Monday, June 30, 2014

Europe in many dishes, 22: Copenhagen menu-on-a-plate

In a very nice, unpretentious cafe/restaurant, Cafe Nytorv today, on Plads Nytorv, not far from the National Museum where we had spent the morning, we had one of the nicest meals we've had in Copenhagen: a whole Danish  menu on one plate in a way, and with an avkavit(schnapps) shot to begin with. Basically it was three excellent smorrebrod pieces on one plate: a delicious sweet-cured marinated herring with onion and capers, breaded fish with a great remoulade sauce, dill and salad; and a lip-smackingly tasty roast pork slice with scrumptious crackling and sweet-sour red cabbage--each on thick dark seeded rye bread. The avkavit(which you have only just before the meal, but with a little rye bread) was really nice too, mellow and smooth. And the price was very reasonable for such a large and satisfyingly good meal--each plate being 148 kroner(around $30) and the avkavit 30 kroner(around $6). A good note on which to end my round-up of eating traditional Danish food around the country!
Off to France tomorrow but will be having a break from posting as no internet the first few days. Rendezvous in southern France in around 10 days' time!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Europe in many dishes, 21: Fishy delights in Copenhagen covered food markets

Gorgeous local delicacies in show and for sale!

Europe in many dishes, 22: Glorious cake in La Glace, Copehangen

Since 1870, Copenhaguers have been coming in droves to this fabulous 'konditori'; as patisseries are called here. And you can see why when you see the array of beautiful mouthwatering cake on display! We had afternoon tea there--a very expensive proposition, but a delectable experience!
Nearly all the cakes were gorgeous layer cakes--these types of cakes are Danish favourites--featuring lovely cake layers sandwiched with whipped cream or custard or mousse. The cake we chose(and shared!) was called Volmer Sorensens Jubilaeumlagkage, and was a deliciously extravagant concoction made of layers of creamy nougat in whipped cream, with a macaroon base, apricot jam, vanilla custard, marzipan and green hazelnuts. The bill for coffee and tea and one cake came to 175 kroner--around $37! But never mind, it was one of those things you should do at least once!

Europe in many dishes, 20: Tartare, Copenhagen style

Which basically means cooked! Not ones obviously for the raw concoction that is classic Tartare, but liking all the stuff that goes with it, the Danes have dreamed up their own version: good minced steak patties cooked medium rare and served with raw egg yolk, capers, salad etc! Pretty tasty even if not exactly what you expect when you first see it on the menu..

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Europe in many dishes 19: smorrebrod!

I'd been looking forward to smorrebrod--those lovely Danish open sandwiches--since we arrived but Odense was not the place for such things(Odense in my opinion was disappointing in terms of traditional food!)and in the other places where we ate, we'd gone for other things..but Copenhagen is where we ate our first, take-away smorrebrod, and they were great, interesting and tasty combinations. Mine was pork and sour-sweet red cabbage with plum, peach, gherkins and salad; David had a  fried fish one with those lovely little fjord shrimps we've got quite fond of, and salad. The unpretentious little place where we bought these had a whole selection of delicious combinations(some illustrated). We'll be back!

Europe in many dishes 18: Copenhagen take on old classics

Our first meal in Copenhagen was lunch today in a restaurant called Tversmoesgaad, on Rosengaden street--it had a small but interesting menu featuring a modern take on classic Danish dishes. Mine was an absolutely tender, delicious salted steamed duck, cut in thin slices, and served with an unusual frozen creamed horseradish sauce and very nicely cooked steamed vegetables--cabbage, snow peas, asparagus, carrot. David went for their take on pork frikadelle, or meatballs, served with rye and house-made remoulade. He felt it was less successful and interesting than my duck, tasty enough nonetheless!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Europe in many dishes 17: Fish from Funen

Lovely drive today around Funen, the island of which Odense is the capital. And staying on our fishy theme, two delicious meals centred on fish: in a harbourside restaurant, Cafe Boris, in Kerteminde,a satisfying lunch of local smoked mackerel, rye bread and salad for David, and for me local hot-smoked salmon, potato salad and green salad. Then a light picnic supper eaten by the water in the pretty town of Faaborg: locally-fished and marinated herring, one of the best I've ever tasted; and locally-caught and smoked herring, again excellent, served with rye bread and a lovely paprika mayonnaise.


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Europe in many dishes 16: Danish picnic

Picnic by the side of the road, with local specialities: fiske frikadeller(fish cakes, or fish balls); local sweet local tomatoes, delicious local strawberries, rye bread, and to wash it down, Koldskal, a very nice cultured buttermilk drink which is a mix of whole milk, buttermilk, egg, vanilla, sugar and a hint of lemon. Like a drinking yoghurt, only quite a lot nicer in my opinion!

Europe in many dishes 15: Gorgeous fish dishes in Jutland

Today we did a wonderful self-drive tour of south west Jutland and were in the beautiful little riverside town of Ribe for lunch. This town, which was once a Viking stronghold and whose centre has stayed intact from the 16th century, also specialises in wonderful fish dishes, and I was really craving fish after too much meat on the last couple of days in Odense restaurant--nice meat, sure, but fish was what I'd been looking for in Denmark since we arrived, and Odense, curiously, doesn't seem to do that-the town is awash with steakhouses and grill houses and buffet places, but haven't seen a seafood restaurant yet! Anyway, to cut a long complaint short, today made up for it. We had a lovely fish lunch in the Saelhunden restaurant which is housed in an ancient half-timbered building right on the river's edge, and the food matched the atmosphere!
We shared the plates: a West Jutland speciality called Baskuld which is salted and smoked dab(a local fish) which is then fried and served with egg and chives and dill salad; and the house speciality, Sjerneskud, which consists of two lots of fish, one steamed, one fried, served with small, tasty local shrimp with home-made sauce, Danish lumpfish caviar, and toast. Absolutely splendid!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Europe in many dishes 14: First Danish meal!

Last night was our first evening in Denmark, and we arrived fairly late in the charming little city of Odense, known worldwide as the birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen. So our first Danish meal was in our hotel, a cosy old-world place called Hotel Ansgar, where we partook of what seems to be a big thing around here--a buffet dinner, with all kinds of meats, vegetables and salads on offer. Here's a plateful: the Danish staple of frikadelle(meatballs made of veal and pork)with a tangy dill sauce; lovely nutmeg-flavoured potatoes; crusty beef; vegies of various sorts; prawns and salmon pate! Salads followed, and cheeses, and a very nice apple compote. Denmark is definitely expensive for food, and we've quickly realised that the 198 kroner(around $40) for this buffet was actually in the very reasonable range!\

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Europe in many dishes 13: Sandwich fish dinner--not a sandwich in sight!

The charming little town of Sandwich on the Kent coast is known worldwide for the fact that its Earl was the first to popularise the something-between-two-slices-of-bread which for ever after took its name from the town. But in fact sandwiches are not the big thing in Sandwich; rather, fish and seafood. And on a lovely balmy evening there we had a delicious dinner in a little harbourside restaurant: crispy whitebait to start followed by mussels, fried fish, prawns and scallops and sardines. Neither the mussels nor sardines were as good as in Wales, I think:the mussels  a little too big and fleshy, the sardines a little dry--but the whitebait was fabulous, and the prawns and scallops too. But the accompanying salad was a little too garlicky even for our garlic-loving taste! And hardly any vinegar. I do love my vinegar!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Europe in many dishes 12: Canterbury lunch

Eaten picnic style in a Canterbury square: a delicious pulled pork roll from the brand new, fabulous Pork and Co shop(only opened 11 weeks ago!), which are wowing Canterbury with their fantastic speciality:: free-range rare-breed pork, tender and moist, teamed with crunchy home-made coleslaw, crisply decadent crackling, and English apple sauce, all in a very nice bun! And for dessert, handfuls of sweet, juicy fat Kentish cherries. Bliss!

Europe in many dishes 11: The Food Shed in Canterbury (Kent)

A fabulous covered market in Canterbury, selling all kinds of gorgeous things!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Europe in many dishes, 10: Meal on the road

Literally! The great British picnic, in a layby by the side of a little country road! Ingredients: Two packs Marks and Spencers sandwiches(Scottish smoked salmon and cream cheese; chicken and basil); a pack of nice British crisps--Red Leicester cheese and onion flavour; delicious juicy cherries; spring water from Malvern!
Add sun, birdsong--and a simple collection turns into a nice relaxing interlude.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Europe in many dishes, 9: Meals on the road in mid-Wales..

Driving from North Wales to mid-Wales into South Wales and the Cardiff area, we stopped in mid-Wales for lunch in Machynlleth and afternoon tea in Brecon. Lunch was in a deli-cafe, the Blasau, which was housed in a lovely old building with sloping, creaking floors and half-timbered walls, and which specialises in all kinds of delicious very local and wider Welsh products.
I had a very good wild boar ham salad, while David had an organic smoked-chicken salad. Both well accompanied with three very nice breads--corn and herb; a dark walnut bread, and olive bread. Fantastic!
Afternoon tea in Brecon--home-baked sponge cake washed down with tea-- was taken in a very unusual building--the parish church of St Mary's! It is actually a working church, not a deconsecrated one and it felt very odd at first to be sitting down to tea and cakes under the stained glass! But nice too, very peaceful. And certainly a first for us!

Around Europe in many dishes 8: More North Welsh delights

Lovely day meandering around the lanes and byways of Anglesey and Holy Island, on the ancient-history trail, looking for ancient settlements, from the Neolithic to the Romano-British, scattered throughout this amazing bit of North Wales.
And found some nice food too!
A lovely simple lunch of fresh pea and mint soup, with crusty bread, in a little cafe along the way: deliciously flavoursome and satisfying yet so simple!
Dinner in Beamaris seafood place rather more sophisticated but still with that special delicious simplicity of good ingredients: local Menai Strait mussels in a garlic broth; and fish pie bursting with haddock, salmon, cod, and prawns, with in a creamy leek sauce, under a crusty golden cheese top!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Around Europe in many dishes 7: North Welsh seafront meal

On the windswept shore of Ynys Mon, otherwise known as Anglesey Island in North Wales, facing the Menai Strait and Snowdonia, lies the little town of Beamaris. Here we had a rather nice meal sourced mainly from local ingredients, from the bounty of sea and hills, in a restaurant called the Pier House.
Starters were devilled grilled sardines(with a sauce made from tomato, a touch of Worcestershire sauce and a touch of mustard) for me and fried whitebait for David; mains dressed crab and salad for me and Anglesey lamb with braised red cabbage and new potatoes for David. Nice food, nice atmosphere, and reasonable prices! And a great view..