As per usual, food was eaten. Above is a very tasty pork roast that we slow-roasted for almost three hours and served with a creamy risotto topped with fresh shaved truffle from Gotland. Almost mandatory charcuterie was enjoyed as well.
Last weekend I visited the Slovak capital of Bratislava. I’ve been wanting to visit the city for quite a while, and finally it was time. The easiest way to get there, at least from Stockholm, is to fly to Vienna in Austria, situated about 70 kilometers from Bratislava. Bratislava actually have its own airport, but there aren’t that many flights, and no direct ones from Stockholm. So instead we flew Austrian Airlines, which was a nice airline with free drinks and friendly staff.
Bratislava castle. The Bratislava weather in mid September was in the high 20’s Celcius with about 28-29 degrees and great clear blue skies.
Bryndzové Halušky is the national dish of Slovakia and consists of gnocchi like potato dumplings served in a creamy sauce of bryndza sheep’s cheese. The dish is additionally topped with fried bacon and in our case chives. A surprisingly delicious dish. We tried it at Zylinder restaurant in central Bratislava that was very nice.
The second day we went to L’Olive at the five star Arcadia Hotel. This was supposed to be the highlight of the trip, but unfortunately the food was quite bad. It tasted like it had been kept warm for a couple of hours, and the experience was borderline disaster even though the staff were friendly, the wine good and the restaurant itself nice. But it all comes down to the food for me, and it wasn’t good, at all.
One day we took a day trip to the small city of Modra in the foothills of the “Small Carpahtian” mountain range. The area is a wine region and we visited the Ludvik Winery for lunch and a wine tasting. We were also able to visit the vineyards, situated a couple of kilometers from the vineyard on a hill overlooking Modra.
Hearty but delicious lunch at Ludvik Winery. Pumpkin puré, slow-cooked beef cheeks, vegetables and jus.
We tried five different of Ludvik’s wines. All were delicious, but the cabernet sauvignon rosé and the pinot gris were extra good. Had to buy all of them except for the grüner veltliner (also good, but not as spectacular as the others) with me home. Slovak wines were surprisingly delicious in my mind.
A quick visit to the mini-cellar at Ludvik (they have their big one outside of the winery).
We also had time to try the delicous ice cream at Luculus in Bratislava.
Last dinner in Bratislava. Another hearty but quite nice meal at Modra Hviezda. A large piece of deer served with purple potato mash and a cognac-caramel sauce. Not very refined, but totally edible, and a very nice atmosphere in the restaurant.
Then a quick hop over to Vienna, Austria. A very nice thing in Vienna is that if you’re using the airport train, you can check your bags in at the train station (like in Hong Kong for instance), and then you won’t see your bag before you’re back home again. We had a couple of hours to spare before our flight from Vienna and was happy to not have to drag our bags around while exploring the Austrian capital.
When in Vienna, eat Wienerschnitzel. We tried it at the famous Figlmüller that’s been serving up schnitzels for the last 110 years. The veal schnitzel was delicious, but I actually liked the cheaper pork schnitzel more. It was juicier and had more taste. Shame on me, I guess. The schnitzel came with no condiments, but we ordered the field potato salad that was really good.
Another must do for me in Vienna is pastries. We had the above creation, a raspberry white chocolate cream sort of thing, and a delicious cappuccino at Vidoni, close to were the airport express leaves at Wien Mitte. It was really good and pretty much everything I hoped for in a Viennese café.
So, that was a weekend of eating in Bratislava, Slovakia and Vienna, Austria. Both were very nice cities, and I can really recommend Bratislava. Inexpensive, beautiful and easy to navigate.
Above: non-traditional crayfish party spread with the addition of moules frites and garlic bread.
August in Sweden means (hopefully) dark but warm summer evenings, usually the first chanterelles (at least for me), and first and foremost: kräftor, meaning crayfish.
The crayfish season is mainly in August with a couple of jumpstarters in July and then a late season continuing into September. What happens in August is the kräftskiva which pretty much is a crayfish party. You eat crayfish, a few condiments and sidedishes. You also drink beer, schnaps, sing songs and, at least according to tradition, you wear silly pointy hats.
Being slightly allergic to shellfish I usually focus on a couple of crayfish tails as well as on the sidedishes. My favourite is the Västerbottens cheese pie, a high calorie delight comprising of aged cheese from Västerbotten in Northern Sweden not surprisingly called “Västerbottens cheese”. The pie also include onions, dough and eggs. Here is a recipe I wrote a couple of years ago.
Apart from pie you usually also find bread, I usuallt serve good quality baguettes. There should also be butter, more aged cheese (go for the Västerbottens cheese if available) and perhaps some kind of sauce. We usually make lemon mayo which goes well with the crayfish meat.
Kräftskiva is definitely one of my favourite Swedish festivities. So if you find yourself in Sweden in August, try to join one. Skål!
August is here, meaning autumn in Sweden is approaching. Fortunately, being in the final month of summer isn’t all sad, as we are able to sample autumn delicacies such as chanterelles. Today we had this delicious little mushroom in a soup and on a sandwich.
The soup is actually a mushroom soup topped with fried chanterelles since we were too cheap to buy only chanterelles (the price is approximately $30 a kilo). Anyway, here is the recipe. Serves about two persons.
What you need
About 500 grams of button mushrooms
1 garlic clove
about 5 cls of Whiskey (or white wine, or just leave it out)
3 stock cubes, I used chicken
100 grams of Celeriac
Olive oil for frying
1 deciliter of cream
How to do it
This soup is supposed to be mixed, so no need to fancy it up with nice little cubes or similar. Just peel everything and then roughly chop it.
1. As mentioned above, peel and roughly slice mushrooms, the onion, garlic and celeriac. Fry the vegetables until browned. Add the thyme, salt and pepper and stirr well.
2. Add tomato pure to an empty spot in the pan and let it roast for a little while (maybe 30 secs). Then add the whiskey/wine and use it to de-glaze the pan, eg. get all the burnt stuff in the bottom to let go. Stirr everything well once more.
3. Add water and stock cubes until it covers the vegetables. Then let simmer for about 30 minutes before you add the cream. Let reduce for a couple of minutes. Taste, and season if needed. Then remove from the heat.
4. Mix the soup in a blender or with a hand blender. Serve topped with butter-fried chanterelles, finely chopped parsley and a few drips of olive oil.
The above chanterelle toast is great as a side with the soup. It’s made with more butter-fried chanterelles on top of a grilled slice of sourdough bread.
In this weekend’s version I used fried chorizo “crumble” to add some fatty, spicy and meaty crunch to the dish.
What you need (for 2 persons)
1 fresh chorizo (remove the casings)
about 100 grams feta cheese
2 quite thick slices of good quality sourdough bread
1 avocado per person
How to make it
Fry the de-cased chorizo in olive oil and use a wooden spoon to divide the sausage into small pieces like minced meat for the chorizo crumble. When it’s crisp, turn off the heat and set aside.
Use a griddle pan or an actual bbq to char the sourdough bread. It should have nice char marks but not be too crisp, so a minute or so per side depending on the heat should do the trick. Of course you could just toast the bread as well.
Poach the eggs by adding cracked eggs to just boiling water (with salt and vinegar in the cooking water). Let boil for a minute and a half, then pick them up with a slotted spoon or similar. Set aside while making the final preparations.
Take the pit out of the avocado and mash the flesh together with a little bit of salt. Put the mix on the grilled bread. Crumble feta cheese on top of the avocado and finally a poached egg. Top with the chorizo crumble, coriander and chives.
Serve with a cup of coffee, a bloody mary, or why not a glass of bubbly – it’s still weekend after all!
I had a slice of Nutella and strawberry pizza when we visited Brazil in January and I’ve been wanting to try to make it ever since. Basically bake a pizza crust without anything on it, when done smear on Nutella, and then add strawberries, whipped cream and icing sugar when it has cooled. So good.
A homemade pizza with shrimps, bacon, feta cheese, buffalo mozzarella and chilli flakes. We actually had this one from Dominos while living in Australia. Great combo of flavours. Washed down with rosé.
Probably the best burger I’ve ever made. Fresh ground chuck roll, cheese, my favourite burger dressing, brioche buns (from Garant if in Sweden), pickles, tomatoes and onion rings. So fatty the grill went crazy but turned out to be incredibly juicy and delicious. Served with kimchi slaw (kimchi mixed with mayo), fries and smoky Brazin Zinfandel.
Got a revelation the other day to try to combine one of my favourite pasta dishes ‘cacio e pepe’ with a risotto. Turned out really well. Below is how to do this cheesy, peppery and smooth risotto cacio e pepe.
Arborio rice or other prefered “risotto rice”
Chicken stock (or vegetable)
Cooking the risotto
The recipe is really simple. You make a standard risotto by first frying finely chopped onion and garlic in butter. When cooked till soft (but now browned), add uncooked arborio rice and “toast” for a couple of minutes. Poor in a glass of wine and let it reduce for a bit. Then just add stock (I use chicken stock) in portions (like with the wine let reduce, then add some more) until the rice is done. It should have some bite still in my mind and the risotto should be relatively runny.
Add finely grated pecorino cheese (you could use parmesan but it won’t really be the same), a knob of butter and lots of black pepper to the risotto. Stirr and taste. If taste’s good you’re ready to serve.
I added a layer of grated pecorino at the bottom, then the risotto on top, and then some extra pecorino, black pepper and finely chopped chives on top of the risotto. Enjoy!
Turned one year older last weekend, and chose, maybe not that surprisingly, to celebrate with a decent amount of food and drink. Below are a few pics from the birthday dinner.
Wine! The spectacularly tasty Charles “Champagne Charlie” Heidsieck, Juris (Austrian red) and a Brunello di Montalcino. Good stuff!
Steak tartare on grilled sourdough with dijon mayo, red onion, chives and capers.
Grilled lobster with chive butter. Oh so good. The smoke from the grill really worked well with the sweet lobster meat and the herb butter.
Grilled steak with marinated gem lettuce, fries, grilled vegetables and truffle mayonnaise.
Dessert: weed tarte tatin. No, not the weed some smoke, but weed as in stuff you pick from the side of the road. Well, actually my mother does that. And it resulted in this delicious weed tarte tatin.
The Sunday was my actual birthday, and it started nicely with nutella, cream and strawberry waffles for breakfast.
Moving on to Italian cold cuts in the sun.
And finally, my favourite dish in the entire world (sort of at least): Bolognese, served with garlic bread, Martelli spaghetti, parmesan cheese and red wine.