Sunday waffle fika at Älskade Traditioner

 

Just got back to the Sunday couch after a sugar-rushy fika at retroish café Älskade Traditioner on Södermalm in Stockholm. 

Älskade traditioner translates to “beloved traditions” in Swedish, and serves for instance savoury as well as sweet waffles, cakes, semlor, Swedish classics such as meatballs, Bullens pilsnerkorv (sausages) and herring. The place is located on trendy Södermalm and was packed with a Sunday fika crowd. The service was friendly but sort of chaotic with my waffle arriving a few minutes after being ordered, while my fika companion’s waffle arrived together with my latte 15-20 minutes later, after we asked the staff where it had gone. The waffles were delicious and prices decent fortunately.

 

Savoury club sandwich waffle with chicken, bacon and extra avocado.

 

Nutella waffle with whipped cream, strawberry ice cream and fresh strawberries. Reminded me of the ‘pancake cakes’ I had as a child.

Banana split waffle. Also very good.

Price and website

While not exactly inexpensive at 95 kronor for a nutella waffle, prices are still pretty good considering the area as well as quality. A tasty latte was 40 kronor.

They do not have a website, but their Facebook page has some info about location etc.

Dough – how to make the perfect homemade pizza

Pizza. One of my, and many others’ favourite dishes. I am probably never as happy as when a pizza meal is approaching. A couple of years back we decided that we wanted to be able to make as good pizzas as from pizzerias or pizza restaurants. 

We started with the tomato sauce, and then the toppings, before we realized it mainly depended on the dough to get that pizzeria quality homemade pizza. After probably five years of making homemade pizzas we were getting somewhere. Here is what we found out:

My 5 tips for making great pizza at home in summary:

Use a pizza or baking stone

Use good quality flour

A very hot oven

Put the pizza high in the oven, close to oven’s heaters

Watch the pizza all the time

Use a baking stone or a pizza stone

One of the tricks is using a pizza/baking stone. We bought our at Urban Deli in Stockholm, but I think you can get it in most places around the world. It’s basically a portable stone that you put in your oven to more or less mimick the effects of cooking a pizza in a masonry oven. Importantly, you will cook the dough from below to get that perfect crust.

Use a good recipe and good quality flour

We use this recipe, from the nowadays legendary hipster pizzeria Roberta’s in Brooklyn, New York. Tipo 00 flour can be a bit hard to find, but really adds to the texture, flavour and end result in my mind. In Stockholm we buy tipo 00 flour at Cajsa Warg on Södermalm.

What you need (approximately three medium sized pizzas or two large)

153 grams Tipo 00 flour (1 cup plus 1 tablespoon)

153 grams all-purpose flour (1 cup plus 1 tablespoon and 2 teaspoons)

8 grams fine sea salt or regular salt (1 teaspoon)

2 grams active dry yeast (3/4 teaspoon)

4 grams extra-virgin olive oil (1 teaspoon)

Tomato sauce

A kilo of peeled fresh good quality tomatoes (make a cut in the skin and cook in boiling water for a minute to lose the peels) or a can of a good brand crushed tomatoes

5-6 cloves of finely chopped garlic

Olive oil

Salt & oregano

1. Heat olive oil in a cooking pot. Add garlic and fry until soft. Be careful not to colour.

2. Add tomatoes, cook for 30 minutes. Add water if needed. Season with salt and oregano.

How to make the pizzas

1. Combine flours and salt in a large mixing bowl.

2. Stir together 200 grams (a little less than 1 cup) lukewarm tap water, the yeast and the olive oil in a small mixing bowl. Then pour it into the flour mixture. Knead with your hands until well combined, about 3 minutes, then let the mixture rest for 15 minutes.

3. Knead the rested dough for 3 minutes. Cut into 2 or 3 equal pieces and shape each into a ball. Place on a heavily floured surface, cover with dampened cloth, and let rest and rise for at least 1 hour, but preferably 3 to 4 hours at room temperature or for 8 to 24 hours in the refrigerator. (If you refrigerate the dough, remove it from the fridge 30 to 45 minutes before you begin to shape it for pizza.)

4. To make the pizzas, place each dough ball on a heavily floured surface and use your fingers to stretch it, then your hands to shape it into rounds or squares. You can also use a rolling pin.

How to cook the pizzas

I put my pizza stone on maximum heat in my oven for about three hours so the stone is really hot. Follow instructions for your particular stone and oven though. Take care here to not do something risky, I would not want you to burn down your house. We have our pizza stone on a regular oven tray for easy handling. The idea though, is to get both stone and oven as hot as possible to minimize the pizza cooking time. We set our oven on 275 degrees fan-heat and grill. You need to watch the pizza all the time because they cook and hence burn fast. Set an alarm if you tend to forget stuff like me. 🙂

1. When the stone is ready. Put on a pizza, smother with tomato sauce, add your toppings such as mozzarella, salami, prosciutto, vegetables or whatever you fancy.

2. Put the pizza stone as high up in your oven as (safely) possible. I use the grill/broiler to get maximum blast from above meanwhile the pizza stone does the same from below. Again, important to watch the pizza as it bakes in about 2-4 minutes and burn very fast. Remove the pizza when it starts to get deep golden spots on the edges.

3. Serve immediately, and don’t forget to put the pizza stone back in the oven if you’re making another pizza. Red wine is very recommended, or a cold beer for that matter.

Homemade panang gai recipe (Thai red curry chicken)

A weekday favourite of mine is this version of a spicy delicious Thai panang curry. When we’ve been to Thailand, this is usually my number one choice for dinner, and after several attempts, I’ve finally succeded in making a somewhat authentic-tasting version.

What you need (approximately for four persons)

500 grams of chicken thighs

About 1 dl of peanuts (unsalted if possible)

Half jar of Thai red curry paste

One can of coconut milk

1 red chilli pepper

2 cloves of garlic

2-3 tablespoons Thai fish sauce

1 Lime

5 kaffir lime leaves

1 teaspoon white sugar (can be excluded)

To serve

Fresh coriander

Steamed jasmine rice

How to cook

1. Trim the chicken thighs of excess fat, sinews or bones, if any. Finely chop red chilli and garlic. Mix peanuts and red curry paste until smooth.

2. Take the hard part from the coconut milk can, that is the coconut fat, and add to a frying pan. Save the remaining coconut water for later. If the coconut milk is mixed already, then skip this and next step.

3. Fry the coconut fat in a pan on high heat until it splits and releases coconut oil. (If you had no coconut fat, start at this step with heating cooking oil. Fry the curry paste- peanut mix in the oil). After 30 seconds or so, add the chicken, chopped garlic and chilli, and fry for about another minute or two.

4. Lower the heat and add the coconut water remaining in the coconut milk can. If the coconut milk was already mixed, then add all of it to the pan. Add lime juice, sugar, fish sauce and lime leaves (don’t forget to count them before adding them).

5. Let the curry reduce for 5-10 minutes. Taste and add some extra fish sauce, lime juice or sugar if needed. Finally, remove the lime leaves (I hope you did not lose count of them 😉).

6. Serve! Top the curry with fresh coriander, and serve with steamed rice on the side.

Chez Minnà Corsican restaurant in Paris

Since we were arriving Paris quite late, in fact we both worked until Friday afternoon and then took the Arlanda Express airport train before boarding a SAS flight for Paris, we opted for dinner at a restaurant close to our hotel. Fortunately most of the restaurants around our hotel, Hotel L’Echiquier Opéra Paris MGallery by Sofitel, seemed great, so we chose one of the closest; Chez Minnà, a Corsican restaurant.

We arrived at Chez Minnà around 9 pm and I was happy the restaurant was pretty much exactly how I always has been imagening a busy Paris bistro on a Friday afternoon. It was busy, loud (in a good way) and the staff was friendly and efficient in a relaxed way. After realising we did not speak French, they also presented us with an English menu, which we had not expected. The interior was cozy – you’re quite close to the next table. Not that close, though.

The food, then. First, we tried their croquettes. Stuffed with Corsican cheese and ham. The crispy croquettes were served on a bed of mixed leaves with a dash of a tasty vinaigrette and some standard cherry tomatoes. It was tasty and had nice texture.

For main we had the tagliata. Tagliata is sliced steak on a bed of salad, a dish I usually relate to Italy. In this Corsican version, the steak and salad was complemented by fried sliced potatoes and a pesto-y sauce made with Corsican cheese. Rustic and delicious. We had both dishes with a tasty Corsican red wine, that I unfortunately have forgotten the name of.

All in all, Chez Minnà provided an authentic Parisian experience with nice interior, good service and prices, and of course, most importantly: good food.

Price and website

We paid €70 for two with a shared starter, two mains, four glasses of wine and a large bottle of sparkling water.

Website (in French)

Lillördag at Burger and lobster Stockholm

One of the best lillördag aka Tiny Saturday (which is in fact Wednesday) activities in Stockholm in my mind is to combine restaurant Pocket by Pontus’ champagne Wednesday with lobster dinner at adjoining (you can actually walk between them indoors) Burger and Lobster Stockholm.

On Wednesdays Pocket by Pontus lower their price for a full sized bottle of Henriot champagne from 650 kronor to 450 kronor (priced 400 kronor at Systembolaget, the Swedish liquor monopoly). That means you fork out an extra 50 sek or kronor for an ice-bucket, table service and champagne glasses. That is in my mind quite great, and it is also very convenient for an office ‘after work’.

Yesterday we started off with dinner at Burger and Lobster. I had the always-delicious lobster roll. The fried ‘signature brioche bread’ is really tasty and stuffed to the brim with succulent delicious lobster meat and Japanese kewpie mayo. Included sides are tasty fries and a side salad to add some freshness to the otherwise incredibly rich meal. My last visit they also included a delicious lemony butter sauce, but that seems to have been removed.

For dessert, as mentioned above, we walked the 30 or so steps to Pocket by Pontus and shared a few bottles of Henriot.

Price $$$

The lobster roll is sort of on the pricier side costing 295 sek. On the other hand it is lobster, it’s really delicious and you probably won’t need any starter or dessert. The champagne at Pocket is priced at 450 sek a bottle during the Wednesday champagne-onsdag.

Burger and Lobster Stockholm’s website (With menu)

Weekend eating

 

This weekend has been a really lazy one. And a lot about eating, of course. On Friday I had a favourite of mine, a double homemade cheeseburger with Reypenaer cheese. It was pretty similar to my best ever burger I made last year, but this time with burger dressing (click here for recipe) instead of truffle mayo. As per usual I had the burger with fries and a cold Lagunitas beer. Why change a winning concept? 🙂

 

Next up was another one of my favourites: Italian night. First above board of deliciousness. There was finnochiona (fennel) salami, pata negra salami from Gran Canaria, mozzarella cheese, coppa (cured pork shoulder), black pepper pecorino cheese, sourdough bread, olive oil and a lonely tomato for some vitamins. This was washed down with Rotari, which is a very nice Italian bubbly for those of you who haven’t tried.

Could it be my favourite dish in the entire world? Yes it might actually be. Carbonara, a dish I’ve always loved, but now even love a little bit more since our semi-recent Rome visit where I tried a proper Roman version for the first time. My sort of authentic recipe of a Roman style carbonara can be found here. Just skip the truffle if you want it cheaper, or Rome-ier.

Speaking of Rome, in a couple of days, I’m off to Paris, a city I’ve never visited despite changing planes there lots of times and visiting many other cities in the world the last 10 or so years. Anyway, if you have any Paris recommendations, please let me know in the comments or on Twitter or Instagram.

Merci!

Dinner at Mosebacke Etablissement (Södra Teaterns Restaurang) in Stockholm


I recently visited Mosebacke Etablissement, the restaurant of entertainment venue Södra Teatern, situated at Mosebacke Torg on (or more like on top of) Södermalm in Stockholm. 

The restaurant has a new menu that I was invited to try (eg. the meal was paid for by the restaurant). The menu has a focus on ‘aware’ comfort food, according to themselves. Most of the dishes are meat and fish free. However you have the option to add a supplement of 100 grams of meat or fish to any dish. Mosebacke etablissement serve ‘medium sized dishes’, meaning you’ll meed about 3-4 to get full if you’re decently hungry like me. We ordered from the standard a la carte menu, and tried most dishes. Above is the tastiest dish, grilled endive with a smooth and smoky Jerusalem artichoke purée as well as artichoke crisps. Delicious with great contrasting textures. 

 

A mini pizza, served in an equally mini pizza box. The pizza was served room temperatured with a Västerbottens cheese crème, whitefish roe and pickled red onion. Delicious.

 

The fried feta cheese salad sounded great, and tasted good, but was less impressive than I had hoped for. Good quality lightly fried feta cheese, baked tomatoes, basil foam and a tapenade-y ‘sauce’. Also a couple of dried olives that we found in a few of the other dishes.

 

Beanotto (bönotto), was a risotto flavoured bean ragout of sorts. Beans, parmesan, shiitake mushroom, and smoked onion. Creamy like a risotto with nice al dente beans. The recommended 100 grams of grilled steak worked well with the beanotto.

 

Benedict. Brioche, smoked mushroom and hollandaise sauce. Tasty like a benedict should be. Probably works better for brunch than as a dinner dish.

 

The vegetarian take on Swedish blodpudding or ‘blood pudding’, which is similar to the British black pudding was quite cool. They’ve managed to make a beetroot version that was relatively close to the real deal. Served with lingonberries, fried apple wedges and browned butter. Yum.

 

When it was time for dessers, we decided to try all of the menus three options, for the sake of research, of course. First up was the raspberry ice cream with a licorice band, lemon meringue and sorbet.

 

Next was a chocolate brownie with passion fruit ice cream, a passion fruit ‘band’ and granola.

Finally, and most creative was the popcorn ice cream that was served with an apple compote and cinnamon. I think I hinted some extra browned butter in this delicious dessert.

The verdict

All in all, it was a nice, tasty dinner at Mosebacke Etablissement. It’s not Michelin food, but for 90 sek a dish it’s still a quite good deal considering it is both tasty and pretty dishes that are served. Some of them better than others. Next time I’ll have a Västerbottens cheese and löjrom pizza with a glass of bubbly finished with the popcorn ice cream.

Price

€€

Website (with menu and online table reservation)

Wapa Tapa restaurant

Our last night at the Palm Oasis Maspalomas, and on the south side of the island for that matter, we decided to head for the Wapa Tapa restaurant that had got some great reviews. 

Wapa Tapa is located in the touristy Yumbo shopping center, and was a little bit tricky to find among the other restaurants and shops in the mall. But there are signs pointing the way fortunately. When we eventually found the place we were immediately seated by the extremely, and I mean that in the best of ways, friendly co-owner that also gave us a run-down of the menu and also some suggestions of what to try. There was a chef’s choice menu with wine included for €40 a head, but we decided we wanted to choose ourselves.

Canarian papas arrugadas, the island’s ‘national’ dish. This one was made with a  breed of potatoes locally grown on Tenerife, that originally was from Peru. Served with great mojo rojo and salsa verde sauces. Both deliciously garlicky with a hint of cumin.

Hand-carved, acorn-fed Iberico pig jamón. That is, the best damn ham I ever had. So nutty, fatty, tender and awesome. To the right are a bunch of almost equally good cod croquettas (much like the bolinhos de bacalau we had in Rio last year). Crispy and delicious.

Another great dish: Grilled king prawns with a squeeze of fresh lime and sea salt.

There are plenty of South American references on Gran Canaria (or lots of Gran Canarian references in South America). Here was one of our faves from last year’s South America-trip: Grilled Provoleta cheese, that we had lots of in Buenos Aires. This was even more delicious with an amazing grilled cheese crust covering the melting cheese. Served with crusty bread and tasty tomatoes. Mmmm…..

Then it was barely enough space in my belly for a small dessert. This was a pot au chocolat with white chocolate shavings. We also tried their sticky toffee pudding. Both were muy bien, but not as muy bien as the spectacular tapas dishes we had. If you find yourself near Wapa Tapa, book a table (several drop-ins were turned away during our visit) and eat some of the best tapas you might ever have.

Price: €€

We paid roughly €100 for two, with 7 shared tapas, 2 desserts and 3-4 drinks each.

Location: Yumbo Shopping Center,

CC Yumbo Centrum Local 232-12

Playa del Inglés 35100

Wapa Tapa’s website

Canary Islands part two: Palm Oasis Maspalomas Hotel

After our first two days in Playa del Inglés, we managed to make a last minute booking for the Palm Oasis Maspalomas. Their cheaper studio apartments were sold out, but instead we secured a 70 sqm apartment for about €120 a night, which I found very affordable given the hotel’s ratings, the apartment’s size and the general luxurious feeling of the place. In the taxi from Playa del Inglés going to the Palm Oasis, I saw a palace-like structure and secretly wished it was the actual hotel, which it was.

In room-cooking

A very nice aspect of the hotel was the fully equipped kitchen. I usually never cook when abroad, but hey, we were in the Canary Islands for 8 more days than planned, so why not save some money. Above is our apartment-made green olive tapenade ‘pintxos’ and a chilli-butter-red wine slow-cooked meat sauce served with spaghetti and parmesan cheese. The kitchen was extra convenient since the Palm Oasis Maspalomas has their own supermarket within the hotel (with slightly but not that much inflated prices), as well as there is a Spar supermarket a 3-4 minute walk away on Calle Einstein with a proper deli, quite an assortment of wine and beer and so on.

The room/apartment at Palm Oasis Maspalomas

Above is the view from the terrace that came with our apartment. You could see all the way to the Maspalomas dunes as well as the pretty pool area just to the right in the above picture. There were also two sunloungers so you could laze around your room all day still getting a tan. Our apartment also featured a big flatscreen tv with great picture quality; well-functioning wifi; a separate bedroom, and a bathroom that even had a jacuzzi hot tub.

The main restaurant

On two occassions we tried the hotel restaurant. Not much to write home about, but the food was decent enough. Above is from the ‘Gran Canaria night’ buffet which featured local delicacies such as the wrinkly Canarian potatoes ‘papas arrugadas’ with mojo rojo and salsa verde as well as grilled food, a few salads and some not-so-Canarian desserts. Some of the dishes (especially grilled entrecôte, chorizo and papas) were actually quite tasty, but most was standard buffet stuff.

Location

The location is a bit off from the beach, but the hotel has solved this with a free transfer bus to Maspalomas beach that leaves four times a day and also return back to the hotel in the afternoon. To reach the Faro lighthouse and its restaurants or eg. Yumbo shopping center (both close to beach and restaurants) is about 4-5 euros with a taxi that the hotel happily order for you.

Since we had not planned on staying in the Canary Islands for more than three days we had no real idea what to do. One of the days though we went for a whale and dolphin tour with Spirits of the Sea tour company. It was actually very worthwile. We paid roughly €30 per person including hotel pick-up and got to see loads of dolphins playing around the boat. No whales unfortunately. Still a great trip though with a friendly crew.

The hotel in summary

Nice rooms, great pool area, and friendly staff. A bit far from the beach and good restaurants, but I would stay again given the easy and free transfer bus to the beach and affordable local taxis.

Swedish Christmas

Just got back home a couple of kilos heavier after three days of Christmas celebrations with family. 

Swedish Christmas is mainly celebrated on ‘Julafton’, which is Christmas Eve the 24th of December. The day is usually started with some kind of Christmas breakfast. Then many people watch the 3 pm Disney’s Christmas or “Kalle” (from Kalle Anka, meaning Donald Duck). So did we, but this year we substituted the glögg (mulled wine) and gingerbread cookies with champagne and Skagen mix on Finnish rye crisps.

After ‘Kalle’ and exchanging Christmas gifts it’s time for the main event, which of course is the traditional Swedish julbord (literally Christmas table). The julbord is a buffet (smorgasbord) of various Swedish Christmas foods. We served gravlax salmon, meatballs, mini ‘prince’ sausages, cream sauce, creamed kale, red cabbage, Jansson’s temptation, pickled herring, potato salad as well as a couple of Finnish vegetable baked ‘casserolles’, since my family originally is Finnish. With this we had Christmas beer, red wine and a soft drink called julmust. For dessert a British Christmas cake as well as chocolates and Christmassy candy. On the 25th of December you basically do it all again with the leftovers.

Now it’s time to reload before the upcoming new years celebration and give heart and liver some time to recover.

Swedish Christmas recipes

If you need some Swedish Christmas recipes, visit my old Scandi recipe site Scandinaviafood.com.

God jul (Merry Christmas)!