Category Archives: drinks

Guest Post: Cocktails by Walczak & Heiss

I first met Marek Walczak in Sweden, late 2002. He was showing one of his interactive art works “Apartment” and at the opening he mistook me for my twin sister (who was the curator of the show). Ever since then we have lived and worked together. Besides other things we have designed and renovated 2 houses from scratch and we have also built a tiny little studio house together.

About five years ago Marek started to work with Wes Heiss who he has known for a long long time. Like me, both of them have a background in architecture. Besides many other things, Wes knows how to build cars and violins. Over the last few years he has also become an expert in operating 3D printers of various kinds. Together, Marek and Wes has become a perfect team that can design and build really cool media-based public art installations.

One of their latest works (which I made some illustrations for) is an art installations in Denver, called 14th Street Overlay. This installation consist of 23 individual small cast bronze sculptures of optical instruments like binoculars, iPhones and movie cameras that are embedded along 14th street. Each object gives you a view of the existing street merged with narratives and projections of the past.

I really enjoy working with Marek & Wess. I also enjoy their skills in making cocktails and drinks. With them, there is always a new drink that needs to be mixed and tested. It could be a classic but also something totally new. With their help I have picked out three drinks from their cocktail collection, The Saint, Tatanka (a Polish classic) and Gingerish.


UPDATE: Just heard that Walczak & Heiss won  won the commission for Public Art for the gardens of the Berry Center, Wyoming. Congratulations to both of you!


* St. Germain is an Elderflower liquor which you probably can substitute with something similar. You can also switch out this part with equal amount of Elder Flower cordial.

** Zubrówka is a Polish vodka flavored with bison grass.

*** For best flavor, infuse the ginger with the whiskey for at least 4 hours.


More drink links…

Pomegranate Molasses & Gin recipe diagram on kokblog

Akvavit recipe diagram on kokblog

Engineers guide to drinks post by Flowing Data

Drink: Pomegranate Molasses & Gin


I can’t believe this year is almost over. Time goes quickly when you are busy having fun. 2013 has been great in many many ways.

At the beginning of the year Anna Brones and I started to work and develop recipes for our first illustrated cook book together. The book is scheduled to be published by Ten Speed Press, Spring 2015.

For the second year in a row I made illustrations for LRF, Lantbrukarnas Riksförbund (a major Agriculture organisation in Sweden) for their yearly brochure. This summer,  my illustrations were seen in both Art of Eating (no. 91) and The Foodie Bugle (2nd issue). In July The Culinary Cyclist, with illustrations by me, was published. The book is written by Anna Brones.

In July I was part of arranging the 2nd triennial exhibition Instrument at the old mill in Lövestad, Sweden. Over 30 artists from around the world participated. One of my tasks was to bake 20 loaves of breads for the grand opening of the exhibition and to sew the cover for the catalog.

In the Autumn I illustrated the future of public transportation for SL (public transportation company in Stockholm). And just a few weeks ago I created graphics and illustrated icons for Courtney Carver’s site A Simple Year that launched earlier this month. Another exciting job was to draw an illustrated ginger cookie recipe as a Holiday Card for Tara K. Reddi, vice president of Marlborough Gallery. The card was printed in letterpress.

On top of everything else I have been in the middle of renovating our new place, with periods of times without a proper kitchen and drawing space. I’m quite amazed that I have been able to create and work on so many projects and recipes with all the dust of a  major renovation project going on around me. I have to say at times it has been quite extreme, especially when I had to take a more active part in the renovation (e.g. tiling, plastering, sanding, painting, laying and sanding oak floors or just holding the other end of a tape measure etc etc).

After all this I now feel like having a drink. The above illustrated drink recipe is at the moment my absolute favorite drink.

I wish you all a Happy New Year.

Some Pomegranate Molasses links

Muhammara – a spicy walnut dip by Anissa Helou
Pomegranate Molasses Glazed Eggplant by Olga Massov
Homemade Pomegranate Molasses by Cafe Fernando in Istanbul

also check out Walczak&Heiss’ illustrated Cocktails

Autumn Foraging: Apples

In my neighbor’s garden there is an old apple tree. The tree and the garden is in need of care. It always hurts my heart when I see fruit of any kind fall to the ground before anyone even thinks of taking care of them. As nobody actually lives next door I think its ok to pick them. So I went over there to have a look. The apples didn’t look that great and they would probably be terrible in most things, I thought. I took a bite and smiled. It was a crisp bite and the taste was sweet and sour at the same time. This abandoned tree was in fact a Granny Smith or at least something very close to it. Granny Smith may not be my absolute favorite but an apple like this is excellent in an apple tart or a nutty manchego salad.

Apples in general are very useful in cooking, for both savory or sweet dishes. A chicken for example is really flavorful when roasted whole filled with apples and prunes. Different kinds of preserves such as apple compote, apple butter and apple chutney are fantastic treats that can be served with many different things, such as a sweet flavor in oatmeal, as a side to meat or together with cheese on bread. While growing up I remember having only apple compote with cold milk as an afternoon snack.

Then there are endless amazing cakes and pies that can be baked with apples. There is of course always the classic Tarte Tartine that was created by two sisters after a successful accident in the kitchen. A more unusual apple pie is the south Swedish version (Skånsk Äpplekaka) that is made with rye bread crumbs. It may sound strange but its absolutely delicious served with vanilla sauce.

If you have a lots of apples you should really consider making your own apple juice or cider. If my neighbor’s tree would give me more apples, I would definitively brew hard apple cider. Sandor Ellix Katz says, in his book “wild fermentation”, to brew apple cider is one of the simplest alcohol fermentation you can make. You just need fresh good quality apple juice (preferably juiced by yourself), a jug, a cheese cloth and a rubber band. He calls it Spontaneous Cider.

Last year I got really inspired by Joanna at Zeb Bakes when she made apple cider vinegar with the scraps and pieces that were left over after making apple cake. I think it’s really clever to use something that normally would be thrown away. Joanna’s vinegar was inspired by Carl Legge‘s experiments which he describes very well in his post Fermenting Revolution 2 – Apple cider vinegar. The below recipe is pretty much the same as Carl’s formula (Sandor Katz suggests less sugar in his book).

I think my neighbor’s Granny Smith are perfect for this recipe.

Granny Smith Cider Vinegar

  • ½ cup (about 120 ml) sugar (I used half regular sugar and half brown)
  • 4 ¼ cup (one liter) water
  • 6-12 small Granny Smith apples* (more or less if you are using scraps or whole apples)

Heat up the water together with the sugar. When the sugar has dissolved into the water take off the heat and let cool. This is important as hot liquid will not let the natural yeast start the process. During this time you can prepare the apples. I used whole apples, which I rinsed and cut into one inch (2-3 cm) pieces. But you can use leftover bits and pieces as well. Place the apples in a large glass jar or other suitable container. It’s good if the jar has a wide opening, according to Sandor Katz a larger exposure to air helps the process.

When the sugar solution is cool enough (about room temperature) pour it over the apple pieces. Place a plate on top to weigh down the apples (I took a bowl and a mortar). Place the container in a warm place. To avoid flies etc cover with a cheesecloth or kitchen towel (fastened by a rubber band). Stir and taste the apples every day. (After about 3 days I could see small bubbles and the flavor was sweet and fizzy. This as a good sign, the fermenting process is doing what it should do).

After 7-10 days, the apples have done their job and you will need to strain them through a sieve. Pour back into the jar and let stand for another 7-14 days. Continue to taste your batch regularly. It will soon start to taste more like vinegar than cider. When you are happy with the flavor, strain the liquid again and pour the liquid into sterilized bottles and seal them properly. The film that will be created on top is called “Mother of Vinegar” that can be used as a starter for your next vinegar.

* You can of course use any other kind of apple in this recipe. You can also make vinegar with other kinds of fruit and berries. Sandor Katz mentions in his book that almost any fruit scraps and peels etc can be used for making vinegar. He suggests pineapple, grapes or even overripe bananas.

This article was originally published at EcoSalon, 2 October 2012.

In this Autumn Foraging series see also Autumn Foraging: Rose Hips with a recipe of Rose Hip Sherry.



Autumn Foraging: Rose Hips

The other day I took my bike on a long long bike ride  to get to the sea through neighborhoods I never new existed. The idea was to get away from the city to breath fresh salty air and eat some newly caught clams. The bonus was that I got to pick ripe rose hips. The rose bushes where growing in the sand just at the edge of the beach. As a rose hip loving Swede, this was a happy moment and I picked as many as I could find.

Rose hips are very high in vitamin C and there are plenty of things to make with it. For example, the outer fruity part of the rose hip (often orange or red) can be dried and used for soup and tea (which can be done with the fresh fruit as well). A rose hip soup is very popular in Sweden especially among children. I love it. The soup can be eaten warm or cold, with ice cream or tiny almond cookies (mandel biskvier) that are best soaked in the soup. My favorite is to serve the soup while cross-country skiing, smoking hot directly from a thermos. I can’t think of a better energy treat than that!

If you ever have split open a rose hip you probably know that the hairy part that surrounds the seeds creates itchiness on your skin. Its annoying but totally harmless. (It’s actually used as an itching powder).

Fresh rose hips are often used to make jam, marmalade or jelly. You can also make schnapps, liqueur or, why not some rose hip sherry? My sister Anna Kindvall has become sort of an expert at making sherry out of rose hips. So well that a restaurant recently wanted to put it on their dessert wine list. In her wine cabinet you can find different vintages of the wine and like many other wines this wine gets better with age. The wine is sweet and flavorful. It works well with desserts or different kinds of cheeses. It’s also great in cooking and, I agree with my sister, a dash of rose hip sherry in a chantarelle sauce is heavenly.

My sister (and others) claims that the most flavorful rose hips are the once with long narrow fruits. I have also heard that the best time to pick them is after the 1st frost (however my sister picks them always before). Here in Brooklyn it’s still summer and the once I picked were all small and round (with a really nice aroma). I couldn’t get hold of winemakers yeast so I’m using instant yeast. Oh well, in time we will see how my batch of  wine will turn out.

Anna’s Rose Hip Sherry

  • 8 ½ cups (2 liters) rose hips (preferably the long narrow fruits)
  • 3 1/3 lb (1 ½ kg) sugar
  • 12 2/3 cups (3 liter) water
  • 25 gr wine maker’s yeast (or fresh yeast, it might even work with instant yeast)

Roughly trim the rose hips but don’t rinse them with water as the surface contains natural yeast that are useful in the process (or that’s what I’ve heard). Make a sugar syrup by heating up the sugar together with the water. When the sugar has dissolved let it cool. Use some of the liquid to dissolve the yeast. Let the yeast start (there will be bubbles on the surface) before mixing with the rest of the sugar liquid and the rose hips in a bucket or a glass carboy. Cover the jar and let the wine sit still for three months. At this time the liquid should look clear and the rose hips have fallen to the bottom of the jar.

Tap the sherry into dark bottles (for example on 12 fl oz (33 cl) beer bottles). To avoid the sediment at the bottom Anna recommends spooning up the sherry instead of pouring (can be hard with a carboy). Seal with a suitable cork or cap. Let the sherry stand for at least one more month before drinking.

If you are patient enough to store it, or at least with some of it, my sister thinks it’s best to drink after 5 years.

This article was originally published at EcoSalon, 13 september 2012

In this Autumn Foraging Series also check out, Autumn Foraging – Apples with an Apple Cider Vinegar recipe

How to Make Kefir

My temporary landlord Russell Busch, who is also a good friend, just introduced me to kefir making. Kefir is a fermented milk drink that contains plenty of healthy probiotics. To make kefir from milk you need kefir grains which are a live and active culture of yeast and bacteria.

Kefir is a very common drink in Eastern Europe and the Nordic countries. I grew up with it and if I remember correctly, the Swedish kefir is thicker, more sour and has a slightly carbonated feel to it. Swedes often eat kefir (with a spoon) together with muesli, cornflakes, fruit or just with sugar and cinnamon. I like my kefir best just plain with fresh fruit or berries. Others prefer making smoothies with frozen berries and fruits as it takes off some of the strong sour flavor. Luckily Kefir has become increasungly common here in the US.

The kefir making process is super easy and you don’t really need to do much as the kefir grains do most of the work.

to make kefir you will need:

  • kefir grains (which you order online here or here or somewhere else)
  • organic whole milk from cow, sheep or goat
  • glass jar
  • small piece of cheese cloth + rubber band (or similar)
  • wood or plastic spoon/ spatula
  • fine mesh plastic strainer (or stainless steel)

note: no metal such as aluminum etc can be used as it will react with the kefir grains. Although, for some reason stainless steel seems to be OK.

Place the new kefir grains in a clean glass jar (about two tablespoons). Pour about 1 cup organic whole milk over the grains. Cover with the cheesecloth and fasten it with a rubber band to avoid flies (I actually just use a plastic lid that is just placed on top). Leave the jar on the counter in room temperature away from any sun.

When the kefir has got thicker the kefir is probably done. It should smell pleasantly and have a mild sour taste. At this stage you will have a drinkable kefir. If it stays longer the kefir will start to separate the curdled milk from the whey. Don’t worry, the kefir is still fine, however it will be slightly thicker and have a richer taste. A longer fermentation will also create more probiotics and less lactose. The fermentation will take about 12-36 hours.

When you think you are ready, give the jar a shake and drain it through the plastic strainer to separate the kefir from the grains. It’s important to be gentle with the grains so don’t press them too hard. The kefir grains don’t have to be totally clean from curds for the next batch. The ready-made kefir can be stored in the fridge, preferably in a glass container. It will keep fresh for awhile. If you think the kefir is too loose you can strain it to reduce some of the whey. Leftover whey can be used for many things (see below).

next batch
Prepare the next batch by placing the strained kefir grains into a clean glass jar. This time you should add a little more milk and the fermenting process will probably go faster as the grains have grown larger and become more active.

The more kefir you make the bigger the grains will grow, you will therefore need to adjust the amount of milk depending on their size. At some point you need to split the grains up as there is a limit on how much kefir you can make. I suggest giving some grains to a friend or start making other things with it. You can, for example, make kefir drinks by using almond, soy or coconut milk instead of regular milk. In this kind of process the grains will not grow and therefore not last as long. I haven’t tried it yet but my landlord makes coconut kefir drinks daily.

what to do with the kefir
There are many other things you can do with the kefir if you don’t just want to drink or eat it. Kefir is excellent in dips, dressings, cakes and bread. It can also be used instead of yeast when baking bread or at least that’s what I’ve heard.

Recently I made my own cream cheese or rather fresh cheese by straining the kefir from the whey through a clean kitchen towel or several layers of cheese cloth (takes about 24 hours). This creamy cheese can be served plain or flavored with fresh herbs, garlic or anything you like. Its also great to make pierogi leniwe (Polish lazy pierogi).

You can do many things with the whey such as ferment vegetables, sauerkraut (cabbage) and when diluted 5 times with water it can be used as a fertilizer for your plants. For about a week I collected the leftover whey to make ricotta. I was amazed how well it worked out as the whey just looks like cloudy water.

storing the kefir grains
At some point you may want to have a break in your kefir making and it’s actually possible to store the kefir grains with some milk in your fridge. Just feed them with new fresh milk every now and again. When you start again the grains may not be as active as before the break, so you probably have to start again with just a small amount of milk.

 This article was 1st published at EcoSalon, 31 July 2012