Wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen didn’t used to be associated with wonderful food, but for the past decade, thanks to René Redzepi and his team at Noma, food tourists from all over the world are beating a path to the Nordic countries to check out the food revolution that this iconic restaurant has sparked. Nowadays many of the chefs and cooks who originally worked at Noma has opened their own restaurants to well-deserved critical acclaim.
This weekend I went over to join the fifth anniversary celebrations of one of the best loved ‘spark-offs’ Relae. Christian Puglisi worked with René at Noma for many years. Like his friend, he is self-taught and an immensely creative free spirit – no chefs toques or pompous ego here. He opened Relae in Jaegersborggade , a scary drug crazed street in 2010, where the property was affordable for a reason! It took real guts and courage. Soon punters, lured by stories of Christian’s food were making their way to a part of town they would not normally frequent. It was the beginning of another revolution, now the street has a tempting selection of small shops, an artisan bakery, a fudge and toffee shop, a cookery school, jewellers and Gröd, a café that just sells porridge in all its forms and always has a queue outside. http://groed.com/. Relae now has a Michelin star for its simple, organic, sustainable, no fuss food. They serve only natural wines and a superb fresh juice menu to compliment each course.
Manfred’s, http://manfreds.dk/en/restaurant/menu/ the sister restaurant just across the road followed in the Autumn of 2011. More recently Christian has moved into the Nørrebro area, another area where few people ventured to open Baest http://baest.dk/en, serving a selection of house made charcuterie and sourdough pizza bases cooked to order in the wood burning oven. The bakery next door is called Mirabelle, selling Christian’s sourdough breads, the best homemade croissants and pain au chocolate in town.
Summer had come to Copenhagen that weekend after a disappointing summer so the beautiful lean, young (and old) Danes were out in force on their bicycles. On Saturday I attended a spectacular tasting of natural wines of which more another week.
On Sunday evening the celebration party in the Nørrebro Park got underway. Christian had invited an amazing line up of his friends from the “world of gastronomy” to cook his favourite street food from a circle of food trucks in the park. Rosio Sanchez and Renè Redzepi dished out fantastically good tacos, Magnus Nilsson of Faviken fame cooked up hotdogs with a choice of three delectable homemade sausages, Matt Orlando of AMASS cooked fried chicken to die for, Mehmet Guhrs from Mikla in Istanbul where I had a superb meal earlier in the year served braised lamb lavash from a little barbecue, Kobe Desmeraults of Inde Wulf made us shrimp croquettes and bakers extraordinaire Chad Robertson and Richard Harte from San Francisco spread butter and ciccioli on delicious Tartine bread while the band played wild and wonderful music.
Can you imagine having a little card to wander from one food truck to another to be served street food by many of my food heroes and one was more delicious than the next, Christian’s beef tartare…. Rosa tacos. I had already sought out her little food stand, Hija de Sanchez down by the Torvehallerne on Saturday afternoon. Her tacos are insanely good and her avocado ice cream with condensed milk drizzle and dried raspberries are work jumping on a plane to Copenhagen for.
While you are there, go along to Atelier September on Gothersgade and order their avocado on rye, thinly sliced, sprinkled with finely chopped chives, espelette pepper, a whisper of lemon zest and a few flakes of sea salt. I also had iced matcha tea and pink grapefruit Tokyo style with a little shredded mint, a perfect refreshing little plate on a summer Sunday. But most refreshing of all was an hour long canal and harbour boat trip, a touristy pursuit that is so worth making time for and a perfect way to see this beautiful maritime city.
See you at the Waterford Harvest Festival today and tomorrow. Talks, walks, cookery demonstrations, food and wine tastings, GIY Growfest, Rory O’ Connell and I will be doing a dem at 12 today in the Grow HQ Kitchen in the Blackfriars http://www.waterfordharvestfestival.ie/events
The East Cork Business Alliance, based in Midleton, is in the final stages of publishing the East Cork Food Producers Guide. There are a few spaces available so if you are a small producer in the area and would like to be part of the initiative, contact Redmond on 087 779 9874. The guide will cost €2 and proceeds will be donated to East Cork Meals on Wheels.
Rory O’ Connell will host a pop up dinner, ‘Fish on Friday’, 18th September in the B8 Bonded Warehouse, Cork. Follow the link for bookings http://soundsfromasafeharbour.com/rocketman/
The native Irish oyster season has just opened, these delicious briny oysters are only in season when there is an R in the month. The flavour can be distinctly different from one bay to another, so it’s a particular treat to find a restaurant that offers a parallel tasting of say Dungarvan, Galway Bay and Sherkin Island oysters.
Grab an Autumn break before Winter sets in – my recommendation this week comes from my sister who loved Pax House in Dingle, a bed and breakfast with 15 rooms. John O’ Farrell is a brilliant host, delicious breakfast, spectacular views and lots to do.
Check it out. http://www.pax-house.com/
Midleton Food and Drink Festival is on today. The main street will be choc a bloc with local food and drink producers, food tastings and demonstrations. Check out www.midletonfoodfestival.ie for the details.
Avocado on Rye
Inspired by the dish I ate at Atelier September in Copenhagen
2 slices of rye bread
1 Haas avocado
Chives, finely chopped
Sea salt flakes
Spread the slices of rye bread with a little butter. Half and stone the avocado. Remove the skin, scoop out the avocado. ?? very thinly and place one on each slice of bread, sprinkle generously with finely chopped chives and a little espellette pepper. Grate a little lemon zest over each one and sprinkle a few flakes of sea salt on top. Serve immediately on a small white plate.
Salt Baked Celeriac with Olive Butter
Extra virgin olive oil
100 g (4 oz) Kalamata olives, stoned
25 g (1 oz) butter
Small basil leaves
Preheat the oven to 160°C/320°F/Gas Mark 3.
Scrub the celeriac well, dry carefully. Brush with a little olive oil. Put in a deep ovenproof casserole or small roasting tin, sprinkle with coarse salt and bake in the preheated oven until tender, 3 – 3 1/2 hours. Cool, remove the celeriac and brush off the salt.
Meanwhile stone and whizz the olives with extra virgin olive oil to a very smooth paste.
To serve heat the olive paste and whisk in some butter. Peel and slice the celeriac thickly, cut into uneven chunks. Spoon a couple of tablespoons of olive paste onto a small plate. Arrange 3 or 4 pieces of celeriac on top .
Drizzle with a couple of blobs of olive paste. Top with a few small basil leaves and a few flakes of sea salt. Serve.
Avocado Ice Pop with Condensed Milk Toffee and Dried Raspberries
Makes 8-10 ice pops
Serves 6-8 depending on accompaniment, makes 1 litre (1 ¾ pints)
What a surprise – this delicious ice-cream can be served in a sweet or savoury combination.
350g (12 oz) ripe avocado flesh (3-4 avocados depending on size)
3 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice (from a lemon not a squeezy bottle)
350ml (12fl oz) whole milk
110g (4oz) castor sugar
225ml (8fl oz) cream
First make the avocado ice cream. Scoop the flesh from the ripe avocado into a blender; add the lemon juice, milk and sugar, whiz until smooth.
Transfer to a bowl and stir in the cream – mix well to combine. Taste and add a little lemon juice if needed.
Freeze in a sorbetiere or ice-cream maker, it won’t take as long as other ice-creams – maybe 15 minutes.
Pour into popsicles moulds. Cover and insert the lollipop sticks. Freeze. Put the condensed milk in a saucepan, cook to a golden caramel colour. Cool.
To serve, take a chilled plate, lay a square of waxed paper on top. Slide the ice pops out of the mould, lay on the plate. Drizzle with condensed milk toffee and sprinkle with dried raspberries. Serve.
Grapefruit Tokyo Style with Mint
A rediscovery so simple but a deliciously refreshing plate
1 juicy pink grapefruit
A little sugar, optional
Cut the top and bottom of the ripe pink grapefruit. Cut off the skin and pith, then remove the segments with a sharp knife. Cut each segment into uneven angular shapes. Arrange on a white plate. Sprinkle with a little shredded mint and a tiny bit of sugar if a little tart.
Brioche is the richest of all yeast dough’s. It can often seem intimidating but this very easy version works well and we have written it so that the dough can rise overnight in the fridge and be shaped and baked the following morning.
We always serve them warm from the oven with butter and homemade strawberry jam.
Makes 15-20 individual brioches or 2 large ones
25g (1oz) yeast
50g (2oz/1/4 cup) castor sugar
65 ml (2 1/2 fl ozs/1/4 cup) tepid water
450g (1 lb/4 cups) strong white flour
large pinch of salt
225g (8oz/2 sticks) soft butter
Sponge the yeast and sugar in the tepid water in the bowl of an electric mixer. Allow to stand for five minutes. Add the eggs, flour and salt and mix to a stiff dough with the dough hook.
When the mixture is smooth, beat in the soft butter in small pieces. Don’t add the next piece of butter until the previous piece has been completely absorbed. This kneading stage should take about half an hour.
The finished dough should have a silky appearance, it should come away from the sides of the bowl and when you touch the dough it should be damp but not sticky.
Place it in an oiled bowl, cover and rest it overnight in the fridge.
Next day pinch off ½ oz pieces, roll into a long strip and twist two pieces to make a garland. Pinch the ends together. Allow to rise on floured cloths.
Meanwhile heat oil in a deep fry. Cook one at a time until puffed and golden. Drain on kitchen paper and toss in coarse sugar – don’t eat too many, difficult because they are irresistible.