Onion Soup

This is the classical French Onion Soup baked with cheese on top. Sweet and savoury. The ultimate comfort food.

One of the secrets is to let the onions slowly braise to get the sweetness out. Another important thing is to have a very good beef broth, preferably homemade. I got a lot of good tips from this Epicurious article.

You will need

  • 5 – 6 yellow onions. Sliced.
  • Olive oil.
  • Butter.
  • Salt
  • Pepper.
  • Dark sugar.
  • White wine. One glass.
  • Beef broth. About 1.5 l.
  • Butter.
  • A bunch of fresh thyme.
  • 3 bay leaves.
  • Dry sherry, like fino.
  • Baguette bread. Sliced.
  • Garlic clove. Peeled.
  • Gruyere cheese. Coarsely grated.

Do like this

  1. Warm the oven to 150 C. Cut slices of baguette and dry it in the oven, about 15 minutes. It shouldn’t take on any colour. Rub it with garlic clove when you remove it from the oven.
  2. Tie the fresh thyme and bay leaves to a bouquet garni.
  3. Take a pan that can hold the soup. Warm it to medium heat. Add butter and olive oil.
  4. Put in the onions and salt. Put on a lid.
  5. Braise the onions until they are soft, about 15 minutes.
  6. Add sugar and black pepper. Remove the lid and raise the heat. Braise, stirring often, until the onions have a nice caramelised colour and are completely soft.
  7. Add the wine, scrape and stir until most of the liquid have boiled away.
  8. Add the beef broth and the bouquet garni.
  9. Simmer for about 20 minutes until the soup have reduced slightly.
  10. Heat the oven to high with grill.
  11. Take oven proof soup bowls, one for each person.
  12. Put a little sherry (a little more then a tsp) in the bottom of each bowl. Add soup, about 2/3 in each bowl. Top each bowl with a slice of baguette and good layer of cheese.
  13. Bake the soup bowls in the oven until it gets a good colour.
  14. Serve.

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Tangy Roasted lamb

This is a Spanish variant of roasted lamb. Good heat and smokiness from the smoked paprika. The vinegar and lemon juice that cut the richness of the lamb.

Side dishes. Roasted potatoes seasoned with a little smoked paprika and finely chopped garlic in the end. Green beens fried in olive oil until crispy.

You will need

  • Leg of Lamb on the bone
  • Olive oil
  • Salt.
  • Pepper.
  • Smoked paprika.
  • One large onion. Sliced.
  • 2 – 3 cloves of garlic. Peeled and sliced.
  • A couple of bay leaves.
  • 2 tbsp vinegar.
  • 1 tbsp dried rosemary.
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano.
  • 1 – 2 tsp cumin.
  • Juice of one lemon.
  • 1 – 2 dl water.

Do like this

  1. Preheat the oven to high, about 250 C.
  2. Rub some olive oil on the lamb to make the spices stick. Season with salt, pepper and smoked paprika.
  3. In a bowl, mix together onion, garlic, bay leaves, vinegar, rosemary, oregano, cumin lemon juice and water.
  4. Season a oven proof dish with some olive oil and add the lamb. Put it into the oven and sear it until it gets a good colour. Turn it a couple of times.
  5. Lower the heat of the oven to 125 and add the content from the bowl.
  6. I like my lamb quite red so I roast the lamb until it reaches an inner temperature of about 55 C. (It will go up to 58 C in the after heat). Turn it ones in a while.
  7. Remove the lamb from the oven and let it rest for at least 10 minutes.
  8. Cut it up and serve with side dishes and the juices.

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Red-braised pork

This is a classic Chinese dish from Sichuan, hong Shao Rou. Tender pork with a thick sweet, savory sauce.

You will need

  • Fresh Pork belly in one piece. About 1 kg.
  • A piece of fresh ginger. About 2 cm. Unpeeled and smashed.
  • A couple of scallions.
  • Oil to fry in.
  • Dark soya. A couple of tbsp.
  • Sherry. A couple of tbsp.
  • Salt.
  • Brown sugar.
  • A couple of star anise.

Do like this

  1. Put enough water to cover the pork belly in a pot and bring it to boil. Blanch the meat in the boiling water for a couple of minutes.
  2. Take the meat up, rinse it in cold water and cut it in bite size pieces.
  3. Warm oil in a skillet or wok and fry the meat until it get some colour. Add sugar, ginger, the green parts fo the scallions, soya, sherry and star anise. Add water to cover and season with salt.
  4. Bring to a boil, lower the temperature.
  5. Let it simmer for about 2 hours until the meat is tender and the sauce has reduced and thickened.
  6. Serve with rise and the white part of scallions finely chopped.

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Boiled beef with Salsa Verde

This dish takes inspiration from both the Italian Bollito Misto and the French Pot-au-feu.

One trick is to cook the fresh vegetables for the final dish in stock, just before serving. The vegetables that you cook the meat with have done their job.

The temperature when you cook the meat is crucial. I think 70 is a good. Below that you might get a little sour taste and the vegetables doesn’t get cooked so they don’t release their flavour to the stock. At 70 C the collagen in the meat also dissolve which make it less tough.

I think the Salsa Verde really adds a refreshing punch to this very mild dish.

You will need

  • Beef suitable to boil, preferable with bones. I used Short Ribs. About 1 to 1.5 kilo.
  • 6 – 7 carrots.
  • 4 – 5 stalks of celery.
  • 1 or 2 onions.
  • 1 – 2 leeks.
  • 3 – 4 cloves of garlic. Peeled.
  • Green beans.
  • A couple of sprigs of fresh thyme.
  • 3 – 4 bay leafs.
  • About 5 whole black pepper.
  • 3 – 4 cloves.
  • 5 – 6 allspice.
  • 1 – 2 dried smoked serrano chili.
  • A slice of bread.
  • 1 – 2 tbsp of vinegar. I used sherry.
  • 1 – 2 cloves of garlic. Peeled.
  • 4 – 5 sprigs of parsley. The leaves.
  • 1 tbsp of capers.
  • The yolk from 1 hard boiled egg.
  • 2 – 3 anchovy.
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard.
  • About 4 – 5 tbsp olive oil.
  • Black pepper.
  • Salt.

Do like this

  • Warm you oven to 70 C.
  • Boil water in a pot. Put the meet in for few minutes. Take the meat up an throw away the water.
  • Cut 3 carrots, 2 – 3 sticks of celery and the onions up into rough pieces.
  • Put the meat, carrots, celery, onions, garlic gloves, thyme, bay leafs, black pepper, cloves, allspice, serrano and some salt in a pot. Add water to cover.
  • Put on a lid and bring to boil.
  • Put into oven until the meat is soft. About 8 hours.
  • Take the put out of the oven.
  • Remove the meat and strain the stock. Put the meat back into the stock.
  • You can now put it in a refrigerator until the next day. Remove the solid fat on the surface.
  • Cut up the rest of carrots into bite sizes. The leeks and the rest of the celery cut thinly.
  • Bring the stock with the meat to a slow simmer.
  • Add the carrots and after about 5 minutes the leeks and the green beans. When the carrots is done add the celery off the heat.
  • For the salsa verde. Chop the bread fine and add to a mortal together with the vinegar.
  • Cut the garlic fine. Grind the garlic and anchovy with the flat side of the knife. Add it to the mortal.
  • Add the parsley, egg yolk and capers to the mortal. Grind to a rough paste.
  • Add dijon mustard and whisk in olive oil until you get a rough, thick sauce.
  • Taste with salt and pepper.
  • Serve the meat with vegetables and broth. Salsa Verde on the side.

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Baked beets and daikon with goat cheese

The earthy daikon and beets paired with the sweet lemon vinaigrette goes really well with the goat cheese.

You will need

  • 4 – 5 Yellow beets. Peeled and cut into pieces.
  • A quarter to half of a daikon. Peeled and cut into pieces.
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme.
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice.
  • Olive oil. (3 – 4 tbsp to the dressing).Salt.
  • Honey.
  • Salt.
  • Pepper.
  • Goat cheese. I used Chèvre Affiné.

Do like this

  1. Warm the oven to 200 C
  2. Put the beets and daikon in a oven proof dish. Add olive oil, season with salt, pepper and thyme. Mix and cover.
  3. Bake the beets and daikon until they are soft. About 30 minutes.
  4. Make a vinaigrette with lemon juice, honey, salt, pepper and olive oil.
  5. Plate the beets and daikon. Add pieces of cheese and drizzle over the vinaigrette.

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Lamb Stew with Apples

Apples and lamb might seem like an odd combination but the result was really good. I wanted a chunky type of “gravy” with pieces of apple and onions. Thats why I used peeled apples and dry herbs.

I served it with a gratin of celeriac, potatoes and leeks. Cut celeriac and potatoes into matchsticks. Leeks into slices. Add vegetables to an buttered oven proof dish. Mix crème fraîche, dijon mustard, lemon juice, milk, salt and pepper. Pour it over the vegetables and top with bread crumbs. Bake in a 200 C oven until ready.

You will need

  • About 1 kg lamb pieces suitable for stews. I used shoulder.
  • 2 – 3 onions cut into pieces.
  • 3 – 4 apples. Firm and not to sweet. Peeled, cored and cut into pieces. Put some lemon juice on them so they don’t miss colour.
  • A couple of garlic cloves cut into thick slices.
  • 1 tbsp each of dried rosemary and dried thyme.
  • A couple of bay leafs.
  • A small glass of calvados.
  • A glass of white wine or dry french cider.
  • Salt.
  • Pepper.

Do like this

  1. Have the lamb in room temperature at least half an hour before you start cooking.
  2. Preheat the oven to 125 C.
  3. Season the lamb with salt and pepper.
  4. Fry the lamb in olive oil in an dutch oven on high heat. Don’t overcrowd the pan. Put the pieces of lamb to the side.
  5. Lower the heat. Add the onions and garlic. Season with salt and fry until they soften.
  6. Add the apples, rosemary and thyme. Mix carefully and fry for a couple of minutes.
  7. Put the meat back in the pan and add the calvados. Burn of the alcohol.
  8. Add the white wine or cider and reduce by half.
  9. Add the bay leafs and a glass of water if its to dry.
  10. Add a lid, bring it to boil and put it in the pre heated oven.
  11. Let the stew simmer for 2 – 3 hours until it’s done.
  12. Remove the stew from the oven, skim of fat from surface and remove the bay leafs.
  13. Serve the stew with the gratin.

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Slow Roasted Pork Belly

This pork belly was slow roasted at quite a high temperature but carefully covered to keep the moisture. For the skin I didn’t have a elaborate technique. I first had it covered to keep in moist and soft. I then grilled it at high temperature to get it crisp.

With the pork I served two types of cauliflower. The first was a puree. Roast cauliflower, garlic in their husk and cut up lemons in an fairly hot oven. Make a puree with the cauliflower and the garlic. Add cream, milk and butter. Taste with salt, pepper and the roasted lemon.

The other was delicate and sweet variant called fiorina that I simply boiled and tossed with some olive oil, lemon juice and salt.

You will need

  • One piece of pork belly. About 1 kg.
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp of fennel seeds
  • 2 tsp, or to taste, of dried chili.
  • Salt.
  • A couple of onions. Cut into pieces.
  • 2 – 3 cloves of garlic. Cut in thick slices.
  • A glass of white wine.
  • A handful of sprigs of fresh thyme.
  • Water.

Do like this

  1.  Pound the thyme, fennel seeds, chili and salt in a mortal. Season the pork belly all around with the spice blend. Let the pork belly rest at least an hour, preferable over night.
  2. Warm the oven to 175 C.
  3. Take a baking tray that will barely hold the pork belly. In that, fry the onions and garlic in some olive oil seasoned with salt.
  4. Add the white wine and scrape up pieces from the bottom.
  5. Add the pork belly skin side up. Add the thyme and water to cover about two thirds of the pork belly. Season with salt.
  6. Bring to a boil, cover with foil and put in the oven.
  7. It should be done after about three hours.
  8. Remove the foil and pick up the pork belly.
  9. Put the gravy in a separate pan. Remove the thyme, season it and keep it warm.
  10. Grill the pork belly in a hot oven, about 225 C, until the skin is crispy.
  11. Serve pork belly with the gravy and the two types of cauliflower.

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Charred Leeks with Romesco Sauce

This is a dish that is inspired by the Catalan Calçot onions that are grilled and served with Romesco sauce. Here, leeks are charred in a dry skillet and then covered, while they are hot, to let them steam until they are mellow and soft. Serve with a spicy Romesco sauce.

You will need

  • 2 – 3 leeks.
  • A handful each of hazelnuts and almonds
  • One tomato.
  • 5 – 6 cloves of garlic with the skin on.
  • A couple of sprigs of parsley.
  • Chiliflakes and cayenne to taste.
  • Salt.
  • 1 tbsp sherry vinegar.
  • About 3 – 4 tbsp olive oil.

Do like this

  1. Roast the nuts in a dry skillet.
  2. Cut the tomato in quarters and char it together with the garlic in a dry skillet. Peel the garlic and chop the tomatoes with the skin.
  3. Pound the nuts and garlic in pestle.
  4. Add the tomatoes and vinegar. Taste with salt, chiliflakes and cayenne.
  5. Add olive oil so that you get a chunky but smooth sauce.
  6. Finely chop parsley and add to the sauce.
  7. Clean the leeks and cut the white and pale green part in about 4 cm pieces.
  8. Lightly coat the leeks with olive oil. Season them with salt.
  9. Grill the cut sides of the leeks in a dry skillet until they are nicely charred.
  10. Put the leek on a plate an cover them with foil for about 5 minutes to let them steam.
  11. Serve the leeks with the Romesco sauce.

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Fennel gratin with Pernod

This is a great side dish. The pernod marries with the fennel. The richness of the cream and the freshness of the lemon.

I served it with Mustard and Fennel marinated Chicken. But it would also go really well with fish, like poached Cod.

You will need

  • 1 – 2 bulbs of fennel depending on the size. Thinly sliced.
  • Butter
  • About 1 dl each of cream and milk.
  • 0.5 dl Pernod.
  • Salt.
  • Pepper.
  • Lemon juice.
  • Up to 1 dl bread crumbs.
  • About 1 dl grated parmesan.

Do like this

  1. Warm a oven to 200 C.
  2. Melt some butter in a pan. Add the fennel and salt. Fry until the fennel softens.
  3. Add pernod to the pan. Bring to a boil and burn of the alcohol. Add cream and milk Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice.
  4. Transfer the content of the pan to a buttered oven dish.
  5. Bake the fennel for about 25 minutes.
  6. Top with bread crumbs and parmesan, increase the heat of the oven to 225 and bake until you get a nice colour.

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Red Wine Braised Short Ribs

Slowly braised short ribs are really good. The result is like a less gelatinous variant of braised ox cheeks.

For the smoked pork belly in this recipe I used an excellent mild warm smoked variant. Thick slices briefly grill it in a dry pan to get it charred.

I wanted something tangy and savoury to go with the short ribs. A salad with grilled carrots and leeks. Dressing with grilled garlic, dijon mustard, vinegar and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. The garlic is grilled in their skin until soft and mushed with a knife.

You will need

  • 1 kg short ribs in large pieces on the bone.
  • 1 onion, chopped.
  • 1 carrot, chopped.
  • 1 – 2 sticks of celery. Chopped.
  • 2 cloves of garlic. Roughly chopped.
  • 1 tbsp flour.
  • Smoked pork belly. 2 chopped slices to the sauce. A couple of thick slices to serve.
  • Olive oil.
  • 1 dried smoked chili. I used serrano.
  • 1 star anise.
  • A couple of cloves.
  • A bouquet garni of fresh thyme, fresh parsley and bay leaf.
  • 1 dl rum.
  • Half a bottle red wine.
  • Salt.
  • Pepper.

Do like this

  1. Put the meat in room temperature.
  2. Warm the oven to 125 C
  3. Season the meat with salt and pepper and fry the meat in a hot skillet to get good colour.
  4. Put the meat aside, remove most of the fat, lower the temperature and add the onion, carrots, celery, garlic and pork belly. Season with salt. Slowly fry until vegetables is soft and has some colour.
  5. Add the flour, stir an fry a couple of minutes.
  6. Put the meat back. Raise the temperature, add the rum, bring to boil and burn of the alcohol.
  7. Add the wine, chili, start anise, clove and bouquet garni. Bring it to boil, put a lid on and put it in the oven.
  8. Let the stew simmer until the meat is fork tender, 3 – 4 hours.
  9. Pick up the meat and strain the sauce. Remove the fat from the surface. Put the meat back in.
  10. Grill the pork belly and add to the stew.
  11. Serve with the carrot salad.

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