Thursday, April 29, 2010

Smörgås lunch


I'll call it smörgås seeing it was made from IKEA ingredients. Packet-mix rye bread (really yummy!) with mustardy mayonnaise, gravlax, gherkins, sliced hard boiled eggs and lumpfish roe. There's a lot of food here even though it's very compact. I don't think I'll need dinner at this rate.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

IKEA food run

Princess cake for morning tea

This is my morning tea today, with a nice cup of coffee. Ahhh.

I've been sick with a cold the last couple of days (today included), so I've been home from work. And the problem with being home is that you eat the food that you would normally have used for meals. So today when I went to the cupboard, it was pretty bare. And nothing is worse for a grumpy sick girl than being hungry.

The other thing worth mentioning is that around this time every year, I get really mean cravings for Scandinavian food. Who knows why? Possibly the changing seasons make me want rye bread with mustard herring. Honestly, sometimes I think something weird must have happened to me in utero, because I have a really strong affinity for a number of different food cultures, but not my own. So anyway, knowing that I had to go get some food anyway, and that it wasn't really further to travel than my usual grocer, I decided to make an early morning run to the IKEA food market and kill both birds with one stone.

The new IKEA store (I say new, though it's been open since Valentine's day 2008) has a nicely sizeable food section. It's possible to get there pretty quickly from the front of the store if you take all the shortcuts that you can, skipping all of the display sections and most of the market hall. I wish there was a special entrance just for the food section, but never mind.

The thing with IKEA is that while I like it a lot, I don't ever want to go there more than I have to. So if I'm going to make a run to the Swedish food market, I'm not just going to pick up some crispbread and some gherkins. Nope, I'm going to stock up properly. Here's my haul for today.

IKEA perishable food

First, the perishables: meatballs, gravlax, tiny shrimp, salmon paste, lumpfish roe, the aforementioned Princess cake and mustard herring, and a packet of rösti.

IKEA non-perishable food

And the non-perishables - crispbread, rye bread mix (currently baking as I type), cream saucce mix for the meatballs, cloudberry jam, gherkins, gravlax sauce, and some candy for Anthony - Daim, Ahlgrens bilar (Sweden's best selling car, har har) and some chocolate.

Now all that's left for this sick little girl to do is eat my princess cake and assemble some smørrebrød for lunch. Yum yum. (Yes yes, smørrebrød is Danish. Whatever. It's all Scandi to me.)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Counting time, waiting

I keep getting distracted in the kitchen by more interesting things, like, for example, my mortgage broker calling to tell me that our bank is totally sold on the house and has approved my home loan. (Huzzah!) So then I call Ant, and my mum, and my dad, and completely forget about what I was doing in the kitchen. Fortunately, recently I've been cooking the sorts of things that are made better by neglect - for example, osso bucco. In this spirit, allow me to present my recipe for osso bucco from my upcoming book (ha), The Inattentive Cook.

Osso bucco alla Hayley

An onion
A carrot
A couple sticks of celery
A can of tomatoes
A bay leaf (but you forgot to buy this at the shop, so don't worry about it)
Four osso bucco rounds (ask the cute butcher and he will cut them up for you. Also pick up a pork rump roast while you're there, which he will also have to cut for you. Refer to this as art, which makes him mumble and ensures excellent service in future.)
Some herbs and whatnot
Olive oil

Chop the onion, carrot and celery into little cubes. And the garlic. Yeah, I didn't mention garlic earlier, did I? That's the spirit of this book. You probably have some. If you don't, whatever. Heat your olive oil over a medium burner in the awesome cast iron pot your daddy gave you for your birthday.

Add the chopped veggies, season with some salt and pepper, and stir them around until they're softish. They can brown up if you remember that you wanted to set the DVR for Inspector Rex and wander off for a bit. That's cool. Once you're done, come back and push them to the side. Brown the osso bucco pieces for 30 seconds or so on each side. Add the can of tomatoes and stir it all so everything's mingling. Add a splash of red wine or whatever you have handy. White is fine, rose would probably work. Who knows? I think sherry would be bad, though. Add a bit of water or stock so that the meat is nearly covered.

Turn the heat down as low as you can, put a lid on and go have a bath/nap/read a book/do some yoga/watch last year's Eurovision for three hours. Or whatever. This dish is vastly improved by being forgotten.

When you come back, take the lid off, take out the meat and up the heat so the sauce reduces a bit. You can mash the chunky bits against the side of the pot if it takes your fancy. You can even puree it with a stick blender, though that would take more effort than the average reader I have in mind is willing to part with. Chop up your herbs (parsley or basil are probably best but whatever you have handy, except maybe coriander) and stir through the sauce.

Plate the meat, spoon over the sauce, and serve with no-knead bread for that extra "I barely tried and look how good this is" street cred.

Also in this series: the aforementioned no-knead bread, slow-cooked pork, cassoulet, twice-baked potatoes, chicken cacciatore, French onion soup. I'm on a winner here, except that there aren't many desserts than can be abandoned. Icecream a la mode? Leftover Plum Pudding From Last Christmas That I Just Found In The Back Of The Freezer? Yeah, the dessert section needs work.