Special Dinner: June 2014

July 14, 2014 § 2 Comments

For the 2014 special dinners, Mr. E suggested we should look at some of the less often used cookbooks in our household for inspiration. For June – to continue the historical theme – we chose the Viking Cookbook.

June 2014 Special Dinner

Mr. E made cabbage-beet-carrot soup as starter, served with a dollop of sour cream. The beets turned the soup red, of course, and tended to overwhelm the taste as well, but the sour cream worked as a surprisingly good neutralizer.

The main course was pork with apple. Mr. E cooked most of the meal outdoors on the grill (until he ran out of coal and had to finish inside on the stove), and that might be why the pork came out a bit dry. However, the mushy, cooked apples kept the dish juicy.

As dessert Mr. E made a blueberry oven pancake with whipped cream.

Viking-style Oven Pancake

(A note on pancakes: Even though we call them pancakes, Scandinavian / Finnish pancakes are not the thick, fluffy, flour-y American breakfast stuff. There’s actually two kinds of dishes called pancakes. One is baked in the oven, usually in a deep cookie sheet; Mr. E put his into a pie dish, though. These oven pancakes come out dense, eggy and rich. Oven pancakes are an especially delicious way to use up old milk. The other kind resembles American pancakes, but is cooked ultra thin like crepes. Both types tend to be enjoyed as dessert more often than breakfast, typically with fresh berries, jam, ice cream or whipped cream. One of our favorite restaurants in Finland serves the thin crepe-style pancakes with both savory and sweet fillings of your choice.)

I kept the table simple and incorporated traditional crafts, namely clay dishes and the runner (handmade in Finland from unbleached linen and dyed cottons). Our glasses are actually replicas of medieval drinking glasses that we got years ago at the Historiska museet in Stockholm (I believe) on a research trip for Mr. E’s dissertation.

June 2014 Table

Even though Mr. E had some qualms while cooking, I think this dinner came out really tasty. The pancake is definitely a keeper – he’s already made it twice more. Yum! 🙂

Special Dinner: May 2014

June 6, 2014 § 1 Comment

For the 2014 special dinners, Mr. E suggested we should look at some of the less often used cookbooks in our household for inspiration. The May cookbook is The Classical Cookbook. It presents recipes from Ancient Greece and Rome and adds a version that’s adapted to the modern kitchen.

We had honey-glazed shrimp (a Greek recipe) as starter. They were very sweet, but not overly so. Mr. E did comment that all of the recipes he made for this dinner took a surprisingly large amount of honey. I guess the ancient Mediterraneans had a sweet tooth. 🙂

For the main course, Mr. E made a cold Roman chicken and sausage salad with nuts and cucumbers and molded in a shell of bread. (The recipe actually called for sweetbread – brains – but Mr. E used sausage instead.) The bread shell didn’t settle very well, but the salad still tasted good. The combination was a little different due to the dressing made with honey, wine, mint and coriander. Certainly not what we’d associate with Italian cooking nowadays. We also had mushrooms cooked in honey and wine as a side.

Lastly, there was a pear patina, a custard-like sweet dish flavored with pear and sweet wine. It reminded me of pancake, so I suppose you could call it flourless pancake as well. Very delicious, in any case, and, very aptly, washed down with wine.

May 2014 Special Dinner

It would’ve been nice to deck the table with an ancient Greek / Rome theme as well, but I’m afraid I don’t have the brain power at the moment. I did pick our blue napkins with Greek key meander at the perimeter, though, and used wooden chargers and hand-blown glass dessert plates for a dash of rusticity, if that’s even a word. 🙂

May 2014 Table

All in all, some of the flavor combinations aren’t typical for the 20th and 21st century Western tastes, but we enjoyed this dinner immensely nevertheless. Definitely a keeper!

Sets of Things in Different Colors

May 7, 2010 § 1 Comment

Mr. E likes groupings of different colors. Like these quilts:

Lattice Quilt

A lapquilt that Mr. E sewed for his sister.

Flying Geese Quilt

A queen size quilt by Mr. E was made as a wedding present.

Even better are groups of one and the same item in different colors. Like these glasses:

Drinking glasses in rainbow colors

Image from WohnIdee 8/2009.

Or these shot glasses:

Shot Glasses

Are we noticing a pattern here? 🙂

I fully confess I find it hard challenging to incorporate sets of things in different colors to our home. (I’m rather a friend of the ‘same or similar color’ persuasion.) One attempt is our shot glasses above. Of course we also have a quilt of Mr. E’s design on our bed.

I haven’t done much redecorating for spring. Something I did do is select a set of votives in different colors for our dining room. I placed them on sill of the eastern window to catch the morning sun.

Glass votive candle holders

Ballo glass votives by Iittala.

Blue glass votive candle holder

Aren’t those colors amazing?

Edit: I’ve edited and re-posted the photos.

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