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Archive for May, 2007

Meeta's wonderful article about German bakeries on The Daily Tiffin reminded me of a topic I've been wanting to write about for a while: Swedish bakeries, or rather, Swedish cafés because that’s what they usually are.

A typical Swedish café is far from cool. Nor is it stylish, designed or anything like that. The proper word for it is comfortable.

Swedes drink a lot of coffee, but, unlike say the Italians, they don't consider it to be a hip or sexy thing to do. It's a comfort thing, something to do with your family on a Sunday afternoon. And that is how Swedish cafés look and feel – a little like being invited to your grandma on a sunday afternoon, in a lovely, maybe a bit oldfashioned house. The coffee isn't espresso (though some cafés have started to serve that too) but filter coffee, but there is lots of it. And oh! the good food!

Apart from delicious bakeries (a photo of these is still forthcoming, as I didn't manage to take one last time), most cafés will have a lunch menu. There is no big restaurant tradition in Sweden, but a lot of places traditionally offer lunch with coffee at really nice prices.
Outside lunch times you can usually order smörgas – stuffed or single-layer sammiches with lots of nummy fillings! The ones my café makes are especially nice – you can see one with shrimp on the left and one with meatballs on the right!
The toast bread is also homemade and delicious – one of the few types of Swedish bread I really love, as it’s unsweetened! Most Swedish bread is sweetened, as opposed to German – it’s an acquired taste I guess, but I crave nice black bread!

The real deal though, of course, is the sweets. Mmm. I’ll continue about them next time – with photos!

;)

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Half of this is still uneaten because the lady at the blood donor station I was scheduled at today took one look at me and told me to get a “proper breakfast and lunch while you’re at it”. Oh well, it was just leftover soup anyway.

Thermos mug: Tomato and cream soup with rice, onion and yellow squash, a dash of yoghurt, parmesan and basil on top
Side dish: Three slices of grilled mini-chevre on toast, cucumber and tomato salad, olives.
Side container: Grapes to keep my blood sugar up, fishie with vinaigrette for the salad.

;)

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Inspiration is a good thing.

Bottom layer: Rice and a corncob sunflower (thai basil leaves)
Top layer: Pan di Stelle cookies, grapes, more corncob flowers, a soy fishie and scrambled egg with grape tomatoes, red bell pepper, mushrooms and spring onions.

I was feeling uninspired today, but I had the corn flowers left over from last night’s dinner and wanted to do a sunflower. The rest is made up as I went along.

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Do you think there is no such thing as a Vegetarian barbecue party? Think again.

I always used to be a little wary when invited to barbecues. I’m not entirely vegetarian, but unless you live in Australia, fish and seafood is not found typically on the grill either. So what should us poor vegetarians do?

Luckily, I’m not alone. This bento contains two vegetarian barbecue recipes: one from my stepsister and one from a cooking magazine. Disgruntled vegetarians to the rescue! Down with grilled corn and salad – only barbecue parties!

In the big box to the left, grilled couscous patties:
2dl couscous (the one I used was a bit too coarse – you should use really fine one so the patties stick together well!
150g feta, crumbled finely
Sundried tomatoes, chopped finely (amount to taste)
1/2 red onion, chopped finely
1 egg
Breadcrumbs (to improve stickiness, also creamcheese/creme fraiche might help)
Salt, pepper, herbs (I used fresh rosemary), olive oil for the grill

Cook the couscous according to the instructions. (for most that means to add boiling water/stock, salt and oil/butter and let it steam). Cool it.
Mix all the ingredients together in a big bowl. With wet hands, form patties and brush them with olive oil.
Barbecue. (They may crumble, so best use an aluminium pan if you're unsure)

To the right and on the plate in front are grilled vegetable-and-feta spits. The idea about those is to let the cheese melt into the bread, as cheese alone on the grill wouldn't work! This also works really really well with sliced mozarella.
I used wholeweat toast here, but sliced baguette would be even better.

In the small compartments are frozen strawberries, a container with chives and yoghurt as dip for the patties (bottom) and tsatsiki and tomato salad (top).

And the glass on top is strawberries soaked overnight in champagne :D Mmm! Summer, here I come!
(You hear that, summer? Start getting warm, damn you! *shakes fist at 9 degree cold weather*)

So, what are your favourite vegetarian barbecue recipes?

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I’m finally home, after three (as it felt in the end) very long weeks away!
To boot, I caught a stomach bug last wednesday, or possibly something bad from the Italian cantina. I’m better now, but I am still careful about what I eat, and eating smaller portions (which is not necessarily a bad thing).
So today I’m bringing a light bento to help my stomach recover… and to show off my new box!

In the big compartment:
The main dish on a bed of rice.
Oven-baked yellow zucchini (I still can’t bring myself to call these squash… squash to me is a pumpkin!).
I can’t stand deepfrying, so all my breaded stuff is instead baked in a pan brushed with olive oil in the oven. The recipe is really simple – I cut a yellow squash in about a cm thick wheels, salted them on both sides and laid them out on a towel to shed water. After about 10-15 minutes, I dried them off with kitchen paper, removing most of the salt in the process, then rolled them in flour, whisked egg with a drip of milk and finally breadcrumbs. Then I laid them out on a non-stick pan brushed with olive oil and shoved them in the preheated, 200C oven for another 15 minutes. Voilà!
This also works really well with eggplant.
With the zucchini on the rice bed are breadcrumb patties – when I was little, my grandma would make me patties out of what was left of materials when breading food, and fry them with the rest of the stuff. They bring back memories :)
The spread on them is avocado mayonaise, which I did because I tried an awesome avocado creamcheese spread at the cafe yesterday and needed to see if I could create something similar. The mayo doesn’t work as well as the cheese though, I fear.
In the right small box are more zucchini and in the left one is a sauce container with more avocado spread and frozen mango pieces as dessert.

My plants have survived very well on their selfwatering pots, and the chilies are starting to bloom! Are you supposed to dust them like you do with tomato plants or do they manage themselves? Does anybody know? My last chili didn’t seem to need any dusting, but I’m not sure.

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