All posts filed under: Nordic Love

Grilled Blackberry Chevre Sandwich

Grilled Blackberry Chèvre Sandwich

“Every year, the bright Scandinavian summer nights fade away without anyone’s noticing. One evening in August you have an errand outdoors, and all of a sudden it’s pitch-black. A great warm, dark silence surrounds the house. It is still summer, but the summer is no longer alive. It has come to a standstill; nothing withers, and fall is not ready to begin.” (Tove Jansson, The Summer Book) One of my favorite things about living in southern Sweden are the stark contrasts of seasons. For the short time I lived in Florida, I missed the frigid snows, the muddy, chill regrowth, and particularly the burst of color as the trees prepared for winter. Here the seasonal changes sneak up on you. One day you’re enjoying a cold beer on the balcony in the lingering sunlight hours after dinner, the next you’re wrapped up in a woolen blanket with steaming tea, watching the sun set with hours to go before bedtime. A month ago, I went out everyday for a week, collecting blackberries and bringing them home …

Citrus Steamed Fish

Citrus Steamed Foil-Packet Fish

“So now you must choose… Are you a child who has not yet become world-weary? Or are you a philosopher who will vow never to become so? To children, the world and everything in it is new, something that gives rise to astonishment. It is not like that for adults. Most adults accept the world as a matter of course. This is precisely where philosophers are a notable exception. A philosopher never gets quite used to the world. To him or her, the world continues to seem a bit unreasonable – bewildering, even enigmatic. Philosophers and small children thus have an important faculty in common. The only thing we require to be good philosophers is the faculty of wonder.” (Jostein Gaarder, Sophie’s World) When one looks at pictures with scenery like this, of stunning places and adventurous times, it’s hard to imagine not knowing what to write about it. But, such is my reality right now. Writer’s block, motivation lacking, the wild tempests of life unexpected, the general wearing down of one’s reserves. Whatever the …

The World’s Best (Chocolate) Cake

“So, what makes it the world’s best cake?” My sister asked, dubiously. “Well, Erin,” I began in my best bravado, “it has two dense, moist vanilla cake layers topped with meringue and toasted slivered almonds, and sandwiched in between,” I continued, exaggerating for effect, “is a luscious, overflowing layer of custard folded with whipped cream!” “So, it’s the world’s best non-chocolate cake,” she stated matter-of-factly. Well, there was nothing I could say to that. But what I could do, is make a chocolate version. This one’s for my sister; Happy Birthday Erin! To read about the origin of the World’s Best Cake, check out my very first post! This recipe makes one very small but sort of tall 10cm (4-inch) cake. We got four servings out of it. Ingredients Directions Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Briskly stir together softened butter and sugar. Add the yolk and stir until combined, then add the chocolate and stir until well combined. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and cocoa. Add to the butter mixture …

Blackberry Duck Liver Smørrebrød

So, you’ve made a whole duck, stuck the carcass and giblets in a slow cooker to make rich stock, but now what do you do with the liver? You can’t refreeze it. Sticking it in the fridge doesn’t seem like a good idea and you feel guilty throwing it away—make yourself a quick, nutritious, and delicious lunch! Part two of my duck series consists of my second smørrebrød recipe. If you’re unfamiliar with smørrebrød, check out my previous post, Smoked Mackerel Smørrebrød with Dill and Chive Blossoms! Depending on the size of the liver and how many blackberries you use, this can make lunch for one or two. Ingredients one duck liver 1-2 teaspoons olive oil half a shallot handful blackberries, mashed 2-3 slices Danish rye bread (or other dark, seeded bread of choice) butter arugula purple pansies, for garnish Directions Peel and thinly slice half a shallot. Heat oil over medium-high heat and add shallot, sautéing until slightly softened. Cut the liver into small pieces and add to the pan, stirring for 4-6 minutes …

Smoked Mackerel Smørrebrød with Dill and Chive Blossoms

“In a country where understatement and simplicity reign, it makes sense that the unpretentious sandwich is embraced as a national dish.” (npr.org) Danish Rugbrød, or rye bread, has been perfected over the last few hundred years, and the open-faced sandwich has been elevated to an art. Recipes for the dense, dark bread range from simple—containing just rye and wheat flours and cracked rye—to more complex—studded with seeds and sweetened with molasses or dark syrup. I prefer the more complex method, with layers of flavors created by the addition of more ingredients. The recipe I developed (coming soon!) has oats, cocoa, and blackstrap molasses, and flax, sunflower, and caraway seeds, in addition to the cracked rye. I also use Guinness instead of water! For these open-faced sandwiches, or smørrebrød, as they’re called in Danish, I opted for a zingy and light crème fraîche mixture instead of the traditional butter (the “smørre” in smørrebrød). This is perfectly acceptable, but if you want to hold tight to tradition, you need that first smear of butter before adding any …

Swedish Princess Cake with a Twist

Things that are better with a twist mystery novels crime shows pipe cleaners a martini last summer tight joints puns giant teacups villains reluctance mazes mountain roads friendship bracelets swedish princess cake I‘m often hesitant to mess with a classic, and a classic the Swedish Princess Cake is indeed, originating in the 1930s. And I don’t really consider this an improvement, just another option. I enjoy the original, but it does, at times, taste a bit too sweet, with all the cake, cream, jam, and marzipan, so I thought a layer of tart lemon curd would be just what was needed to brighten it up a bit and add a nice twist. Swedish Princess Cake From SwedishFood.com with changes influenced by a handwritten recipe from my collection. Ingredients If you don’t have access to pre-rolled marzipan, get 500g (18oz) of marzipan and green food coloring, and follow these directions. Directions Preheat the oven to 180C/355F. Prepare three spring form pans by securing a piece of baking paper between the bottom and sides of each. (Alternatively, …

Waffle Cake

Some things I love about Sweden: While other Nordic countries have respectable colors like white, crimson, and dark blue on their flags, Sweden’s is an almost aqua shade of blue and bright yellow. Sweden recycles 99% of household waste. Sweden comes in at number 4 on The Global Gender Gap Index (Iceland, Finland, and Norway are numbers 1, 2, and 3, respectively). You can buy caviar in tubes. There are entire days dedicated to baked goods, i.e., October 4th is Cinnamon Bun Day, Fat Tuesday is all about Semla Buns, Christmas is rung in with St. Lucia Saffron Buns, and March 25th is—you guessed it—Waffle Day! When I first saw a waffle cake in Sweet Paul Magazine, I knew I had to make one, and Waffle Day seemed like the perfect opportunity! The waffle irons that are most popular in Scandinavia create thin waffles with five or six heart shapes in them. This shape makes for a lovely cake, but of course any shape will do. If you use a Belgian waffle iron, however, you …

Swedish Meatball Sliders

What makes a meatball Swedish? The spices? Allspice? Nutmeg? Maybe even cardamom, cloves, or ginger? Is a smörgåsbord required? Is it the filler? Bread cubes or crumbs? Mashed potatoes, perhaps? Or grated onion? Should pork, beef, or veal be the bulk? Just pork and beef, or all three? Should they be fried or baked? After studying a myriad of recipes, my conclusion is that any combination of the above can result in a Swedish meatball! According to Sweden’s official website, the most important thing is that they “must be prepared, above all, with love.” As sentimental as this might be, I agree. But don’t forget the lingonberries! Potato Bread Buns Since Swedish meatballs are usually served with potatoes, I decided to put the potatoes in the buns. Lightly adapted from Betty Crocker. Ingredients 1 1/2 teaspoons dry yeast 175 ml (3/4 cup) warm water 1 tablespoon white sugar 1 dl (scant 1/2 cup) warm mashed potatoes 75 g (1/3 cup) butter, at room temperature 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 egg 510 g (3 1/2 cups) all-purpose …

Swedish Cinnamon Bun Cake

I clomped down, knocking slush and snow off my boots, and gazed at the display case. What should I choose? Pistachio almond turnover? Croissant? Cookies, pie, cake, brittle? A puffy scone-thing called “dreams”? Perhaps something I’ve never had here before. Blackberry pie—that’s the ticket! And a chokladboll for later. And one of those giant cinnamon buns to take home to Tor. The snow falls ever faster outside, coming down in fat, puffy flakes. The perfect environment for a cozy breakfast. And there’s a corner table available. Café Husaren, in Haga, the historical district of Gothenburg, Sweden, provides a cozy refuge for winter tourists and locals alike. In the summer, the outside is lined with tables, but at this time of year, people hurry in to get warm with a cup of coffee or tea (of which they have one of the city’s largest variety). In addition to a myriad of sweets, they also have quiches, sandwiches, and salads in the afternoon and evening. If small, dainty desserts don’t strike your fancy, they boast världens största …

An Unconventional Norwegian Christmas Dinner for Two

A traditional Norwegian Christmas dinner consists of surkål (sourkraut), kålrabistappe (rutabaga purée), and Ribbe (a side of pork, from the rib meat to the skin). The meat is slow roasted and the rind gradually cooks and crisps into a nice crunchy crackling. Living in Sweden, I couldn’t find this cut anywhere, so I went for a leg, hoping to get the same effect with the crackling. Since I was already going a different route, I decided to mix up the sides as well, and made Hasselback Rutabagas and rødkål (spiced red cabbage) instead of surkål. Pork Leg with Crackling Ingredients -1.5-2kg (3.3-4.4lbs) pork leg, including bone and skin -1 tablespoon whole cloves -salt and pepper Directions Score the rind, through the skin and into the fat, with a sharp knife into 1.5 cm (.6 inch) diamonds. Rub completely with salt and pepper, working it into the grooves. Put one clove into each intersection of grooves. Bake right away, or leave overnight in the fridge, tightly covered. Preheat the oven to 230C/450F. In your baking dish, …