Food is a ruling part of my life. I CAN NOT as much as I try, eat food that my tongue finds overtly disagreeable, which might lead you to believe I am a picky eater. On the contrary I am an explorer with a few decided No’s. I love everything about food. I love the adventure and unending creativity it provides. Most of all I love to share it with whoever is willing to sit at my table or let me into their kitchen.
What is the aim of this blog?
To take my love for food one step further. To share my experience and hopefully inspire people to experiment and explore the kitchen in a slightly different, less traditional way. Lot’s of taste your way through it and I think about this much of…. I cook with my tongue and guestimation.
How did you learn to cook?
Self taught out of necessity. I was waiting for my residency in Sweden thus had lots of time on my hands and very little money as I wasn’t allowed to work. To keep myself entertained I began to experiment with food to keep busy and to satisfy my cravings. I put a lot of time in trying new recipes that I seldom followed to the letter. Luckily food is far more forgiving than say sewing where not following directions usually results in a fashion ugh.
Slowly I began to understand how different flavors and ingredients affected each other which gave me an increased freedom. The limitations the Swedish grocery stores provided a decade ago also forced me into a lot of made from scratch which I gained a lot from. I am still learning and experimenting.
How closely do you follow a recipe?
I don’t. When I come up with a dish or want to replicate something I have eaten out, I search the net and look at a few different recipes. If there isn’t one that fits I will combine a couple of recipes. Mostly I taste my way to the desired result. I have a very strong sense of taste which gives me an edge or a disadvantage depending on how you look at it. I have no fear of going away from the traditional norms and combining ingredients that would normally be considered “wrong”. For example I almost always add a bit of fresh ginger to my tomato sauces when they are nearly finished cooking to give it a fresh twist.
How do you decide what to cook for dinner?
I have a couple of methods. If I have time and the money I use my cravings to guide me. If I am fresh out of ideas or cravings I will walk through the grocery store until I find something that catches my eye, often something I have never used in the kitchen before. It can start with a vegetable, a sauce or a meat. Whatever catches my eye. Otherwise I have a deep look into the cupboards and see what I have and patch something together. It’s amazing how much you can do with very little resources. I love being invited to a friends and being told, go crazy use whatever you find. The challenge of using someone else’s food stuffs is so much fun.
How much time do you spend in the kitchen?
Surprisingly less than one would imagine. Cooking basics are really something worth learning. Once you have a good basic understanding you can put together some really tasty dishes in no time. You don’t need a bunch of fancy pots and ingredients. Less is more in most cases.
What’s your favorite culinary style at the moment?
Asian food is on the menu a lot these days. I have discovered a few really versatile ingredients and happened upon some really tasty dishes that began to inspire me. I love the freshness of the authentic Asian kitchen. Not the fast food starchy Chinese food that you normally run into.
Food you hate?
I am a real butter only kind of gal calories be damned, thus no margarine. Thai isn’t on my list of loves, only because I can’t stand the taste of Thai Basil, especially mixed with coconut milk. Not a big fan of sweet meats either. There are a few I love, but the rule of thumb is if it is orange flavored or sweet I am going to be passing McDonald’s on the way home. I am very picky about mayo-preferably Hellman’s or homemade only oh and cup-pee doll if it’s an Asian dish. Ketchup ah that is it’s own little culture clash-story.
Sushi is probably on the top of my list. I love a good sashimi. Bread with lots of butter mmm, salad with a really tasty dressing healthy and otherwise, fried just about anything-heavily avoided now a days, Indian buffet, pounded Calamari, clam chowder, Rice-A-Roni, Kimchi base, nori chips, Lay’s potato chips salt or vinegar, lamb in almost all constellations, Leif’s bbq sauce on a Swedish pork chop, creamy pasta, home-made ice cream, sea crayfish, crab, shrimp, okay seafood, potatoes in all forms, a really hard to find steak, Ola’s osso bucco, fresh tortillas with butter, authentic mexican food, oh refried beans, taquitos, polenta, this list will never end.
Are you a food snob?
Not even remotely. I don’t care how many stars the food(restauarnt is allocated or not. If I like it I like it. Tasty is tasty. Life is too short to be a snob. We just need to remember that junk/box food isn’t healthy so it should be a treat rather than a staple in our diet. Plus it really can be faster to jsut make it from scratch than to get in the car, go to the store, find it, wait in line, buy it, drive home…you get the picture. If you have the absolute basics you can make most of it yourself.
Favorite kitchen utensil?
That changes like the wind. If I just left your restaurant/house with the feeling I need to rush back and have more then your my favorite cook. However, I like Jamie Oliver because he really keeps it simple and is so enthusiastic. I am infinitely tired of the screaming cooks. I don’t want people screaming over my meal. I want it cooked with love in the air.
Internet, followed by 12 Months of the Monastery Soups. I also like these encyclopedia style cook books that concentrate on a specific country. Culinary USA, Culinary Spain…
•People putting ketchup on my home-made spaghetti sauces. I know some of you are biting your knuckles in horror. It’s a Scandinavian thing. Ketchup is considered a food group here. Some might think I should just get with the program, but I refuse to promote such an insult to the cook. I usually just warn any newcomers to my table that ketchup on unauthorized dishes will result with immediate and permanent expulsion.
•Fusion- half the time I think people are using the term fusion to hide their apparent laziness, lack of knowledge and ability. If you take on an ethnic dish and your not improving on it or at the very least if it doesn’t taste equally as good or better than it’s original then it’s just bad food and you should leave it alone.
For example going to a restaurant order say a Cesear salad and be served a random lettuce with a bit of mayo and milk poured over the top. That’s when you just call it salad with mayo and milk on top. With all the resources so easily available today there is no excuse. It’s not Cesear if it isn’t a Cesaer dresssing not your random take on a cesear dressing.
•People who come into my kitchen and tell me how to improve whatever it is I am cooking by suggesting an entirely different recipe.