Simple pleasures

Tag: sautéed vegetables


by tableofcolors

My bucket list of places to see in Stockholm seemed to just grow after visiting there. Three days was clearly enough to whet the appetite. We did have the opportunity visit some restaurants and the old market hall or Saluhall in Östermalm and Rosendals Trädgård, a beautiful garden center with a lovely café and bakery. The bakery has a wood burning oven with which they bake their breads. I could see the smoke rising from the chimney into the blue sky. The bread was perfect. Perfectly moist and chewy on the inside and a crusty crust that crunches a bit when you bite into it. Rosendals, meaning the Rose Valley, has a long history of gardeners going back to the later 1700s. It is located on the island of Djurgården which is situated behind Skansen, a historical outdoor museum and zoo. While we did not have time to visit Skansen, it is a place I will be taking my girls. But I do think they would have liked Rosendals as well, and am very grateful to the lovely Mizz Marzipan for all of her suggestions.rosendals collage

Rosendals has a lovely café and everything they serve is organic. During the growing season they try to serve as much of their own produce as possible.


rosendals stockholm collagerosendals  organic roastbeefFor lunch they had three different lunch time options in addition to the sandwiches and sweets on display on a large table. We had their roast beef that was nestled on top of a roasted endive half and a spring onion that still had its roots intact. The roots were actually quite delicious as they had become almost crisp from the grilling. Lunch starts at 11.30 and we arrived a bit before. As soon as lunch service started, the parking lot off to side began filling up and the line became long. It clearly was a popular place to come enjoy the beautiful spring day.

specerietOne evening we had dinner at a restaurant called Speceriet which is located in the Östermalm area of Stockholm. Instead of having separate tables, there were three community tables. Our timing was perfect. Just a bit after we were seated the place began filling up. As they do not take reservations, it all depends on your luck and timing. I think that it is a place that would be easy to come to by yourself or with your friends and family. We had goat kid that rested on a bed of roasted beetroot and goat cheese.

goat kid speceriet stockholmAlso situated in Östermalm is the old Market Hall or Saluhall. We found it slightly by accident as we were wandering about and ended up visiting it twice. Once we had lunch there, and my lunch plate of pickled herring reminded me of our family’s summer go-to fast-food when we are in rush.

old saluhall stockholmplate of pickled herringEvery summer when we have been spending the day outside and there is not the desire to linger in the kitchen longer than necessary, we boil up a batch of new potatoes and open a jar of pickled herring and make a quick salad. I think it could be the perfect lunch for May Day as well since the sun is shining today. This time around I sautéed a bit of asparagus in coconut oil. It turned out delicious and a bit crispy.

sautéing asparagus in coconut oilmay day food

Yesterday I had a meeting in Helsinki and afterwards there was the opportunity to walk around the city and observe the city as it had donned their caps for Vappu or May Day. It is traditional for people to wear their white gradution cap. Some of them are already old and yellow but perhaps even more prized than the clean white ones, as it was not as common for everyone to have graduated from lukio or the Finnish high school back in the 1920s, 30s, or 40s.

helsinki may day vappuhelsinki cityscapeBack at home the kids were just as excited if not more so with their contagious energy.


vappu ballons mayday at homeHappy May Day to all of you my dear readers!

Torpatoffeln shoes made in Sweden

Torpatoffeln shoes made in Sweden

I almost forgot, Lisa! Here is a snapshot of the shoes I bought in Sweden that I promised to post…they are comfortable to wear and I do gain a few inches of height. 🙂


Everyday life in January

by tableofcolors

The kids have returned back to school and the Christmas tree has been taken down. Life has returned almost back to normal. Our little two year-old is a night-owl and still very much on a vacation schedule and sleeps like a teenager. I’m sure as the days pass, she will start going to bed each day a little earlier. I love Christmas, the school Christmas programs and family time but there is something quite nice about regular everyday life. We’ve been having gray weather and a warm winter. It seems like all of the cold went to the northern states in the US. I would suggest that those of you, living in the midst of the bitter cold send us half and everyone would be happier. The kids and I are able to spend hours in the snow, skiing in the fields and just playing. But since there is only just a bit of slush outside, I’ll invite you into my January kitchen for a cup of tea and to flip through a cook book my daughter received as a gift and maybe for something delicious and cleansing after the rich holiday food.

clipper tea  and tea cozyI will admit that my discovery of the Clipper teas started from the packaging. My first thought when I saw them was that they were so pretty. So of course I bought one box. Much to my delight the contents matched the promise of the packaging. The tea cozy is a gift from a dear friend from a while back and it brings a little color into my kitchen. It is reversible and therefore it can match the mood and season easily.

suomen lasten leivontakirjaThe photos in this cook book for children are inpirational. It explains all of the basics to baking very explicitly. We have already enjoyed tunafish sandwiches made by Silvia one evening. The rough translation of the title of the book is, “A Baking Book for Finnish Children”, by Ulla Svensk.

After all of the date cakes, ham, casseroles and cookies the smell of sautéed vegetables is so enticing and indeed the perfect choice for the season of sniffles and colds that seem to fly about. Fennel has many characteristics making it beneficial for health as it is gentle to the digestive tract and may reduce inflammation.


Sautéed fennel

These vegetables can be eaten on their own as a side or tossed in with some pasta.

1 bulb of fennel
1 onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 tsp of piri piri (my piri piri contained chili, basil, garlic, onion and rock salt)
sea salt
black pepper
olive oil

Remove the stalks from the fennel and any bruised spots. Chop into fine slices. Chop the onion finely. Mince the garlic. Heat a frying pan to medium heat and add about two glugs of olive oil. Add the vegetables and seasoning and sauté for about 5 minutes.

sauteed fennel

The kitchen is the heart of the home and that is often where everyone congregates when they come home. The kitchen table is used for so much more than eating. Some might do their homework there while others draw and work on their art projects. It is a place to sit and talk about the day. As the family trickles back home after a day at work or school the first question is often, “What is for snack or supper?” I discovered this recipe on facebook from a blog called The Foodie Army Wife and decided to try it out. They proved to be very popular. And like the author said they almost jumped into the mouths of the hungry kids if I would not have rationed at all. We had them for supper along with some stewed rabbit meat, diced tomatoes, paprika, cheese, salsa and some freshly ground black pepper. In my husband’s family we always draw names among the siblings and sisters and brothers-in-law for Christmas. We usually complete the name-drawing at Christmas and everyone is informed even if they are not present and this way everyone has a whole year to think of a gift or perhaps do a little detective work to find out what might be pleasant for the gift receiver. I received this Peugeot pepper mill from my sister-in-law. It has been in daily use and turns with ease.

tortillas and vegetablesTortillas by The Foodie Army Wife

Tortillas or any type of flat bread is a symbol of an anciet food for me. I can imagine that just like I am making them for my school children, a mother hundreds or thousands of years ago might have made flat bread for their young ones that have returned after gathering herbs or berries. They might not have had formal education like we do today, but they had the school of life in order to learn the important skills for survival. The rules for survival in today’s world has changed greatly from times past. One thing has not changed though, children become hungry from time to time.

makes 12 tortillas

7 dl/ 3 dl flour
2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
170 g/ 3/4 c cold butter, cut into cubes
1.75 dl/ 3/4 c hot water

You may use a food processor, a stand mixer or make them by hand. I used a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Combine the flour, salt and baking powder. Add the cubed butter and mix until it forms a crumb-like texture. Pour the hot water in slowly and work into the dough so that it forms a ball. Do not overwork the dough. Cover in cling film and let rest in the refrigerator for a half hour.

tortilla doughAfter the dough has chilled, remove and cut into twelve pieces.

dough cut into pieces

Form balls and roll out into tortillas using a rolling pin. Fry on a dry pan at medium heat. Flip over once large bubbles start to form and there is some color on the bottom. Enjoy on their own or with your choice of filling.

This post is part of Celia’s In My Kitchen series for January. Check out her blog for links to many other In My Kitchen posts around the world.

Who killed the Cow?

by tableofcolors

Who killed the cow?

Ever had one of these days? The milk gets spilled and someone makes creative art out of the puddle of milk.

No use crying over spilled milk!

When I was little, whenever someone took the last cup of milk from the carton, someone would be sure to say, “Who killed the cow?” If I remember correctly, I believe it was our Uncle Kevin who taught us the saying. I wonder if they still use the saying.

On some days the last cup of milk is spilled, the entryway is full of shoes, windows and mirrors are full of fingerprints and the kids have been very creative. On those days fast food is essential. Below is one option that is not only fast but healthy. And it was my Uncle Kevin who gave me few pointers to making an omelet when I was about fourteen years old. It has become a “fast food” staple in our house.

Does your entry ever look like this?


Fast Food: Omelets
Step 1: Pull out all of the vegetables in your fridge.


Step two: sauté the vegetables. Start with the vegetables that need a longer cooking time. When using spinach, parsley or other fresh herbs add them in last. Sauté the spinach and parsley for about thirty seconds to minute. This prevents them from becoming limp.

I usually start with the zucchini, onions, garlic, paprika, and cellery (occasionally turnips, which are wonderful sautéd).

Step 3: Set vegies aside

sautéed vegies

Step 4: I usually make a two egg omelet, which I divide into two for the kids. Mix two eggs and a tablespoon of water in a glass with a fork. Pour on to frying pan and cook on low heat. Add a spoonful of sautéed vegetables and a little grated cheese. Fold omelet into thirds.

Mix two eggs and a tablespoon of water with a fork.

Step 5: Serve with sautéed vegetables.

Omelet with sautéed vegetables