Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Eating at IKEA in Richmond

A picture from the Ikea Cookbook
I actually like to eat here because I love the meatballs  - köttbullar.   The restaurant is well priced and offers beer - having a beer in the middle shopping for semi disposable Swedish Furniture is real bonus.  It also helps that I feel a close kinship to Sweden, my family is part of the Swedish nobility and the food and drink is similar to what I grew up as a Baltic German.   To put me in more of a Swedish mood, while I am writing this I am watching Wallander, the British one with Kenneth Branagh

I was first introduced to Swedish meatballs in the summer of 1975 when I was nine and traveled on the Silja line ship Bore I.   I was on the ship with my parents and aunt Sabine on our way from Stockholm to Turku/Abo in Finland.   It was for dinner that I had them for the first time with the luscious gravy and the ligonberry sauce.   That ship also introduced me to my first smörgåsbord which I noted to my mother at the time was very much like what our table looked like for Christmas dinner.

Ikea is the McDonald's of Swedish food.   The meatballs are the same in all the countries were I have tried them -Canada, the UK and Germany. In fact everything is the same in the restaurants and the whole store.

My mother tried to make the meatballs, but did not succeed.   I have had trouble reproducing the lightness of the texture of the meatballs.   When they are good they have a consistency much like gnocchi, which is not surprising as they both have potatoes as their main starch.  Ikea is the only place where I can find decent meatballs in these parts.

I went as far as to buy their cookbook to get the recipe.   They recommend buying their own, but did provide a recipe though light on the details:

  • 250g mince pork
  • 250g mince beef
  • 1 egg
  • 200-300 ml of cream and water
  • 2 1/2 tbsp onion chopped fine
  • 50 ml unsweetened rusk flour - grind up a rusk to get the flour
  • 2 cold boiled potatoes - no mention of size
  • 4-5 tbsp of butter, marg or oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Basically you fry the onions in the fat, mash the potatoes and then mix it all together, form the balls with two spoons and finally fry slowly in the oil or butter.   As I said, light on technique.

Since we have a decent meat grinder on our Kitchenaid, I think I will try to make this recipe work.  Details and pics when it is done.

Meanwhile, for all of you that curse the Ikea shopping process and furniture assembly, check out this post by Barry Link - The 10 Stages of Ikea.


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