Happy Halloween everyone! I LOVE Halloween, but it's just not quite as big in Denmark as it is back home in Canada. I miss the endless halloween tv specials and my parents'giant inflatable lawn pumpkin. I was really excited to try out some spooky holiday recipes, and once I stumbled upon these "blood spatter sugar cookies" by Annie's Eats on Pinterest, I knew I just had to test them out!.
Just look at those cookies! Simple, elegant and perfectly gruesome. Don't they just scream Dexter? Everyone's favourite blood splatter analyst/serial killer/lumberjack. Sure, these cookies look great on Pinterest, but can they be recreated?
First things first. Sugar cookies. These deceptively simple cookies can be kind of tricky with the amount of butter needed, but the following recipe works wonderfully for rolling, cutting shapes and won't get too puffy when baked.
Rolled Sugar Cookies
Cream together sugar and butter until smooth. Beat in vanilla and eggs. Sift flour, baking powder and salt together. Stir into dough and knead until smooth. Cover dough and chill for minimum one hour. This dough can be made in advance and chilled overnight.
When you roll out the dough, take small portions at a time and be patient. Flour your work surface well, roll out dough to approximately a 0.5 cm thick and cut out your shapes. Preheat your oven to 200°C/400°F (no fan assist) and bake 6-8 minutes. They should be cooked but pale.
Splattering the Cookies
After the cookies are baked and cooled, they're flooded with plain white royal icing and left to dry overnight.
Royal icing is a glaze made from pasteurized egg whites, icing sugar and lemon juice or flavouring like vanilla. It can be made as a paste that can be piped, or thinned to flood sugar cookies, which dries matte and hard. You can see a YouTube tutorial on how to flood sugar cookies below.
Save the leftover white icing after you're done flooding, and cover well. You'll use the leftover icing for "blood splatters". Thin the icing out with red food dye until it turns blood red. Tape up some paper or plastic to protect your work area and with a clean paintbrush or fork, fling the thinned red icing over your cookies until they're bloody enough for your liking. My workspace looked like a murder scene!
The Finished Product
Here are my gory, Dexter-inspired cookies! They look and taste wonderful. I made plain circle cookies, and bloody murder bunnies because I didn't have any halloween shapes on hand.
I love everything about these cookies, but if there's one thing I need to warn about it's about making the "blood". As you can see, my colour was a little bit too light. It didn't look completely like blood, and that's because I ran out of food colouring!! It takes a LOT of dye to make white icing blood red, and my portion of white was too large to start with. So start with a couple tablespoons of royal icing, thinned out. For best results, use a gel or powder colour. They're more concentrated in colour than the liquid stuff, so it's easier to control the runniness of your icing.
The most important thing is that you have fun with it!
If you like my PinterTest series and want to read more, then catch up on my previous posts here. Feel free to comment or send me a message with ideas for future PinterTests here, or you can find me on Facebook and Twitter as QuiteChefy.
Until next time, Stay Chefy!
While I was studying in culinary school, each week had a different theme. For example, pork, beef, poultry, etc. When the vegetable theme came around, things got a little interesting. You see, vegetarians have it hard in chef school, since 95% of dishes are meat-based, and we spend a lot of time learning about different cuts of meat.
Once or twice a week, we had a free day in the kitchen where we got to cook whatever we wanted inside that theme. Now I don't have a lot of experience with vegetarian food, but I had hoped we would have the opportunity to gain more knowledge and inspiration, and this was the perfect opportunity for me to experiment.
What did I pick to work with? Beets. I've never been a huge fan of beets, and I really only have experience with the pickled variety, which I hate (they taste like dirt to me). I was determined to turn this work day into a learning experience!
The finished product was was a beetroot linguine with honey walnuts, gremolata and parmesan cheese, pictured below.
I knew I was onto something, and I just had to get it right!
This next evolution of the beet pasta ups the ante with the addition of goat's cheese. I know, I know, everyone and anyone has done the goat's cheese and beetroot combination, but they're a classic combination that just pair so well together. The gamy, tart and slightly earthy flavour of the cheese pairs with the sweet earthiness of the beets. Pair that with the sweet and bitter walnuts, and it's a winning combo. Unfortunately, I forgot all about the honeyed walnuts in the above version, and the overall dish suffered for it. I NEEDED the walnuts to be in this pasta for it to taste complete.
And here we have the finished product. Beetroot linguine with salt roasted beetroot, honeyed walnuts and goat's cheese topped with gremolata.
What you'll need for the pasta
Pasta can be made many different ways, but for this pasta, I used the classic 1 egg to 100 g flour ratio and added beetroot puree for colour and flavour together with a couple pinches of salt.
You may want to buy some latex gloves to handle beets, else your fingers turn quite red.
To make the beetroot puree, peel and roughly chop the beetroot and add to a pot with just enough water to cover. Gently boil until tender (approximately a half hour). Strain beets but reserve liquids. Add beets to a food processor or blender with olive oil and blend until smooth. Add some of the reserved liquids to thin. Strain puree. It should have the consistency of runny applesauce. Set aside.
To make the pasta, add flour to a large bowl. I use tipo 00 flour, which is a finely-ground flour with a high gluten content. That means that it makes a smoother pasta with a better stretch when working with it. Make a well in the middle of the flour, and add eggs, and 2 tablespoons of puree.
What you need for the sauce:
How to make the sauce
Wash the remaining beets and dry well. Clip off the ends, and cut them in the half, leaving the skin on. Pour a generous layer of coarse salt into the bottom of an oven-safe dish and arrange your beets on the salt. Take a whole head of garlic, slice the top off to expose the tops of the garlic bulbs. Drizzle with olive oil and a tiny bit of salt. Set the garlic in with the beets. Bake on 190C for about an hour.
Peel skin from the beets and cut into cubes. Add 2 tbsp oil to a pan and sweat diced onion until soft and translucent. The baked garlic should be soft enough to squeeze the cloves out of their casings. Take 3-4 cloves and mash them up with the back of a spoon or knife. Add them to the onion and cook for a minute. Add beet cubes and thyme and warm through. Add 100 ml oil, 2 tbsp beet puree, vinegar and lemon juice. Cook 5 minutes and season to taste.
Note: This recipe calls for a lot of olive oil. You can add more or less. Fresh pasta absorbs a lot of liquid, and the oil is there to keep it from becoming too dry. You can also add more beet puree to taste.
Once your pasta has rested in the fridge, sprinkle a few tablespoons of flour on your work surface and dust your unwrapped dough. Cut the dough in half and cover the other with plastic and set aside. Press into a rough rectangle shape around ½ cm thick and set your pasta roller to maximum thickness. Don't have a pasta roller? I'll get to you in a second. Roll the pasta through once, being sure to keep it well floured. Fold the sheet in half, and run through the max thickness once more. Gradually set the thicknesses lower as you roll it through each time. The pasta should be a thickness somewhere between thinnest, and medium (a couple mm). You can either use a linguine cutter, or cut the noodles by hand. Using a cutter, roll the pasta through, and hang the noodles on a pasta arm or over a cutting board (like I did). To cut them by hand, flour the dough sheet well, gently fold in half, then half again. With a floured knife, slice the noodles in ½ cm thicknesses, untangle and hang them.
I used a very inexpensive Jaime Oliver pasta machine and noodle cutter, which crapped out after my first batch, so I gave up and cut them by hand. If you don't have a machine, you can cut your pasta into smaller portions and roll them out on a well-floured surface with a rolling pin.
To cook, bring a pot of water with a tablespoon of salt and 2 tablespoons olive oil up to a boil. Add pasta and cook 1-2 minutes until al dente, or cooked with a slight bite, and not mushy. Once cooked, fresh pasta sticks together very easily, so add immediately to sauce.
Topping this pasta is honeyed walnuts, gremolata and goat's cheese. You will need:
Once your pasta is cooked, toss with warm sauce to coat well. Wrap noodles around a meat fork and gently place onto plates. Spoon sauce and beet cubes over the top, together with a drizzle of olive oil for sheen, of the pasta is too dry. Sprinkle walnuts around pasta, and top with a teaspoon of gremolata piled on top. Cut rind off goat's cheese, and break into small chunks. Place on pasta. Serve alone or with crusty bread and butter. Enjoy!
Voila!! A homemade beet pasta with goat's cheese and honeyed walnuts. A lacto vegetarian meal that's much more filling than it appears and packed with delicious and complex beet flavour. If you're short on time, you can use premade fresh pasta from the supermarket, but it will lack a bit of colour and flavour, which you can make up for with a bit more puree in the sauce.
For Canadians, Thanksgiving has come and gone for yet another year, along with turkey, potatoes and pie....so much pie.
When I moved to Denmark, I decided to bring Thanksgiving with me. We roast a turkey and all the trimmings for my husband's family every year, and they kind of love it. We have to order our turkey from a farm, and spend a couple days making food for around 20 people. It's tons of work, but SO much fun and well worth it in the end. The best part is all the leftovers we have for the next day we can just toss in the microwave. This year, I even had a "pie day" where a friend of mine came over for brunch and dessert.
This year's bird was a 10.5 kg monster turkey (23 lbs), served with glazed carrots, brussel sprouts with pecans and bacon, my mom's dressing (we don't stuff our bird), mashed potatoes, caramel apple pie, vanilla ice cream, and two pumpkin pies! Whew! You can see a few pictures of all that hard work below:
I'll start by talking about the star of the meal: the turkey. Tasty bird, but so easy to dry out due to the low fat content. This year's bird was perfect and dripping with moisture after we cooked it. Our secret? Just butter and foil. We didn't brine it or flip it over halfway through cooking. Butter, tin foil and a cooking thermometer (which I recommend everyone have in their kitchen to be on the safe side). We mixed up a pack of butter (250 g or 2 sticks) with loads of fresh herbs (rosemary, tarragon, parsley, thyme, and sage). We gently separated the skin from the meat and rubbed the butter all over the breast and leg meat. We roasted the bird for 15 minutes at around 215° C(419° F) to tighten the skin around that butter, then reduced the heat to 175° C(347° F). The bird was covered with foil, the tray was filled with veggies, herbs and stock, and it was roasted for about 2.5 hours until the thermometer read 75°C (167° F) on the breast. Ta-da! We let the bird rest in foil and under a clean towel until ready to serve! The flavour that comes from all the butter (which is spooned off) and herbs is always amazing. The gravy turns out so well that we try to make a bit more every year, and every year we scrape the bottom of the pot looking for more. If you'd like recipes for any of the dishes I made, check out the list below!
Other recipes can be found by clicking the links below:
These recipes all remind me of home and big family meals. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. If you like them, feel free to leave a comment or share with your friends. I can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram as QuiteChefy.
Stay Chefy everyone!
As the fall weather is settling in, my fall clothing is sneaking out of the closet one piece at a time, and the soup recipes are sneaking their way into the meal rotation. There's something comforting about a steaming, hearty bowl of soup and this one is quite nutritious! And, yes, we did have grilled cheese sandwiches with our tomato soup, because YUM!
Being a chef student, I get to taste a lot of different foods, and my husband gets to sample a plethora of experiments. This week we're determined to eat healthy (besides a bit of cream in the soup, which can be switched out for a lighter option), and sometimes soup is a great way to get tasty comfort food without all the calories and too much butter.
This roasted tomato soup is so delicious that it's become a fast favourite here. The tomatoes were roasted off in the oven together with onion and an entire head of garlic. Roasted garlic is much milder in flavour and takes on a delicious sweet note that's wonderful on anything from toast to soups without that burning raw aftertaste and breath that could drop an elefant. When the tomatoes were breaking down and watery, and the onion and garlic was browned, everything was blended together with some stock and spices then simmered. For a full recipe to print or share with your friends, click here.
If you like this recipe, like and share with your friends. Feel free to leave a comment on what other recipes you'd like to see!
Until then, Stay Chefy!
Hey there! My name is Lea, and I'm a Canadian Culinary student trying to survive chef life in Denmark. I want to share my journey, and some great food and experiences with others. I believe that anyone can be quite chefy!