Friday, April 8, 2011
Chocolate Surprises
Being allergic to milk, I'm one of those people who have never eaten real Nutella - in fact, I can't remember if I have even tasted it. I love nut butters and chocolate, however, and given the outrageous prices of store-bought nut butters in Denmark, I frequently have a jar of some homemade nut butter or -spread in my fridge.

Below is a recipe for a very simple "fake Nutella" made with walnuts and cocoa. My own miniature food processor is too small to handle most nuts, and I only feel comfortable processing "soft" nuts such as walnuts or pecans. If you own a real food processor, however, feel free to use hazelnuts, almonds, cashews, or any other type - and toast them if you like.

If you want a creamier and more Nutella-like consistency, try replacing the cocoa powder with melted chocolate and cutting down the sugar - or replacing it with 2-3 tablespoons of maple syrup, honey or agave nectar.

Chocolate-Walnut Spread 
with a hint of coconut
  • 1 1/3 c walnuts
  • 1/2 c unrefined sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla sugar
  • 3-4 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 7 tbsp coconut milk
  • pinch of salt (optional)
Process the walnuts in a food processor until fine. Add the rest of the ingredients gradually, and process until smooth, scraping the sides as needed. Add more coconut milk, spoonful at a time, if the mixture seems too dry. Transfer into a jar and store refrigerated.

***

If you can stop yourself from eating the jar of this on toast or by the spoon, here is one of my old muffin recipes as well. These are always popular, and really quick and easy to make.

Chocolate-Walnut Filled Muffins
Makes about 12 regular sized muffins

  • 1/4 c coconut milk
  • 3/4 c rice milk (or other non-dairy milk)
  • 4 tbsp sunflower or canola oil
  • 2 c flour (most of the time, I use 1 c all-purpose and 1 c whole grain spelt)
  • 2/3 c light brown muscovado sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla sugar or 1 tsp liquid vanilla
  • 1 tsp egg replacer powder or 1 flax egg
  • 1/2 c chocolate-walnut spread
Preheat the oven to 200 C (400 F).

In a large bowl, combine the wet ingredients. Mix the dry ingredients in a flour sifter, and combine with the wet ingredients.

Divide half the batter between the muffin liners. Drop a spoonful (I use about 1/2 tbsp) chocolate-walnut spread on each muffin, and cover with the remaining batter.

Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes, or until golden.



As you can see, I frosted a few muffins with some leftover chocolate frosting I had - but these are so sweet that actually I just prefer them plain, without any kind of frosting or glaze, and with a big glass of rice- or soy milk.

We have got quite a storm in Copenhagen, but the sun is peeking out. Of course, this could be expected after the rainy week, as tomorrow is my birthday! As the old Danish saying goes: the sun shines if the birthday person has been good that year. I have been telling my boyfiend this whole [rainy] week that come Saturday, we will have the most gorgeous weather. ha! ;)


Hope you will have a lovely weekend! 
 
posted by Seglare at Friday, April 08, 2011 | Permalink | 6 comments
Thursday, April 7, 2011
Winter Adventures
Time has really flown this winter/spring. The last time I updated my blog, we were about to head for a road trip to the winter wonderland of Lapland (northernmost Finland, Norway and Sweden).

Everything was covered in deep snow - but the sun had just returned after a few months of polar night.



We also drove down to visit a giant snow castle on the Finnish side of the border. Sadly, we didn't have the time to venture inside - but it looked quite impressive from the outside! I hope one day I can go back to explore the castle. You can also sleep there, although I'm not sure that's something I want to do...  ;) Many couples also choose to get married in the snow chapel.




The small, coastal town of Kemi had some beautiful, old wooden houses as well, and it must be quite lovely in the summer.


We had a wonderful - albeit short - trip, and it was a great ending to my vacation.

As soon as I returned to Denmark, another road trip followed. We don't own a car (we just can't justify having one as long as we live in the city center and have everything within walking/biking distance - plus parking in central Copenhagen is super expensive!), so we took advantage of my boyfriend's brother's car while he was out traveling. The daisy sign = scenic road.


One fun thing about living in a monarchy (it really feels quite surreal to me that this system still exists in Western Europe today) are the numerous old castles around the country. This one was Vallø Castle located some 20 miles south of Copenhagen. It was getting late and the weather was quite miserable, so we decided to go back and explore it closer in the summer instead.



The next day, we headed north. I really like the northern part of Zealand, and when we buy a house one day, this is the area I hope to live in. I love the ocean and would prefer to live on the coast facing the Atlantic (or the Pacific, of course ;)), but since we'll probably work in Copenhagen, this is the closest you get to the "big sea". I also much prefer the idyllic, small towns of the north over the suburbs - even with a slightly longer commute. It was freezing so my pictures are limited to those from the beach this time - but I hope I can share some pictures of the beautiful, small beach towns later in the spring or summer.




Traveling is not the only reason I have been busy, however. Being on my last year of law school meant not only lots of study work, but also that I slowly had to start thinking about finding a job again. I was very lucky with my first job in Copenhagen, which I got before moving here, without speaking a word of Danish; and quit when I went back to the university three years ago. Unfortunately, many of my foreign friends have experienced that it isn't always easy finding a study-relevant job when you're not fluent in the local language and have limited working experience.

It seems like my luck in the job market has followed me, however, and I landed another great job within a week of starting to look (!). I started at my new job two weeks later, and have now been there for three weeks. At the moment I only work part-time, so I still have enough time to study for my final exams this summer and early fall - but it's quite nice to be gaining some work experience again.

After all, How could it not start well when I was greeted with this beautiful bouquet on my first day. ;)


 
posted by Seglare at Thursday, April 07, 2011 | Permalink | 1 comments