I’m spoiled

Once you try something that is of a better quality than what you’re used to you widen your perspective of that certain thing. You realize what the experience acually could or should be like. When you after that strive for the better stuff the usual stuff you once was used to doesn’t quite cut it anymore. It could be a pair of shoes, a hotel room, wine or like tonight a steak.

I used to think the normal steak wasn’t that exciting really, more often than not a bit tough and in need of a sauce to lift the taste from ok to good. For a while now, every time the meat has been the centerpiece of the meal, I’ve been buying some really nice pieces and it’s been fantastic, totally worth every penny.

Tonight I decided to cook some nice beef but just ran down to my closest grocery store and bought what was left – a ‘normal’ steak. A quick turn in a hot pan and then slowly cooking it in the oven usually results in a great experience with a nice piece of steak. But not tonight, it was that old type of experience. It looked perfect but it just wasn’t good enough. I’m spoiled.

Scrambled Eggs the Way I Like It

I was at my parents for a family Easter dinner. The lamb with chèvre mash, the home salted herring and smoked salmon was all very good but the pièce de résistance was the French scrambled eggs or more accurately Oeufs Brouilles a la Michel Guérard (Swedish translation: Michel Guérards lyxägg). When my mom was in St Petersburg she bought some Caviar (I think it was Sevruga) and been waiting for a fun way to serve it. This was it. It’s basically perfectly scrambled eggs with onions, chives, cottage cheese, served in the shell and topped with caviar.

You’ll need a sharp, serrated knife to cut the top of the eggs so you can use them to serve in. Wash them in warm water and let them dry. Beat the eggs, pour through a sieve into warm melted butter and continue to beat the eggs while increasing the heat so the eggs get thick and creamy without getting solid. Now add the finely chopped chives and onions (you can use shallots instead of onion), cottage cheese, salt and pepper. Serve it in the shelves, like ¾ full, and fill with the caviar that should be slightly domed.

Dreaming of a Gastronomical Vacation

Last year’s visit at El Celler de Can Roca got me, and the rest of the party, hungry for more of gastronomical top dining. I’ve summed up my experience from El Celler in a separate post found here but for the summer to come we’re aiming at Spain again, this time a different Costa. Hopefully we’ll find a place in or near San Sebastian since the city is home to a whole bunch of great restaurants. Look at the Top 50 in the world and you’ll find Arzak, Martin Berasategui and of course Mugaritz, the latter which I hope will be reopened after the unfortunate fire a couple of weeks ago.

Sitting in a café enjoying a rare sunny day in Stockholm someone heard me and a friend discussing Mugaritz and offered a few other tips for great culinary adventures in and around San Sebastian. He was a journalist and a food critic so we took his advice as valuable. So if you’re heading to Basque Country drop in at Akelarre, La Cuchara de San Telmo or any of the many excellent Pintxos bars.

El Celler de Can Roca, Girona 16 July 2009

I finally got around summarizing a great experience at a great restaurant.

We started off with snacks consisting of Black sesame crackers, Cherry with Campari (we believe they made it with liquid nitrogen), Caramelized Olives (could be the favorite snack), Anchovy bone (think prawn crackers but with anchovy bones, so good!), Tomato and tuna salad (so much more flavor than you’d imagine), Razor clam macaroni al pesto and Pigeon bombon with Bristol Cream.

First serving: Cherry soup with eel. A lovely combination, especially together with the wine – Agustí Torelló Trepat D.O. Cava.

 

 

Second serving: Mussels on the rocks and fennel velouté. Now here’s one of the many memorable things – the rocks. Somehow they managed to transform rocks, sand, dirt well some kind of earth into a delicate sorbet-like thingy that when perfect with the mussels and the wine – Gran Fassians Mineralschiffer 07 Mosel-Saar-Ruwer.

 

Third serving: Charcoal-grilled king prawn, king-prawn sand, king prawn essence. A lot of king prawn flavor here and it was good. How was the sand you wonder, well a terrible parable is to say that it was like crushed prawn crackers, it was so much more than that. The wine was Finca Viladellops D.O. Penedès.

 

Fourth serving: Herring smoked caviar omelette. How they managed to get the smoked caviar, which was incredible by the way, inside the omelet is beyond me but it was a fun dish brilliantly complemented with Fino Inocente D.O. Jerez.

 

Fifth serving: Catalan cod pot-au-feu. I love cod, and I love the way they treated this one, matched with Pezas de Portela 04 D.O. Valdeorras which I found fantastic.

 

Sixth serving: Charcoal-grilled sole with green olive oil, pine nuts, fennel, bergamot and orange. The sole was perfect and consumed with the flavor accessories separately; it was like a story going from olive to orange. The wine, Nelin 06 D.O.Qa Priorat, was surprisingly friendly to all the flavors.

 

Seventh serving: Lamb and tomato-rubbed bread. This dish was very good but got the vote from all of us as the least exciting one. Wine was Finca Malaveïna 05 D.O. Empordà.

 

Eighth serving: Goose à la royale with peach. Now we’re back on track and the dish served a nice bridge to the upcoming deserts. We drank a Ramirez de Ganuza Rva 03 D.O.Ca Rioja.

 

Ninth serving: Charcoal-grilled eggplant confit. Here’s not only a dish but an experience. Throughout the dinner the charcoal grill had been an important ingredient and here it was a perfect companion with the fabulously prepared eggplant. The confit was served on top of a bowl covered in plastic film with a hole in it. In the bowl below the plastic was a twig (can’t remember if it was rosemary or something else similar) and the smoke from the charcoal grill and every time you took a spoonful of confit the smoke puffed up through the hole and supplemented your olfactory experience of it all. Almost forgot about the wine but it was an Ino Masia Serra D.O. Empordà and it was superb.

 

Tenth serving: Green chromatism. Who said you can’t use cucumber in deserts. It was cucumber and minty and it was fresh and wonderful. The wine worked really well – Scharzhofberger Kabinett 06 Mosel-Saar-Ruwer.

 

Eleventh serving: Caramelised apricot. It looked like an apricot but it was hard like candy and when we broke it a little piece of heaven flowed out and tasted like, well apricot. It was, well heavenly. Wine, never failing, good as always, Moscatell Cosecha Miel Casta Diva 07 D.O. Alicante.

 

Summing up it was an unforgettable evening. The food was daring, experimental but without losing any soul. The service was impeccable, ever present, never disturbing. The bread was something out of this world and the final grappa was fantastic, I just regret not remembering the name of it. Hats off for the setting as well, love it. Love it all! Thank you Joan, Josep and Jordi!

Swedish Beef

A week ago I was down at Söderhallarna at one of my newly found favorite meat shops in Stockholm – Sandströms. That day I was in the hunt for a good entrecôte, nothing overly fancy, just a nice Friday steak. But you don’t just go in and buy your meats, you have a little chat about what’s new and what’s good. Then I learned about Simgus – a mix between Simmental and Angus. When they’re bread at Ejmunds on Gotland they’re bread Kobe style. They get the right food and of course massage. Yet to be tested by me and then I’ll be back with a review.

But how was the Friday steak, have a look and guess…