Archive for April, 2008

fish and soy sauce

April 20, 2008

Some friends had lovingly introduced us to Swedish surströmming (see this story). As a matter of returning a favor, we exposed them a little later to our experiments in Indonesian cooking. One of the recipes that I tried on one of these occasions was Bandeng bumbu ketjap, according to the Dutch-Indonesian Keijner cookbook (I have also posted here about this book).

Bandeng is Milkfish. I must admit that I do not know its taste. Everyone says that mackerel is a good substitute for Bandeng. On the other hand, it seems rather unlikely to me that mackerel works as a substitute for anything else than mackerel.

In any case, there was no Bandeng in Borås at the time, so I did take mackerel for this recipe. (more…)

coffee and ear damage

April 15, 2008

Here I am asking the universe for an improvement. Worldwide. Imagine that you are in a medium large city, carrying around a backpack with a book or two, your calendar and your laptop, you’ve got an hour to spare and it is, say, 11:15. Time for a seat, a cup of coffee, a horizontal surface and an illusion of a tiny private space. Unless you’re at some American university campus and have access to some dedicated sit-and-wait-and-sip place, your chances of finding a suitable café are small.

In one typical kind of coffee place one can only manage a quick, standing and back-nudged espresso, like in that corner shop in Ithaca’s Collegetown where there was not even a place to hold the cup.

In others, such as the last-resort-type cappuccinery at Kiel Central Station, one drinks one’s coffee while balancing on a wobbly bar chair. (more…)

sweet dreams

April 14, 2008

Last night, I dreamed that I attended a large birthday party. They were just beginning to hand around cakes, brownies, pastry and stuff – lots and lots. I believe I saw about 20 items in huge piles, chocolaty ones, flaky ones and some big bits with thick layers of sugary gleaming icing.

I had just managed to think that I’d better skip most of the powdery brownies (while munching one) and other lesser kinds in favor of the ones with the most icing when I woke up. (more…)

three-tastes party chicken

April 13, 2008

A great way to entertain a bunch of standing, balcony-invading, chatting, newly arriving and otherwise not organizable guests is to place a baking tray full of chicken bits in some strategic location close to the drinks. In order to avoid big or unwieldy pieces I don’t do it the cheap way this time, which would be chopping up a few whole chickens. Robin likes chicken wings; I find that they often have too much crunch in relationship to the meaty part. I buy a lot of chicken drumsticks.

I preheat the oven to medium high, 360-370 F (180-190 C). I pour an appropriate amount of salt over all the parts and mix them by hand. I press some garlic over two thirds of the chicken bits and mix again (I do wash my hands before and after). Then I make three heaps, two with garlic and one without. (more…)

lamb, curry, cream; living and cooking in amsterdam

April 11, 2008

Our kitchen in our third-floor Amsterdam apartment looked out on a wide, flat roof under which the ambulances of the city were parked. The white-blue Chevy Van ambulances would hoot their jolly Dutch warning melody (a 4-6 chord c-a-f-a) into our living room whenever they roared and squeaked out of their cave. This experience belonged to the front of the house. The roof at the back was owned by the cats and usually relatively quiet. Cats have a mind of their own. They would howl at nights, chase the gulls, fall off balconies with astonished faces, but they refused to touch the rat while it was fresh, that had experienced a major roof-climbing mishap. (more…)

kristianstad revisited

April 2, 2008

For some altogether unknown reason, my earlier post about Kristianstad’s restaurants has been honored by the greatest amount of hits on this blog – 141 altogether (while, for instance, the delicious chicken thighs with tomatoes only caught forty-something hits). Time for a sequel: last weekend I was back. However, because of a lack of time and of social obligations of the “stick to the gang” kind, I never found my way into Modesto, as promised, which was sad for me but good for my purse.

What I can offer instead is a review of the Greek restaurant Den Lilla Tavernan, (more…)