anna brones

writer + artist + activist

Posts Tagged ‘Food

Celebrate Lucia Day with Swedish Saffron Buns (or a Cake)

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Swedish Saffron Buns by Anna Brones

December 13th marks the celebration of Lucia Day, an essential tradition on the Swedish holiday calendar. This is where all of the photos of children dressed in long white dresses with red sashes and wreaths in their hair come from. Ultimately, it’s a celebration of light – which is no surprise given the dark, Swedish winter – and whoever is crowned Lucia wears a wreath of candles in her hair.

The traditional treat served on Lucia Day is saffron buns. Bright yellow from the spice, these sweet, yeasted buns are formed into a variety of shapes (some of which are pictured in this vintage illustration) and served with a cup of coffee or mug of glögg.

advent lussekatter

Want to celebrate Lucia Day yourself? Here are a few recipes to help:

Swedish Saffron Buns – This is the classic recipe, complete with a few more illustrations of different forms that you can make.

Swedish Saffron Cake

Saffron Cake with Hazelnut and Whiskey Filling – I always like making a cake out of the saffron bun dough, and filling it with almond paste. This year I did something a little different and made the filling out of hazelnuts. With a dash of whiskey for good holiday cheer!

Saffron Bun Cookies – A gluten-free recipe, inspired by the traditional saffron buns. The cookies are made with rice flour and ground almonds, then twisted into the classic saffron bun shapes.

Glad Lucia!

Images: Anna Brones, Viriditas

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Written by Anna Brones

December 11, 2015 at 21:33

The Wonderful World of Yeast

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Sourdough Rye Bread

Ever since starting to brew my own kombucha, I have been fascinated with wild yeast. Most of us think of yeast as packets of little brown granules that we buy at the supermarket, but yeast is (quite literally) all around us.

It’s thanks to yeast that we can enjoy some of our favorite foods and drinks, like beer, wine and bread. It’s how the beautiful loaf of sourdough rye bread pictured above came to be. We need yeast to keep us healthy.

I tackled the topic of yeast in this month’s Wild Culture column over on Paste Magazine, and I took some time to get the input of journalist Simran Sethi. Sethi just released her new book Bread, Wine, Chocolate: The Slow Loss of Foods We Love, in which yeast appears as a very important character. As Sethi says, “Microbes, including yeast, are everything. Not just in beer, but in life. The study of yeast is the study of us.”

You can read the column all about yeast, and my interview with Sethi, here.

Written by Anna Brones

December 7, 2015 at 22:43

Why Shouldn’t You Microwave Your Coffee?

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Should You Microwave Coffee?

Microwaves and coffee, that’s this week’s topic over on my coffee column at The Kitchn. Short conclusion: it’s better to make a fresh cup!

Want to know why you shouldn’t be microwaving your coffee? Read the full article here.

Image: Louis

Written by Anna Brones

August 13, 2015 at 08:34

Delightful French and Scandinavian Fare at Måurice Luncheonette in Portland

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Maurice Black Pepper Cheesecake.Anna Brones

When I was recently in Portland I finally got the chance to eat at Måurice, and I was utterly charmed. So much so that I wrote about it over on Foodie Underground.

It’s a sweet space with French and Scandinavian influences, in both the decor and the food. I think I liked it so much because it felt so authentic; nothing was forced, it was all done simply out of love. And of course, everyone wears stripes and they serve fika, what’s not to love?

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Anna Brones

June 9, 2015 at 08:27

Cupcake Feminism?

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I’ve got a whole article devoted to questions of cupcakes, feminism and sexism in the world of food over on The Kitchn this week. Here’s a little excerpt:

I asked my friend Lisa Knisely for her opinion. I was introduced to Lisa when she worked at the magazine Render, and I respect her opinion on these topics, as she’s well-versed on the complexities and nuances. Beyond holding a PhD in Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies, she works as a freelance writer and tackles these topics on a daily basis.

“Baking, particularly of the domestic sweet and pie variety (as opposed to the uber-fancy and technical professional pastry chef kind), is a kind of culinary work we particularly associate with a feminized form of care and nurturing in our culture,” says Knisely. “I think a lot of baking businesses employ a kind of gendered marketing and ideology to advance women bakers and it makes sense that they do because many of us have powerful associations of baked goods with love and care from women. And that kind of love and care through food is powerful, awesome, life-sustaining stuff that should be celebrated.”

“But,” she went on, “I don’t see why men shouldn’t be doing about half of this kind of culinary care labor, too. If men were half of the cupcake makers in our culture, either domestically or professionally, that would change the whole field of gender identity and kitchen politics.”

I would agree with Lisa. As a culture, we love to define people and put them in boxes, and that certainly happens with professions. There are many professions which people assume are inherently male; the language that we use is a good reflection of this. For example, why when we read an article about a chef, do we assume that the chef is male? Female chefs are just chefs after all, just like female filmmakers are just filmmakers and female pilots are just pilots.

Read the full article here (I’ll warn you, it’s a long one!).

Written by Anna Brones

May 21, 2015 at 01:09

How to Make Dried Apples

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How to Make Dried Apples, photo by Anna Brones

In an attempt to eat more local, I have been trying to find things in my regular baking and cooking repertoire that I can switch out for alternatives that come from closer to home. Dried fruit is something that I use a lot of, and this week I experimented with drying my own apples. Turns out it’s super simple, and the footprint of these apples is a whole lot less than figs, apricots and dates that come from much farther away.

You use the same method you do for drying citrus peels – an hour or two in the oven at low heat (I did them at200°F (95°C)) – and you end up with tasty dried apples that are good on their own, or in baked goods. The full explanation is over on Foodie Underground.

Next on the to do list: drying pears.

Written by Anna Brones

February 27, 2015 at 09:32

Could Superfoods Actually Be Bad for Us?

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A question I ask in an article over on EcoSalon:

When we put certain individual ingredients on a pedestal, it also keeps us from thinking locally. This is often the problem with superfoods marketing, as you’ll commonly find lots of foods that come from nowhere near your backyard. Let’s take goji berries for example. Do you know where goji berries come from? They may be branded as the Himalayan superfood, invoking images of tranquil fields in the foothills of mountains, but the reality is that the majority of goji crops hail from industrial fields in Northwestern China. And hey, even if we get sick of that superfood, the food marketing world will always come up with another exotic option to replace it with. Kakadu plum anyone?

Read the full article here.

Written by Anna Brones

December 22, 2014 at 16:29