Every time I opened my fridge a big head of white cabbage, getting closer and closer to be on its last leg, glared at me, reminding me of this miserable so-called summer that had spoiled all our plans for an outdoor barbecue. The cabbage, that was supposed to be the shining star of my coleslaw and the perfect side dish to anything cooked on the grill.
Realizing that my supermarket had mince meat on special offer I saw a perfect opportunity to combine the two, cabbage and mince meat, into a classic Swedish home cooked meal, a kålpudding or cabbage pudding.
Cabbage pudding?! Oh no, don’t puke! Taken out of its context these two words might perhaps bring back unpleasant memories from the school canteen and probably won’t score high, but don’t judge the book by its cover. That was then, you’re a grown up now, so give it a go. You might be surprised.
1000 g white cabbage
1 large onion
2-3 cloves garlic
1000 ml water + 2 cubes vegetable stock
800 – 1000 g mince beef
75 ml bread crumbs + 300 ml of the strained cooking liquid
2 tbsps HP-sauce
1,5 tbsp Worcestersauce
1-2 tsps dried chiliflakes
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 200 degrees C.
Let water and vegetable stock come to a boil in a large saucepan.
Add shredded cabbage, finely sliced leek, and chopped onion and garlic to the water and boil for 5 minutes.
Strain the water, but save and set aside 300 ml (in a big bowl).
Drain the cabbage mixture carefully of excess water before frying in rapeseed oil in a large frying pan or wok over medium heat. It’ll take some time for the cabbage to get translucent and golden brown (not burnt).
Meanwhile, add the bread crumbs to the cooking liquid and let it swell and cool before adding mince meat, eggs and spices. I use to fry a piece of the meat mixture just to check the seasoning. Adjust if needed.
Combine meat mixture with half of the cabbage and spread in a buttered oven proof dish. Cover with the remaining cabbage and bake for about an hour or until the inner temperature reaches 70 degrees C. Cover with waxed paper if the cabbage tend to burn.
Serve with gravy, pickled cucumber and lingonberry jam. If the jam is hard to find, cranberry sauce will do just as well.
After a night of temperature down to -10° C a skin of thin ice covered the lake next to land this morning.
Now the snow is whirling, wet and sharp against the face and a stiff northerly wind is whipping up whitecaps on the graphite grey lake.
We’re back in Paradise for a few days to enjoy the last days of vibrant autumn colors. Too late though, and even if today’s snow is just a teaser and might be gone by tomorrow we know winter is lurking around the corner. For Devoted Husband the weather is never a problem – we have a saying in Sweden that translated goes “there’s no bad weather, just bad clothes” – so he just wandered off with his camera to get some nice white winter shots. I, though, prefer to stay indoors and curl up on the couch by the fire enjoying a nice mug of hot cocoa and start thinking about dinner.
This is one of those days that makes you yearn for a hearty, warming stew. Unfortunately I don’t have the ingredients needed for something like a boeuf bourguignon or a coq au vin. All I can come up with right now is a juicy meatloaf wrapped in bacon, but I know he’ll love that just as much when he gets back.
Juicy meatloaf wrapped in bacon
800 – 1000 grams ground meat
1 pkg bacon (140 grams)
100 ml milk
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp salt
3 pinches of black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large yellow onion, coarsely grated
1-2 carrots (130 grams), coarsely grated
1-2 potatoes (130 grams), coarsely grated
1-2 apples (150 grams), coarsely grated
1 tbsp Chinese soy sauce for brushing
2 tbsp finely chopped parsley for garnish (optional)
100 ml beef stock (water + stock cube)
Preheat oven to 200° C.
Peel and grate onions, carrots, potatoes and apples coarsely.
In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except bacon, beef stock and soy sauce.
Form into a loaf and brush with soy sauce.
Put into an ovenproof dish, cover the loaf crosswise with slices of bacon and carefully fold them underneath the edges.
Bake the meatloaf in the oven for 20 minutes, then add beef stock to the dish and scoop some of it over the meatloaf.
Continue to bake for another 40 minutes or until inner temperature reaches 75° C.
Garnish with chopped parsley and serve with a broccoli and bean sallad, pickled cucumber, lingon berry or cranberry jam and your favorite gravy, with or without cream.