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


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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.

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

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Lovely! and you're a woman after my own heart with this comment:

"Why not turn any meal into a hefty research project?" :-)

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
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"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)
"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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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!

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
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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 :)

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
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mscioscia@egstaff.org

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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 ;)

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

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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!

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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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.

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

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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!

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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?

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

Follow us on social media! Facebook; instagram.com/egulletx; twitter.com/egullet

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)
"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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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.

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

Follow us on social media! Facebook; instagram.com/egulletx; twitter.com/egullet

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)
"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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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:

"Commit random acts of senseless kindness"

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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:

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

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I mentioned earlier that dinner was going to be dinner was fish and chips. I should say, fantastic fish and chips with a lovely view, preceded and followed by a drive through a landscape that is almost insanely photogenic and picturesque. There are still plenty of tiny Danish towns that are simply bursting with half-timbered and thatched houses, and interspersed with fields containing small scatterings of attractive livestock knee-deep in clover (or whatever it is they’re consuming). Unfortunately, most of it has no connection to our dinner or food, but I figured a few shots of the area around our destination, Fiskehuset (‘The Fish house’), were justified.

Our destination is somewhere in the cluster of houses in the centre of the picture:

DSCN8002.jpg

And this is Fiskehuset, at the marina in Norsminde:

DSCN8005.jpg

DSCN8008.jpg

DSCN8011.jpg

DSCN8013.jpg

When they're open, which is only at certain times, the place is usually fairly crowded, so there's no guarantee of a seat:

DSCN8014.jpg

DSCN8016.jpg

The fish and chips were as fantastic as ever (the fish is hake); we also got one of the old, non-wobbly tables with an iron base and slate top:

DSCN8020.jpg

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DSCN8027.jpg

Afterwards, we took a walk around the marina, and we noticed some kids crabbing:

DSCN8028.jpg

DSCN8030.jpg

A few more shots around Fiskehuset:

DSCN8036.jpg

DSCN8038.jpg

DSCN8043.jpg

DSCN8051.jpg

(No recipe for jellyfish, but give me a little time. . .)

Danes eat early: by 19.00 there’s hardly a soul in sight:

DSCN8057.jpg

And something to finish with:

WildStrawberries.jpg

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

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Wow. I don't know what I want more--a plate of that incredible fish and chips or ANY meal overlooking that lovely bay. Great photos.

Question about the photo inside Fiskehuset. What's in the display case? Looks like smoked fish but also other things I can't identify.


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That fried fish looks wonderful. The browning on both fish and potatoes appears optimal. That is just coarse salt on the fish? I see the capers, onion and fresh dill on the front plate, but it there appears to be a small sauce dish on the other. Was there a dipping sauce option?

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I want to know all about that fried fish, too! My other question is about the water gates in the photo with the kids crabbing. What are the gates regulating?

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

Follow us on social media! Facebook; instagram.com/egulletx; twitter.com/egullet

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)
"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Beautiful. I love fraises des bois; they have such a wonderful flavor.

Oh yes, and we were lucky to find these :)

Wow. I don't know what I want more--a plate of that incredible fish and chips or ANY meal overlooking that lovely bay. Great photos.

Question about the photo inside Fiskehuset. What's in the display case? Looks like smoked fish but also other things I can't identify.

Thanks! I do love eating here.

There are several versions of both hot and cold smoked fish, and in the containers of things that are not smoked fish, going left to right, there are shrimp (small, square glass container), behind the shrimp are crab claws, quite large ones (metal bucket), then there are prawns (metal container), a mystery item that no one I've asked today could identify from the picture, but there are lemon slices and what appears to be a tomato based sauce, so I'm guessing that it's some sort of seafood appetizer (foil tart tins in glass container), fish frikadeller (glass container), and some lightly dressed shrimp (glass container to the right of the row of three triangular containers of various condiments, at the back).

That fried fish looks wonderful. The browning on both fish and potatoes appears optimal. That is just coarse salt on the fish? I see the capers, onion and fresh dill on the front plate, but it there appears to be a small sauce dish on the other. Was there a dipping sauce option?

It's just coarse salt, which has a tendency to roll off the fish, so you have to sort of dab it up from the plate. They offer several choices of sauce, including remoulade and ketchup (I'm not much of a sauce person, and really dislike anything creamy with savoury dishes, so I passed); that one is aïoli, which my boyfriend described as a very good take on it.

I want to know all about that fried fish, too! My other question is about the water gates in the photo with the kids crabbing. What are the gates regulating?

If you look at the first image, you can see a body of water in the middleground; the water gates regulate the flow of water from the bay to the inlet, and prevent flooding (I think it's just to protect homes, I don't believe there is any pisciculture going on). By the way, if you look closely, you can just make out something else that is very Danish: the row of ten windmills on the right side of the horizon.

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

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Breakfast today included Guinness Stout ginger cake, which you may notice is a little. . . dark:

DSCN8067.jpg

Okay. The top is burnt black:

DSCN8068.jpg

Even reducing the temperature to compensate for the oven’s tendency heat spikes didn’t help (although it seems to have interfered with the rise a bit ). Fortunately, the thing wasn’t incinerated, and with the thin carbonized layer trimmed away, and if it didn’t look beautiful, it still delivered in terms of flavour (it’s so good with coffee), and the recipe is one I highly recommend.

The cake is also a bit paler than usual, because at about 22.45 last night I discovered that I was out of molasses (difficult to find here), so I frantically racked my brains for a substitute, and hit upon a combination of cane syrup, pureed prunes, and cider vinegar. As a substitution, this was passable, but hardly ideal (but hey, I did promise at least one culinary fiasco).

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

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I am loving this. I am one quarter Swedish but all we have here in the way of Scandinavian food is the IKEA cafe so I love being able to learn anything about Scandinavian foodways and folkways. Thank you so much for doing this blog.

Yes, I want some of that fish 'n chips but I also want one of everything else on the menu. I see a couple of them are classic smorrebrod items.

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Yes, that does look like the perfect place to have seafood. the menu board had a price for the F&C of 60-

is that Danish Kroner? so about $10 US? that seems very reasonable for the plate and the spot!

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