Category: Culīnaria

An early morning bookmaker toast

A summer breakfast Bookmaker toast.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2018

Somehow it is difficult not to use the word decadent when talking about a ‘bookmaker toast’. It could be made in a variety of ways, some more scrumptious than others. Some include fried bacon. Some include Sauce Bearnaise. I think that what you prefer varies depending on whether you’ll have it as a lunch, dinner, late night snack or, breakfast.

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Lemon curd parfait, sans sous vide

Lemon curd parfait.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2018

This astronomical Easter [1], I found myself falling in love with lemon curd. Well, actually, I’ve been reading about at lemon curd recipes for some months now, how to make variations of it, and how to use it further in other recipes. I remember that in 2012, I had tried my hand at lemon custard cupcakes. The lemon custard recipe I used then was alright, but not something to totally fall in love with, especially if you are a fan of kaya, the Southeast-Asian screwpine/pandan leaf coconut marmalade found most notably in Singapore and Malaysia. Yesterday, I came across what looked like the perfect lemon curd recipe published by ChefSteps in 2014 [2], made sous vide. I had to give it a try, albeit sans sous vide.

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Baileys Mille Crêpe

Baileys mille-crepe, topped with chocolate ganache and whipped cream.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2018

It looks pretty, the gâteau mille crêpe. So I thought I’d have a go at making one myself. I think I was at a corner near the Cathédrale Notre-Dame in Paris when I came across a bakery-café that was serving the most aromatic and gorgeous looking filled crêpes, the type that you can always find room in your stomach for no matter the time of day. In Paris, if the bakery-café had the ingredient, you could most likely have it on the crêpe as filling, from fresh strawberries to strawberry jam, whipped cream to nutella and banana. Looking for recipes online, I could see that most recipes would recommend to have the crêpe made with as little fat as possible on the pan itself in order to give a pale golden hue to the stack. But the ones I made were done in Swedish pannkaka style, with plenty butter in the pan so you get caramelized frilled edges to each crêpe. The difference? The mille crêpe I made is more, …Swedish?

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Passion för Mat 2018 walkabout

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Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2018

Trying out a bite bit of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, at Passion för Mat 2018, 2 to 4 March, Erikbergshallen, Gothenburg.

Gothenburg’s largest annual foodfair, Passion för Mat is back for 2018! It runs from 2 to 4 March 2018 at Eriksbergshallen event hall located on Hisingen island. The event gathers food exhibitors from different industry sectors, who literally span the globe in food sourcing and production. Some new entrants include Varberg of Halland County, who are in Gothenburg to market not just their destination brand but their food products. Halland Country lies directly south of Gothenburg on the west coast of Sweden. Visitors can find for example, Källsjö A-fil from Källsjö Mejeri AB, a locally produced yoghurt whose smooth and creamy consistency makes a perfect accompaniment to fresh fruits and cereal for breakfast, as well as cheeses from Skrea Ost (Kattegatt white and Kattegatt blue cheeses). Visitors can also find some exciting new food products and concepts such as Mjölby’s Food for Progress’s award winning brands Oumph! and Beat that give noone an excuse to never eat their vegetables again, ever.

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Passion för Mat 2018, Fredrikssons Smakglädje

Mona and Christer Fredriksson of Fredrikssons Smakglädje (fredrikssons.eu) at Passion för Mat 2018, 2 to 4 March, Erikbergshallen, Gothenburg.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2018

I think it’s wonderful to catch-up with people with whom you share a passion for artisan culinary craftwork and the exchange of food/life experiences but don’t often get a chance to meet with. I spent some happy minutes visiting Mona and Christer Fredriksson foodstall at Passion för Mat 2018. Fredrikssons Smakglädje began in 2012 in southern Sweden (near Kalmar), with a focus on handcrafted, quality marmalades. Their key marmalade philosophy is to focus on the type of taste experience they wanted people to have when eating their marmalades. They also wanted to craft new marmalade flavours, choosing their ingredients carefully for each batch created. The intense flavours and luxurious textures of their marmalades are reflected likewise in the jeweltoned bottles lit on the display stand. Fredrikssons’s efforts on craftsmanship have not gone unnoticed in the Swedish culinary circles. Their products have since 2014, consistently won awards in the grand Swedish artisan culinary mastership (SM i mathantverk). Of notable mention is their 2017 Mona sauce, chosen for its excellent summer feel to a perfect grill sauce. Fredriksson’s Juleglögg (Swedish Christmas mulled wine) won silver medal in the 2015 SM i mathantverk and they took home both gold and silver medals in SM i mathantverk 2014 for their Hot Apple and Apricot Chutney, and Honeypear and Ginger Marmelade. The bit of news that made me happy was that Fredrikssons has a webshop and now deliver to your doorstep.

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Passion för Mat 2018, Flavours of Halland County

A white chocolate and caramel cheesecake from Halland County to be sampled at Passion för Mat 2018.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2018

Passion för Mat 2018 draws a network of small medium enterprises in not just food and beverage as product, but rather, food and beverage in connection to a specific destination experience. This year, Halland County took centrestage at this event, marketing products of the region that lies just south of Gothenburg city. In 2011, the city authority of Varberg embarked on Varberg 2025 with the ambition to be the creative centre of Sweden’s west coast region. Varberg lies in the region of Halland County, to which several booths at this food event enticed visitors to sample the produce and flavours of Halland County.

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Passion för Mat 2018, Beriksson

Spending time product browsing at Beriksson’s foodstall, at Passion för Mat 2018, 2 to 4 March, Erikbergshallen, Gothenburg.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2018

I met Benny Eriksson, owner and founder of trading company Berikssson at Passion för Mat 2009 [1]. I was all over the Italian chocolate and candy imports, Cuneesi al liquore by Dulcioliva, not being able to carry home enough quantities to secure a full year’s supply to myself. Some things just don’t change. I came across Beriksson’s food stall at Passion för Mat 2018, and by far, this was my absolute favourite food stall to spend time product browsing, still not being able to carry home quantities enough for the upcoming year’s supply. The non-acquisition made more wanting by the sheer variety of chocolate bars that now span the globe in cacao sourcing and chocolate production.

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Passion för Mat 2018, Helmut Walch Chakuteri est. 1978

Helmut Walch Charkuteri AB (walch.se) was established in 1978. They are at Passion för Mat 2018 from 2 to 4 March at Erikbergshallen, Gothenburg, Sweden.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2018

The narrative of Helmut Walch is of an industrious individual from Austria, Vienna, who in the aftermath of scarcity in World War II came to a career decision point in his life. He applied to be a cook in Karlstad, Sweden, and in his culinary journey from 1965 took him to various Swedish towns such as Karlstad, Skara and a hotel kitchen in Halland. He soon found himself in Gothenburg, and when the opportunity arose for him to acquire Asker Svensson’s store at Saluhallen in Gothenburg, the city’s central marketplace, he decided that Gothenburg would have access to Austrian traditions of charcuterie. Till this day, Helmut Walch Charkuteri AB uses spices imported from Austria to flavour their meats and meat products, where the differentiating factor of Helmut Walch’s products is in the skill of preparation.

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Passion för Mat 2018, PLUS4630

Thanasis Sindikiotis (left) and Yannis Georgilas (right) of PLUS4630 and Meraki, fine Greek products for the Swedish market.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2018

The affable aura of Yannis Georgilas, owner of PLUS4630, is difficult to miss as you walk by his booth at Passion för Mat 2018, Gothenburg’s largest annual foodfair that runs over this weekend from 2 to 4 March 2018. PLUS4630 is a Swedish company located in Borås, which is about a 45 minute east drive (ca. 60 km) from Gothenburg. The B2B company is run by Yannis and Pernilla. The company supplies artisan and selected Greek products for the Swedish market. It was Yannis’s and Pernilla’s love of Greece and Greek food that brought them to bridge the Greek-Swedish culinary journey. They have also developed their own premium product band name called, Meraki. The word Meraki means soul, creativity and love in Greek.

PLUS4630, Meraki, had several offerings for customers at the foodfair, from olive oil to varieties of preserved olives. My absolute favrourite was the thickened rich cream cheese that tasted a luxurious version of Turkish yoghurt drink Ayran. Salty and velvet smooth on the tongue, it is not difficult to sit and polish off a 200g serving of that cream cheese. PLUS4630 has an online catalogue at plus4630.se for easy viewing to their products.

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Passion för Mat 2018, France Fromage

Jacques Six of France Fromage, at Passion för Mat 2018, 2 to 4 March, Erikbergshallen, Gothenburg.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2018

The focus this year for Jacques Six of France Fromage [2,3] at Gothenburg’s annual foodfair is Comté, a French cheese made from unpastuerized cow’s milk in Franche-Comté. As a cheese, Comté can be said to closely resemble the Swiss Gruyère much due to that the regions are close, with Franche-Comté bordering Switzerland. Comté or Gruyère de Comté has the highest production of all French AOC (appellation d’origine contrôlée )cheeses. In 2016, 5193 tons of Comté cheese were exported directly by companies in the sector [1].

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Saffranstårta

Saffranstårta / Saffron cake with the garden’s still blossoming calendula, and sage.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2017

Six weeks to Christmas, and the Christmas street lights are on display at Haga, lighting up in festive manner one of the oldest market and living quarters of the city of Gothenburg. Haga Nygata is lined with cafés currently inviting visitors with displays of festive treats, the large summer cinnamonroll side by side with Lussekatter saffron swirls.

Saffron came to Sweden during the 1300s by trade with Asia. The rarity of saffron meant it was limited in use to those who could afford such luxury. But by the 1800s, socio-economic circumstances made it possible for saffron to be used (still exclusively) as a winter festive spice in cakes and breads. Since arriving in Sweden in 2002, I perhaps only ever tried saffron cake on one occasion. Most other saffron experiences had come in the form of eating Lussekatter, which are now available in bakeries and grocery stores in the weeks that lead up to St. Lucia day (13 Dec.) in Sweden and then to Chiristmas. Attracted to its rich golden hue, but wanting to leave Lussekatter [1,2,3,4,] baking as a closer-to-Christmas project, I thought to try my hand at saffron cake baking.

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Pintxos, a culinary signature of Basque Country, Spain

I sit in the shared dining space of the stalls of the market place at the Mercado de la Ribera, Bilbao, Basque Country, Spain. The glass of deep burgundy Viña Real Crianza 2014, is a wine made in the region just south of Bilbao.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2017

I resesarched the weather forecast ahead of landing in Bilbao, a city located north of Spain in the autonomous Basque region, Bay of Biscay. It was advised that the days in Bilbao during the RESER 2017 conference would be rainy and I should bring an umbrella. I had not however read up too much on the culinary scene of Basque Country Spain. I assumed it would be plenty of tapas, sangria and wines, perhaps much like that to be found in Barcelona, when I was there for the International Faculty Program (IFP) 2011 program at IESE Business School. I was pleasantly surprised that it was not so much tapas as pintxos to be discovered as a social event with the intention that one could move from eatery to eatery, exploring in one evening, different atmospheres of different places*. If living in Bilbao or Basque Country Spain in general, I would expect to slow down the nomadic pintxos eating, taking one place for one evening at a time, if not making your own creative version at home. And instead of sangria to the food, Txakoli, a very dry white wine produced in the region, was suggested as accompanying drink to pintxos.

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Strawberry and shrimp

At Brogyllen konditori, Västra Hamngatan, Gothenburg, Sweden.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2017

It might have been as early as 2003 or 2004 during my first years living in Sweden, that I visited Brogyllen. Brogyllen konditori is a bakery-café located at the southwest corner of Hamngatan in the city of Gothenburg. The café opened early, at half past seven in the morning, and my doctoral studies courses usually began at nine. This gave me ample time to sit, have coffee with a Swedish kladdkaka, a sweet, sticky chocolate fudgecake served with whipped cream on top, and watch the trams go by. In a routine sitting, I could almost tell the time by the tram number that went past. From the time I sat down, by three tram no. 2s gone by, it would be about time to leave for university campus grounds.

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Mincemeat pie, a takeaway from Scotland

Mincemeat pie, the savoury kind.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2017

At about midsummer in June this year, I was in Glasgow, Scotland, for the EURAM 2017 conference. During the days in Glasgow, I took the opportunity to explore the city’s eateries and local fare. First thing I had wanted to try when in Scotland was haggis. This, I found already on the first day’s lunch hour whilst exploring the streets closest to the conference venue, which was the University of Strathclyde, the campus nearest George Square.

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A little bit of Italy at Åboulevard, Copenhagen, Denmark

Åboulevard or ‘River’ Boulevard.
Åboulevard is one of the more scenic routes to bike or walk in central Copenhagen, Denmark.
A view from Åboulevard across Peblinge Lake.

Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2017

Most days are gelato days for me, regardless the country or season. After walking around much of central Copenhagen in the evenings for supper, it was still the gelati found at the little Italian shop right next door to the hotel at which I was housed that drew me back to their modest quarters. With walls lined with scenes from southern coastal Italy, it felt like sunshine to walk into the place, even at sundown.

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La Vita George Square, Glasgow, Scotland, UK

Breakfast at La Vita Pizzeria at George Square, Glasgow, Scotland 2017. The chocolate fudge cake, an exception to the breakfast menu, is mine.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2017

It was the search for a traditional Scotch pie for breakfast that brought me to La Vita at 161 Queen St. The interiors of this pizzeria is warm, conveyed mostly by its dark wood panels, reflecting of gold-cognac hues from the ceiling lamps and surrounding decor. We were immediately greeted by our waiter who inquired after our stay thus far in Scotland. He wanted to know if we had planned to do some sight seeing for the day. His recommendation for sight seeing was for us to head down to Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum that housed one of his favourite art pieces, which is a painting entitled Christ of Saint John of the Cross by Salvador Dalí made in 1951. It was his absolute go-to piece of art work to spend hours contemplating. It reminded him of his daughter, who also loved that painting by Dalí.

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The Spanish Butcher, Glasgow, Scotland 2017

Dining at The Spanish Butcher, Glasgow, Scotland 2017.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2017

I found myself in late evening near midsummer’s, at a corner of George Square in Glasgow. The temperature outdoors was a friendly 13 deg C, and it was windy. From the discreet dark wood panels lining the entrance to the restaurant, The Spanish Butcher at 80 Miller Street, central Glasgow, Scotland, seemed perfectly alluring for a languid meal after dusk. Stepping inside of the restaurant, I was greeted with more of the same contouring of dark panelled woods. The texture and wood grains were made visible by light play from the soft golden glows of candles placed on the tabletops. Had I a dinner reservation with them, I was asked. My negative reply was greeted with a slight upturn of an eyebrow, a smile, and then with a showing to a table for two. Service was immpeccable, the menu explained most patiently in all manner of details.

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Culinary Team West of Sweden, Spring Dinner 2017

A dessert of coconut ice-cream with puréed mango, yuzu and roasted pineapple.
Culinary Team West of Sweden [1] and the Swedish Chefs Association [2] present their Spring Dinner 2017 at Ester Mosessons gymnasium, 12 June 2017.

Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2017

Outdoors at Lindholmen harbour in Gothenburg, gusts of spring/summer seawinds threatened to let fly loosely fastened tarpaulin on smaller boats docked rocking in choppy waters. Indoors, at Ester Mossessons gymnasium along Utvecklingsgatan 4, a calmer, more inviting atmosphere beckoned to guests of the Culinary Team West of Sweden’s spring dinner 2017 held on 12 June 2017.

Members of the board of the Swedish Chefs Association stood by the entrance in greeting of friends and associates. We were invited to place our coats in a designated cloak room and thereafter proceed into a room with dining tables that were set with several wine glasses to each person, the table centres lit with black candles. We seemed to lack nothing in terms of how the evening’s event was spatially organized.

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Alchemisten Kaffebar & Kafé, Gothenburg, Sweden

Located on Hisingen island, Alchemisten Kaffebar & Kafé is a White Guide Café 2017 listing that is changing the urban landscape of the city of Gothenburg, Sweden. Address: Gustaf Dalénsgatan, 14, 417 23 Göteborg, Sweden.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2017

This cozy coffee bar that epitomises the concept of the Swedish fredags fika (Friday coffee) was opened in 2015 by Kristian Hedborg. Located in the green Kvillebäcken district on Hisingen island in Gothenburg, the name of the coffee bar and café, Alkemisten (The Alchemist) calls to mind the chemistry of all things natural and organic, the making of coffee being an art in itself. Striving to customise coffee by per cup and per customer, you could simply convey over the counter, the type of coffee aroma/s and taste you prefer, and the team behind the counter will work their magic for you.

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Sunday sopa de llenties, a moment Barcelona

Spanish lentil soup – sopa de llenties. Seems to be a Sunday favourite. A serving of which has a certain petite madeleine effect on me, that takes me back to Barcelona.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2017

I haven’t a clue why it is that we often cook this dish on a Sunday, though path dependency could well provide a theory. In this case, the inherent (perceived) languidity of the day would also provide a buttressing argument for the theory as to why Spanish lentil soup on Sundays. This soup inevitably brings me right back to my stay in Barcelona just about six years ago. Perhaps in my case Proust’s petite madeleine moment should be renamed simply, the sopa de llenties moment, no? But, no. If there was a defining culinary moment to remember in Barcelona for me, it would have be Restaurant Los Caracoles, located in Barrio Gótico, just off tangent to La Ram­bla, the city’s main artery for activities. Within that restaurant, its inferno heart of a kitchen with hot glowing coals readied for the evening’s cooking is a sight to remember. That, and their signature buns served in the shape of a snail. That restaurant provides too cozy an atmosphere to decline any evening’s invite.

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Easter 2017 reads after moons of Jupiter and Saturn discoveries by Cassini

Planning for the long weekend, in reads.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2017

One of the most interesting news releases that would have certainly captured the imaginations of many out there was the announcement of the discovery of hydrogen molecules in the plumes around Enceladus, Saturn’s sixth largest moon by Cassini, a joint space exploration endeavour of NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Italian space agency, Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (ASI) [1]. Part of a twenty year long spacecraft exploration project, this Cassini discovery points towards increased prospects of the existence of microbial organisms other than those found on Earth [2,4]:

“In 2005, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft spied jets of water ice and vapor erupting into space from fissures on Enceladus, evidence of a salty ocean beneath the saturnian moon’s placid icy surface. Now, it turns out that the jets contain hydrogen gas, a sign of ongoing reactions on the floor of that alien sea. Because such chemistry provides energy for microbial life on Earth, the discovery makes Enceladus the top candidate for hosting life elsewhere in the solar system—besting even Jupiter’s Europa, another icy moon with an ocean. “We didn’t see microbes,” says Hunter Waite, a planetary scientist at the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas, and the lead author of a study published this week in Science. “But we saw their food.”” [2]

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Passion för Mat 2017, Gothenburg, Sweden

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Highlights from Passion för Mat 2017, Gothenburg, Sweden.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2017

Gothenburg’s annual culinary fair (24-26 Feb. 2017) is one of my absolute trade fairs to visit, not only because the trade fair grounds at Eriksbergshallen provides a meeting place for the small network of culinary experts that I have gotten to know over the years, but it provides a fantastic opportunity to meet with new traders with new expertise and experiences to share. The fair’s Kitchen School that informs the public on food processes, best recipes and best methods of cooking was progressing at full speed when we arrived on scene, where the crowd looked genuinely interested and enthusiastic. Making our rounds, this post brings you some pictures and highlights of Passion för Mat 2017.

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Kafferostare Per Nordby, Passion för Mat 2017, Gothenburg, Sweden

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Kafferostare Per Nordby, Passion för Mat 2017.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2017

A fox, with a pipe attached to its mouth. It was by far one of the more sophisticated logos hanging upon an exhibition stand at the expansive Erikbergshallen food fair, Passion för Mat 2017. For the love of clean lines, grey tones and empty space in the midst of a Saturday evening crowd at Gothenburg’s annual culinary trade fair, I approached the stall to find Per Nordby, owner and entrepreneur to globally sourced single coffee bean plantations, grinding some coffee beans. A couple of minutes later, he turned around and grinned broadly in our direction. Anything we wanted? Coffee perhaps? Sure.

Continue reading “Kafferostare Per Nordby, Passion för Mat 2017, Gothenburg, Sweden”

Lambrini Theodossiou, Togora, Passion för Mat 2013-2017

Lambrini Theodossiou at Passion för Mat 2017

The lady with the brightest of smiles! Lambrini Theodossiou, producer of Togora olive oil.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2017

Togora olive oil is still one of my favourite olive oils. And this lady, with the brightest of smiles is certainly one of the rare souls that bring warmth to this trade fair. Continue reading “Lambrini Theodossiou, Togora, Passion för Mat 2013-2017”

Torggummans Ägg, Passion för Mat 2014-2017

Passion för Mat 2017

The chickens that laid these eggs have a mandatory company rule to follow – they must spend half of their time in a year roaming free, outdoors.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro E Jacobsson 2017

Fettisdagen is just about two days away, which means, a long way to Easter yet. Still, these eggs sitting so happy in the basket as they were couldn’t help but make me put shades of striped pastels and polka dots on them in view of Easter. Continue reading “Torggummans Ägg, Passion för Mat 2014-2017”

The Swedish semla, an evolving culinary semiosis

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A Swedish semla, a creamy marzipan filled cardamom bun, topped with…more cream.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2017

I was halfway to the grocery shop located on Donsö, the adjacent island to Styrsö connected by a bridge. Propped unglamorously on a flakmoped huddling from the Nordic winds in clashing block colours of a black puffer jacket, a cobalt boy’s soft-shell ski pants and a Christmas red pair of Timberland gloves that did nothing to protect my fingers from the winds that swept right through its thermal threads, I peeked from under the fringes of my furred hat to view the coastal outlines of the island. To my left, as the flakmoped sped past the beach at a cool 8 km/h, I saw that the tides were low. The sea was lightly frozen over, the movement of the breaking of the waves over seaweed just before hitting rounded pebbles captured in an instantaneous frame of time. A murder of crows were merrily pecking away at the seabed, seemingly oblivious to the wintry temperatures.

Continue reading “The Swedish semla, an evolving culinary semiosis”

Gravad lax Christmas tradition 2016

Regardless of how inventive and creative we usually feel during the year, come Christmas and long evenings while approaching the winter solstice in Sweden, you start wanting those old-fashioned dishes. There is something comforting with the very routines in the traditional preparations that you for sure know goes back into the earliest recesses of Nordic history. You can almost see the Vikings sitting in the long boats out at sea, sharing a piece of pickled (gravad) salmon and saying things like -Pass the Mjöd, Sven … and, well, who wouldn’t have wanted to be there with them on their way to pursue their peaceful trading traditions of olden days.

Dill, an essential to gravad lax.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

The recipe is very simple. One part salt and one part sugar and an handful of chopped up dill. Put under pressure for a couple of days. Done. Traditionally a 6lbs canon ball is fine. Continue reading “Gravad lax Christmas tradition 2016”

Lussestjärna, Lucia in Sweden 2016

A Lussestjärna to Lucia day in Sweden 2016.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

It occurred to me that I was much more enthusiastic last year about lussekatter and had by end of November 2015, already baked a batch in their traditional shapes. This year, I am rather, on the day itself for baking Lucia saffron buns, though keeping my sight pegged a little farther ahead in the week. In seven days on 21 December at 10:44 UTC, the winter solstice will be here and so the globe turns. It’s something I’m looking forward to, and thought to celebrate the day of St. Lucia in Sweden, with a traditional saffron bun, baked in the shape of a star.

While I do have a favourite recipe for a saffron bun that doesn’t dry out too soon over the counter, this time around, I followed a recipe from a cookbook that called for adding the butter and saffron mixture after the dough had risen once over. It was labelled ‘grandmother’s lussekatter recipe’, I trusted it. The striations are done by first placing four pieces of thinly rolled dough in disk shape over each other, where the layers (stacked like pancakes) are buttered and dusted over with cocoa power in between. Nutella will work beautifully here too. Continue reading “Lussestjärna, Lucia in Sweden 2016”

Street food, Bangkok, Thailand 2016

Bangkok, Thailand 2016

Chinatown at after five, Bangkok, Thailand.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

I had not often come across a decline in request to a destination, especially one in which tourists are encouraged to visit, but the tuk-tuk driver absolutely declined to drop us off at Chinatown in mid-morning in Bangkok, Thailand. “There is nothing there to see now. After five p.m. okay. But if you really want to go, I can drop you off at the corner 7-11 shop and you can walk from there.” He spoke to us through the rear view mirror of the tuk-tuk, his eyes meeting ours. After some contemplation, I asked, “Where would you recommend we go now? What is open?” His eyes lit up with a smile, “I bring you river tour! But first, I bring you to tailor shop? Very good suits for you, Sir!” He had already brought us to two other tailor shops, plus a jewellery outlet. So we kindly agreed to the river tour, but we didn’t want any more tailor visits. It was our turn to decline. “Only five minutes!” he intervened, “Very fast! You just go in spend five minutes, and then I get free petrol. Free petrol. You help me?” he said, unabashedly, with a big smile. He was already off to his designated shop. I turned to look at Sir and said, “I’ll probably find another cheongsam to tailor with Thai silk.” Continue reading “Street food, Bangkok, Thailand 2016”

Chocolate in seasons

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A chocolate cake based on a brownie recipe.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

Foods are seasonal. There was a time when growing up in Singapore, I would have prawn noodle soup everyday after school hours at the hawker centre at the bus terminal. The bus terminal was the interval stop between the Convent where I went to school (located in walking proximity to the Singapore’s east coast beach), and the government built housing apartment farther inland north-east, that was home. Prior to hopping on to a loop feeder bus service, I would drop my school bag and files on a stool at a table at the hawker centre and go order lunch. There were at least five different variations of this dish you could order. After a year or so, the owners of the stall knew me by name and knew my order. I only had to wave and smile in their direction and they would come with a bowl of prawn noodles with the type of noodles I preferred. The prawn noodle soup season lasted three years, after which it never seemed to ever come back in season for me. Last I had a bowl of prawn noodle soup that was in season in the manner I preferred was more than twenty eight years ago.

Chocolate however, seems to be in season all year round, and has been so for more than thirty five years. I remember a photograph of me from when I was age seven or eight living in the east of Singapore. I had a broad grin with a mouthful of melted chocolate. It must’ve been chocolate cake I was eating at someone’s birthday, because that was the only time we had such decadent cakes filled with buttercream between and over layers of sponge cakes. Continue reading “Chocolate in seasons”

Bonnakringlor hors d’oeuvres, 2016

Bonnakringlor, bonnakakor med pesto

Rustic Bonnakringlor dressed up as what they were born to be.
Hors d’oeuvres with spicy tapenade, slice of tomato and small leaf basil.

Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

As a child I would go to my father’s mother’s place after school or on weekends with my parents. I still remember how my grandmother used to stir a generous dollop of butter into a small bowl of hot steaming rice. It was a luxury that she liked to treat her grandchildren with when we were around.

Old fashioned food is really interesting but today often associated with cooking on no budget.

I’ve read articles and watched videos on what others would describe as cooking on a dime during the years of the Great Depression, and the years of the two World Wars. Many times, I find myself going over the shared recipes only to discover that I’ve been cooking that very same thing whilst growing up. On some days after coming home from school, I’d want something quick for lunch. So I’ll have one onion, one potato and one egg in a pan, add salt, and there I’ll have a meal in less than ten minutes.

Home cooked with fresh produce. Since when was that bad?

But old fashioned cooking, the kind that my grandmother would do in the 1940s and had presented to us in the 1980s, is of a different sort of awakening of the senses. What is deemed as farmer foods and rustic recipes would be everyday taking care of what was available at hand such as fresh cream, milled flours, eggs from the chickens… the practical making-do of what you have, where enough is all that you need. Continue reading “Bonnakringlor hors d’oeuvres, 2016”

Pesto with a twist, 2016

Tapenade, basil harvest 2016

From the garden’s basil harvest 2016.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

When traveling from South of France into Northern Italy it is impossible to not be taken in by the intense flavours of the local herbs and vegetables. It is an overwhelming experience that makes you instantly fall in love with the food.

The nature, the high skies, the imposing Alps just beyond the horizon and the steep cliffs dropping straight into the azure waves of the Northern Mediterranean Sea, all are there to sweep you off your feet and make you never forget what was set in front of you on the tables of the numerous local restaurants you can’t all but resist.

In south of France a nice olive paste and in Italy a similar paste but based on basil were unforgettable additions to any pasta dish or fresh baked breads we had. Often combined with some splendid olive oil, which quality always make the difference between just oil and heaven.

Food tourism, as in bringing your memories back home and integrate your new ideas and inspirations into your daily life is to me a nice way of extending your holidays, ideally all the way until the next.

During a few summer months in Scandinavia the climate shows itself from its very best side, one that might trick anyone from a warmer climate into feeling at home and foolishly start growing things that the winter soon promptly will put a stop to. Continue reading “Pesto with a twist, 2016”

Viktualienmarkt travel in time, Munich , Germany 2016

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Viktualienmarkt, München 2016

A tall glass of coffee ice-cream and whipped cream from Chocolaterie Beluga is a decadent excuse to being in the corner under the shade at Viktualienmarket, Munich , Germany 2016.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

Noting St. Peter’s Church located at the Marienplatz in Munich as a point of interest to visit, where it is the district’s oldest church, it was not long before I found myself headed towards the medieval city center of Munich.

Alighting from the U-Bahn at Marienplatz and coming out into the large, spacious city square, I was immediately greeted by the towering Gothic architecture of the Neues Rathaus. Despite summer visits and the ongoing UEFA Euro 2016, I noted with appreciation that the city remained relatively uncluttered of people.

Zwickl Gastro, München, Germany 2016

If you are looking for the very centre of Munich and where to start your explorations of this interesting city that have its roots at least back into the Roman Empire some two thousand years ago, Marienplatz with the Rathaus-Glockenspiel would certainly be one of the options.

From there, it is just a few steps over well worn cobbled stones to the largest open air wet market, the Viktualienmarkt. Numerous small food stores specializing in their own brands of meat sausages, cheese, pickled olives and wine surround the market square. Here is where where you can have succulent pieces of roast pork and cracklings between generous slices of bread buns, all in the proximity of the Biergarten (the Beer Garden) for which Munich is famed.

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Zwickl München, Germany

Zwickl München 2016.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

Continue reading “Zwickl Gastro, München, Germany 2016”

Rhubarb harvest 2016

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, summer harvest 2016 Styrsö

At the rhubarb patch in the corner of the garden, Styrsö.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

Strong winds, half grey skies that threaten a tropical thunderstorm at any minute, and a comfy 10degC outdoors. The Swedish west coast summer is coming along just fine.

Sitting cozy and happy in the corner of the garden are the rhubarb plants now ready for their first picking. These gorgeous leaved, crimson stalked perennials were widely used in China for their medicinal purposes long before finding their way to the middle-east and farther west in the medieval times.

I contemplated between using the first pickings towards pie filling, but then felt very much for stewed rhubarb instead. For a portion of that, what’s needed is about 200g of rhubarb with about 1 dl of white sugar, 2 dl of water and 2 heaped tsp of potato flour to thicken the stew. In Sweden, rhubarb stew or rabarberkräm is topped with either milk or if preferred, heavy cream.

Rhubarb 2016 Styrsö Continue reading “Rhubarb harvest 2016”

As simple as it gets

Poached cod, white asparagus.

Cod and mild vegetables. All poached – just under boiling – in as little water we could get away with.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

“Apologize to the turbot ’cause it died in vain. I said apologize! … Not to me, to the fish!” – Adam Jones to Helene in the movie Burnt (2015).

It is difficult to tell from where inspiration arises. It can be from a recent dinner, something a friend said in a recent conversation or you just bumping into a great bargain of some nice produce you have not had in a long time. Today, it was a little bit of all.

I guess it takes a special kind of personality to go directly from a great gourmet movie to your own home kitchen to whip out pots and pans and do something yourself. But a lot of eating is done with your eyes and if it looks good, maybe you can do something similar yourself?

This evening’s culinary adventure was pleasantly relaxed and an understated celebration of the coming of summer. A simple fare, mostly cooked just under boiling temperatures.

Continue reading “As simple as it gets”

(someone else’s) Theory of Everything

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Apple Strudel

Apple strudel with vanilla custard.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

In a recent study, it was found that the essence or aroma of vanilla made people happy [1,2]. Still, I wonder if it was the serendipity of the find or if vanilla, being one of the most widely used essences in baking, would activate certain Madeleine moments for many. Through some mouthfuls of apple strudel filled with rum soaked raisins, butter toasted bread crumbs wrapped in layers of phyllo pastry topped with – vanilla custard – the research of Cristina Alberini and Joseph E. LeDoux comes to mind on memory reconsolidating:

“The traditional view of memory storage assumes that each time we remember some past experience, the original memory trace is retrieved. This view has been challenged by data showing that when memories are retrieved they are susceptible to change, such that future retrievals call upon the changed information. This is called reconsolidating.” [3:746]

Alberini and LeDoux go on to explain that there are two views of how memory works. The conventional view is that memories are stored once and each time the memory is activated, a trace of the original experience is retrieved. According to the reconsolidation view, memories are susceptible to change each time they are retrieved. Continue reading “(someone else’s) Theory of Everything”

Mundane hobbies

Lantlig paj, pizza rustica

Sunday baking, a variation of pizza rustica.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

My hobbies are pretty mundane – reading, cooking and dancing. It happens sometimes though that these hobbies get entangled. Like this day when browsing the internet for recipes to the next cooking project, I end up reading large sections of books available partially or wholly online.

My recipe browse for pizza rustica diverted into contemplations on Supernormal: Science, Yoga, and the Evidence for Extraordinary Psychic Abilities (2013) a book by Dean Radin. I have not a clue how I ended up in the realm of studies between materialism, idealism and consciousness when browsing for how to make Easter pies. Still, it was exactly the promise implied in the title of the book – to give evidence for extraordinary psychic abilities – that got me reading some pages of it online. The explicit promise of the title coupled with what I had read then led to me link click through the web for more information since I felt it to be a promise undelivered statistically. I soon landed on a page to a Supernormal book review by Dale DeBakcsy [1]:

“Most people coming to this book are looking for the evidence promised in the title. Unfortunately, they’re going to have to wait,…”

Yep. I figured*.

Continue reading “Mundane hobbies”

Food with Identity: Passion för Mat 2016, Gothenburg

Domaine Wines Sweden
Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Passion för Mat 2016

A sample of wines from Domaine Wines Sweden at Passion för Mat 2016 (26-28 Feb.), Gothenburg.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

Just about a decade ago, the idea of using locally produced raw ingredients saw its effects of the pulling together of marketing efforts of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the food and beverage industry. One such marketplace that facilitated the actualisation of the ideology of ‘locally produced’ that in turn helped Sweden rediscover their own culinary heritage that might have even breathed life to the current Nordic cuisine scene is the food trade fair, Passion för Mat that began in 2008 at Eriksbergshallen in Gothenburg.

This year’s theme for the food fair is “Food with Identity”. First that came to my mind on the theme were the lengthy, interesting and sometimes heated Swedish midsummer night debates with friends of the Western Swedish Academy of Gastronomy on the heritage and origins of certain wines and cheeses, particularly from France and Italy. Continue reading “Food with Identity: Passion för Mat 2016, Gothenburg”

Tjolöholm Christmas 2015

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro

At Tjolöholm Castle for a Swedish Jultide Table sitting, 2015.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

I had just voiced the observation that Swedish Christmas table sittings were so much more homogeneous than Singapore Christmas table sittings when I stepped through the heavy carved wooden doors of Tjolöholm Castle and found on the dessert table – Crannachan – a traditional Scottish Christmas dessert made with raspberries, whiskey, cream and oats.

The Crannachan sat right next to the very English Christmas pudding, a close cousin of the dark Christmas fruitcake drenched in rum that the Cordeiros are so fond of during jultide, weddings, baptism, and most any other family designated festive day through the year. Continue reading “Tjolöholm Christmas 2015”

November cats

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro

An evening with homebaked Lussekatter or saffron buns that are usually made in Sweden in celebration of St. Lucia’s Day that falls on 13 December.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

I love when Christmas comes a little early. In this case, I thought to settle and bake a batch of saffron infused buns called Lussekatt that in the tradition of Sweden, are baked in celebration of St. Lucia’s day that falls on 13 December. This, and a cup of glogg sounds pretty much a good start to the jultide season. Continue reading “November cats”

Back to basics

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, home baked mixed wheat bread.

Homebaked bread, served with butter and sea salt.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

The phenomenon of no-knead bread began to grow in popularity in the mid-2000s in address to the lack of time people had to spend in home kitchens. Today there are about 1.6M hits on google for no-knead bread recipes, including one of my favourites by Mark Bittman simply entitled No Knead Bread from 2006 [1] when he worked with The New York Times (NYT) writing on food. That NYT video upload featuring Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery in Manhattan showed how breads could easily be baked without too much work, plopped into a cast iron pot, which I did for mine right here.

I had likewise as Jim Lahey from the 2006 video, used a three-ingredient bread recipe of yeast, flour and water. The difference however is that I liked kneading the dough, bringing out its gluten in the protein strands. That and, I had also used three different types of flours for this bread in a pot.

Pick up any flour package from the Swedish grocery stores and you’ll find on the side of that package, a recipe and instructions to baking a couple of loaves of bread using that flour. The recommended kneading time Continue reading “Back to basics”

Cadenhead’s in Baden, Switzerland

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Baden, Switzerland

Astrid Bach, explaining the different whiskies in specialist whiskey importer Peter Siegenthaler’s shop, Cadenhead’s in Baden, Switzerland. William Cadenhead Ltd, established in 1842 is Scotland’s oldest independent bottler, the joy of which is that one can bring home a Cadenhead’s right here from the heart of the historic town of Baden.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

In the heart of the old town of Baden, Switzerland, in a corner of Mittleren Gasse, the rich variations of bottled liquid amber reflecting in the sunlight through the glass window display caught my eye. I had in the past few days, tried to visit this shop that seemed to close minutes before I stepped by in the evenings. So I was more than delighted that on this day, I could swing open the door and step into Cadenhead’s.

It was Astrid Bach who greeted me as I stepped in through the door. I took a long sweeping look around the shop. Delighted at what I saw, I turned to her and asked, “Do you have Eiswein?”

My question was greeted with a polite perplexed look on her face. The reason for her perplexity as I found out later was that the shop that belonged to Peter Siegenthaler, the sole importer for Cadenhead Scottish distilled whiskies into Switzerland, sold “alles ausser Wein”. I looked at Astrid in brief pause, smiled and said, “I guess I’m here to buy a whiskey.” And so began an early evening adventure on the different types of Cadenhead whiskies. Continue reading “Cadenhead’s in Baden, Switzerland”

Life speeds up when you slow down

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, lingonsylt

At market today, fresh lingonberries to make a batch of traditional Swedish lingonberry jam or lingonsylt.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

I have now watched with interest, several documentaries on individuals who have chosen to live alternative lifestyles. These documentaries feature individuals with a different type of life philosophy, where some for example choose not to own any property but rather live in a vehicle that gives them the freedom of adventure and of getting in touch with themselves whilst on the road. Others featured spoke thoughtfully on how individuals in society often did what others wanted and expected of them and not what they wanted themselves. They chose a different way of living in order to do something for themselves. These documentaries then reminded me of a paragraph in the book Walden, written by Henry David Thoreau in 1854:

“Most men even in this comparatively free country through mere ignorance and mistake are so occupied with the factitious cares and superfluously coarse labors of life that its finer fruits cannot be plucked by them. Their fingers from excessive toil are too clumsy and tremble too much for that. Actually the laboring man has not leisure for a true integrity day by day he cannot afford to sustain the manliest relations to men his labor would be depreciated in the market. He has no time to be anything but a machine. How can he remember well his ignorance which his growth requires who has so often to use Continue reading “Life speeds up when you slow down”

Muscovado carrot cake

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro

A small weekend indulgence both in the baking and eating, of that carrot cake.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

I wanted a moist cake that for the first time in a long time, was not double chocolate. As autumn rolls around, harvests of various root vegetables are abundant, which makes it a perfect opportunity to bake something out of them. Carrot cake, with a warm mixture of ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg seemed to be the perfect autumn harvest crave and I set about in my weekend indulgence of baking one.

While it seems that many might consider no cream cheese frosting atop a carrot cake as a loss of the culinary experience of eating that cake, my personal preference has often been to skip the frosting, else reduce the overall portion of sugar in any given recipe.

I made several small changes to the standard carrot cake recipe where I used butter instead of cooking oil, left out any kind of nuts, used fresh grated ginger, and chose to use muscovado sugar in complement to the mixture of warm spices.

Once out of the oven, I topped this dark, sweet and richly spiced cake with one of my favourite things, plain whipped cream. A quick grating of some lemon zest over the whipped cream and it was good to be enjoyed with a favourite drink on an autumn weekend. Continue reading “Muscovado carrot cake”

Golden chantarelle in cream

Chantarelle, Kantareller

Known as skogens guld or Swedish forest yellow gold, these luscious chantarelle make an appearance come autumn in Sweden. Pan fried, braised or stewed, this makes a perfect rounding to most any autumn meal.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

Farmers market open on the weekends in Västerås in the main large square of the city centre. It was there that I took the opportunity to pick up several favourite items including a bag of golden chantarelle, also known as Swedish forest yellow gold. Luscious, flavourful and absolutely velvety in texture when lightly stewed in cream, these mushrooms add a just that notch of luxury to most dinner menus. Continue reading “Golden chantarelle in cream”

Cooking lessons in a chocolate mousse pie

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro

A chocolate mousse pie laced with Irish cream measured to ‘a lot’.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

After four years of a bottle of Baileys Irish cream sitting in the liqueur cabinet – because anything Baileys is not the thing to bring home to your husband, and because women like me buy alcohol based on the design of the bottles – I decided I could as well do something with it.

So, chocolate mousse pie infused with Irish cream liquor it was to be, on this Scandinavian late summer’s afternoon, noted by the meteorological station as one of Sweden’s warmest summer days this year. I already had some nice dark hazelnut chocolate cake that I could use for a pie crust for this project and some Valrhona Abinao, that I thought could add in a nice way with some tempered eggs. I managed to convince myself the refreshing lightness of this pie is but disguised, in the heavy dark chocolate of it all.

Occasionally it sometimes is that after I’ve served up a dish for a meal, the question comes, “That was not bad – what went into that?” followed by, “How did you make that?”

It’s here that I find myself halting in mid-sentence, trying to recall what went into the dish and how it came to be. Continue reading “Cooking lessons in a chocolate mousse pie”

Be-Bop-A-Rhubarb

Rhubarb harvest, Rabarberpaj, Rhubarb Pie

It’s my baby!
Rhubarb pie from our garden’s harvest 2015.

Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

Just before spring, a neighbour called for anyone interested in taking care of some orphaned rhubarbs. So we picked up about five or six plants already dug up from her garden, and wheelbarrowed them back to our garden. Traditionally in Sweden, rhubarbs are harvested in the autumn, allowing the stems to get slightly thicker but not so thick that it becomes all fibres and impossible to make that crumble-pie.

The internet is a trusty source of information, with plenty of recipes for good rabarberpaj, even rabarberkräm which is a lovely rhubarb-porridge dessert to have with just milk over. One could go full exotic with the recipe for pie filling, adding five spice, cloves, ginger, orange zest, and bake it with a crumble of oats, crushed hazelnuts, demerara sugar etc. But I was curious about just that rhubarb pie. So I reached out for a Swedish cookbook publication I have on the shelves at home, that began its first print run in the 1930s entitled, Stora Kokboken. Page 418 of the 1963 print reads a rhubarb pie recipe from the 1940s. It is a no fuss recipe, and sounded perfect for a late night baking: Continue reading “Be-Bop-A-Rhubarb”

Chasing marbles

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, tigerkaka

Swedish summer fruit cake made with layers of tigerkaka. Tigerkaka is a variation of the Marble Cake.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

As a child attending school in Singapore at the Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus (CHIJ), I thought the convent was good at putting together one thing, a fundraiser event. The convent had fundraiser events at least once every year where the monies collected were allotted different purposes. In a good number of years, they were to go to the building of our very own new convent and school grounds. In other years, they were to go to the vicinity’s Catholic Church or a designated children’s charity.

A large part of the fundraiser event consisted of nuns, teachers and parents putting things out to sell to an open house public. To this end, the foyer and the school sports field would be lined with the wooden benches and tables taken from the school tuckshop / canteen. The tables were then covered over neatly with various items. It was a school fair where you could find odds and ends, from old clothes and used school books to handcrafted works of art, embroidered decorative items. My favourite items were the homebaked breads and cakes, much like the kind still available at a small neighbourhood bakery in Singapore. Continue reading “Chasing marbles”

Warm buttered toast

Semlor i hetvägg

Semla or hetvägg as it was called in ancient times served in a bath of warm milk is an old Swedish treat that goes back at least to the 1700s. Maybe much further back than that since it is made from the ancient basic ingredients of almonds, sweetener, milk and wheat.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

Singapore

With chin resting on his open palm, and elbow resting on the dining table, he sat and contemplated his options. Suddenly, he bounced right off his chair, and headed straight for the household refrigerator. He tip-toed to reach the freezer handle, grabbed it, gave it a decided pull and brought out a tray of ice-cubes. Freeing one ice-cube, he then placed it carefully on top of the buttered toast served warm to him for breakfast just a few minutes before. Continue reading “Warm buttered toast”