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.
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
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
I’ve been an advocate of shortcrust vegetable pies for years. I started making them when I didn’t even have a tart pan but was using a springform pan, instead. It works, and it can look pretty, too. Then I started going smaller and made them finger-food-sized baked in the muffin tin. Also something to be proud of. Until I finally got myself a proper tart pan and started producing the real deal. My favourite? Definitely the mushroom tart.
Szarlotka is the name of Polish apple pie. There is another item in Polish cuisine that goes by the same name and that features two of the same ingredients – apples and cinnamon. The third igredient is Żubrówka, probably the most famous Polish vodka out there, the one with a leaf of bison grass in the bottle. When szarlotka doesn’t refer to a pie, it is a drink, Poland’s favourite way of drinking Żubrówka when used as a cocktail ingredient and not enjoyed alone.
My mom learned to make roasted eggplant dip from a Romanian friend. This friend used to roast her eggplants on the open flame, as that is the traditional way of doing it in Romania. My mom decided to do it her way and roast the aubergines in the oven instead. By doing so you lose the smoky flavour, but the outcome will have the same texture and will yield an equally great ingredient to make a delicious eggplant dip.
No blueberries this year. What a big disappointment. Last year when my parents visited at the beginning of August, they went out blueberry picking every day and filled my freezer with endless supplies. Flash forward to one year later and the bushes are all empty. No harvest time for my parents. Except for one time, when they came back from their afternoon walks in the neighbourhood with some raspberries. Continue reading
There is evidence of flatbreads being baked in many ancient cultures, but pizza as we know it nowadays has a much more modern history. Legend has it that the first pizza Margherita was invented in 1890 in honor of Margherita of Savoy, Queen of Italy. The country had been unified under the same flag for only a few decades, and to honour the queen the pizza that carried her name was made with the same colours of the Italian flag – red, green and white. Continue reading