October 31, 2005

Renskav for lunch

Finally I managed to get some pictures here! This one is from our lunch festival last week, doesn´t it look cosy?

Anyway, down to the left you see a plastic box with renskav stew. Renskav is small flakes of reindeer meat and you buy it frozen. It is really easy to cook, very tender and lean and has a good, strong taste, if you like game, that is. I do!

The stew on the picture is not my stew, and the picture is not from today´s lunch, but here´s what I made yesterday for sunday dinner and brought today... This is a rather classical way to cook renskav, but I think I will try to do it à la provencale next time, with dried tomatoes to balance the strong taste of the meat.

1 package of renskav, 240 grams
2-3 shallots or one small onion, chopped
1 carrot, sliced
2-3 dl cream or creme fraiche
4 crushed dried juniper berries
salt and pepper
soy sauce

Fry the meat in a pan with as little fat as possible. Add the onions and the carrots in the pan and let it cook a little. Pour over the cream, throw in the juniper and other spices and let simmer for some minutes. Season with more pepper and a little soy sauce if necessary.

I served the renskav with lingonberry jam and wild rice mixed with plain rice. I have never had wild rice before and was a little disappointed actually because it didn´t taste very much at all. But the texture was nice, and it was beutiful!


Yesterday I read an article in Dagens Nyheter, the largest morning paper here, about the - what I thought - great Swedish investigation osthyvel, cheese slicer. Turned out it is in fact a Norwegian invention! I had absolutely no idea, and the article also said that almost every Swedish citizen is certain that their dear osthyvel is all together Swedish! It also said that the Swedish are big consumers of hard cheese, 13 kilos per person and year. And to slice all our lovely cheese, from the mild Herrgårdsost to the almost parmesan-like Västerbottenost we need this very practical tool. Of course I found the best picture in the Norwegian Wikipedia!

The cheese slicer is also indispensable for slicing cabbage for a cole slaw, cucumber for a salad, almond paste and nougat for.... well, if you feel like eating a slice. That could happen, you know. I have three or four cheese slicers at home and use them several times a day.

Thank you Norway!

October 29, 2005

Comfort food

I´m home alone this weekend with my (now decreasing) cold and asked a friend over tonight to watch TV. I wanted to give her a real treat and made my number one comfort food - pasta with mango chutney, smoked mussels and cashew nuts. The recipe is an old favourite and I have made it both for myself and for friends many many times. Always a success! The taste is great, it is really easy to make, you don´t have to run to the shop for anything fresh - perfect if you have surprise guests. And all you need to prepare it is a bowl, a spoon and a pot.

And the recipe for my best pasta dish is:

(serves two hungry ones)
1 tin of smoked mussels in oil (105 g)
approx. 300 grams of shrimps, peeled
two or three tablespoons of mango chutney
a pinch of cayenne pepper
a pinch of saffron
two big handfuls of cashew nuts
(you see, you can keep it all at home in freezer, fridge and cabinets!)

Mix everything (don´t drain the mussels from the oil!) carefully in a bowl, this can be made well in advance. Let it stand for a while to develop even more taste!
When you are ready to eat, boil some tagliatelle. While you drain it, pour the shrimp/mussel marinade in the pot and heat it up quickly. Mix carefully with the pasta and add toasted cashewnuts. Serve immediately on hot plates. It is really hard to describe the taste, or should I say tastes. Smoke, fruit, salt, sweet, spice... And it looks great too!

October 28, 2005


I have discovered a truly fulfilling and very comforting form of shopping. Not clothes (oh, no!), not shoes, not handbags. But food stuff! And my favorite place to get this is Hötorgshallen in the city of Stockholm. Hötorget is a market square where you can get vegetables and flowers for a reasonable price, at least if you come there 15 minutes before they close down! Hötorgshallen is in the basement of a side building to the square and full of marvellous things. Meats, fish, vegetables, spices, fruit, desserts... I was there today in quest for the wonderful dried strawberries I found there some weeks ago, but came out with a bag of organic quinoa instead. Never tried it! A month ago I was there and came out with a load of different stuff - wild rice, unpeeled rice, green raisins, the strawberries and a large plastic bag with sundried tomatoes for only 40 kronor (about 5 USD). So now I have to find out what to do with all this, so we can finish it and I can go to Hötorgshallen again. The unpeeled rice will go very nice with the green raisins and some roast chicken in a salad I think... But the quinoa? I wonder if I can make stuffed peppers with it?

So: if you ever come to Stockholm don´t miss Hötorgshallen! They have absolutely everything you need for any kind of cuisine - especially Clivia´s!

Now my boyfriend wants me to write that he is grating horse radish in a little plastic box and bringing it to a friend´s summer house tomorrow to use in a pasta sauce with salmon. Just so you know.

October 26, 2005

Hello winter. hello cold

The Stockholmian transport system is really interesting I must say. You see, we live in a country where it gets rather cold in winter. Here, the leaves fall off the trees onto the commuter train rails. Here we have snow and ice. Every year! But the traffic planners seem not to notice these consistent weather conditions and here we go again. With leaves on the rail the wheels of the commuter trains is damaged in some way and has to be fixed. And then the commuter trains get shorter, and more crowded, and you get in close touch with fellow travellers and bring a nice little cold home, like I did yesterday. Sore throat, runny nose.

And later on when the real winter kicks in the trains often doesn´t work at all, and you find yourself standing on the platform in a howling icy wind with snow in your shoes for an indefinite amount of time. And voilá - hello again you cold.

A very tasty way of dealing with a cold is to drink an infusion of fresh ginger, whole lemon wedges (use an ecological!), honey and hot water. And if you don´t have ginger, lemons etc. at home try to gargle your poor throat with whisky. Not so tasty, but efficient.

October 25, 2005

Lunch festival!

At work, we are quite a few who likes to cook and often bring our own food for lunch. And we are always curious about what the others bring! "What is that, what´s in it, where did you buy that, how did you make it? And can I have the recipe?" The outcome of this curiosity is our regular lunch festival, when we all bring an extra big serving of our lunch food and everyone gets a chance to taste everything. And today was LF-day, hence the panna cotta. Yes, I know a panna cotta maybe not qualifies as "lunch food" but someone has got to bring the dessert....

And this was on the table today, enjoyed by twelve eager and hungry employees:
  • Thai soup
  • Fish soup
  • Fresh bread
  • Pasta salad with rocket and halloumi cheese
  • A fry-up with mince, cabbage, onions, carrots spiced with garlic and cardamom
  • Smoked salmon and spinach lasagna
  • Meat stew with reindeer "flakes", onion, carrots spiced with juniper berries
  • Oven baked salmon with a cabbage salad spiced with mustard and steamed beetroots
  • Dried mango
  • Chocolate coated coffee beans (yes, you can contribute with everything)
  • And my panna cotta

12 little plastic cups

Today I dragged a big bag containing two large and two small plastic boxes to work. In three of the boxes were twelve little plastic cups with vanilla yoghurt panna cotta and in the fourth box I kept a blackberry thing to spread over the panna cotta.

Why? You´ll see. But here´s the recipe. I found it some years ago in one of the big newspapers and I have made it several times since. My very first home made panna cotta with a "classic" recipe was a real disaster, tasted nothing but boiled cream and all the seeds were in a layer on the bottom of the cups. This yoghurt recipe is absolutely foolproof. Sorry I only have swedish measures with deciliters and liters.... I will have to improve that, or send a swedish måttsats to my visitors. Till then, a dl is 100 ml and a liter is 1000 ml.

Vanilla yoghurt panna cotta with blackberry "preserve"
Serves 6-8 (or twelve if you strain it!)

1.5 dl milk
2 dl cream, I went for full fat this time
1 dl sugar
1 whole vanilla stalk (don´t know the english word but surely you understand me) or 2 tablespoons of vanilla sugar
3 sheets of gelatin
5 dl vanilla yoghurt

Soak the gelatin in water for about 10 minutes. Bring the milk and cream to a boil with the vanilla stalk and stir in the sugar, let it dissolve. Let it cool down just a little. Fish up the vanilla, scrape out the seeds and stir them down. Squeeze out the water from the gelatin and melt it in the warm milk-cream mix. Stir in the yoghurt and fill up some nice cups or glasses and put in a cool place (i.e. the balcony in my case. -5 degrees C this morning)

Squeeze the juice out of a really fine lemon in a bowl. Dissolve 0.5-1 dl sugar in the juice (taste!). Pour it over blackberries, fresh or frozen ( I used 300-400 grams this time) stir and let it stand for a couple of hours or overnight. Serve the panna cotta with the blackberries on top.

Of course you can use other berries or jam to this, but I think the rather large and juicy blackberries are perfect companions to this smooth and slightly tart panna cotta.

October 24, 2005

Tasty chicks

During the last weeks I have cooked swedish, swedish, swedish. And nothing wrong with that! Yesterday, though, I read an article about vegetables with strong colours, and nuts, and peas and beans, and how healthy it is. Got inspired, and surprised my boyfriend with this:

Chick peas and chicken

1 jar of chick peas
1 small jar of corn
one small chopped onion
4-5 sundried tomatoes, soaked in hot water and chopped
a handful of cashew nuts
1 egg, should have been two but my supplies run out
a splash of lime juice

2 chicken fillets
oil, salt and lemon pepper

Warm the oven to 180. Spice up the fillets and put in something ovenproof with a little oil on the bottom. They cook in 25-30 minutes. This time I wanted the chicken quite neutral, but next time I may use something stronger than pepper. Fry the onions for a little while (optional, but my boyfriend has problems with onions and I wanted to make them a little milder. He also cannot eat garlic, otherwise it would have been great to use some I think.) Put all the ingredients including the onions in a food processor and mix it. Take walnut sized scoops of the mix and make small beefs. Yes, I tried to make big ones and no, they weren´t easy to handle. Fry them on both sides in as little oil as possible. Serve with the chicken, mango chutney and some avocado. I also roasted some cashew nuts and sesame seeds to add extra healthiness! Over all a sunday success. The chicken was juicy, the beefs were crisp and the taste was great.

Jackson potatoes part one

Tina Nordström is an immensely popular swedish chef. In fact, her show is so popular so they have to warn the large food chains in advance what produce (fennel, flake salt, chillies...) she is going to use, to get them a chance to order them home in extra large quantities... Because what Tina cooks, everyone else wants to cook. Except me. I don´t know why, but she doesn´t inspire me. Her food looks good, but I don´t want to make it myself. One part is, I think, that her recipes are too complicated and contains too much fat for my taste. And I am even not not the one who is afraid of a little fat! This thursday I watched the show and one thing she made was something called Jackson potatoes. It was a fun idea, as a matter of fact - bake potatoes, then scoop out the contents and mix it with some stuff, put it back in the shells and then bake it in the oven. But the recipe - oh christ. Oil, and butter, and cheese, and bacon. Why? But maybe it is not Tina´s fault. Maybe it is a traditional recipe? Anyway, my mission is now to create a recipe for Jackson potatoes which takes this wonderful idea but is not so very very greasy.... To be continued....

Hmm, I think that Tina has inspired me in this case....

And thank you Anne for my first comment ever! I never dared to think that someone would find her or his way here... You made my day.

October 21, 2005

Mango yoghurt

Sometimes I crave fruit yoghurt but I also find the brands sold here far too sweet. Putting home made jam in the youghurt is very delicious but also to sweet to eat every day for breakfast. Now I have found a solution to this problem!
My colleague Stina is a great fan of dried mango and has even started a mango factory in the small west african country Burkina Faso. Last week I bought some dried mango in the Burkina Faso boutique here in old town of Stockholm. They had three different kinds from sour to sweet and I chose the medium one. The products contains no added sugar so I guess they dry three kinds of mango. Stina told me a while ago how to make your own mango yoghurt and yesterday I decided to try it out because I had some plain yoghurt on hand. It turned out delicious! And even more delicious because the mango comes from a small scale factory where the workers are properly paid and treated.

Mango youghurt, serves one
2 dl, about 3/4 cup of plain yoghurt - you can choose a light version if you want
1-2 slices of dried mango

Before you go to bed, take your favorite breakfast bowl and pour in the youghurt. Chop the mango or use a pair of scissors and stir it in. I also added some dried papaya I bought in Copenhagen last summer, rock hard by now... Cover the bowl and put in the fridge over night and enjoy it in the morning. Wonderful, pure mango taste, and the papaya was chewable again and very tasty. I now see immense possibilities to use other kinds of dried fruit in the same way, and to experiment with other kinds of yoghurts, like vanilla. And I will also try it out with the swedish filmjölk.

Thank you Stina!

October 20, 2005

Head stew

Oh, this day...

1 head (haricolour optional, I use a curly brown one)
5 colleagues shouting, laughing and whooping right behind you
4 papers to get copied
150 times and put into
100 envelopes
1 text to be printed on
800 postcards and then put
800 address labels on the postcards
800 addresses missing from the place where they should have been
1 pair of jeans to be picked up from a clothes store
15 children to teach swedish folkdancing and because of that you have to leave 16.30 sharp

Take the head and mix all the other ingredients in it. The head should soon begin to boil and the teeth start to grind. Take the head on the subway to Stockholm city and pick up the jeans from the stew. Forget about them. Then take the head to the wonderful café In ´n out at Hötorget and add a great Ceasar wrap to the stew, and a glossy magazine. The boiling now diminishes. Then take the head to a music store and buy a headset. Back by your desk attach the headset to the head and let simmer with a good CD for a while to cut out some of the whooping. Add the charming child of a returning colleague. The head is now completely cooled off. Enjoy!

October 17, 2005

Swede soup

Concidering my nationality, the following recipe may have a silly undertone, but anyway - it is tasty, cheap and warming on a cold october monday (today it was gloves premier). I got the recipe from another blogger, Gunilla, who got it from her mother.

Swede soup
1 medium size swede
1 small onion (I used two shalotts)
2-3 tablespoons of flour
about 1 litre of good strong stock, vegetable or meat
1 dl (about 3/4 cup) of creme fraiche or cream or similar

Grate the swede (next time I will use food processor instead of a grater because the little swede things came all over the place) and chop the onions finely. Fry it all for some minutes in oil or butter, powder the flour over, stir and add the stock. Today I wanted thick soup so I only used 7 dl of stock. Salt and pepper, and let it simmer for about 20 minutes. Then I mixed it, but that is optional. Stir in some cream or creme fraiche.
And eat!

Tomorrow when I bring it to lunch I will add in some diced ham I think....


yesterday I signed up to participate in the Blog By Mail session and now I have serious problems to concentrate on work. Who will it be? From where? What will I send? A lussekatt maybe? But will it stay fresh for a long journey in a parcel? My local paper is in swedish. Can I send the food section from it anyway? Yes. (But I will translate some of it, promise). And why is it so expensive to send parcels abroad? Doesn´t the swedish postal authorities want to support international relations of this kind? Well well, I´m sure it´s well worth it.

Last sunday night I cooked big time - a casserole of beef in dill sauce, very swedish. Took ages. And beetroot soup. Took ages (to cut all the beetroots, then it was OK). After all my efforts yesterday with the food blog I just made some potato wedges in the oven, ordinary and sweet potatoes. To accompany that some different things; first a mix of smoked salmon, creme fraiche, horseradish and diced apple. Then a good mushroom stew with a splash of balsamic vinegar. Then a fetta cheese dip. And some ham. And afterwards the gateau au yaourt that I found on chocolate and zucchini last week. My boyfriend was very pleased with it all!