Aunt Humla’s Greek Beans

(I give these five meow meow beans)

This reminds me of when Hanna used to make hummus, when we lived with my brother in Lidingö. When the hummus came out particularly good, Olov asked “what do you put in this, drugs?”.

I can’t tell you why these beans are so goddamn good. I’m not even especially confident you’ll feel the same. But I like them sooooo much I don’t care.

So my aunt isn’t really Greek, or well, in spirit I guess. She had two kids with a Greek man and I’ll just tell you: it’s not a bad food culture to hitch your wagon to. I’m gonna squeeze some more recipes out of her, especially the moussaka, which is I mean… maybe the best food you can put into your body. It’s ridiculous.

But anyway. I found the beans a bit hard to pair with a vegetarian option, besides the obvious (tzatziki and greek salad). The beans are extremely good with barbecued meat, so I wanted to find something similar-ish. I think it’s a good idea to go fairly salty, since the beans themselves are pretty sweet. This time I went with portobellos fried for a loooong time in butter, with a splash of soy in the end and som salt and pepper. Perfect. Really good. Do that. Ok, so let’s go, and thank you Humla, for all the food đŸ™đŸ»đŸ˜‹

Created with Sketch. 2 hours + soaking of the beans Created with Sketch. 10


  • 500 gwhite beans (large, dry)
  • 400 gcrushed tomatoes
  • 250 golive oil
  • 25 g(1-2 table spoons) of tomato purĂ©
  • 15 gsalt
  • 2 large carrots (or 3 smaller)
  • 2 tomatoes (or 3 smaller)
  • 2 yellow onions (or 3 smaller)
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • 1 bouillon cube or equivalent amount of condensed broth meant for circa 0.5 L of water
  • Some peppercorns
  • A couple of bay leaves
  • Fresh parsley


So this is easy, but takes a bit of time, but it’s mostly waiting on things so you have plenty of time to prepare the mushrooms and sides or whatever.

In preparation, soak the dry white beans for at least 3-4 hours, preferably over night, in plenty of cold water.

  1. Bring 2.5 liters of water to a boil. Add 10 (to 15) g of salt and the soaked beans (sift away the soaking water first of course). Chop the onions (2-3) into big slices and add them as well. Boil/simmer for 45 minutes. Oh, also: if you wanna do the mushrooms, now’s the time! Just put 5 portobello mushrooms in a pan with 50 g of butter, let them sizzle away on low heat for 2 hours, flipping them occasionally. Finish with a splash of soy, some salt and pepper and serve them in thin slices!
  2. While they’re boiling away. Chop up the celery, carrots and tomatoes. When 45 minutes have passed, throw them in as well.
  3. Add the crushed tomato (400 g). Also add the olive oil (250 g/ml), the pepper corns (10-15), the bouillon cube (or substitute), the bay leaves (a couple) and the tomato paste (25 g/ 1-2 tablespoons. There has been some translation issues with tomato stuff, so: this is what I mean with tomato paste). Let it boil for another 30 minutes.
  4. While waiting, turn the oven to 175 degrees C. After the 30 minutes of boiling, pour everything in a deep oven tray and sprinkle it with chopped parsley. Put it in the oven for 45 minutes (+/- 10 min depending on the oven).
  5. To be done, it should “set” a bit. If you stir it a bit, it should be thick but absolutely not dry (then you’ll need to add water) and also not runny. You’ll get it.
  6. As with many foods, now you have to wait. I’d say for at least 30 minutes before eating. This really is better when not piping hot. Actually, it doesn’t even has to be hot at all. But the upside of this is that you can use the time to make a sweet ass tzatziki (3-4 dl greek, firm yogurt, 1 grated cucumber with the juice squeezed out of it, 2 cloves of garlic, salt, pepper, vinegar and lots of olive oil) and a greek salad!


So that’s it. It’s also excellent to save in the fridge for days and days so don’t worry about the ten portions. They’ll come in handy!


Chanterelle toast

(second breakfast?)

Sometimes, things are just too easy. It’s fall, it’s mushroom season and the goodiest most wonderful mushroom toast is so simple to make, it’s… well it’s ridiculous.

Cream, mushrooms, some soy and a nice piece of bread.

We’ve always picked a lot of mushroom in my family. Chanterelles of different kinds, Porcini, maybe even the odd Russula? Through the years I’ve had different favorites for this recipe. The Yellowfoot is spicier and a bit more intense. Porcini is softer and more “forrest-y”. I really like Black chanterelle which also look incredibly cool. The one I make most often though, is the one with Yellow or Golden chanterelle, but you can’t really go wrong with any of them (pictures below sometimes show Yellowfoot and sometimes Yellow chanterelle).

Created with Sketch. 15-20 min Created with Sketch. Enough for 5-6 toasts


  • 5 slicesof bread
  • 150 gmushroom
  • 200 gcream (2 dl)
  • 25 gbutter
  • 8 gChinese soy (use 5-10 ml depending on taste)
  • 0.5 cloveof garlic
  • A squeeze of lemon
  • Some salt and pepper
  • Some cheese for garnish


This is the best part because there’s really nothing to this recipe at all. It’s so so simple.

Firstly let me just note that it’s a bit difficult to give a good weight estimate for chanterelles. Depending on the water content 150 g can be almost nothing (a couple of big mushrooms) or quite a lot. Look at the pictures below to get a gauge of what I used.

  1. Clean the mushroom. If they’re not very dirty, just brush them off. Otherwise rinse them with water. Some people say this is bad, I have no idea why. Maybe they confuse it with shrimp? Mushroom is a liiiiittle bit like the shellfish of the forrest?
  2. Chop the mushroom and fry them in butter on medium/high heat. Fry them until they sizzle, then we’ve gotten rid of all the excess water.
  3. Add finely chopped garlic and fry for another minute or two. Use as much as you want but I’d recommend about 1/3 of a clove. This is not supposed to be real garlic-y but rather just give some depth.
  4. Pour over the cream and add the soy. Again, add soy to your preference. I’d say 5 g (1 teaspoon/ 5 ml) is on the low end and 15 g (1 tablespoon/ 15 ml) is on the high end for me, meaning 15 g will give you quite a sharp taste of soy. I prefer to be at 5-10 g.
  5. When the consistency is a bit more sauce-y then you want it, take the pan of the heat, add a squeeze of lemon, some pepper and salt (if you think it needs the salt). Then let it rest off the heat for 5 minutes.
  6. Toast the slices of bread in a toaster or in the oven.
  7. Put the mushroom “stew” on the toasted bread slices, garnish with cheese and you’re done! Maybe give them 5 minutes in the oven on grill, but this is very optional.

For me, this is one of these dishes that are just the tastiest ever. There’s a bit of childhood nostalgia in that for sure. As I said, we really are a mushroom picking family and chanterelle toast was always the go-to thing after a walk in the forrest.

However, that’s not all. The combination of chanterelle, cream, soy and a hint of garlic and lemon is really something. And as a bonus it’s really nice to go mushroom picking.


Cicoria|Dandelion| Maskros

(how to pick it - how to clean it - how to cook it)

If you funny people, so much into healthy/fancy foods, knew about cicoria, you would go nuts and also definitely label it a superfood (whatever that means). In fact cicoria has it all: it’s rich in vitamin B1, B2, C, E, it has diuretic properties, it contains flavonoids and a bunch of essential fatty acids to keep you cholesterol down and help liver and kidneys to better do their work of cleaning the organism. I mean this herb should be a superstar!

But what is cicoria? Well it’s vastly widespread in italian cuisine, and comes in a lot of variants. There’s the one that you can buy at the supermarket, sure, and than there are a number of wild species, things that look alike but are actually different plants, with different names from region to region, one of which you know for sure. As almost everything in the traditional italian cuisine, it started as a poor dish, and with time it ended up being a fancy delicacy.

When I moved to Sweden, I found out that every garden here is infested with cicoria. More precisely the variant taraxacum officinalis, or maskros in swedish, or dandelion in english. Yes, dandelion, who would have thought! Swedes (or anyone else I suppose) don’t know they can eat it, they think it’s just another annoying and infesting weed that comes every spring to waste their otherwise perfect lawns. So I’m trying to right this wrong, ok?

You can eat cicoria raw in a salad when it’s young and fresh in the beginning of spring. But after a while it becomes too bitter and needs cooking. So what you do is usually boil it for 3/5 minutes, and than sautĂ©/fry it, and eat it as a side by itself, or use it in more elaborate dishes (with beans, as a kinda pesto, in a risotto etc.). But the difficult and time-consuming part here is the picking and the cleaning of the damn thing, so this recipe will include all steps.


Created with Sketch.


  • olive oil
  • 1 cloveof garlic
  • chili pepper flakes


So we should first of all learn to recognize taraxacum, and that is quite simple as everybody knows dandelions yellow flowers and how they transform in soft little spheres of cottoncandy-like stuff that you can spread in the wind blowing on it. Exactly, that’s it. If you live in Italy though (or in North America, Australia and China apparently), you might even find the properly called cicoria  – Cichorium intybus – very similar to taraxacum but with light blue/purple flowers.

  • I use a knife to cut the dandelion plant just over the roots so the leaves will hold together (which will come handy while washing it). When I do this, I also try to manually clean it from dirt attached to it, dry leaves, or everything else that doesn’t look nice: insects, flower stems, other type of weed etc.
  • After you’ve picked a bunch of these, let’s say roughly 10/15 plants, it’s time to wash them well, and this is a long and tedious job, especially if you haven’t manually cleaned the plant in the previous step. Put all the plants in the kitchen sink and add water until all the dandelions are happily floating. Use your hands moving the leaves around almost as it was some kind of washing machine. Pick each plant and remove the roots, half-chewed-by-insects leaves and other ‘alien’ parts. Move the plants/leaves to a separate sink or bowl; the water will be brown, full of dirt, insects, pieces of other weed etc. 
  • Repeat the previous point until the water remains clean. If necessary, pick each plant or leave, and clean it under running water individually.

Now that all is clean, we can go on with the actual recipe:

  1. Put a big enough pot of unsalted water on the stove and add the dandelions, It will take some time to reach the boiling point (use a lid to make it quicker), but more or less when the water boils than you can take the greens out. They should have left some of the bitterness, and the water should be a ‘nice’ military green by now. Or you can add the dandelions to the water already boiling, and let it go for 3/4 minutes. It’s up to you, just don’t overcook it, you want to keep some structure to the leaves. Take them out of the water at once, using a fork, and leave them to drain in a colander.
  2. Add abundant olive oil to a big non-stick frying pan or wok, together with one or two cloves of garlic and some chili pepper flakes (to taste). When the oil start to fizzle and the garlic becomes golden brown add the dandelions.
  3. Keep stirring them with a wooden fork or spatula on medium-high, add salt to taste and keep going for 5/10 minutes.

They’re ready to go. They will keep some of the bitterness (unless you don’t boil them too much) and an earthy taste, which are their beloved characteristics. You will find them in every restaurant in the Rome region, and in general in the center-south of Italy, served as a side to meat or fish, together with some aged strong cheese or in more elaborated dishes. I even love them in burgers, go figure!



Pro tip: pick a bunch of this beauties when it’s the right season (spring to autumn), boil them, drain them, and then freeze them in small portions so you’ll have cicoria during all of winter. It’s a lot of work cleaning all the weed, but it’s worth it.


(the ultimate snack?)

In our previous apartment, we used to host traditional Christmas dinners for our friends. Well, maybe not that traditional as a lot of our friends were (and are) vegetarians, which meant we’d do twice the stuff. My favorites from the meat side of things but also vegetarian alternatives. That meant almond balls and vegetarian Jansson’s, but also a lot of other things not intended to mimic meat “originals”. Tofu, fried cheese, pickled mushrooms and: croquettes. I’d do them with fried mushrooms or chili and som herbs (I should say that they aren’t especially Christmassy or anything, which is important as you really should have more often than just Christmas).

So croquettes can be many things. Commonly, they’re mashed potato rolled in bread crumbs and fried, maybe with something mixed in with the mash. I find these to be… not very interesting.

Others are based on bĂ©chamel sauce mixed with chicken or lobster or something else wonderful. To me, regardless of what you mix in, these croquettes are all about the bĂ©chamel. I looooove bĂ©chamel. A couple of years back my brother Olov taught me a new trick, which he got from Mathias Dahlgren (Olov talks about it in Swedish here). Fry chopped yellow onion in butter as a base for the sauce. Sounds… insignificant, yes? But no, I find it to be a great improvement. In addition, I use bay leaves and cloves to spice the sauce, which I also thought I got from Olov (and in turn from Mathias, btw, here’s a croquette recipe by him) but I’m not sure about that (Mathias does use it in another of his croquette recipes so it is probably from him, and he is a god damn genius so… it makes sense).

I probably got the whole concept of making croquettes from Olov actually, so yeah… credit to him. But I’m writing it up which is… real hard work (I should say he also wrote it up, in Swedish, here).

So, back to it. The base of these croquettes is a thick, tasty bĂ©chamel. As mentioned: to this, you can add just about anything. Some chili, seafood, mushrooms, chicken, whatever! It’s all going to be great. These particular ones are made with smoked salmon and confit yellow onion. They’re pretty great but as I said: put anything in a great bĂ©chamel and deep fry it and it’s gonna be good.

Created with Sketch. 1.5 hours of cooking, a couple of hours of waiting for the sauce to cool down Created with Sketch. 80-100 croquettes


  • 700 gmilk
  • 100 gflour (ca 2 dl)
  • 3 yellow onions
  • 200 gsmoked salmon
  • 150 gParmigiano Reggiano (or, other cheese if you prefer)
  • 50 gbutter
  • 100 gpanko (asian bread crumbs)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 loil for frying, e.g rapeseed
  • Additional flour for the breading
  • Salt, pepper, bay leaves and clove


  1. Begin with the onion confit. Put a pot with 4-5 centimeters (ca 1.6 inches) of oil on the stove, on medium heat. Slice two of the onions into quarter onion rings. When the oil has heated up a bit (couple of minutes), add the onion and turn the heat down. The onion should simmer gently in the oil for an hour or so.
  2. Put the butter in a pot on medium/high heat. Finely chop one of the onions. When the butter starts to sizzle, add the onion chop and turn the heat down to medium/low.
  3. While the onion is frying put the 100 grams of flour in a big bowl. Add about 3oo grams (3 dl) of the milk while whisking. Continue whisking until it’s a smooth batter (add more milk if it’s too thick to whisk but don’t add all the milk at once, you’ll never get rid of the flour lumps), then add the rest of the milk while continuing the whisking.
  4. Add som salt, white pepper, 2-3 bay leaves and 3-4 cloves to the mix.
  5. Grate the cheese.
  6. When the onion has softened, add the flour-milk-mix to the pot. Turn the heat up and stir the bottom of the pan continuously with a flat wooden spoon.
  7. When the mix starts to thicken (it will become quite thick, quite quickly), lower the heat and add the cheese. Continue stirring on low heat for a minute or two.
  8. When the cheese has melted in the sauce, take the pot of the stove.
  9. Put the onion confit in a sieve.
  10. Taste and add salt and pepper to the béchamel as to your liking. Chop or rip the smoked salmon into small pieces. Mix the salmon bits and the onion confit in with the béchamel.
  11. Spread the salmon-onion confit-béchamel-mix in an oven tray. Let it cool down for 10 minutes, then cover it with plastic film and put it in the fridge to cool down further. It needs at least a couple of hours in the fridge to become cold enough to allow us to make firm (enough) balls from it.
  12. When the mixture is cold and firm, prepare three bowls. One with flour, one with the two eggs lightly whisked with some water (10% of the volume) mixed in, and one with panko.
  13. Make balls (ca 3-4 cm, 1.25 inches, in diameter) from the batter and cover them with flour. They will be both sticky and a bit unstable so this step requires careful handling (the colder the béchamel, the easier this becomes). Proceed to dip them in the egg whisk and then roll/cover them in panko.

  14. Deep fry the balls in rapeseed oil for 1.5 – 2 minutes at 180C (356F), and you’re done! Let the croquettes rest for a couple of minutes before eating. Garnish with som fresh herbs and a maybe splash of lemon (not to much though, as too much moist takes away the crisp).

If you want, you can freeze the croquettes when they’ve been “floured”.

Then, it’s real easy to take them out of the freezer, dip them in egg-water-mix and cover them with panko. It’s nice to have a bit of a buffer in the freezer and it’s a great starter in under 10 minutes. As they’re frozen, they’re real easy to handle, but does tend to become a bit flat in the bottom. You might also need to adjust the frying time to avoid a frozen bĂ©chamel core. However, I fried these ones (pre frozen) for two minutes and they came out great.

Eggplants Parmigiana

(or one of its variants)

This recipe originates somewhere in the south of Italy sometime around the seventeen hundreds, when eggplants and tomatoes finally made it in the mediterranean cuisine. They both had existed for quite some time (eggplants coming from Asia in the Middle Age, and tomatoes coming from the New World after it was “discovered”), but like everything new, it took some time to be accepted. Napolitans say it originates in Napoli, sicilians say it comes from Sicily, people from the city of Parma, in the north, swear it’s their invention (yeah, sure), but since I come from the Napoli region, then it’s decided, it’s a napolitan recipe, ok? Ok.

Even if it has few basic ingredients (one of wich, the most important, is of course Parmigiano cheese*), it has a lot of variants; probably every family has its own version, and sometimes even in the same family it can be a matter of discussion. For example in my family, my aunt Tettella fries the eggplant slices after being egged and floured. I only flour them. She uses mozarella, I use ricotta. I love her parmigiana, but I think mine is superior of course. My girlfriend, who comes from a parmigiana-free country (Sweden), and is not usually influenced by such trivial things as “love” and “affection” in her judgement, thinks mine is way better. So it’s decided, the recipe you’re about to read makes for the best eggplant Parmigiana ever. Ok? Ok

However, since I have said somewhere here that I’m not a fundamentalist any more, this is some variants you might want to try in your parmigiana making:
– don’t use ricotta but mozzarella instead, or even better provola (which is a kind of smoked mozzarella)
– use both ricotta and mozzarella/provola
– fry the eggplants after being floured/egged/breaded
– fry the eggplants after being egged only
– roast the eggplants for a “lighter” version
– any combination of the above

*when I say Parmigiano cheese, I mean the real thing, please don’t use any of that parmesan crap, do yourself a favour.

Created with Sketch. 1 and a half hours Created with Sketch. 6 servings


  • 4 eggplants (about 1 kg)
  • 250 gricotta
  • 30 gmilk
  • 300 gParmigiano Regiano
  • salt to taste
  • vegetable oil to deep-fry
  • for the tomato sauce
  • 1 lttomato sauce
  • 2 tbsolive oil
  • 1 clovegarlic
  • black pepper to taste
  • salt to taste


  1. Start by preparing the tomato sauce. As for any tomato-based sauce, heat olive oil with a clove of garlic on medium-high until the garlic gets golden brown. Pour in the raw tomato sauce from the can, plus a couple of tablespoons of water if the tomato is very thick (I usally “wash” the tomato sauce bottle or carton with some water and pour it in the pan with the rest). Add salt and pepper to taste, and let cook on medium-low for 15 minutes.
  2. While the tomato sauce is cooking, slice the eggplants in 2-3 mm slices, put them in a big bowl, cover with water and add abundant salt: this will help to get rid of some of the bitterness eggplants sometimes have (if they’ve been harvested too late, or if they have been sitting in the fridge for a while). You can actually skip this if you are in a hurry, it’s not strictly necessary. I do it only when I have time, because the slices have to sit in the water for at least 30 minutes. It’s important, however, that you rinse the slices, so that the flour will stick to them, as in the next step.
  3. Throw the flour in a big bowl and, one at a time, flour the eggplant slices, shake them well to eliminate excessive flour, and arrange them nicely in a plate ready to fry.
  4. Heat the vegetable oil in a big frying pan at around 150° C, and being very careful, put the floured slices in the hot oil without cramming them too much. Fry the slices turning them every now and again, until they get golden brown. When done, arrange them in a plate lined with absorbent paper or, like I do, in a oil-drainer (these might be hard to find out of italy, however…). It will take some time to fry all the slices, and you will probably need to add some oil after a while. Also, don’t forget to salt the slices when they’re out of the oil.
  5. Prepare the ricotta for the final composition: add some milk to it and mix until it’s easily spreadable. I mean, ricotta is spreadable already in its normal form, but you want it just a bit more liquid than that. Also, grate all the Parmigiano cheese, ready for the “assembly-line”. And, start pre-heating the oven at 180°C.
  6. Now you have the tomato sauce, the spreadable ricotta, the parmigiano, and the fried slices of eggplant. All you have to do is assemble them in layers, just like what you would do for Lasagne. Start with just a little bit of tomato sauce on the bottom of a 20cmx30cm oven plate (use one that is at least 5/6 cm tall), and than it goes like this: one layer of eggplants, a couple of tablespoons of ricotta, well spread on the entire surface, 3 tablespoons of tomatosauce also well spread, 2/3 tablespoons of grated parmigiano. Go on like this until all the ingredients are over, but remember, for the last layer, to skip the ricotta; it will be only eggplants, tomato sauce, Parmigiano.
  7. All you have to do is cook it in the oven for 45 minutes, and, VERY IMPORTANT, let it rest for 45 more minutes after it’s cooked: all the flavours will have time to set, and the consistency will become nice and firm.

You won’t believe it but in Italy this thing is considered a side dish, something you eat after a big bowl of pasta, a steak, and why not some green salad. I really think it’s a complete dish though, it has everything, and I usually eat it with a side of more Parmigiana. Yep, like two servings. It’s also good to be eaten at room-temperature or straight out-of-the-fridge cold. You can freeze it and then bring it to work in your lunch-box, or save it for those rainy days when you want to treat yourself to something special.


Pickled Red Onion

(1-2-3 go!)

Let’s say that you’ve never pickled before. Or maybe you have? Either way, you’ve probably had pickled red onion. On some burger or taco or whatever. And maybe you thought (if so, very reasonable): “man… this red onion thing… why is it so FRICKIN’ good?!”.

Let me tell it to you straight. It’s sugar. It’s insane amounts of sugar.

There are different ways of pickling though and not all of them are distilled vinegar/sugar based, but this particular pickling is done by letting something rest in a solution of distilled vinegar (also called spirit vinegar or white vinegar), sugar and water, to which you add flavoring agents, for example bay leaves, pepper corns or chili. The distilled vinegar comes in different concentrations. Make sure you get the 12% one (alternatively dilute a stronger one with water).

The most commonly used mixture for pickling in Sweden is called “1-2-3-solution” which is a handy name, as it’s both… a name, AND a description. 1-2-3  denotes the proportions of distilled vinegar, sugar and water (in deciliters). Thus, if you want to make say about four deciliters of 1-2-3-solution, you’ll need one deciliter of distilled vinegar (100 grams), two… yes TWO deciliters, which is around 160 grams, of sugar. And three deciliters (300 grams) of water. Every time I make this I think: “wait what? Two deciliters of sugar, I must have the one and two confused…. two?!”. So there you have it. It was sugar all along. Which makes sense, because sugar is great! I mean… not always and it’s for sure not good to eat too much of it. But these people who’re like “sugar doesn’t belong in food, it’s got no nutrients! Blah, blah…” and whatever? Loosen up. Sometimes, sugar is just what your dish needs. It’s a spice and in my humble opinion it doesn’t have to contribute anything but enjoyment.

You CAN use less sugar of course. Then it’s… less sweet. And more vinegary.

Pickled red onions. Real easy to make. Keeps for weeks (it doesn’t really go bad, but it’s best the first couple of days). And it’s so pretty!

Do it.

Created with Sketch. 20-30 minutes to make, 2+ hours to let the pickling process have its way with the onion Created with Sketch. 6


  • 2 red onions
  • 100 grdistilled vinegar (12%)
  • 160 grsugar
  • 300 grwater
  • 3 bay leaves


  1. Put the distilled vinegar, the sugar and 1/3 of the water in a pot and heat it on the stove. When the sugar is completely dissolved, take it off the stove and leave it to cool down in the fridge.
  2. Slice the red onion. If you’re short on time and want the pickling to go quicker, make the slices thin.
  3. Put the sliced onions and the bay leaves in a jar.
  4. Mix the remaining 2/3 of the water into the vinegar/sugar/water- solution. When the resulting mix is room temperature or cooler – pour it into the jar until the liquid covers the onion.
  5. Leave the jar in the fridge for at least a couple of hours. Preferably over night. When the onion is a popping pink, it’s done.
  6. Enjoy!

This recipe is one of the building blocks of an upcoming one: bean tacos, which is frankly just the best. In the meantime, put it on your tacos why don’t you? Or burgers! Or serve it to mashed potatoes and meatballs. You get the idea, put it to good use.