Friday, November 30, 2007

Steak au frites

Stupid vegetarians, say no more…

Per person

350 g entrecote
2 large potatoes
Frying oil (1 litre or more)

Let the meat rest at room temperature one hour before cooking.

Peel the potatoes and cut them into large sticks. Rinse the sticks in cold water to remove excess starch. Dry on kitchen paper.

Heat the oil to 160°C. Fry the potatoes – one portion at a time, to ensure that the temperature doesn’t drop too much – for five-six minutes. Don’t brown them, they should only get a hint of a tan. Remove from oil and spread on kitchen paper.

Heat a griddle pan on high heat. Season the entrecotes with salt and pepper, and rub in a thin layer of oil. Grill on both sides (turning them totally three times to obtain the angled griddle marks), and let them rest in the pan. They are ready when the core temperature is 55°C, use a thermometer.

Heat the oil to 190°C and fry the potatoes a second time, this time to get a brown and crispy exterior. This takes app one minute. Shake of excess oil and salt generously. Arrange frites and the perfectly cooked steak on hot plates. Serve.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Another loud Sunday

While Sundays are highly correlated with hangovers, and hangovers usually involve increased sensitivity to noises, it seems quite ridiculous to invite VERY NOISY PEOPLE for Sunday dinner over and over again, but high-pitch screaming and arms everywhere has become an integral part of Sunday dinner, and actually has a sort of soothing effect.

Spending an hour and half cooking in my own kitchen, while continuously being entertained with re-enactments of crawling out of a toilet booth in a nightclub and stories about sharting is the perfect Sunday evening. Keep up with the wine, and I’ll keep cooking.

Foams of all sorts have invaded restaurants everywhere lately, mostly as a silly little dash of whipped whatever, which doesn’t add a thing to the dish except a sign that you’ve read about Ferran Adria. But there are nice foams also, created using a N2O-fueled cream whipper, which turns all sort of things into a fabulous creamy texture. The hardware is somewhat expensive, but my kitchen will definitely see more foams in the near future.

Juleribbe med kålrabistappe
Spiced Christmas type belly of pork with rutabaga-vanilla cream

This dish turned out really beautiful, with the fat and spicyness of the pork belly going really well together with the rich, sweet rutabaga cream and the burnt saltiness of the browned butter.

The dish is somewhat challenging, mostly due to time spent preparing, and the use of a cream whipper. If your kitchen doesn’t have one, just mash the rutabaga with cream and vanilla. You don’t have to make the belly a day in advance, but that way it looks much better.

For the linguists out there; why is Kålrabi(n) the same as Swede(eng) or Rutabaga(eng), while Kohlrabi (eng) is the same as Turnips (n)?

Serves 4 as a starter

1 piece of pork belly (6-700 g)
Assorted Christmas spices, such as cinnamon, clove, star anise, black pepper

½ head of rutabaga (app)
½ vanilla pod, seeds only
1,5 dl double cream

3 tbsp butter
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp Worchestershiresauce

One day before serving:
Roast the pig belly in a pan with a couple of dl water, some vegetable mire-poix at 150 degree C for three-four hours, until the bones can be removed easily. Remove the bones and cut of the rind. Season with the ground spices of choice, put the meat on a plate, put a plate on top and weight the top plate down. Leave overnight.

On the day of serving:
Peel the rutabaga, divide into equally sized sticks (1x1 cm) and boil in salted water until completely tender. Drain and pour into a blender with the cream. Blend until completely homogenous. Strain this mix through a chinois or a fine sieve and mix in the vanilla seeds. Season with salt. Heat the mix, and fill it in a cream whipper, charge with one cartridge and keep warm.

Melt the butter, and leave it on moderate heat until the butter is brown, but be careful not to burn it. Let cool for a couple of minutes and mix in the soy and w-sauce.

Divide the pork belly into four equally sized pieces, and fry them in a considerable amount of butter. Fat side down first, until nice and brown, then on the other side while continuously ladling the meat.

Arrange the pieces of pork on a hot plate, place some rutabaga-cream on the plate, and spoon some of the butter around.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Perfect Saturday brunch

When it comes to the cooking ability of people, the real miserable ones are often referred to as able to fry an egg, but nothing else. Unfortunately this underestimate of the egg often leads to a laissez-faire cooking process, where people believe that it’s not possible to ruin an egg.

On several occasions I’ve been waken up by the smoke detector when other people have been trying to make egg and bacon for breakfast, I’ve suffered through “soft boiled” eggs cooked for ten minutes, I’ve had dry omelettes and burnt omelettes, I’ve had flat soufflés. But the worst is scrambled eggs. I’ve never been served scrambled eggs cooked to perfection; it’s usually just a pile of coagulated eggs which makes me sad instead of happy.

After reading a cooking book by british chef Gordon Ramsay, I’ve learnt how to make scrambled eggs, and ever since, scrambled eggs have been my perfect lazy hangover-breakfast/brunch treat.

Scrambled parmesan eggs with tomatoes

The right consistensy of scrambled eggs

This is a beautiful combination which feels quite light but still gives you a solid foundation for a day of browsing food stores and buying too expensive wines. The key to making the scramble eggs is low heat, and stop cooking at the right time. Since there will be lots of residual heat in the frying pan (unless you use a thin walled copper pan), you have to have the slices of bread lined up on a plate, so the eggs don’t get overcooked while you slice bread.

Per person

2 eggs
2 tbs cream or milk
1 tbs cold butter, cut into small dices
1 dl grated parmesan (app. – use as much as you want)
One tomato
Two slices of good quality bread
1 tbs chopped chives

Whisk together the eggs, cream and parmesan – spare some parmesan for garnishing – with a pinch of salt. Pour this mix into a small non-stick frying pan on low heat. Stir occasionally. When the mix starts to coagulate, add the butter and stir gently, yet continously. This will lower the temperature. Continue stirring over low heat until the mixture forms lumps, but is still somewhat runny. Remove from the heat and mix in the chives. Divide the scrambled eggs on the slices of bread, place slices of tomato on top, and top with the rest of the parmesan, some Maldon salt or Fleur-de-sel and chopped chives. Serve immediately.

Incorporating the butter into the not yet scrambled eggs

Friday, November 9, 2007

Finally friday

It’s always fun to watch old movies where father comes home from work, and mother has the kids all ready for bed, a lovely dinner is cooking, and most importantly: a drink ready at hand.

Since I neither have a wife, nor kids, I have to mix my own drinks. That’s just as good, since I can mix the drink of my choice: Negroni.


4 cl Gin
1 cl martini rosso
1 cl Campari
A slice of orange

Fill a tumbler half full of ice cubes, add the ingredients and garnish with a slice of orange. Ahh!