Hot chocolate in Italy is serious business. Every café serves it and it’s always deliciously thick. Even if it’s made from a bag, you can always count on the fact that it’s thick. Lusciously thick. Even instant hot chocolate that you get at the grocery store, you make it at home and it’s thick. Italians like their hot chocolate thick. The level of thickness may vary, generally it is still runny enough to drink, but you may also get hot chocolate so thick you need to eat it with a spoon. Real thick hot chocolate.
As much as french fries are the most heavenly of junk foods, and a mean side dish to any meat roast, they’re somewhat not ideal for regular consumption. There is, though, a healthier alternative that allows you to indulge on the pleasure of potato fries more often without feeling too guilty and that is baked sweet potato fries. I was not very used to sweet potatoes, but I became more and more familiar with this root vegetable after I moved to Sweden. Continue reading
Beetroot hummus stands out for its bright pink colour. As a hummus, it is of course made with chickpeas, but beets play a significant role and, obviously, leave their colourful mark. The presence of the beets is not only noticed visually, as the flavour of this hummus is very beety. Famous for its sweet taste, beetroot turns this pink dip into the sweetest hummus you can make. Ideally, you want to pair it up with something intense, and I’ve got something in mind…
Grzane piwo is a warm beer-based drink flavoured with honey, lemon and spices. Mulled beer, basically. It is commonly served during the winter as an alternative to the more common way of serving beer: ice cold. Winters in Poland can get pretty rigid, with temperatures dropping as low as -30°C on the coldest days of the year. On such days a cold beer is not always the best of options. Luckily you don’t need to give up your favourite drink only because of the temperature. You can make grzane piwo.
It took me a few attempts to memorize and consequently correctly pronounce risgrynsgröt. It’s a compound word that, translated literally, means “rice grain porridge”. That’s pretty much what it is, as risgrynsgröt is a rice porridge. Lightly sweetened and always dusted with cinnamon powder, risgrynsgröt is a Christmas food traditionally served in Sweden. Sometimes it may feature an almond, but I’ll explain the almond part later. Continue reading
Ah, gingerbread! It’s not something I’ve always associated with Christmas but now I can’t think of Christmas without pepparkakor anymore. There is no Advent without the smell of spices coming from my kitchen at least once. This year I decided to try my hand at gingerbread cheesecake. No-bake cheesecake, in fact, but don’t let the fact that no baking was involved make you think the house did not smell like gingerbread. This gingerbread cheesecake is flavoured with the same spices I use in pepparkakor: cinnamon, ginger and cloves, and it features a speculoos biscuit base.
Saffron panna cotta is my way to honour Italy and Sweden this Advent season. On one side we have panna cotta representing Italy, and in particular my home region: Piemonte. On the other side we have saffron, one of the key flavours of the Swedish Christmas. Italy is a producer of one of the finest saffron qualities in the world, yet we mostly use it in savoury dishes. (Namely, risotto alla milanese.) In Sweden saffron goes mostly into sweet foods, in particular during the Christmas season.
Adjusting to Sweden’s food availability I noticed one thing: pumpkins are not very popular. Butternut squash is available year round, and I feel lucky because it’s my favourite type. But finding other kinds of squash and pumpkins is not so easy. There is one time when stores suddenly have them and that is around Halloween. Rather than for eating, they’re sold for lanterns. When Halloween is done, unsold pumpkins drop in price and that’s when I took a muscat squash home and made roasted pumpkin salad. Continue reading
When I want to impress my guests or just treat myself to a good meal I’ll pull a recipe from my Italian tradition. More than often, despite the aura of fancy that some Italian dishes have, they are easier to make than it may seem. Walnut cream pasta sauce is one of them. Served, it may look like the fanciest sauce ever. In reality, making it is actually pretty easy and requires only a bunch of ingredients that are also quite accessible. Continue reading
Cornmeal cornbread is a fantastic complement to a hearty meal. Traditionally served for Thanksgiving, I find it incredibly suited year round. Entirely gluten free, it is an excellent option for gluten intolerant guests. I baked my first loaf last year precisely because it is gluten free! I had ran out of gluten-free flour and needed to cater to people with gluten intolerance. There was almond meal at home, but any type of nuts was banned from the workplace so that was not an option. My last card was cornmeal. So I figured that a nice loaf of cornbread was better than nothing. Continue reading