Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Days in Buenos Aires

A beautiful, green city. European inspired architecture and wide streets. Warm people with lots of attitude. Opinionated,  proud of their origins. Political turmoil. Wealth inequality. Steak restaurants. Dry leaves on the road in afternoon heat. Poverty. Strenght. Political Demonstration. We didn't expect tango blasting out of the windows but the steaks we did assume to be extraordinary, which they were.

These are a few things we expected to experience in Buenos Aires. Nothing fancy but nothing overly negative either. We were aware of the poverty issues, more so related to the wealth inequality aspects. Also the politics as the Argentinians do like to strike. Maybe we did rely a little too much on our romanticized idea which was based on various media sources. We were prepared to experience even negative surprizes but shallowness was not one of them, which turned out to be what we experienced the most. Experienced travellers as we are, we were prepared to watch our belongings.

It was beautiful. It was green. And it was also European inspired. In the matter of fact it looked like Paris, Madrid, Barcelona and Rome all combined. Imagine that!

On the other hand, throw in some greedy hands reaching for your handbag. Several pairs of eyes following your every step. Don't you dare taking out your camera or be prepared to find a safe spot to hide. Don't get confused by the occasional friendliness you meet as there are plenty of those who will show you your spot. You know, smack down your wealthy European ass, since you can buy another camera, mobile phone, watch - all of it. Anytime. Can't you? So why not try to rob you. On almost every step you take.

You might try and play it safe. You don't wear any jewellery, not even the plastic bracelet you bought from H&M. You know, not to attract any attention. You take off your wedding ring and try to store it somewhere safe. The safe deposit box in your hotel room is not the place to store it so you try to hide it. You also hide your passport - just in case. You don't walk with your camera, you keep it hidden and covered. You feel uncomfortable. You are stressed and you want to go home. Eventually you just book daytrips via travel agent, sit by the hotel pool and hope you will not get robbed on your way back from the restaurant in the evening. Not that you would have anything to rob off anyway but they would probably still give it a try, you European scumbag.

You are safe! You made it! You only had to file one police report after you forgot to take off that golden necklace and it was ripped off you in the middle of a crowded street on a sunny afternoon. You made it!

Actually, you didn't. It was the staff at your 5 star designer hotel that got you by arranging someone to steal your belongings. Their faces gave them away. Their behaviour gave them away. The police who didn't care to watch the surveillance tape gave them away. They didn't care. Just file a report, they said. Your insurance will cover it, they said.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Pumpkin pasta with roasted vegetables

I bought a pumpkin the other day because I wanted to cook it for the first time in my life. First I made an asian pumpkin soup and for the main course I made this pasta with some delicious roasted veggies and goat's cheese!

This is a great pasta, with a slightly unusual taste from the pumpkin.

Pumpkin pasta with roasted vegetables

For two

500 g of pumpkin, peeled, cleaned and cubed
about 1l beef or vegetable stock (I prefer beef)
2 gloves of garlic

Start with boiling the pumpkin cubes in the beef or vegetable stock until soft together with garlic and salt.

Enough tagliatelle for two, about 80g per person
Half of an aubergine
Handful of cherry tomatoes
30g goat cheese
olive oil

Slice the aubergine and lay the slices evenly on a baking tray. Sprinkle with salt and leave it for 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile heat an oven to 225 degrees. Wipe off all the water and add the cherry tomatoes. Sprinkle with sea salt and olive oil. Roast in oven for 15-25 minutes, until slightly brown.

While the veggies are roasting, take about 1/3 of the pumpkin and puree it until smooth and nice. Add  a pinch of salt if needed.

Boil the pasta. When the pasta is ready, pour out most of the water, saving about 1dl and mix the pasta and water with the pumpkin puree.

Serve with roasted vegetables, olive oil, greated goat's cheese and some basil!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

(Salad)Heaven on a plate with beef tagliata

Despite of the rough start, the spring has been gentle to us. With some nice weather, sunshine and the thermometer hitting around 12-15C in March, we must say it feels great!

Lately we have been exploring some new tastes in form of salads, which is not very common in this household. Then again, if all salads were like this...

We have found it slightly difficult to find great meat in the Netherlands. It's not really the quality of the meat but to find it! The pre-packed and cut meat you see on the shelves of Albert Heijn doesn't look very delicious in all that vacuumed plastic and if you don't have the time (or ok, admit that you just don't want to spend your Saturday queuing at butcher's) to visit the local butcher then... well, then you better have a sandwich! We really miss the meat counter at Stockan Herkku! Then again, the meat you find here in the land of green grass and all those ponies cows, is absolutely delicious! 
...If you happen to eventually find some.

Here's a delicious, warm rocket salad recipe we modified a little and added the beef. Originally the recipe is from Jamie Oliver.

The only difficult part of this dish is preparing it all at once. You want to keep the meat and the salad warm yet not let either of them wait (not even for a minute).

Beef tagliata

For two

n. 500 g of Beef tenderloin (in one piece)

Brown the beef on each side for 2 minutes on an evenly hot pan in some good quality butter. 1 minute is more than enough for thinner "ends". Heat the oven to 150 degrees. Wrap the met in foil and stick the thermometer in the thickest part of the beef and roast until thermometer hits 55-degrees.

Keep the beef in foil until served (min 3 minutes, max. 10-15)

Warm rocket salad with beef tagliata

For two

4 Shallots
8 Slices of bacon
4 Sprigs of thyme
2 tbsp pine nuts
4 Big handfuls of rocket

Olive oil
Balsamic (vinegar) dressing

Peel and halve shallots. Heat a frying pan and fry off the bacon until crisp. Remove, add a couple of lugs of olive oil to the pan, and add 4 sprigs of thyme, the onions and a good handful of pine nuts with a tiny pinch of salt. Toss around and fry on a medium heat for about 5 minutes until caramelized and sweet (not black!).

Put the bacon back into the pan, toss around, then throw everything into a salad bowl with 4 big handfuls of rocket. Drizzle with balsamic dressing – this will make a natural dressing as it mixes with the olive oil. Serve with some shaved Parmesan over the top.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Honey & Chili marinated Quail (suom. viiriäinen) & Vacu Vin Instant Marinater

We recently spent a spectacular weekend in Brussels sightseeing, taking wonderful photo's of the beautiful city and eating absolutely delicious food! One of the highlights of our trips is always visiting the local super market. This time our new favourite became the quail. This bird was not familiar to us since in the Nordics you don't really get quail... anywhere..? So we grabbed a package of nicely packed two quails and stuck them in the freezer until recently when it was the time to explore some new flavours!

New flavours were explored also in the form of the marinade which I made up myself. I looked up a delicious looking picture of grilled quail yet since it was something the blogger ate in the restaurant, he didn't have the recipe... So I made it up myself.

We don't have a picture of our dish... No, actually we do have pictures but they weren't really pretty ,.. so maybe next time. The quails must look golden brown, slightly grilled.


Honey & Chili marinated Quail

For two

2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsb chili flakes
0,5 dl (a splash) Worchesterchire sauce
0.5 dl of olive oil

4 small quails

Prepare the marinade by mixing all the ingredients. Marinade the qails for at least four hours in the fridge.

At least four hours later..

Heat oven to 200C. Put the quails and the mariande in a cast iron dish (with a lid!) with a table spook of butter and place to pre-heated oven for 30 minutes.

Remove the dish from the oven and let it rest for 15 minutes, don´t forget to season with some additional sea salt and black pepper. Preheat oven again as hot as it gets (grill element) and grill quails until golden/dark-ish brown.

We ate this deliciousness with potato and carrot puree's but I'm still exploring the best alternative for this dish. It was delicious, though!

We absolutely love the Vacu Van Instant Marinater! It marinates the meat in half of the time (probably even faster!) you'd normally have to use and it's so easy to use and clean, too! Amazing product! I wouldn't necessarily marinate it only for minutes, as they claim but it really has saved several hours of our precious time.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Roasted duck confit with celeriac & pear

The year 2014 has started off with a big bang and lots of problem tackling. To keep our minds straight we are concentrating on the good things in life, such as cooking! With all the moving and settling in cooking became more of a distant memory than what it used to be, a great way to relax and use our creativity. With the floor lists (still) lying by a wall in the living room we are ready to experiment with some great new ideas and products!

At the end of the year we planned to take it easy in the beginning of 2014 and concentrate on our home, sports, photography and cooking. However, almost all of our photography equipment was stolen from our hotel in Buenos Aires (just stay away from Continental 725 hotel..) as well as our Macbook Air. It was "only" a materialistic loss but for two IT & photography geeks it really hurt. Luckily we still have an old Macbook as well as an older camera, the Canon 500D, which surprised us with it's great picture quality we had completely forgotten about!

Recently we prepared this amazing combination of roasted duck confit and celeriac & pear salad we found on Jamie Oliver's site and, once again, made it slightly different. The whole combination was simply amazing! 

Roasted duck confit with celeriac & pear

For two

2 Duck Confit's with duck fat

2 gloves of garlic

2 tablespoons of crème fraîche

juice of 1 lemon

2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard


freshly ground black pepper

1/4 celeriac, peeled and chopped into matchsticks

1 pear, chopped into matchsticks

1 small bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked and roughly chopped

Put the crème fraîche, lemon juice and mustard into a bowl, season with salt and pepper and mix well. Add the celeriac, pears and most of the parsley, and combine carefully.

Preheat a pan with two table spoons of duck fat. Add two garlic gloves. Remove / wipe off excessive fat from the duck and roast on both sides for about 8 minutes on medium heat.

Enjoy with a wonderful bottle of red wine.
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