After graduation from New York University, Lisa Skye went on to work in some of the city’s most reputable restaurants, including Union Square Cafe and The Odeon. Lisa has worked in television as an anchor, producer, and editor for PBS, and as a field producer for the Discovery Channel’s premier food show Go Ahead, Make My Dinner. She serves as president and director for Business Network International, which produces business for creative entrepreneurs and other professionals. Lisa lives in Brooklyn. Connect online at www.facebook.com/ilovecorncookbook.
I just spent a week on Anholt for our friends Mette and Thomas wedding. Anholt is a small island in Kattegat, the ocean that connects the Baltic and the North Sea.
Only 160 people live there and every summer the residents are invaded by thousands of people visiting. Anholt has no luxury hotels or resorts. There is an Inn, which is a Bed and Breakfast, where we stayed. Visitors can also rent a traditionally Danish “summerhouse” as we call it. We have these small summerhouses all around Denmark, especially on areas near the beaches.
I have been to Anholt before but always sailed there with my father in his sailboat.
This time we drove halfway through Denmark to Grenaa, and then went by ferry to Anholt, which took 3 hours. The journey worked for me. The boat is a little ferry with a standard coffee and ice cream shop. The ferry gave us three hours to wind down, just relax and enjoy the sea. After you leave Jutland there’s nothing but the sea in front of you. My mobile phone had no service, so it was a great chance to lie down on the sundeck and take a nap or to be completely absorbed by nothing.
Spending time people watching on the ferry is also amusing. The passengers were a mix of people who normally do not meet often in life. There was a world-famous writer with this family on the ferry, a journalist that I know, and quite a few really trendy urban people mixed with a local farmer and this family going on weekend trip. Ferry passengers also included a fishermen and people who live on the Island. Some of the residents of Anholt looked a bit rough––like they had their share of hard work and fun.
I am currently working very intensively on writing new recipes. And as a result I am in the kitchen making a lot of different dishes. So when I am not cooking in my kitchen, I am writing in my study. Creating new recipes is always very intense.
I recently had some out of town guests as well. Last night they had dinner at my house, I prepared a crab salad, some wild boar with Lingon sylt and really nice Pavlona with fresh Danish strawberries. It was midsummer night so everybody was out waking and sitting in the small gardens or in the street celebrating the longest day in the year, All together a wonderful evening.
We meet again today and had lunch at Noma, a very famous Copenhagen Restaurant voted the Third Best Restaurant in the World in 2009. Noma serves Nordic Food and is very seasonal. I have eaten there quite a few times, and still find it very difficult to describe, because it is like nothing else. Noma’s food is tasty but full of surprises, and at the same time you recognize the tastes; simple clear flavors.
Here’s a list of the appetizers we had: smoked quail egg, radishes in eatable soil, rye bread with chicken skin with smoked cheese and lump roe in between. Other dishes we had were octopus with green strawberries and green strawberries granite, raw shrimp with seaweed and beach flowers, Tatar with sorrel and tarragon crème, and one dessert was soft ice with walnut powder. Everything was really delicious and I can simply not do it any justice describing it. The food is prepared at such a high gastronomic standard, but at the same time the food is so simple and familiar in the flavors. My whole childhood came back to me during the meal, but not because it anything to do with the food I had, but the flavors somehow carries memories.
I would like to say to any foodies, start saving make a trip to Scandinavia and dine at Noma. Noma presents a new way of dining and even though it is a two Michelin star restaurant it is very relaxed and not formal and stuffy at all. You feel at ease there.
My guests really enjoyed it and thought was one of the best meals they had ever had. That really made me feel very proud that my hometown could represent something so fantastic at such a high international standard.
All the best,
I have worked on my next cookbook all day. I also went running before lunch. When I got back from my run, I woke up my daughter Michala, who is home during the day. Michala is in the midst of her exams and the next one is for her French class. The test will be in two weeks. So sleeping all day is not a good idea!
I made Michala and I nice salmon and scrambled egg sandwiches on rye bread and tea. We ate in my little front yard, were the roses are so beautiful right now. While we ate Michala made a plan for the next two weeks and I felt better about that.
After lunch I worked on my book until it was time to cook dinner. I made a recipe I’ve been working on for my new cookbook for dinner: Ginger Marinated Braised Duck Breast with Sautéed Red Cabbage (with a twist). My husband liked it! So it passed the first try out!
Tomorrow morning I am going to London to teach a cooking class at Divertimenti, which is a shop in London that sells kitchen things and china plus runs a cooking school. It’s a bit like William Sonoma.
This time the class I will teach is a baking class. I have taught baking classes before. It is really fun and very hectic with lots of people running around making rye bread, cookies, spelt buns and other tea cakes. There is flour everywhere and a new question every minute––and I really love it! Everyone, goes home with different breads and cakes.
All the best,
I am sitting in Newark airport in lounge waiting to board my plane home to Copenhagen. I had a great time in New York City, but I am really looking forward to going home to see my children, to have nice cup of tea in the kitchen and start cooking again.
I spent my time in New York promoting my book, The Scandinavian Cookbook, which was really fun. Apart the dinner at Prune, I meet with a lot of people and began planning for events that will take place this fall.
Together with my friends Sarah Bilnye and Claire Hartten, I was part of planning and hosting a dinner party, which took place in Brooklyn. Sarah is a friend from the food world in London. She runs La Fromagerie, a cheese shop in London. If you visit London, I recommend you drop by to eat, buy some cheese and indulge.
Sarah, Claire and I wanted to create a party where people who are interested in food and the different agendas food can create, could gather. Sarah and I did the cooking, and Claire did all the practical things. The party took place in Clarie’s garden in Brooklyn Heights. Sarah’s boyfriend Tad, who is lighting designer, created some very beautiful Scandinavian-inspired lighting.
In Clarie’s small kitchen we cooked dinner for 40 people. I wanted the dinner to be a Scandinavian summer menu, so I made Fish Cakes, but with my own kind of light tartar sauce. Instead of using mayonnaise, I used plain yogurt. We prepared Swedish Meatballs, Lightly Brined Chicken, a Kale Salad, Baked Green and White Asparagus Salad, Lemon Baked Potatoes and Cucumber Salad. For dessert we prepared Rhubarb Trifle. Everything on the menu was in season. Instead of planning the menu in advance we went to the Famers Marked at Union Square, looked and talked to the producers. From there I made my final decisions on the menu, brought what we needed and went home to Claries kitchen to cook.
The recipes for the food we prepared are all from my cookbook, The Scandinavian Cookbook. All the recipes are suitable for a dinner party, and some were prepared the day before. The Lightly Brined Chicken calls for the chicken to be placed in the brine the day before. The other dishes on our menu can that can also be prepared ahead are the Meatballs and the Fish Cakes. The vinegar brine for the Cucumber Salad and the Macaroons that are part of the Rhubarb Trifle were also prepared the day before the party.
I find that if you prepare parts of the menu ahead, then the day of the party there is actually not much work to be done. I also find it is really fun to cook with friends. Dinner parties do not have to be a lot of hard work for one person. I love to have friends over to participate in cooking the meal to be eaten together. While cooking we have a drink and talk about the important things that go on in our lives. I cannot think of a much better way to spend my time: cooking and eating with friends.
Our party was a big success and everybody really enjoyed the Scandinavian buffet. I loved the interaction, talking to people and exchanging views and stories about the Scandinavian food and culture.
Here’s my recipe for the Light Tartar Sauce
2 cups Greek yogurt
4 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp chopped capers
2 tbsp finely chopped chives
2 tbsp finely chopped dill
2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
Salt and freshly grounded pepper
Mix it all in a mixing bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper.
All the best,
Recently I was in New York to promote my book, The Scandinavian Cookbook, to cook and to talk about Scandinavian food. My journey started at Prune in New York City, which is a small but very established restaurant in the East Village. Prune owner Gabrielle Hamilton creates wonderful dishes with fresh and seasonally ingredients.
I first met Gabrielle two years ago at the Melbourne Food and Wine festival. Matt Preston, one of the event organizers and a food writer in Australia introduced us. Matt thought Gabrielle and I would hit it off because our culinary styles have a lot in common.
When Gabrielle saw The Scandinavian Cookbook she invited me to do an event with her at her restaurant, Prune. I was very excited and grateful for the invitation. For the event Gabrielle picked six recipes from my cookbook, created a menu and cooked her interpretation or translation of my Scandinavian food. She substituted a local Shad roe, which is in season, for Cod roe and instead of the Plaice she used another local fish that is in season, Fluke. Both substitutions worked out beautifully and I learned something new.
Gabrielle and her chefs did all the cooking for the event. I stopped by the restaurant a few times so they could ask me questions. I found the questions very interesting because they taught me something about what is difficult to translate and what is somehow very implicit. One example is the different cuts of meat available in different countries and their uses. For instance a rump roast was one of the cuts in question. In Scandinavia we use a rump roast differently, (see the recipe on page 86 of the cookbook). The recipe calls for the top piece of the rump. To obtain the correct cut I visited Gabrielle’s butcher, Pino on Sullivan Street, and had quite a time trying to explain what I wanted. In the end I turned around and physically showed on my own body that I wanted the top pieces of the “bud”, the top rump. It was a very comical scene, three Italian butchers looking at me, and I’m sure thinking: “what is she doing?” Finally they understood and they were able to give me a piece of meat that was similar to the cut I use in Denmark.
The meat worked out beautifully and the way Gabrielle and her kitchen prepared it was very tasty and similar to how I prepare it. All the food was very good and I really enjoyed the evening with the guests, who had ventured out to share a Scandinavian meal at Prune on a Sunday night.
It strikes me that the important thing about this event was the exchange of food cultures, and the understanding between chefs and home cooks from different cultures. By becoming engaged and cooking Scandinavian food, the food culture grows. When that happens a food culture grows to become known worldwide. In that way we have exchanged produce, recipes and cooking methods all through the history of man. This exchange is also about being human and about having common ground. We all love food and love to cook and eat.
Gabrielle said, “I feel so much at home in this food, as if I already know it and understand it”. She can use some of what she has learned from me about Scandinavian cooking in her cooking and at the same time I learned new ways of using her local seasonal produce, which has similar taste to what is locally available in Scandinavia.
All the best,