Culinary Memoirs of A Biologist Who Loves Food

Posts tagged “bread

International Food! (Part 4) – Medieval Lunch at A.D. 1393

I had a chance to go around the Second Restaurant Day in August 11th, 2016! On that day, I visited a food tent built only at the following day on the park of Turun Linna (FI: Turku Castle). The place caught my attention as they mentioned in the restaurant day website that they serve medieval food. And so I went there…

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A.D. 1393

As I walked, as someone who watched Game of Thrones like me thought I hope this is not the tent diorama of Red Wedding or something in Jeoffrey’s wedding this food tent named A.D. 1393 looks like something out of the medieval age, built by the peasants around the king’s castle. Later, I was to getting so curious on what kind of food they serve there.

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The book where all the recipes come from.

I saw some people dressed in medieval style and then I saw some foods. Firstly I asked them about how they managed to recreate the food, and they answered that they got the reference from a book called “The Good Wife’s Guide”, a translated book, translated by Gina L. Greco and Christine M. Rose.

Wow… that’s really interesting! So how’s the food?

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Boiled Pike with Yellow Sauce, served with bread, Saffron Rice, and Creamy Spelt

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The Yellow Sauce for the fish

I was amazed on the simplicity of the meal I had.

Me: How did you cook this fish?

Woman: We just simply clean the pike, dice them, and then boil them in the water with salt.

Me: That’s it??

Woman: Yup!

The flavor of the fish is very natural… I mean, it’s so natural, the… fishy flavor are still there! Even the spikes are still there. Although the yellow sauce (I forgot to ask on how it’s made) gave a bit flavor in it. The rice and spelt are also unique for me. The saffron rice has a near risotto like flavor, but more bland except the taste of cream, same for me on the spelt.

Woman: To make the rice and spelt, cook each of them with 50:50 of water and milk until they soften and absorbed the liquid. Add egg yolk and mix them until their texture are like carbonara pasta. For the rice, add a bit of saffron.

Ummm… I don’t know if I forget but… no seasoning at all mentioned by the book? Or is it because spices are pretty expensive in 14th century?

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Pea Soup with Bread.

The pea soup has better flavor than the fish in my opinion. We have a good combination of onion and pea sweetness in it.

Me: How about this pea soup?

Woman: We boiled the whole onion, chopped it, and add the pea to the mix.

Me: Nothing more? For the seasoning?

Woman: Well, salt and pepper… and also white wine.

It amazed me, honestly. I never know a method of cooking the onion by boiling them and diced them and then placing them back in the pan for sautéing with oil. Later, white wine and water are added and reduced. To enhance the flavor, salt, pepper, and ginger is added.

I read a book about medieval food before, a Roman book made by Apicius (first written cookbook in history). I saw many… well, I’m not sure that bizarre is a right word, but… intriguing way to cook in earlier time. Less flavor and the ingredient’s natural flavor is the key.

I wonder how was the medieval food of my country looks like…

Part 1 – PaF International Food Night

Part 2 – Peruvian Lunch and Bunny Chow

Part 3 – Venezuelan Street Foods

Part 5 – African Jollof Rice

-AW-


To The Sea! Food Aboard Silja Line and Viking Line Boats

Moi! It’s been so damn long since I wrote something here. Being a Ph.D student is one heck of a challenge you know. But, when science stuffs drain your brain energy, food will be there to soothe it up!

In these both months of March and April of 2016, I’ve been on a boat cruise twice. First, it’s for a cruise seminar along my lab colleagues in Silja Line (route: Turku-Åland-Turku in a day) and second, I went to Stockholm with Viking Line. For my second trip, I can only tell you about my return trip, since my departure trip is at night and I was obviously spending most of it on my cabin bed.

In the nutshell, if you want something really Nordic to eat, go to their buffet!

Let’s start from the breakfast meals!

SL - Yoghurt and Lingonberry Jam

(Silja Line) Buttermilk (FI: Piima) with lingonberry jam

Most of the time, finding yoghurt and other dairy products here in Finland is always been easy. You go to any convenient stores to big supermarkets, you’ll find one. Even honestly, this become my reason of why I can get easy access to cheese, yoghurt, milk, and buttermilk every time! Anything else is, berries are common forest products to find in summer. Back to the ship, so then I tried the buttermilk with lingonberry jam. I thought the jam is sweet. I was wrong. It’s face-warping sour. Now I know my supervisor, Pav, poured a lot of sugar in it.

VL - Karelian Pasty, Swedish Pancake w Jam, Cookie

(Viking Line) Nordic pancake with starwberry jam, Karelian pasties, mini cakes, and cookie.

Nordic pancake is similar to French pancake or crepes. The serving for pancake in Nordic way is by combining it with berry jam. This time (learning from experience before), I used the sweet strawberry jam. It tastes really good and fresh! About Karelian pasty, I’ve explained about it before. However, in both boats, it tastes plain, you have to use munavoi (butter mixed with chopped boiled egg) to give the taste in. The mini cakes flavor mostly buttery, sugary, and sometime have almonds in it.

VL - Bread and Salmon

(Viking Line) Bread, butter, and smoked salmon.

You know what? It’s hard to find a white dinner bread or toast here in Finland. They mentioned it as French bread for it. But the French bread I know available here is baguette, the long hard bread. So, to eat a sliced loaf of soft bread, you will normally found bread that normally and naturally colored brown or yellowish. The color comes from rye or other cerealia seeds (or carrot). And it’s common to eat them with LOT of butter as topping. Anything else, you can also add smoked salmon in it. It’s protein and omega-3 rich meal for you! And its taste is very rich, umami, and fresh!

SL - Cheese

(Silja Line) Cheese plater

In Europe, cheeses are something you can easily found, staple, and cheap (compared to Asia countries, including Indonesia). You can eat cheese like emmenthal, blue cheese, smoked cheese, or more with crackers. Me? I like to eat the cheese as it is! Not everyone have an endurance for the taste of blue cheese, and I’m enjoying myself eating one of the strongest blue cheese, roquefort from France!

SL - Caviar, Smoked Salmon, Pickled Herring

(Silja Line) Caviar, assorted herring, smoked salmon, and open sandwich with fish salad.

Smoked salmon (FI: savulohi), especially the cold smoked one (slowly smoked in 25ºC for hours to days, allowing the natural fragrance of the smoke to permeate the fish) is recommended  dish to start your day! You can it it with bread, or as it is. Anything else, in Nordic country, an abundant fish you can find from Baltic Sea is herring. You can found it as fresh commodity, hot-smoked, fried, baked, pickled, and even… as sour herring (SE: surströmming, the Swedish cuisine, a fermented RAW herring with extremely putrid smell… if Capt. Barbossa of Black Pearl in Pirates of Caribbean ever mention the smell of kraken’s mouth… here you go). Here, you can find the pickled herring that tastes salty or sweet. I don’t know exactly yet on how it cooked. Open sandwich, normally with fish is common dish in Nordic countries, especially Norway. And in picture above, you can found herring cooked in tomato and caviar… although we believe it’s not the actual one, but it made with alginate. Yeah… the original one has a price of fortune.

SL - Mix

(Silja Line) Roasted beef, spiced chicken with red sauce, and Greek Dolma with Feta cheese.

There are also many European dishes and some Asian dishes like curry in the buffet. Even you can find roast beef and Dolma (Greek dish, grape vine filled with sour rice, been explained here although it’s in Indonesian).

Other than these buffet menus, I was also walking around in the boat. I found this in Frank’s Casual Dining… let’s put it as extra…

VL - Reindeer and Beef Potato Lefse

Reindeer & beef filled potato lefse (FI: Poro & nautarieska, SE: Ren och nöstek fyllda potatis tunnbröd)

My second reindeer dish during my whole journey in Europe! Lefse is basically Norwegian flatbread made of flour, butter, milk, and potato. Here, the lefse is rolled with cold roasted beef, small-diced roasted reindeer mixed with mayo, lettuce, sliced grilled tomato, and sliced cucumber pickles. I kinda like the combination! It’s fresh!

VL - Mezzarin (1) VL - Mezzarin (2)

Mazarin.

Mazarin or in Swedish, Mazarintårta, is a tartlet consists of almond paste dough and topped with icing sugar. So far, this is one of my favorite dessert because I love the sweet flavor combined with the almond taste inside! If you asked me to compare this one with the one I ate in IKEA Tangerang (near Jakarta), Indonesia… it’s heaven to earth compared.

So much new food to try! I’m glad I’ve been through various trip in here!

Special thanks to my lovely colleague from Laboratory of Paper Coating and Converting, Åbo Akademi University, who brought me to the special cruise seminar and then… the buffet!

SILJA LINE & VIKING LINE

Aurora Buffet

Breakfast: EUR 10.50

Lunch: EUR 24

Dinner: EUR 31

Frank’s Casual Dining

Reindeer and beef potato lefse: EUR 6.90/SEK 63

Mazarin: (around) EUR 3/SEK 30

Note: Booking the buffet while booking the cruise ticket is recommended to avoid fully booked restaurant.

-AW-


My Culinary Trip at Turku – The Beginning

Moi! Tervetuloa Suomen! Ummm… I meant, welcome to Finland! This month and forth, I will take you to the meals that I will eat for daily routines, or some restaurant visits, or even some traditional food events!

Honestly for me, transition between Indonesia and Finland is not that much in term of food for me because actually I used to eat bread or cereal in the morning instead of rice while I was still in Indonesia. Even more, I actually random enough to made this… Karelian Pasty (low budget and no rye version):

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Seems… odd…

The idea comes from Alexis Gabriel AKA “The French Guy” in Youtube…

And… now I’m here! Here in Turku, Finland, Karelian Pasty or Karjalanpiiraka is something you can found almost in every supermarket that selling breads which may cost you only less than 1 euro per kilogram.

FI - Riisipirakkan (1)

The difference is uncanny… this one is piece of art!

FI - Riisipirakkan (2)

Bitten one…

As Indonesian that accustomed to be full after eating rice, me myself… after eating like 3-4 pieces of this (medium size), I’m starting to full. I like the mild savoury and creaminess of the rice in here. I like these one! There are other variants of Karelian Pasty: Porkkanapiirakkan (FI: Porkka = carrot) or Perunapiirakan (FI: Peruna = potato).

FI - Porkkanapiirakkaan

Porkkanapiirakkan (with rice and carrot)

To let you all know, Karelia is area in Europe that marks the northwestern part from Russia, including some part in south of Finland. This pasty or pirog is available mostly in Finland, and especially here in Turku (you can find it in LIDL, K-Market, or Siwa). People here say that the pasty is delicious if you eat it with egg butter or munavoi (FI: Muna = egg, voi = butter), butter mixed with chopped hard-boiled egg.

For daily, I ate bread, cheese, and sometime… fish, because fishes in here are all mostly fresh! In Turku, I normally buy my stuffs in supermarket, but sometimes… if I’m in mood for adventure, I go to Kauppatori (FI: market) located in the heart of the city, where sometimes… various goods can be found.

FI - Market

In the market… in fish truck.

We can sometime found a fish truck in the market (last time, I saw it on Wednesday in a week ago, and in Friday around three weeks ago). They sell various cooked fish in there, from salmon with any methods of cooking, fish patties, to other smoked fish. They priced per weight (kilogram).

FI - Salmon

Smoked salmon…

You can found smoked salmon… with cream cheese and herb, with herb, with spices, or original one. Last time, I bought the one with cream cheese and herb… and it’s truly marvellous!

FI - Salmon w Cream Herb

Smoked salmon with cream cheese and herb (0.25 Kg = EUR 5), warmed in microwave.

FI - Smoked Herring

Smoked herring (whole fishes; 0.5 Kg = EUR 5), also warmed in microwave.

For the first time, I also interested to buy smoked herring because I was curious about it. Well… like I was in Indonesia eating nila fish, it has a lot of spiky bones in it so you have to be careful, and because it’s whole… you need to separate anything with flesh before you it it. I ate “something” from it, and I don’t like it…

FI - Limppu

Limppu

Rye breads are common in here. The one I bought (picture above) is called limppu. It made from rye and added with molasses, so the flavor is between sweet and a bit sour, and it has unique aroma. My housemate told me that it’s a traditional bread here for Christmas and good to be eaten with butter… and it does! It also good with lox (cured salmon).

FI - Limppu + Lohi

Limppu and salmon… and extra horseradish sauce (as you might see)

FI - Leipajuusto w Cloudberry Jam

Leipajuusto with cloudberry jam

Other than fish and bread, Finland is also has their own cheese… and sometimes Finnish people eat meat or cheese… with jam, especially lingonberry (red one, Vaccinium vitis-idaea) or cloudberry (orange one, Rubus chamaemorus). One of the unique cheese here is called bread cheese or in Finn, leipajuusto. This cheese is made from colostrum rich milk of cow that already has calves, and strangely… it squeaks while bitten (in contact basically) with your teeth, so in America, they call it squeaky cheese. It tastes plain with some richness of cream but a bit salty (if preserved with brine). Normally eaten with cloudberry jam or lakkahillo and it gives the flavor quite colorful in your mouth!

Ah right… there are also special foods that can be eaten to commemorate some events. Like in February 5th, you can eat Runebergin torttu (FI: Runeberg torte, SW: Runebergs Tårta) to celebrate Johan Ludvig Runeberg’s (a poet) birthdate.

FI - Runebergin Torttu

Runebergin Torttu

The torte is made from pastry flavored with almond and arrack or rum and in top of it, there is raspberry jam with ring of sugar icing. It is nice to eat as snack in any time!

Ah right, you can found A LOT of pizzeria and kebab store (normally both in one shop) here! You may found one who sell falafel (Lebanese fritter made of chickpea) or kebab pizza!

Well… that’s for now. I believe there will be more soon!

PS: If you are not eating pork, here’s some list to avoid… meals with these words in Finnish:

Sika (FI: pig), sianliha (FI: pork), kinkku (FI: ham), porsaan (FI: pork), porsaanliha (FI: pork meat), porsas (FI: pork), porssu (FI: piggy)

PPS: These stuffs is just okay:

Kala (FI: fish), kana (FI: chicken), pihvi (FI: beef), lammas (FI: lamb)

-AW-


Journey from Indonesia to Finland: Inflight Meals of Garuda Indonesia Flight 88 and KLM Flight 1167

Finally… after passing some jet lag and some adaptational time here, now I’m got to go and ready to write my culinary experience here! But of course, placing some transitional meals here would be really nice, don’t you guys think so?

Okay then… on that January 21st night until January 22nd in the morning of Eastern European time, I made my long journey of more 10,000 Km (it’s ¼ of the globe!) with total around 16 hours of flight hours! For the first flight between Indonesia and Netherlands, I was in GA Flight 88 for more than 13 hours. Thank God for the awesome and cozy Boeing 777-300 ER and cool flight crews to flew it really smooth, in addition of there’s nobody seating next to me in the 3 seats (which in some moments become really sad), I could lean my feet and the rest of my body to sleep! And, you know what… I had my stomach really full up there!

For flying with GA 88, there are 2 segments of flight: CGK (Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, Banten-Jakarta, Indonesia) to SIN (Changi International Airport, Singapore), then SIN to AMS (Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, Netherlands). By total, there are 4 sets of meals on my way to AMS.

About inflight food, I heard before they said that it cooked a bit spicier to balance the condition during high atmospherical lower pressure that affect human taste bud to make it sense less than normal.

GA88 - Meal 1

From outside: Fruit cuts, bread and butter, and coffee cake.

GA88 - Meal 1 - Farfalle Seafood

Farfalle Fish and Prawn.

From CGK to SIN, the offers were chicken and rice or fish pasta, I took the fish pasta. It tastes nice, the pasta is not overcook, although the fish is too few. But the taste from the prawn make a lift on the dish. I also like the cake!

From SIN to AMS, there are 3 courses… well, actually 2 plus 1 snack time. The menu was given after we took off from SIN.

GA88 - Meal 2

From outside: Brownies, bread and butter, fruit cuts.

GA88 - Miso Broth

Miso broth and guava juice.

GA88 - Meal 2 - Fish Steak

Pan seared snapper with potato and veggies.

Option for this time, Hainan rice with grilled chicken or pan seared fish. I, again, took the fish. I like the fish and its mild flavored sauce. Although if it has more spice, it will be better… I remembered that people from Europe are tend to prefer milder flavor. For the brownies, it’s nice! They also offered the miso broth… well, broth… because there is no seaweed nor tofu inside. But I like it simple like that because it wouldn’t give much extra to my stomach, but it kept me warm (it’s -69ºC outside you know!).

Then… I took a long (supposedly) sleep time for more than 10 hours. I spent some of it to watch some series in the inflight TV. At the same time, the flight attendant gave me 2 bottles of mineral water and 2 smoked beef sandwich. I couldn’t get the picture because it’s dark.

Half an hour before landing to AMS, we had our final meals… the option: Western style omelette or chicken satay with rice. As I don’t like egg, I took the chicken rice.

GA88 - Meal 3

From outside: Fruit cuts, yoghurt (YEAH!), croissant and butter… and miso broth.

GA88 - Meal 3 - Empty (Chicken Satay)

I’m sorry… I was too hungry (really??) at the time.

The chicken satay is actually out of the skewer sticks and for me, the combination between it and the peanut sauce are more like curry (I tasted the flavor of cumin and some spices, unlike in simple peanut sauce). But I like curry, so this one is one good shot!

Then… we landed… I wanted to try some food over AMS, but my flight transfer schedule was too short.

But hey! I still had a flight from AMS to HEL (Helsinki-Vantaa Airport), KLM Flight 1167.

KL1167 - Snack 1

The warm box.

Once we were airborne, the flight attendants gave us this warm box… at first, I was hopping that it has no pork inside…

KL1167 - Snack 1 - Turkey Cheese Pretzel (1)

Smoked Turkey Pretzel Sandwich with Mascarpone and Melted Emmental Cheese

Lucky enough… it’s turkey… even better, it’s smoked turkey! Even better again… it’s on pretzel and bunch of mouth watering cheese!!

KL1167 - Snack 1 - Turkey Cheese Pretzel (2)

Hello… smoked turkey!

The taste? Fabulous!!

KL1167 - Orange Juice

Orange Juice

I got a glass of orange juice for my drink. Brrr… it’s cold outside. I was worried because I could see ice crystal forming in my window. But well… I had nice and warm food inside! And for extra, I got 2 of these lemon cake!

KL1167 - Snack 2 KL1167 - Snack 2 - Lemon Cake (1) KL1167 - Snack 2 - Lemon Cake (2)

Lemon cake!

Yummm… although honestly I already felt quite lonely on the trip, feeling far away from my family, my friend… and my girlfriend, Ghea… I feel that my next 9 months of journey in Finland will be awesome! It’s for food… and science!

Stay tuned!

-AW-