One of my favourite food bloggers and creative people around is Heidi Swanson, the brains behind 101 Cookbooks and founder of Quitokeeto. I have been following Heidi for a long time and I just love the minimalist look of both the blog and her photos. They are both examples of the saying that simple is best, which I totally am a fan of. As it happens, she together with a handful of other excellent bloggers, gave me that much needed nudge to start my own blog. I don’t know them but I still consider them to be my mentors. They truly show us how it’s done.
You might call me obsessed, and you would be right. I mean, I don’t even know how many lemon cakes you can find in this blog. Lemons are and will always remain one of my favourite ingredients. I never tire of their taste and smell. If I were to close my eyes while plunging my face in a bag of those lovely yellow fruit, I would immediately be transported to somewhere in the Mediterranean.
I was thrilled to see Signe Johansen on What’s Cooking last week. Signe, who is one of my very favourite food writers, grew up in Norway. I only got hold of her first book Secrets of Scandinavian Cooking…Scandilicious a month ago I’m ashamed to say, but I’m glad I have it now. I really love this book – I wouldn’t even mention it here if I didn’t – it is a great introduction to some ingredients which are not so familiar to me. Scandi cooking is very homely, very familial. It’s cozy, something I always look for. So this is an easy recipe from Signe’s repertoire, just to get you and me started. I have been baking lots of savoury cakes lately and this fits the bill quite well. There’s spelt flour and Jarlsberg here which of course, is typically Norwegian. If you can’t get hold of spelt flour (it’s easily found in supermarkets these days though) go ahead and use all-purpose flour mixed with wholemeal wheat flour.
- 300g wholewheat spelt flour
- 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
- ½ teaspoon mustard powder
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
- 1 loaded tablespoon Marmite, melted with two tablespoons of boiling water
- 150g milk
- 1 large egg
- 40 g butter, melted
- 100g Jarlsberg, coarsely grated, plus extra for sprinkling on top
Preheat the oven to 175 degrees C for fan or 190 degrees C for non-convection, and line a 12-muffin tray with baking paper or muffin cups.
Measure the flour, fennel seeds, mustard powder, cayenne pepper, baking powder and bicarb of soda, and sift them into a large bowl, to make sure everything is distributed as evenly as possible.
Use a measuring jug for the milk, and add the melted Marmite to the jug. Add this mixture with the dry ingredients and stir for a few times before adding the grated cheese.
Distribute the muffin batter in each muffin cup, but don’t fill them to the brim. I use a small ice-cream scoop for this.
Bake for around 25-30 minutes, in the upper/upper-middle shelf of the oven.
When they are done, they should be golden brown on the top. Place them on a wire rack to cool and sprinkle more grated cheese on top.
They are good on their own but they are great with a proper brunch. One of my favourite recipes.
(Adapted from Secrets of Scandinavian Cooking…Scandilicious by Signe Johansen, Saltyard Books, 2011.)