Kanel Snegle (cinnamon swirls)

Kanel Snegle

Kanel Snegle

Kanel snegle – what I always picked when I, as a child, was lucky enough to get free choice at the bakery on a Sunday morning.

It is one of many traditional Danish pastries – butter filled, crisp on the outside and soft, sweet and cinnamony on the inside.

Irresistible to be honest and still my first choice today when I am lucky enough to be in Denmark….

Recipe is from Froeken Jensen’s Bagebog – classic Danish cookbook based on recipes from the 1900’s.

Kanel Snegle

250g flour

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground cardamom

2 tbs sugar

150g butter

75ml milk

25g fresh yeast (or 2 sachets dry yeast)

Butter/Cinnamon Spread

75g butter

50g icing sugar

2 tsp cinnamon

To make the dough

  • Mix flour, salt, cardamom and sugar together
  • Add the butter to the floury mix – and combine until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs
  • In a small saucepan heat the milk gently until it is luke warm then remove from heat source
  • Dissolve the fresh yeast in the luke warm milk with a wooden spoon
  • Add the milk to the flour and combine the two; knead until the dough forms a soft ball – slightly sticky and shiny
  • Place the kneaded dough ball in a clean bowl and cover with a tea towel
  • Leave the bowl in a warm place to rise for 20-30 minutes
  • Pre-heat oven to 225C

To make the spread

  • Ensure butter is room temperature
  • In a bowl, combine butter, cinnamon and icing sugar and keep stirring until a sweet, cinnamon butter is created

Creating the swirls

  • Once the dough has risen, roll it into a rectangular shape on a floured surface
  • With a big spoon, a spatula or other easy tool, cover the dough with the cinnamon spread
  • Loosely roll the dough into a sausage shape – roll it by length
  • With a sharp knife, cut slices of the dough (about two cm thick), and place these on a lined baking tray
  • Once the tray is full, cover with a tea towel and place in a warm place for 15 minutes
  • Once completely risen, brush with egg or cream to create a golden colour, and place in the pre-heated oven
  • Bake for about 12 minutes
  • Once brown and cooked remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack
  • When cooler, decorate with icing (icing sugar and a little water mixed together)
  • Enjoy them when still slightly warm – that is when they are at their best!

Spreading cinnamon butterReady to riseWorking hardDSC_0025

Kanel Snegle

Kanel Snegle

Family Dinners #2 – Cheese and Ham stuffed Chicken Breasts

Another family dinner favourite! As I type, our 6-year-old is on my lap eagerly asking ” OOhhh we love those! Can we have them for dinner?!”

I make these rolls with either turkey or chicken breast and as a meal it is quite economical seeing that you want the meat cut ever so thinly in order to be able to roll it. A pack of 400-500g of meat therefore feeds all five of us, and all three children are good eaters!

Serve the meat with hand cut chips, feta cheese and tomato cous cous, lots of greens (pak choi is a grown up household favourite and the children like broccoli, corn) or a big plate of fresh peppers/cucumber/carrots with hummus.

The meat cooks in the oven, no frying involved, and because of the ham and cheese it is ever so tender when ready, not to mention full of flavour. The bread crumbs add a nice crisp to each bite but is not necessary.

Cheese and Ham Stuffed Chicken Breasts

500g chicken breast (will make about 8-10 rolls)
2 pieces of sliced bread – to make bread crumbs (you can buy these if you want of course)
A few tablespoons of olive oil
A few fresh basil leaves per meat roll
2 slices of cheese per meat roll
1 slice of ham per meat roll
 
  • Pre-heat your oven to 200C
  • Place the slices of bread in the oven as it heats up – keep an eye on them as you want them very crisp but not burnt!
  • On a cutting board, and with a very sharp knife, slice the chicken breast pieces in half. Ideally you want each piece to be no thicker than 1cm.
  • On each slice of meat, lay a slice of ham and cheese as well as some basil leaves (to make some of them more “grown up” you can spice them up with some fresh chilli or spread a layer of pesto on the inside)
  • Roll the meat up – no need to fasten them but if you want you can put a tooth pick at each end to ensure they remain shut
  • Your bread pieces will now be crisp – place them in a food processor and blend them on high speed for a few seconds – add salt and pepper and spread the bread crumbs out evenly on a large, flat plate
  • Coat each chicken roll with olive oil (easiest done by putting oil in a plate and rolling the chicken in it)
  • Then transfer the chicken rolls to the breadcrumbs and coat evenly with these.
  • Lay the finished rolls on a lined baking tray and cook in the oven for 25 minutes
  • The cheese will be runny and the bread crumbs crisp – so nice!

Rye #6 – Sticky Cinnamon Buns

Despite the ability to post on rye recipes probably for ever, this will be the last recipe in the series for now! To be honest, this one is the guilty pleasure of the series and really I am posting it to show that you can adapt any recipe and add rye, without killing the flavour.

I adore cinnamon rolls. They are very much part of the Danish culture and my preferred pick from the Bakers on a Sunday morning (when in Denmark!) They go hand in hand with celebrations, treats, coffee…. any excuse to indulge slightly.

The classic ones are very buttery, puff pastry like, with a lot of cinnamon and usually icing sugar on top. These are not what I would call classic Danish cinnamon rolls, in fact, when I presented them to the children they sort of wrinkled their noses a bit – even if young they know their cinnamon rolls! However, within the first bit there was silence….and with the last bite…finger licking. Always signs of a good snack! I adapted my normal recipe – here – quite substantially.

Hope you enjoy – have to admit – despite the rye flour addition, these are still what I would classify as a naughty food! 🙂 Crunchy on the outside, soft and sweet on the inside!

PS – Apologies – the pictures did not turn out well, bad day for photography, thank goodness the flavours did!

Dough

300ml lukewarm milk
100g melted butter
80g caster sugar
20g fresh yeast – (or 3/4 tsp dried yeast)
1 tsp ground cardamom – if you cannot find, crush cardamom seeds in a pestle and mortar
1 egg
300g plain flour 
250g rye flour
 

Filling

75g soft butter
120g light brown soft sugar
2 tbsp ground cinnamon
 

Glaze

100 ml water
85g caster sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
 
  •  To make the dough, lightly warm the milk and butter in a saucepan
  • Once the butter has melted, pour the liquid into a bowl and let cool to finger warm
  • Add the sugar, yeast, cinnamon and egg and whisk to combine, ensuring the yeast dissolves
  • While stiring, slowly add the flours until you have a dough ball that may still be slightly sticky. Transfer this to a clean bowl and cover with a tea towel – let rise for about an hour in a warm place. If your house is cold – a good trick is to turn your oven on 20-30C and leave the bowl in there, with the door slightly ajar. This works really well so long as you do not let it get any warmer than that!
  • While the dough is proving, combine butter, sugar and cinnamon to create the filling – yum! This is so tasty! In the pictures the filling looks grainy; my butter was too cold. Warmer butter will create a soft spread which is easier to work with. The end result is the same though so don’t worry either way.
  • Remove the dough from the bowl and knead a few times on a lightly floured surface. Roll dough to a rectangular shape, leaving it a good 5mm thick.
  • With a spatula or big spoon, spread the filling onto the dough ensuring all is covered
  • Roll the rectangle dough up from the long end, until a sausage is formed!
  • Cut the rolls – in a triangle if you want as I did or simply thick slices are also fine. You want to cut them quite thick as this creates a more impressive finished product! 5cm probably. If you cut a triangle, stand on lined baking sheet. If slices, lie them down.
  • Leave on the lined baking sheets for about an hour to rise – covered with a tea towel
  • Pre-heat oven to 200C and bake the buns until golden – 20-25 minutes
  • While the buns bake make your glaze – add all ingredients in a saucepan and cook for about 15 minutes – it will still be watery but slightly thicker than when you started. If you want a thick glaze, let cook for longer and just check as you go – and stop cooking when it reaches the consistency you like
  • Remove the buns from the oven, place on a wire rack – lay something underneath as it gets messy – and drizzle the glaze over them. Use it all…go large!
  • Enjoy….

Dough will be slightly sticky 

Very tasty dough….

Dough will double in size once left in a warm place

Roll and fill

 Place on baking tray and leave in a warm place to rise again

The dough puffs up and the buns sink slightly

Sticky, warm and irresistible!

Chocolate & Oat Truffles

These are delightful to look at, fantastic as gifts and easy to make. Great one for little fingers to roll!

Chocolate Truffles

These are quick and light as they are made with no butter. They are a treat served with coffee after dinner or at a coffee morning with the mums! I have rolled these in desiccated coconut, chopped almonds and cocoa powder but you could use anything – white chocolate, sprinkles, silver balls – depending on theme and occasion. With Christmas coming you could even roll them in greens, red and gold…

150ml double cream
200g dark chocolate (70% or more cocoa content) broken into small pieces
2 tbsp Baileys (can be left out and replaced with double cream for a child friendly version)
Desiccated coconut, Cocoa powder, Chopped almonds to roll in
  • Break the chocolate into small pieces and place in a bowl.
  • Bring the double cream to a light boil in a saucepan, let cool slightly, and then pour over the chocolate.
  • Add the Baileys and stir continuously until the chocolate has completely
    melted.
  • Whisk the mixture for 5-8 minutes until it starts to get
    stiff and cold.
  • Cover and put in the fridge for about 90 minutes (or until
    set).
  • With two teaspoons (or your fingers, or your childs fingers!), shape small balls and roll these in the
    covering of your choice. Once completely covered, place in fridge until you are ready to serve.

Oat Truffles

75g chocolate (I prefer 70% or more cocoa content but can be made with milk chocolate)
2 tbsp double cream
25g soft butter
100g icing sugar
125g rolled porridge oats
75g desiccated coconut
Grated Peel of an orange
Desiccated coconut to roll in
  • Break the chocolate into small pieces and put into a heatproof bowl within a gently simmering saucepan of water.
  • Once melted, let it cool slightly then stir until thick and flowing.
  • Add the remaining ingredients and stir until the mixture is well combined.
  • Using your hands (this is great for the children to do!), shape the balls and roll them in desiccated coconut.
  • Place them in the fridge for at least an hour before serving.

Word or warning – be careful not to leave out on a plate….they will vanish!!!

Sensory Food

“We are indeed much more than what we eat, but what we eat can nevertheless help us to be much more than what we are” (Adelle Davis (1904 – 1974))

Food is one of the main pleasures in life as well as human fuel!  Without it, body and soul would suffer. It is therefore, in my opinion, really important to have an opinion and appreciation of food! I adore food! The scents, the colours, the taste, the feeling and yes, even the sounds! Look at babies – they have got it sussed! They get in there with hands and face! Great!

I know many find food shopping and preparing stressful and lack the inspiration to plan and cook “yet another” meal. If you are at home with the children or work full-time it can seem a chore rather than a nice part of the day. Children grabbing your legs, not wanting to walk in the supermarket, begging for sweets and toys through the aisles…..

Today’s blog is all about the sensory experience of food! If you keep these thoughts with you when you are shopping and cooking then hopefully you may have a different perspective – even if only slightly then I will be pleased!

What have your senses got to do with food? Do you use all five, or six even, when you are shopping, cooking and eating? If you do not you are seriously robbing yourself of half of the experience that is food!!

Your sight is absolutely critical when you are dealing with food. Imagine doing your weekly shop, even if online, without looking at what you are putting in your basket? Your eyes will automatically alert you to what looks tasty, ripe or bruised. They will tell you if meat has gone bad as the colour will no longer be deep, dark red but grey and lifeless, and if fish is really fresh – are they eyes shiny? The scales glistening? If packaged fish, are the liquids that surround it clear? They will also quickly alert you to mold in a pack of philadelphia in your fridge that should have been binned a long time ago!

Next time you are shopping, try to switch your eyes on! Really look at what is around you. Fruit in particular, and eggs (are they broken!)… Make games with your children to pass the knowledge on – can they spot the best banana? The best pack of strawberries?

How about when you are eating? Some dishes will draw you in by their colours….Japanese food does it for me! It is as beautiful to eat as it is to look at! Try and think about how you will present the food you cook – a simple bolognese can become a feast for the eyes if placed in a stunning bowl on the table and sprinkled with something green. A child is also more likely to eat something that looks fun! Make eyes, nose and mouth out of sausages and mash and veggies for example… Let them try!

When you shop and cook, do you smell the food you are buying and preparing? A fish monger’s shop should not reek of fish, if it does, walk out quickly! Pineapple and melons are ripe and at their best when you can smell their sweetness on the skin. The gorgeous aroma of fresh coffee brewing and of bread baking in the oven on a Sunday morning really set the scene for a great day. How about the smell of burning food on the stove or in the oven – your alarm bells ring instantly!

Next time you are shopping, think about how food smells. As much as you can, try to buy food that is not pre-packaged – meat, fish, vegetables. It is horrible to come home, prepare to cook some nice salmon only to open the sealed package and find it has gone bad. And when you cook and eat, close your eyes and savour the scent of your dish – when you add fresh herbs, when garlic goes sweet… Play the guessing game with your children – cover their eyes and see if they can guess what is on their plate! Make dinner time fun!

Touching your food is another very important element of the “food experience”. Your hands will know, if you practice and think about it, exactly when an avocado is ready to be eaten, when a mango has potential or if it will never be ripe and if a melon will taste good (it should be soft at either end if you press it lightly!). They will know if dough needs more flour, if play dough is ready to come out of the pan and be given to the children and if potatoes are ready or still hard! Your sense of touch guides you on temperature – if your food is too hot or cold – and on consistency – potatoes ready? pasta ready? bread too crusty? cupcakes too heavy, too dry?

You may think that hearing has little to do with food but you actually use your ears more than you are aware of. It happens automatically. Porridge bubbling away – the sound changes as it gets thicker and ready. A pot of tea in an old-fashioned kettle hisses at you, the click of the kettle when water has boiled. The sound of a steak as it sizzles in the pan, of butter as it melts. I cannot imagine being without my ears in a kitchen, or at the fruit and vegetable market! The best offers are usually shouted at you!

Taste – let’s not forget this! The final sense and to some the most important. This is where we filter the food that we have seen, touched, smelt and heard, the last hurdle before we indulge. It is how we know if what we have cooked or bought is too sweet, too salty, too fatty? Too bland? Maybe it is perfectly crisp, al dente, tangy….

Often, too many flavours kill a dish as it becomes impossible to enjoy and really taste what it is made up of. A really good meal, for me, is one where few ingredients are used so that each one stands out and comes to its full potential. Babies are always introduced to foods one by one to allow them to appreciate each one – very wise!

A fun tasting game with children is to blind fold them and let them taste three sweet things and three sour things and let them guess what they are tasting! It takes a lot of trust to accept the spoon…

The final sense, your sixth sense, is what you use when you bring all of the above together! It is what tells you that you have cooked a successful meal or that you have bought the right vegetables and fruit.

Use your senses to really enjoy cooking and shopping! Teach your children about them. Appreciating good, fresh food starts at home, and it is never too early to begin teaching this! As you shop, let them pick the fruit and vegetables, let them taste them, let them hold your shopping list and lay things in the trolley. When you are tempted to throw frozen fish fingers and chips into the oven, don’t! Make your own with some fresh fish strips and potatoes and prepare a fresh, healthy meal that the children will understand where came from!

Finally, when you cook, let them stir, roll, pat, pull, stretch, sprinkle, lick and look! It makes it all much more interesting and fun – for everyone!