Thursday, 28 February 2013

tomato soup with garlic and thyme

In our house this soup goes under the name Mooney soup, as I first tasted it at a birthday party in my friend Mooney's house, or The Palace, as she refers to her cosy and small flat in the city centre of Reykjavik. The recipe appeared in the food section of some Icelandic morning paper many years ago and I like the simplicity of it. It doesn't take long to prepare the soup so it's perfect on cold days when you don't have much time to cook. This is basically the original recipe but I have added the red lentils, ground coriander and paprika.



  • 1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 vegetable stock cubes, yeast free
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes (2 x 400 g)
  • 1.2 litres water (about 5 cups)
  • optional: 2 tablespoons red lentils
  • 2 teaspoons thyme
  • ¼-½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • pinch of freshly ground black pepper


  1. In the original recipe all the ingredients are put into a saucepan at once but I like to fry the onion and garlic in the olive oil for just a few minutes, until they turn soft
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and cook for 30 minutes
  3. If you prefer, purée the soup with a hand blender before serving (you can also use a food processor but then it is advisable to allow the soup to cool first and warm it up before serving)
  4. Serve with home-made bread or garlic bread

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

pancakes (icelandic)

In this house we cannot get enough of pancakes. There was a time when we made them almost every Sunday, and I'm not talking about American pancakes, as we refer to them, that are served for breakfast with syrup. Ours are larger and thinner (smaller than crêpes) and in Iceland they are served with jam and whipped cream - not lemon juice and sugar, as is common in Europe. The kids sometimes use organic or home-made chocolate hazelnut spread instead of jam. Some people like to drizzle them with sugar and roll them up and I remember eating a lot of those when I was a kid. When I look back it was my father that made the pancakes in our home (my mother was the waffle maker) and I also remember sitting in my grandmother's kitchen watching her make pancakes. Happy times! I find it best to use white spelt flour in these. I know that the common method is first setting the heat at highest and then making the pancakes at medium heat but I find it better to start with medium heat and cook the pancakes at medium-low. I guess it depends on what kind of pan you use.



  • 250 g spelt flour
  • 1½-2 teaspoons gluten free baking powder
  • optional: pinch of fine sea salt
  • 2-3 eggs, free-range
  • 500 millilitres milk/soy milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (from a health food store)
  • 1½-2 tablespoons coconut oil or other quality vegetable oil


  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder
  2. Make a well in the centre of the flour, break the eggs into it and whisk them lightly
  3. Add the milk slowly and whisk constantly and thoroughly until no lumps remain
  4. Add the vanilla extract and oil and whisk some more until the batter is smooth (the consistency should be like thin cream). If you use coconut oil and it is solid, just place the jar in a bowl of hot water before use
  5. Before I start making the pancakes I use a kitchen paper to smear the pan with oil and then I set the heat at medium. I lower the heat slightly before making the first pancake (from the batter I get 20-25 pancakes)
  6. It is good to do a test pancake just to make sure you are using the correct amount of batter. Use a ladle to pour the batter into the pan in one go and swiftly use the bottom of the ladle to spread the batter evenly. How long it takes to cook depends on the heat. In my case it takes about 40 seconds for the pancake to turn golden on the bottom (use a palette knife/pan turner to lift the edge to see if it is done). Flip the pancake over with a palette knife/pan turner. The other side needs less time to cook and when it is done, transfer it onto a plate. Stack the pancakes to keep them warm
  7. Serve with whipped cream (you can also use soy cream or cashew cream) and your favourite jam. In this house it is usually organic blueberry, red currant or raspberry jam. After you have added the jam and whipped cream, fold the pancake in half, then in half again to form a triangle. You can also drizzle the pancakes with raw cane sugar and roll them up

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