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Archive for January, 2015

My husband just celebrated his 50th birthday.

He is a very lucky one because this birthday has been celebrated a bunch of times at this point. The first time was when we were home in Sweden a while ago, the second time was a big birthday party for a whole bunch of family & friends (this also took place in Sweden) and the third and last time was this week when he had his actual birthday.

My sister with family and one of my brothers and his family gave my husband an overnight stay at this most fantastic Japanese spa “Yasuragi” in Stockholm. I was also a lucky recipient of the present.

It was the most fantastic experience. A little bit like a cult when you first looked at all the people walking around in the same robes and slippers, but what a different experience. It was all about eating, relaxing and doing a whole bunch of nothing. Just the way I like it.

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yasuragi

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My family had chosen Teppanyaki as dinner for us.

Teppanyaki is food prepared on a huge griddle or iron plate in front of a small group of dinner guests. It is clearly a visual as much as a taste experience. “Teppan” means iron plate and “Yaki” means grilled. So, it was a huge griddle. The chef prepared different smaller dishes for us. A reindeer fillet, dumplings in a broth, grilled kale, lobster, sushi and so much more.

There was one thing that really stood out. They had a marinated garlic that was absolutely marvelous. It had been marinated for 2 years. They heated it up on the griddle and folded it into some rice. Wow! What a taste memory that was. I am about to make this myself. I asked them for the recipe and they gave it to me gladly. Really easy actually. The problem is only to wait for it to be done… It will be a long 2 years wait.

marinated garlic.

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Marinated aged Garlic;

Good garlic, if possible, organic.

Equal parts Mirin

& Soy sauce. Preferably organic as well but a good Soy & Mirin will also do.

Water for blanching the garlic cloves in.

Directions;

Bring water to a boil. Add the peeled garlic cloves to the boiling water and blanche them for about 3-4 minutes. Let the garlic cloves dry off & put them into a dark glass canning jar (or other jar) with a tight-fitting lid. Pour over equal parts Mirin & Soy. You reach the best result if you fill the container to the very brim. Make sure the lid is tightened well. Let the jar sit in a dark place for 2 years.

At the spa, the chef told me that they are making new batches of marinated aged garlic cloves every year. It is one of their staples in the kitchen.

 

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One of the vegetables they prepared for us was fresh kale, well cooked on the griddle with garlic slivers.

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raindeerlobster

 

 

 

 

 

 

full force

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The whole meal was a perfect display of cooking and showmanship. Perfectly pared with different kinds of drinks such as aged Sake.

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japaneese dining room

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A more traditional Japanese dining room.

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hot springs*

The outside hot springs were fantastic. Even though it was below freezing outside when we where there, we didn’t feel the cold since the different heated springs kept us nice and warm. We ended up staying there for hours. Some of my friends that has visited the spa told me they had spent time in the hot springs looking at the snow falling.

sauna

 

Scandinavians loves their saunas. At the spa, they had one called the “Panoramic Sauna”, overlooking the water. We sat there late at night in the dark, looking at the cruise ships going to Finland. I must say it was the first time I ever have liked these ships.

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viking line

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They were even nice to look at during breakfast in the morning….

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room

Part of our room.

robe

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And my little husband in his “yukata”, Japanese robe.

 

 

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I can have cravings for a plate of a good old spaghetti and meat sauce, served with parmesan and a cold beer! A plate of something old fashion, “everyday meal”. Something your mama used to make.

I think that many of us has pasta as a “go to” or a “fast fix” meal. For me, one of the easiest sauces to make is a meat sauce. You can switch the meat out for anything else that you would prefer. Perhaps some tuna, pulled pork or just keep it vegetarian if you prefer that.

I don’t measure anything. I just take a little of this and a little of that. Whatever I have in the fridge will be the base of it all.

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Good old Meat sauce.

Serves 4.

10-16 oz. Ground beef.

1 medium or large onion. Any color.

1-3 cups of chopped fresh vegetables. I usually use a mixture of fresh mushrooms, peppers, carrots, celery.

1 medium can of crushed tomatoes. If you are lucky and have fresh tomatoes, cube those up and use those instead.

Lot’s of garlic. I like it a lot so for me, it will be about 6 cloves but if you only want one, that is good enough.

3-4 tbsp. of tomato paste (or ketchup if you don’t have tomato paste).

Any kind of fresh or dried herbs. About 1-2 tbsp.

Salt & pepper to taste.

A splash of hot sauce in my case but that is optional as always.

Milk or heavy cream. You could also use creme fraiche. If you don’t want to use dairy, just use a broth.

Directions;

Chop or shred your vegetables while you fry up the ground beef in a skillet on medium high heat. When the meat is done, pour over to a bowl. Fry the chopped onions and the vegetables in the same skillet. When the onions are getting a little translucent, pour in the fried meat. Add the tomato paste or ketchup. Start with half the amount since it is easier to add than take out. Let the garlic fry with the veggies and meat just a few minutes so they don’t burn. Add the crushed tomatoes  and the milk/heavy cream/ broth or whatever liquid you prefer to use, to the skillet. Let boil down for anything from 15-30 minutes. It all depends on how much liquid you have added. I add about 2 cups of liquid. If it gets to “dry” before I get a loose and soft sauce, I just pour in more milk. Salt & pepper to taste. Add the herbs the last few minutes.

I serve this with any kind of pasta. This is such an easy weeknight dish. The trick is to cook a lot of sauce and freeze it in badges. You just take it out the night before and let it defrost in the fridge over night. boil the pasta when you get home and heat up the sauce. Super fast. Just the way I like it. And that cold beer is just the crowning of this easy, basic dish.

Add some shredded parmesan and call it a day.

Enjoy!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A New year. I am happy for that. A New Year brings new possibilities and expectations.

We all try to start off being better & healthier. I want to make better choices for myself this year. On all levels. With that said, now it is up to me to execute it. Oh boy… I better stick to it all this year.

We decided to just take it easy on new years eve. A pajama party of sorts. A tradition that my husband grew up with, is to hold rice and some money in your hand when the clock strikes midnight. I wanted to “up the odds” so I was holding a couple of extra bills and as much rice as my hand could hold. Now we just have to wait and see.

The new year is showing its nice side. The sun is shining and it is nice and fresh outside. The morning has been slow and gentle. How could you start the new year better than this?

We had the usual lobster meal on for new years, but this time we didn’t even finish it all. That is unusual. That gave me an opportunity to make a nice individual Lobster Omelette with some vegetables for breakfast. Delicious and the first healthy meal of the year.

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Individual Omelette’s with left over Lobster.

Serves 2.

4 large eggs.

4 tbsp. milk.

6 mini peppers or 2 x 1/2 bell peppers, different colors. Finely cut.

6 asparagus. Finely cut.

1/4 – 1/2 cup left over Lobster or any other seafood. Cut in semi big pieces.

1 tbsp. shredded basil leaves or any other fresh herbs.

Salt & pepper to taste.

1 Lemon or lime.

Hot 450 F/ 225 C oven.

Directions;

Whisk the eggs well, together with the milk, salt & pepper.

Heat up mini frying pans or if you only have a regular sized pans, do one big omelette.

Pour in the egg/milk mixture. Fry for a couple of minutes, scraping the edges into the center so that it cooks evenly.

Fry the finely chopped vegetables. Turn off the heat. Let sit in the pan.

Put the mini omelettes into the oven. Add the seafood into a oven-proof bowl and warm slightly.

Finish off the omelets and make them “dry” on the top. It will only take a couple of minutes.

Take them out, you will see that they have puffed up a little bit, just like a soufflé.

Add the vegetables and the seafood on top. Shred over the basil or fresh herbs.

Squeeze a few drops of lemon or lime over the omelette.

Serve with some fresh fruit.

Enjoy the New Year!!!

 

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