Creative in the kitchen

I´m totally anti-resolution this new year. However, as I´m always trying to better myself and get rid of those three kilos that keep coming back be more healthy, I have read Mats-Eric Nilsson´s "Smakernas återkomst" (= the return to taste), a kind of inspirational cooking book.

Nilsson is a journalist and his mission is to inform the public about all the crap that´s being added to our food, particularly the ready-made stuff that we buy. And he has inspired changes, both to our own household, as I have been baking all our own bread since I read one of his books two years ago, and in the industry, from which one could not buy a decent meatball a few years ago. This year, for Christmas Eve, the holy day devoted to (as we all know) worshipping the meatball and pickled herring, we actually ate Dafgård´s "Farfars köttbullar" (= grandpa´s meatballs) and dare I say it, it tasted just like home-made. Almost. Near enough.

Nilsson thinks we should ditch the customary tomato, that honestly tastes like crap even in season these days, and learn to appreciate the vegetables that are easy to store and transport, or that grow in our neighbourhoods in season, like black salsify, parsnip, Jerusalem artichoke, fennel, plums (when I last ate one I honestly can´t remember), gooseberry, and dandelion (yes! I know! for free, everywhere!). Nilsson is, I think, very inspired by the Italian kitchen, everything seems to be best just slightly cooked and then taken to a quick session in the frying pan with olive oil and garlic, and lemon, salt, and pepper. I´m not arguing with that.

I had some baby spinach left from Christmas that was starting to sag (I normally use it for sallads), and inspired by Nilsson I made a real quick stew with sour cream and freshly ground pepper and it was heavenly. I also scoured the shelf with spices and found two sad old vanilla pods. Hard as rusty nails. I put a pint of vodka over them in a preserving jar and now the sweetest smell is coming from that jar. I intend to add some syrup later and make it into a liqueur for spicing up old sponge cake for desserts. Not that Nilsson literally suggests doing this, it was just what I became inspired to do, instead of throwing it away. I like being thrifty, I feel totally bettered as a person by it, and wasn´t that where I started with this post?

And isn´t the cover of this book just lovely? What can be more beautiful than red cabbage? Seriously?

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