This Autumn I finally got everything right and managed to sit down and eat at Vinegar Hill House. I loved that place long before I had ever set foot there. Why? Its the whole setting. Even if the Vinegar Hill neighborhood is well known it feels like a hidden treasure that can be easily missed if you don’t know where it is. It makes me feel like I have found something for the first time even if I haven’t.
On my first visit at Vinegar Hill House one of the dishes was Duck Egg Raviolo with chantarelles. I learned later that Raviolo is singular for ravioli. I also came across the amusing dish Uova da Raviolo, which is a raviolo that holds a whole egg yolk inside. I’m impressed as that is probably something my shaky hands can’t do.
The raviolo at Vinegar Hill House was nothing like the above. The filling, chanterelles and a fried duck egg had been cooked separately from the pasta and put together in layers as in the illustrated diagram above. The dish was topped with buttered bread crumbs. The duck egg was perfectly cooked with a white just set and a gorgeous looking egg yolk that burst when I poked my fork into it. The runny yolk blended well with the butter-rich chanterelles. I think this dish was wonderful. I could easily have it again and again, as a main course, for lunch or brunch.
Well Alice on her lovely Swedish food blog Brax on Food asked me for a kitchen confession and here is one of them…
The other day we had some friends over for spinach lasagna. Just a half an hour before everybody arrived there was a small crisis in the kitchen. I had forgotten about the cheese sauce on the stove, it cooked for at least 45 minutes too long. Even though it was on very low heat the sauce had separated and the cheese had transformed into some kind of porridge that was floating in the saucepan. It did not taste burned or bad it just looked a little uneatable. One solution could be to try to get some new cheese in the supermarket. But they would probably not have a great replacement for the Gorgonzola that was floating in my saucepan. I had nothing to lose, so I poured everything in the blender and out came the smoothest cheese sauce I have ever done…
(Serves 4-5 people)
You will need lasagna noodles enough for three layers. Precook the noodles in a big pan or use already precooked noodles.
2 bunches of spinach
3 cloves of garlic
40 ml (1/6 cup) tamari sauce
40 ml (1/6 cup) of water
Clean the spinach carefully and let it dry while you peel and chop the garlic into small pieces. Heat up some olive oil in a pan and fry the garlic and the chili. When the garlic starts to get a little golden brown, add the spinach and sauté until it gets softer. Add the water and the tamari, cover the pan and let it cook for five minutes. If necessary season with salt and pepper.
blue cheese sauce
50 gram (about ½ stick) butter
50-60 ml (¼ cup) flour
700 ml (3 cups) milk
about 250 ml (1 cup) of any blue cheese (depending how strong taste you want)
salt and pepper to taste
Melt butter and stir in flour. Cook under very low heat for 2-3 minutes. Constantly stir the flour mix. Add the milk gradually and stir to a smooth blend. Add the cheese and stir until cheese is melted. Season with salt and pepper.
Grease a baking tin. Start the layering with some cheese sauce and some spinach in the bottom. Keep layering with pasta in between layers of both cheese sauce and spinach. At last cover the last layer of pasta with only the sauce. Bake the lasagna in the oven at 375º for about 20-30 minutes. When the lasagna is nearly done sprinkle some fresh grated Parmesan over. Put in the oven for further cooking until the cheese is melted and got a nice color. Serve with a nice mixed salad, for example arugola, apple, grated carrots and walnuts.
… and the guests loved the lasagna.
My sister dances tango wherever she goes. Barcelona, Berlin, Manhattan, Buenos Aires or the Pyrenees Mountains. Once she danced with a man who got so happy that he gave her a bottle of Bordeaux. Mushroom picking is also a thing my sister does well, and in her kitchen you will find glass jars of dried ‘funnel chanterelles’ (tratt kantareller), ‘king bolete’ (karl-johan) and ‘horn of plenty’ (trumpet svamp). My sister often crumbles some dried funnel chanterelles into her bacon sauce.
6-8 slices of bacon
½ or one onion
one clove garlic
tiny amount of chili
200 ml (0.80 cups) cream (or half and half)
150-200 ml (0.6-0.8 cups) cheddar cheese
(dried funnel chanterelles)
salt and pepper
Shred the bacon into thin slices. Chop the onion and the garlic thin and sauté them together with chili in some olive oil. When they are starting to get soft add the bacon and sauté them together until the bacon gets a little crispy. Add the cream and let it boil slowly for one minute. Lower the heat and add the grated cheese. When the cheese is melted, season the sauce with salt and pepper. Last night I served it over fresh pasta topped with fresh grated parmesan and a tomato salad with fresh cilantro balsamic vinaigrette. An earthy Bordeaux will probably work well whether it comes from a tango dancer or not!
In my pesto I use walnuts instead of pine nuts because it has a stronger taste. I have also done this with parsley instead of basil.
a bunch of basil leaves
2-3 cloves of garlic
ca 125 ml (½ cup) walnuts
ca 125 ml (½ cup) fresh grated parmesan
salt and pepper
Mix all the ingredients in a blender, starting with the basil leaves, garlic and some olive oil. Add the walnuts and for last the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. If necessary add more olive oil.
Serve with fresh pasta or egg pasta and a simple tomato salad. Great with red wine or a bubbly prosecco.
1-2 gloves of garlic
a piece of good strong ripe cheese (cheddar, blue cheese)
small package of cream (half and half or thick milk)
salt and pepper
Clean the spinach and let it dry while you peel and shop the garlic into small pieces. Heat up olive oil in a pan and fry the garlic until it’s golden brown. Fry the spinach together with the garlic. When the spinach is soft you can add the cream and add the cheese when it’s starts boiling. Use salt and pepper to your own taste.
To get a spicier version you can fry some chili peppers with the garlic before adding the spinach
Serve the spinach with fresh pasta, tomato salad and top with parmesan.
Also check out no más de mamá’s twist of this recipe (in Spanish)