SCENT OF CHRISTMAS

Eyvind Hellstrøm is a Norwegian chef who gained fame with restaurant Bagatelle in Oslo between 1982 and 2009. Under the direction of Hellstrøm it became a two-Michelin-starred phenomena. Kristin Jacobsen is a Norwegian chef who has published 7 cookbooks and been a regular contributor on Good Morning Norway, as well as assisting chef to Hellstrøm during countless TV-productions and cook books. 

Since my husband is the Norwegian adult in the family, he always cooks a Norwegian Christmas dinner. I have gratefully sampled, praised and enjoyed it for the past 15 years, but have no idea how to make it.  Last year I was asked to bring a traditional dessert to the book club christmas party, and finally had to purchase a recipe book with Norwegian christmas foods. With plenty of options, I decided on Duft av jul by Eyvind Hellstrøm and Kristin Jacobsen, subtitled as a "kitchen handbook for the christmas season".  

In it I found exemplary simplicity in its organization with five main chapters: Seasonal dishes, Christmas dinners, Side dishes, Desserts, Pralines & Cookies. Each chapter is in turn organized by main ingredient: meat, fish, game etc.  

Chalk it up to good sense, good taste or good training but you will not find crossover versions such as gingerbread-spice-brownie-with-peppermint-frosting here. This kitchen duo has perfect pitch when it comes to adapting traditional flavours for a more contemporary palate. Ingredients range from humble to fancy, but each dish is well balanced, never excessive. The attention to detail is visible in every aspect but never intimidating. I grade its range of diffculty as from "beginner" (fruit salad) to "proud home cook" (pork roll with glazed peach). 

The dessert I brought to the party? It was simple, but it was a success. 

The first 50 pages are available as a sample read here

You can find six recipes from the book on Hellstrøms homepage, and also  watch Hellstrøm prepare a roast pork flank (in Norwegian). 

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