December 26, 2011

Christmas Project

This year's big cake challenge has been to make a traditional Christmas cake. I started well in advance - four weeks before Christmas. It was a long wait, especially since I couldn't taste it; I had to wait until the cake was covered in marcipan and fondant :-)  


First coating

Second coating

Making the leaves

For full Recipe, click Read more ... below 
100 g almonds, skin off and chopped nicely
100 glace cherries
200 g mixed pickled peels, chopped
500 g dark raisins
250 g yellow raisins (sultanas)
2 dl raisins, dades and dried abricots, soaked in brandy and chopped in mixer
1 handful of chopped pecan nuts
1 handful of chopped walnuts
zest of one lemon
275 g plain flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cardamomme, ground
2 cloves, ground
3 allspice, ground
275 g butter
275 g sugar
1 big tablespoon brown sugar or molasses
6 eggs
1/2 dl brandy, and quite a lot more to drizzle the cake with over the weeks
500 g marcipan
650 g fondant
red and green food color

Set the oven at 150 C
Sift flour and spices and mix with all the frut, almonds and lemonzest.
Whisk together butter, molasses and sugar, Add eggs and whisk until combined (one egg at a time, whisk well between adding). Gently mix with fruitmix and brandy.

In a pan coaked with baking paper (I used a large cast iron pot) pour the dough, and make a little hollow in the middle so it won't make a top when baking. Bake for about 3 1/2 - 4 hours, after a couple of hours, cover with several layers of baking paper, to prevent the cake from burning.

You can check if the cake is done, by sticking a knitting needle (metal) in – if it comes out dry, the cake's ready.

Remove from the pan, make a few holes in it using the knitting needle, and pour brandy over.

When cooled, wrap in baking paper and store in air tight container. Drizzle with booze of your choise regularly until it's time to coat and decorate. I used brandy, and drizzled almost every day, and once a week made wholes with the needle to make sure the brandy soaked all the way through.

Turn your cake upside down, so that it sits on its widest side. Coat with a thin layer of abricot jam, roll out 200 g marcipan between two sheets of baking paper, and cover the cake. Use icing sugar to prevent the marcipan sticking to the paper. Coat with another thin layer of abricot jam, roll out the fondant and cover the cake, Smoothe using an easy-glide fondant smoothener or whatever your kitchen may hold (I used the top of a cake tin - worked fine).
Color 2 small batches of fondant - one green and one red, for the holy leaves and the berries. Use a holy leaf puncher for the leaves.

And you're done! Your cake is ready to eat :-)
Have fun, and enjoy

A Very Merry Xmas to All
:-) Christine


December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas with Licorice

Merry Christmas to all of you - may you have some wounderful days with family and friends.

I have made a little Christmas Licorice Medley. We here in Scandinavia love the strong taste of the black Licorice, and the Dutchmen and the Germans follow along. Licorice comes from a root, that is grown in China, Greece, Iran and Afghanistan ao. After 3-5 years it is harvested, dryed in the sun and then boiled into the black mass.
Here I have added a little Licorice to some of my favorite Christmas treat, which gives an extra little twist to the tastes I love for Christmas; Cranberries, Quince, Marzipan, Oranges and Vanilla. The Marcipan Confection are made by my friend Monica Cetti and Christine Clemmensen have made the Macarons with Licorice. You can find the recipies below.

Tina Brok




          Marzipan confections with Raspberries and licorice Sirup:

            • Raw Marzipan
            • Licorice Syrup - use the sweet Licorice Syrup
                 (Here from a danish licorice    company   Bülows)

            • Raspberries - frozen are actually easiest to use.
            • White Chocolate
            • Dark Chocolate or Licorice Powder for decoration
Can last 3-4 days in the refigerator.
Cut the marcipan in slices of 0,5 cm, and role them flat, you can use a little icing sugar, so the marzipan do not stick.
Take one raspberry and fill it with the licorice syrup, and place it on the flattend marzipan slice.
Wrap the raspberry in the marzipan and role it into a little ball.
Dipp it in melted white chocolate, and decorate it with either dark melted chocolate or licorice powder.
Let the made confections rest in the refrigerator a couble of hours before serving.

              Quince Marmelade:

            • 500 g Quince

            • 500 g Cane Sugar
            • 2,5 dl water
            • 40 g fresh ginger
            • 1 organic Lemon
            • 1 Vanilla Pod
            • a pinch og Licorice powder

Steam the quinces for 20 min, in as little water as possible.
Peel them and cut them into small pieces and remove the core.
Peel the ginger and chop it finely.
Cut of the lemon shell in fine slices with a knife or use a paring knife.
Cut the lemon in two, and squeeze it. Split the vanilla pod lengthwise.
Put these ingredients in a pot with the cane sugar and water and bring to the boil.
Boil about 30 minutes under low heat untill the quinces get an orange color.
Test: The marmalade shall get a consistency so that a teaspoon full on a plate will get stiff in a couple of minutes in the refrigerator.
Add the pinch of Licorice powder and stir. ( can be left out.)
Put the marmalade in scalded jars, also rinse the jars or glas with a perservative. (DK Atamon)
The marmalade is fantastic on a good cheese, here a goat cheese with ash and biscuit.
            Cookies with Licorices and Cranberries
            • 250 g Wheat Flour
            • Half a tablespoon baking powder
            • 25 g Licorice Powder
            • 60 g Cranberries
            • 180 g salted cold butter
            • 250 g fine Cane Sugar
            • 1 Egg
Term the flour and the baking powder together in a bowl, add the Licorice powder, Cranberries and the cold butter cut into cubes. Mix it all together, using hands or a kitchen mashine, untill you cant feel the butter anymore.
Add Cane Sugar and the Egg, and mix it all together. Untill the ingrediens are just mixed together, do not over do it.
Part the dough in to pcs of 500 g, and role them into long thick sausages. Roll them into bakingpaper and freeze untill the sausages are hard. Set the oven at 180 Degrees C.  hot air oven.
Cut the sauge in slices 1 cm. Put them on baking paper.
Bake for 8-10 minutes. at 180 Degrees C.

           Cranberry Jam with oranges and Licorices   

            • 175 g Cranberrys raw

            • 1 dl Maple Syrup
            • 0,25 dl Orange Flower  Honey ( it gives a fantastic taste.)
            • Peel of one half Orange,  Organic
            • Juice from 2 Oranges
            • 0,5 dl Cane Sugar

            • A pinch of Licorice Powder
Rince the Cranberries, and remove bad berries. Put them in a pot with the other ingredients.
Grate the Orange, but avoid the white as it is bitter. Juice the oranges, add the Maple syrup, honey and sugar.
Boil for 30 minutes and add a pinch of Licorice powder, you can make one glas with the Licorice and one without.
Put the jam into glasses, that have boild in wather. 

            Macarons with white chocolade and Licorice

            • Makes app 20 Macarons
            • 225 grams powdered sugar
            • 120 gram blanched almons (without skin)
            • Vanilla powder
            • 3 egg whites (I use Pasteurized)
            • 25 gram Caster sugar

            • White Cholade, Licorice powder and black food color

Grind powdered sugar and almonds to a fine flour
Whip the egg whites with sugar until it holds shape when you tap it :-)

Sift the almond flour and vanilla powder and some drops of black food color into the whites and fold, then stir gently.
This is the tricky part I think. The texture need to be elestic but not runny, so be gentle. When you lift the spoon, the dough shouldn't break the beam to soon, so to speak, but be long and elastic.

Put it into a pipingbag, and pipe out little evenly sized circles on a baking sheet.

Now the macarons need to dry, and depending on humidity, let them sit for about half an hour-fortyfive minutes.

Set the oven for 150 degrees.

After drying, bake the cakes for about 15 minutes. Keep an eye on them, so they don't get brown.

When cooled, pair them, piping chocolate cream on one side, sandwiching them together.

Chocolate ganache
Heat up 0,5 dl double cream to it almost boils Remove from heat and pour into heat resistant bowl containing 100 grams white chopped chocolate a pinch of Licorice powder and itf you want it gray and not brown wou would also need some drops of black food color.
Stir, let cool a bit, and put into piping bag.

             Raw treats with Licorice and cocoa           
            • Dates dryed, preferable the big
               Medjoul Dates
            • Raisins, dryes Craneberries and a little Almonds
            • Very good dark chocolate
            • Grated Orange peel - Organic and a little orage juice
            • a pinch of Licorice powder and if you like a pinch of Cognac
            • Good Cocoa to roll them in

Just use what you have at home and what you like. Use the Dates as the base and just add, dont make it too thin, always just a pinch of licquid; Orange juice og spirits.

Put it all in teh food Processor and blend, roll them into small balls and roll them in cocoa powder.
The healthiest christmas treats without too much sugar.

Merry Christmas
Tina Brok


December 3, 2011


I wonder how you feel about Porridge!
It's one of those words that brings memories to mind, isn't it? In Danish the name for it is GRØD. And where it has been a bit out for many years, it's beginning to be a hip deal in Copenhagen. We've even gotten our first Porridge-bar! Tina and I have plans to visit, and when we do, we shall certainly entertain you with pictures :-) Oh yes.

Until then, I shall entertain you with a bowl of my favourite kind of porridge. The very rustic kind.Sprinkled with almonds, it makes a sturdy meal, and drizzled with honey and vanilla (as here), a delicious breakfeast. To warm and strenghten on a cold day.

Porridge for dinner or breakfeast
serves 1-2

1/2 dl rolled oats
1/2 dl rolled millet
1/4 dl rolled spelt
soy- rice- or oat milk...or what you have and like

You can use any type of grain you like, also whole grain—e.g. rye, in which case you should let these hard grains sit in water overnight before cooking your porridge.

Cover with water and bring to boil. Add water as it cooks, it can take quite a bit, and I like my porridge soft. Be too cheap with the water now, and you can fix bricks with the porridge later :-)

Cook for about 10-15 minutes (5-10 if all the grains have soaked overnight). Taste with salt, and stir in milk of your choice until the porridge has a texture that you like. It will »set« a bit as it cools.
Pour into a serving dish.
Chop almonds (even better if soaked), sprinkle over, drizzle honey, and top with ground vanilla (not the sugary kind, but the raw, pure stuff).

You can top with all kinds of things:
bits of fruit like: apple, pear, pineapple...
hazel-, pine-, pecan- or walnuts
dried fruits

For dinner, sprinkle with:
semi-dried tomatoes
fried mushrooms
or perhaps cheese

possibilities are many

warm December-wishes