In Italy gnocchi is a Thursday business. I don’t really know where that originates from, but there’s a saying that goes “giovedì gnocchi”, which translates as “gnocchi on Thursday”. Like Thursday is the day dedicated to this kind of meal. Not just your regular pasta (a feature for any other day of the week): Thursday is for gnocchi. After experimenting this sweet potato gnocchi recipe (and failing it, I have to admit it), I think I know now why it’s giovedì gnocchi. It’s such a hassle that you need the whole weekend to recover! Just kidding, once I got the hang of it I was pretty happy with the result. Continue reading
Leek mascarpone pizza is the answer to the question “What is your favourite pizza?” lately. Of course my heart will always beat for Quattro Formaggi, especially when I’m in Piemonte. But when I get to make my own pizza at home (and it happens oh so often) leek mascarpone is one of my top choices. I actually like it so much I’ve been making it regularly for months. My life is boring, but it tastes amazing.
Remember the Swedish Chef from Sesame Street? It’s a character I didn’t know as a child, but discovered late enough to fully appreciate it. After all, he is Swedish and he cooks, and I love both qualities. In one of his best gags he discovers that Swedish meatballs bounce. I wonder how the Swedish people react to this desecration of their national dish (I should ask around), but I can see a sense in this silly gag. Swedish meatballs are very firm, and I have the feeling this could have been what made the creators of the Swedish Chef come up with this scene. Continue reading
Rose macarons. Made with actual roses, the flowers. This was my highest ambition when back in the summer last year I made a rose petal preserve. My mom suggested mixing it with strawberry jam and using that as a pie or brioche filling. She draws her inspiration from the Polish tradition of using rose petals in baked goods. As we experimented with the fragrant flowers, my mind was racing in the opposite direction, conjuring up the thought of rose macarons.
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.
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
Ever since I moved to Sweden I have become an avid coffee drinker. Sweden’s coffee culture was one of the first features I embraced. Sweden tops world coffee consumption statistics, ranking second only to neighbouring Finland. Coffee plays a crucial role in everyday life in Sweden. I remember how important the role of coffee breaks was at university here. Every couple of hours or so we would get a coffee break. It was sacred, there was no way we would not stop for coffee. Continue reading
Apple cinnamon pie rhymes with comfort food (no, it doesn’t). But seriously, this might be the most basic pie, yet to so many people it brings back childhood memories. A warm apple pie that fills the room with its flavour. Add the warming hint of cinnamon and you reach sensory heaven. What’s more? The butter, of course. A proper buttery and flaky pastry that, when warm, releases its butter scent. Apple, cinnamon, butter. Warm. Want some more? A side of sweetened whipped cream. BAM! Continue reading