This dinner we made whole chicken in the Schlemmertopf.
We started off with a nice mix of spices:
black pepper and
Together with that we cut a leek into three pieces and chopped a red chili, which we spread out on top of the chicken.
I have found that it makes for a better dish seasoning wise to decide on the amount of spices before one puts them in the pan or stew, etc. Putting them straight into the food I tend to be a bit restrictive, whereas if I place them on a plate or in the mortar and then pour them into the food I tend to be closer to the sweet spot. The past few times I have done this way I have ended up with close to perfect amount of the spices I selected. There is still a long way to go for me to get the whole composition between the tastes right, but in terms of using the spices to bring out the flavours of the food this seems to be working for me at least.
After pre-soaking the Schlemmertopf, mortaring the spices in need of that and chopping the chili it all was placed in the pot and put into the oven at 140 °C.
As sides we made white cabbage wedges that we roasted in the oven after taking out the chicken, that we left to rest in the Schlemmertopf.
Finally we served the chicken and the cabbage wedges with a few leaves of lettuce and some freshly grated carrots and red beets.
With our new portion-sized cast iron ramekins we have had the possibility to explore some new ways of presenting as well as cooking our food. Nothing too surprising or ground-breaking (yet) but well some additional inspiration.
The last week we bought some pork loin which we thought would be nice to make pulled pork with. We have done it before, but every time one revisits a dish some new factor is added. One gets a different feel for which spices should be included. The ratio meat to sauce changes somewhat or one alters the oven temperature and time slightly. So, it is always interesting to see how the new dish turns out.
This time we used tomato sauce and garlic as the base together with the loin of pork. The spices were black pepper, cummin, ginger, cinnamon and cayenne pepper. The whole thing was mixed into the Schlemmertopf and cooked in the oven for almost four hours. Unfortunately on a slightly low temperature for the meat to really fall apart, but the taste could not have been better!
As a side for the pulled pork we made sticks of carrots and parsnips that we roasted in the oven along-side with sweet mini peppers that we stuffed with matured feta cheese.
Since we figured that the carrots and parsnips needed to be in the oven longer than the peppers and on a higher temperature than the pulled pork we took out the Schlemmertopf with the pulled pork and let it rest whilst the vegetables we roasted on the higher temperature. With 15 minutes left before serving we put the peppers in as well. The peppers were placed in our new portion-sized ramekins which as a really nice way of serving them in the end, since they kept the heat nicely when serving.
Whilst waiting for the vegetables to finish in the oven we pulled the pork apart. And then we put it all together and enjoyed a really nice dinner with a glass of red wine to go with the food. The spicing of the pulled pork turned out really, really well. The cinnamon and ginger together with almost too much cayenne pepper made a perfect combination.
Now to a recipe that we have not made i a long while, actually since before we stared the blog, but which is a really nice one! The recipe is for a carrot and parsnip mash. This was something that we tried and perfected during our stay in Dublin. It started out with a nice seasoning experiment and then turned into a real favourite.
1 kg carrots
700 g parsnips
2 brown onions
75-125 g Butter for frying (25 g) and 50-100 g for the mash
1 tsp vanilla powder
Salt and pepper to taste
First, chop the parsnips and carrots into small cubes and place in the steamer or in a regular sauce pan with boiling water. Next chop the brown onion and start to fry in a big sauce pan together with butter. Fry it on quite a high temperature as to caramelize them nicely. However, make sure not to burn them, it is a delicate process and not too easy to stay on the right side.
Once the carrots and parsnips are ready steamed and the onions are caramelized place the carrots and parsnips in the big sauce pan with the onions add 50-100 g butter, the vanilla powder and salt and pepper to taste and mix with a hand blender until smooth. You might want to add a half a deciliter of hot water to help getting the right smoothness.
The mash is surprisingly sweet and makes a perfect companion to just about any kind of meats. But meat patties is probably one of our favourite picks.
Time for some lamb heart again! Last time at the butcher’s Cecilia bought five of them. One we had that same week, two for the cats and two for the freezer, which we now defrosted and enjoyed.
Heart is a really nice piece of meat in and of itself. There is not much seasoning needed for it to still be interesting and enjoyable and the texture is also really appealing, compared to other organ meats… This time we made a really simple mix of cabbage, sliced carrots and garlic as a bed for the sliced heart to rest on.
The mix was seasoned with salt and pepper and put in the oven at just below 200 °C for roughly 40 minutes.
This was a really simple dish, but still really tasty.
We had it with some feta cheese and butter and some olive oil.
Boeuf tartare is definitely one of our top ten dishes. Not only is it such a wonderful dish in terms of textures and tastes, but it is also quite easy to modify and get an almost completely new dish, only by changing a single ingredient. One other thing is that the dish really highlights the best of the food and brings out the natural flavours of each ingredient. This makes it crucial to have great ingredients from good sources to have the possibility to really enjoy the dish.
This time we had organic minced meat from Gröna Gårdar, which is a cooperative of farms from around Gothenburg with only organic and grass-fed meat. The other ingredients were chopped brown onion, dijon mustard, a raw egg yolk and elderflower capers (!). The elderflower capers we picked up during our visit to the Street market in Gothenburg the other weekend. They were really wonderful to taste, small capers with a hint of elderflower even though it was really elderflower berries rather than capers.
On top of that our black home grown tomatoes have finally been ready for harvest. We found two that were not half green and half black, not too bad. We have been afraid that non of the tomatoes would be ready before the winter, but we were happy to have that fear cleared out of the way. They tasted really nice as well. A huge plus!
Together with the boeuf tartare we also had a small green salad and some oven roasted turnip and carrots.
For the first time in a while we also enjoyed a glass of red wine to the dinner. The Argentinian Cabernet Sauvignon went really well with the meat and the capers. Smooth with strong hints of plum, chocolate and red berries as well as some hints of licorice. Light but deep taste which lingered semi-long.
Last week at the butcher’s Cecilia picked up a lot of goodies, including pork loin.
The difference from one cut of meat to an other can be huge. We discussed it somewhat over this dinner and came to the conclusion that we vastly prefer well marbled cuts compared to the cuts which are otherwise considered nice, like filets. The absolutely best thing with eating grass-fed all organic meats is really the taste of the meat. These pork loins have a wonderful taste of wild flowers, which is definitely not something one could taste in a cut from the supermarket. Or at least not the ones we have here in Sweden.
As a side we prepared three types of vegetables for the oven. Since Cecilia has decided to do carb counting to try measuring the amount of insulin needed for each meal we kept the three types separate in the ovenware.
Once the veggies were cut into sticks of about equal size we seasoned them with Herbs de Provence, black pepper and topped it all off with some neutral coconut oil to bring out all the flavours as well as adding some crispiness. We have probably not been too clear with that in our previous posts, but we almost always use neutral coconut oil when cooking, so when we write coconut oil that is usually what we mean. However in desserts, cakes, stews or soups we do enjoy using virgin coconut oil with taste. Just a side note. Hopefully you had that all figured out by yourself. Most veggies would probably be nice with some coconut taste as well, but it might get dull to have everything tasting coconut after a while…
The veggies were put into the oven at 225 °C for slightly less than one hour. While waiting we started to fry the pork loins in our cast iron pan.
The cast iron pan is definitely one of our favourite tools in the kitchen. That should come as no surprise by now, but the trick is really to have patience and fry at reasonably low temperatures. Our stove goes from 1 to 9 and we very seldom use higher power than 6 when frying. Only when cooking, woking or stir frying would we use any of the higher settings. Using low heat not only helps avoiding burning the meat but it also keeps it juicier and frankly makes the whole cooking experience so much more enjoyable. Rather that having to be on full alert for having the pan at too high temperatures one can chop veggies, lay the table or be elsewhere occupied for a short while without being anxious for spoiling the food.
With regards to spoiling food that was what we almost managed to do with the veggies this time. They were left in the oven just a tiny bit too long, or possibly at a few degrees to hot. They did taste good, but they also look a bit fringed. Again it is just so much better to let the cooking take its time, but when one doesn’t have two hours to spare waiting for some veggies to get slow cooked in the oven it might be a price that at least we are willing to take every once in a while.
Sorry for the just slightly longer post than usual. Thanks for reading and hope you enjoyed our reflections.
Time again for pork belly. It is something that we have really missed the past weeks. And on top of that an other veggie favourite, in addition to the celery root, namely brussel sprouts!
This pork belly we did not had the butcher make slices in the skin for some reason, so we had to take care of that ourselves. It is way more difficult than the butcher makes it look with his special knife, but not terribly difficult with a regular knife given that it is sharp…
After slicing the top of the pork belly we seasoned with cayenne pepper, ginger powder and some black pepper. It all went into the oven at 175 °C for almost three hours.
To the pork belly we had oven roasted carrots and celery root and brussel sprouts of course. The trick here was to manage the cooking time for the different pieces such that they could be finished at the same time without any part being cold because it had to be kept out of the oven.
We did this through three steps:
Letting the pork belly cook as long as possible.
Putting the vegetables (excl. brussel sprouts) in the oven about 50 minutes before dinner time and increasing the temperature of the oven to about 210 °C. We also put a thin sheet of aluminium foil on top of the pork belly to avoid it getting burnt.
20-25 minutes before serving we put in the brussel sprouts at the same temperature.
That ended in a well timed dinner.
We would really like to have an other oven, like we had at the place we stayed in in Dublin, but at the same time it is key to have at least one large oven. Otherwise we wouldn’t be able to use our Schlemmertopf which would really be a shame. But two ovens are definitely on our wishlist.
We do manage quite well with one oven as well and frankly it is kind of a sport to cook several things simultaneously. However, it is difficult when two pieces of food should be prepared at different temperatures.
Anyhow, we really enjoyed the season’s first brussel sprouts as well as the well prepared pork belly.