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eG Foodblog: Mjx (2012) – Elderflowers, Strawberries, and Game

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#61 Darienne

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 07:08 AM

Thanks for the pic of the "hokkaidos". As far as I knew, Hokkaido was an island in Japan! To me, those look just like winter squash. :wink:

What exactly is the hokkaido. Could not get it on Google. (Did not try VERY hard, I admit).
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#62 dcarch

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 10:23 AM

Surprised that no one has commented on the beautiful cabinet wood work detailing of that tomato greenhouse on the first page of this thread.

Nice blogging so far!

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#63 Smithy

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 10:53 AM

I too am interested in the answers to questions already asked:
- What is hokkaido like, and how do you use it?
- Why is there such a great market for peeled potatoes?

...and pretty much anything you see fit to tell us!

Funny, when you wrote about elderflowers it was "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" that came to mind for me!

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#64 Mjx

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 12:36 PM

The hokkaido shows up, seven images down!

I wrapped up my shopping at an Asian shop (Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, a little Indian and Korean), where I picked up some palm sugar and toasted rice flour. They have a much broader selection of condiments, herbs, and spices than pretty much any other shop around, and some interesting produce and snacks. I do realize, though, that compared to similar shops (e.g. in the US and Australia), this one is tiny.

Asian1.jpg

Asian2.jpg

Asian3.jpg

Asian4.jpg

Asian5.jpg



When I got back to my boyfriend’s parents’ place, his mother had just completed a traditional kransekage for a friend’s sixtieth birthday party:

Kransekage.jpg

In Denmark, ‘round number’ birthdays tend to involve major parties, the last one I went to lasted pretty nearly 24 hours.
I'll talk some more about Danish food tomorrow; I don't make much, since it tends to involve a lot of potatoes and flour, and those don't work out so well for me (kransekage is actually one of the things I can eat with no problems, since it involves stacked rings of marzipan, and not much else).


And suddenly, it was 18.00, and I needed to get dinner started. My boyfriend helped out by bringing me a box of chocolates, and convincing me to sit down for a small snack and a drink.

I brought up the hokkaido (hokaido?) to keep us company, and so I could include it in one of the images (the thing that looks like a stunted, deformed pumpkin).

Pause.jpg


Dinner: roast chicken with rice, bell pepper, and radishes, and strawberries with balsamic vinegar and black pepper. And more chocolates, whiskey, and port.

RoastChicken.jpg

DinnerWed.jpg

StrawberriesBalsPep.jpg



Ive never seen peeled potatoes for sale. Is that unique to Denmark?

Nope. Pretty common in China, too


I wondered about that, I mean whether this was done anyplace else.

Thanks for the pic of the "hokkaidos". As far as I knew, Hokkaido was an island in Japan! To me, those look just like winter squash. :wink:


Ah, but it's a particularly good winter squash! Really nice texture.

And finally, the potato tank, to keep the peeled potatoes from turning brown: After this, I went to the Asian shop, so... a few more images to follow.

That's one big bacterial culture! Is it refrigerated?


Refrigerated? You must be joking! I'm continuously teased about my finicking hygiene habits (e.g. washing my hands before every meal).

good point on the 'culture' and why not eat the skins? Pretty tasty I think.


No idea why, but Danes just don't go for potatoes in their jackets. They usually go with peeled and boiled, and when those lovely little new potatoes are involved, it practically breaks my heart.

Surprised that no one has commented on the beautiful cabinet wood work detailing of that tomato greenhouse on the first page of this thread.

Nice blogging so far!

dcarch


Thanks! And my boyfriend says Thanks, too, and is incredibly pleased someone noticed the greenhouse, since he spent ages bulding it. It's his own design, the frame is oak, and it's finished in with boat varnish (because it's so damp here).

. . . .
- What is hokkaido like, and how do you use it?
. . . .


Mostly, I use it in place of potato, because potatoes are a bit of a disaster for me. the texture is very similar, and the flavour is pretty neutral. This one is going to be part of a soup and/or a puree.

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#65 rotuts

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 01:14 PM

Maybe the Peeled Potato Culture Center is not a health risk as the potatoes are boiled when brought home and left overs at the end of the day are discarded?

Are they taken home 'in water?'

Maybe the peels go into home brew-vodka? its a shame that the flavor of the skin and its nutrients are lost.

#66 Anna N

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 06:18 PM

When my Danish sister- in-law visited us here in Canada I watched in fascination as she speedily removed the peel from many many tiny potatoes she had boiled in their jackets.

Hoping for some (just a teensy bit) of traditional Danish cooking.

My husband and I were so disappointed to arrive in Denmark only to be served chicken in yogourt sauce! As an expat, he and his family were more Danish than the Danes. Fortunately his brother and sister- in -law indulged our nostalgia and took us to places that still served open-face sandwiches and Danish burgers with onion gravy and other dishes that seem to be out of favour now.
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#67 Mjx

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 01:59 AM

Anna, for this evening, I'm going to make frikadeller! These are very traditional for summer, and straightforward to make. I think. I've never made them before, since I've always made polpette, the Italian version (from The Splendid Table). This should be interesting.

I wanted to get a bit of background on the subject, and my boyfriend's mother generously delved into her substantial library of cookbooks. I settled on three popular cookbooks:
Alfas Kogebog [‘Alfa’s Cookbook’] 1925, vol 1, pp 121-122; (‘Alfa’ was a brand of margarine);
Lærebog i Huslig økonomi [‘Textbook for Home Economy’, my boyfriend’s mother’s home economics schoolbook from the 4th to 9th classes, and given as a gif to be used after graduation], 1961, p 154;
Claus Meyer et al.’s Ny Nordisk Hverdagsmad [‘New Nordic Everyday Food’], 2011, p 101.

The ingredient lists give some idea of how frikadeller have evolved over the past 87 years:

1925 Alfas Kogebog (The book notes that 500 g of prepared meat mixture serves 4–6)

1 kg veal/pork (topside/round [inderlår], brisket [bov], or neck/chuck [mellemskært])
250 g kidney fat (probably suet) or fresh pork fat
250 g flour
4–6 eggs
Salt, white pepper, grated onion
OR
1 kg beef (topside/round)
175 g fresh pork fat
250 g flour
3–4 eggs
Salt, white pepper, grated onion

1961 Lærebog i Huslig økonomi

300 g beef, veal, or pork
40 g onion
4 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon pepper
1 dl milk
30–40 g fat
2–3 dl water
Kulør (caramel colour) and salt for the sauce

2011 Ny Nordisk Hverdagsmad

400 g ground veal and pork belly
Salt and pepper
1 onion
120 g potato
120 g multi-grain/coarse bread
2 eggs
2 dl 1.5% milk
4 teaspoons flour
2 teaspoons mustard
20 g butter, for frying
2 tablespoons cold pressed rapeseed oil, for frying

The recipes have changed very little over time, and they all assume you’ll be grinding your own meat: the 1925 recipe calls for passing the meat through the grinder 9 times, by 1962 this is down to just twice, and today, a few seconds in food processor are called for.

I'm not going to be grinding my own; there is a very elderly meat grinder laying about somewhere (or parts, at least), and no food processor. And I want to do a little research; with Harold McGee, Modernist Cuisine, and Cook's Illustrated at my disposal, there must be some tips I can come up with, to make these as good as possible. I'm also thinking 'lovage'; the Ny Nordisk recipe includes it in the dressing for the frikadeller, why not put them in the frikadeller themselves?

Yesterday, I passed a shop that sells traditional Danish ready-to-eat dishes, but I decided to save the image for today:

DanishTrad.jpg

You can see three sorts of frikadeller (no idea what, though), flæskesteg (roast pork, the long thigs with the ridged tops), and various summer salads.


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#68 rotuts

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 04:25 AM

thanks for the pic of the ready-to-eat. Are there shops that sell an array of open faced sandwiches? Id forgotten about them. The best I ever had was in Toronto, a few doors down from a Hotel that had 'Four Small Rooms' in it. It was the Danish Import Center.

Stunning stuff!

#69 weinoo

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 04:41 AM

So give us an idea of food costs over there. For instance, how much was that chicken?
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#70 Mjx

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 07:36 AM

thanks for the pic of the ready-to-eat. Are there shops that sell an array of open faced sandwiches? Id forgotten about them. The best I ever had was in Toronto, a few doors down from a Hotel that had 'Four Small Rooms' in it. It was the Danish Import Center.

Stunning stuff!


Thanks! I've seen such shops here and there, but not very often, and I can only think of one (maybe) around here.

So give us an idea of food costs over there. For instance, how much was that chicken?


The chicken was DKK44/1200 g (given the current exchange rate, that's USD7.21/42 oz.); the ground pork and veal mix I got for today's frikadeller was DKK40/500 g (USD6.55/17.6 oz); a fifth of that is sales tax, by the way.

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#71 weinoo

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 07:54 AM

For some reason, I expected the food costs to be higher...carry on!
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#72 gfweb

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 09:25 AM

20% sales tax on food!

#73 rotuts

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 10:04 AM

in the picture at the Ready-to-Eat shop are the ridges on the flæskesteg crackling?

Is 20% a general sales tax on everyting? Is there an additional VAT?

Edited by rotuts, 12 July 2012 - 10:05 AM.


#74 Mjx

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 11:13 AM

in the picture at the Ready-to-Eat shop are the ridges on the flæskesteg crackling?

Is 20% a general sales tax on everyting? Is there an additional VAT?


I think that is what you call crackling; it's the skin, when the fat renders from beneath it, and it turns hard-crunchy, you need good teeth to chew on it (I have some large holes in my meat knowledge, because I was raised vegetarian, so I didn't hear terms like 'crackling' when I was growing up).

And no, there's 25% sales tax on everything :wink:

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#75 Mjx

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 11:42 AM

Here are the frikadeller:

DinnerThurs.jpg

I wanted to stay at least reasonably faithful to traditional recipes, but I wanted to experiment a bit, to see whether I could get around the rubbery/dry consistency that shows up fairly often. Often, they’re also really bland.

I began by pulling out On Food & Cooking, Modernist Cuisine (v. 3), and various issues of Cook’s Illustrated (why not turn any meal into a hefty research project?), to get an idea of how I could make the frikadeller come out substantial and tasty, rather than bouncy and dry.

Research.jpg

Half an hour later, I had some ideas, and got things going.

I used the Ny Nordisk recipe I mentioned a bit earlier today, to establish a sort of baseline for the relative amounts of meat, dry ingredients, moist filler, and liquids.

Since I had 500 g of veal/pork mixture, I upped the weight of the other ingredients accordingly; I also replaced the potato (grated and added raw in the Ny Nordisk recipe) with an equal weight of a sort of panade of rolled oats and broth (I’m not enthusiastic about dairy in savoury dishes), and, memories of childhood nut loaf in mind, replaced the seeds/coarse bread with more rolled oats (there is a long tradition of using oats in frikadeller, mostly when meat was scarce). I swapped in broth for the milk, and dissolved 1 g of gelatine in it (this was inspired by the research phase, since gelatine would both add cohesiveness and moisture), and mixed the meat vigorously with a hand mixer (also to improve cohesion). I added fresh lovage and dried ramps to give a bit more flavour.

Ingredients.jpg

Prep.jpg

I added the rolled oats (the ones not in the 'panade') last, to make sure I didn't make the mixture too dry; they were definitely needed, though, and adding them turned the mixure from a soupy mess to a workable texture:

Fars.jpg

I let the mixture sit and set up for three hours before frying these.

Plan A involved rice, but my boyfriend’s parents prefer potatoes (they asked to be included in this endeavour), so I roasted some small new potatoes (boiled is traditional, but I like roasted so much better).

FrikadelleFry.jpg

The inside looked like this:

FrikadelleClose.jpg

The frikadeller weren't bad, crunchy and nicely browned on the outside and moist on the inside, but the texture was a tiny bit pasty (but not rubbery!); my boyfriend said that usually they have a coarser texture (but ate seven anyway). Next time, I'll pass on using the mixer on the meat, since I think the gelatine was enough to give it the necessary cohesiveness.

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#76 Smithy

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 01:03 PM

Lovely! and you're a woman after my own heart with this comment:
"Why not turn any meal into a hefty research project?" :-)

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#77 weinoo

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 02:45 PM

Wait. Dried ramps?
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#78 haresfur

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 03:11 PM

You can tempura elderflowers, too.
It's almost never bad to feed someone.

#79 Mjx

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 10:46 PM

Wait. Dried ramps?


Sure. It's one of the offerings in a 'traditional herbs' line offered by urteteket (these inlcude dill, and several others).

ETA My mistake: ramsløg (what I was talking about) are ramsons (Allium ursinum), not ramps, although they're relatively closely related. Sorry about that!

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#80 ambra

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 02:07 AM

Can you taste the oats in the frikadeller? I was thinking of trying them.

(BTW, I finally found the spelt flour and can't wait to try your recipe. )

#81 Mjx

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 04:03 AM

Can you taste the oats in the frikadeller? I was thinking of trying them.

(BTW, I finally found the spelt flour and can't wait to try your recipe. )



I didn't notice that the oats contributed anything to the flavour, in fact, the frikadeller were quite bland. Next time I make these, I'm adding thyme and a little nutmeg. And maybe replace the 'panade' with chopped mushrooms.

Let me know how your bread comes out :)


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#82 Mjx

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 04:13 AM

Today, breakfast was skyr with blueberries, vanilla bean powder, and chestnut honey:

BreakfastFriday.jpg

Today’s schedule includes making bread (all sifted spelt, this time), some shopping and planning for tomorrow (venison and hokkaido-chestnut soup for dinner), and going out for fish and chips this evening.

Dough.jpg

VenisonChestnutHokaido.jpg

You’ve probably noticed that there hasn’t been any dining out, so far. This is partly because something casual like grabbing a sandwich is complicated by my having to decide whether I’ll enjoy said sandwich enough to deal with the consequences (which is a bore), and partly because more upscale dining is often disappointing/not great value for what you pay. Although there are several restaurants in Århus that deliver good to exceptional meals (e.g. Malling & Schmidt, Substans, Mefisto), they are much more expensive than at least equivalent dining experiences in Italy, and we seldom eat out here; instead, we tend to go all out when we travel.

On the other hand, my passion for fish and chips is of a ‘screw the consequences’ intensity, so this evening we’re heading out to the only place we’ve found (so far) that offers an excellent iteration of fish and chips. I’m puzzled by the difficulty of finding not-dreadful versions of fish and chips in the area (the fried fish is where it all seems to break down entirely), particularly since we’re on a coast.

I sometimes get the impression that, outside of Denmark, people have the idea that Noma and other restaurants with a similar aesthetic/approach reflect Danish food trends in general, but I haven’t seen evidence of any significant trickle-down effect, and the traditional dishes, prepared the traditional way, remain solid favourites. Although by no means always the case, there is a tendency for ordinary Danish food to be bland and overcooked, although there’s usually plenty of it. Even sauces (which I think of as intended to add flavour) tend to be based on flour and milk, possibly with kulør (caramel brown) added for colour (the last line of text on the web page [Klassikeren til den gode mad!] says ‘The classic for good food!’).

Still, there is the (for me) rather elusive smørrebrød. By ‘elusive’ I mean I haven’t come across it that often, although I’ve been visiting Denmark since 2000.

This morning, I pumped my boyfriend for information on this, and didn’t get much: Yes, there are plenty of shops selling smørrebrød, mostly butcher shops (where it’s presumably made to order, since I haven’t noticed it in the display cases). He further contends that it’s mostly eaten by people over fifty. What?! I point out that he brings a (very) modified version of smørrebrød to work pretty much every day. He admits this, and regards the topic as done.
I try again: the traditional ones have names, right? He mentions dyrlægens natmad (‘the veterinarian’s night food/meal’ – rye bread, liver paste, slice of salt beef, beef aspic), which I know; the only other one I know by name is stjerneskud (‘meteor’ – white bread, plaice filet, shrimp, lemon).
‘Anything else?’ ‘Mmph’.

The traditional, full-scale smørrebrød may be a victim of Denmark’s having apparently jettisoned formality in a big way over the past couple of decades. The first time I visited Denmark (a one-night layover with my parents, when I was about 7), my father was outraged at being excluded from the regular dining room because he wasn’t wearing a tie; today, there probably are no more than a few (if that) restaurants that require men to wear ties. Denmark is almost unrelentingly casual, and the time and structure of traditional smørrebrød probably seems to fussy for most occasions.

So, when I do a really modified version of smørrebrød tomorrow, my feelings of guilt will not be overwhelming ;)

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#83 weinoo

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 04:35 AM


Can you taste the oats in the frikadeller? I was thinking of trying them.

(BTW, I finally found the spelt flour and can't wait to try your recipe. )


I didn't notice that the oats contributed anything to the flavour, in fact, the frikadeller were quite bland. Next time I make these, I'm adding thyme and a little nutmeg. And maybe replace the 'panade' with chopped mushrooms.

Let me kow how your bread comes out :)

Do you do a sample before you make the whole batch? To taste for seasoning, etc. Often, what's perceived as (or what is actually) bland just needs some punching up with salt and pepper...often, more than you think is needed!
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#84 Mjx

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 05:54 AM



Can you taste the oats in the frikadeller? I was thinking of trying them.

(BTW, I finally found the spelt flour and can't wait to try your recipe. )


I didn't notice that the oats contributed anything to the flavour, in fact, the frikadeller were quite bland. Next time I make these, I'm adding thyme and a little nutmeg. And maybe replace the 'panade' with chopped mushrooms.

Let me kow how your bread comes out :)

Do you do a sample before you make the whole batch? To taste for seasoning, etc. Often, what's perceived as (or what is actually) bland just needs some punching up with salt and pepper...often, more than you think is needed!


I didn't sample, but I did err on the side of using too little salt, since my boyfriend's parents asked to be dealt in on this, and they like things less salty than I do. There's also a weird thing about salt in Denmark: it takes a while for it to dissolve fully. It might be the hardness of the water, although I cannot imagine why that would affect it. But the salt seems to take quite a while to dissolve, and it's easy to over-salt (it happened a lot when I first began cooking here). When I had one of the cold frikadeller this morning, the saltiness was fine. But it was still pretty bland; or perhaps it would be better to describe them as not up to their full flavour potential.

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#85 SylviaLovegren

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 06:12 AM

I didn't notice that the oats contributed anything to the flavour, in fact, the frikadeller were quite bland. Next time I make these, I'm adding thyme and a little nutmeg. And maybe replace the 'panade' with chopped mushrooms.


I read recently in the comments on a post somewhere on eG (no idea what the topic was) that the milk used in the panade chemically reacts with the meat somehow to make the meat mixture more tender. This made me wonder whether my recent switch to water rather than milk for my meatloaf/meatballs was why the texture was different and not quite as attractive as it had been.

Thyme and nutmeg always go into my Swedish meatballs -- don't know if Danish meatballs are supposed to have the same flavor or not!

#86 Smithy

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 07:01 AM

The fish and chips question is an interesting one: why you can't seem to get good fish and chips there, even on the coast. That reminds me: does Denmark have a tradition of preserved fish, along the lines of pickled herring or gravlax or lutefisk? If so, what's the preferred method?

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#87 Smithy

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 07:20 AM

By the way - your photos are excellent! They give me a strong sense of being present with you, looking at the bread or the market or whatever. I went back to look at the cabinet joinery in the tomato house and could see what good work went into it.

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#88 rotuts

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 07:45 AM

Wonderful!

:biggrin:

#89 judiu

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 11:53 AM


thanks the market is very interesting. Ive never seen peeled potatoes for sale. Is that unique to Denmark?


I've never seen that either. Wish they did that around here because I hate peeling 'taters!

You DO realize that you can simply scrub the skin totally OFF with a nylon scrubby pad of the right texture, right? Use a black nylon grill cleaner to scrub a thick skinned Idaho baker (russet), a green non-stick pan scruber for thin skinned new potatoes, and all types in between for all types in between. Just use a paring knife for eyes and imperfections. :cool:
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#90 Mjx

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 12:30 PM

The fish and chips question is an interesting one: why you can't seem to get good fish and chips there, even on the coast. That reminds me: does Denmark have a tradition of preserved fish, along the lines of pickled herring or gravlax or lutefisk? If so, what's the preferred method?


Pickled herring is popular. There also used to be a lot of klipfisk (dried fish, cod, I believe) but it's not very popular anymore. Too whiffy for modern tastes, apparently.

By the way - your photos are excellent! They give me a strong sense of being present with you, looking at the bread or the market or whatever. I went back to look at the cabinet joinery in the tomato house and could see what good work went into it.


Thanks! Denmark is one of those places that is really hard to stop photographing :smile:

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