Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Curd cheese mousse with black tea

Desserts flavoured with tea sound so exotic and exciting for me. Everything flavoured with tea, actually. I have made different experiments and in addition to my yoghurt sauce and green tea cake with cottage cheese I had another really successful one a few days ago.

Curd cheese mousse with black tea
(4 servings)

400 g curd cheese
2 eggyolks
2 eggwhites
2 dl milk
1 dl sugar
4 teabags

1. Heat milk together with the teabags (use a teflon coated saucepan). When it has started to boil, remove it from the heat, cover and let stand for 5 minutes.
2. Discard the teabags, but try to press all the liquid you possibly can out of them.
3. Beat eggyolks in a bowl and add the mixture to them.
4. Pour the milk-eggyolk mixture back into the saucepan and heat (over medium heat) until it thickens, stirring to avoid clumps. Let the mixture cool down in the fridge while you prepare other ingredients.
5. Mix curd cheese with sugar and vanilla.
6. In a clean and dry bowl beat the eggwhites with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form.
7. Mix the tea mixture with curd cheese, then gently add the eggwhite foam (add half of it at first).

For serving I’d recommend fruit or berries and lots of them! The more fruit the better goes for all dishes, right? I like to mix the mousse with apple cubes as I have plenty of apples lying around in the kitchen. At last. One small apple diced and mixed with each serving – now that’s delicious. I believe I’d like it with ice cream too.

The mousse has quite a strong taste of black tea, it’s moderately sweet and has a really light foamy texture. At the same time it’s a real pleasure for all you curd cheese lovers out there (although it’s my modest opinion that Estonian curd cheese is the best in the whole world – it’s the one thing besides our rye bread that I just couldn’t live without if I moved abroad).

Have you got any favourite fabulous recipes using tea?
My next idea is to make a layered hazelnut cake with black tea egg-buttercream filling. Just hope I have any time to cook in September...

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Back to when I was five years old ... a childhood dessert reconstructed

Waiting at the small kitchen table.
'Is it ready yet?'
-'Could you just wait a little more?'

And then, after some time, mom gives me a soup plate filled with white milk kissel with blasting vanilla flavour. The excitement! The sweet taste of a favourite dessert!

There was a time when milk kissel would have been my first (and last) choice for a dessert and this is the scene that come's to my mind whenever I'm remembered about it. But, unfortunately, my memories about the dessert end with that time. Milk kissel hasn't come around for - let me see - ages. It might be just that we've grown out of it, so I figured the dessert needed some reconstruction.

Here - renovated, all new, a modern milk kissel - here you go!

Coconut milk kissel
(adapted from '100 Magustoitu' by Lia Virkus and Pille Enden)
serves 4

1/2 l milk
1/2 l coconut milk
1 dl sugar
3/4 dl potato/corn starch
1 tsp vanilla sugar

1. Bring coconut milk and milk to a boil in a saucepan, add sugar
2. Dissolve starch in a bit of water and add to milk, stirring vigorously.
3. Let the kissel reach its boiling point, but don't let it boil, remove it from the heat
4. Flavour with vanilla
5. Let the kissel cool down, stirring occasionally to prevent the forming of 'kissel skin'
6. Serve with jam or with cinnamon sprinkled over the dessert.

To create the dish I just substituted half of the milk in the original recipe with coconut milk - the taste came through in perfect proportion with everything else. The dessert is silky, sweet and has a lovely scent of vanilla. I prefer eating it when it's still a bit warm, but it's also great when it has cooled down completely - especially on a hot day like this! And on a hot day like this it's essential to spend more time outside and enjoy quick meals - this dessert is one great example.

You know what? One day my kids are going to ask me for this milk kissel!:D

Sunday, 5 August 2007

Brunost : Norwegian sweet brown cheese

Yes, I do mean sweet when I say so!

Before visiting Norway in July I had never-ever heard of something like that and when I first encountered it at a hotel breakfast, my reaction was 'oh, cool, smoked cheese!'. wasn't. And I saw the guy beside me place a slice of it onto a chocolate spread sandwich!

The next encounter took me further. At a boat trip we bought waffles and guess what came along - the same brown cheese. I asked our guide about it and she said that they, Norwegians, would rather refer to it as 'caramel'. Aha! Still, days later we almost witnessed the making of the cheese at a museum and I learned more about the background of it - this time believing every word.

Brunost (Norwegian for 'brown cheese') is made by boiling whey, milk and cream together. The process is quite long and and finally almost all of the water will evaporate and lactose (milk sugar) will caramelise, giving the cheese its sweet taste. The mixture will then be cooled.

But buying brown cheese at a Norwegian supermarket for the first time can be difficult (or rather - it was) because there's so much to choose from. Products differ according to their (fat) contents and texture. The most popular is Gudbrandsdalost - some goat's milk is added to its contents. Geitost is wholly or partly made from goat's milk. Fl√łtemysost only uses cow's milk. There is also a spreadable version of the cheese that is achieved by using a shorter boiling time - this is Prim.

The most ordinary way to eat Brunost is with a slice of bread. Actually, Brunost and cheese slicer go together like rama lama lama ke ding a de dinga a dong, because it's the easiest way for handling the cheese - it's quite sticky, you know. True, it can be sliced with a knife when it's been taken from the fridge but after some time at room temperature it much rather resembles plasticine. Wonderfully and strongly tasting melting-in-mouth plasticine, sweet but at the same time a bit savoury, tasting both of caramel and of cheese, reminding a bit of certain toffee candies.

Deeply addictive!
If there's anyone who's got an actual recipe - I'd be delighted if you'd share!