Thursday, August 16, 2018

Tímíanmús

Thyme mash


Ingredients

750 g turnips
50 g butter
2 Tbsp milk
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp chopped parsley
6 sprigs of thyme


Preparation

Clean and peel the turnips, cut into small pieces. Cook in water for 20 minutes to become soft.

Then drain the water and mash the turnips.

Add milk, salt, sugar and chopped parsley and mix everything to a rough mash.


Pluck off the thyme leaves from the sprigs and mix them into the turnip mash. (If you don't have fresh thyme, you can alternatively use dried thyme.)

Thyme mash with deer in chocolate sauce

Hreindýr með súkkulaðisósu

Reindeer in chocolate sauce


In many regions reindeer meat is hard to get or quite expensive. Alternatively you can take deer, which is similar in taste and consistency, also delicious and tender.

The recipe is for 4 people.


Ingredients for the meat

800 g reindear meat
2 Tbsp butter 

Ingredients for the chocolate sauce

25 g unsalted butter
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 small chilli pepper, freshly chopped
6 large fresh mushrooms, quartered
250 ml beef stock
1 TL balsamic vinegar
2 sprigs of thyme
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper
50 g dark chocolate (70%)


Preparation of the meat

Heat up a pan. Melt the butter in it.

Cut the reindeer meat into medallions and sear them in the butter from all sides, so that the meat is brown on the outside, but still pink on the inside.

Preparation of the chocolate sauce

Heat butter in the hot pan and braise the chopped onions therein shortly until glassy.

Add the chilli pepper and the mushrooms and let everything roast at medium heat for just a few minutes.

Pour in the beef stock and balsamic vinegar. Add thyme and bay leaf.

Bring it to a boil and then let it boil down to half.

Pour the broth through a sieve into a pot. Season with salt and pepper. Let it simmer at low heat.

Chop the chocolate into small pieced and add them little by little to the sauce while stirring continuously.

If needed, season once again with salt and pepper. Serve the reindeer meat covered with the mushrooms and the chocolate sauce.


Deer in chocolate sauce with thyme mash

Kálsúpa

Cabbage soup



Ingredients

50 g lard
2 onions
1 head of white cabbage
3 carots
3 parsnips
1 l vegetable stock
1 tsp dried thyme
salt and pepper
6 Tbsp sour cream


Preparation

Melt lard in a large pot and steam onions glassy.

Wash, clean and quarter the cabbage head, remove the stalk and cut into fine stripes.


Clean and peel carots and parsnips, cut into thin slices.

Put cabbage, carots and parsnips to the onions into the pot. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.


Then add the vegetable stock. Season with salt, pepper and thyme. Let everything simmer for half an hour.


Serve the cabbage soup with a blob of sour cream and with fresh bread.



Kerfilsúpa

Chervil soup


Ingredients

800 ml meat stock (preferably from lamb)
30 g butter
30 g flour
200 g chervil
2 hardboiled eggs
salt and pepper


Preparation

Heat up the meat stock in a pot.

In a second pot melt butter, sprinkle with flour and stir thoroughly. Slowly stir in the meat stock and bring briefly to boil. Add chopped chervil, stir and let it boil for a short while.

Peel the hardboiled eggs and quarter them. Pour the chervil soup into soup plates, add the quartered eggs and serve hot.



Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Kaffihús Bakkabræðra - Gísli, Eiríkur, Helgi

The three brothers from Bakki - A coffee house in Dalvík


May contain traces of advertisement.*

When we were in Iceland in July 2018, we had a few days for Akureyri and its surroundings. At one of the evenings we had an inviatation to this restaurant in Dalvík. I knew it from Instagram. They had spent a few days in Akureyri. The beautiful photos of their cakes had fascinated me.

But when we arrived in Dalvík and stood in front of the restaurant, some doubts arose. From the outside it looked a bit shabby. We didn't see any lights inside. But we had got a nice invitation by the hosts Heiða und Bjarni and the photos were really great. So we entered the restaurant.


Gísli Eiríkur Helgi - Kaffihús Bakkabræðra 


And when we came in, our impression changed immediately. It looked so cozy, rustic, interesting. Everything was lovely decorated, made from ancient wood. We immediately fell in love with this homey atmosphere. And got a very warm welcome by Heiða.


Before eating, we looked around in the restaurant. There is a counter and some small tables for the guests in the ground floor...




... and upstairs there is a second bar counter and space for even more guests at long wooden tables.


I love all these furnishing details. The lambskins, the paintings on the walls, ..., especially the long woolen underpants!


The choice of warm dishes is manageable. They offer fishsoup. From 12 o'clock at noon to 10 o'clock in the evening. But it is not just fishsoup. When you order the soup, you'll get a salad a starter, bread and water, and finally coffee.


The salad was delicious, with walnut kernels and large coconut flakes. For seasoning it was serverd together with balsamic vinegar, oil, pepper and salt.


On a separate tray we got two sorts of home-made bread. Both were made with Kaldi beer, the beer from a local microbrewery in Árskógssandor (in about 10 km distance from Dalvík). The butter was sprinkled with herbs. So the bread was really delightful.


But the absolute highlight was the fish soup itself! It was not a plain traditional fish soup. Besides potato, tomato, onion, paprika and cream, their were fruit pieces in it. And it smelled of coconut and spicy herbs. In any case, this soup had a special touch and was absolutely delicious!

We got a large soup plate full with this soup. It was so full, that it almost slopped over, especially because the plate as well as the table both were a bit wonky. So it was difficult to bring everything in a good position for a photo without flooding the table. Speaking of the wonky plate, all the tableware was a lovely mixture of various old-stlye porcelain plates and cups. I had the impression, that there were no two plates of the same kind. Anyhow, it all fit together. And then there were the old book pages placed as placemats on the tables. I love all these lovely details in the restaurant's decoration!


After dinner we got a coffee. This was served also in lovely and old-fashioned manner: on a special coffee tray in a porcelain cup together with a milk jug and a sugar bowl. Wonderful! I felt like being on a coffee party of my grand aunt some decades ago.


In fact, the restaurant is mainly a coffee house. Hence they have a big variety of cake and pastries, wheras they only provide one warm meal. But better one really great meal then a big selection of just so-so.



I couldn't resist and tried a piece of cake for dessert. The waitress recommended a special cheesecake - with berries and peanuts and a layer of chocolate. A dream! (I definitely have to try myself such a combination, cheesecake with peanuts.)


After this meal we were really full and satisfied.


But another highlight was waiting for us. Bjarni, the owner of the restaurant, took us on a walkabout through the adjacent theater.

No, that's not Bjarni. This is a wooden statue of Ólafur Grímsson,
the previous president of Iceland

The building next to Kaffihús Bakkabræðra is the former cinema of Dalvík. It stood empty for several years. But now it's a living place of culture again. The municipality of Dalvík restored the building from the outside. Bjarni and Heiða took care of its inner life.


On the day of our visit, later in the evening, Góss gave a concert here. Unfortunately we had to get back to Akureyri early to our children.


Góss, the band of Sigríður Thorlacius, Sigurður Guðmundsson and Gudmundur Óskar, perform a wide range of music, from folk to pop, and they are quite popular in Iceland. A few days before our visit in Kaffihús Bakkabræðra they gave a concert in Vagninn in Flateyri, where we had been shortly before, too.


While we admired the old cinema auditorium, suddenly Bjarni stuck out his head through the hatch of the film projector. Full of enthusiasm, he told us about his heart project. He told us about the history of the cinema, about its revival, about the events they organize here, ... There is still a film roll in the projector remaining from the cinema's historical era. But noone knows how to handle the projector. ...


Nowadays various cultural events are performed here. Concerts, theater, but also screening of soccer matches - during the football world cup. In particular during the matches of the Icelandic team the atmosphere was fantastic, as Bjarni told.


Later we learnt what it is about with the restaurant's name "Bakkabræður" and with the three characters shown on some paintings in the restaurant.

The "Bakkabræður" are literally the brothers from Bakki. These three brothers named Gisli, Eiríkur and Helgi lived in the small village Bakki in Svarfaðardalur valley, not far away from Dalvík. Even though noone knows when this was, their story is one of the most famous Icelandic folk tales. And its not a single story, but there are several short stories about the adventures of the three brothers. Funny stories about these three village fools.


After a last short walk through Dalvík, we had to drive back to Akureyri.



If you come to Dalvík in August: On the first or second Saturday in August, Dalvík celebrates the "great fish day", "fiskudagurinn mikli". Bjarni told us glowingly about this festival. Different fish dishes are offered all over the village. An extremely large grill ist set up. There are exhibitions, boat tours, art, music and show events. This year the "great fish day" takes place in August from 9th to 12th.



Overview:

The coffee house opens daily from 10.00 to 23.00., soup is served from 12.00 to 22.00.

The soup with salad and bread costs during the day 2200 ISK (approx. 18 €, 20.50 $) in self service. A second helping is included. In the evening it's a bit more expensive, namely 2800 ISK (approx. 23 €, 26 $). But then you get table service, and coffee is included, too.


* Legal note: 

Formally this article can be graded as advertisement, since we had been invited for the meal. Anyhow, we have chosen only restaurants, which we had heard good things about and which we estimated as interesting. Accordingly we're really delighted, and if we fall into words of praise, these are meant honestly.


Monday, August 6, 2018

Pylsuvagninn á Akureyri

The Hot Dog Cart in Akureyri 


May contain traces of advertisement.*

During the last weeks "Pylsuvagninn á Akureyri", the hot dog cart in Akureyri, caught my attention on Instagram repeatedly. Even though I'm not really a fan of hot dogs, I was impressed by the creativity in the preparation of various hot dogs. I even took over their idea of a "Breakfast Hot Dog" with bacon and baked beans and prepared it myself. Furthermore hot dogs have become a kind of national food in Iceland. And finally our kids really love hot dogs. So it was a matter of course for us to visit "Pylsuvagninn", while we spent some days in Akureyri during our summer vacation in July.

We had contacted the operators of the hot dog cart in advance, and they had invited us to try their hot dogs. But not only these. We should taste the meat soup, the vegan hot dogs, the crepes, ... Of course, we were delighted and visited the hot dog cart together with our kids already on our first day in Akureyri.

Pylsuvagninn is run by Agnieszka and her family. She is a Polish woman living in Iceland for more than ten years. She runs this hot dog cart since four years.

Our lunch

All ingredients of their hot dogs are organic. This also applies to the vegan hot dogs. The smoked vegan sausages are made from seitan, i.e. wheat protein, water, herbs, sunflower oil and salt.


In the front you can see the vegan hot dog - with salad, cucumber, tomato and the vegan hot dog sausage with mustard and ketchup. At vegan sausages I often miss the crispness. But in a hot dog this does not matter at all. It tasted yummy indeed.

Right behind it you see another interesting hot dog - with a normal sausage, but with red onion and cold red cabbage. Child no. 2 was fully enthused. I also tried a bit and it was indeed really good.

Child no. 3 chose a hot dog with cheese and Pik-Nik potato sticks.


Besides the exciting lots of different hot dogs, Pylsuvagninn also offers "Kjötsúpa", Icelandic meat soup in traditional style with lamb, potatoes, carrots, turnips, pearl barley, ... Especially our youngst son, child no. 4, was a big fan of this soup.


By the way, the soup is served in bowls not from plastic or styrofoam, but from paper. Pylsuvagninn is engaged in the fight against plastic waste. They try to produce as less of it as possible. Considering all the microplastic in our nature, this is a good initiative, of course. Only the spoons for our soop had been made from plastic. But well, it's hard to replace everything in the first step.

For dessert we had crepe (served on a paper plate, of course). Crepes are not a typically Icelandic specialty. However, it was delicious! We had "pönnukaka með vanillu skyri, rjóma, oreo og súkkulaðisósu", i.e. a crepe with vanilla skyr, cream, Oreo cookies and chocolate sauce. I loved it, but my youngest son, too, and he claimed a big part for it for himself.


Once again: Our heartfelt thanks to Agnieszka and her family!



Overview:

The standard "hot dog with everything" (= pylsu með öllum), namely with sausage, onion, ketchup, cocktail sauce, remoulade and mustard, costs 450 ISK (approx. 3,60 €, 4.20 $). There are ten variations of hot dog with lamb sausages, e.g. with red cabbage, potato salad or potato sticks, for in average about 700 ISK (approx. 5.60 €, 6.50 $). And there are seven variations of vegan and vegetarian hot dogs, e.g. with egg or with tuna, for about 780 ISK in average (approx. 6.30 €, 7.30 $).

You can get the Kjötsúpa for 1000 ISK per portion (approx. 8.10 €, 9.30 $).

The crepes ("pönnukaka") cost 800 ISK each (approx. 6.50 €, 7.50 $). There are four sweet and one hearty variants. Sweet for example with Nutella and banana, with straberries, blueberry jam or apple-cinnamon. Hearty with cheese, sausage and ketchup.



* Legal note: 

Formally this article can be graded as advertisement, since we had been invited for the meal. Anyhow, we have chosen only restaurants, which we had heard good things about and which we estimated as interesting. Accordingly we're really delighted, and if we fall into words of praise, these are meant honestly.


Sunday, August 5, 2018

Simbahöllin

Das Caféhaus am Ende der Welt 


"Simbahöllin" is an old norwegian house built indas 1908 and "imported" to Iceland in 1915 by the tradesman Sigmundur Jónsson called "Simbi". For the people in Þingeyri, a remote little village in the Westfjords, it was an extraordinarily big building. So they called it Simbi's palace, "Simbahöllin" in Icelandic.

Up into the 1970s the family ran there a store. You could get there food products like flour, sugar, eggs and meat, but also everyday necessities like buttons, boots or fishhooks. A specialty of the store was its home-made caramel. But unfortunately the original recipe has got lost.

Later the house was used amongst others as video store and as electrical shop. Maybe, someone recognizes it as the old book store in the movie "Noí Albinói" made here (as well as in Bolungarvík and Ísafjörður) in 2003.

Finally a family from Belgium took over the house and renovated. Now they run a charming café during the summer months from mid of May to mid of September.


They took over much of the interior equipment from Simbi's old store and use it in the café.


Here a look at the menu:


You cannot only sit in the coffee house itself. There is an old bus standing behind the house, which is being used as guestroom, too. Beyond that, when the weather is fine, like it was during our visit, you can on the terrace. On wooden chairs at a bit wonky wooden tables. Enjoying the sun as we did.


Simbahöllin's specialty are belgian waffles with whipped cream and rhubarb jam. 


Our children were less enthusiastic about the waffles than we were. Unfortunately they don't like rhubarb. And without jam the waffles were a bit tasteless. But we ourselves enjoyed the waffles.

And we enjoyed sitting outside in the sun. We had absolutely great weather and great view at the harbour, the mountains, the old coffee house and the old bus. A really nice visit!