27 October 2012

Dinner at Home 24.10.12

Working in a restaurant that is open 365 days a year, its not often I have the same off day as my two colleagues Jacquie and Juan. Now, when we finally got a free day together it didn't take long before I suggested a dinner at my place. Jacquie, Juan and his wife Sandar arrived early evening and after their wines had been decanted we started with my first starter; scallop tataki, with roasted hazelnuts, pea and mint cream and a dressing made of brown butter, soy and sherry vinegar. A lovely, elegant dish, I must say. I was a bit afraid that the sweetness from the scallops and the cream would kill the wine but it worked ok, not ideal but ok.

The wine served was 2008 Cos d'Estournel Blanc. This is the first time I try their white wine made of a majority of Sauvignon Blanc and the rest Sémillon. The wine is matured in 1 year old barrels but not much of the oak was showing in the final wine. It was extremely elegant, with minerals and green, crisp fruit.

I was able to buy a white Alba truffle through one of our restaurants supplier and that was served on top of of the risotto I cooked next. A few days earlier I cooked a light chicken stock that was ladled in the carnaroli rice before it was topped with fine parmesan, butter and finally the white gold from Piemonte. An elegant and aromatic dish that deserved an equal elegant wine.

My own contribution for the evening was a bottle of 2009 Nuits-Saint-Georges Premier Cru Clos de la Maréchale from Jacques-Frédéric Mugnier. Obviously very young but it was interesting to see how it evolved in the glass, from an almost syrah-like aroma of white pepper, bay leaf and meat to a more refined nose of minerals and cranberries. Lovely, "simple" food and a great wine.

Next plate was beef rump, slow-braised in wine and spices and then reduced together with my rich, home-made veal stock. I served the meat with soft polenta and a cold ragout of white beans, artichoke, chestnuts and caramelized unions.

This wine friendly dish was served with two clarets. First up 2004 Cos d'Estournel. What a beauty to drink now and especially compared with the "monumental" 2005 vintage that I tried a few days earlier. For the second bottle we moved to Saint-Emilion and the wine 2004 Canon la Gaffelière. This wine had a much sweeter fruit profile blended with oriental spices. There was an minor oxidized tone of brown apple in the background that was a bit alarming. Still a good wine but nothing amazing. My guess was that the bottle wasn't in the best condition

Two pieces of Comté with various maturity was served next. I love this cheese with its milky, nutty flavor.

In the glasses we we had 2007 Amarone from Allegrini. I haven't tried this wine for a while and it was a bit surprising for me to find the wine so nicely balanced. Still a big wine with notes of dried fruit, licorice and cloves but with a good acidity.

We rounded up the dinner with chocolate anglaise topped with a virgin olive oil and salt, served with chocolate soil, raspberries, campari jelly and toffee. A great dessert with nice textures, especially with the popping candy I sprinkled in the soil.

The fairly light 2002 Tokji Aszú 3 Puttonyos was way too dry for the dessert, so I saved it for later.

I can't wait for our next off day together.

15 October 2012


Asiana hotel is located in Deira and has a fresh, luxurious feel to it. The hotel has one Japanese restaurant called Hanabi which supposed to be very good, but today I wanted to try the Korean restaurant Sonamu. The venue is pretty big and stylish and most of the waiters seems to be Korean as well as the guests.

The food menu is very big with a lot of mouthwatering dishes to choose from. Unfortunately the wine list wasn't as extensive and the few bottles listed wasn't anything that caught my eye so both I and C went for a few cold pints of Kirin (the Korean beer was out of stock).

After we placed the order we got the whole table filled with small plates of goodies. Kimchi, pickled cucumbers, water spinach, mushrooms and various dipping sauces. They where all served cold, straight from the fridge which wasn't ideal. After a few minutes in room temperature the flavors came together and all tasted great.

I noted a fish tank with alive abalone so obviously we had to chose that as a starter. The mollusk was served in a Japanese sashimi style with gari and wasabi but also with some non-Japanese dipping sauces. Abalone is truly a unique experience with it's crunchy texture. Good but nothing amazing.

Then we got served Korean crepes with crab, eggs, vegetables and mustard sauce. 

Korean barbecued sirloin (looks more like rib-eye to me) grilled on the table with onions and mushrooms. Very juicy and tasty meat despite that the waiter mis-understood my cooking preference of the meat.

Then we were served man-doo; fried pork dumplings, very similar to Japanese gyoza. Perhaps the best dish of the evening.

At this point we were very full but still curious for more so we ordered nok-du jeon which was a korean pancake filled with pork meat and mung beans. Great but a bit too big and you got tired of the dish after a few bites.

I want to come back and try more dishes from the vast menu but I think I have to visit the Japanese restaurant Hanabi before.

10 October 2012

Culinary Olympics 2012

Once again my little country has shown how big they are when it comes to cooking and gastronomy:
Sweden just won OLYMPIC CULINARY GOLD and OLYMPIC JUNIOR CULINARY GOLD. Congratulation to Fredrik, Rod and all the rest.