Category: Culīnaria

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.

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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”

Sweet sticky cupcakes

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro 2015, pulot hitam

Red bean, black glutinous rice pudding (bubur pulut hitam) with coconut cream (santan). This pudding was made with one part black glutinous rice and one part red beans. The beans were boiled, sweetened and mashed into a paste before they were added into the rice pudding.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

The granddaughter, now in her early twenties, watched her grandmother prepare the batter of a mixture of white glutinous rice flour, tapioca flour, a pinch of salt and a pinch of yeast etcetera, for a sweet and sticky Asian cupcake. It was humid outdoors and this was something to look forward to with light tea, in the cool of the patio on the rattan settee outdoors, overlooking the small but tidy garden. Continue reading “Sweet sticky cupcakes”

The trajectory of no madeleines

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A batch of tarts made in the semblance of Spanish pieces of eight, using just three Sarawak pineapples.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

Life is a weird fleeting moment of a very long now. You’re in a trajectory and there’s much less room for you to move than you have been led to believe. Still you’re able to influence things and some people manage to change the world in their trajectory, to get everyone onboard with them, because reality is a conjoint decision. This perspective of reality bars the perspective that Everett’s multiverse is a theoretical infinite alternative of parallel realities where everything is possible in the same instant. In this perspective (of conjoint decision reality), Everett’s multiverse is manifest as a web of infinite possibilities mapped simultaneously unto what is perceived as current reality, resulting in a highly restricted movement of any one individual in the system. Such is the quantum multiverse at work in a material world. Continue reading “The trajectory of no madeleines”

Tjolöholm Christmas 2014

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By the Christmas tree in Tjolöholms Billiard Room.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, W Rose, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2014

It was a long, quiet walk up from among the large barns and horse carriage sheds where the guests parking lot was located, up the gravelled carriage way. With the rain and winds of Swedish west coast autumn, the weather felt as much Tudor as what greeted us up ahead the road, the Tjolöholm Slott. Except now, the short bushes around the garden were decked in the prettiest of Christmas lights, casting a dancing play of gold shadows on the building’s facade.

Up at the manor were two entrances. A front garden entrance, and a back garden / seafront facing entrance. Guests this evening were to enter through the doors facing the seafront, and for that, you needed to go around the manor. As we rounded the left corner to make a soon right, we were greeted with the view of the back garden, and framed as backdrop, the dark hues of a dramatic silvery sea. Continue reading “Tjolöholm Christmas 2014”

Sjömagasinet julbord 2014

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro

Hello there!
Glögg by an open fire, outside of the restaurant Sjömagasinet 2014.

Text & Photo © JE Nilsson and CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2014

It’s the first week of Swedish Christmas table seatings at restaurants across the country. In Gothenburg, treating yourself to a julbord is a bit like getting to open your Christmas presents a little early. Even if the point with Christmas tables in Sweden is to offer traditional Swedish fare found year round at different junctures, it is still the manner in which the food is presented, plus the Chef de cuisine’s personality that comes through with each dish presented that provides all the fun in the dining experience. Continue reading “Sjömagasinet julbord 2014”

Winter apples

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Winter apples
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson and CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2014

In Sweden nature offers an unexpected luxury – winter apples. These are apples that are not ripe enough to be picked before the the cold winter season has come and night temperatures are down to just above freezing.

Since this is a natural produce where we can’t do anything to hurry up the process of growing or ripenig, what’s to do is to just wait and see.

In this case, ripe enough for picking is not the same as ripe enough to eat. On the contrary, these apples need to be treated carefully like eggs, and to be cold stored and individually wrapped in paper. Treated in this way they can keep the entire winter and at some point in time ripen to an unrivaled sweetness and flavour. Continue reading “Winter apples”

A Swedish perspective on cucumber pickling, a matter of pragmatic luxury

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“Swedish Västerås” pickling cucumber crop from our own garden, scrubbed clean.
The preservation process depends entirely on the Lactobacillus bacteria that cover the skin of a naturally grown cucumber. These are removed by the food industry while harvesting as a matter of routine, thus complicating the home-pickling process.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2014

Continue reading “A Swedish perspective on cucumber pickling, a matter of pragmatic luxury”

August crayfish 2014

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Crayfish. Often consumed, under the “soft August moonlight” (Swahn 2004:248), is popular in Sweden during the late summer months.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2014

From saving Middle Ages monks from starving too much during the long period of Easter Lent, and in 1522, being prescribed as a remedy for cholera, to later being seen as disgusting to eat because they were thought to be scavenger creatures that fed particularly on human corpses, the humble crayfish has seen its ups and downs in terms of reputation: Continue reading “August crayfish 2014”

Blåbärskräm | blueberry cream

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Blåbärskräm or cream of blueberry.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2014

“Wow, this is fantastic! What was it you said that goes into making this blueberry sauce?”

“Pieces of chess – chessmen – as how you lay them on a chessboard. It is not one ingredient or another, but a combination of factors that includes time, over two decades.”

It was blueberry cheesecake topped with a luscious, syrupy blueberry filling, softly oozing down the sides of the cake as it was placed in front of me at a café in Singapore, that had me at hello darling – what are you, and where have you been my entire life? I was fourteen. It was the first time I was having a baked cheesecake topped with blueberry filling. It looked good.

But even then I realised that I needed to take that blueberry filling home with me somehow. By ‘home’ it was meant, anywhere in the world that I was. If there were blueberries to be found, then there was this to become swiftly of them. I knew at first sight, I needed the recipe to this mouthful of creamy deep blue-purple heaven that wasn’t one bit infused with any sort of chocolate. Yes, what insight into my own culinary visions. Continue reading “Blåbärskräm | blueberry cream”

Polenta banana walnut bread

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Polenta banana walnut bread.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2014

My current baking muse project is the banana walnut bread, where I’m trying variations of this recipe:

100g butter
100g brown sugar
2 eggs
450g bananas (mashed)
1 tsp vanilla essence
225g flour
1 tsp baking power
1 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
150g walnuts (chopped)
4 tbsp plain yoghurt Continue reading “Polenta banana walnut bread”

Food market at Järntorget, Gothenburg

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No overcast sky would discourage the long queue for this warm lunch
served at the most popular stall at this food market.

Text & Photo © CM Cordeiro 2014

I love marketing. And what better way to market than to chance upon these tented food stalls at Järntorget in Gothenburg during lunch hour?

Despite the overcast sky that threatened a tropical rainstorm, it was a decision to head towards Järntorget for lunch that landed this serendipitous find of a food market, courtesy of Tentazioni of London. Continue reading “Food market at Järntorget, Gothenburg”

Orange almond cake, petite madeleine Escribà Barcelona

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Spanish orange almond cake: a variation of the sémola bizcocho de almendras.
Text & Photo © CM Cordeiro 2014

It was the search for that perfect xocolata calenta in Barcelona 2011 on a weekday morning that found me wandering the streets of El Raval in the neighbourhood of Ciutat Vella, also known as Barrio Xinès or Barrio Chino, close to the quarters of Barri Gòtic, that landed me tasting the most wonderful variation of the Eurasian semolina almond cake, infused with orange.

Working on the batter of this cake, I can’t help but return to the words of the protagonist in Proust’s Swann’s Way, the first of seven volumes to À la recherche du temps perdu (published between 1913-1927), on when the petite madeleine, crumb soaked in tea, touched his lips: Continue reading “Orange almond cake, petite madeleine Escribà Barcelona”

Free trade and making friends, Xwine.se at Passion för Mat 2014

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Daniel Eliasson, xwine, Passion för Mat 2014

Daniel Eliasson, xwine.se, with Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, at Passion för Mat 2014.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2014

In 2007 the rules of the game were changed when it came to importing and selling wine in Sweden. That year EU ruled in favour of the individual’s right to trade freely between Member States [1], and suddenly anyone could import their own wine without the Swedish governmental monopoly ‘Systembolaget’ having any say in what or from whom.

The Xwine company was founded almost immediately upon that. The idea is a simple one. Find unique vineyards in Italy and France, and offer their wines to friends and customers in Sweden. Continue reading “Free trade and making friends, Xwine.se at Passion för Mat 2014”

Organic livestock systems based on animal welfare. H. Karlsson Charkuterier, Härryda. Passion för Mat 2014.

Richard Rudolph (right), H. Karlssons Charkuterier

Richard Rudolph (right), H. Karlssons Charkuterier, Härryda at Passion för Mat 2014.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2014

Rediscovering the obvious
A few years ago we were traveling in rural China well outside of the tourist trails. Here we were invited for lunch with some locals. The omelette served was so rich and tasteful it stunned me, I had never had such a good omelette at any more urban hotel or restaurant. I realized I just needed to know the secret and asked our host, thinking there must be a secret ingredient, how this fantastic omelette had been prepared. As a reply, I got back, a blank stare. – You do like this, she said. You take two eggs and your chopsticks, and then you stir, like this … (whip, whip, whip … )

It was not before we came back out on the land outside the house that I noticed a whole bunch of free roaming hens, picking and eating whatever they found on the ground and doing what hens do. I realized that was the entire secret, happy hens, left alone living together with humans, not as an industrial production unit.

So when it comes to food production and consumption, something that fundamentally affects our lives and eco-systems, while it seems that some parts of the world have seen its third global shift, there remains a constant struggle today, to reconcile the different perspectives of how humans should and can manage their environment in an integrated, ecological manner that puts them not at the top of the food chain because that perspective is myopic and eventually self-destructive, but alongside in collaboration with all other food chains and eco-systems [1].
Continue reading “Organic livestock systems based on animal welfare. H. Karlsson Charkuterier, Härryda. Passion för Mat 2014.”

Reblochon – fromage de dévotion! France Fromage, Passion för Mat 2014

Maria Six, France Fromage

Maria Six, France Fromage, Passion för Mat 2014
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2014

Some things in life, are unexplainably uncanny. Like my first time landing at the airport in Shanghai. As I stepped into the arrival hall, I saw two formally dressed individuals, one of whom held a name card that read, “Cheryl CAMPBELL”. Without pause, I found myself walking right up to them:

“Are you looking for me?” I asked curiously, careful not to mention my last name.

“You from Gothenburg?”

“Yes, from Gothenburg.”

“You, Cheryl Campbell?”

I hesitated a heartbeat, then answered, “Yes, that’s me, Cheryl, from Gothenburg.”

“Ah! Cheryl CAMPBELL! It’s a pleasure meeting you!”

I smiled, returned the warm greeting and said very little thereafter.

Then there were my days in Barcelona in 2011, where depending on which route I took to the IESE Business School, I would find myself every morning, walking past two different monasteries, one was a Carmelite Order, an order devoted to silence, contemplation and reflection, and the other with a heritage in the Order of Saint Clare / the Second Order of St. Francis of Assisi.

At the most superficial of coincidences of my days in Barcelona, my parents had wanted me to become a nun of the Carmelite Order. I also grew up in a convent founded by a Minim Friar, St. Francis of Paola (1416-1507), named in honour after St. Francis of Assisi (1181-1226).

During these days, was that visit to Santa Maria de Montserrat, a Benedictine abbey located on the mountain of Montserrat, about forty-eight kilometres from Barcelona, where I found the most delightful of cheeses crafted by the monks themselves.

So I couldn’t help but muse when for several years in a row at Passion för Mat, whenever I meet with Jacques and Maria Six of France Fromage who specialise in fine cheeses, they seem to place in front of me, specific types of cheeses related to my life’s travels somehow. This year, when Jacques pulled us aside to relate the story of Reblochon, fromage de dévotion, I almost stared at him in disbelief.
Continue reading “Reblochon – fromage de dévotion! France Fromage, Passion för Mat 2014”

Fredrikssons Smakhantverk Öland, Passion för Mat 2014

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Marmalade from Fredrikssons in Öland.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2014

Beautifully crafted jars piled in pyramid form, lit from their feet by several spotlights made for Fredrikssons annual display at Passion för Mat 2014. It was wonderful seeing their marmalade stall teeming over with visitors, each curiously sampling the sweet concoctions with hardbread or crisps, trying to decide which of the dozen offerings of flavours they liked best.
Continue reading “Fredrikssons Smakhantverk Öland, Passion för Mat 2014”

Evolving culinary ideology, Passion för Mat 2014

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Anders Arnell

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, with Anders Arnell.
Anders is a culinary edutainer who has a summer restaurant, “Arnell på Kajen” in Marstrand. His new book, MAT-ematikerna co-authored with Jan Tern is now out in the bookstands.

Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2014

Ongoing, a part bantering of ideas, part negotiation, of a large block of crystallised Porcelana cocoa bean chocolate dating almost thirty years back, that after tempering, would render the silkiest textured chocolate. Not being able to overcome the initial realisation that I have been eating decades old chocolate, I finally got around to the main thread of talk at the table. The idea was how to keep a consistent standard of quality that at the same time, made the signature of your culinary work. Service was a given, they were all artists and experts in their own culinary field of choice, there could be no other way in this business otherwise. But in the ever increasing modularisation of the individual’s niche knowledge and skills, there came the question of the paraph that made it just that notch more exclusive for the customer:

“How would you propose I do that?”
“I told you, get this block of chocolate!”

And so it is, all part of this year’s Passion för Mat 2014 theme, Ärlig mat or True food. Food that leaves a lesser carbon footprint, a non-kitsch understanding of sustainable living and a redefining of what is luxury and exclusivity, without a mention of those words. It’s all very practical and all very Swedish.

Continue reading “Evolving culinary ideology, Passion för Mat 2014”

A Christmas dinner 2013

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JE Nilsson, who has researched and written about 1700s Swedish food,
was happy to play Santa ‘Chef de Cuisine’.

Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2013

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Selecting first class produce is the key to all good cooking.
Here, we were planning a new orange and honey glazed spare ribs dish,
looking at blood oranges flown in from Italy.

By December every year as the days grow shorter and shorter, it is fun to spend time in the kitchen, planning and cooking Scandinavian classics, trying to recreate inherited recipes from days long gone past. The old fashioned dishes and the manners in which they are prepared, usually involve a lot of time consuming manual work, but nonetheless worth the effort in terms of rediscovering what has been and making it current again.

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Gravad lax is maybe one of the oldest dishes on the traditional Swedish Christmas table.
Today it is pickled with a mixture of salt, sugar, pepper and a generous helping of freshly cut dill.

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Once done, it is ideally eaten with a honey mustard sauce.

Continue reading “A Christmas dinner 2013”

Coming home to Valentino’s 2013

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At Ristorante Da Valentino.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2013

Already when we last met, the Valtulina family hinted at that they were preparing a move to a new location. It would be a great improvement they told me, since they had seriously outgrown their family living room sized premises in the Bukit Timah area. Because of this, it was with great expectation we went to take a look at the new restaurant, Valentino’s, at Turf Club Road.

Greeted in family tradition with a warm hurricane of emotions at their door, we were whisked almost immediately, into the kitchen, where Valentino stood at the heart of it all.

I had certainly missed the Valtulina Family!

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Gianpiero Valtulina, setting up the private dining quarters of the restaurant. Gianpiero, or ‘Papa’, has been a guiding hand in the process of the building of the new place. His influence and finishing touches can be seen in the beautiful decorations furnishing the home and restaurant.

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The private room here can seat about forty-five persons. Perfect for that larger family or corporate event.

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With so much movement in the place, I couldn’t help wanting to capture all details on camera, from the rustic brick enclaves in the main dining hall to the stash of deliciously piled ripened tomatoes and garlic that sat in proximity to various cheeses all carefully stored.

It took about a half hour to orientate myself in the new expansive place, from walk-in freezers to the various bakery and kitchens, the main dining hall and the Valentino Garden outdoors that already housed a healthy citrus tree, to finally sit down and come to process the information and impression of their new restaurant. Continue reading “Coming home to Valentino’s 2013”

Trattoria Capri, Singapore 2013

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From the left, Adriano Iannone, La Braceria and Limoncello,
Daniele Devillanova (chef) and Luca Iannone, Trattoria Capri at Binjai Park, Singapore.

Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2013

It’s been just about two years since my last visit to Trattoria and Pizzeria Capri in Singapore. In the ever changing landscape of Singapore, it’s a relief to step into Capri again, to find friendly and familiar faces and to pick up the conversation where it was left off, with hardly a glitch.

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Interior of Capri with tiles of the Amalfi Coast, home of the Iannone family.

Much of our conversation revolved as usual around the different types of Italian food by region. Continue reading Trattoria Capri, Singapore 2013″

An afternoon with Chef Takashi Okuno, at Truffle Gourmet, Singapore

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, IMG_0788a

A selection from their wine cellar. It’s difficult to make a poor choice of wine at Truffle Gourmet, Singapore, though ideally you leave the choice to the sommelier.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2013

A few weeks ago, a new restaurant opened in an old shophouse along Club Street in a dining concept that combines fine quality ingredients with culinary heritage and tradition.

It is perhaps not surprising that Truffle Gourmet is located in the heart of the most fashionable and lively district in the midst of Singapore.

Club Street is one of Singapore’s older streets. It is situated at the edge of Chinatown just adjacent to Cross Street and Amoy Street. In these quarters during the 18- and 1900s, Chinese immigrant labourers would find letter writers and calligraphers to help them stay in touch with their loved ones back home.

Today, a long stretch of bars and restaurants offers a variety of interesting places presenting good food in stylish surroundings.
Continue reading “An afternoon with Chef Takashi Okuno, at Truffle Gourmet, Singapore”

Moussaka

The Greek national dish Moussaka, for a summer dinner. A drop of Lambrinì Theodossious olive oil from Plomari on the romantic island of Lesbos, adds just that extra beam of sunshine.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2013

As much as I love Italian cuisine, pasta has not so far made it into my top favourite dishes. However, in many respects a Greek Moussaka could be seen a lighter version of a Lasagna, that will leave some room for that special cherry chocolate tiramisù dessert, that indeed is one of my favourites.

Since there are so many good Moussaka recipes to be found on the Internet by the click of a ‘mouse’ I will not go into all the details of this dish but just mention some ideas that I find useful myself.

There are four steps in putting this dish together. A little bit time consuming maybe, but well worth it in the end.

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro thyme

Thyme into the meat sauce.

Continue reading “Moussaka”