Hello again and a simple toast with figs and blackberries

A simple toast with figs and blackberries :: Dagmars Kitchen/Sonja Dahlgren

Hello! Just wanted to pop by and say hi after a long summer break to let you know I’m still here. We’ve had a lovely summer, spending time both at home and away – this time in Austria and Italy. I hope you had a fabulous summer too?

In case you follow me on Instagram you have probably noticed that I’ve uploaded several shots of my toasts lately. We don’t eat much bread, but we always have a danish style rye bread in our pantry. And sometimes a lighter sour dough of spelt and/or rye. And it makes such perfect snacks or evening nibbles when you are hungry for a little something along with a cup of coffee, tea or Kombucha (my summer obsession).

Follow me on Instagram for more toast inspiration and remember to play with your toppings – you never know what your next favorite will be! And if you have a favourite topping combo at the moment, please do share in the comment section below!

Enjoy!

A simple toast with figs and blackberries

serves 4

4 slices of rye bread or sour dough
1/2 cup Turkish or Greek style yoghurt (unsweetened), drained in a coffee filter or cheese cloth at least one hour
2 ripe figs, sliced
a handful ripe blackberries
a handful walnuts, lightly toasted and chopped
runny honey, agave or maple syrup
olive oil
fleur de sel

1) Spread the drained yoghurt over bread slices and top with figs and blackberries. Then add walnuts and drizzle with sweetener of your choice, olive oil and season with a little fleur de sel.

A simple toast with figs and blackberries :: Dagmars Kitchen/Sonja Dahlgren

Raspberry & chia coconut milk breakfast ice pops

Raspberry & chia coconut milk breakfast ice pops :: Sonja Dahlgren/Dagmar's Kitchen

While sipping on our morning smoothies a few weeks ago, my 9-year old son asked me: – Mum, are these a 100 % healthy?

You see, we use to talk a lot about the ingredients in certain foods. Discuss the amount of sugars and fats. What sugars are better than others, what differs saturated fat from non-saturated and so on. He also loves to check the percentage of sugars and other not-so-healthy stuff in different foods and drinks.

Raspberry & chia coconut milk breakfast ice pops :: Sonja Dahlgren/Dagmar's Kitchen

And to return back to his question – the answer was “Yes, I’d say they’re a 100 % healthy”. Our smoothies were made of fruit & berries, yoghurt, oat milk, hemp seeds and sweetened with dates only.

Having said that, we’re still always on the look-out for interesting ideas to inspire us to choose even healthier breakfasts, and to make it easier and more fun to snack healthily. Smoothies are a great option, and they often work great to freeze into ice pops too.

These raspberry and chia seed ice pops are made of very few ingredients, but come together really big in flavor and so deeply satisfying. Rich, creamy and rather irresistible.

And healthy enough for sunny and warm summer breakfasts. Enjoy!

Raspberry & chia coconut milk breakfast ice pops

makes 10 (3 ounce/90 ml) pops

2 cups raspberries (frozen or fresh)
2-3 tbsp agave syrup
2 tbsp chia seeds
1/2 vanilla bean, split open and seeds scraped out (optional – tastes great without too)
2 cups (500 ml) full-fat coconut milk

1) Combine the raspberries with the agave syrup in a small saucepan. Cook over low heat for 4-5 minutes until the berries are soft, but not falling apart completely. Remove from the heat and let cool. Alternatively you could make a raw version by simply mashing the berries with the agave syrup.
2) Add chia seeds and vanilla and let the seeds sit for 5-10 minutes to swell up a bit.
3) Stir in the coconut milk and carefully pour the mix into your popsicle molds, making sure the berries are evenly distributed. Freeze for at least 4 hours. The ice pops will last at least a month in the freezer.

TIP! If serving these as a dessert, simply melt 100 g of dark good quality chocolate with 1 tsp coconut oil. Let cool a bit and then dip the ice pops in chocolate and sprinkle with chopped nuts, toasted shredded coconut or granola. Serve on a tray for everyone to choose their favorite!

Raspberry & chia coconut milk breakfast ice pops :: Sonja Dahlgren/Dagmar's KitchenRaspberry & chia coconut milk breakfast ice pops :: Sonja Dahlgren/Dagmar's Kitchen

show hide 7 comments

A basic and naturally sweetened oat granola

A basic and naturally sweetened oat granola :: Sonja Dahlgren/Dagmar's Kitchen

I once heard that the best ingredient is the one you leave out, and that philosophy resonates very well with me. Because usually when creating recipes I like to let only one or two ingredients be the hero, and then add just a few more to boost the flavours.

And the philosophy seems to be even more true when it comes to my two kids. They like nuts of all kinds, but not when added to a granola. They also like raisins and other dried fruit, but not when added to a granola. They don’t even like fresh berries on granola. But berries on the side works fine.

My kids :: Sonja Dahlgren/Dagmar's Kitchen

The idea for the granola recipe I’m sharing today came to me when my 9 year old first tried Start during a hotel stay a while ago. And he loved it. Start is a Swedish granola brand available in most Swedish grocery stores. I am sure you have similar where you live too. It is delicious – almost like cookie crumbles… The only problem is – it contains around 20 % sugar (refined sugar and glucose syrup).

A basic and naturally sweetened oat granola :: Sonja Dahlgren/Dagmar's Kitchen

I am not super strict or neurotic about the food we eat. Even if we do try to eat mindfully and healthfully most of the time. But it goes without saying that eating this type of granola is not a habit I’d like to encourage as an everyday food in our house.

So I made my own recipe for homemade “Start”. Only lightly sweetened with maple syrup and agave syrup, and with a light touch of vanilla. And it seems to be working – he likes it!

The recipe is super simple. A basic granola to which you can add your own dried fruit, nuts, seeds or fresh berries if you like. This means that everyone in a family can create the breakfast they like using the same granola base. I like mine with hemp seeds, pistachios and fresh berries. My son likes his “au naturel”.

I hope you like it too. Happy midsummer!

A basic and naturally sweetened oat granola

4 cups instant rolled oats
1 cup thick cut rolled oats
1/2 cup buckwheat flour

6 tbsp neutral coconut oil, melted
4 tbsp maple syrup
3-4 tbsp agave syrup
2-3 tbsp water
3/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp powdered vanilla

1) Preheat the oven to 95° C (200° F) and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
2) Mix oats and buckwheat flour in a large bowl. In another bowl whisk together coconut oil, maple syrup, agave syrup, water, sea salt and powdered vanilla.
3) Combine all ingredients and mix well with carefully washed hands or a wooden spoon to coat everything. Squeeze the grains a little between your fingers to get it more clustered.
4) Spread the granola mixture out evenly over the baking tray. Pop into the oven and roast for about 4 hours. On this low temperature you don’t even have to stir during roasting – and you will get perfectly roasted and clustered granola without burning. Do check after an hour or two the first time you make it, since the temperature in your oven may vary slightly from the oven I use.
5) Switch off the heat and leave the baking tray in the oven to dry completely while the oven cools.
6) When completely cool, store in an airtight jar for up to a month.

NOTE! Slow roasting is in my opinion the way to get perfectly crunchy granola every time. It does take a few hours, but since the temperature is so low you can easily leave the house for an hour or so and the granola won’t burn.

A basic and naturally sweetened oat granola :: Sonja Dahlgren/Dagmar's Kitchen

show hide 2 comments

Chunky chickpea mash with maple roasted carrots

This post is sponsored by Bonduelle and as always, photos and words by me.

Chunky chickpea mash with maple roasted carrots :: Sonja Dahlgren/Dagmar's Kitchen

I recently worked with Bonduelle to create a simple recipe using some of their new canned products. The new products include organic chickpeas, organic kidney beans, white beans and mixed beans – all of them are steamed and therefore very crisp and delicious. The cans they use are also free from Bisphenol A (BPA) which make them a very good choice when buying canned beans. The products can be found at Coop and City Gross (in Sweden).

Pulses (beans, peas and lentils) are a wonderful source of protein, fiber and essential nutrients, making them a healthy addition to your diet. They could also play a central role in solving the global problem of hunger and malnutrition, and the United Nations declared that 2016 will be the International Year of Pulses, with the intention to position pulses as a primary source of protein and other essential nutrients.

Chunky chickpea mash with maple roasted carrots :: Sonja Dahlgren/Dagmar's Kitchen

Personally I have come to love pulses more and more over the years, and some of my favorite go-to-recipes are this dip (omit the ramps when not in season) and other kinds of hummus, this soup topped with spicy chickpeas, this soup topped with mung bean sprouts and endless variations of chickpea/lentil patties like these (in Swedish only).

For this recipe I chose to go with Bonduelle’s canned organic chickpeas. And it has quickly become a favorite side dish in our house, because it can be thrown together in five minutes and goes well with grilled food as part of a meal, or as a snack or small meal on its own. Or with my maple roasted carrots.

Enjoy!

And don’t miss the Bonduelle contest over att their Facebook fan page with the chance to win a box filled with their new canned products. The contest closes on Monday, June 13th.

Chunky chickpea mash with maple roasted carrots :: Sonja Dahlgren/Dagmar's Kitchen

Chunky chickpea mash

serves 2 as a main or 4 as a side

1 can Bonduelle chickpeas, well rinsed
1 garlic clove, grated
2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
juice from half a lemon
75 g feta cheese, crumbled
3 tbsp finely chopped herbs of your choice (I used chives, oregano and chervil)
sea salt + hand crushed black pepper

1) In a medium size bowl roughly mash the chickpeas and the garlic with the back of a fork or a potato masher. You’re not looking for a hummus-like purée but something closer to a coarse mash with a few smaller bits to hold it together.
2) Add olive oil and lemon juice and stir until everything is coated in oil/juice.
3) Add the feta cheese, herbs and a few pinches of salt and pepper. Stir until just combined and serve with the roasted carrots.

The mash is also wonderful on toasted bread, and it needs nothing else on it.

Chunky chickpea mash with maple roasted carrots :: Sonja Dahlgren/Dagmar's Kitchen

Maple roasted carrots

serves 2 as a main or 4 as a side

8 medium sized carrots
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp maple syrup
pinch of sea salt
dash of cayenne pepper

1) Preheat the oven to 225° C (440° F). Rinse and scrub the carrots (no need to peel).
2) Slice the carrots lengthways into halves or quarters so that they are evenly sized. Use your hands to cover the carrots in oil/maple syrup and place on a baking tray.
3) Sprinkle with salt and a small dash of cayenne pepper and roast the carrots 20-25 minutes until tender. Serve with the chickpea mash.

Chunky chickpea mash with maple roasted carrots :: Sonja Dahlgren/Dagmar's KitchenChunky chickpea mash with maple roasted carrots :: Sonja Dahlgren/Dagmar's Kitchen

show hide 1 comment

Young carrots with dill yoghurt and toasted cumin

This post is sponsored by Åhléns and as always, photos and words by me.

Young carrots with dill yoghurt and toasted cumin :: Sonja Dahlgren/Dagmar's Kitchen

A while ago I was asked by Åhléns (Swedish department store chain) to share a recipe on the theme “Alla länders land”, meaning “The country of all countries”.

If you’ve ever been to Sweden (or Scandinavia) you know that we hold our herring, smoked salmon and new potatoes very dear. And those are the things that you would always find on a Swedish summer table. With the campaign Åhléns wants to inspire to add new dishes, and with influences from other countries, to the table this summer.

My head immediately started spinning with ideas, since summer is my favorite season to cook. Greens and fruits are abundant, and the limits on what to cook seem to be endless. Having said that, I don’t like to spend a large amount of time cooking in the summer, but rather spend more time to chat with family and friends around the table.

Don’t you agree?

Young carrots with dill yoghurt and toasted cumin :: Sonja Dahlgren/Dagmar's Kitchen

I also like to use as much locally grown produce as possible, which is perfect because it doesn’t need much time or effort in the kitchen.

The recipe I’d like to share is one that I made often last summer, and will for sure make again this summer. In our garden, I grew the prettiest, most delicious, little carrots named “Paris Market”. Cooked them quickly and paired with Turkish yoghurt, dill and toasted cumin seeds. Fresh, locally sourced and fast – just the way I like it!

My garden :: Sonja Dahlgren/Dagmar's Kitchen

My kitchen garden last summer

In traditional Swedish summer coking, crème fraîche or “gräddfil” (similar to butter milk or crème fraîche, but with less fat) is commonly used. But I like Turkish style strained yoghurt better, both for its thick creamy texture, the slight acidity and how it elevates the sweet carrots. Cumin has been commonly used and cultivated in Sweden for several hundreds of years, and it is also frequently used in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cooking. Cumin is actually also related to carrots, which makes it the perfect match for this dish. A marriage between classic Swedish and East Mediterranean flavors.

I hope you’ll add this to your repertoire this summer. Great as a snack before dinner, or as part of a “smörgåsbord”. Enjoy!

And please share in the comments your own suggestion for a new dish to add to the “smörgåsbord” this year!

Young carrots with dill yoghurt and toasted cumin

250 g young carrots
3-4 tbsp water
2 tbsp (30 g) butter

2 tbsp black cumin seeds

Dill yoghurt
1 cup Turkish yoghurt
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp chopped dill fronds, plus more to serve
pinch of sea salt

1) To make the dill yoghurt, mix the yogurt with olive oil, dill and salt and place in a serving dish. Put the dish in the fridge while preparing the carrots.
2) Heat a small skillet or frying pan over high heat and add the cumin seeds. Shake the pan to keep the cumin seeds moving and toast until the seeds darken slightly and smell fragrant, about 1 minute. Set aside.
3) Brush the carrots clean under running water and put them in a medium pan with water and butter. Bring to a boil, cover with a tightly fitting lid, and let them cook at moderate pace for 5-6 minutes. Remove the lid and check for tenderness. The carrots should be tender but with a little bite. Drain and serve with dill yoghurt and toasted cumin seeds.

show hide 2 comments