New Reasons for Rose hip

Be good to yourself! Drink rose hip.

Rose hip reduces “bad” (LDL) cholesterol and lowers blood pressure. That’s the latest from a study conducted at Lund University in Sweden on mice, the results of which were so interesting that the study was extended to overweight patients at Skåne’s University Hospital. The results from this extended study showed that just 5 dl (a little over 2 cups) of rose hip drink per day over a six-week period resulted in a noticeable improvement in cholesterol and blood values.

If you’ve been reading nordicwellbeing.com and this blog over time, you’ll know that we’ve been pro rose hip for some time, not only because of its very many health benefits but also for its tangy and remarkable flavor.

In Sweden rose hip “soup” consumed as a drink is a staple food and one favored daily by children as a pick-me-up in between meals. Nypon soup is one of those things in the collective memory of a culture that brings automatic comfort when a child (or adult!) has a cold. Now, it seems, there are very good reasons to continue with that habit and perhaps share the secret with people in other parts of the world.

Rose hip has an unfair reputation for being “difficult.” Yes, the prickly bushes make picking prickly and there is a little handling to do. Yet, if you live in an area where they grow, they are usually available in great abundance and, with a little knowledge and technique, handling doesn’t have to be more challenging than with any other fresh fruit or vegetable.

Here’s raising our glasses to and filled with rose hip soup!

Rose hip soup
(for daily drinking)

Rose hip purée (prepared in advance and stored in the refrigerator or freezer, see below)
Corn flour
Sugar or honey
Twist of lemon

A recipe for preparing rose hip mousse is provided on this page. This is the classic technique. Here I’d like to suggest a technique which is ‘modernized’ to suit our tight schedules and which just produces an unsweetened purée. Rather than removing all of the seeds and fibers from the inside of the fruit before cooking, cook the whole fruits and then pass/press all of the fruit through a fine sieve.

Blend the purée with water over low heat with a manual beater. Blend corn flour with a little cold water and add to achieve the desired slightly thick, but still drinkable consistency. Add sweetening and twist of lemon for flavor. Allow to cool in the refrigerator. Store in a container that can be shaken before drinking.


Written by Admin in: Berries,Beverages,Fruits,Rose hip | Tags:

Rose hip in stews

What can you make with rose hip other than rose hip soup?

As I was picking the fruit of the thorny rose hip this autumn out on my island I kept wondering whether there was anything else simple – other than the usual rose hip soup – I could do with these fantastic vitamin-C rich fruits of the season. There are so many excellent flavor and health benefits of rose hip that it had to be possible to find other uses for them.

While preparing the spicy red cabbage stew (see Paavo’s Danish or Swedish red Christmas cabbage) we were going to enjoy as a vegetable dish with the season’s local lamb and boiled potatoes, it occurred to me that I might try throwing in a few rose hips and see what new flavor experiences might await. Removing the top and and many seeds can be a little bit of a challenge, but if you have some good music or your favorite radio program on in the kitchen, it is just a pleasure.

I am happy to report that the flavor addition was outstanding. After this experience, I can heartily recommend that you use rose hip in any one of a number of your autumn stews (vegetarian or not), which you would like to add a tangy flavor element to. Add the rose hip in the last 20 minutes or so of cooking. Simmer gently!



Salmon with Zing & Berries

Black currants make the meal right

As the summer season wears on, the traditional salmon, dill and new potatoes can start to feel a little mild. Particularly, as the nights begin to clear in August, and the air sharpens, it feels like time to get a little zing into that salmon dish.

During a recent dinner I found a way to do this by preparing the salmon with some of the sharper spices of the East and by serving it with a salad of tangy berries that gave the whole meal a warming, pre-autumnal flavor. Black currants have a salty flavor and therefore fit well with savory dishes.

The entire meal is a plus for health, although you’ll want to give attention to issues concerning salmon – see The Nordic Wellbeing Cookbook under S.

Salmon with Zing & Berries
Serves 4

For the salmon:

700-900 grams or 1 ½ to 2 lbs of salmon fillet with skin on
4 cm or 1.5 inches fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1/2 length of chili, seeds removed and chopped finely
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
Sprig of fresh coriander, chopped
3/4 dl or 1/3 cup olive or canola oil

For the salad:
4 cups well-rinsed fresh spinach leaves
1 cup black currants
4 tbsps olive or canola oil
2 tbsps apple cider vinegar

Preheat oven to 200 C or 390 F. Rinse the salmon fillet and place, skin down on a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Mix together the spices in the oil and spread evenly over the fillet. Season generously with salt and pepper. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes.

While the salmon is baking, place the spinach leaves in a salad bowl and toss over the black currants. Sprinkle over oil and vinegar. and season with salt and pepper. Toss before serving with the salmon.


Using Gooseberries

The perfect balance between sweetness and tartness

My fingers are feeling tender, but they are certainly worth picking. Is there a berry with a more perfect balance between sweetness and tartness than the hard-to-get gooseberry? When they have reached a state of perfect ripeness, I find that quite a few do not make it to my kitchen counter. They are shamelessly devoured right at the bush which is of course the most healthful way to enjoy them. Gooseberries have more vitamin C in them than most fruits and they are rich in antioxidants which protect against a wide range of modern-day diseases such as heart disease and cancer.

However, for those that do make it to the kitchen counter, I’ve got a couple of good ideas. The first is one that my husband reminds me of each year when the gooseberries ripen. “Grandmother made a wonderful cold gooseberry soup with whipped cream,” he reminisces. Of course, I have no idea exactly how grandmother made her gooseberry soup and unfortunately I cannot ask her since she took her recipe with her to heaven some decades ago. Here is my best guess which is tried and tested, and makes a superb dessert or a light lunch on a hot summer’s day.

Gooseberry Soup
Serves 4

1 liter or 1 quart gooseberries, hard ends removed
Water (as per preparation instructions)
Contents of one vanilla pod or 1 tsp vanilla sugar
1 lime
Honey or sugar to taste
4 tbsps cornflour blended with a bit of cold water

Place the gooseberries in a cooking pot and pour in enough water so that the gooseberries are not quite covered by the water. Add vanilla pod or vanilla sugar. Cook over medium heat so that the berries soften – ensure that the mixture does not boil. Remove from heat and add honey or sugar to taste. Once blended, add the cornflour mixture and allow to thicken over low heat. Set aside and allow to cool to room temperature. Pour into a serving bowl and grate over the rind of 1 lime. Serve with the option of whipping cream.

Recently I discovered that gooseberry makes a delicious sauce for roast chicken (and I am sure turkey). Everyone at the table, particularly my children, agreed. Take about 2 dl or 1 cup of gooseberries and pour over 2 dl or half a cup of water. Allow to cook over low heat until the berries have softened. Add a little sugar and a pinch of salt and blend so that the berries are crushed. Don’t make the sauce too sweet – remember this is a savory topping. Allow the sauce to cool to room temperature. Serve at the table in a pitcher as an option with the roast chicken. Don’t serve anything spicy with this dish – perhaps a few roasted or boiled vegetables such as carrots, potatoes and parsnips – so that the wonderful gooseberry flavor can be allowed to stand out.

Written by Admin in: Fruit Soup,Gooseberries |

Black Currant Cake

Black Currants

Black Currants

As the black currant bushes around my town home and out on my island begin to sprout the first aromatic leaves, I realize that it is time to use up my frozen berries from last year’s harvest. Black currant is regarded by many nutritionists as a wonderfood due to its high antioxidant content (meaning that they offer protection against free radicals which can damage cells and cause disease). The only question is how can you use them aside from in the standard, albeit wonderful, jam pot? Black currants have a strong flavor and can be more difficult to figure out how to use in bakes, etc.

Recently I discovered a recipe for a black currant cake in one of my cookbooks, but I had to hesitate. Mounds of sugar, butter and white flour were required in order to produce this delicious-looking black currant creation. I summoned my courage and decided to make the cake with alterations. The result was divine and everyone liked it without exception.

Here we go:

Black Currant Cake

For the cake:

3 eggs
2.5 dl or 1 cup raw sugar
3 dl or 1 1/3 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla sugar
For the topping:

4 dl or 1.5-2 cups black currants (frozen or fresh)
50 g or 2 oz butter cut into thin slabs
2 dl or 1 cup slivered almonds
0.5 dl or 1/4 cup raw sugar

Preheat the oven to 175 C or 347 F. Grease a regular-sized pie dish. Blend the eggs and sugar until creamy. Add the flour and remain cake base ingredients. Blend. Pour into the pie dish.

Scatter the black currants evenly across the top of the cake base. Follow with a layer of nuts. Scatter the sugar across the top and finally distribute the slabs of butter evenly.  Bake approximately 30-35 minutes. The cake should not be entirely firm and retain some moisture in the middle.

Allow to cool and enjoy in small pieces with tea or coffee. Remember that quantity and physical activity are key in being able to enjoy your desserts well!


Hot Blueberry Crumble

Dalarna Blueberries

Dalarna Blueberries

I love the very cold spells that we still have down in Stockholm (despite the grape-growing climate that the warming of the planet seems to promise us). It gives the lake ice a chance to become thick enough for us to skate on so that we can explore the islands of Lake Mälaren the way that people used to do in the winter. Our bay is an enormous ice skating rink at the moment and you don’t have to wonder what we will be doing with our Saturday morning!

Don’t go unprepared! Pack some Maple Roasted Nuts and hot chocolate as a snack. Whatever you pack, do expect everyone to be starving and ready to eat your right arm when you get home. The cold has a habit of making us feel truly hungry (a good thing). In this situation, I usually have ready some Chicken Soup for the Cold with a nice dill white cabbage salad (see the next entry!) on the side.

The crowning glory of the day, however, will be this dessert recipe for Hot Blueberry Crumble which everyone will lap up with a warm cup of coffee or tea. Don’t expect there to be any leftovers. If you didn’t know it already blueberries are a superfood packed with antioxidants (cancer shield) and good for eye health. As always, and hard as it may be with something so delicious, eat in moderation since this dish doesn’t just consist of blueberries!

Hot Blueberry Crumble

500 g or 1.1 lbs frozen blueberries
2 tbsps potato or corn starch
1 tsp vanilla sugar
4 tbsps sugar
rind of one lemon which has been rinsed and dried
100 g or 3.5 oz. butter
3 dl 1 1/3 cups oats
1 dl or 1/2 cup wheat germ
3/4 dl or 1/3 cup brown sugar

Preheat oven to 200 C or 390 F. Grease a medium-sized casserole dish. Blend the blueberries, starch, vanilla sugar, sugar and lemon rind in a bowl and pour into the casserole dish. Wipe out the bowl and combine remaining dry ingredients in it. Add the butter in chunks and rub it into the dry ingredients so that a crumble forms. If it is too dry take a little more butter. Scatter the crumble evenly on top of the blueberries. Bake 15-20 minutes. Serve warm with a dollop of whipped cream or a spoon of Turkish yogurt.

Remember to visit the Nordic Wellbeing Cookbook which is a continually growing directory of recipes for your good health this 2009!

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