September 29, 2006


I know nothing about wine, really. Well, I know that I don´t fancy sweet wine with my food, and you shouldn´t judge a wine by its price, but that is all. Should I get more knowledge? Maybe, but right now my brain is fully busy with all other things food-related I have come across during the last year (my blog will turn 1 year in a few weeks). Until later, I rely on the trusted Swedish institution Systembolaget. Systembolaget you see, is a wonderful place. It is also the only place in Sweden where you can buy wine, spirits and strong beer to bring home.
Some people think it is wrong, and inconvenient, but I don´t mind going there. You see, it is truly a wonderful place. A wine analphabet like me can just walk into Systembolaget in Old Town, where they have the old-fashioned system with people getting the wine for you. Well, you walk up to the counter and says "Hello, I am going to cook a pasta with smoked salmon today and I want a wine for about 75 SEK." The salesperson answers "OK, and do you have herbs or horse radish in it?" And you answers that you are going to use horse radish, at which moment the salesperson taps a little on the computer and says "Hey, how would you like this blah blah blah for 68 SEK? And you say it is fine, he or she gets it for you, checks your ID which is fun if you are over 25 (you are supposed to be 20 years or older), you pay and the next second you are skipping out the door with your wine. I always let them choose and I am never disappointed. Apparently they get a lot of training and knowledge about wine and what goes with what so you never have to figure it out for yourself if you are not interested.

Today I visited another kind of Systembolaget just to pick up a bottle of really good apple cider for my dear man who is currently experimenting a lot with chicken casseroles (right now he is experimenting with the sewing machine to fix a pair of trousers for tomorrow*. I have had two glasses of wine and refused to do it). Well, this is the kind of shop where you take a basket and walk around the shelves, choosing and picking what you like. To guide you there are small signs with symbols for different foods and describing the taste. I found a Cidre de Normandie which looked promising, and also something called Cidraie. I love the slightly yeasty flavour of French ciders. I also picked up an organic wine, Vida Organica 2005, Argentinian. We had it with our Friday sushi (well, we don´t have sushi every Friday) and liked it very much.
Well, that was all about Systembolaget and back to the food again in the future on this blog I think.

*Tomorrow we are going to this place, which I really really look forward to. It is too posh for me to dare taking photos but I will tell you all about the food!

September 26, 2006

Apple pie baklava style

I know, this is quite far from a traditional baklava but it has at least some similarity. The phyllo dough, the honey, the nuts...
When I was in Hälsingland a month ago my aunt and I created a "baklava" with phyllo and things we found in her kitchen cupboards - prunes, cashews, almonds and some honey. It turned out delicious and I bought some phyllo to try it out at home. This weekend I had to use it before it expired but just couldn´t use prunes when I had all these beautiful fresh Swedish apples laying around the house...

This apple and almond baklava was just as delicious as the prune variety but next time I will make it when I expect a lot of guests because it is best to eat it all right away. We heated it up two days later and it was OK but a tad soggy. I like our little invention, the crunchy dough goes very well with the sweet and sticky filling, it looks very pretty but is actually rather quick and easy to make. A keeper! And you can vary it endlessly, with different fruits, maybe a little cinnamon, more nuts, more honey...

Apple and almond baklava
9 sheets of phyllo dough
about 100 ml melted butter
200 grams chopped almonds, it is nice with both small and a little larger pieces
100 grams grated almond paste (not necessary, but my dear man loves it)
4-5 tart apples
100 ml runny honey (you can also melt firm honey in the microwave)

Start with the filling: chop the almonds, grate the almond paste and prepare the honey. Use a box grater and grate the apples down to the core, I didn´t bother peeling them. Mix everything in a bowl. Use a rather small ovenproof rectangular dish and grease it with a little butter. Cut the phyllo to the size of the dish and layer three sheets (brush each one with a little butter). Remember to work fast and to cover the remaining phyllo with a damp towel or some plastic foil. Spread out half of the filling over the phyllo and continue layering three more phyllo sheets with butter brushing and all. Spread the remaining filling and finish off with the last three phyllo sheets. Brush the surface with butter.
Use a thin and sharp knife and cut the phyllo in a pretty diamond shape (my knife was not sharp enough so I had to stop half-way). Bake in oven (I think about 180-200C) for 20-30 minutes until the phyllo is crisp with a nice colour.
Let it cool a little bit and serve with whipped cream.

September 24, 2006


Another round of Cyberkocken, the Swedish Paper Chef - hence Swedish writing. But I can tell you that the ingredients were chicken, basil, sundried tomatoes and something black. I made filled chicken fillets with sundried tomatoes and basil, and spiced the chicken with black pepper. I served it with champignon risotto and it was really good!

Dags för cyberkocken igen med Folkets mat som värdar. Ingredienserna var inte svåra alls den här gången jämfört med den där kycklinglevern (fast det var väl mest svårätet) och jag skred entusiastiskt till verket för att göra något med kyckling, soltorkade tomater, basilika och något svart (svartpeppar blev det)

Soltorkad tomat- och basilikafyllda kycklingfiléer
900 g kycklinglårfiléer, putsade och lätt utbankade
10 soltorkade tomater, i olja eller blötlagda i hett vatten 30 min.
1 stor näve basilikablad
en skvätt god olivolja
salt och svartpeppar

Hacka tomater och basilika och blanda i en bunke med lite olivolja. Bred ut filéerna och salta och peppra. Lägg en klick fyllning på varje filé och rulla ihop (man kan väl också tänka sig att skära ett snitt i en vanlig kycklingfilé och pressa in fyllningen). Ställ i en smord form och stek i ugn vid 225 grader tills köttet är genomstekt och har fin färg. Servera med t.ex. som på bilden en god champinjonrisotto. Jag är nöjd med min skapelse - gott och enkelt även om det kanske inte är så fantasifullt... Men någon gång ska jag testa att ha lite vitlök i fyllningen, det kan jag inte använda när sambon ska äta också eftersom han inte tål det. Jag köpte för övrigt både champinjonerna, paprikan och rättikan på Bondens marknad i Mariefred i lördags. Odlat i Sörmland, obesprutat och jättegott!

September 23, 2006

To Clivia from Upstate New York!

Look what I got in the mail this friday! Wonderful gifts from Stefanie of Couteau Bonswan. I am one of those people addicted to BBM and EBBP, two different events with the one in common that it is all about sending food parcels around the world - and also receive one from a Secret Santa somewhere. I have shipped my own BBM parcel far, far away and hope it will reach its final destination. Yesterday I mailed Stefanie with the happy news that her parcel has arrived here in Södertälje safe and sound. Here to be seen on my kitchen counter!

This is what I got...

  • 1 bottle of red BBQ sauce
  • 1 bottle of chicken BBQ sauce (both of these I will put away for using next summer)
  • 1 bag of vegan granola, already opened and sampled by me and A (I had to hide it from him eventually. Well, I had to hide it from myself too - it was that good)
  • 1 bottle of wild flower honey (I collect - and use! - honey from around the world so this is perfect)

Everything is locally produced around where Stefanie lives in Syracuse, which I really like - I always tries to include local things in my own parcels so we seem to share the same philosophy!

Thank you so much for all this Stefanie! And thank you to another important Stephanie, she of Dispensing Happiness who is organising this happy event.

September 21, 2006

Bean bread

I have told you before about my large supply of ready-cooked kidney beans. Well, it hasn´t diminished very much, sadly, and since our freezer is quite small I have been constantly thinking about ways to use them, between campaigning of course. One evening last week I remeberd reading somewhere that you can put cooked beans in bread. But where did I read it? After a little thinking and searching I found it in the lovely book Brödglädje which means The joy of bread, published by the Swedish church. It is filled with lovely recipes and stories and nice pictures, oooh I like it so much.
Anyway. There was a story about three women studying to be domestic science teachers. They had an assignment to find a way for students to learn to eat pulses and came up with the idea to put it in bread. And it worked very well, too! They had also done some research and found out that the protein you get by eating a slice of this bread roughly replaces the protein you should get from putting a slice of ham for example on a slice of "ordinary" bread. And no, the bread doesn´t taste beans at all!

The recipe in the book called for lentils, soy beans or chick peas but I replaced with kidney beans and it was fine. I also used fresh yeast because that is what I usually have on hand. I also used the flour I had at home which was wholemeal wheat. I was amazed by the dough, it was so easy to work with! And the taste is great. I will definitely make this again! And the picture? Well, I didn´t have the camera handy baking these so this is a nice spot to eat sandwiches - a nature park in Nôva, western Estonia.

Bean bread
12 bread rolls or 2 loaves

250 grams red or brown lentils, chick peas, soy beans or indeed kidney beans - cooked from scratch or can
450 ml water
50 grams dry or fresh yeast
2 teaspoons salt
50 ml neutral oil, like canola
1 tablespoon golden syrup (I guess honey is a fine replacement)
500 ml rågsikt, which is a Swedish mix of 40% fine rye and 60% wheat (you can use something else too)
700-800 ml wheat flour

Mix the rinsed pulses with 200 ml water and mix in a blender until smooth. Add the rest of the water, in total you should be left with 700 ml bean/water mix. Pour in a skillet and heat it to 37C using fresh yeast and about 42 using dry yeast.
Pour the yeast in a large bowl and add the warm mix, stir until dissolved and continue with salt, syrup, oil and the rye flour. Add about 400 ml wheat flour and work it in. Add more flour until the dough let go of the bowl. Cover with a towel and let it rise for 30 minutes.
Work the dough again on a floured surface and shape it to bread rolls or loaves. Put on baking sheets and let them rise for 30 minutes.
Bake in 225C for about 15 minutes for bread rolls (in the middle of the oven) or 175C for about 25 minutes for loaves (in the bottom of the oven)

September 18, 2006


By accident I missed the big election party in Stockholm so no drink like this tonight - this is a very good and cheap Strawberry Margaritha in Riga this summer. But I went to another, smaller, party here in my hometown where we enjoyed good food, wine and above all the victory. Not only did we win over the socialists in the parliament elections - we also won in our town together with some other parties and that my friends was totally unexpected. So I am celebrating now and will continue to do so for weeks. Everything is just glorious.
I just came home and turned on the computer to unwind. Hmm, no success. I keep reading the figures and statistics and get more and more excited about our results. For example we have had 1 Member of Parliament representing our party for the whole Stockholm region the last four years. Now we have - tadaaaaa! - 5. Five. I repeat, 5.

Oh gosh. And now when the elections are finally over I will try and concentrate on my cooking again and also I have a few new things to tell you about, like the red kidney bean bread rolls.

Good Night!

September 14, 2006

Elections hiatus

Hello all, and sorry for my long silence. So, what am I doing instead of writing? Well, firstly it is the elections coming up which causes a lot of work but also is very fun. "My" party is the Center party which can be described as a green social liberal party, and yesterday we received the good news that we are now the third largest party and also that we together with the three other cooperating parties in Alliance for Sweden are slightly larger than the socialist block! Well, we will have to wait until Sunday before we know if we succeeds - but it feels good. Anne and I are planning for a celebration fika next week, and if we cannot celebrate victory (we are on the same side, although not in the same party), we can celebrate that the elections are over!

Another thing distracting me from blogging is the big dance camp we arranged this past weekend for "our" dancing kids and a visiting group of other young dancers from the lovely island Gotland. All in all we had 25 children (mostly girls) aged 10-16 years living on the dance floor for three nights and they had a lot of fun of course. We too had a lot of fun, but sleeping on the floor is a completely different experience for a 32-year old compared to a 12-year old. I was so so tired this Sunday and had very little resistence when a virus decided to invade my poor body. So here I am the week before elections, with fiever and a terrible cold.

And what about today´s picture? Can you see the mooses? I took this picture in late June on the way home from a dancing evening but haven´t had the opportunity to show it yet. Well, in a month´s time these guys are in real danger because in October the moose hunting season starts*. Sadly I don´t know any hunters, otherwise maybe I could get hold of some moose meat which is so delicious. You rarely see it in the meat shelves in the shop, but I will try to cook at least something with moose later this autumn.

See you after the elections!

* Politics again... Sweden is as you may know a little famous for our good opportunities to stay at home with small children for about 18 months, the same right for mothers and fathers. Well, can you guess what time of year it is most common to take a paternity leave? That´s right, in October. And the highest exploitation of this is in northern Sweden where they hunt *a lot*. Humph.

September 05, 2006

Experiment canelloni with mushrooms

Autumn has come to Stockholm! I am not complaining, this is a really pleasant time of the year I think, with the clear air, glowing trees and endless possibilities to enjoy cups of tea on the couch instead of having to run around and play outside even if you don´t feel like it. What I do like to do outdoors is to pack some fika, put on my rubber boots, bring some nice company (or enjoy my own company) and go mushroom-picking in the forest. My man likes it too, and what´s more, he is really good at it. I have learned a lot since I met him but still I don´t always have the "eyes" to see the chanterelles. He always, always succeeds, and hence brings home truckloads of mushrooms. We rinse them and cook them and freeze them in little bags, over and over every weekend until the snow comes. But do we actually eat them? No. We love mushrooms, but it feels a little luxurious to use them in everyday cooking. And that is why I opened the freezer this Sunday and found about 20 little bags of chanterelles dated "04". And let me just say that it is totally OK to eat frozen mushrooms from 2004, as long as you have cooked them without any fat they are fine!

I decided then and there to put more luxury into our everyday life and started off by defrosting two bags for this canelloni, also invented then and there. I used thinly sliced and shredded beef instead of the mince I had planned but didn´t find at the store, and spiced half of the canelloni with crumbled blue cheese, half of them with Dijon mustard. Sorry, no proportions and no picture but I think you´ll get a good picture of this anyway. A tasty and flexible dish.

Experiment canelloni
Mushrooms and thinly shredded beef, about 50/50. I used about 300 grams of meat and maybe 200 ml mushrooms
chopped onion, I used one yellow onion
salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar
fresh lasagna sheets
cooking cream
some good grated cheese
It is good to flavour the mix with dijon mustard or some blue cheese. Or maybe some fresh herbs!

Brown the meat and then add the onions and mushrooms. Let it simmer for some minutes and spice to taste with salt, pepper and a splash of balsamic vinegar (which I always use with mushrooms in any form). Put in some mustard or cheese, or both (but not in the same canelloni I think)
Cut the lasagna sheets in about 15x15 cm long pieces, put on some filling, roll it up and put in an ovenproof dish
When you have all the canelloni you want, pour over cooking cream or maybe some good stock to almost cover the rolls. Mine wasn´t really covered and was a bit on the crunchy side after baking.
Scatter over some cheese and bake in the oven until golden.
Serve with a fresh salad and start to think about what you are going to do next with mushrooms.

September 03, 2006

What to eat in August & September

Elections or not, I need to eat and enjoy myself so here I am on this very rainy Sunday, hammering away on the keyboard...
Today´s issue is to get rid of some of the mushrooms in the freezer, because the forests are filling up again after some rain and the still warm weather, and my man has started bringing home bag after bag after bag. I have some fresh lasagna plates in the fridge and plan on some sort of mushroom lasagna. I also plan to make some beetroot mince beefs for dinner and freezer, and oh, I could really use some apple pie or something. Autumn is so wonderful with all these fine produce, I could stand in the kitchen all day. This Friday, by the way, I made some of
Johanna´s cantuccini with ginger, almonds and pink pepper corns. The combination sounds crazy, but they are so good! I will make them again and try to not put in too many eggs like I did this time. They were fine anyway, though...

But it was crawfish I was going to write about. This is the main topic in Sweden in August and September: have you had crawfish, what brand, frozen or fresh, and were they any good? These were really good! Last Friday I felt like having a little crawfish party on the balcony, just for the two of us, and bought 1 kilo of frozen Turkish Jumbo crawfish. The ideal thing is of course to fish and cook your own crawfish but that is a complicated procedure involving a boat, a trailer or pick up truck, cages, bait (dry dog´s food is ideal, smelly and easy to handle), some free evenings, patience and a cold-blooded father-in-law willing to cook the poor things alive with lots of dill. Anyhow, these made do this time and they were really tasty. I love crawfish and I eat until they are finished, not only tails and claws but also the roe and heads. Yum, yum, yum.

The other thing to eat this time of year is surströmming, fermented herring, which people tend to either love or hate. You see, they smell. And some people have an issue with smelly food. I on the other hand loves it, and compare surströmming to Danish cheese, which is also very smelly but taste delicious, very piquant in a way. One of my paternal aunts once said about a Danish cheese on the table "take away the cheese!". Not because she thought it was smelly, but because she couldn´t stop eating from it. I feel the same way these days, about crawfish, my new cantuccini and surströmming - if I could find someone who would like to share a tin with me. On the balcony (oh yes, you don´t want to eat it inside because the smell gets stuck in all padded furniture), with thin bread, boiled potatoes, onion and sourcream. Oh, the joy.