Sunday, October 4, 2009

Kvelde mølle

Bread baking is full of surprises. When you think you have almost perfected some certain type of bread, you suddenly change something. By mistake. Or curiosity. Most likely both. More often than not, the result is less than satisfactory, but somtimes you get lucky. And I got double lucky today.

Yesterday when shopping for eplebrennevin I went to the ICA shop in the same building as DKNV. I don't usually shop there, because mostly they sell rotten vegetables and generally expired stuff. And that's precisely what they did. Again. When I got home it turned out that the sweet potato I bought was actually a Kinder Egg (tm); It had a surprise in the middle, and not a nice one. But that's not of any importance. What is of importance however, is that they sell wheat flour from a small mill called Kvelde Mølle. It's expensive, twice the price of normal wheat flour, it's more finely milled and it has a higher protein content. It had to be tried.

Yesterday evening I started two doughs; a preferment and a "no-knead" ciabatta dough. I immediately realized that the flour had higher water absorbing capacity and formed gluten faster than normal wheat. Based on this I decided to go a little wetter than ususal. A bit too wet for the ciabatta it turned out, but it didn't matter much, it came out nice anyway. Apart from the flour, and the (overly) wetness of the dough, one final factor played in: work. At the same time as I was baking, I was working on a scientific project (deadlines are killers), and I was so concentrated that I forgot the bread. That is, unitl I could smell it. Then it had been in the blazing hot oven, at 275 C, for much longer than normal. It had aquired a quite deep, golden brown crust in just 13-14 minutes, and I thought: Crap! I quickly turned down the heat, opened the oven and vented out the steam and a bit of excess heat, left the breads in and went back to work. When another 20 min had passed (at 225 C) I took out the breads. To my surprise they were not overbaked at all, and had a beautifully caramelized crunchy crust. And when cut open! My God! What a nice collection of large, irregular holes! This is some of the best bread I have baked so far, hands up. The moral of the story? Keep pushing it! Recipes will follow in the next post, although bread recipes are darn boring. They are all the same. Give and take a bit of this and that.

After a long Sunday of work, while the sun was shining outside and the weather was crisp and beautiful, I had the delightful pleasure to cook a quick 15 min Sunday dinner for the always beautiful Elis. I had already given up any plans for Sunday dinner, when the opportunity presented itself. But it had to be quick. Almost instant. I decided to serve some bread with a selection of butter, cold smoked salmon and rustic mustard. Additionally I made a little omelet I learned from Kebire, the Black Sea ninja chef.

Black Sea ninja omelet

1 small squash, coarsely grated
5-10 small fillets of anchovies in oil
1 tbs corn flour
1 pinch black pepper
1 pich salt
finely chopped fresh dill
finely chopped spring onion
4 eggs

Mix all ingredients well and fry on a low heat under a lid just until done, but not yet cooked to f*ck.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Eplebrennevin perkele!

I just have to tell you this! This is too good to not tell everyone, even if it might have consequences... It's a beautiful day today. Clear blue skies, no wind and a very agreeable temperature of +4 C. Autumn is definitively upon us, and it's been cold, windy and rainy for weeks. And now suddenly, nature reveals itself in all it's glorious beauty! The blue sky, contrasting the white, snow capped mountains with their red and yellow foothills are just stunning to watch.

But all this has nothing to do with what I wanted to say. Today I did my usual shopping round in the sunshine. The whole town comes alive when the weather is nice in the weekend. It's almost like living in a real city. As part of my routine I went to Det Kongelige Norske Vinmonopol to buy a bottle of red for Sunday dinner. In Polet I met Lisa. She was looking at a beautiful bottle containing a completely colorless liquid; Eple Brent Brut from Agder Brenneri. Now, normally I would have completely ignored the situation, but I have a soft spot for calvados and friends. And this bottle just looked inviting. So I bought it! The bottle contains a fine spirit made from proper apple cider, without added sugar, made from apples from Agder and Telemark. It has no added coloring or wood extracts, and it has not been filtered. Sounds like a potential disaster, doesn't it? I mean, it's more likely to be a harsh, immature solvent, better suited for biodiesel than human consumption. But no, this spirit is absolutely wonderful! It's smooth and soft on the palate, with an immediate and amazing taste of rotten apples, with a long beautiful aftertaste. I have had so much worse calvados so many times. This makes me happy.