Category: Culīnaria

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

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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”

Love at first bite

Cutting the steak

Personally I would leave the steak some eight minutes before serving to let it rest a bit and even out the temperature. I have found that this leaves the steak much juicier too.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2013

Admittedly, it was a feeling of pure lust that washed over me from the moment the succulence of it appeared under my visual radar. I wanted it. I knew from the first instance I saw it, it was mine. Without a doubt, I wanted all of its deliciousness home with me.

It was not so much a question about how many inches of it I could have, but the fact that already the first two would give me a really nice piece, with both strip steak side and the tenderloin.

I really don’t know what it is with big chunks of beef that releases so much of the primitive hormones in me, but it seems the case that I often end up buying way too large steaks to a small household. Perhaps I just like large, in general, like fruits, diamonds, cars, houses. Anything.

However, there is no way any one single person can down a four lbs (2kg) T-bone steak alone. Not even two grown up persons can do it comfortably. With some modest side dishes, you need to be at least four.

And there you have it, a perfect reason to call a few friends and throw a dinner party.

I have always also felt a little bit intimidated by outdoor barbecuing, because it seems so hard to get any steak exactly the way you want it. Too many burst and charred tomatoes, too many raw and inedible chicken parts etc. have left their scars on my self confidence I’m afraid, but this would be the day, with a gorgeous find of a T-bone.

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After considering a Barolo, my choice fell on a full bodied 2001 Rioja which worked out well.

When planning a dinner, I like to choose a wine that will complement the food, as soon as the menu is settled. In this case I felt a steak this brutal, would take a robust, mature red wine that would stand its own ground and not fade into the wallpaper when a medium rare two inch thick steak landed on the plate.

My rule of thumb when preparing a meat dinner, is one glass in the sauce and one in the chef. In this case I was not planning to have any sauce, so I recalibrated the wine ratio, which also worked out OK.
Continue reading “Love at first bite”

Sourdough: naturally leavened bread

Secrets of Sourdough with Eduardo Morell.
Produced by KQED’s “Quest: Science on the SPOT”.

Sourdough bread served with olive oil and sea salt would be a classic combination of flavours, the bread simply sponging up the golden oil. Decadent.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2013

A few years ago, the concept of slow cooking began in Sweden as a general awareness raised in the context of too much pre-fabricated ingredients being used in the food and beverage industry. Today, the idea of slow cooking has developed more into a lifestyle philosophy here on the Swedish culinary scene, and at the heart of this all, is the secret to sourdough baking – it is an all natural process of fermentation of the bread, and it takes time, the standard time being three days to the baking of one batch.
Continue reading “Sourdough: naturally leavened bread”

Cinnamon rolls – a Swedish coffee break staple

The weekend baking project. Swedish cinnamon rolls.
Text © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2013

Fast and easy to bake, these can can be filled and glazed with most anything you favour from crushed pecan in maple syrup to vanilla custard. Glaze with likewise as many of your heart’s culinary desires from cream cheese to Dulce de Leche.

Related:
A Swedish fika over cinnamon rolls
Kanelbullens Dag, Cinnamon Rolls Day 2009
Cinnamon Roll Day (Kanelbullens Dag) in Sweden, 2007

Sourdough pet

From a late night’s adventure in baking – two different types of sourdough bread, from a kefir culture and a buttermilk culture.
Text & Photo © CM Cordeiro 2013

At this year’s Passion for Food Festival 2013 in Gothenburg, one of the talking points was about how homebaked sourdoughs are now coming back into fashion in Swedish households. Most people still lamented the time it took for a culture to start and rise, this being the primary reason why sourdoughs were abandoned for decades as a household project due to a lack of time.

So sourdoughs were not always favoured in breadbaking history, and I couldn’t help but laugh when I read in a well-regarded Swedish cookbook printed in the late 1990s that sourdough cultures were cumbersome to work with because they tended to die on you, not give enough raising strength to the dough or worse, produce bread with uneven holes in the texture. And to think, at this year’s food festival, I was so taken in by sourdough bread with exactly those large, uneven roles going through its entire structure that I thought I’d adopt a sourdough culture as a pet project to see how it works out.

It’s been a few months and the culture is alive and well, no fuss to it at all, contrary to how it is often written about in numerous cookbooks and websites. Just see that you have enough of the starter after a baking project, leave it out a few days and I can almost assure you, it’ll live. Yeast and bacteria are after all, quite resilient organisms.

I now in fact have two different sourdough cultures to experiment with to my heart’s delight, where as pets, they hardly take any time looking after at all.

Vanilla tempt

The art of apple crumble.
To the sounds of Fact Magazine Sven Weisemann Tikuma.

Text & Photo © CM Cordeiro 2013

LUNCH TALK
$E: yeah / i totally understand why it is that women tend to fall for the bad guys / [1 guys with an attitude]1
$L: [1 you’re really attracted]1 to these types because there{s} so much danger surrounding them / so much machoism that you as a [2 woman / don’t]2
$E: [2 don’t have // yep]2 it{i}s so completely opposite of being female right
$L: < yep > and opposites attract
@ < ingressive >
$M: cliché / cliché // < but > / i completely understand if girls fall for devil type guys / plenty < of us do that / but this is beyond ridiculous >
@ < hesitation >
@ < laughter: E and L >
$T: makes it harder when lucifer has an angelic [3 smile too / right]3
$M:[3 angelic smile]3 / you{a}re talking he{ha}s got < a code of conduct / a moral compass >
@ < laughter: all >
$T: tough // [4 but]4
$M: < [4 yep]4 >
@ < ingressive >
$L: < > you gonna finish that ice-cream / can i have it
@ < gesture: looks at M's dessert plate >
$M: < nope >
@ < ingressive >

Homemade egg noodles / pasta in under an hour

Homemade egg noodles / pasta served with meat sauce, topped with thyme
and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil from Italy.

Text and Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2013

A fork full of this homemade egg noodles / pasta brought an instant flash of a Madeleine moment of sorts where I was reminded of my first encounters with egg noodles as a child of about age six.

It would be one of my first days in school in Primary One at CHIJ Katong in Singapore, dressed in freshly pressed blue pinafore over a starched collar white blouse. I was new to the routine of going to class, making new friends and having to navigate recess time buying food at the school canteen on my own. It was perhaps the second day of school that I found myself drawn to one of the more crowded canteen stalls that sold fishball noodles that cost all of Singapore $0.40 cents during the early 1980s. I realize today that the bowl that was filled half with noodles and two fishballs, was not large though it seemed at the time, very large in my tiny hands.

I’ve always found myself to be a slow learner and remember that at age six, while some other girls had mastered the art of eating with chopsticks, I sat for most part of the recess time, struggling to put strands of noodles onto the soup spoon for a neat consumption. It took time and I was happy that on some days, my father’s father was around to keep me company, sometimes laughing at my actions, most times just sitting and watching in amusement. Continue reading “Homemade egg noodles / pasta in under an hour”

Easter “Påsk” yellow 2013

Easter lilies.
Yellow is the colour that distinctly marks Easter in Sweden, together with the colourful Påsk or Easter Egg.

Text and Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2013

In Sweden, which is today seen as a very secular country, Easter is still a celebration that is much anticipated however not so much for the religious connotations as for it being a landmark weekend for the upcoming summer and a sign, that from now on, its spring. Continue reading “Easter “Påsk” yellow 2013″

Omelette et sausage, home basics


Home made “hotel breakfast” with all ingredients
locally produced and all sourced at the Passion for Food Festival 2013.

Text and Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2013

In a world that becomes increasingly complex and contradictory by the day it is sometimes gratifying to go really local, while keeping a global perspective.

One of the things I love most with the Passion for Food Festival is that so many international small quality producers are putting so much effort into introducing themselves to the western Swedish consumers.
Continue reading “Omelette et sausage, home basics”

A European wine odyssey at Passion för Mat 2013

With Zdenka and Martino (pictured) Oliboni of Italian Wine Bar.
When I asked which Amarone they thought should I have for the evening, the bottle I had in hand was politely removed and replaced with this bottle of Villa Crine Amarone Classico 2008.

Text and Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2013

Sunday 3 March was the last day of the Gothenburg Passion for Food Festival 2013. The winding down hours, or the final rush, depending on your disposition, found me at the Italian Wine Bar with Martino, his wife Zdenka and their colleagues. Trade fairs, as much as they are for marketing and doing business is for me a meeting point to catch up with old friends and make new ones. In these closing hours I had just one thing left on my wish list, a glass of Amarone.

Seeing that Zdenka and Martino were busy, I began browsing their assortment of red wines. But I didn’t have long to ponder my choice since as soon as they spotted me, various bottles were promptly brought forward and just as long lost friends, we picked up chatting from where we left off last year.

The Italian Wine Bar

The Italian Wine Bar they represent is an Italian company they own jointly with the purpose of introducing a little piece of Italy to Sweden. They source wine, beer, grappa and various delicatessen (such as panforte from Antica Pasticceria Masoni) from their local friends and neighbours in Tuscany, just in-between Florence and Siena which is a pretty significant place in the regional history. In fact Eva and Gino Vettese live within viewing distance from San Gimignano, which I had the pleasure to visit just a few years ago. Their own olive oil is also sold via the Italian Wine Bar. It is fun to notice that what I was looking at today was specifically that kind of olive oil I was advocating already by then:

When it comes to olive oil, there are different qualities beyond “virgin” and “cold pressed” oils. What you want is something better than extra virgin olive oil in flavour. The oil to look out for is from those that hand pick their olives and have them pressed on a daily basis. Although this kind of quality olive oil is difficult to source

With their minuscule yearly harvest, it was no hard decision to pick up a few bottles at once.
Continue reading “A European wine odyssey at Passion för Mat 2013”

Lesvos olive oil: from the Aegean Islands to the Swedish west coast

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro and Lambriní Theodossious (right)
at the
Passion for Food Festival 2013 in Gothenburg, Sweden.
Text and Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2013

What I love about traveling is the adventures and the new experiences that come with it. My favourite souvenirs are new food ideas, and where possible, I love bringing home local produce of the region coupled with recipes of places I’ve visited and of dishes I loved. Eventually I will also synthesize the experience, mix and match with things I already know and make the experience my own.

Meeting with Lambriní Theodossious who owns her own olive plantation on the islands of Lesvos in Greece at the Passion for Food Festival 2013 in Gothenburg, Sweden, was another one of those wonderfully unexpected experiences. She brings her efforts of love in the form of dark bottles of unadulterated olive oil which she produces herself with some help of local farm hands, from Greece to Sweden. Its called the Todora Olive Oil, named after her grandmother Theodora.
Continue reading “Lesvos olive oil: from the Aegean Islands to the Swedish west coast”

“Enjoying good food with open senses” – a Fredrikssons approach to marmalades

“[A]tt nyfiket njuta av god mat”. With Christer and Mona Fredriksson of Fredrikssons Marmalde, who have their base on the east coast of Sweden, at Öland.
Text and Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2013

Naturally there are different things that people say they ‘cannot live without’, but one of the first things I do at these Food Festivals, is to walk right up to Mona and Christer Fredriksson and their stand with quality marmalades from Öland, and bag a generous helping of jars to last – if not till next year – so at least a couple of months into the summer.

It was also fun but not entirely unexpected to hear that the jams and chutneys from Fredrikssons made it to the recent Nobel festivities, the Nobel Night Cap 2012 in Stockholm.

Business processes are sustainable with use of the highest grade raw produce available.

An absolute favourite, the Apple and Calvados marmalade.

Their home and plant is in Kalmar County, at the island of Öland, located almost directly across Sweden, from Gothenburg at the Swedish east coast.

Standing at this fair with the Swedish East Indiaman Gotheborg, resting at the quay just outside, I can’t help thinking of how connected things are in this world. It was just a few years ago since I visited the Kalmar Nyckel ship replica that docks in Wilmington, USA. The Kalmar Nyckel was a pioneering emigrant ship that left from this very place to the New World in 1638, leaving its passengers there to establish the first permanent European settlement, the Colony of New Sweden in present-day Wilmington, Delaware.

A somewhat unrelated jump in thoughts perhaps, but now marmalade from Kalmar is nevertheless delivered to the quay side, where the Götheborg III Ship lays bundled prior to high summer season, for us to pick up at will with no complicated sailing involved at all. See here the wonders of modern trade.

A nice bottle of wine, some good cheese and my favourite choice of marmalade and I think I’m pretty much set for a perfect evening with friends, or a good book.

Link: Kalmar Nyckel ships replica, Wilmington

Highlights from Passion för Mat 2013, March 1-3, Gothenburg, Sweden

Finally the long awaited Gothenburg food festival Passion för Mat (Passion for Food Festival) has opened and is currently ongoing from 1-3 March 2013 at Eriksbergshallen, Gothenburg.

Being invited to bypass the crowds on the opening day, we had the pleasure of joining the exhibitors in the early morning hours as they put in the last touches at their stands. As with previous years, we completely enjoyed strolling around the market area on our own, making new culinary discoveries and meeting with old, as well as new friends.

Last year, in 2012 Sweden’s Minister of Agriculture, Eskil Erlandsson, named Gothenburg the Culinary Capital of Sweden 2012 in recognition of its rich natural produce, not the least because of its long time focus in various seafood, but also because of the many new various food companies specializing in high quality and gourmet food from all over the world setting up businesses here. Being an internationally small city, its culinary footprint is quite large with several Guide Michelin star chefs and quite some significant prize winnings and notifications at global food events (ref. Gothenburg Culinary Team).

Below, some picture highlights from the first day of this food festival.

At Eriksberg, Gothenburg, Sweden.
Having a relaxed morning coffee at Hotel 11, to the sounds of Vivaldi’s L’Estro Armonico, Op. 3, Concerto No. 8 in A minor for two violins and strings, RV 522.

Text and Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2013

Jonas Wickstrand of Öckero Fisk explaining the flavours of this tray of smoked salmon paté hors d’oeuvres or tapas.

Continue reading “Highlights from Passion för Mat 2013, March 1-3, Gothenburg, Sweden”

Bitter orange peel gingerbread cookies

Gingerbread cookies with bitter orange peel, just because.
Text and Photo © CM Cordeiro 2013

I was over at a friend’s place recently, where in Sweden, gingerbread cookies make an abundance of appearance at coffee tables in various shapes during this time of year. Most store-bought gingerbread cookies are made with the basic ingredients of flour, sugar, syrup and spices, where they are generally a tad too sharp in sweetness for my liking, the reason why the ones served at the table on this occasion at my friend’s place intrigued.

The cookies were lighter in colour and more voluminous than the standard dark gold, thin flats of gingerbread cookies bought off the shelves at the grocery stores. And they tasted, different. I enquired after their source and her lighthearted answer was that they came from an artisan bakery shop just down the street where she lived, and no, they didn’t come off the shelf from the grocery store, her eyes just barely flinting in horror.

Continue reading “Bitter orange peel gingerbread cookies”

A Christmas table at the old Swedish East India wharf, 2012

In the old Swedish East India Company wharf that is today, Sjömagasinet.
Text and Photo © JE Nilsson, D Neikter Nilsson and CM Cordeiro 2012

This spacious wooden log house that today houses the restaurant, Sjömagasinet, was once a wharf belonging to the Swedish East India Company (1731-1813). The restaurant has in the past years seen a change of hands between Guide Michelin Chefs, from Leif Mannerström to Ulf Wagner, where no doubt, the personalities of each at the helm comes right through to the dining experience.

What Wagner has done with this Christmas table is to challenge the very idea of which traditional Swedish foods make it to the julbord and how those dishes were presented, up to and including making a symphonic combination of tastes in sections of food. So as long as you stayed within the same general area at the table, any dish within arm’s reach would complement each other in flavour. As such, self-serving guests would not ruin their own meals unsuspectingly by adding something out of the place to their selection. How the complementing and sophisticated flavours from the various dishes could be blended over from one dish to another within reach was one of the remarkable features of this Christmas Table.
Continue reading “A Christmas table at the old Swedish East India wharf, 2012”

Santa Lucia saffron bread, Sweden

Santa Lucia saffron bread / buns or as the Swedes call them, Lussekatter.
Text and Photo © JE Nilsson and CM Cordeiro 2012

In Sweden the 13th of december is called the night of Lucia. The name is connected to the Sicilian saint of St Lucia through the Catholic past of Sweden however the actual celebration itself is that of the longest night of the year, the antipode of the Midsummer Night celebration.

In its Nordic context it was thought that this, the longest and darkest night of the year was filled with so many spirits and generally unholy workings that one had better stay awake. And to this end, till this day the night is often spent partying and in the morning, white clad girls with candles in their hair with friends visit teachers and elderly relatives. The girls with the candles in their hair signify the coming of light and the lengthening of the days again till Midsummer’s.

Today, Swedes around the world delight in celebrating Lucia on 13th December with song and dance, much like Christmas caroling in churches of the Roman Catholic faith. A beauty contest of sorts to find the year’s “Santa Lucia” queen often begins in early December across various regions of Sweden, a girl who heads the choir specifically for this celebration, crowned with a ring of lit candles on her head.

On the culinary front, a golden yellow saffron bread with the most delicate of aromas, made out in various shapes familiar to Nordic folklore is baked for this occasion, one where I find difficult to resist not in the least because of its aroma or colour, but in its lightest of texture of breads dotted with raisins.
Continue reading “Santa Lucia saffron bread, Sweden”

Dark ginger orange stollen

Dark ginger orange stollen – a variation of the Swedish julbröd or vörtbröd.
Text and Photo © CM Cordeiro 2012

Stollens are one of my favourite festive foods at year end, together with the British inherited version of dark brandied fruitcake / fruit pudding mainly because I find so exotic and comforting at the same time, the blend of flavours from the butter, the spices and dried fruits.
Continue reading “Dark ginger orange stollen”

The beckoning of the Nordic Advent

Fruitcake, to be soaked at will with any liquor of choice.
Text and Photo © JE Nilsson and CM Cordeiro 2012

Even before this Advent weekend in Sweden, the long winter nights in the Nordic sphere had already beckoned people to put up their Christmas lights by the window, soon to be complemented by shiny tinsel Christmas decorations indoors. Out in the streets, Christmas lights adorn walkways and street lamps in anticipation for the Swedish Christmas markets to open their doors or rather, unfold their outdoor stalls.

As traditional Christmas food comes in numerous dishes, I thought I’d begin this festive season early with items I liked most. In perfect keeping with my preference for desserts, desserts before mains, desserts instead of mains, I thought I’d begin the culinary festivities with a fruitcake.

Though I seem to like all sorts of fruitcake, from light to dark, crumbly to sticky puddings, in the past several years I’ve come to settle on the preference for a lighter textured fruitcake, sans liquor soaked. But preferences differ and the majority of friends and family who stop by over Christmas seem to love either brandy or cognac soaked versions of the traditional Anglo-Saxon rich, dark fruitcake. What I’ve made here is a variation of the Swedish korinter tårta that is less dense compared to the English fruitcake or Christmas fruit pudding and where the liquor is added prior to baking so that the alcohol burns off and what is left is the taste of the liquor per se.
Continue reading “The beckoning of the Nordic Advent”

At Los Caracoles Casa Bofarull, Barcelona, Spain

At Casa Bofarull, Los Caracoles Barcelona, Spain.
Text and Photo © JE Nilsson and CM Cordeiro 2012

If you hear that this restaurant is a challenge to find, that would be an accurate observation, especially if you don’t turn at just that left exit along La Rambla that leads you minutes down the lane to the restaurant, when walking from Plaça de Catalunya towards Rambla del Mar, but instead navigate from within the Gothic quarters of the city, or elsewhere.
Continue reading “At Los Caracoles Casa Bofarull, Barcelona, Spain”

The tranquil at W Singapore, Sentosa Cove, Singapore

At W Singapore, Sentosa Cove.
W Hotels Worldwide are known for their luxurious interiors.

Text and Photo © JE Nilsson and CM Cordeiro 2012

Having grown up in Singapore, I’ve had the opportunity to observe Sentosa transform from a relatively quiet and exotic city getaway with accessible beaches that you could drive up to, park and picnic if you so wished, to one filled with attractions today such as Universal Studios alongside Resorts World that have both locals and visitors gather by the hundreds over the weekends for some fun.

This time my curiosity was piqued about the American W Hotels Worldwide’s newly opened W Singapore hotel and residences located at Sentosa Cove. A place targeted as part of the Singapore government’s efforts at building exclusive residential areas, this one in particular being currently the only seaside marina residential area in Singapore.
Continue reading “The tranquil at W Singapore, Sentosa Cove, Singapore”

Durian Cake, Singapore

Durian Cake.
Text and Photo © CM Cordeiro 2012

Part of my culinary adventures is to combine bits and pieces of knowledge and inspirations picked up from one context and transfer that to a different context, in anticipation of the results. Besides which, I didn’t think I could get away being back in Singapore without cooking or baking with the family.
Continue reading “Durian Cake, Singapore”

Catalunya Singapore, a touch of Barcelona, Spain at the waterfront

At Catalunya Singapore, The Fullerton Pavilion at Collyer Quay, Singapore.
Text and Photo © CM Cordeiro 2012

If it were not for a kind Samaritan I met along the way who pointed out directions to the Fullerton Pavilion in Singapore, I would have taken much more time before landing at the day’s lunch venue – Catalunya Singapore.

Coming in from the scorch of the mid-day tropical sun, it took a few seconds for the eyes to adjust to the dimmer interior of the bar and restaurant, though the line of sight didn’t need to venture farther than the reception to find a touch of Gaudí’s influence in the gleaming white broken mosaic pieces that clung to the columns of the dining interior. This influence of Gaudí would also continue, as I found, through the dining experience in the shapes and motifs of the plates and utensils on the table. Not two steps into the place, I was surrounded by individuals who spoke Catalan and Spanish, déjà vu and I felt right back in Barcelona again, and felt right at home.

Continue reading “Catalunya Singapore, a touch of Barcelona, Spain at the waterfront”