Moose Peposo

Posted in cabbage, discount, italian, moose, stew with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 21, 2015 by oskila

For some reason our local shop has started offering comparatively cheap game meat relatively regularly. This time they sold stewing bits of moose cheaper than beef.

Foodstuffs I don’t normally buy, like game, come with enough sense of occasion to also provoke a blog post, which is why this is the third installment of game meat in a short amount of time. Also, game is a bit more friendly to the environment (if not to the individual moose) than domesticated and factory-farmed meats.

I’ve had my eyes on the classic Tuscan dish Peposo for a few years now, but never actually cooked it. Legend has it the dish was invented by furnace workers who made terra-cotta tiles for the Florence cathedral. Cheap beef cooked in local Chianti wine in terra-cotta pots for hours on end. In other words, high foodie fashion some 500 years later.

It’s always fun when there’s a schism regarding original recipes. Modern recipes contain lots of tomatoes, but the dish would have originated in pre-columbian times, when tomatoes were only found in South America. I decided for something in between – adding a small spoon of tomato paste for deeper umami flavor.

Personally I also wonder about the amount of pepper. As far as I know pepper was very very expensive during the renaissance. Would labourers (albeit skilled) really be able to afford that amount of pepper just for an everyday stew with cheap cuts of beef? Will have to look into that…


The ingredient list is very short: Meat, Chianti, black pepper, garlic (and tomato paste). Peposo isn’t a subtle dish. For a pound of moose I used half a head of garlic, a pint of wine and ten grams of pepper (substituting half the amount for long pepper which has more spicy notes that go well with game). In an embarrassing fit of illiteracy I ground the pepper up instead of using it whole like the recipe I used for reference said. The result was quite hot, but still enjoyable.


Top-left image: Everything combined in cast iron pot and brought to a boil while the oven heats to 150° C. Top-right: Pot after an hour in the oven. Bottom-left: the two hour mark. Bottom-right: Decided to declare dinner after three and a half hours.


According to the interwebs common side dishes for peposo are sautéed spinach and beans. I decided on a slightly more Swedish option and creamed some savoy cabbage. Grilled bread is also an important part of the peposo experience.

Moose peposo smeared on bread, with creamed savoy cabbage and what was left of the wine.

Final thoughts on this moose peposo: The meat was very lean. A fattier cut would probably have done favours for the flavours. To accompany the moose I went for a quite robust type of Chianti. A lighter wine would probably have been better. Even though there seems to be quite a lot of garlic in this dish, it disappeared completely. (might not have done so if the pepper wasn’t ground)

Venison à la Nelson?

Posted in mushroom, potato, scandinavian, stew, vegetables, venison with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 30, 2015 by oskila

Already a new post? It never rains but it pours…

Venison again? Yes. The grocery store offered venison at a discount again, this time cuts best suited for boiling.

À la Nelson? Why? Well, it’s slightly complicated. There’s a classic Swedish dish, the name of which translates to ‘sailor’s beef’. It’s sliced beef, onions and potatoes, stewed in beer. The sailor connection is supposedly that it’s practical to cook everything in one pot on a ship and fresh water isn’t always readily available, hence beer. A bit of googling indicates that there’s an English (or Polish) version that adds mushrooms and trades beer for stock. It’s called Steak à la Nelson. Yes, after lord Nelson, of Trafalgar fame.

I bastardized my recipe further by not only using venison instead of beef, but also wine and stock instead of beer and adding mushrooms and parsnip.

Frying a chopped portabello mushroom.

Searing the meat for a more flavoursome stock.

Thinly sliced potatoes, onions, browned venison and parsnip in a pot, together with mushrooms, various herbs, black pepper, a hint of garlic and a few juniper berries.

Deglaced pan with wine, stock and bayleaf.

After simmering everything for 45-60 minutes it’s not the prettiest of sights, but it’s how it’s supposed to look.

Finished dish along with a dollop of crème fraîche and pickled Hokkaido pumpkin (Many slow-cooked meat dishes in Swedish cuisine are traditionally served with pickled beets. Pumpkin was the least sweet pickle I had in the house. And it’s halloween soon…)

Blog aten’t dead! Four years celebration

Posted in bacon, cheese, vegetables, venison with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 26, 2015 by oskila

All this faffing about with having an actual job or staying at home with the sprogget steals valuable time from food blogging. I’m doing my best to stay above surface, but it’s tricky.

As it turns out, the blog turned four last week, which I noticed, but didn’t find time to post about. We’ll have to do with this week instead.

The trusty local food grocer announced ground venison at a discount and while patty isn’t my middle name, I’m drawn to the opportunity like a feegle to scumble. (Read more Pratchett if you didn’t get the reference).

Venison is typically lean meat, so bacon is always a good addition. A side dish of Feta-gratinated beets also made their way into the picture.

Mix venison with an egg, salt, pepper and possibly a ground up juniper berry or two. Shape into patties and wrap in bacon.

Beetroots boiled until soft, then peeled, sliced and put in a dish. Feta sprinkled. Bake until browned or somesuch. Experimentation with garlic, honey, sunflower seeds or the like is encouraged.hjort

Onwards to another year. I’ll stop promising improvement, but one can hope…

Also, new camera!

Hokkaido Pumpkin Soup

Posted in bread, pumpkin, soup, vegan, vegetables with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 14, 2015 by oskila

Today I’ll just post a dish and ignore that I’ve been off the grid since New Years. The local store offered Hokkaido pumpkins – a small pumpkin variety originating in Japan as the name suggests. One somehow followed me home.

1 Hokkaido pumpkin

1 onion

1 carrot

1 pint stock

Dig out the seeds, rinse and prepare for toasting. Chop aforementioned veggies and fry until nice. Add stock and simmer until soft. Blend until purée. Season until awesome (I used garlic, thyme, pink peppercorn and allspice). Eat until satisfied, with toasted seeds sprinkled on top. A dollop of something is probably nice too, as well as bread and cheese.


I hollowed out my pumpkin with a melon baller just for fun and used it as a serving bowl. The sandwich is grilled Camembert on sourdough batarde.

If anything in the post layout is odd it’s because I’m writing this entire post on my phone. A NerdCuisine first I think.

NYE 2014 Soup

Posted in cod, dairy, leeks, parsnip, potato, shellfish, soup, stock, vegetarian with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 4, 2015 by oskila

It says soup, but the concoction in question has a few similarities to a stew, a casserole, a chowder, a bisque or a bouillabaisse. Anyway, it’s a soup I made for the NYE dinner main course at my mother in law’s. Since it turned out rather excellent I feel like sharing.

The most important ingredient of all is good stock. I had two pints of lobster stock that I forgot to blog when I made it, so we’ll deal with that first.

Lobster stock (serves: you right)

1. Have your mother or similar invite you for a lobster party.
2. Nab the shells.
3. Lug a bucket of lobster peel home.
4. Cut up some good stock vegetables such as onions, carrots, leeks, garlic, parsnips (fennel, celery and celeriac are good too) and give them a sizzle in a large pot.
5. Cram the lobster remains in. Be as violent as you need. (I used a potato masher). If the shells refuse to be properly seared, oven roasting them first is a good idea.
6. Top up with water, wine and perhaps a bit of sherry.
7. Simmer for as long as you like I’d say, skimming frequently and seasoning to taste.
8. Strain the solids. I ended up using a pillowcase.
9. Simmer down to a more manageable volume
10. Use soon or freeze in a suitable container, for example a milk jug.

Freezing it in a milk jug will likely mean you end up using all of it in one go rather than a little here and there, since you’d have to defrost it to get anything out (apart from the bit with all the salt in it sloshing around the bottom unless the freezer is very very cold.

Since I’m a bit of a cheapskate I didn’t want to use this luxurious stock on just any soup and was at risk of waiting for too long when the opportunity of New Year’s dinner came along just in the nick of time. Also, wanting to defrost the stock well in advance of NYE to see if it was OK I took it out a couple of days early and discovered that we accidentally had turned the freezer off some time around Christmas eve and the temp inside was hovering around zero. Without the stock we’d probably gone for another day or two without checking the freezer, spoiling everything in it.

Aaanyway – for this soup you’ll need:

1 tbsp tomato paste
1 onion, finely chopped
4 carrots, cut to matchsticks
3 cloves garlic, minced or finely chopped
3 inches leek, julienned
1 kilo almond potatoes (or other mealy fingerling) cut to pieces or large dice

1 quart stock, for example lobster (see above)
1-2 glasses white wine
½-1 pint double cream
crème fraîche
water (optional)

400 grams fish fillet, diced
100 grams smoked mussels
peeled shrimp

In a pot suitable for soup-making, start by sizzling the tomato paste and onions, then add potatoes and garlic. I left the potato skin on since almond potatoes are very mushy when cooked and will be held together a bit better by the skin. The reason for the comparatively large amount of potatoes is that they absorb salt and the stock was very very salty. Add water as needed.

Deglace pot with a small amount of wine, then add the stock and wine to taste. Bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are nearly done, then add leeks, fish, mussels and cream to taste and cook until everything is nice.

Serve with a dollop of crème fraîche and a few shrimp as garnish. Garlic bread or croutons are nice on the side.

The above recipe was cooked up for five adults as main course, but turned out to be enough for seconds for three and thirds for two and also leftovers for lunch for two a few days later, which should add up to 12 servings, but not the largest ones.


Throwback Thursday Battle of the Gratins

Posted in dairy, pickled sprats, potato, scandinavian, side dish, swede, vegetarian with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 26, 2014 by oskila

Merry Christmas readers! The posting has been sparse this year and I don’t think I can promise lots of improvement with Nerdcuisine jr entering her second year in life rather soon.

When I started this post it was still Thursday so it counts. It’s a post I’ve been meaning to do for a whole year. It’s like this you see; last year mrs Nerdcuisine’s water broke on December 22nd. No baby came though, so we had to go in for check-ups the following three mornings. On the morning of Christmas Eve we decided to get some work done before having to go to the hospital, so we prepared some Christmas gratins. A classic Swedish one and a probably even more classic Finnish one. I usually have lot of photos in my posts, but this session was done very early in the morning, so most of the pics were mostly pointless. We’ll have to make do with just the finished products.

Gratin 1: Janssons Frestelse
Janssons frestelse (en: Jansson’s temptation) is a gratin of julienned potatoes, onions and cream, flavored with ‘anchovies’, which is, for some reason, a trade name for pickled sprats seasoned in a specific way. There are a few explanations for the name. The one I’m going with claims that an opera singer named Janzon often served the dish at his afterparties in the late 19th century. It’s been an important part of smorgasbords and late night snacks for a long time.

It’s also easy to make. Layer matchstick-cut potatoes, onion slices and ‘anchovies’ in a suitable vessel. season with salt and pepper. Smother the whole thing in double cream mixed with the brine from the anchovies tin and cover with breadcrumbs. Cook for an hour in 200 degrees C. Some people use machinery or graters for the potatoes these days (I’ve even encountered a TV chef using frozen french fries) but I consider the hand-cutting a point of honour.

Gratin 2: Lanttulaatikko
Lanttulaatikko (en: Turnip box) is a traditional Finnish Christmas dish. Since the main ingredient is mashed swede it’s a bit more like a pudding than a gratin perhaps, but Christmas is no time to be picky. The mashed swede is mixed with treacle, breadcrumbs, eggs and cream, seasoned with white pepper, ginger and nutmeg, plopped in a dish and generously sprinkled with breadcrumbs and baked at 175 degrees or so for 2-4 hours.

To ensure a nice crust on both varieties we usually put a generous helping of butter on top. Some people are content with a few dollops, but I like to slice most of a stick of butter with a cheese cutter and arrange the slices in a nice tile pattern.

These two dishes have several ingredients in common but are very different in most other aspects. One is a standalone dish or part of a buffet, the other more of a side order. And thus ends the battle of the Christmas gratins, Sweden vs. Finland. It’s probably a draw. I had a sceptical attitude towards Jansson’s well into my twenties but after being assigned to make it for student association Christmas parties I warmed to it and it is now my favourite Christmas food, along with pickled herring. My first encounter with lanttulaatikko was an anecdote dad brought home from a work-related Christmas party in Finland in the 90s. It has since entered the list of must-haves by way of my wife’s Finnish ancestry. I like it not only for flavor, but also because it’s an excuse not to boil any potatoes, since I consider eating potatoes at Christmas a waste of stomach room.

Lanttulaatikko on the left, Janssons frestelse on the right.

That’s what we did the morning of December 24th (which is the day for Christmas celebration in Sweden). Terribly early on the morning of Christmas Day we went to the hospital again, this time to induce labor. About 48 hours and a C-section later, NC jr was safe in my arms and stuff like blogs pushed down several notches on the priority list.

Merry Christmas and other holidays again dear readers. Hopefully I can squeeze another post in before the year ends. There seem to be a lot of grandmothers around this time of year…

Preserve Parade

Posted in eggplant, mango, preserve, tomato, vegetables, vegetarian with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 9, 2014 by oskila

Again, very erratic posting patterns. I’ve been planning for this post for about a week now and will try to type like the wind while baby’s asleep.

For some reason the project with the citrus marmalade set something off and I’ve been boiling stuff with sugar like crazy for some time now. These three were the main events so to speak.

Mango Chutney
Mango chutney is of course a classic. I just happened to have about 0.3 mangos in the fridge and couldn’t figure out what to do with it. Added onions, mustard seeds, vinegar, chili, cumin, cinnamon, ginger and sumac. Boiled for a bit. Certainly looks like chutney to me.


Eggplant Marmalade
Eggplant may not be the most intuitive marmalade material, but I’m certainly not the first to do it – in fact, I’m quite sure I’ve eaten industrially produced eggplant marmalade. It may have been from Libanon. Mine contains finely diced unpeeled eggplant, a dash of vinegar (would have preferred lemon) and half the amount, by weight, of gelling sugar. Ordinary sugar is fine too, but the gelling sugar has some pectine added to it and thus gives better texture.

Tomato Marmalade
After a burger night we found ourselves in possession of surplus tomatoes (mrs Nerdcuisine is allergic) so I made marmalade and gave most of it away. Once again I didn’t bother with any peeling. I don’t mind a bit of tomato peel and I think it adds flavor and probably pectin. Classic marmalade recipes usually use equal amounts of fruit and sugar, but that can be quite sweet, so in the eggplant recipe above I used only half as much. Even that proved too sweet with the tomatoes so I would have liked an emergency lemon to turn to, but we didn’t have any. This time I attempted to remedy the sweetness with a generous dose of vitamin C which is quite tart. For added excitement (and to go better with cheeses) I seasoned with black pepper and a sprinkle of chili flakes.


Well, that’s it for today. Make marmalade from anything, and remember that baby food jars are excellent for small batches of preserve.

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