Tag: gherkin

Tuna Club Sandwich and the advantages of old fashioned traveling

Tuna Club Sandwich

When I visit my mother I usually take the train as I prefer to cross the country on the ground rather than in the air. I like this old fashioned, slow kind of traveling, when you see the different landscapes passing by, the busy train stations, cities and villages flying passed your window. You really feel the distance and enjoy the changes instead of just getting it done.

My choice of transportation has another advantage. Before I jump on my train back home, my mother and I follow one of our many traditions, this one started many years ago. We have a cappuccino, a glass of wine or champagne and a little snack at an elegant hotel right opposite the city’s famous, nearly 800 year old cathedral. Most of the time we sit right next to the windows of the hotel’s old fashioned bistro, always amazed by the sight of the imposing gothic building which seems to grow right into the sky. Sometimes we sit at the bar, on leather covered bar stools, surrounded by a couple strangers reading newspapers, served by waiters who are as elegant as the women and gentlemen sitting at the small tables quietly talking. It’s as if time stops at this place and I always loved it for this reason!

We enjoy our drinks and our last hour together before we go separate ways again. To feed my constant hunger I usually eat a snack as old as the hotel, a club sandwich. The earliest written proof of this sandwich’s existence is from 1899, the hotel opened in 1857 and the current building was completed in 1893. The classic recipe for a club sandwich is made with turkey, bacon, lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise. Today I will share my club sandwich variation filled with a tuna dip mixed with gherkin, egg, capers, tomato paste and mustard, another one of my mother’s recipes.

Unfortunately our favourite hotel is closed for renovations at the moment and we’re still waiting impatiently for the reopening!

Tuna Club Sandwich

Tuna Club Sandwich

For  4 club sandwiches with 2 layers of tuna dip you need

white bread, toasted, cut in half, 12 slices
green lettuce 4 small leaves

For the tuna dip

tinned tuna in water, drained well (it’s best to squeeze the water out), 185g  / 6.5 ounces
organic egg, hardboiled and finely chopped, 1
gherkins, finely chopped, 2
capers, finely chopped, 7-10
yoghurt 7 tablespoons
olive oil 1 tablespoon
freshly squeezed lemon juice 1 teaspoon
liquid from the gherkin 1 teaspoon
mustard to taste
tomato paste to taste
salt and black pepper

Mix the ingredients for the dip with a fork and adjust the flavours to taste. Lay a leaf of lettuce on half a slice of toasted bread, spread with tuna dip, put another slice of bread on top covered with tuna dip and a final layer of bread, fix with a tooth pick.

Tuna Club Sandwich

 

Tuna Club Sandwich

 

Tuna Club Sandwich

 

Tuna Club Sandwich

Labskaus, a Sailor’s Feast

Lapskaus

Whenever there was Labskaus on our table at lunch time, I was a happy child! It’s a traditional Northern European dish, sailor’s food with meat and vegetables stewed in broth, with a slightly sweet taste coming from gherkin, beetroot and potatoes.

It’s one of these recipes that evolved through the years, each region or country created their own variation on Labskaus and added or changed a few ingredients. It’s made with corned beef which is more common, sometimes with minced beef which I prefer. Some cities in the North of Germany, like Hamburg or Bremen, mix soused hering (Matjes in German) in, others have it on the side, or they add a fried egg like I do which is completely unacceptable for some. The beetroot causes the same controversy, I like it as it adds some sweetness and it creates a pretty colour. When it comes to the soused hering, I leave it out, it’s not my thing. You can find Labskaus in many Scandinavian countries as well but generally without the fish.

When I have this hot stew on my plate I’m still as happy to enjoy it as I was as a child!

Labskaus

Labskaus

For 4 people you need

minced beef 600g / 21 ounces
potatoes, peeled, cut into cubes, 600g/ 21 ounces
beetroots, peeled, cut into cubes, 500g / 18 ounces
medium sized onions, chopped, 2
broth 1 liter
bay leaf 1
garlic, cut in half, 2 cloves
cloves 5
pickled gherkin, chopped, 6-10
liquid from the pickled gherkin 4 tablespoons plus more
salt and pepper
olive oil for frying

organic eggs 4
butter for frying

In a large pot, heat some oil and fry the onions until golden and soft. Add some more oil and fry the minced beef for a few minutes until all the liquid has evaporated. Add the other ingredients (except the gherkin, their liquid and the eggs) and cook for an hour. Season with salt and pepper and add the gherkin and their liquid to taste.

Fry the eggs in a little butter, leaving the egg yolks soft, and put one of them on top of the Labskaus in each plate.

Lapskaus

 

Labskaus