Borscht is reputed to be one of the world’s great soups. However, to be honest, I initially wasn’t so sure. I’ve only had borscht a few times and it hasn’t always been a memorable experience. For a long time, I thought of it as an Eastern European peasant soup, probably good if you didn’t have much more to eat than beets but pretty dull otherwise.
For me, what changed things was having a borscht with dill. I’d had chilled beet soup with dill before but dill in hot borscht was a new thing for me. I understand it’s not really traditional but dill takes borscht from plain to interesting without overshooting the mark and getting into the realm of weird. Also, using plenty of beef turns this from a side to a filling one-pot meal. Continue reading →
I’ve been wanting to make gravlax (AKA gravad lax) for some time now. Salmon is one of my favourite foods, especially when raw or semi-raw, and the idea that I might be able to cure my own salmon without buying a smoker or paying extortionate prices for sashimi-grade salmon strongly attracted me. However, for a long time I was nervous because the recipes I’ve seen vary dramatically. Some call for as much as a full cup of salt while others call for as little as a couple of teaspoons. Some call for much more salt than sugar; others call for much more sugar than salt. Some recipes I’ve seen also make the process seem incredibly complex, involving weights, precisely timed curing, even the use of thin slices of lime that can’t actually touch the fish.
After consulting a ton of recipes, I became convinced that a fairly minimalist approach would work, but although I wanted to simplify the process (and avoid ending up with a fish-flavoured lollipop or salt lick), I also wanted to experiment with a variety of flavours. So I ended up making four different kinds. Continue reading →