Almost IKEA Meatballs

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I hardly visit IKEA these days. It’s been a while indeed, that one time I started to crave for their meatballs. Köttbullar as it is most likely called, these Swedish meatballs are typically made with a mix of ground beef, pork or veal; and traditionally served with gravy, boiled potatoes, lingonberry jam, and fresh pickled cucumber.

I was just randomly seeking for some new recipes when I came across to this one. I realized then that I didn’t need to visit IKEA anymore since I can already enjoy these meatballs (w/o the gravy) at home. This Swedish meatball recipe is also somehow healthier. The meatballs are oven-baked, while it also suggested using low-fat pork sausage, and there’s no gravy sauce as side recipe. It’s such a fitting meal for followers of Atkins or South Beach diet. Yes, you can count me in as one. Read more

So Swiss: The Malakoff

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The name sounds Russian, but malakoff is authentically Swiss. A classic cheese beignet that can be most likely found in the canton of Vaud, it is believed that the recipe was brought by the Swiss mercenaries who joined the Crimean War under the French-British forces fighting against Russia. This Swiss cheese bread was particularly named after the major battle of Malakoff that resulted in the fall of Sevastopol, thus ending the battle.

Hardly it reminds of the past war nowadays, the malakoff is typically served as a first course, and enjoyed with served cornichons (guerkins in English), pickled onions and mustard. As always, this Swiss cheese ball pairs well with a glass of Chasselas wine.

My first taste of malakoff was last spring 2010 at Café Restaurant l’Union in Bursins. The crispy outer brown bread complemented well with strong-flavored Swiss cheese oozing from the inside. To the extent that I enjoyed the malakoff so much I later found myself enjoying cornichons and mustard as well. It was also on that day, I learned to enjoy eating guerkins and mustard. I felt so proud of myself. Read more

Summer Solstice (Part Deux)

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See the first part of Summer Solstice here.

Sunday Lunch – Fish Provencal

It was a sunny Sunday again. After breakfast, mahal and I decided to go out for our usual hiking. Both weary and hungry after over an hour of walk at midday passing by wheat fields, forest and Swiss cows, how lucky I was this recipe I had to make is another easy one.

I couldn’t find halibut fillets in the French supermarket, so I relied to my stock knowledge presuming that halibut is closely related to cod fish. Since the latter is available, I bought it. But do correct me if I’m wrong.


  • 4 halibut fillets, each 6 to 8 oz.
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbs. dry white wine
  • 1 lb. ripe tomatoes, cut into slices 1/2 inch thick
  • 3 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tbs. chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1 tbs. chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 to 3 tbs. fine dried bread crumbs


  1. Preheat an oven to 375°F. Lightly oil a baking dish just large enough to hold the fillets snugly in a single layer.
  2. Place the fillets in the prepared baking dish, season lightly with salt and pepper, and drizzle with the wine. Arrange the tomato slices on top of the fish, overlapping them slightly if necessary.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together 2 Tbs. of the olive oil, the garlic, tarragon, parsley and thyme. Spoon the herb mixture evenly over the tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, and sprinkle with the bread crumbs. Drizzle with the remaining 1 Tbs. olive oil.
  4. Bake until the bread crumbs are browned on top and the fish is opaque throughout, 25 to 30 minutes. Serve immediately, directly from the baking dish. Serves 4.

Provencal dishes closely resemble the delectable cuisines of Italy and in this simple dish you can find fresh tomatoes, garlic and herbs that are the iconic ingredients of southern France. Personally I love Italian cuisines and same goes definitely with southern French cuisines. Particularly this Fish Provencal recipe is very easy and quick to make and yet you can leave your guests impressed with your cooking prowess. I guess I heard my mahal telling me, “Keep it up!” But then, I must have been too busy savoring this fishy dish! Read more

Summer Solstice (Part Un)

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The Herbes de Provence Rotisserie Chicken was first published at You can find it here.

It was a happy sigh of relief when we thought of the Spring goddess coming to rescue us from bitter-cold winter this year. Two months passed by since then, it seemed likely that she might have gone somewhere else. I was already getting excited to see the birds and the trees, the flowers and the bees coming out full of life, but given the almost zero degrees temperature at springtime, they themselves were unsure if they really should. Meanwhile, I had been in constant bouts with myself just for deciding on what exactly to wear.  Oh spring, where art thou really? Read more