23.03.2002; tomato & mozzarella stack


Checked my product list and costing sheet – 23.03.02 was the day I came up with this dish – but it didn’t reach fleet wide until the summer of 2004, as a starter.
My photo is terrible when transferring it – so I use “corbis” instead.
Now on the net – looking for a good picture there is loads of stacks – and I found one with red onion and watercress with corbis – thank you!. A starter that I have quite often done at home when having guests or main course (all depend on the size of tomatoes) – and everybody loves it and impressed by its look. Have to have a steady hand while carrying the plates.Where always told I was ahead of my time – served chocolate mousse in coffee cups years before every one else started. Where I got my ideas from ????? Keeping my eyes and month open while travelling.


Tomato Mozzarell Stack with Marinaded Red Onion and Watercress
4 person

4 beef tomatoes
40g/1.4oz water cress
240gr/0.5 pound good quality mozzarella cheese.
12 black olives, sliced
2 red onions, sliced and marinade covered in balsamic vinegar for about 30 min
(you can use the balsamic for dressing afterwards) – make sure the rings are not too wet when start stacking. Let them soak on absorbing paper in the fridge.

2 shallot onions, very finely chopped
180ml/6oz olive oil
60ml (4tbsp) balsamic vinegar
30ml (2tbsp) water
5ml (1tsp) caster sugar
salt & freshly ground black pepper

Just mix everything together – dissolve the sugar in the water first before adding to the dressing.

A little tip how to get even onion rings – you slice the onions with the peel on – and remove that afterwards – because that means the onion doesn’t move on the cutting board and the knife don’t slip.

1. First slice the bottom of the tomatoes straight – so they stand stabile– then sliced them into 4-5 slices. Wouldn’t cut the tomatoes in advance because they go all mushy but the cheese – no problems and same with the olives.

2. So when time for serving just start stacking – tomato, onion rings, cheese, black olives and very little watercress – drizzle with a very tiny amount of dressing between every “floor”/tomato slice  – and you do so until it’s only the top left – done!

Photos provided by; corbis.com / ecovf.com / cbsnews.com / tradgardenifokus.blogspot.com / greeksunnyday.bmp.sk/  cookwithtom.com

…. cold larder, salmon and a winner; salmon and prawn cake

It must have been about nearly 25 years ago now – I saw this recipe in a Swedish fashion magazine and I fell in love. In those days I worked as a sous chef in the cold larder section. Was in charge of cold starters, buffets and dessert – yes everything cold – but never had an input on the menu. Always written by the Senior Head Chef.

Seeing this starter – I know I had to do a coup against him – to manage to get it on the menu. Went into the office with the magazine and tried to talk him into trying it, but not very successful. The picture in the magazine was stunning where the cake was displayed on black plate.

So I decided to buy all the ingredients and the baking tin that I need the following morning when we had arrived in Kiel, Germany – off I went to Karstadt and bought everything that we didn’t have aboard.

Back in to the galley and did the cake – and in the evening I served to my boss and he understood that I had created a winner, because we ,Swedes, loves our salmon and our “löjrom” – löjrom specially. Even if expensive it always sold.

The cake became so popular – that it only took a couple of weeks and he ordered me black plates. All the garnish I used was a lemon wedge and crisp dill spring. What I understand do they still put this cake on the menu here in Sweden. Many restaurants had and have this cake on their menus – we where the first ever and I take the credit for that.

Couldn’t serve it UK, because we couldn’t get the sweet dark bread or the “löjrom”. That was my first step to be knowledge and after that I always had the input on the starters and desserts when it was time to change the menus. Still a big step to get involved in the hot side. Please, read my post regarding “löjrom” – 29/1 “from the pure, brackish waters we find the red gold”

A tip about have to get crisp dill – cut the stalks of a bit – and put it a glass with very small (0.5″) amount of really hot water – and in a hour time you will have dill like Christmas tree – then you put it in the fridge … no more water unnecessary.

Have to apologize for using gelatin leafs and not powder – have never worked with powder. The leafs you soak in cold water until it goes all soft and then squeeze it hard  – so all excess water come out – melt it in small pan on very low heat until it goes runny liquid – take of the stove and add a 15ml (1 tbsp) of cold liquid to it. I normal take white wine for this dish – so it don’t get stiff again. This has to be done just as it added to the mixture.

So to this stunning cake.

Salmon cake with “löjrom”, 6-10 portions
200g dark sweet rye bread.
80 g butter,
5 leaves of gelatine (1 sheet gelatine = 5ml (1tsp) powdered gelatine
100gr peeled prawns
60ml (4tbsp) chopped dill
500 g medium cured cheese, (Quark /Kesella)
200ml sour cream
1 pinch white pepper
150 grams löjrom or any similar caviar/roe

1. Melt butter in saucepan. Run rye bread to crumbs in food processor fitted with the knife. Add the melted butter and mix. Press bread mixture into the button of a springform tin with removable rim.
2. Put the gelatine leaves in cold water. Chop the salmon into small pieces and chop the dill finely – by hand, because it so easy to get to mushy in a processor.
3. Roughly cut the prawns – make sure there is no excess liquid before chopping in them – if not using fresh.
4. Put cured cheese, sour cream, lemon juice and white pepper into a mixing bowl and add prawns, dill and salmon. No extra salt needed. Mix well.
5. Melt the gelatine leaves in a saucepan with a tablespoon of water. Mix gelatin liquid (not too hot) in with lax and prawn mixuter and spread mixture on top of the bread in the tin. Cover and chill for at least 6 hours.
6. Over night drain the lörjom or caviar – in a coffee filter, covered – in the fridge so it’s really dry.

Before serving – just spread the caviar/löjrom over the cake and remove the rim of the tin – and you have a winner.

Photo provided by; hb.fi / tradekool.com / domstein.se / stenaline.se / evagun. se / foodpassion.se / 21food.com / kitchen-online-store.com / sandbergsreceptblogg.blogspot com

30 years later; goat’s cheese baked in a spicy tomato sauce

Goat’s cheese; we are going back about 30 years and I can’t say we had a great realationship. First time I ever tasted goat’s cheese was in 1972 up in the hills above Menton , Cote d’Azur (South of France).  A very romantic dinner, at a converted farm (trying to find the name of the place) – really lovely place . The starter was severed in wheelbarrow that was rolled up to the table filled with most delicious pates, cold meats, vegetables (raw and pickled), salads and cheeses, we helped our self to what we wanted and I took a piece of the goats cheese  – didn’t have a clue what it was. So when putting a piece of the cheese in my mouth – it just grown on me and it was with big difficulties I manage to get it down. After that indecent I have stayed away from goat’s cheese since about 10 years ago and now I love it – eat so soon as I see it on a menu. My favourite starter after fresh foie gras.

This a hearty cracking dish – that can be done to 80% in advance.

Goat’s cheese baked in a spicy tomato sauce with garlic crostini, 8 portions
1 kg ripe plum tomatoes, halved – bought at least 4 days before usage
60ml (4tbsp) extra virgin olive oil
30ml (2tbsp) balsamic vinegar
45ml (3tbsp) runny honey
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
10ml (2rtsp) dried crushed chillies
5-6 fresh thyme springs
45ml (3tbsp) tomato pure
salt & pepper

1 large French stick, baguette – cut into 16 thick sliced
50ml extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, peeled and whole

250gr fresh goat’s cheese log, rind on

1. Preheat the oven 200C/400F/Gas 6. Place the tomatoes halves in a shallow baking tray, drizzle with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and honey – then scatter over: garlic, chillies, half the thyme and seasoning – bake for about 30 min.
2. Place the roasted tomatoes in a food processor and blend. Add the tomato puree, then taste and add more honey if needed – seasoning off.
Up to here – can be done well ahead. Can be frozen for a rainy day too.
3. Preheat the grill – to make the crostini, brush bread slices with olive oil – then grill until golden and crispy. Rube the garlic clove over each slice. Crostini’s can be made 2 days in advanced and be keep in an airtight container.

To serve;
4. Place the tomato sauce in 8 indv. ramekins – oven proofed. Slice the goat’s chees into rounds and place on top of the sauce. Drizzle with a little olive oil over, strip the leaves from the remaining thyme springs and sprinkle over.
5. Bake at 200C/400/Gas 6 for 10-15 min until the cheese turns golden brown on top and the sauce is warm. Serve with the crostini’s.

Photos provided by: Georgia Glynn Smith / furrytalk.com

diva canapes

To start a party with – a sumptuous meal made miniature. The chutney can be made weeks ahead. It also goes well with meats and perfect on a cheese board. We used this for an very important lunch buffet and they went down quickly. We made hundreds and hundreds of them. A bit of a work up when have do them “a la minute” – but for a private dinner party – easy!

Filo Tartlets with Seared Duck and Tomato-Sesame Chutney
Makes 20 canapes to serve 10 – Preperation: 1 hour – Cooking: 1 hour

filo tartletes
12 filo pastry sheets
25 gr butter, melted

duck filling
2 duck breast
15 ml light soy sacue
5 ml clear honey

tomato-sesame chutney
250 gr ripe tomatoes
90 ml white wine vinegar
85 caster sugar
a few fennel seeds
2,5 ml curry powder
2 cardamom pods, split
a pinch each cayenne pepper and ground ginger
15 ml sesame seeds, toasted

coriander leafs or rings of thinly cut leek.

1. Do the chutney. Skin the tomatoes by cutting an X in the bottom of each and drop into a pan with boiling water for a 1-2 min. Then place them in a bowl of could water to refresh for 1 min before peeling off the skins. Roughly chop!
Heat up the vinegar and the sugar over low heat, stirring with wooden spoon until sugar has dissolved. Raise the heat and add the remaining gradients expect the sesame seeds. Simmer for about 30 min until thickened. Cool and remove the cardamom pods.

2. Preheat oven to 180C
Brush 1 filo pastry sheet with some of the melted butter. Use a sharp knife to cut the pastry into 5cm squares. Stack 4 squares on top of each; so that the finished stack has a star-like appearance. Push the pastry firmly into a mini muffin so it gets a flat bottom. Repeat the process with the remaining pastry. Bake for 6-8 min until golden. Be careful when removing from the tins and cool on a rack.

3. Preheat the oven to 200C
Prepare the duck – remove the fat and the skin – use a very sharp nice to pull it away for the flesh. Mix soy sauce and honey – brush the breast on both sides. Sear the breast in a pre-heated dry frying pan for about 2-3 min on each side – no oil. Then roast in the oven for about 10 min. Rest and cool

4. Just before serving: slice the duck breasts thinly, place 2 slices in each tartlet. Top with the chutney and scatter with toasted sesame seeds and coriander leafs or leek rings.  (tip regarding the leek rings – when cut store them in cold water in the fridge so they go really crisp) Or both!

photo provided by: georgia glynn smith