Posts Tagged ‘salmon’

an english villa in the woods

October 14, 2010

The scenic route between Gothenburg and Stockholm via Jönköping can be a good alternative for the more direct, but hectic and boring E20. The trip goes on riksväg 40 past Borås, and not long after that, things begin to become interesting. You should reserve quite some additional time for recreational stops along the way.

You may consider Ulricehamn, a pretty little town, for the first one of these. Check out Günther’s German bakery, which has a sublime choice of sweet in-betweens (their new website is still under construction). Long before Günther made the news (and Crown Princess Victoria’s wedding cake), he was locally famous for his elegant confectioneries. His Café is in the center of town, a little off the main pedestrian zone.

In terms of lunch, Ulricehamn can be summarized as an assembly of pizzerias, uninspired Chinese restaurants and Swedish school-meals-gone-public; an experience which you will not regret to have missed.

One might instead aim for Jönköping, a larger and more businesslike city at the shores of lake Vättern. I once was talked into accompanying my boss of the time into one of the allegedly better lunch places there, and ended up with an over-salted, brown and wrinkled chicken leg beside a bunch of peas and fries and some low-alcohol beer. I could be prejudiced, but may I suggest a far better and more picturesque alternative, about twenty minutes or so before you reach lake Vättern?

You turn off the 40 at Bottnaryd, taking road 185 north toward Mullsjö. Just before reaching this village, you turn west and enter Ryfors bruk. The signs cannot be missed. The centerpiece of Ryfors, an assembly of historical smithies, mills, sawmills and whatnot, is the English villa, which is marketed as an “authentic English Cottage” built in 1886. It houses a recently renovated hotel/restaurant with an excellent kitchen and good, personal service.

We stumbled upon Engelska Villan on Robin’s birthday (a luxuriously rainy summer day), on our way to Habo kyrka, the interior of which can be seen here (if you look carefully, you even see part of my harpsichord in the right-hand far corner. But that is a coincidence.):

Because of the hostile weather the English Villa was almost deserted, but our dedication to make this a special occasion and to conquer the empty dining room was well rewarded. Based on a copious amount of nachos, a delicious bowl of gaspacho, penne with a wine, cream and beef sauce, and a perfectly cooked piece of salmon marinated in honey, all reasonably priced but very nicely prepared and served, I am happy to recommend this kitchen without any reservations.

(To reach Habo church, a gorgeous large decorated wooden church, we later drove on through Mullsjö and crossed the countryside heading east. The village of Habo itself is somewhat less memorable, were it not for the industrious Anders Ö and his well-stocked, and sometimes open, store of n-gauge trains.)

tofu incognito

January 10, 2009

So here were my kids, visiting for Christmas, and my daughter has become a vegetarian. In lieu of the traditional heap of goose, I cooked my spinach salmon for her (the occasional bit of fish is okay with her), while my son and I hacked away at an over-sized and unfortunately somewhat too dry bit of ham in a bread crust (there’s no recipe needed for that one – only that I salted a fresh ham for a week together with herbs and spices, that I overdid the crushed juniper, that I half-cooked the ham and wrapped it in bread dough, which I baked in the oven until done).

But on New Year’s Eve, we had a problem. The Dutch tradition calls for huzarensla, a decorated heap of mashed potato salad with pickles, bits of meat and mayonnaise (all recipes I know are a bit boots-on and can easily be improved and refined, which I usually do on a trial and error basis – a little differently each time. Here’s one recipe. You’ll find more). I needed something that could stand in for the strips of pre-cooked pork that I usually put into my huzarensla – something to provide a certain chewiness. I decided that westernized tofu was my solution. (more…)

lemony chickpea soup with salmon

May 27, 2008

The last scoop-in-the-pan of home-cooked chickpeas is usually too watery for hummus. But it is a perfect starting point for chickpea soup.

The following recipe is slightly too much for two. No, maybe it isn’t.

I sauté a cup or so of finely cubed carrot and half a cubed onion in olive oil. If you have really fresh really red peppers, you could add some of these as well. A little later, I add a chopped clove of garlic and cook everything a little longer. Now the chickpeas enter with their cooking water – the amount is a little up to taste but I guess that I’d use two or three cups of chickpeas-as-if-drained and as much water as there is. I add fresh water until there is enough soup and bring the whole to the boil. I mash some of the chickpeas with a fork against the side of the pan, but not too many.

In the meantime I have been in the garden for some fresh mint. (more…)

salmon again

January 29, 2008

As an elaboration of an earlier post about salmon slices on a bed of savoy cabbage

I am posting here Salmon on a spinach bed

Start by pre-heating the oven to 390 degrees F (200 C). Retrieve from the freezer 3 cups of hacked, frozen spinach, or use the amount of fresh spinach that would cook down to three cups (carefully rinsed and coarsely chopped) while four tablespoons of good olive oil are heating up in a skillet. A large quartered or two small halved garlic cloves are very carfully browned until dark golden. The spinach is now added, together with a pinch of nutmeg, salt and freshly ground black pepper. It should bubble for the time it takes to slice fresh Salmon for two into half-inch thin bits.

Take an oven dish and cover its bottom with the spinach. Distribute the salmon evenly on top, sprinkle with salt and some lemon juice. Bake in the oven until the salmon is done.

It seems so simple – turned out as the best dinner of the past weeks.

quarky salmon on savoy cabbage

January 19, 2008

Sometimes, as with the tomatoed chicken thighs a few days ago, spontaneous kitchen improvisation produces quite nice results. But sometimes one is, in all humbleness, totally knocked over with the outcome of an experiment. Like today.

I had to get rid of about 1 1/2 cups of quark [scroll down on the page], a traditional German and Austrian fresh cheese, for reasons of its own called Kesella in Sweden (if you are looking for substitutes it will be helpful to know that Kesella has 10% fat). Other interesting contents of the fridge were: the soft, light inside of a medium-sized head of savoy cabbage (yesterday the green leaves all went into cabbage roulades), around 200 grams of fresh salmon and an almost empty jar of goose fat from Christmas. The following recipe serves two. (more…)