Almost IKEA Meatballs

I hardly visit IKEA these days. It’s been awhile 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 to use 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.

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Beef Stroganoff

Beef stroganoff is a century-old Russian dish that has become predominantly popular in most countries such as the US, UK, Australia, China, Japan, Brazil, Iran, Sweden, Finland among others. It is an easy, hearty meal that typically consists of sautéed pieces of beef topped with sauce and smetana (a range of sour creams used in many Central and Eastern European cuisines).

It was my search for more beef recipes and a layover in Moscow that might have inspired me to get curious and try out this dish. With its Russian-sounding name and terrifically complicated flavors, I felt intimidated at first, but apparently, it was a super-duper easy dish to make. There might have been hundreds of ways now to cook beef stroganoff, yet I tell you, this recipe might appear too simple, but it’s definitely a delicious one. Beef stroganoff goes very well with rice, potatoes and carrots, or (pasta) egg noodles.

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Papet Vaudois (Leeks with Potatoes and Sausage)

The leek is one of the vegetables that I find generally plentiful in Europe, all year-round. Yet every time I see it when I do food shopping, I just ignore it. But, it’s not only leeks. I’m also a stranger to other regulars such as artichoke, turnips, endives…there must be even more!

You see, leeks are not very common in the Philippines – or even in Southeast Asia in general – because they just won’t thrive in hot and humid weather. Somehow I learned that it could be found in the Mountain Province, a landlocked, very mountainous, cold region at the north of the Philippines. The cool weather up there might have been conducive for growing this plant, in modest versions for the least. Due to its rarity of course, leeks aren’t part of the Filipino diet.

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So Swiss: The Malakoff

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Dining in for a malakoff or two

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.

Summer Solstice (Part Deux)

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.

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