Monday, April 30, 2012

Sweden: More than just meatballs

I visited a number of places on my European adventure and I must say Sweden takes the cake for best food of the entire trip. I went to Sweden not knowing what to expect; aside from swedish meatballs, lingonberries, swedish pancakes, and IKEA. In fact, I had no idea what was there. However I was pleasantly surprised with what I found; Sweden is a country that's more than just meatballs.
Our first meal in Sweden: Swedish Meatballs. If you're in Sweden, how can you not have the meatballs right? Disclaimer: These were American made! Either way, they were tasty. 

One of the things I love in Sweden is their caviar. It's basically fish roe in a tube and is eaten with eggs. After this trip, I think I've developed a new appreciation for eggs. Stay posted for egg recipes!
This here is a herring sandwich. It is absolutely delicious and puts McDonald's fillet-o-fish to shame. Yum! Again, the freshness of the ingredients in Europe is amazing!
Smoked fish shop near Ale's Stones which is pretty much Swedish Stone Henge. We tried the smoked eel (sea snake ;D) and it was really tasty; I love smoked foods! This is also where we got the fish sandwich above.
Swedish Easter was so awesome. Traditionally Swedes eat herring, drink Schnapps, and sing Easter songs during the meal. Unlike the US, what's interesting is that on this holiday, they have witches, cats, and tie feathers on branches! 
This was my plate. Look's like a an entire meal in itself right? Well this was just the "appetizer." Can you see why I gained weight on this trip? Totally worth it though.
And so our Swedish adventure ends. I'm pretty sure this post barely scratches the surface of what Sweden is. Hopefully this will not be the last time I visit! To be honest, I don't think we would have had half the fun we did without the hospitality of the Simonsson family. We were really fortunate to have them welcome us into their home and pretty much take care of us the entire time in Sweden. How awesome were they? They bought lactose free milk because they knew we were lactose intolerant. Wow! It's thanks to them that we were able to have such a good time there and experience a Sweden that's beyond the meatballs so I dedicate this post to them! Tack! Please visit in California! (:

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Thin 'n Crispy Almond Cookies

You'll often find these cookies in Asian bakeries for about 3 bucks for a very small package. Considering how thin they are, you're not really getting much. Good news is, these are super easy to make. Unlike your conventional cookie, I think these are great as a light snack or something to munch on without feeling too guilty. If you're a fan of almonds and crispy things, this is the recipe for you.

Thin 'n Crispy Almond Cookies
80 grams powdered sugar
40 grams cake flour
50 grams melted butter
3 egg whites
100 grams almond slices

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Sift flour and powdered sugar together in a bowl.
3. Add egg whites and melted butter to the flour and sugar mixture and mix well.
4. Gently fold in the almond slices to the mixture.
5. On a large rectangular baking sheet lined with a nonstick silicone mat or greased foil (grease with butter or oil generously), spread the batter onto the baking sheet evenly and thinly. (I split the batter in half to make two sheets but you can probably do 3 or 4 depending on how patient you are and on how thin you want your cookie to be.)
6. Bake for 20-30 minutes, checking halfway, until golden brown. (If it does not brown evenly, no worries, break off the golden parts and pop the non-golden bits back into the oven.)
7. Allow to cool. When cool and hardened, peel cookie off the foil and break into desired pieces.

The preparation for the batter is fairly easy. The trick to this recipe lies in spreading the batter evenly and thinly. Otherwise, its a piece of cake.

Friday, April 20, 2012

London, you're my mate.

Hello my fellow followers. As you may have noticed I have been MIA for awhile and that is because I have been backpacking in Europe. The trip was great and for the next few posts I will be sharing my foodie adventures with you. Let's start with London shall we?
My first meal in London was Fish and Chips at The Half Moon near the Queens Mary Campus. Unfortunately the picture I took of that was blurry so I'll provide you with a shot of my beer instead. Besides, it's just fish and chips right? What surprised me most is that the pint in the UK is huge! In the US, a pint is 16 ounces whereas in the UK it is 20 ounces. What do you get when you add exhaustion and alcohol together? This:
Needless to say, I did not feel very well however I managed to recover so yay me!

One of the things I really enjoyed was the Farmer's Market on the Queens Mary campus. There was fresh produce, sausages, baked goods, exotic meats, and food vendors.
All very tempting. 
Unlike the US doughnut, the ones here have a more bread-like texture. 
Giant vat of paella!
I've never even heard of some of these veggies before. I'd love to live here to be able to have access to all these awesome ingredients. 
Cheese bread; still warm!!!
The only thing I bought; it was delicious! There's just something about farmer's markets that I love. 
Prior to coming to London, a friend of mine suggested that I try a pasty. There were numerous flavors to choose from such as lamb and mint, chicken and mushroom, cheese and bacon, etc; I opted for a steak and ale pasty. Although this is probably more of a snack kind of food, I thought it could be a meal by itself.
If you're going to London, you must try an afternoon tea session. This was definitely one of the more memorable moments. It's just a great opportunity to feel fancy, eat dainty goodies, and have a nice chat. Pinkies up!
High tea ranges from approximately £10 to £50 depending on the place. As a more wallet friendly alternative, we had sweet tea at Bea's of Bloomsbury. There's actually more than one location for this place and funny thing is we got lost getting here. We ended up going to an alternative location and they happened to be having a 2 for 1 deal. It was only for sweet tea so the set did not contain sandwiches however it was as lovely as can be and more than enough to eat!
I chose Earl Grey, however my sister got the Jasmine Silver Needle White Tea and it wass AMAZING!
One of my most favorite things from London is clotted cream.  Average of 64% fat content? YOLO!
Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese is one of the cooler pubs I had the opportunity to visit during my stay in London. I'd say you should go too because it is one of those places with a lot of history and the interior is super cool. Apparently this pub has been frequented by the likes of Mark Twain an Charles Dickens. Awesome huh? Originally I wanted to come here for the Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding but unfortunately I cheaped out and got the Ye Olde Famous Steak and Kidney pie instead.
I'm not sure if this was one of my favorite dishes but I thought the meaty filling would've been great with a side of rice. Am I too Asian or what? Next time, I definitely need to get that Yorkshire Pudding!
And of course, if you're in the UK, you need to try a full English breakfast. I thoroughly enjoyed this! Yum!

Although it makes me feel guilty to say this, the rumors are true! Food here is generally on the bland side. On a positive note, compared to the states the produce in London is amazingly fresh and of superior quality. I just wished they used more spices than salt and pepper. So is food in London all bad? Not at all! I loved their Asian food and by Asian I mean their Indian and Bangladeshi cuisine. After all, the national dish in the UK is Indian Curry.
With all seriousness, seriously. Indians sure have a way with spices. 
This was not a typical Indian biryani. I think it's actually Bangladeshi. What I found was interesting was the  ingredients they put in here. Lemon peel, herbs, chili peppers, etc; great ideas for future recipes no?

And here I end this British adventure with something sweet. There were also a lot of Indian sweets shops nearby where I stayed. (For all your Indian needs, check out Brick Lane.) I'm not sure what this is called but this is just one of the many things I sampled. I say if you're in a foreign country, just try it if it looks interesting. Cheers!