#foodiot

Unfortunately, I can’t recall where I first came across the lovely term “foodiot” – I’m fairly sure it was a food writer, probably an American one who first coined the term. Tell me if you know.

Well, as you know or have guessed, I’m one of those. I LOVE food. I like to make it, to look at it but more than anything; to EAT it.
As a de facto single mother (my husband lives and works in Switzerland and is only home every other weekend and for holidays), I face the challenge of cooking for myself and a 10yo every day. This is not always something that I’m very successful at! Sometimes I’m tired, sometimes I’m grumpy, sometimes he is grumpy, sometimes I’ve been over-ambitious while shopping and then am not up to the task come dinner time.

I’m trying to work ways around this, one of them is a food box from Danish organic veg-delivery company Aarstiderne, three days every other week. You get the ingredients, organic and healthy, for three meals for two, easy to cook in less than 30 minutes. This is cool, but there’s always slightly more than we can eat, which is why I only have it every other week, to make sure we finish off all the extras and so that I don’t forget how to cook out-of-my-head entirely.

Today I had a recipe and some ingredients but knew that son would not eat it if I didn’t alter it. Inspired by a trick I’ve learned from our lovely Pakistani/Hazaran cook at the office, namely to grate tomatoes rather than chop them or using canned ones, I made a pasta sauce equally loved by son and myself. This is a relatively rare occurrence!

click picture for explanation of "grated tomatoes"

For two:

One chicken breast, cut in strips and marinated for 4-6 hours in

olive oil, apple cider vinegar (only a splash), salt, pepper, chopped oregano

5-6 tomatoes, grated (this way only the skin is left in your hand, incredibly smart!)

2 young lemon leaks or just common ones, finely chopped

some ramson (ramsløg) or a bit of garlic, chopped

Some quality ketchup

A splash of white wine

Fry the chicken strips in the marinating oil, add leaks and ramson/garlic, then the grated tomatoes including their juices. Cook for a bit, then add ketchup and at last, the wine.

Easy as pie, super tasty and Dane absolutely loved it and, upon hearing that I made it up on the spot, looked at me sternly and told me to write it down right away. Done!

 

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Inspirational void

Not finding inspiration and time to write here is probably a downside of being on Twitter with incredibly talented writers, often able to express something profound in 140 characters. And also having Twitter as a daily outlet for speculations, wonder and anger over things that pass in the world. But I’ll try to up my presence here – not least because I want to get back into the good habit of writing something – almost anything – every day.

For an easy start I’ll publish the recipe for Danish meatballs, Frikadeller, as recklessly promised on Twitter a few days ago. It’s slightly adapted from my favourite Danish cookbook writer Camilla Plum’s version:

To feed four hungry people or six less hungry ones:

Frikadeller

Picture from Wikipedia
Picture from Wikipedia

500-700 gr minced pork. Ideally veal, but the British don’t really do veal much. Traditional Danish recipe calls for half’n’half.

1 tbsp of Maldon seasalt

2 slices of bread, crust removed (good quality sourdough bread gives extra flavour) soaked in

3 dl milk for 1/2 hour or so

1 big or 2 small onions, grated or whizzed in food processor (the smaller the children, the more whizzing needed)

1 large egg

A sprinkling of thyme or other dried Mediterranean herbs. Must NOT be overpowering.

Pepper

Put mince in mixer with salt and mix for at least 10 minutes. This is important, as it changes structure of mince and makes it easier to fry later. Same goes for beef patties btw. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix some more. Consistency must be so you can easily form “frikadeller” with a spoon, i.e. fairly moist. Add more milk if necessary.

Fry in BUTTER and plenty of it. If you don’t want to use butter, don’t bother. Frikadeller fried in substitute or – even worse – oil are no good. Which is one of the reasons I only make them once a year or so.

Use a normal tablespoon to avoid the frikadeller becoming too big. Dip it in the melted butter before starting on the mixture, thus avoiding it sticking to the spoon.

Fry at medium heat till nice and brown on both sides. It takes a while. Don’t fill the frying pan up, there must be some space between the meatballs. When you add a little pressure to a meatball and it “feels like rubber”, it’s done. If it’s soft, needs more cooking.

Serving suggestion: Potatoes and parsnips, cubed and cooked in oven for 20-30 minutes and The Quickest & Nicest Way to Eat Cauliflower: Separate cauliflower florets and blanche quickly in boiling, salted water. Drain. Mix 3-4 tbsp tomato puree with 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp sesame seeds and 1 tsp cumin seeds and 1/2 salted lemon. If no salted lemons around, choose pickled or nothing. Add florets and mix well. Spread out on baking sheet and cook in oven with the potatoes for the last 15-20 minutes. This is also adapted from Ms. Plum’s recipe.

Only downside about this combo is the colouring – all sort of reddish brown. So maybe add some mange tout or a wee bit of salad on the side.

Wikipedia’s entry on Frikadeller is quite entertaining. I giggle over the way even the most profane things have their own entry.

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Not many clever thoughts flitter through my head these days

– so this is about food.

After having used more or less the same bread recipe for the last ten years, I’ve now reverted to the famous No-Knead-Bread, popularised by my favourite food writer Mark Bittman. He uses yeast – I prefer not to, or at least only a tiny little bit. To avoid using yeast you have to have a starter (sour) dough. Either you make it yourself – no difficult thing, google it, choose easiest option. In my experience there’s not a huge difference between a complicated and an easy starter dough. The good starter/sour dough is an “old” one – which of course means that it’s been re-used for years, not that it’s been hanging around the fridge for years…

If you’ve never worked with starter-doughs, here’s how it works: First time round you either make one or take out a dollop of dough when you bake a bread with yeast. Store it in airtight container in fridge. It will last up to 10-14 days. You can always refresh a tired sour dough by taking it out of the fridge, take the lid off, add a little natural yoghurt, stir, leave. When it starts bubbling, it’s ready again. Use the starter instead of yeast. Remember to always take a fresh starter from your new bread dough after you’ve raised it the first time.

The No-Knead-Bread is below in the Youtube version, here in a more conventional way.

And while you’re over at NYT, check out this super-easy recipe for homemade flavoured olive oils. I made one with lemon the other day. If you want to make a whole bottle, you’ll need 2-3 lemons. Peel carefully to avoid too much of the bitter white. Follow recipe.

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