Copenhagen: four course dinner at Uformel

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The highlight of our day in Copenhagen was definitely the four course meal with matching wines at Uformel. It was my first time visiting the restaurant and we thoroughly enjoyed everyhing from the relaxed atmosphere to the quirky details (black cutlery!) and of course the delicious food.

We started our meal with a glass of bubbly each and some snacks; pork scratchings with sourcream dip. Pork scratchings are actually more popular in Denmark than in the UK and they’re sold in every supermarket. The supermarket varieties are nice but these were amazing, especially together with the dip.

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Then we started our four course meal with lovely sourdough bread and delicious butter and this first course consisting of scallops, pickled green strawberries and olive oil. It was a nice fresh start to the meal, but didn’t blow me away.

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But the next course certainly did! This was how it was presented, and the thinly sliced mushrooms made me think of woods and earthy flacours.

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But hidden underneath was the most amazing steak tartare with mayonnaise and crispy bread. Loved this!

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Next up was this duck with grilled pointy cabbage (but in my case grilled little gem instead) and the most amazing sauce. it was proper minimalism on a plate but it really worked.

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The pudding with apples, crumble, custard and a frozen lid with apple was a nice finish to the meal and very refreshing. We also got some petit fours with our coffees but we were too full to appreciate them.

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But the fullness didn’t last that long as we didn’t have many carbs, and we’d been walking around Copenhagen all day. This is not a criticism however, if we hadn’t been walking around all day this meal would have been enough, but after some bar hopping especially Emma and I got hangry and we had to eat something more. Unfortunately all the pølse trucks were closed at this point so we had to go to Burger King (it was an emergency!).

And the wines? They were all nice and expertly paired with the dishes, but I couldn’t tell you much more than that. Both the food menu and with wine flight were very reasonably prised though, and the ambience in the restaurant nice and relaxed. Highly recommend a dinner here!

Uformel, Studiestræde 69, 1554 København V, Denmark

Cape Cod: Black Cat Tavern in Hyannis

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The first evening in Cape Cod, we decided to have dinner at one of the restaurants in the Hyannis Harbour. We’d been driving around the Cape during the day so got to the restaurant we had decided on,  Black Cat Tavern, quite late. We were the last guests to arrive and eventually we were the only people left (bar the staff).

We thought that was why our main courses arrived while we were in the middle of eating our starters. I don’t like to be rushed when eating as it always give me a stomach ache, but we were to polite to say anything as the restaurant was emptying out around us.

But the following evening when we went to another restaurant, the same thing happened, although we had dinner much earlier and the restaurant was full. In the middle of our very substantial starters, we actually told the waitress we wanted to wait. She completely understood but the kitchen seemed to insist to get the food out, so when it arrived again, after five minutes we let them put it on the table.

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I don’t understand this culture of rushing your guests through a (large) meal. Is it just in this area, or is it because of tourist season or what’s the reason?! Please do tell me if you have an idea.

Anyway, the food was nice in both the places, and I really like how understated the seafood is here. In Europe where oysters and lobster are luxurious and quite expensive it’s served a certain way or in certain places. Here, where you have lobster and oyster in abundance, you can enjoy it in your flipflops straight from the beach and I really liked that.

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At Black Cat Tavern I had Oysters Rockefeller (baked oysters with a spinach and cheese topping and in this case cured ham as well) as my starter and they were really nice. Generous portion too!

Sinead had a minor mountain of calamari with a chillie dip – also really nice!  As I was a little bit stressed by the time our maincourses arrived I only manage to snap a picture of my own plate of bakes scallops (a first for me), with baked potato and creamy lobster sauce, but I do know that Sineads food was nice as well.

Black Cat Tavern, 165 Ocean St, Hyannis, MA 02601, USA

NYE 2012: starter II

IMG_2675The second starter on New Year’s Eve, was also a seafood dish. Nice big scallops fried on high heat with a truffled celeriac puré, apple caramel and crispy apple. Sooo good!

The recipe is courtesy of Daniel Clifford, and I found it in an Electrolux folder I picked up at the Taste of Christmas fair.

Pan-fried scallops with truffled celeriac puré and apple caramel, serves 9

Adapted from Daniel Clifford’s recipe.

The scallops are best cooked really quickly on high heat. Treat it them as a steak. You want the maillard effect or the surface to caramelize, but they shouldn’t be cooked all the way through, nicer with a slight wobble in the middle. If overcooked they are often rubbery.

The celeriac puré can be made in advanced and reheated when serving., just like the apple caramel. The apple sticks can be cut ahead of time too; just make sure you cover them with lemon juice and place them in an airtight container to prevent discolouring.

18 large scallops, side muscles removed

butter for frying

salt, pepper

1 lemon, the juice

Celeriac ipuré:

700 g peeled celeriac cut into pieces

milk and water

300 ml double cream

truffle oil

Apple caramel:

1 litre freshly pressed apple juice 

Garnish:

1 green apple, cut into matchsticks

truffle oil

Place the celeriac in a sauceoan and cover with half milk half water. Add salt. Bring to the boil and cook on medium heat until tender. Drain. Bring the cream to the boil in a seperate saucepan. Mix celeriac and cream to a puré. Add lemon juice and truffle oil to your liking. Season. 

Pour the apple juice in a saucepan and let it reduce on high heat until 1/3 of the liquid is left. Or reduce further until you have a thicker liquid. 

Heat up a frying pan on high heat. Add butter. Dry the scallops on a towel to remove liquid so they can brown easier. Season well and fry for 1-2 minutes on each side, only turning them over once. Place on a plate to rest. Squeeze with lemon juice.

Plate; first the puré, then the scallops on top (2 per person). Spoon over the caramel and drizzle with truffle oil. Top with the apple matchsticks. 

Sunday supper at home in Sweden

A few weekends ago, I went home to my beloved Skåne, to meet food bloggers and see my parents. The Sunday was the 40th (!) wedding anniversary of my parents and we celebrated it quite low-key with good food and wine at home.

To start we had fried scallops in saffron sauce. Mother had found these big and juicy scallops which we fried rapidly on very high heat to caramelize. The sauce is almost a soup and absolutely wonderful. Some raw chopped shallots gives texture and some heat.

As a maincourse we had a really nice fillet steak, cooked in three different ways to accomodate everyone. Served with baked potato rounds, a mushroom sauce with cognac and dijon mustard and steamed vegetables.

In apple season, tarte tatin is wonderful. I have tried quite a few diffrent versions, but the best one I have come across is this recipe courtesy of brilliant Rick Stein. It suggests cognac but this time we used armagnac which worked just as well. (Even better, according to mother).

 

Scallops with bacon and wild garlic mayonnaise

This is a great throw-together starter, that still has that something extra. Just serve with some nice bread.

I know that wild garlic is not in season now, but I happen to have quite a lot of it in the freezer, so I can use it for special occasions. I totally adore the flavour!

Scallops with bacon and wild garlic mayonnaise, serves 2

1 batch wild garlic mayonnaise

3 slices streaky bacon

6 large fresh scallops

mixed baby leaf salad

extra virgin olive oil or coldpressed rapeseed oil

salt

Make the mayonnaise. Cut the bacon into smaller pieces and fry until crispy. Drain on kitchen towel. Dress the salad with oil and salt. Cut off the muscles on the scallops (the tough white part) and fry in butter on high heat until just cooked through. Season. Plate and serve straight away.

Scallops with pea purée and basil sauce

I manged with a themed dinner on Friday, a bit unintentionally. When I was standing in the kitchen making bruschetta and the basil scent overpowered the kitchen it hit me that peas and basil would be great together. And they were. I flavoured the pea purée only slightly with some pesto but the cold basil sauce had more of a punch to it, and to put a dollop of this and put it on top of the mash and let it melt is truly heaven. Serve with panfried juicy scallops and you have a wonderful and healthy meal. Pair with a glass (or two) of rosé and enjoy a warm summer evening.

Try this, ok? I beg of you.

Scallops with pea purée and basil sauce, serves 2

8 large scallops

1/2 lemon, the juice

a knob of butter for frying

400 g frozen petit pois

3 tbsp butter

2 tsp pesto

salt, white pepper

The sauce:

150 ml creme fraiche

1/2 lemon, the juice

1/3 bunch basil

salt, white pepper

Mix the ingredients for the sauce with a stick blender. Cut the muscle off the scallops and place the scallops in a bowl, squirt lemon juice over. Cover the peas with boiling water and cook for a few minutes.  Drain and purée with a stick blender. Add butter and pesto, season to taste with salt and pepper. Klicka i smöret och peston, mixa igen. Smaka av med salt och peppar. While the peas are cooking, fry the scallops on high heat for a few minutes on each side, in plenty of butter. Season.