26 Jun 2012

Chargrilled Tuna Steaks with Horseradishsauce, Asparagus and a Petit Pois Purée!

My lovely wife and my little girl

This meal was prepared last fall when my beloved wife celebrated her birthday. It just so happened that her birthday landed on a Monday, a weekday we try to go vegetarian, but because of the occasion we decided to to something special. We had purchased these tuna steaks from one of the local vendors, that drive around in their truck peddling fish from door to door. They are usually quite expensive but do sell quality products. This was of course not blue fin tuna but a distant cousin that is supposedly not in danger of being extinct!

It has been a while since I cooked tuna steaks, blimey, I think that it was even before my blogging days (late 2006 - check out www.ragnarfreyr.blog.is). I have had tuna when I am out to resturants and of course when ordering sushi an occasional sushi filet enters the mix. But I have always been hesitant about buying the in the fishcounter at my local fishmonger! They always look so brown, dry and gloomy and totally uninteresting. But blue fin variety is much more appetizing - but of limited supply! I don't know if their is any real difference in the flavor, a more experienced eater will have to help me on that matter!

Chargrilled Tuna Steaks with Horseradishsauce, Asparagus and a Petit Pois Purée !

First things first, make the sauce. This is a simple sauce made from light creme fraiche. I used just 200 ml and to that I added 2 mashed cloves of garlic, 4-5 cm of grated fresh horseradish, 1 tablespoon of syrop and seasoned with some salt & peppar. Mixed together and left to rest in the fridge while the other ingredients are prepared. 


This could be considered fast food, as the preparing and cooking the meal can be accomplished in just a matter of minutes. Heat the grill. Brush the tunasteaks with oil and season with salt & peppar. 

Tuna steaks

When the grill was schorchingly hot I put the asparagus on the grill, it had been treated in the same manner as the steaks. 2 minutes later I added the tuna on the racks. It only took 1-2 minutes on each side. It is not supposed to be cooked through - and should hold its colour in the center. 

Delicious Tuna steaks

I have made this petit pois purée. It is one of my wife's favorite accompaniments so in order to please her, as I always aspire to, I made it! And it is surprisingly simple. Bring a pot of water to the boil. Salt the water. Toss into a bowl full of frozen peas and cook for 4-5 minutes. Drain and put back in the pot. Mash the peas with a tablespoon of cream cheese, a pinch of butter and season with salt & pepper. Taste - delish!

Montes Alpha Chardonnay

As this was a festive dinner, and even though it landed on a Monday we opened a bottle of white wine. This time it was Montes Alpha Chardonnay which is one of my favorite white wines. It is a potent wine from Chile. Scents of tropical fruits and lemon. Buttery, fruity on the palate with a long oaky finish. Good!

Plate up!

Bon appetit.

20 Jun 2012

Pungent Mushroom Ragu: Penne Alla Funghi Multiple with Baguette and Salad

Hugh's brilliant book - Veg

This dish is inspired by Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall's new book - Veg - which solely contains vegetarian recipes. And I sincerely recommend this book - it's been a long while since I have read a cookbook that has inspired my to the same extent as this one has. The book is well crafted and filled with tempting recipes, plus, it is grounded on an ideology that I find admirable. I encourage connoisseurs of good food to have a look at this book - for those not particularly interested in vegetarian cooking, he has also published a number of beautiful books on for example meat and fish.

Here is a link (just click on the picture) to Hugh Fearnley Whittingstalls latest book. A good number of delicious recipes - including the one that inspired this one!

Dried mushrooms gathered last autumn

As previously mentioned on the blog, my brother and I have diligently scoured the local woods in search of edible mushrooms where we discovered a wide range of delicious treats on our hunt. We of course didn't eat the entire catch last fall so we dried a fair share of the mushroom and placed them in jars for future reference. Dried mushroom can be stored for eons. You can toss them straight into stews but it is recommend to allow them to rest 30 minutes or so in hot water so they can expand and regain their original size. In this way, you reclaim your old mushroom and simultaneously you are left with a powerful mushroom broth which some claim you should throw away but I use for the cooking.

Pungent Mushroom Ragu: Penne Alla Funghi Multiple with Baguette and Salad
Sliced mushrooms

I used five different types of mushrooms for this dish. I of course could have used fewer - but sometimes you're simply on a roll and you have to go with the flow. I bought a few portabello mushrooms, wild mushrooms and I also had a few whites ones in the fridge. Then I used dried chantarelles from last autumn along with a few Boletus badius which is an exceptionally tasty pored mushroom that can be found all over south of Sweden during autumn. They were allowed to soak for 30 minutes in hot water before they were added to the dish.

It is important to fry them, and release their flavours

I then cut half a white onion into small pieces, 3 gloves of garlic and fried in a dash of olive oil. Next, I fried the mushrooms, not all at once, until they began to take on color at which I placed them to the side and proceeded to fry the remaining ones until all of them were cooked. Then everything is returned to the pan; both the fresh and the re-moistened mushrooms which are fried for a couple of minutes. To this I then added 200 ml of creme fraiche, seasoning and around 200 ml of the mushroom liquid. Allowed it to reach a boil - and scattered a few handfuls of fresh parsley over.

The Mushrooms rolling in the sauce

Boiled the pasta as laws prescribe in richly salted water until al dente. The dinner was served with a freshly baked baguette and nip of red wine. 

Trivento Mixtus
Only a touch from a bag-in-box in light of the fact that it is weekday. We had a bag-in-box from Trivento which is a red wine from Argentina. This is a blend of Cabernet - Merlot from 2010. It has been difficult to restore faith in Merlot grapes after the main protagonist in the movie Sideways, Miles, so memorably decried them. Apparently the sales of of Merlot wines dramatically shrunk after the film made it big. On the other hand, Miles had a great passion for Pinot wines - whose sales skyrocketed instead. In any case, this is quite a nice bag-in-box. Rather powerful, on the drier side with a good filling and pleasant aftertaste. Provided a nice basis for the food which was very flavorful and particularly delicious.

Bon appetit! 

P.s. Again! - just a reminder about my site on facebook: The Doctor in the Kitchen - hope to see you there! Regards, Ragnar.

17 Jun 2012

Awesome T-bone Steak with Perfect Roast Potatoes and a Cold Horseradish Sauce

This is a dish from last season. This winter when scrolling through my photographs I came across these that were somehow left behind. But the meal was far from forgettable. This is what happens when you are really busy - cooking faster (and working faster) than the speed of typing (I just can't type this fast!). The pictures were from last summer when the grilling season was in its climax. I do, however, grill year round. Though much less seldomly during the winter, but it does occur. It just feels really cool firing up the grill when it is all covered in snow.

This is cooking in its rawest simplicity. If you put it on a scale - the potatoes were much more complex than cooking this tasty steak, and even they were simple. We have previously blogged about the perfect roast potato - and this was just that ...perfect!

Awesome T-bone Steak with Perfect Roast Potatoes and a Cold Horseradish Sauce

This is a short summary of previous accounts - we played by our own rules, and there is now reason to stray of the beaten path when you believe that you have reached the divine heights in the culinary sainthood. You can of course use any kind of spud - but i do believe that the floury potatoes fare better than those that are considered waxy!

Preparing the roast potatoes
Peel the potatoes before boiling. This is an integral step, because the potato has to be boiled well enough so it will be easier to tear up the outermost layer slightly.

Boil in richly salted water. The potatoes are parboiled for only 7 minutes (not six and not eight, well, this rule doesn't have to be so holy). After the parboiling toss the potatoes around in a colander, but do so with care and grace, you want to just ever so slightly tear up the outer layer before it's fried in the hot fat, but without breaking them apart! While you are tossing them around, dust a bit of flour over them as well.

Place an oven tray on the hobs and add the fat of choice: vegetable oil, extra virgin olive oil, butter, garlic oil, or duck fat, whatever your heart desires, but make sure the fat is hot enough when you pour in the potatoes. The potatoes are subsequently fried in the oven tray for a couple of minutes, or until they have been nicely coated with the fat.

Season with salt and pepper. Now the opportunity is also ripe if you want to add some herbs, which will certainly not do any harm: Rosemary, thyme, and such tough herbs are perfect for this dish.

Place the oven tray into a preheated oven, 180-200 degrees, and bake the potatoes until they are beautifully golden brown and crunchy: The golden brown colour they develop is the archetype of golden brown!

Just imagine biting into these, crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside!

While the potatoes are roasting the hot oven - fire up the grill. I have a really decent Weber Genesis BBQ that has a built in burner - called that searing station - that I think was intended for steaks of this calibre. It reaches a temperature - called inferno!

T-bone steaks
The steaks were purchased from my local butcher in the market hall in Lund. I have mentioned in earlier blogs how I favour this seller - for he can tell you everything about the product, where it is from and how it has been treated. He has visited the farmer and knows how the animals were treated. 

Just before placing them on the grill I brushed the T-bones with oil and seasoned with salt&pepper.

Is your mouth watering... It should be!
The sauce was as easy to make as they go! I used good quality creme fraiche (full fat off course - but you could use the lighter version). I added 2-3 tablespoons of grated fresh horseradish to 150 ml of the sour cream, then salt, pepper and a dash of agave syrup for balance. No more and no less! 
Peter Lehmann Cabernet Sauvignon
We enjoyed some red wine with our food. This time a bottle of Peter Lehmann Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 from Australia. This is a producer that has always been kind to my taste buds and I think I have tried the most he has to offer and never been let down. This is a classic Cabernet. Thick and dark in the glass. A potent scent of berries and oak. Full on the palate - fruity with tannins and oak. A wine that loves the company of a good piece of steak!

Post T-bone plate!
Bon appetit!

P.s. You are welcome to join me on Facebook: The Doctor in the Kitchen

12 Jun 2012

Wonderful Deer Roast with Real Gratin and Red Wine Sauce

The dark meat of the deer

This is a dish I did recently! As often before our lovely neighbors, Ulrika and Gustav Brogren, gave us the wild game. This time we were so lucky to acquire some wild deer that Gustav had shot on their land in the Swedish Smålands. They keep us well fed with wild game, last time I received this wonderful inner thigh muscle of deer, some ground moose and ground wild boar. There are some feists on the horizon!

The Swedish asparagus has arrived in the stores. Skåne is known for its green asparagus that is widely grown in the region. And it has been an early summer treat since the seventeenth century. Before that it was a sparse delicatessen that was plucked wild on the eastern shores of Skåne. This local vegetable is quite delicious - it can be found in the stores and also on bicycle rides along the countryside, were you come across small stands were local produce is sold. It can't get any fresher!

Local asparagus

Wonderful Deer Roast with Real Gratin and Red Wine Sauce

This kind of food is simply great. It is actually just a question of combining quality ingredients. And if you have a meat thermometer close at hand, you are bound to get it right

First fried and sealed in some butter!

I generously seasoned the meat with salt and pepper, melted a knob of butter on a pan and browned on the outside.

Then placed in an ovenproof dish

Next, I transferred the meat to an ovenproof dish. Scattered a few sprigs of thyme and then placed into a preheated oven - 130 degrees Celsius. I had put a thermometer in the meat, and when the core temperature read 60 degrees, I removed the meat from the oven.

This must be the most sexy gratin in the world... sizzling away in the oven

As promised in the title of the blog, this is "real" gratin, and real gratin is simple to make. Peeled a few potatoes and passed them through the food processor in order to produce equally thin slices. Butter the inside of an ovenproof dish and layer the potato slices in a semi-orderly way into the dish. I placed a little bit of sliced garlic and onion in between layers. I then poured 300 ml of cream and grated a pinch of fresh nutmeg into the dish. Last but not least, I grated a rich amount pungent cheddar cheese over the lot!

The meat was sliced down thinly

The meat rested under a blanket of aluminum foil for about 15 minutes before it was cut into rather thin slices.


The gratin was appetizing to say the least when it came out of the oven, oozing and bubbling - there is something wonderful about sinking the spoon into the gratin and watch as the steam rises and you can smell the aroma of the nutmeg which accompanies.

With the food I made a simple red wine sauce. The idea for this sauce is derived from the Swedish restaurateur and TV chef Leif Mannerström. He was also a judge on a popular TV program - Svensk Mästarkock – where Swedish amateur chefs compete to become celebrity chefs. In one of the episodes the task, among others, was to dream up a red wine sauce. Almost all of the competitors made the sauce from his recipe - which is probably alright - but I made slight alteration, mostly regarding quantities. Icelanders don't like to be indulgent when it comes to sauce and then some! I poured half a liter of red wine into a pot and added finely chopped red onion, 3 bay leaves, few sprigs of fresh thyme and then salt and pepper. I allowed the sauce to reduce by 2/3 and then poured it into another pot through a sieve and added half a liter of home made beef stock (cubes will also do just fine). Once it boils turn down the heat and thicken with roux. In order to balance the sauce you have to season to taste and even sweeten it with a pinch of raspberry jam

Cooking the asparagus is of course also easy. Simply grill it on a blazing hot pan and grate fresh parmesan cheese over once it is done. Simple, no?

Gigondas from E. Guigal

With the wine we drank red wine from France. This is not the first time that we try wine from this producer. I recently tasted Gigondas from E. Guigal which is very tasty. This time, I had Cotes du Rhone from 2007. The wine is mainly produced from Shyraz grapes (60%) and then also Grenache and Mourvedre. The wine is dark red in the glass. Aroma of berries, spiced. Good filling with tick fruit and spice - even peppery. Good balance and aftertaste.

Try this dish!

Bon appetit!

P.s. For those of you who are interested to follow my kitchen adventures - you are welcome to join me on Facebook - The Doctor in the Kitchen!

5 Jun 2012

Homemade Crepes with Bananas and Chocolate and Vanilla Ice-cream

In my life as an amateur chef I travel with my cooking through different countries; trying new recipes, exploring new flavours and playing with newly acquired toys. Now and again I fasten in a theme - and they run recurrently over and again! And this can happen for a reason! The reason is the crepe! I have been going through this phase lately - where I make crepes, pancakes and galettes over and over. And the reason for my fascination is simple - they are a delicious wonderful treat!

One time I had made too much crepe dough in the morning so I had some leftovers in the fridge. This being a Sunday afternoon - a time in the week - that just calls out for a little indulgent sweetness. This little treat came to mind while reminiscing about a trip to Paris early last summer. My wife and I went on this romantic trip, a long weekend, and wandered through the magical streets of the city of light, rolling from one restaurant to the next. One sunny afternoon we bought a crepe filled with chocolate and bananas - simple and sublime.

Homemade Crepes with Bananas and Chocolate and Vanilla Ice-cream

I made a simple batter; 1 cup flour, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1 tablespoon oil, 1 egg, 2 tsp sugar and a cup of milk.

First add the dry ingredients, mix. Then the egg and follow with the milk - whisk together until you have the consistency of heavy cream. Warm your pancake pan. Add a small nob of butter. Add the pancake mixture, but make sure that you drain of all the excess so all that remains is a thin crepe.

When the pancake is fried and ready on one side, flip the pancake. Add a some grated chocolate, or in this case a few scoops of Nutella chocolate spread. Then the sliced bananas. Now fold the pancake and continue to cook until the crepe is ready - about one minute more.

The only thing that remains is to plate up and add a couple of scoops of vanilla ice-cream and maybe some mint (if you want to be really sophisticated).

This dish is supposed to eaten ferociously with the occasional grunts or moans of utter delight!

Bon appetit!


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