Snow Storm Sweets, Sweden & Slater

Inspiration can come from many places, both expected & unexpected. Much of my inspiration this winter in regards to food has come from  the unusually large number of snow storms we have had, the book “NOMA – Time and Place in Nordic Cuisine”, and the cooking books “Tender” by Britain’s food writer, Nigel Slater & February 14th!

” Snow Storm Desserts for Friends and Lovers”

“blackberry snow-granita”

…a very beautiful color, texture & taste

Recipe: In food processor mix together 1 pint of blackberries &  1 cup caster or powdered sugar. Pulse until well blended.  Scoop up one large bowl of freshly fallen snow. Pour blackberry-sugar mixture over snow and mix together until well blended. Mixture will be grainy looking. Eat immediately or store in freezer in air-tight container until ready to eat.

“very, very vanilla snow cream”

…a lovely creamy & softly grainy vanilla cream.

To Make: Whisk together in a large bowl 2 tbsp vanilla paste, 3/4 to 1 cup caster or powdered sugar &  1/2 cup cold whipping cream. Add bowl of fresh snow and quickly, but thoroughly,  mix together with a whisk or wooden spoon. Mixture should be a bit creamy. Taste & adjust flavorings. Eat immediately or pack mixture into a container with a tight lid and freeze until ready to eat.

To Serve: Plain or with a  chewy chocolate brownie & berries

The common thread between our Tennessee snow storms, the book on Nordic cuisine & Nigel Slater’s books “Tender” is that each one has given me some beautifully inspiring images & ideas about winter foods & cold beauty.

Image: “Snowman” from “NOMA – Time & Place in Nordic Cuisine”, Author Rene Redzpl, Phaidon Press

Image: “Parsnips” from “Tender/Volume 1”, Author Nigel Slater, Fourth Estate Press

Image: “Bowl Impression in Snow”, 2/10/11 Nashville, TN

Image: “Blueberries in Snow Bowl”, 2/10/11 Nashville, TN

Image: Stack of Candies, 2/4/11

… keep it simple, be sweet & stay cozy….

“Speck-tacular Season”

Christmas Day 2010, Nashville

Speck, anyone? Not your familiar Southern pork product.

Waking up this morning to a backyard that looked like this:

Cafe Latte’s…..to wake up, walk the dog and make a special Christmas Day morning breakfast of Pannekoeken with Speck. More about Speck later…..first the coffee…

…next Ella…

…lucky dogs get new toys and walks in the snow.

Now to our breakfast….I have blogged about Wouter’s fantastic Dutch Appel Pannekoeken before, but not Pannekoeken with Speck.

A bit about Speck:

References to “speck” have been showing up in many of my cooking books and magazines from Great Britain & Australia recently…to my mind it was “just smoked cured bacon”….wrong!

Wouter has always talked about speck…the taste, how it is different from any of our regional bacons in the US, about not being able to purchase it here…my curiousity inspired me to request some from his last trip home.

 

 

 

 

 

Curing

Like prosciutto and other hams, speck is made from the hind leg of the pig, but, unlike other prosciutti, speck is boned before curing.

A leg of pork is deboned and divided into large sections called “baffe”, and then cured in salt and various spice combination which may include garlicbay leavesjuniper berriesnutmeg, and otherspices, and then rested for a period of several weeks. After this the smoking process begins.

Speck is cold-smoked slowly and intermittently for two or three hours a day for a period of roughly a week using woods such as beech.

USES:

Speck is ubiquitous in the local cuisine of the province of Bolzano-Bozen, and is also found in the AustrianCzechDutchCroatianGermanItalian and Slovak cuisines.

Speck can easily replace bacon or as a smoky alternative to Pancetta. The differences between speck and bacon include different time lengths of smoking, the technique of curing it, and the fact that speck cures for a longer period of time than bacon does.

I am sure there are shops all over the USA that sell Speck, but it will be in large city markets…otherwise you can just google “speck” and find many mail order shops.
Wouter brought this vacuumed packed back in his suitcase from Amsterdam. When I opened it this morning for the first time I was struck by the wonderful smokey, spicy, salty aroma unlike any of our bacons.

The slab of speck is cut into thin bacon-like slices.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cooked until somewhat crispy.
Meanwhile pancake batter is whisked together. You can use your favorite recipe or even a boxed mix as a last resort. If using a boxed mix add extra liquid so batter is runny.
Batter is poured over speck in skillet and cooked on both sides til golden brown and crispy.
One thing that just must be the real thing is the syrup…real maple syrup, not anything else.
This bottle was given to me as a gift from my daughter, Whitney. She knows how much I love maple syrup and even more when it comes in a charming bottle like this!
Pannekoeken with Speck drizzled with maple syrup for a cold Christmas Day morning.
The best Holiday gift!
Two of my favorite Santa Claus images from “Twas the night before Christmas” by Reverend Howard Finster.
Happy Holiday and New Year from Teresa at foodonfifth.com