Nicole S.: Welcome to BFF with the Chef. I'm your host, Nicole Schwegman.
Aloha, friends and foodies, and welcome back. Today, I'm interviewing Emmeline Kemperyd, the blogger behind Always Use Butter, a blog that's dedicated to bringing quick, easy, and healthiest recipes that are designed to make sure her readers eat delicious food every day. A Stockholm-based foodie and management consultant, Emmeline was raised in a Swedish/American household in Stockholm where her international palate was first cultivated by her American dad. Since those days, she's continued to seek out new and delicious cuisines around the world on her travels. As she puts it, Emmeline just wants to share her love of food and wine and wants to help her readers cook up some amazing food in their own kitchens.
Hey, Emmeline. Welcome to the show.
Emmeline: Hi, Nicole. So happy to be on.
Nicole S.: I am excited to have you. First of all, I feel like I know you because we see each other on Instagram a lot and you're always so supportive of not just me but of other food bloggers out there.
Emmeline: Oh, thank you. Yeah, I feel like I know you as well now after listening to all the episodes of the podcast and seeing you around Instagram.
Nicole S.: Oh, I appreciate it. Instagram is actually ... I feel like it's a little community of food bloggers. People think it's big, but when you start to hang around there enough you start to see the same names over and over. You become friends through the platform, so it's true. Social media really can be quite social, especially if you hang around it for a while.
Emmeline: Yeah. I totally agree.
Nicole S.: All right, well, since you've listened to the show, you know how this goes so we're just going to jump right into those questions. You ready?
Nicole S.: All right. Tell me about the last meal you cooked for yourself.
Emmeline: Actually, I think last meal I cooked for myself was this morning. I slept in late, and then I went up and made some scones for myself for a late breakfast.
Nicole S.: Ooh. What kind of scones?
Emmeline: Super easy. Just the regular, natural kind. I don't think I've ever made any versions of it. I always make the same recipe. I've used it since I was 10 years old or something and just cooked them up, and they're so easy. Then I just add so much butter to them and some jam and-
Nicole S.: I mean, obviously, I mean, the woman who has the blog called Always Use Butter, and you're like, "And then I just, just a little bit." What? A little bit of butter?
Emmeline: There's some butter in there.
Nicole S.: Not exactly. Okay, so it's just a plain scone recipe?
Emmeline: Yeah. It's just a regular, plain, normal, wheat flour and no flavorings, actually. It's just what I always have at home.
Nicole S.: Really?
Nicole S.: Okay. I'm always seeing scone recipes. They're like, "Add some raisins and some butter and some chocolate and everything else in your kitchen sink." It's interesting and refreshing to find that you can have a scone ... Would it be plain or is it sweet still or ... ?
Emmeline: No, it's not. There's no sugar in even. I think it's just flour and milk and butter and salt and baking powder, so it's super simple and it's not sweet at all. But, I mean, I love my butter so to me it's enough to have a lot of butter in the dough and then a lot of butter on top and then I'm happy.
Nicole S.: Wait. So how is this different than a biscuit? Is it a biscuit?
Emmeline: I'd say isn't a biscuit often with yeast?
Nicole S.: No.
Emmeline: The ones I've made. No?
Nicole S.: Not an American biscuit.
Emmeline: Ah, okay. No. Then maybe it's the same.
Nicole S.: I'm like, "How is this different than [inaudible 00:03:30]?" Yeah, because a biscuit, that's a biscuit recipe, except the only thing that's different between a scone and a biscuit, and I'm going into dangerous territory because you know if I get this wrong, there's going to be a whole bunch of people like, "That is not the difference between a biscuit and a scone." I think it's the sugar. I want to say it's the sugar.
Nicole S.: In a scone recipe, there is some sweet ... I think either there's some savory ... No, that's not true because I've heard of savory scones, so look, I'm going to backtrack right now out of this argument. Sorry, everybody. There's people right now screaming in their car that I just ... How dare I call a scone and a biscuit the same thing? There's people in the South just rising up angry [crosstalk 00:04:16] I'm going to [crosstalk 00:04:17]
Emmeline: I think maybe it might be a Swedish thing because I don't think I've ever had a sweet scone.
Nicole S.: What?
Emmeline: I've only had the savory kind. Yeah.
Nicole S.: Oh.
Emmeline: If I've added anything, it's cheese or something.
Nicole S.: No, I've heard of savory scones. I was just as, like I say, I think right now people are pitchforks [inaudible 00:04:33] but yeah, I guess when I think of a scone, I just think of a sweet scone, so yeah, maybe that's an American thing. No, I think it's a British thing too. Lord, let me get out of this conversation. Tell me about a meal that brings you back to your childhood.
Emmeline: Well, I mean, we did have a lot of great food when I was growing up, but I think the one dish that really brings me back, even today, is just a classic bruschetta, just a piece of really nice garlic bread with a little hint of Parmesan on top and then loads of fresh chopped tomatoes because I think we all, we had this so often when I was a kid because my parents were often working at night. So usually one of them would come home quite late and then we'd have dinner, and then when the other parent came home, we'd have some bruschetta in front of the TV. So now I still make it when I get home late or I just don't want to make a full dinner and this is just my go-to.
Nicole S.: That sounds delicious. No. I've never thought about ... Yeah, that's a really good one. That's one of the best ones I've heard.
Nicole S.: Yeah, and I've heard a lot. All right. Give me the ingredient, I think I know what it is, but I'm not going to guess, that you can't live without.
Emmeline: Okay, so I know you're thinking I'm going to say butter, but I think actually I could live without butter. I love it, but I could live. But I could not live without some kind of lemon or lime [crosstalk 00:05:57]
Nicole S.: Really?
Emmeline: I don't know what I would do because I add it to everything. I think maybe it's because I use a lot of butter and a lot of fat in my cooking so then you need that little bit of lemon or lime to just cut through it as well.
Nicole S.: Wow. Okay. You shocked me. I thought you were going to say one of the foodie trifectas, like garlic, butter, or salt, and you're like, "Oh, [inaudible 00:06:18]," which makes sense. You're exactly right. You're using a lot of fat, good fats, but then you need something to cut some of that fat with and a good acid is always helpful. Are you using fresh limes and lemons or ... ?
Emmeline: Yeah, always.
Nicole S.: Oh my goodness. Aren't you just a chef, chefy food blogger? That's a chefy thing. You're using actual ... Yeah, I'm going to confess this. Sometimes I use the stuff in the bottle. There's somebody right now going, "I'm out. I'm out of this conversation right now. [inaudible 00:06:53]." Maybe that's you. You're like, "I'm out of this conversation [crosstalk 00:06:57]
Emmeline: Yeah. Bye.
Nicole S.: I know, right? I know. I'm sorry. All right, so I know, as most food bloggers, you're not a full-time food blogger. Walk me through you're a busy professional and you say to yourself one day, "You know what? I'm going to start a food blog." Where did this desire come from? And walk me up to that point, be like before you had a food blog, what inspired you to start food blogging, and just take us through that journey.
Emmeline: Yeah. Well, so I've always loved to cook and even when I was a kid, I mean, my parents cooked a lot and I remember coming home in the afternoons from school and cooking food and baking, and I always did it with my pretend audience. So my big dream was having a cooking show or something like that. Then life happened and I started going to university and I became an engineer and I became a management consultant and started traveling the world and working all hours of the day. Then I didn't really have a lot of time to cook but still all the time I did have, whenever I had an early evening, I would cook a homemade dinner.
Then I realized that this was not maybe the normal thing to do. Most of my friends would just grab a box of yogurt for dinner when they got home late. That's when I started sharing my recipes, so I've been sharing my recipes with my friends forever since ... well, to try to make them cook delicious food instead of having sandwiches or yogurt for dinner at night. Then I came to a point of last summer when I knew I wanted to do something different. I was still in a corporate job, and I knew that this was perhaps not where I'm supposed to be because my heart's not in it. It's not what I love to do.
I was sitting with a friend, and she was telling me that ... We were talking about what we wanted to do, and she said, "But why don't you start a food blog?" Then I was like, "Yeah, of course I'm going to start a food blog. Why haven't I started a food blog 10 years ago?" Yeah, but it was so obvious. When you hear something from someone else and you're like, "Okay, of course." Then from that moment on, there really wasn't anymore thinking about it. It was just like, "Of course, I'm going to start a food blog." Then I started my food blog then, Always Use Butter, just a few weeks after.
I mean, it was a hassle for a while with a full-time job, but since a few months, I'm actually not in a full-time corporate job anymore so now I'm just doing the food blog and also doing some freelancing myself instead so now it's a bit easier to at least move around the schedule.
Nicole S.: No, completely understand. Full-time jobs. They just take up so much time away from your passions and interests don't they?
Emmeline: Yeah, I know. [inaudible 00:09:42] but that's [crosstalk 00:09:43]
Nicole S.: I know.
Emmeline: ... wanted to get into is doing something as a full-time job in the end that's something I love to do [crosstalk 00:09:51]
Nicole S.: I know. Completely understand. It's a dream, right?
Nicole S.: Yeah. No. Okay. You're in Stockholm now, right?
Nicole S.: Okay. I'm going to do some confessing here. Number one, best friend, she is Swedish. Number two, doesn't mean I know anything about Swedish food. Number three, when I think of Swedish food, I think of IKEA. Let's just be honest. If you're listening out there, you know when you're thinking Swedish food, the first thing that came to mind was IKEA and the meatballs. That's terrible, but that's ... and the lingonberry jam. I always wonder. Since now you're my residential Swede, are you just mad every time if you come to America, that's all Americans think Swedish food is is the food court in IKEA? It's like, "Come on. We're so much more than that."
Emmeline: Well, the funny thing is that, I mean, Swedish meatballs are pretty common in Sweden as well.
Nicole S.: [inaudible 00:10:56] oh my gosh. This is the best. I just imagine you're like, "We're more than just the IKEA food court," and I'm like, "That's what I think of when I think of Swedish food." What I want you to do is now you got everyone listening. Okay, what is Swedish food? I mean, that's like saying, "What is American food," right? Besides meatballs, what are some of the greatest hits? What is Swedish food honestly to you?
Emmeline: Yeah. Well, I think Swedish food in general, I think when I think Swedish food, of course there's a lot of different kinds, but it's the classic ... We have something that in Swedish it's called [foreign language 00:11:35], and I think what regular people ate a long time ago. Well, it's basically it's good food, and I think it's quite similar to a lot of classic American food. It's often some kind of meat or fish and potatoes and butter and stuff like that. That's, of course, not the old-time, poor Sweden version of it, perhaps, but it's the more modern take.
If you go to any of the old classic restaurants in Stockholm, that's what they'll serve. I mean, Swedish meatballs with the potatoes and the lingonberries and the nice gravy. That's one part of that, but there's a lot of other food that's similar to it. Then also, of course, we have all these a bit weird stuff like the pickled herring. I don't know if you've had it. I don't like it either, but people eat it.
Nicole S.: I haven't had it. I've heard lots about it. What is it? [foreign language 00:12:31] or ... ?
Emmeline: It's called [foreign language 00:12:32]
Nicole S.: Okay. No, I must be thinking of something else.
Emmeline: Yeah, I think that is Norwegian type of bread, I think. I'm not sure.
Nicole S.: Yeah, no [foreign language 00:12:40] is I think, but I thought ... What is the pickled herring called?
Emmeline: [foreign language 00:12:44]
Nicole S.: Okay. All right. I was thinking of something else.
Emmeline: Yeah, so I'd say classic Swedish food, when I think Swedish food nowadays it's either [foreign language 00:12:52] or it's meat and potatoes and gravy and a lot of cream and butter.
Nicole S.: Usually served in a blue and yellow [inaudible 00:13:01]
Emmeline: Of course.
Nicole S.: Draped in the Swedish flag. No.
Emmeline: But then we're really keen on food from other cultures, so we do have ... I mean, you could probably say pasta and pizza is Swedish food these days.
Nicole S.: I think everyone around the world has adopted pizza and made it their own. I just read somewhere that in Japan, pizza is a big thing right now, very artisanal pizza. I can't wait. I hope I get a chance to go to Tokyo because I want to eat all the pizza there because I'd be interested to see how different than in other parts of the world. But yeah, whenever I go somewhere, I actually try to eat what people think are American classics. Every country has their own version of that, so yeah, even Mexican food. It's not good all over the world, but you can find it all over the world, so I always want to see what part of the culture snuck into that cuisine.
Yeah, okay. Well, now that you've busted the myth that you aren't eating at an IKEA café, which is hilarious ... Come on. You know that's funny. Okay. I was looking on your blog, and you have this thing called a gino. Can you tell us what is a gino and walk us through how you make it?
Emmeline: A gino is a really ... That's actually, yeah, a really classic Swedish dish. I mean, it sounds like it should be Italian because gino. It's like ...
Nicole S.: It totally did.
Emmeline: Yeah, right? I actually thought for such a long time that it was Italian, but then I read up on it, and I think it was sometime before I published it on my blog. Apparently, what it is basically is it's a fruit bake. You take different kinds of fruit, and you layer them. I think for that recipe I used bananas and kiwis and raspberries I think and some passion fruit. Then you just layer this in a pan, and you sprinkle lots of white chocolate on top, massive amounts of white chocolate. Then you put this in the oven and bake it for two minutes and then it gets out with this really nice almost crusty white chocolate covering, and all the fruits, they're a bit soggy ... That doesn't sound so good, but [crosstalk 00:15:19]
Nicole S.: I know what you're saying. You're like [crosstalk 00:15:20]
Emmeline: With the white chocolate cover on top. It's so good, and it's not sweet, and then a little bit of tart from the fruits and just have this [inaudible 00:15:31] vanilla ice cream. It's such traditional Swedish dish. I think it's from the '80s or something, but everyone ... I mean, if you're going to Swedish New Year's Eve party or whatever, then most of the time they will serve a gino for dessert.
Nicole S.: That sounds amazing. Oh my gosh. White chocolate, fruit, together, toasted. Yeah.
Emmeline: It's so good, and it's actually, I mean, it's from this classic Swedish restaurant that started making it in the '80s, but it's become such a big hit so everyone's making it. I'm just thinking now that I should get the whole rest of the world to make it as well because it's just so good.
Nicole S.: You're going to get me to make it. Yeah. I'm going to make it. That sounds amazing. How could you be like, "White chocolate. Good. Fruit. Good. White chocolate with fruit. Amazing." Oh my goodness. Okay. What are those meals that you cook over and over again?
Emmeline: I think actually since I started my food blog, cooking is become you need to make new stuff all the time or most of the things I used to cook all the time, I'm not cooking that much because I've made them for the blog once so now I can't make them again. But, actually, there's one dish that I'm so obsessed with, and it's a Thai chicken salad called [foreign language 00:16:50], and actually, I've put the recipe on my blog as well. I think it was the first recipe I put up there, actually.
Nicole S.: Ooh.
Emmeline: Yeah, because I make it all the time. You start with some minced chicken, and you just fry it up and you mix it with these really yummy Thai spices like salty fish sauce and then, of course, lime because I love lime and shallots and green onions and a lot of chili flakes and some cilantro and mint leaves. This is just all there is to it, basically, and you just mix it up and it's done in five minutes, and it's super good and just salty and savory and lots of good ... so many flavors in there [inaudible 00:17:34] ingredients.
Nicole S.: That sounds great, and I'm going to make that. Yeah, because Thai food is ... I've read that you love Thai food-
Emmeline: Oh, yeah.
Nicole S.: And I also, I truly love Thai food so so much. I think it was one of the first, when I was an adult, it was the first time I experienced a new cuisine. I mean, I grew up in Germany, and so I had German food. But it was my first time as an adult learning about something new and I'd never had Thai food until I moved into Guam. They had this really great Thai restaurant called The Marianas Trench, and it was amazing. I was just like, "What is this?" Yeah, so from that point forward I was like, "Thai food is legit, and I'm eating it as much as I possibly can." So, yeah, I was a regular at that restaurant. They knew me by name.
Emmeline: I think those flavors are so good. I mean, the Thai kitchen ... I had the opportunity. I was living in Bangkok for three months a few years back-
Nicole S.: Oh my gosh. I'm so jealous.
Emmeline: It was the best. Yeah, I got to go to a just one day cooking class in Thai food from this Thai lady who was like ... oh, she's amazing. I got to learn so many secrets to how to make a good Thai food.
Nicole S.: Oh.
Emmeline: It was [crosstalk 00:18:53]
Nicole S.: Okay, well, we got [inaudible 00:18:54]. Let's go into that right now. I know you're living in Stockholm, but you can't talk to me and say, "I lived in Bangkok for three months," and then not share some secrets. Share some secrets.
Emmeline: [inaudible 00:19:05] good question. Now I need to remember my secrets [crosstalk 00:19:08]
Nicole S.: [crosstalk 00:19:08] I know, right? Give me two secrets to Thai food.
Emmeline: Okay, but I'll say one which is a secret to the [foreign language 00:19:16], the Thai chicken salad, that's actually using toasted rice to get some crisp in the food. It's used both in the Thai chicken salad, but it's also used in a lot of other dishes in Thailand. You just toast rice lightly and then you just mix it up so you get this coarse powder. Then you can just throw it in, a tablespoon or so in whichever dish you like and you get this nice, crunchy texture.
Nicole S.: Wow. [inaudible 00:19:42] what? What was something surprising that you learned about Thai food?
Emmeline: Probably that a lot of it isn't even spicy. I mean, when I think about Thai food, a lot of it is spicy, but, I mean, there's so much more to Thai food than the normal ... in Sweden at least. I don't know what it's like in the States, but in Sweden, what we have is basically we have pad thai. We have a green or red curry stew and maybe some stir-fry. But, I mean, there's so much more to Thai food. I mean, I've had these [inaudible 00:20:10] Thai chicken salad and other Thai salads, and they have these amazing sausages and Thai meatballs that are just divine. So I think I was surprised. I was expecting just having pad thai and curry for three months, but I didn't.
Nicole S.: What's interesting is that you say that. I totally get what you mean. I was talking to Meeta Arora from Piping Pot Curry, and I was telling her I was intimidated by Indian food. She really helped me to get unintimidated by it. But one of the things I was telling her is there's these dishes that we know from everybody's culture. For example, in Thai food, it's pad thai. It's drunken noodles and maybe it's some type of curry over rice or noodles, and the same with Indian food. There's butter chicken. There's chicken tikka masala. You might have some type of lentil dish and that's it. That's all you know, and that's because those are the greatest hits.
I can't. I have to think a while, but it's steak in America [inaudible 00:21:15] steak. But those are the greatest hits of each culture's food and that's it. But there is just such a ... I want to know more than just the top three dishes, and you get surprised. I remember going to a Northern Thai restaurant, and there was sour and bitter and just all these different flavor combinations that I hadn't known that could exist in Thai food, and that's because most restaurants are like, "We got to serve you what sells to the majority of people." I was thinking, "Man, I had no idea that I could move beyond just these three things."
So that's why I so desperately wanted to ... I've been to Thailand and eaten there and loved it and have so desperately wanted to go back because I know there's just this whole host of flavors that I'm not getting because it doesn't sell or people are trying to make money. So I totally get it. No disrespect. No shame for that, but you're right. That's the surprising thing. It's more than just spicy food. It's such a rich and varied food repertoire that they have that you're not even getting because it's not made outside of Thailand for the most part.
Emmeline: Yeah, and I mean it's such a big difference between what they eat in the south of Thailand and the north. It's completely different cuisines. It's so cool.
Nicole S.: Yeah. I mean, I imagine is it somewhat similar in Sweden?
Nicole S.: Everyone knows the meatballs, but there's probably a whole host of food that we have no idea about.
Emmeline: Yeah, and I think in Sweden I think we're a bit ... I don't know. We're not so fond of our own food, I think. We eat it because we should on holidays, but otherwise, we prefer food from other places. We're a bit like, "Okay, something else is always better."
Nicole S.: That's everybody.
Emmeline: Yeah, perhaps.
Nicole S.: I think that's everybody. Nobody likes what they have at home. All right, so when I was looking on your blog, one of the things I noticed is you have a tendency to make both clean cocktails and mocktails. This is near and dear to my heart because I want to put it out there ... First of all, I like drinking. I love cocktails. There's nothing better to me than two fingers of bourbon. But just as I've gotten older, I think my body chemistry has changed so I don't drink as much as I used to because I go immediately into a headache. Yeah, I know it's a sad [inaudible 00:23:53] for me.
But what I have been doing is making a lot of mocktails because I love the culinary ingenuity behind that whole movement of mocktails. There's a lot of people who don't drink or who don't want to drink or who want to reduce their drinking by a lot, and I saw that for Christmas, you made a really nice mocktail. Can you talk to us about that and the ideas that you get behind your mocktails?
Emmeline: Well, basically, I mean, I have sort of the same story. I mean, I also, I don't mind drinking wine and, yeah, two fingers of bourbon sounds amazing. But also, as you get older, I mean, we get headaches and we get so tired from it. But then also the cocktails have never been my big thing. I've never been a big cocktail girl, actually, but I started getting into it a few months ago. I started experimenting with it. I don't even know why because probably someone said, "Okay, cocktails do great on Pinterest," so I was like, "Okay. I need to start doing some cocktails as well."
Then I just started and I realized it was so much fun and just combining the flavors. As opposed to making a full meal, it's so much easier to just ... You just mix together three things and see, "Okay, was this good or wasn't it?" If you cook a meal, you have to do so many things and put so many things together until you can see if it was a good idea or not. But then this evolved because I was like, "Okay, but now I'm trying out all these cocktails all the time," and so I was like, "Okay, I need to start doing mocktails as well because those I can try out on a Tuesday afternoon without being ashamed."
Nicole S.: At least with no judgment.
Emmeline: [crosstalk 00:25:38] basically I think it was mostly that, that I was like, "Okay. Yeah. Let's see what happens." I like a challenge, so I was like, "Hmm. There aren't that many good mocktails." I don't know a lot of them before, and sometimes you just don't want to have alcohol but you don't want to have a soda. If I go to a bar and I ask for a mocktail, usually you get something sweet or, I don't know, not so grownup. So I wanted to just create some grownup cocktails or mocktails that you could have and you wouldn't even miss the alcohol.
Nicole S.: Exactly. Yes. Yes. 100%, all of that. I'm starting to now, when I go to restaurants and I'll say, "Hey, I don't drink, but I don't want a soda. I definitely don't want a soda. I want something sophisticated. I want a pretty drink." Some places still are just like, "What? No alcohol? I'm out." But I have started to notice that more and more places will make you a really thoughtful drink. If I find a place that has a mocktail menu, I'm pretty excited because that tells me they are so committed to craft that ... because it's harder, I think, to make a mocktail. If you put enough alcohol in something, people are just generally going to be like, "I'm good." [inaudible 00:26:57] because, one, it's expensive, and two, they're like, "All right. Well, it's a strong drink. I'm getting my money's worth in alcohol."
But for a mocktail, all you can focus on is the taste and the quality of the ingredients because there is no alcohol in it. I think it actually takes more skill to make a really good mocktail drink that people are like, "This is interesting and it's not ... " I also don't like super sweet mocktails because I think that's like, "Oh, just put a bunch of juice in a glass and call it ... " Yeah, no. I want some thought put into that, and I've seen people start to do it more, but I definitely was excited when I saw that you were doing mocktails on your site because one, they sound delicious, and two, I can tell you put a lot of thought and craft into putting those flavoring pairings together. So, thank you for doing that.
Emmeline: You're welcome, and it's good for me as well because then I have my go-to mocktails instead of grabbing a glass of wine all the time.
Nicole S.: Yeah, and when people come over to your house to party, there's not that pressure to ... There's something that happens. If you're not drinking, people are like, "Do you want a drink? Let me get you a drink," because they don't want to be the only ones drinking, which I get it. Drinking alone, you're like, "That's sad." You're like, "Oh, I guess I'm the only one here who's going to fry themself complete tonight [inaudible 00:28:26]."
But if you have both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks and you've put care into them, your guests feel really special and they appreciate the fact that you respect their choices. So make more mocktails, everybody. It's actually a lot of fun and people actually seem to love it. People who are maybe just going to drink because that's all there was now have this wonderful choice that they may decide, "You know what? I'm going to have the mocktail." It's never any judgment on whether you want to drink or not. It's just a different alternative, so yeah, I like it.
Okay, talk to me real quick about some of the tools in your kitchen that you can't live without or at least one. Give me one.
Emmeline: Yeah? Okay, basically I'm not that big on gadgets. I don't have all these things that you should have.
Nicole S.: I'm ducking my head in shame right now because I'm-
Emmeline: Yeah, but I think it's just-
Nicole S.: ... I love gadget. I'm always like, "I need this. I can't cook without it." My husband's like, "I don't think that's true."
Emmeline: I didn't have a good knife until six months ago, and then I started my blog and I was like, "Okay, I need to get a good knife." I just got a food processor the other week because my sister was getting a new one so I got her old one. Yeah, seriously. But what I do have and what I love and I've used for I don't know how long, that's a good handheld immersion blender. It's like a food processor but it's the long stick instead, and you can just ... I love it because you can use it to make sauces. I mean, I love making feta sauces and then it's just perfect to chop up the feta. Also, you can just put it in a pot if you're making a soup. You can just put it in there and mix it up in the pot. You don't need to pour stuff over and wait for it to cool down to put it in the food processor. I don't know what I would do without it.
Nicole S.: Yeah. I saw you made mushroom soup, so is that-
Emmeline: Definitely used that one.
Nicole S.: Yeah, you need it. You need some type of blender if you're going to make a cream of mushroom soup. There's no cream of mushroom soup without a blender of some sort or [inaudible 00:30:31]
Emmeline: I actually tried. I remember, I tried 10 years ago perhaps. It was before I had this handheld blender, and I tried to make it in a regular mixer, the one that you make smoothies in. I didn't really think about the heat with the pressure and what happens.
Nicole S.: Oh, no.
Emmeline: I had the lid on, and I started it and it went for two seconds and then it exploded. The top flew off, and I had cream of mushroom soup in all of my kitchen. So not doing that again.
Nicole S.: That's the worst. That one's happened to me with tomato sauce. It was-
Emmeline: Oh, that's even worse.
Nicole S.: I had [inaudible 00:31:10] weeks. For weeks, I would open a cabinet and there would be a stain of tomato sauce there. I'm like, "Oh, come on." I wasn't very good at science, and if I had been, I probably would have realized that but oh well.
Emmeline: That's [inaudible 00:31:29].
Nicole S.: All right. Tell us about, on your blog, the most popular recipe that people seem to gravitate to over and over again.
Emmeline: I'd say if we exclude the fact that it was Christmas soon and one of my Christmas cocktails really got a lot of traffic, I'd say I think it's the baked tortellini casserole.
Nicole S.: Ooh. Oh. Wow.
Emmeline: Yeah, it's so good and it's so cheesy and super simple to make. It's so quick to make and easy to make and it bakes itself in the oven, but it's super cheesy and creamy. It's the perfect comfort food for a Wednesday night [inaudible 00:32:05]
Nicole S.: Walk us through it. What's in it?
Emmeline: It's basically it's just you cook tortellini. If you can get the dried kind, you just cook it halfway or you use fresh tortellini without cooking it, and you just layer it in an oven tray together with fresh spinach. Let's see. You also use the chili flakes and the cheese, of course, lots of cheese. Then you do a few layers of this, and then you just pour over some cream. I like to use the heavy cream because I like fat, apparently, but you could use cooking cream or something as well. Then you just stick it in the oven for something like 15 minutes or so and you get it out and it's just like this ... should be slightly browned on top, and you get the cheese that's melted and like a covering, but then inside it's just cheesy and stringy. It's perfect. It's so good.
Nicole S.: It sounds amazing. Okay. You said something. You said heavy cream versus cooking cream. What do you mean by that? Do you mean half-and-half for cooking cream?
Emmeline: Yeah, I don't know, maybe. In Sweden, at least, we have cream, the normal whipping cream that you can use for cakes and everything. Then we have something that here is called cooking cream. Maybe it's the same as half-and-half, but it's less fat.
Nicole S.: Okay, that's probably what we would call half-and-half. I was like, "Cooking cream? What's that? Wait a minute. Hold on." I was like, "You guys have different ... " I wonder. You know what? I bet you it's not quite the same because I bet you your dairy is pretty awesome. Am I generalizing? Am I-
Emmeline: Well, you can do what I do. If I want to use cooking cream, but I don't have any, you can take the normal full fat cream or take half of that and half regular milk. It's sort of the same. Okay, then it's-
Nicole S.: Yeah, that's half-and-half. That's exactly what we do. Here, we call it half-and-half.
Emmeline: That's good to know. You need to be my ingredient translator.
Nicole S.: Yeah, isn't that fun? Well, I mean, I found out from [inaudible 00:34:02] in season one-
Emmeline: No, not at all.
Nicole S.: ... that buttermilk's not the same in Europe.
Emmeline: Yeah, we just don't.
Nicole S.: I couldn't believe it. I was like, "How are y'all making buttermilk pancakes? What?" That's an American staple. What are you doing for tang? He's like, "Yogurt." I'm like, "Oh. I guess that could work." But, yeah, that's a totally American ingredient, apparently, or at least, I don't know, there's somewhere right now someplace going, "Excuse me. It's not just an American ... " But yeah, he was telling me that buttermilk's not a thing in Europe. I'm like, "What? What madness are you speaking?" Yeah. Yeah. I'm like, "And that's why you have to talk to people outside of your own bubble because I would have just ... " Yeah, one day, can you imagine, I could have moved to Europe and I'd been like, "Why don't you guys have any buttermilk? What the heck's going on? How are you making biscuits?"
Nicole S.: Any biscuits or pancakes or chicken or any of the other 9,000 things that you use buttermilk for. So yeah, so the fact that you're like, "Cooking cream," like, "Cooking cream?" That's so [inaudible 00:35:15]. I love that. I love when you find out there's different names for things in different parts of the world and it's really the same thing. So yes, cooking cream equals half-and-half because that's exactly what it is. So, yeah, I love that. Okay. Tell me, what is that one tip you can give to a home cook out there that will make their meals more delicious tonight?
Emmeline: I'd say to use the textures in the food and make sure that you layer a lot of textures and maybe make sure that you have something creamy, you have something a bit chewy, and also something a bit crunchy. I try to think of this all the time. When you taste your food and often you're like, "Okay, yeah. It needs salt or it needs some acidity," but also, think about the textures. That's the big difference to me between okay restaurants and then the Michelin star restaurant food because it's all in there and it's interesting in every bite.
Nicole S.: That's a great tip. Yeah, you're right. You've probably heard of the cookbook-
Emmeline: Love the Netflix show.
Nicole S.: ... Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat. Yeah, and everyone's ... I mean, I love that cookbook. Isn't that a great show? I love that show. I love her, Samin Nosrat. She's amazing. Yeah, she's my spirit animal, and I love that book. So whenever I'm going to give a gift as a cookbook, it's her book that I'm usually giving to brand new cooks because I'm like-
Emmeline: That's good.
Nicole S.: ... "Read this. Learn it. Practice it. You're fine." But one of the things that ... She talks about it somewhat, but one of the things that I don't think that people mention is you also want to have interesting textures in your food. I'm a big texture first person, so if things are too mushy or gummy, I don't care how much salt, fat, and acid you put into it. It's just not going to be ... There's still something missing, so that's another element to your food you should be thinking about. So that's a great tip, and I think a lot of people will benefit from hearing that.
All right, girl. Well, where can we find you on the internet?
Emmeline: You can find me at ... My blog is at alwaysusebutter.com, and you can also find me on Instagram. I'm alwaysusebutter. On Facebook, I'm alwaysusebutter, and on Pinterest, I'm also alwaysusebutter. I'm also using this because I love wine, so I'm using this best wine app ever called Vivino. So check it out if you haven't tried it, but it's great for scanning your wines and [inaudible 00:37:44]. There, I'm also alwaysusebutter. Basically, I'm alwaysusebutter in all the social places. Yeah, just do it.
Nicole S.: Just always use butter. Always use butter. It's true. Truth. Words to live by in life. Well, you have been amazing, my dear. Thank you, Emmeline, so much for being on the podcast today.
Emmeline: Thank you so much for having me, Nicole.
Nicole S.: All right, so you've just finished hearing me talk to Emmeline from Always Use Butter. She was so awesome to chat with. I love that she's not apologetic at all about using a lot of butter, which makes us kindred spirits in my book. You guys know I think butter is a food group, and I stand by it. The thing I love about her is that she knows how to temper that use of butter with acid. Butter and lemon juice ... First of all, she's using real lemons. That is so chefy. I love it. But butter and lemon juice are like Batman and Robin. They complete each other. Somebody's groaning right now, and I'm like, "Yes, keep groaning, because I'm going to make a bunch of corny jokes." Anyway, all right.
By the way, I'm making a gino. That's going to happen. How could you not make something that doesn't have ... I mean, it has white chocolate and fruit together. Come on. Yes. Thank you. You got to put that in your face. Okay, also, Swedish meatballs. Look, I've always really liked Swedish meatballs and not just because they're at IKEA and I also like IKEA, but you know what? They're a classic Swedish food, and Emmeline says that I can make them, so I'm doing it. I haven't met a meatball around the world that I haven't wanted to shove into my face, so that's a date. I'm making those meatballs, and you know what? I'm going to make one of her delicious mocktails to go along with it.
Finally, I just really liked chatting with Emmeline. She's such a sweet and encouraging person on the internet. Now, look. There's a bunch of internet trolls out there who would love nothing more than to smack your proverbial ice cream cone out of your hand and laugh while they watch you cry. But you know what? There's also people like Emmeline who's out there on the internet just doing her thing. She's a great cheerleader to others on Instagram in the food blogger world. She's really encouraging, and you know what? I'm really glad she decided to start a food blog, take the plunge, and share her recipes. I would really encourage you to go check out her blog, not only just because she has great recipes but because she's just a really cool person and I think you'd really like to get to know her and you can get to know her through her food.
Finally, if you liked the show, please tell someone about it and get them to subscribe. You can point them to my website, bffwiththechef.com, or you can just show my Insta where I post a link to each week's show, and so that way they can just immediately go and be like, "Oh, there's the show," or you know what? You can join the Facebook group that I have, which is BFF with the Chef Friends. There's some of you in the Facebook group now going, "Girl, you are not posting enough," and I promise to get better at that. It's just been busy during and after the holidays, but I definitely want to post more in the group, and I want to hear from you.
Of course, you can contact me via Instagram or email or the Facebook group or any way that you can try to find a way to contact me. I don't know. Carrier pigeon? Happy to do it. I'm always happy to hear from folks who like the show, and it lets me know that there's other people out there who love butter as much as I do. So, look, until next time, this is BFF with the Chef wishing you a great week and hoping that you've been inspired to go out and make something delicious. Goodbye.