October 30, 2006

Sausage stroganoff

Today´s Swedish word: korv. Means sausage.

You cannot live in Sweden without encountering the famous sausage falukorv. It is a true classic, saviour of the hungry and stressed families, useful in many ways, you can eat it raw, fried, boiled, thai style, in the oven with apples. But this is the falukorv dish I love the most, korv stroganoff. And yes, I admit without blushing that actually this is on my top ten, even five, of absolute favourite dishes. There are people frowning upon falukorv, but I am not among them.
When I grew up, my mother´s korv stroganoff was a real treat, the kind of food you were very happy to see on the table (well, I liked almost everything she made, apart from black pudding and prune-stuffed pork). Now I make my own, maybe once a month, because I love it so much. Falukorv is a large sausage, bent in a circle, with a mild taste. Its origin is in the landscape Dalarna where there was a mine in Falun where they used oxes to run the carriages. Or was it when they made ropes from the leather they got so much meat they had to make sausages? I don´t remember, maybe it is all true. Anyway, here´s the recipe for my best comfort food!
Korv stroganoff
Serves 6-8 (freezes well)
600 grams falukorv or other mild-tasting, meaty sausage
1 small yellow onion, very finely chopped
2-3 tbsp plain flour
500 ml boiling water
2 tbsp mustard (not Dijon)
2-3 tbsp tomato purée
100 ml creme fraiche or similar
Shred the sausage quite finely and brown them in a little butter. Add the onions and sautée carefully not to burn them. Salt and pepper! When everything is a bit soft, powder over the flour and stir, it should soak up the juices in the pan. Pour over the water a little at a time, stir and let simmer until it thickens. Go easy on the water, you don´t want runny stroganoff! Stir in the mustard and tomato and let simmer for a couple of minutes. Add the creme fraiche and stir. Taste, the sauce should taste a little tart, mustardy, but still mild.
Serve with rice and green peas which is the very best veg for this (i.e. what Mum used to serve). This time I had to make do with a carrot. If you want you can add some finely chopped salted cucumbers in the sauce.

October 28, 2006

Tosca cake

Today´s Swedish word: mandel. Means almond

Tosca cake is a Swedish classic - maybe in other countries as well? Anyway, I found it in my beloved Swedish cakes and cookies, my lifesaver when I don´t feel like translating recipes myself. I used another recipe from another much loved book of mine, Church coffee, since there are a lot of good recipes for when you want a lot of cookies, i.e. the whole congregation. We (because this was teamwork by me and A for a fika this Thursday for our dancing group) used the large oven pan but this calls for an ordinary round spring-form. Otherwise it is pretty much the same, this cake is truly a classic! Serve as it is with coffee or as a dessert after a lighter meal.

The tosca topping is also delicious to glaze canned pears and bake in the oven. Serve at once with whipped cream or ice cream!

Otherwise I am tired, and look forward very much to the coming winter time tomorrow. Since 1980 we Swedes turn the clock back one hour the last Sunday in October (which is lovely, you get an extra hour´s sleep!) and forward again last Sunday in March (which is OK on a Sunday morning, but not the day after. Ugh.) And no, it is not practical. At all. Maybe our new government can do something about this? Hmmm.

Tosca cake

100 grams butter (of course you can use margarine if you want but I never do)
2 large eggs
150 ml caster sugar
200 ml plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
50 ml milk

100 grams butter
100 ml caster sugar
2 tbsp plain flour
2 tbsp milk
100 grams flaked almonds

Grease and flour a 24 cm round spring form

Melt the butter and let it cool off. Beat the eggs and the sugar until white and fluffy. Combine the dry ingredients and stir into the eggs together with the milk and butter. Mix well. Pour into the pan and bake in the lower part of the oven (175C/350F) for 20-25 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the topping. Just combine everything in a saucepan, heat and stir well until it thickens. Use a spatula and spread the topping over the cake, put it back in the oven (but move it up to the middle) and bake for another 15 minutes until the topping is golden and a little caramelized.

October 26, 2006


Today´s Swedish word: lyx. Means luxury

My man works for a certain Swedish cell phone company, and they have the very good habit of awarding their employees sometimes by giving them something called dinner for two. The idea is that you get a card entitling you to a meal for two at a restaurant of your own choice. You go there, you eat, you drink, you pay - and then you get all the money back on your next salary. Isn´t that neat?

Anyway. We chose Operakällaren, one of Stockholm´s oldest and finest restaurants. It opened in 1787 in the old Opera and since 1895 it has been in the same building as we entered, a little nervously, this Saturday in September. The diningroom was redecorated last year and in a very good way. As you can see in the picture (borrowed from Operakällarens homepage) the modern chairs goes well with all the gold!

Oh, what can I say other than it was wonderful. The staff was so nice, the food was fantastic and so beautifully presented, the wine was fantastic (we had our own sommelier!)... We chose the tasting menu with wine and this is what we had! And sorry, I cannot find the wine collection on their homepage - I write down what I remember and update the rest later)

Sea urchin soup with crab, clams, oysters and Iranian caviar (A´s favourite)
(with champagne!)

Fried langoustine tails with chickpea purée and mint jus (my favourite!)
(Ooh, I think it was Chateauneuf du Pape with this...)
Fried fillet of turbot with poached egg and potato purée with anchovy

French pigeon stuffed with horns of plenty with roasted walnuts, creamy lentils and grape sauce

A selection of cheeses
(with port wine from 1969!)

Lemon mousse with Malibou foam and Mojito flavoured sorbet

Apple variation with soufflé, terrine and Calvados cream
(I think it was Vinsanto with this)
Pastry delicacies
(This was so great! A small piece of marmalade, a sugar stick with melon liqeur inside, and a piece of French nougat)
It was really great to get this opportunity, since this kind of fine dining is a tad (!!) expensive for us, but at the end of the meal I said to A. that this is worth paying for, even without a refund from the very kind cell phone company. I was simply in foodie paradise!

Introducing new feature - Swedish words!

I have decided to celebrate my blog´s 1st birthday not only with cake, but also by introducing a new feature: Swedish words. Often, but not always food-related, and always related to my postings. Enjoy!

Today´s Swedish word: ord. Means word!

October 21, 2006

Birthday cake

I had lunch with Anne the other day, who told me that you are supposed to make a blog birthday cake - which I didn´t have time for on the big day. Well, as luck would have it we have a lot of birthdays in the family this week - my father-in-law yesterday and A and his twin sister on Wednesday. This evening we had a little joint birthday celebration for all three of them, and A and I brought a cake. So it is not made for my blog, but tomorrow I will eat a piece in honour of it anyway! Isn´t that too convenient, getting a blog cake just like that, whithout planning?

The base is one of my favourite recipes - a gateau au yaourt I picked up at Chocolate and Zucchini a year ago and have made many times since. It is so perfect, I almost never make any ordinary sponge cakes any more because this is much easier, you just stir everything together in five minutes and shove it in the oven. The cake comes out moist, a little fluffy and very tasty. I usually make it with a wheat flour mixed with wholewheat.

I baked it yesterday evening, cut it in three layers and put it out on the balcony. This morning I left to go to Uppsala for the day meeting friends and when I came back the cake looked like this. I have said before that my A is outstanding in food decoration and this cake is yet another proof. The filling is, quite simply, mashed banana and vanilla custard. Then he has put on whipping cream and decorated with fruit and berries, and topped it off with a clear jelly made of gelatine mixed with some apple juice for flavour. The jelly is optional but gives the fruit a nice, shiny finish. The green leaves are mint which was what we had on hand. And the cake was just as delicious as it looks. "This cake is so good I cannot speak", his mother said!

Thank you for all nice comments, I promise I will continue doing my best on this blog!

October 17, 2006

Happy birthday, cuisine!

Just a very quick note on this historic day...
It is now almost exactly a year since I started up Clivia´s Cuisine and I am so nostalgic about this! I have learned so much about ways to cook and bake and about food from all over the world, and I have had the opportunity to get to know lots of lovely people.

Thank you all for reading and commenting and mailing and inspiring me! I will celebrate the beginning of year two with some new features - as soon as I have time. I just had to write something right now!


October 14, 2006

Autumn canapées

I just waved off some girlfriends who came for a soup and a chat and a a cake. This was not to celebrate my blog in any way (even though the counter just ticked over 15 000 visits and it turns 1 year on Tuesday!) but in another way this was truly a blog dinner since I had a lot of blogger inspiration!

At first I didn´t plan a three-course meal but then we had boiled potatoes the other day and they just - ahem - was a little too boiled so there I was with quite a few mushy potatoes. What to do? Well, I could always try Pille´s potato shortcrust in my new 24-hole mini muffin tin! I jumped to the task and the recipe was wonderful as I had guessed, dear Pille knows her finger-food!

For filling them I turned to another food-blogger for inspiration and decided to try Anne´s funnel chanterelle dip which was lovely. I had some mushrooms lying around after my trip to the forest yesterday... It is the ones with the red flakes on, I thought they needed some decoration and went for pink pepper which was a lovely companion to the mild mushroom and cheese. In the other half of the canapées I put a classic Swedish mix (recipe found in Bonniers kokbok)of egg, boiled potato (not all of them were mushy), matje herring, chives, dill and creme fraiche which also was lovely Update: Oh! I forgot that I also put in a very finely diced apple! Essential for giving this mix some freshness and balance.... And I am above all very pleased with this photo, it looks really good while most of my photos looks like - well, you can see what the food looks like but maybe you won´t feel like eating it...
For the main course I made the Swedish-French fish soup from my blog dinner this January, with fake aioli and home made baguette, and for dessert I made the fantastic beetroot cake with saffron glaze.

Over and out! I have a lot of dishes to take care of tomorrow...

October 11, 2006

Chanterelles again

Some people have eyes for mushrooms and some don´t. I am quite good at it, but not as good as my dear man! This is just a little of all the chanterelles, funnel chanterelles and whatsitcalled, taggsvamp (In Latin Hýdnum rapándum) he dragged home this Saturday. You see, if he ever observes a mushroom and picks it, he will for ever remember where he was by that time. And mushrooms don´t move, they come again and again on the same spot. So when A feels like it, he just takes the car, drives somewhere and walks purposefully right out between some tree and a rock mumbling "it was here somewhere". The next thing I know he comes into the kitchen, soaking wet (this Saturday was very rainy) and covers the kitchen table with large, golden, fragrant mushrooms. And then we spend a couple of hours cleaning and cutting and cooking and filling freezer bags and then he has had enough for at least a couple of days!
We enjoyed some of these yesterday on hot sandwiches. I take some good bread, butter it a little, then make a really good mushroom stew spiced with salt, pepper and a little balsamic vinegar. Then I boil thin slices of Jerusalem artichokes until just soft, covers the bread with them, put the stew on top and covers with some cheese. Bake in oven until the cheese has melted with a nice colour. Serve with some good soup, or with a cup of tea as a late night snack.

This Friday I plan to go mushroom-picking with a dear friend of mine. Let´s hope we will find at least something! I know some of A´s places...

October 10, 2006

EBBP from Dianne

When I first participated in BBM last year I never thought I would be addicted to it, but as it turns out I have taken every opportunity since to send and receive foodie things. Last week I participated in BBM, sending to Melbourne and receiving from Syracuse. This week I have been sending to Shoreham-by-Sea and receiving from Southsea, both UK via EBBP organised by Johanna of The Passionate Cook. Every time I think that maybe I should just not join next time, because my kitchen cupboards are bulging with things and also it takes a little time, money and effort. But you know, when a new round of BBM or EBBP is coming I just cannot resist. I love putting together the parcel and figure out what my receiver would appreciate the most, and I also love to get a parcel from a secret Santa somewhere! Better still, the parcels tend to arrive on the gloomiest, most boring days, to cheer me up!

Back to my latest parcel, which I consequently picked up this Saturday when I had a cold coming with sore throat, runny nose etc. and the rain was just bucketing down, cold and unpleasant. I picked up a heavy parcel in green plastic cover (so practical this day!) and headed home to open it immediately. As it turned out it was from Dianne over at A gluten-free journey and she sent me all sorts of lovely things. First of all a card which described everything and also advised me to immediately have a cup of hot cocoa with marshmallows (Dianne supplied me with both) and go read the food magazine Country Kitchen which she also sent me. So I did, but first I took a photo of all her goodies: apart from marshmallows, instant cocoa drink and the food magazine I got some fine-looking Shrewsbury cookies and a piece of Cheddar cheese (yum! I just love Cheddar!) and a jar of Hampshire honey. Dianne wrote that she actually lives close to the beehives and maybe the bees who made this honey were the ones who had tried to sting her all summer. Can it be more local?
Thank you so much for all this Dianne, and thank you Johanna for organising! I don´t think I will be able to resist next time either - I already have some ideas on what to send...

October 05, 2006

Tomato strike

Last weekend we went to Mariefred, a cute little town about 20 kilometers from here. There are small wooden cottages, cobblestone streets, a real castle and a very old railway but the main attraction for me was the Farmers´market, taking place on a square in the city center.

Let me just moan a little first: it is in fact hard to get hold of locally produced things here in Sweden, and also there is almost no debate about food. Well yes, about food safety and such of course, but not much about quality, about food miles, about eating seasonally, about why food should cost money. Every month I buy and read some English food magazines (mostly Olive and Waitrose Food Illustrated) and there are large features about what is best right now, why it is best right now and what to do with it. I miss that in most Swedish food magazines, and I miss the local products on the shelves in the large food chains. Sigh. We order fruit for work from one of Stockholm´s best fruit vendors and I doubt they send us anything Swedish ever, not even apples right now. This week they sent us satsumas (why? Surely they will be much better in November-December), and we got plums already in June. Hard as rocks and terribly sour. Why?

Well, I will do my best to change this, at least in our home, as much as I can. Eating locally and seasonally takes a lot of effort here considering where I live. In my nearest food store there are no organic vegetables and most of the other vegs are imported, except maybe the root vegetables. I will have to go further to get my vegs, or shop in Stockholm and lug it home on the commuter train. Well, well.
But, there are options if you have a car and can afford it (I could go on about food prices for ages, will take that another time perhabs), and now I am back (finally! Had you lost hope I would ever get to the point?) to the Farmers´market in Mariefred last Saturday.

This is what I got:
  • a bottle of fresh organic canola oil from a producer actually living just 15 kilometres from my hometown
  • grapes, peppers, carrots and a kind of radish (rättika), also from around here
  • four kabanoss sausages, bought them directly from the producers

You know, there are still fresh Swedish tomatoes, but when they are finally out of season (shouldn´t be too long now) I will go on fresh tomato strike for at least six months. I can find no reason to eat the bleak, watery, sour tomatoes sold here in winter*. Will you join me?

* I will, however, eat canned tomatoes and the sundried ones I buy in 500 gram bags at Hötorgshallen. It is the "fresh" ones I am angry about

October 04, 2006

Kanelbullens dag

Today the 4th of October we celebrate Kanelbullens dag here in Sweden. And what is that? Well, kanel means cinnamon and bulle is bun (or roll), and dag means day. So, cinnamon bun day. Nice, isn´t it? We have had buns here for the office fika in the afternoon and if I didn´t had to go to a meeting this evening I would have bought some to bring home. Baking them is a little too time-consuming for a working day I think, but maybe this weekend I will have some time to make my man very happy, because cinnamon rolls is an absolute favourite of his.

The Cinnamon Bun Day is invented by an organisation called Hembakningsrådet, who also supplied me with this nice picture (thank you!). Swedish lesson continues: Hembakning means Home baking, and this organisation works for supporting knowledge about cereals, baking and other bun-and-bread-related issues.

Well, I am off to the meeting, in pouring rain. We have had some calm weeks after the elections, just awaiting the negotiations between the parties. Yesterday the Parliament re-opened and on Friday the new Prime Minister will give a speech on the new government policy and also present the new ministers, which is very exciting.