Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Paris - Le Quinze Vins

As we said in our last post, we have been busy. For T the past year has been spent traveling to Paris a lot. No need for sympathy, but it has sort of reduced the number of dinners with K and instead resulted in dining out in Paris. Oh, dear.
We have on occasion spent some time talking about restaurants abroad and we will continue to do so, but there is another important subject to be treated, namely wine bars. One such, Le Quinze Vins is located in Rue Dante in the 5th Arrondissement. Supposedly this is a wine shop during the day and a wine bar in the evening. Alas, T has never made it around Rue Dante before 19:00, so he has never bought any bottles. That’s a shame, since the bottles appear to be fairly priced. On the other hand, the household is currently suffering a ban. It is prohibited to buy more wine for an indefinite period of time and so he must settle for tasting by the glass. Anyway, it’s also impossible to carry home in the cabin bag that T normally use for his travels.
Le Quinze Vins has by now become a place to visit at least once during T’s visits to Paris, which means that he will come visit 2-3 times a month. It is nice way to finish the remaining topics from a day at work, which normally includes many observations to be mulled over with colleagues. And by doing so prepare for dinner.
Normally there are 4 different whites and 4 different reds to be tasted and they are poured generously. This is not really to T’s liking as he would like to taste more different wines and if he drinks the normal glass, well then he will be tipsy before getting to the restaurant. Restraint might be applied here, but... T has managed to have half-glasses served by now.
Of the four whites and four reds there is normally a “well-known” and then  the rest will be unavailable in Denmark, for instance an oxidized Sauvignon Blanc, Grenache Blanc and Chenin from Languedoc, which T tasted yesterday.
The owners seem to be a group of younger men who appear very nice and competent, even if a bit serious. They can tell you a lot about the wine, but they also seem to know just how much to say and leave it to you to make your own observations. An approach which is very congenial and welcoming in a wine bar. Mind you, we have tried something quite different.
After the first half-glass it becomes apparent that you are not leaving right away and you might as well order the suggested platter of charcuterie. This is somewhat different from what you get at other bistros as the ham is cooked and strongly truffle-flavored, rather than cured. There’s also a lot of cheese on this platter, so all in all this a very nice snack to go with your glass of wine. Normally they have two “plats du jour”, but this T has not tried by now, but it is just a matter of time.
All in all, this wine bar is highly recommended if you are in this part of Paris. (Also by K, who has been introduced to the bar recently).

Friday, 1 November 2013


Well, it has been a while and we have been feeling more and more guilty about it. So let’s get over the explanations and just say that we have been very busy and in the meantime managed to buy a house together, which of course is a great joy. One of the benefits is a a large greenhouse which we have used for planting a few vegetables of our own and thus the summer has presented us with tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, chillies and not the least squash and eggplant. The last two, like the rest is nearing end of season and so we harvest the last few for this nights dinner, Pollo alla Diavola. 
For a long time we have been leaning towards the organic chickens from Irma, but recently a test published in our newspaper rated the Løgismose free-range chicken available at Netto better than our preferred one and so of course we need to try it.
The recipe is one that K has tried hundreds of times and it has probably evolved a little over time. Initially the chicken is prepared. The back bone is cut out and the chicken is spread out butterfly-style.
The back bone and wing ends end up in a pot for stock.

A marinade is poured over the chicken to marinade for two hours:
zest and juice of 1.5 lemon
handful of sage leaves
one whole chili – deseeded if you're (a) chicken
3 cloves of garlic
about 1/2 dl of olive oil
salt and peper

The chicken is placed in the oven at 180°C for 45-60 min. Drip when you remember.
Add some liquid (wine, stock, apple juice) if it dries out.

We eat it with italian-style bread to help sponge up some of the good chicken marinade

The conclusion: the Løgismose chicken is the best! Moist and tasteful. Just delicious!

In the meantime we have taken our vegetables and cut them in slices a little less than a centimeter thick. These are then grilled on a pan and then placed on a platter, sprinkled with a good olive oil a little salt and inevitably some lemon zest.

We pick one of our last bottles of Podere 414 2008 Morelino di Scansano and momentarily consider entering the wine import business. To the best of our knowledge this cannot be purchased in Denmark and we definitely think it should. Overall we rate it 8/10 and with the food we arrive at 9/10, but we are also a bit happy on this evening

Sunday, 25 November 2012


On some occasions we have come across the saying, “Anything but Chardonnay”. Abbreviated that is ABC. A close examination (well, maybe not really very close) of our sidebar index reveals that this is not an idea that we subscribe to. We love chardonnay. But more than that, we believe that different dishes calls for different wines. If you are tired of chardonnay, it is probably because you either had it too much (and therefore to some wrong dishes) or it is because you have had some bad chardonnay. Any grape can be be treated poorly, we guess, and produce poor wines. By the way, ABC could also be used for Anything but Cabernet, but we remain firm against such a point of view.
In T's home, ABC has taken on another meaning. After MK's birthday we have a surplus of parsnips and carrots and so we think that a Lemon chicken could be a good idea. M disagrees. Actually, M has become quite adverse to chicken and so when we ask him, what we should prepare for dinner, he answers, “Anything but chicken” – ABC!
Equipped with this requirement we go to Irma to find something to go with our vegetables. Luckily we are in luck as we find some cheeks of veal, which satisfy us.
Back in the kitchen we set out to prepare braised veal cheeks.

4-500 gr veal cheeks
3 whole fennels
0,5 kg small turnips
2 shallots
5 cloves of garlic
1 deseeded chili
150 gr pancetta
1 glass of white wine
1 big glass of stock
fresh thyme, oregano etc
salt and pepper

Trim fat and tough tendons from cheeks and cut in big bite-size chunks.
Heat a pan and brown the pancetta, remove and use the pancetta-fat to brown the meat and vegetables. Don’t do this in one go, as the meat may start to boil instead of caramelizing. When finished add salt and pepper and herbs and pour the wine over and steam off, then the stock, cover and let simmer for 1,5 to 2 hours.

On the side we had a green-bitter salad with garlic-anchovies dressing and mashed potatoes:

Boil peeled potatoes to a very tender state (20 minutes). No salt added.
Sieve and mash with a bit of butter and salt and pepper.

With the dish we had an old acquaintance, the 2005 Cote de Nuits Village, which was just right to accompany the dish and so we make it 9/10 for both the dish and the combination.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

The 8 year birthday

MK turned 8 earlier this month and Saturday it is time to celebrate with the big family. Having 18 for dinner in T's smallish flat is a test, but one that has been successfully passed on earlier occasions and is passed well yet again.
MK is a fickle girl when it comes to pasta. T assumes that what MK wants for her birthday dinner is pasta with homemade pesto for the primo. When T seeks to verify the menu for the evening he expects that it will be business as usual. But MK states that she wants pasta carbonara. Now, this is a problem for so many reasons. One of them being that K and T are not in agreement as to how carbonara should be made or even the very essence of the dish. As a consequence, T brushes aside the wishes of the birthday child and reinstates pesto as the primo of MKs birthday dinner. Incidentally, MK has done this before. For a whole year she would wish only for Spaghetti alle vongole, but on arriving in San Remo after a year away from Italy, she switched to pesto and that has been the preferred pasta dish for the last three years. That is until last Friday.
The pesto is made in the Ligurian style that we experienced this summer in Tellaro. The minor variation is that small cubes of potatoes are cooked with the pasta and served as part of the dish. They add a little sweetness to the dish.
The next dish is pork roast rubbed with fennel seeds served with baked parsnips, fennel, apple, potatoes and carrots. Since we posted this dish initially we have made a successful variation which we repeat today: Rather than adding wine (champagne) we substitute it with apple juice and water. This gives not only some acidity but also some sweetness. (again!)
Also we use another piece of the (organic) pork. Pork loin, wich requires about 2 hours in the oven. Thefore we also had to cook the meat and vegetables separately. The vegetables only need app. 1 hour. We added some of the good liquids from the roast about half way through.
The guests are pleasantly appreciative of the efforts and we are also rather content ourselves.
Serving wine for the big family cannot follow a strict plan, so wine is placed on the table in rapid succession. What we aim to do is to have something with a little acidity to handle the richness of the pork. So we try various chiantis. The Isola e Olena 2008 and 2009 are tasted. The 09 is preferred. It seems more balanced. Where the 08 is more fruity, the 09 is less so and has a note of lactic acid. We also try the Ser Lapo 09 from Mazzei. This is quite nice and rather different. The wine is more oaky from the maturing in oak casks.
In conclusion the chiantis do very well with the dish. Before that we have had some various whites:  Viognier from Pesquie and Chateau Ferran 2005 from Graves.
In the end it is time for the traditional birthday cake. In Denmark that is a layered cake (Lagkage). For this occasion we make to two types: The first has whipped cream mixed with raspberries and finely chopped dark chocolate. The other has cream mixed with banana and crushed macaroons.
The cakes are served accompanied by the singing of the traditional Danish birthday song and then comes the moment of truth: MK has to blow out the candles! Myth has it that the number of candles still burning signifies the number of boyfriends the birthday child has. Much to T's satisfaction, MK blows out all the candles.
The evening ends on the dance floor where children and adults are equally excited about the Wii dance contest. Even to the extent that commotion occurs due to the close quarters, but that cannot change the fact that this has been a successful birthday with big family.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Barack Obama

With very short notice we invite a few guests to brunch on the morning after election day in the US. All the polls suggest a very tight race, so we are expecting a tense morning.
The guests have been invited for 06:00, but we don’t really expect them that early. Nevertheless we set the alarm for 05:45. When T tries to stop the alarm on his phone the first thing he sees is a news flash stating that Obama has won. So much for the excitement.
In stead we settle for celebrating Obama’s victory.
Photo © FineFinurlighed

(Unfortunately we only posses the Obama 08-streamer, but we feel equally supportive in the ’12 election, – hope you will forgive us)

To celebrate we fry some organic bacon from Irma and make an omelet with spinach, goat's cheese and mushrooms. Quite simply, three eggs are beaten, add some cold water, and salt and pepper. This is put on a hot pan with a splash of good olive oil. Immediately after putting it on the pan slices of goat's cheese are placed on the omelet and after that a generous handful of baby spinach (which have been rinsed and tumbled) are placed on top. The effect is that of a lid and will make the goat’s cheese melt nicely into the eggs. Before wrapping the omelet a handful of fried mushrooms are added.
Finally pineapple, cantaloupe and oranges are cut in bite-size and arranged on a plate.
Our guests bring bread and croissants. Then we only need some cheese and of course it is one of our favorites, Tirstrup Ost Kraftfuldt lagret. A Danish cow’s milk cheese. Also a Tomme de Savoir finds it way to the table. All of it is accompanied by Kenya AA coffee, freshly grounded and made on a Bodum coffee press. Our favorite coffee.
Rather than experiencing tension we celebrate and are moved and happy to see Obama back to his old oratorical form.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Mushroom Season

Mushroom season is drawing to a close. We have been blessed this season and lately MK and her grandma' have contributed. It has for a long time been a tradition when first M and now MK have gone hunting for mushrooms in the woods while walking Eddie, the dog. Their grandmother knows many good spots and she is not revealing them to anybody but her grandchildren. The result is as always a fairly sized bag of various mushrooms. Primarily chanterelles, but also trompethatte and pigsvampe (Sorry, no translation for these Danish names. A visit to suggests that they are all part of the Chanterellus family).
Since these mushrooms are so fresh we show them deference and make crostini.. After 3 days of mushroom crostini even we think that it could be time for a change. We consider making a risotto, but MK protests. After some debating we go back to the crostini, but then MK decides that she would like risotto anyway. We decide to compromise and make the crostini and then a seafood risotto afterwards.
The crostini are accompanied by the excellent Bourgogne Chardonnay 2010 from Henri Boillot. Even if it is the entry wine from this producer it is still fairly expensive, but for a good reason. We love it and have to admit that we are now on the second case this year.
The risotto should be made with fresh seafood, but that was not possible this day in Elsinore. We have some blue mussels, some norwegian lobster and some prawns. All frozen.
First stock for the risotto: The heads and claws are cut from the lobsters and fried in a pot. After a minute or so they are covered with water and chicken stock. Some vegetables are added in big chunks – shallots, parsnips, garlic, herbs and it is brought to a low simmer.
The risotto-making is then commenced (always stir). Two small shallots are cut finely. These are then browned in a combination of melted butter and olive oil. After a minute Canaroli or Aborio rice are added. This is a heavy dish and even if it is your main course you should probably not use much more than 60-70 grams/person. After frying the rice for a little while (they should begin to look a little glassy) add some white wine (one glass for each 3 persons). Always stir. Then the long process of adding stock and stirring proceeds. We use a ladle to get the boiling stock and add it to the risotto. This will take some time and you may tire in your arm. MK did.
In the meantime the remaining lobster tails have been split and they are now fried on a hot pan. The mussels get the same treatment. They will produce some juices and we add them to our risotto as supplement to the stock.
Determining when the risotto is finished is the subject of conversation afterwards at the table. Luckily T and K agree that the risotto should be fairly runny and the rice shall have some bite. Therefore a fair amount of stock is added in the end before adding a generous handful of grated parmesan cheese and finally the prawns are added so they will just cook for the last 30 seconds. The lobsters and mussels are arranged on top.
With this we have the Bastianich Plus 2007 from Friuli. Also a wine that we have enjoyed much, but we are now down to one bottle and that is OK, as we feel it is beginning to show its age.
By the way, M produced the opposing opinion that the risotto should be less runny and the rice be more soft. Even though we disagree, we will look into this on our next risotto endeavor.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

57 kilometres

Saturday is a day for challenges and rewards. T will play golf with his friend, H. This leads H's girlfriend, A to challenge K to ride from Copenhagen to Elsinore on mountainbike (even if there are no mountains in Denmark). K will normally accept any challenge and this is no exception. And so it is. While the boys play golf, the girls ride from Copenhagen. For such an occasion we will look for wine that is a little out of the ordinary. As a reward, of course. However, the day begins somewhat chaotically for T who doesn't get all the sleep that he would have wanted. In fact it is not until hole 15 on the golf course that he starts to relax. Before that he has driven to Copenhagen and picked up K for shopping at Torvehallerne without being able to find a parking spot. K in the meantime has found some entrecôte steaks, a handsome filet of monkfish and various root crop. And so T drives back to Elsinore while K prepares for her bicycle ride.
When H & T finish another useless round of golf the girls are still 5 km away. That gives H&T 20 minutes to prepare some toasts of Il Fornaio's whole grain bread, open a bottle of 2008 Puligny-Montrachet from Joseph Drouhin and then arrange some pata negra on top of the toasted bread.
The girls arrive in high spirits and the starter and the first bottle of wine is soon consumed. After this, bathing starts. First K, then T and finally A. H doesn't want to, so that's too bad for A.

The first dish is baked monkfish and trumpet mushrooms on fried spinach and pine nuts.
The monkfisk is cut in portion sizes and baked in the oven at 200° C for about 10 min.
The carefully rinsed spinach is fried shortly in olive oil with a bit of shaved garlic and a squeeze of lemon
The trumpet mushrooms are given a similar treatment en another frying pan
Arranged on plates and finished with a few roasted pine nuts.

With a bottle of 2007 Corton-Charlemagne we’re off to a good start.....

Next are the beautifully marbled Entrecôtes. Just salted and fried 3 minutes on each side. They were selected as a companion to the next wines. Many rich wines with lots of body would do, but in this company we lean towards neuf du neuf. We find a bottle of Chateau Beaucastel 2009 and a bottle of Vieux Donjon 2009 both from Chateauneuf-du-Pape of course.
With the steaks we prepare a dish of roots crop that will be baked in the oven. In the dish we put beetroots (regular and candy), turnips and onions. We also have to add uncounted cloves of garlic with the skin on and herbs (the latter are massaged down into the bottom of the dish so they are not burned in the oven.) All baked for about 30-40 minutes.

It all come out very well and the wine is thus accompanied excellently. About the wine: The Vieux Donjon is delicious and already very drinkable. The Beaucastel (as some of you may recall) is not the first time we do away with a 2009. Once again, it is also excellent, a little more tight, and will keep well, if only we'll let it.

As you can imagine the 57 kilometers instills some appetite in the girls (and the boys know how to follow suit), so we need to have some cheese. We have some Danish dry cheeses (Høost and some others that we have forgotten about). It may just be an excuse to open another bottle of wine, which we do. This time a lovely/lowly Cote de Nuits Village, but from the excellent year 2005 and it tastes wonderful. K, who you you may recall has Beaucastel as one of her top-10 wines, seem to recall this latter one better the next day, whereas T does not recall much of anything.

In the end we have to eat some dessert. At this point it is kind of like a sprint. We have already put a bottle of Rayne-Vigneau Sauternes 2005 Premier Cru in the fridge and it cannot stay. But it is a race against time. H has dropped to the bed and is napping and anyone who knows T will be wondering how he is still up.

The dessert is baked plums with caramelized almonds and vanilla ice cream.
A couple of plums per person (Reine Claude) are cut in halves, stone removed and put in a baking pan with a bit of muscovado sugar and baked for about 10 minutes.
Sugar and butter are melted in a pan and when brown and bubbly almond splinters are put in.
Finally the (bought) vanilla ice cream is arranged on the side.
(Reminder: we need an ice cream machine) (and a bigger kitchen)

And it is another success, but it is also the end of the line for this evening and we are happy to send our guests to bed and hitting our own the moment their door closes.
In case you were wondering about the challenge and award thing... K was of course rewarded with some extraordinary wine (as were the entire company) this evening. T, who played some terrible golf was rewarded with an extraordinary hang-over. Both were equally just.