter
Wild garlic pesto (with pinenuts)
Stuffed tomatoes with wild garlic salad

Wild garlic pesto / Ramson pesto
(Karulaugupesto mandlitega)
Makes about 200 ml

Wild garlic pesto / Ramson pesto / Karulaugupesto

a good bunch of wild garlic (about 125 g), rinsed and drained
50 g Parmesan cheese, roughly chopped
50 g whole almonds
75 ml (5 Tbsp) extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place almonds and cheese into a food processor and blitz into fine crumbs. Add wild garlic, process again until you've got a coarse pesto. Now add the oil little by little, with the machine still running.
Season with salt and pepper.

If you want to keep your pesto for a few weeks, then place into cool sterilised jars and pour a layer of olive oil on top. Keep in the fridge.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Danish meatballs in curry sauce (boller i karry)

Boller i karry. Lihapallid karrikastmes. Danish meatballs in a curry sauce.

Aren't those meatballs cute and bright? It's a popular Danish family dish, boller i karry or meatballs in curry sauce. According to various sources, the dish was created already back in 1840s, when curry powder mixes were first introduced to Danish customers. The popular Danish meatballs were then served with a mildly (!!!) curry-flavoured sauce and rice instead of potatoes - a huge novelty and very exotic back then.

I remember the dish well from my year in Denmark as an exchange student back in 1992-1993, and I liked it. Since visiting Denmark - and my host family - last November, I've been cooking Danish food much more frequently again. With three small kids, it's inevitable that I'm also making so-called "family foods" more often, and boller i karry definitely qualifies as comfort food/family food. Adjust the amount of curry powder depending on the palate of your kids - and remember to use mild Indian-style curry powder, not a spicy or Thai style.

Danish meatballs with curried sauce
(Lihapallid karrikastmes)

Serves 4

Boller i karry. Lihapallid karrikastmes. Danish meatballs in a curry sauce.

Meatballs:
500 g pork or mixed (pork + beef) mince
3 Tbsp flour
100 ml (7 Tbsp) milk
1 egg
1 small onion, finely chopped
salt and black pepper

Curry sauce:
2 Tbsp butter
2-4 tsp mild Indian-style curry powder
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 Tbsp flour
about 600 ml bouillon (= the water you boiled the meatballs in)
100 ml single or double cream
1 Granny Smith apple, coarsely grated
salt and black pepper

Start by making meatballs. Mix all ingredients, then form into large meatballs (I took heaped teaspoonfuls of the mixture).

Fill a medium-sized saucepan with water, bring into a boil and season with salt (you can throw in some bay leaves and allspice berries as well, if you wish). Gently drop the meatballs into the "bouillon" and cook for 7-8 minutes, until fully cooked. Remove from the stock with a slotted spoon and put aside on a plate.

Make the curried sauce. Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the curry powder. Stir, then add the onion and fry gently for 5-7 minutes. Stir in the flour, cook for a minute or two, then add about 2 or 2,5 cups of "meatball bouillon". Stir carefully, so no lumps remain. Add the cream, then the grated apple. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then return the meatballs to the sauce and cook until the meatballs are piping hot.

Serve with boiled long-grain rice and some vegetables of your choice.

Similar recipes elsewhere:
Meatballs in spicy curry sauce  (low-carb version) by Josephine Malene @ A Tasty Love Story
Beef meatballs with curried banana sauce by Michelle @ Greedy Gourmet
Danish Meatballs in Curry with Rice (video recipe) @ Scandinavian Today
Boller i karry or curried meatballs by Sandra @ Sandras Kitchen
Danish meatballs in curry @ Paul De Lancey

More Danish recipes here on Nami-Nami:
Brunsviger aka soft cinnamon butter bread
Koldskål aka Danish buttermilk soup
Risalamande aka Rice and Almond Pudding with Warm Cherry Compote
Danish potato salad
Kokosmakroner aka Danish coconut macaroons

More meatballs recipes here on Nami-Nami:
Saucy Asian meatballs
Swedish meatballs
Hakk-kotletid aka Estonian meatballs
Dagmar's spicy meatballs
Lovely Greek meatballs with chilli sauce, mustard and oregano
Zucchini meatballs
Chorizo meatballs