tirsdag den 31. marts 2015

italian food

stupidly i never liked italian food. sure, i have always loved pizza (who doesn't?) and enjoyed the frozen lasagne my mom left for my brother and i to eat when she was working late. but whenever someone suggested to go out to an italian restaurant, i would quickly try to change the venue to a vietnamese, mexican, korean, or japanese restaurant. growing up, italian food to me was olive garden or (later on) buca di beppo. i came to associate eating italian food with enormous portions of pasta accompanied by garlic bread, followed by the feeling of being sickly full of empty carbs and cream.

so when my friend said we should go to parma, my expectations were pretty low. not that i thought i would starve, but i thought if i could figure out anything about italian cuisine then this would be the place. pictured above is the first thing we ate in parma; a spaccaballe and a 'ham and cheese sandwich.' i put it in quotes because it is nowhere near the bland ham and cheese single sandwiches that i've been subjected to in the past. i'd previously read some positive reviews about pepen, and we wandered in by chance. despite being 3pm, it was full of locals where other restaurants were closed for a break between lunch and dinner. and if there is anything i've learned from my travels, it's to get whatever the chef at a good restaurant recommends. these two were the result, and the PARMA ham and PARMesan cheese sandwich blew my mind. the bread isn't stellar but it fits well with the moreish prosciutto and the salty, intense parmesan cheese. we polished it off with a glass of white wine and left as happy tourists.

for me, parmesan used to be that powder in a shaker on tables in pizza places. eventually i learned to buy it in wedges or blocks and grate it freshly over pasta. but even the blocks you get in upscale grocery stores here usually can't compare to what you can get at a discount supermarket in parma for a fraction of the price. yes, of course i bought some and took it back with me. this plate was served to us at ombre rosse with a couple of glasses of decent red. the two cheeses on top are two types of parmesan, and the other three are obviously blues. with honey and walnuts, it was the perfect dish to whet the appetite.

in fact most of the meals i was pleasantly surprised by were the appetizers. parma ham, mortadella, and especially culatello. we had the privilege of tasting a batch from november 2012 at la greppia and were floored by the flavour. how can a paper-thin slice of meat have so many facets? again, the bread was not great but maybe it was intentional as to not overshadow the meat. not pictured is an amazing plate of bottarga tagliolini that i regrettably couldn't finish due to our excessive snacking. i still have nightmares about leaving that pasta behind!

speaking of pasta, we did make our way out to bologna, where we of course had some pasta bolognese. or, as it is known in bologna; ragu. there it is served with tagliatelle instead of spagetti as the rest of the world does. all the food we had in parma and bologna was delicious, but i was particularly surprised by the pasta dishes. though they were sparsely dressed, they were certainly not light on flavour. it made me realize that the pasta itself is the star of the dish when made properly. so i do love italian food now! my feelings for olive garden are the same as before; you won't catch me there.

søndag den 9. november 2014


soooo... i haven't been posting for a while because of the usual reasons. lazy. uninspired. but also because between this post and the last i have become a divorcée and obviously moved out on my own. my ex-husband and i are still on good terms and we 'share custody' of our two cats, which i am grateful for.

beet-pickled deviled eggs with kimchi
of course i have been cooking a lot; much more so now that i live alone. i was lucky enough to find an apartment to rent with a great location and nice kitchen with enough storage to keep all my appliances and knick knacks out of sight when not in use.

(packaged) cod roe sauce on homemade noodles

one sizeable undertaking i tried in my new apartment was to make tofu. it was a lot of work that yielded a pock-marked block of bitter tofu; not sure if it was because i used epsom salt or didn't keep it at the right temperature. however, it did have a lot of okara/biji leftover for me to work with, which tasted a lot better than the tofu. i made patties with it and froze the rest. as you can see, i've also starting making bentos again but hardcore! i started using instagram and have been harvesting a wealth of inspiration from other people's lunches from all over the world.

owl tofu! with terong balado, spicy indonesian eggplant

kenchinjiru with okara instead of tofu

slices of fried tofu and tofu patties
hopefully i can get back on the blogging horse instead of lazily posting on instagram. thanks to anyone who stuck around. ("

mandag den 29. juli 2013

mom was here

yeah so my mom came to visit in may and made us all sorts of nice things to eat. of course i had grand plans of taking her out on the town and treating her to the best restaurants copenhagen has to offer, but she had other ideas. she really just wanted to hang out and cook with me; how can i refuse?! my mom also (predictably) brought a whole second suitcase full of korean and mexican ingredients; including two packs each of bbq eel and soondae!! is that even legal..? i don't know how i managed to squirrel away all of it into the kitchen cabinets, but eventually i made it happen. don't open any of the cabinets. >_>


pan-fried zucchini, meat patties, and peppers stuffed with meat

oxtail soup

bbq eel and avocado rolls, chobap/inarizushi

apparently it's a cool new thing to combine chapagetti and neoguri, or so my mom tells me. the result is noodles with a moreish, spicy sauce. it's worth a try! just be sure to drain away the same amount of water as if you were just making the chapagetti. it really was such a breath of fresh air to have her here. i've been living in denmark for 5 years now and i only get to see my family once a year; maybe twice if i'm lucky. though i like living here, i miss them very much.

lørdag den 16. februar 2013

homesick at home

i miss my mom.


kimchi chigae

pan-fried tofu

braised mackerel with radish


doenjang chigae


søndag den 6. januar 2013


again, i wish we'd spent more time here! osaka didn't seem like so much in the daytime, though i can't say i spent too much time outside of shops and department stores. but at night, the city was teeming with people looking for late-night eats and of course drinks.

a friend who i met in copenhagen at a couchsurfing party was gracious enough to take me to her favourite takoyaki place. 'octopus balls' may sound like a sad prank of a meal, but i promise you it's delicious. it's a savoury, spherical pancake with bits of octopus inside and slathered with a brown sauce and bonito flakes. seeing how thin she is, i was surprised when she suggested we get okonomiyaki afterward. it was about 9pm; i don't mind eating late, but i have to say i wasn't expecting to in japan.

thankfully the okonomiyaki place was pretty popular, so i got to digest a bit while waiting in line. once seated, we got to watch the cooks at the bar expertly forming our dinners. the batter seems to be very similar to takoyaki, but with many more options on fillings. we split two very common pancakes; one with pork belly and cabbage and another with green onion and cabbage (a.k.a. negiyaki). the toppings are also similar to their round counterparts with the brown sauce and the addition of kewpie mayo. equally delicious.