alexcheser asked: I absolutely love your blog! I've had a fascination with Scandinavian culture for several years and spent a semester abroad in Oslo last fall. I look forward to more in the future! Also, are there any other Scandinavian food blogs or websites you favor in particular?
White Sourdough with a Rye Starter
Here it is, the first successful sourdough of my baking career. I vaguely followed a recipe from exceptional breads, written by Dan Lepard and Richard Whittington for Baker & Spice, a fantastic bakery that happens to have a shop down the road from me in Maida Vale. The method follows that of a traditional San Francisco starter, which uses yoghurt, apple juice and raisins to help the starter...
Clementine, watercress & goat's cheese salad.
There is a whole galaxy of flavour in this salad: peppery watercress, salty capers, sweet strawberries, zesty clementines and soft, sharp goat’s cheese. Bundle them together and drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Perfect for a non-existent summer.
Apologies for the lack of posts, followers, I have now moved back to London and it’s been a rather long process so you must forgive me! I’m sad to have moved away from Gothenburg, but it’s very nice to be home. It leaves me with a slight conundrum about what to do with this blog, as I won’t have such a steady access to the inspiration and ingredients that came with living...
Pan-fried Mackerel with Rhubarb, Fennel and...
I love rhubarb! This is a super seasonal dish with the first of the Swedish spring rhubarb and perky locally grown pea-shoots. Mackerel is extremely healthy and robust, not as easy to destroy in a pan than other delicate, white fish and will take a bit of bashing around. It goes really well with other big zesty flavours such as the tartness of rhubarb, which is mellowed by roasting. Recipe...
A lament on Swedish bread.
A few weeks ago I may have posted about the joys of Swedish bread culture, and I still uphold the pleasing values of home-made bread and sourdough starters, however I do have a bee in my bonnet about something. A spectre is haunting Sweden — the spectre of sugary bread. I have never bought the same loaf of bread twice here in Sweden, apart from the expensive and therefore rare treat of a...
Poached salmon with sugared cucumber, black beans...
Too simple to require a recipe, simply poach the salmon for about 5 minutes in salted water and serve alongside cooked black beans with sliced radishes and cucumber that has been marinated in lemon juice and sugar to taste. Sprinkle with parsley and salt & pepper.
Pickled Herring with Sea Buckthorn.
Sea buckthorn is a bright orange berry that grows all over Europe and Asia and is often used in health foods due to its ridiculous vitamin content. They’re very acidic and difficult to eat on their own, unsweetened but have a very interesting flavour that reminds me of Soleros, and whatever it is they put in those. Pickling herring is very easy, takes about five minutes and only has to be...
Juniper burgers with Blackberry salsa.
I’m extremely proud of these! They’re sort of inspired by my trip to Finland, where at your local fast-food joint you can get burgers shoved between two slices of Finnish rye bread. These beauties are really dark and mysterious, with the distinctive taste of juniper and a little venison bouillon to make them extra tasty. I tried very hard to find some typical Finnish food during my...
Cherry, Cardamom & White Chocolate cake.
My Norwegian grandparents’ neighbour had a cherry tree in their garden and once (only once) they let me sit in it for a whole day and eat as many as I wanted. Naturally I ate so many I made myself sick. I have retained similar levels of self-control and if I ever buy a box of frozen cherries I tend to eat them all in one sitting, still frozen, grimacing through the pain in my teeth....
Bakers gonna bake.
I’ve finally got down to making my first sourdough - it really needed a whole day for rising and TLC. I used Dan Lepard’s nice simple recipe on the Guardian and I’m very pleased with the result! It looks absolutely gorgeous. Could probably have let it rise for longer - I recommend that when you think it’s risen enough, leave it even longer! This means hours and...
It’s hard to find neutral information about whaling, it being a particularly emotive subject amongst environmentalists and an activity fiercely defended by countries in which it is still practised. I am going to write only about whaling in Norway. The situation in Japan, with their lethal samples for scientific research, itself often an attempt to veil commercial hunting expeditions, and...
Warning - If your sourdough starter has done this… It will probably also do this.
This morning I sniffed my sourdough starter (second attempt - the first was colonised by some nasty mould) and the force of it was like having someone jab a poker up my nose. Perhaps it’s time to put it in the fridge.
Norwegians like to go for walks, they like drinking coffee and they like consuming carbohydrates. None of these things are an obstacle to the other, and as long as it can be poured into a thermos or wrapped in foil and greaseproof paper, it can be taken for a brisk country excursion. Lefse, by merit of being conveniently portable, squishable and freezable, often accompanied...
Copenhagen and Herring.
Yesterday I undertook the 7 hour return train journey to Copenhagen from Gothenburg. My father was there for work and promised me lunch and an opportunity to pick up my laptop, in exchange for an enormous brick of Norwegian goat’s cheese for my mother. Each time I go to a Nordic capital city I fall in love with it and decide it is a place I need to live. This is a regularly...
These are another Christmas food that are too good to deny oneself, especially when the Gothenburg weather, having tantalised us with a couple of gorgeous spring days, has decided to resort to its default status: feeble snowstorm. Medisterkaker are a Norwegian meatball that I think totally stomp on the oddly spongey Swedish style ones. I would probably lance anyone who gets...
Lapsang Souchong infused Pepparkakor.
You’ve heard of tea & biscuits, but what about tea IN biscuits? Pepparkakor are a highly spiced gingerbread from Scandinavia that are, strictly speaking, Christmassy, but they’re so irresistible I usually have them all year round. Unfortunately I’ve never managed to make them taste anywhere near as good as the shop-bought ones, despite several attempts with...
Calves liver with Lingonberries and Mushrooms
I have trouble absorbing iron so I have to go on the hunt for foods to help with this. I don’t know if it’s my imagination or not but something kicks in when I see a dark green vegetable and if I have spinach lying around I’ll find it hard not to cram handfulls of the stuff into my mouth. I dread to think what kind of cravings I would have during pregnancy....
On supermarket profits and net happiness.
The debate about the government’s work experience theme and the involvement (and subsequent abandoning thereof) of large supermarket chains have got me thinking about their influence in our lives in general. According to a recent report by the Fair Pay Network, which can be found here, the largest four supermarkets in the country (Tesco, Sainsburys, ASDA and Morissons) employ around 893,126...
Puddyng of Porpoise - from 1450
Take the Blode of hym, & the grece of hym self, & Oatmeal, & Salt, & Pepir, & Gyngere, & melle these togetherys wel, & then put this in the Gut of the Porpoise, & then lat it seethe esyli, & not hard, a good while; & then take hym up, & broyle hym a lytil, & then serve forth. Taken from Etymologicon by Mark Forsyth
A really crowded soup aka. Fridge Stew.
The more refined among us may call this a Winter Minestrone but I think THIS IS INCREDIBLY CHEAP will do for now. Seriously, I accidentally made enough for about 8 people and for very little. With knotted poppy seed bread from the bakery across the road this was heaven. A gift to you impoverished students/newly or not so newly graduated. RECIPE! Serves roughly 7 legions of the King’s men. ...
Letters on Sweden, Norway and Denmark - Mary...
I’m currently reading Wollstonecraft’s travel narrative from 1796 which she wrote during her tour of Scandinavia. I thought I would share an extract from the second of her letters, in which she describes the Swedish customs and food she encounters when she arrives in Gothenburg. ‘The swedes pique themselves on their politeness; but far from being the polish of a cultivated...
My really energetic starter.
Day two of life in the sourdough fold and I’m pretty surprised at how many bubbles I already have. It smells rather confident too. I’m not sure whether to be proud or a little worried that there appear to be such a large number of wild yeasts living in and around my natural habitat. I used a ‘recipe’ I found on The Guardian website. I use...
Hot chocolate and allspice trädgårdsbär tart.
A couple of summers ago my parents and I stayed at our cousins’ summer house in Skåne, southern Sweden. We visited a kind of stately home where they had a delightful shop selling handmade things in jars and we came home clutching a muddy jar of rasberry and chocolate spread. It was remarkable stuff, like Nutella without the cloyingness and the slightest sharp tang of...
"Wild Yeast" - or An Inauspicious Beginning.
As a child I would visit my grandparents in Norway most summers, and now that sadly, neither of them are still around, my strongest and happiest memories are of breakfasts we spent together. Waking up too late to share breakfast with the family would ensure the day was spent with a sulky cloud above one’s head. Annoyed that my mother had thought I valued sleep above food, and annoyed...
If you will allow me to introduce myself, I am Rebecca. I’m a student from London currently spending a year in Gothenburg, Sweden. I am severely under-occupied and thus spend most of my time thinking about food, as any sane person is wont to do. Being is Sweden happens to facilitate this obsessive interest of mine. Unfortunately for the Swedes, the fresh produce in their supermarkets is ...