Month: November 2010

Swedish Lapland: Indigenous Sámi Souvas (that’s reindeer to you and I)

It’s icy out there, bitterly cold and the grass is now a shade of mint green, each blade with it’s little frosty jacket. I do wonder what it must be like in Lapland. Definitely, much worse than this. When I was there, this Autumn, it was already starting to cool down and I had a brief insight to your upcoming, and now very much present, Winter. I had many fine experiences on my trip, one was an afternoon with indigenous Sámi people, who introduced us first to their herd of reindeer, and second, to one of their defining traditional dishes, souvas. The Sámi people are the indigenous people occupying Sápmi in Northern Europe, an arc of land consisting of parts of far northern Sweden, Norway, Finland and the Kola Peninsula of Russia. They are the only official indigenous people remaining in Northern Europe. Traditionally the Sámi people traditionally rely on a variety of livelihoods, including coastal fishing, fur trapping and sheep herding but their food supply remains almost entirely dependent on their nomadic herds of …

‘New Nordic’ Danish Yule with Trina Hahnemann

Trina Hahnemann is surfing the crest of our current Nordic food obsession with her wonderful books, The Scandinavian Cookbook and The Nordic Diet. I recently had the pleasure of meeting her, and she is even more inspring in real life than in print. Yesterday, she prepared a New Nordic Danish Yule feast at the Danish Embassy. The recipes are all new (Trina seems endlessly creative) and really, were all wonderful. Bright, fresh, clear flavours and contrasting textures my favourites were a beautiful and very wintry warm apple drink, bacon and apple sauce with bacon croutons (seriously fabulous and comforting – a Danish traditional dish too) and “Rimsalted” cod served on baked celeriac. I highly recommend her gorgeous book, it’s one of my recent favourites – The Scandinavian Cookbook – out now in paperback at £14.99 (or just over £9 on Amazon). Organised by month, every recipe is interesting, and most ingredients are easily accessible. A great Christmas gift, but do get one for yourself too.

Recipe: Balsamic & Thyme Duck with Aubergine & Tomato Mograbiah

I love a bit of urban foraging. Turning a corner and seeing rosehips, blackberries, wild garlic, the random edibles that grow in random places. This summer I even found a wild apple tree in the hedgerow at the end of the train track. Another type of urban foraging I love is not really foraging at all, although I call it so. I love finding ethnic food shops and exploring their shelves looking for previously undiscovered delights that I can use at home in my kitchen. A few years ago, one such forage yielded a bag of mograbiah in a Turkish shop. Like giant “giant cous cous” (really Israeli cous cous – widely available in the Jewish section of larger supermarkets and Jewish food shops), I wondered what it was. The instructions were illegible to me, so I chucked it in my basket and approached the counter. I intended to ask the lady at the checkout for some advice, when she picked it up and looked at it, and I thought – SWEET! She’s going to …

Recipes from the Archives: Some Top Winter Warmers

November is a lovely month to spend indoors, cooking for friends and family around a roaring fire, mulling some wine or gin or confecting some hot port. Those weeks leading to Christmas demand a certain prudence in advance of silly season, when things can get a little too much. There’s lots of old recipes on this little blog that have remained very popular over the years, and remain the most read. They could almost be called The Pork Files, however there’s a couple of great vegetarian numbers and others to enjoy also. Some newer readers might not know them, and it’s always nice to have a list of Winter Warmers, so here you are, my top suggestions for those toasty evenings in. Prawn Curry A spicy dazzler, and one of the most popular recipes on this site (second recently to it’s vegetarian sibling which will appear later in this post). Buy your spices whole and use the best tinned tomatoes and you will be rewarded with a warming and fruity curry with clear bright flavours. …

Supper Club: Shed Likes Food

Shed Likes Food is good, it’s very good. Quirky and petite, not unlike host Nicola, it’s a warm, intimate and charming supper club based in Newington Green. They’re definitely not in it for the money, charging only the cost of ingredients. Madness! Some supper clubs are more about the experience than the food, Nicola comfortably covers both, and makes it look very easy. On the night we visited, Nicola’s usual partner in crime, boyfriend Andrew, was away, so she was ably assisted instead by Alexis of Lex Eat (another excellent supper club, it’s a serious omission that I haven’t written about it yet). The Supper Club is hosted in a great shed at the end of her garden. Beautifully decorated and warm, we ate dinner with a small and very friendly group of people, 9 guests in total, and our hosts. The food was rustic and very well executed. Lots of big flavours – very much the kind of food I love. We started with appetisers of padron peppers, spiced seeds, marinated olives with a …

Recipe: Chorizo, Iberico Pork Belly and Chickpea Stew

It has been a good week for cooking. I love it when Winter saunters in and I have so many excuses to retreat to my kitchen and cook up my own storm to match the one outside. A mid week shopping trip provided excellent ingredients, particularly the Iberico pork belly I used in my last recipe, I used it again today. I tend to cook old favourites right now, and it occured to me that I haven’t really blogged them. I always like to cook new things and experiment for recipes that wind up here, but I’ve decided to start blogging my old favourites, those soothing winter warmers, over the next little while. The Iberico pork belly is a big fatty piece of salted pork belly from those finest of Spanish pigs. It’s like super fat pancetta that when rendered, releases smoky rich fat that adds a beautiful dimension to any dish, I am not sure I’ve ever had anything quite like it. The lovely Iberico pigs  spend their lives happily wandering munching on acorns, …

Some Curling and a Recipe for Hendrick’s Hot Gin Punch

Folks, I’ve found my sport. SPORT, on a food blog? Does it help if I tell you we played for haggis? And what about if I told you that what this post is actually about is a recipe for Hendrick’s Hot Gin Punch? HOT GIN PUNCH? I know, so bear with me while I tell you about, *cough*, sport. So, sport, eh? I found my sport, and my sport is curling. I wasn’t happy about the idea of going curling initially, and spent the entire trip there thinking up schemes to get out of it, but one hot gin punch later, I thought I would give it a go. Chasing a 20kg granite stone up and down the ice with a sweeping brush – I hate them too, almost as much as sport – sounds like a nightmare, but it proved to be fun. The ice won’t allow you to run, or it will take you with a fall, so measured giggly forays up and down the ice with a sweeping brush proved entertaining. SWEEP …