November 24, 2007

Tomato-fennel-beer soup

Getting rid of: fennel, crushed tomato, Estonian beer

So, it is official: in April next year a new baby foodie will be born! That means that I for example don´t drink alcohol anymore, and I am not allowed (sigh) to eat parma ham and cold-smoked salmon and other favourite things. But lucky me, I have lots of other favourites to enjoy while waiting, and some of the Estonian beer we bought a large quantity of this summer before we knew about my pregnancy can be used in, for example, this delicious soup!

Since I stopped working in Stockholm I don´t buy as much food magazines anymore which is very good because of a) my economy and b) I already have loads of magazines to read and re-read. But recently, after a particularly hard day at work, I treated myself to the latest issue of Laga Lätt, a fairly new and very inspiring Swedish food mag. The title is a play with words, the Swedish Lätt means both easy and light - and so are the recipes!
I had all the ingredients on hand and the preparation took just 20 minutes, then I had a warming and a little different tomato soup in a bowl, sitting on the couch in front of the TV...

Tomato and fennel soup
Serves 4

2 yellow onions (personally I think that one is more than enough in all recipes but...)
2 small or 1 large fennel
2 cloves of garlic (also here too much for me but that really is a matter of taste!)
canola or olive oil for frying
400 ml water
2 tbsp concentrated fish or veg stock (I used a cube, crumbled up in the hot soup)
300 ml beer
500 grams crushed tomatoes or passata
1 tsp sugar
salt and pepper

Chop the onion finely, finely slice the fennel. Press the garlic. Fry it all in a little oil until soft and shiny. Add water, stock, beer and tomato and let simmer for 10 minutes. Spice to taste with sugar, salt and pepper. Serve with a dollop of sourcream or creme fraiche, and a couple of sandwiches.

November 14, 2007

Astrid Lindgren 100 years

Off topic today: it is world famous author Astrid Lindgren´s 100th birthday today. Even though she passed away a few years ago she will live forever through all her wonderful books! I have read almost everything and cannot really mention a favourite - maybe Emil, and the Bullerby kids. And Ronja!

Oooh, it is not so off topic after all - today very conviniently also is the day of the cheesecake and I am sure Astrid has had a lot of cheesecake in her life, growing up in the same region as me: Småland.

Happy birthday Astrid!

November 02, 2007

A find in the fridge: Jerusalem artichokes

Getting rid of: Jerusalem artichokes, rice, mushrooms

Not only the cupboards but also the fridge and freezer is in need of emptying. This spring I got five small Jerusalem artichokes with my veg box and since these knobbly little thingys are one of my favourites I wanted to save them for something really special, since I don´t grow them myself anymore and they are rarely seen in the shops in my town. Well, of course I forgot about them and they have spent all summer rattling at the bottom of the fridge.

Last Friday night I wanted to treat my dear man to something extra since it was his birthday the day before and we didn´t have time to really celebrate. I decided to dig deep into our storages and make a variety of
my favourite mushroom sandwiches, only now I used boiled rice instead of bread and served this gratin with some good thin steaks!

On the photo you can see the Jerusalem Artichokes laying peeled and sliced (on my trusted mandoline) on a layer of rice in an ovenproof dish. I had some fresh thyme on hand after the cooking class earlier in the day so I added some stalks and thought it looked so pretty. Then of course when you cover everything with a nice thick mushroom stew it is more taste than looks that matters!
When I make the sandwiches I slice the artichokes thicker and boil them for some minutes but I skipped that this time and it was fine. And I meant to take a photo of my plate before devouring it all but of course forgot all about it. You will have to visaulize the gratin with the mushrooms in brown sauce and a little grated cheese on top, a nice piece of steak browned in butter and spiced with just black pepper and salt, and a pile of organic salad, tomatoes and cucumber from the veggie box tossed in lime juice and olive oil...mmm...

October 29, 2007

Fruit salad

Getting rid of: fresh fruit, raisins, canned pineapple

Well of course I will continue buying fresh stuff even if we are trying to empty our kitchen - fruit and veg and dairy... But I know myself oh-too-well and fresh fruit tend to just be put in a bowl and looked at with pride in this household. See, we have a bowl of apples in our kitchen. Look how lovely they are! And bananas, mmmmm. And kiwi! Lots of vitamin C. They look so lovely that we somehow forget what they are really for: to be eaten! These past months I have been craving a lot more fruit, but even so especially apples just lies there - and it is such a shame! Every two weeks I get a delivery of fresh organic fruit and veg from Ekolådan and last time I got gorgeous apples: small, rather tart and very very apple-y if such a word exists. Most of the other things from the box is now gone, but a morning recently when I was making scones for my man the sad fruit bowl caught my eye. There was two rather browned bananas, a lonely kiwi and a pile of those apples...

Strange but true - fruit can be lying about for weeks here, but once they are turned to a fruit salad they are gone in just a day, sometimes just hours. My trick to make it extra juicy and tempting is to add a small tin of crushed pineapple in own juice, a cheap staple that is easy to keep at home (in the cupboards, oh my). Boring apples, or apples that will be boring in just days, and sad bananas turns into something luxurious, delicious and totally healthy!

October 26, 2007

No-knead bread

Getting rid of: flour, sunflower seeds, spices

As you can see I have changed my feature, from "Today´s Swedish word" to "Getting rid of". This will be my new theme for the upcoming months - getting rid of as much as possible from my bulging kitchen cupboards, fridge and freezer. Then, in December when I am installed in my new kitchen I can change back to my usual "Getting". Being a food nerd means "getting". You get stuff from EBBP parcels, you get stuff from friends who know you will love a food present for birthdays and Christmas, you get new and exciting things when you are out shopping with other food nerds, or indeed just popping by at Hötorgshallen for "just some sundried tomatoes" and coming back up the escalator laden with bags of dried fruits, pulses, herbs, strange-looking fruit and a smelly cheese. All this now occupies our kitchen and since we don´t want to carry too much while moving we will have to eat it, or throw it away which really is not an option unless something is helplessly expired...
Before my, and our for that matter, decision of getting rid of things I happily bought a large bag of flour and brought it home just to discover that I really didn´t need it. An entire shelf is filled with different flours, in two rows - meanwhile we have been buying our bread for months now! My baking goes in periods, sometimes I just bake and bake everything we eat, and then suddenly I stop for some reason and it is just so hard to get going again. Well, now I have to! This "No-knead bread" is an old favourite of mine and I made it long before everyone else started experimenting with cast-iron pots and minimal amounts of yeast a year or so ago when the ultimate recipe for no-knead bread was tried out by so many of us food bloggers. I, however, was not tempted because I already had the ultimate recipe: of course from my cooking and baking guru Anna Bergenström!

No-knead bread
25 grams fresh yeast
1tsp salt
preferrably about a tbsp of honey
400 ml tepid water
800-900 ml of wheat flour
100 ml sunflower seeds (optional)
1 tsp crushed fennel seeds or other bread spice that you like (optional)

Crumble the yeast into a bowl, add salt and honey and some of the water. Stir until the yeast is dissolved and add the rest of the water.
Pour in the sunflower seeds and the fennel and the flour and work it to a loose dough. Cover with a towel and let rise for 1-2 hours.
Line a baking sheet with paper or grease it, and carefully tip the dough directly onto it. No need to knead. Heat the oven to 250C and meanwhile let the dough rise, for about 20 minutes.
Bake the bread in the middle of the oven for 15 minutes, then lower the heat to 125C and continue baking for 40-45 minutes.
Let the bread cool on a rack, loosely covered with a towel. Enjoy!

October 16, 2007

Hip hip hooray, maybe my blog will stay...

Oh yes, I am still alive. Too busy living as a matter of fact - this blog gets more and more neglected and I really have to think hard what to do with it. Maybe I should quit, or take a "real" hiatus instead of just disappearing for weeks, or maybe I should just try and get inspired again, participating in all the nice events available? That is what I am thinking right now.

But, no decisions made at the moment, today (forgot to post on the 17th though...) I celebrate this blog´s second birthday with a lovely flower photo shot at a restaurant in Riga where we consumed some - oh yeah - shots this summer! Two years of writing, taking photos, meeting incredibly nice people some of whom I have now met and count as real friends, answering questions about almost everything and learning loads, loads about food. Oh yes, while writing this I definitely feel that I just cannot quit blogging! What I need is a whole day, or a whole weekend when I can just cook and write and work on a good backlog for all those days and weeks when life just gets too much...

An exciting year lies ahead of me I can tell - the third year as a food blogger when also a lot of other things will happen in my life! We have for example bought a house, so in about two months´time Clivia will get a new Cuisine where new challenges will take place. So stay tuned, and thank you for your patience!

October 05, 2007

Cooking class

Today´s Swedish word: kurs. Means course, or class.


My life has been pretty intense these past months and I have had little time for food blogging and even cooking, sadly. But after my recent trip (see below) to Tallinn to meet my blogging friends I got new inspiration, and since four weeks back I have another source of inspiration: I have become a cooking teacher!

I have got a new job since april at an organisation which arranges courses for adults in everything from languages to yoga - a lovely job! Anyway, I don´t work full time and therefore had the possibility to take on a cooking class on Fridays, starting about a month ago. And it is so much fun! I only have three pupils but for a new teacher like me it is totally OK. We have great fun together and try many things - they are so brave and never turn a recipe of mine down! This has been on the menus so far:

Beetroot soup with sour cream and chopped pickled cucmbers, fake cheesecake for dessert

Stuffed peppers, some with
lentils and some with mince and olives, Blå Jungfruns muffins for dessert

"
African stew" with home made peanut butter, Gino for dessert

Fish stew with root vegetables, apple crumble

Salad with whole wheat, marinated in a vinaigrette with sundried tomatoes and garlic, loads of veg like cucumber, tomato, peppers and onions - served with oven grilled chicken. Dessert: ice cream with lemon marinated blackberries.


The upcoming Friday we will cook meatloaf. What next? I don´t know... Any ideas?

October 02, 2007

A lovely day in Tallinn

Today´s Swedish word: Estland. Means Estonia.

I have written quite a lot about Estonia here on this blog, a country I first visited in 1992 in a youth exchange. Then I met A, whose mother is Estonian-Swedish and that has led to me visiting this fantastic country many times. When I found Pille´s blog I was delighted, what a great way to learn more about Estonian culture and above all, food!


From the start I had a feeling that Pille must be a very, very nice person and a week ago I finally got to meet her and get that feeling confirmed! Anne, Dagmar and me arranged to go overseas with Tallink Victoria to our closest capital, Tallinn, for shopping and sightseeing - and meeting Pille of course. After a very calm night at sea we arrived in a sunny lovely September Tallinn on a Tuesday morning when everyone else was at work. Could life be better? We had a lovely day shopping, chatting, having coffee and eating and admiring the view from Toompea. Thank you so much Pille for guiding and feeding us, and thank you Anne and Dagmar for great travel company! Next time I hope we won´t have to listen to car alarms all night though (the journey back wasn´t nearly as calm as the first night...)


Read more about our day in Tallinn and see pictures over at Pille´s and Dagmar´s!

September 09, 2007

Everyday luxury: going to the market!

Today´s Swedish word: torg. Means square.

One thing I have seldom done before I started this blog is shopping at markets, and I haven´t had a clue about seasons - when to buy the best.
Well, now I do! I have had a vegetable box coming all spring every other week with organic fruit and veg but this time of year I prefer to buy everything myself. I have the great luck to work just five minutes walk from the market square here in my hometown - so every Wednesday and also Friday or Saturday when the vendors are there I go down to shop for fresh vegetables and fruit.


These are some very, very nice cucumbers I bought from my favourite stand, a very kind man who runs a small-scale business outside town and go to the square laden with fresh veg, flowers and potatoes on Wednesdays and Saturdays. I also bought some sprouted dill to use for pickled cucumbers - but no recipe yet. I have to try them before I can make any recommendations. Last year I failed with my cucumbers... For now it will have to make do with the pretty picture!

August 27, 2007

Vacation highlights: a cookbook find

Today´s Swedish word: kokbok. Means cookbook

We were a bit unlucky with the weather when we went to Estonia this summer - it rained, rained, rained... for days! And then it held up for a couple of hours so we could take a walk and then it started pouring down again. But I don´t complain, after exploring the big cities Riga and Vilnius and after a bumpy bus ride between Pärnu and Haapsalu I was more than happy to lie on the bed and read in our little cottage at Roosta Pühkeküla.

Anyway, on the third day of rain we decided to go into Haapsalu for a little shopping and then we stopped by a promising-looking café right beside the old castle.
I was standing in line when I saw a fantastic cookbook lying on a table and picked it up just to look at the beautiful photos. I don´t know any Estonian so buying cookbooks is not to think of. But then I realised, that this cookbook is written in Estonian and English. Perfect! I bought a cappuccino, a pastry and a copy of the book on the spot and then spent the afternoon and evening reading. And reading. And reading. And getting inspired...
And learning lots of Estonian words!
This book is so, so nice. It is called Sapemaa Talu Köök, or The Kitchen of Sapemaa Talu. Sapemaa Talu is the summer home of the author Anni Arro, and the recipes are all "summer food" but highly versatile for the rest of the year as well. It is still on my bedside table now, I leaf through it almost every day to look at the pictures and drool over the recipes. The only downside is that almost every recipe uses garlic and I cannot use garlic because of A´s stomach but then again I am used to getting around those little cloves!

In the bowl beside the book is the result of my first recipe trial: broad beans cooked Estonian style as they are in the pods in heavily salted water. It appealed to me because de-podding broad beans is not my cup of tea and I love broad beans so I gave it a try. You should too, now while they are in season (at least here). Just put a large amount of broad beans in a big pot, cover with water and put in 3-4 tablespoons of coarse salt. Let them simmer for 30 minutes or a bit more until soft, drain and serve at once with a little sourcream. They were heaven! And it is good fun sitting around the table, picking and eating on a summer evening.

August 21, 2007

Another Pasta salad

Today´s Swedish word: matsäck. Means picnic.


Still many things going on in my life and not enough time for blogging, or cooking but I at least do it more often now than a month ago. I have been back to work for two weeks and it is OK considering I work part-time and hence have the possibility to enjoy the summer weather which of course showed up right on time for work to begin again.


This time of year we try to have a really quick dinner and then go out to the cottage or take the bikes and go for a swim after work. And sometimes we don´t even want to wait for dinner, but go immediately. This pasta salad was brought to the cottage last week in my beloved collapsible Tupperware bowl (you can even put it in the diswasher when it is flat like a pancake and it still gets clean!), paired with grilled chicken from the deli and the broad bean mash for dressing/dipping. Very good!

August 17, 2007

Vacation highlights: Double Coffee

Today´s Swedish word: dubbel. Means double.


When I am abroad I like to try new things and go to local restaurants, but nevertheless it is nice to have a reliable back-up, some place you know will always deliver. When you are just too hungry, or too tired, or if you have a cold and feel really sorry for yourself it is so soothing to just see a sign outside a building and say: "Oh, why not just go to..."


For many people it is McDonald´s and sometimes for me too, but on the road in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania we return to the chain Double Coffee again and again. Brekfast in Riga, and here it is lunch in Vilnius: a scrumptious potato pancake with cottage cheese and mushrooms and fresh veg. And dill, of course. Double Coffee is not very cheap, but not expensive either for us Swedes. They serve omelettes, breakfasts, salads, sandwiches, desserts and all kinds of coffee and drinks. Always fresh and nice and also with a local twist. The menu is not the same in all three countries (take that, McD!). And it is almost always open. Try it, should you be in the vicinity!

August 10, 2007

Broadbean mash

Today´s Swedish word: bondbönor. Means broad beans
For the elections 1994 my party produced a give-away notebook in very fashionable brown environmentally-friendly paper - it is so knobbly you can only write on one side of the sheets! Anyway, I used it as a recipe book and it is fun to leaf through it now and see what 20-year old me fancied to cook in the filthy corridor kitchen. Many of the recipes originated from my mother, such as frozen Daim cake (but I could never make that as I only had half a shelf in the freezer and it was always crammed with microwave pizzas), the pie recipe that came with her food processor and that we always make at home and of course Blå Jungfruns muffins which I still often make. Then there are things that I have had at parties - a special vanilla sauce, two pasta recipe from my dear friend Eva-Lotta who also lived at the corridor, stuffed lemons (?), "amateur jambalaya"... Oh yeah, this notebook is fun!

Last week I bought a bag of broad beans at the market and left them lying around for a while thinking about what to make. Maybe a potato salad? But then I remembered that I had a recipe jotted down in that old notebook - from where I don´t know and I have never tried it. Now was the time. I didn´t have 300 ml of broad beans at the time so I just improvised the quantities but it turned out very good! I have had it with pasta salad but it would also be good with hard-boiled eggs or as a spread for a sandwich.
Broad bean mash
300 ml boiled broad beans
100 ml mayonnaise
100 ml sourcream of some kind, I used turkish yoghurt
salt and pepper
a good handful of chopped fresh herbs: I used chives, basil, parsley from the balcony
Mash the cooked beans in a bowl and fold in the rest of the ingredients. Spice to taste. It keeps in the fridge for a couple of days.

August 02, 2007

Vacation highlights: Riga

Today´s Swedish word:gryta. Means stew, or casserole.

I came back this Sunday from a rather long stay in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. Three small countries with a lot on offer! This time we mainly spent time in the capitals Riga, Vilnius and Tallinn but also in the adorable little seaside town Pärnu and the countryside in western Estonia where my mother-in-law comes from. Our first week was all sun, sun, sun and then it was rain rain rain almost all our time in Estonia. Luckily we already love this country so we wasn´t a bit put off!

I thought I would share some culinary and maybe other highlights of our trip. This is a stew I had at a traditional restaurant in Riga´s Old Town on our first night there. Sadly I didn´t take any notes but I remember it as a rather simple stew with quite a lot of tomato taste. It reminded me of my meat stew with peanut butter actually. The stew was served with whole barley and of course decorated with a lot of dill, the classic garnish in this part of the world. My man is a big dill-lover so he was in heaven for two weeks!

July 31, 2007

Summery meatloaf

Today´s Swedish word: köttfärs. Means mince.

Perhabs a meatloaf seems like an odd choice for this time of year, but for me mince patties and meatloafs are very summery. The ultimate meal in summer is at my parents´veranda, with mince patties, potatoes right from the garden, sometimes there is grated beetroot in the patties also fresh from the garden, fresh dill, fresh salad, fresh tomatoes and our own milk. Luxury! I hope to be able to do the same in my own house as soon as we buy one. (Well, I will have to compromise on own milk).


This is my sister-in-law´s recipe for a meat-loaf that you roll up instead of filling it from the top. I don´t know where she got it from so cannot give credit, but whoever made it knows what she/he is doing. The sauce is particularly nice, but I also like a cold sauce with my mince - yoghurt or sourcream with herbs. From the garden. I can imagine that you can vary the filling in one million ways - use what you have on hand!

Meatloaf with classic Swedish cream sauce
Serves 4
400 grams mince
1 egg
3 tbsp breadcrumbs
50 ml water, boiling
1/2 tbsp concentrated veal stock

good pinch of salt and pepper

Filling:
10 button mushrooms, or chanterelles from the freezer
1 small onion
7 sundried tomatoes
125 grams of mozzarella cheese
fresh basil and /or thyme

Pour the boiling water over the tomatoes. Chop and sautée the onions and mushrooms. Chop up the soaked tomatoes, shred them and stir in with the chopped herbs. Put aside. Save the water for the breadcrumbs and let them soak for a couple of minutes. Stir in the egg, veal stock and the mince.
Put a large piece of plastic foil on the kitchen counter and spread out the mince in a rectangular shape. Crumble over the mozzarella cheese and the mushroom-onion-tomato mix. Roll it up using the plastic for support and dump it in an ovenproof dish. Bake in 180C for about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the sauce...
250 ml cream, I use cooking cream
1 tbasp concentrated veal stock
2 teaspoons corn starch
pan juices
splash of dark soy sauce
salt and pepper
Mix the ingredients and bring to the boil. Let it thicken on low heat and spice to taste. You can add a splash of worcestersauce as well. When the meatloaf is ready pour the pan juices in the sauce for extra taste.
Serve with boiled potatoes and green peas for example.

July 26, 2007

Oooops

I had arranged for some posts to "magically appear" on the blog while I am away but seem to have done something wrong... Now you can see them all though! Sorry.

I am currently at a beachside summer´s cottage village in Estonia, it has been raining for a few days but we are enjoying ourselves anyway! Both Riga and Vilnius was fantastic and I had some great food.
Until I write again - enjoy your summer as well!

July 19, 2007

Wedding decorations: flowers

Today´s Swedish word: näckros. Means water lily.


I love being able to take proper photos again! This is a close-up of one of the table decorations for the wedding: a glass vase with a water lily, some pebbles and leaves... Simple and beautiful! When I arrived on Friday (sadly I had to go alone since A was sick) the one thing to do was to roll up the sleeves and get to work laying the tables for the party. It was held in an old barn with a gooood dance floor, and the colours chosen by the bride was light green and white.

Porridge

Today´s Swedish word: gröt. Means porridge.



This is my brother sitting at one of the best kitchen tables in the world: my grandparents´, in a little village up north. I associate this table a lot with summer breakfasts, and porridge. My grandfather very often made blueberry porridge for us, blueberries and rye. After all grandchildren had finished eating as much as we could usually there still was a lot of porridge left for grandpa to finish, which he always did squeezing in the last spoonfuls and saying: "ooooh, that was a lot of porridge I ate right there".



Now my brother has taken over the tradition of eating *a lot* of porridge, and he is even "worse" because he has to pour the milk in a bowl by the side to get room for all the porridge he needs to get through the day. This day was a really special day since we all were going to my cousin´s wedding, going on from noon until 3 in the morning. And yes, with great food. More to come on that...

July 17, 2007

We are on our way...

.... to Riga! This afternoon we will get on the ferry and go to our very nice neighbour conutry Latvia, and its beautiful capital RIga. We will stay there at least one night, and then go down to Lithuania to see either Vilnius or the coast, depending on weather. Then we will go back up to Latvia and further to Estonia, and go back to Stockholm next weekend. All in all nearly two weeks in one of the favourite parts of the world!

I hope you my dear readers will have a good time wherever you are, with lots of sun and delicious summer food, for example a trusty pasta salad like this one. I have no recipe, what goes in the salad depends on what I have in the fridge but I usually have some kind of cheese in it, and olives. I also always pour over the dressing, usually a vinaigrette while the pasta is still hot.

I will have some posts about the wedding appearing here while I am away, and hopefully by the beginning of the week after next I will be back with lots of nice memories from my holiday!

Wedding: the food!

Today´s Swedish word: tallrik. Means plate.


OK, so we have come to the food! All was prepared by relatives and friends for the buffet. This is my plate, loaded about a week ago...


  • spring rolls

  • tzatziki

  • smoked salmon

  • potato salad

  • bean salad

  • tomato salad

  • roast beef

  • "tjälknöl", another kind of cold sliced meat

  • lamb sausages

  • my uncle´s tapenade

  • ... and I am sure I forgot something!

For starters we had my uncle´s lobster soup, served in jugs to pour over little bowls with crawfish tails and dill - a very nice way to serve this. After the buffet and before the dancing we had chocolate tarts with raspberries in them, decorated with rose petals.

Wedding decorations: crown

Today´s Swedish word: krona. Means crown.



More wedding decorations - perhabs some of you are interested... My aunt made a large "crown" from birch leaves and blueberry leaves with ribbons and paper water lilies: paper flowers are traditional to use at weddings both for the bride and the decorations. She also made the other crown, a slightly smaller one to put on the head of the bride. My cousins made long pleated garlands, which hung from the walls and up to this crown, with fairy lights and also white cloth ribbons which in fact is the kind of weave you use to protect your plants from cold nights. Handy and inexpensive! And soooo beautiful. The crown hung over the tables in the old barn where we had the party.


(I have not yet quite mastered all the functions of my camera so the photo is not very good but I hope you get the feeling of it.)

July 12, 2007

New camera!

Today´s Swedish word: apa. Means monkey.
My prescence here on the blog has been no less than a disaster lately - partly because I have been busy with Real Life and partly because of our lousy camera. It is just no fun blogging about food if the photos of the lovely concoction you just made looks like a blur.

But this Saturday I took the car and drove to a shopping center and bought a camera. Yay! I have however not cooked anything really this week so my motifs has been our lovely little nephew G and the lemur monkeys at Skansen. This photo is however a little food related, because the leumur seemed to want to have my friend´s cell phone for lunch.

Friend: give-it-back
Lemur: ooooh, yum yum. Gnaw gnaw gnaw, tug tug tug.
Well, I am off to prepare for the weekend. This Saturday my cousin is getting married up north and I have to get packing and rent a car because it doesn´t seem as my man can go with me; he is ill, and I don´t want to drive our own car alone - it has started to jump as a lemur on the road again. I will resume taking food photos this evening!

June 20, 2007

Sweets from Germany!

Today´s Swedish word: Tyskland. Means Germany.
Ooooh, sorry sorry sorry for dragging so much behind posting about this. Too much weddings! Anyway. Of course I participated in the 7th round of EBBP, Euro Blogging By Post, hosted by the passionate cook Johanna, and here is what turned up in my mailbox a week or so ago. Süßigkeiten from Florian of Küchenkrieg - all the way from Hamburg, Germany!

I got all sorts of stuff - even ice cream! (unfrozen!) Oooh, I really have to get a new camera but the ice cream is the blurry thing in the middle in front of the Kinderegg, a regular treat for Swedish children too! You know - it is chocolate, a toy and a surprise! I also got other chocolates, biscuits, jelly, cherry lollies... oh, and some smurfs of which the daddy-smurf apparently is the best. I haven´t tried him yet! All the sweets came with a nice long letter explaining about everything, giving me a recipe for the jelly (thank you! My German is not what it should be. At all.) and a personal story behind each item.
Thank you so much Florian! If you want to know more about the EBBP round head over here to read!

June 18, 2007

Sister of the bride

Today´s Swedish word: brud. Means bride.
Did you miss me? I have missed myself too! For a couple of weeks my whole mind (almost, I had to spare some space for my exam in law) has been occupied with this gorgeous girl, my dearest sister Helena, and her wedding.
Our flat is a mess, I have barely cooked anything in weeks and the intray is out of control but what does it matter when you get to share such a magic day with all your family and relatives? We also got to tie two families together in more than one way. Not only did these two marry each other but we all got to know each other while preparing for the party. We worked all night on Friday laying tables, making flower arrangements and I prepared small sandwiches with creme fraiche, sundried tomatoes and basil. I also (beforehand!) made the wonderful biscotti with ginger, almonds and pink peppercorns from the passionate cook. A great success with the bubbly and strawberries when the bride and groom had arrived - her riding a large black horse and him walking by her side...
We celebrated all night, eating and dancing and singing, and the next day we had a do in my parents´garden with lunch and coffee with leftover wedding cake. Now I am a bit tired but it will be back to normal in a few days I guess. And our flat will be clean and proper again and we will plan our vacation and I will fill in all the boring forms for my part-time unemplyment. It will all feel better to do all this when I have nice memories like this wedding to think of!
And I will cook again, and blog - about sweets from Germany and LA, veggies, rhubarb and loads of other stuff. And in a month we will head off for another wedding!
P.S. Of course we had cheesecake for dessert! D.S.

May 30, 2007

Another Swedish cheesecake

Today´s Swedish word: ost. Means cheese.

I have written before about Swedish cheesecake, different types and recipes. When we were up north last weekend we passed the absolutely stunningly beautiful landscape Hälsingland and layed our greedy hands on a large piece of cheesecake the Hälsingland way. Here it is, slightly warmed and served with a nice spoonful of cloudberry jam. We bought it at a regular food store in Järvsö, 30 kilometres north of the place where my mother grew up.

I won´t give you the recipe at the moment, I have never made it myself and those who knows things say that making Hälsingeostkaka is much harder than Smålandsostkaka. But since A is really pissed off that I just stole the last piece like this I guess I will have to start experimenting in the kitchen...
This cheesecake is more smooth than the Småland cheesecake, and a little bit chewy - like halloumi but not salty at all and not that solid. I guess (but have never tried) that you could try and slice it and fry in butter, cinnamon and sugar! Mmmmm.
Next time we´ll have Hälsingeostkaka is at my cousin´s wedding in July, and next time we´ll have Smålandsostkaka is at my sister´s wedding in just over two weeks!

May 24, 2007

Bolero

Today´s Swedish word: trevlig. Means nice.
If you have plans on vacation in Stockholm I know a place where you can eat. Well, I know a lot of places but until now it has been quite hard to find something decent in the very heart of our beautiful capital. There are good places in the south, north, east and west - and Gamla Stan - but if you are hungry around Sergels torg there are mostly fast food restaurants and boring cafés.
Go to Café Bolero at Klarabergsgatan, right across the street from the large department store Åhléns. I was on my way to Burger King some Fridays ago with a severe dip of blood sugar after a shopping round (dress for my sister´s wedding) when I suddenly recalled the
Swedish food blogger Alice Brax writing about some place in the city and turned on the heel to go there instead and wait for my equally low-blood-sweet boyfriend.
After a fantastic salad with beef, lettuce, olives and parmesan cheese for me and a grilled chicken sandwich for him we were both nice and sweet again, our wallets only slightly lighter (i.e. reasonable prices) and our bodies very relaxed after sitting on a soft couch listening to nice latino music.
Go there!

May 16, 2007

A thousand shades of green

Today´s Swedish word: grön. Means green.

One of the reasons I love the month May is that the trees are so beautiful when the leaves starts to come. For a couple of weeks the forest you see from the train, the road or from our windows come in thousands of different green colours, from the lightest green birches to deep green pine and spruce. Here and there you also see clouds of flowering blackthorn towards the green. It is so beautiful, you cannot stop looking at it. During the summer all the trees are the same green, but then in September-October you get lots of different colours again.

I think of the trees when I look at my newest sewing project, the effect on this quilt reminds me of what I see outside the window right now.

A dear friend of mine got a baby boy in February, and since I liked sewing the quilt for little G I decided to make another one for this little L. This time I went for all fabrics green and nature-related since his father is an biologist and his mother works with environmental issues and I must say I am very pleased with the way it came out. The photo is terrible, we really have to get more pixels soon, so you may not be able to see all the frogs, grass, leaves, forests, farms and dragonflies....

I am looking forward to 4 days off now, due to Ascension day. This afternoon we will probably (if A gets a good deal at the hotel) set off for Sundsvall, a very beutiful town up north where we have a good friend to visit. This trip comes on rather short notice but while we still don´t have kids or any pets we can be spontaneous!
Have a good weekend, you too!

May 10, 2007

Free gourmet food

Today´s Swedish word: gratis. Means free.

Farmers must be careful with money and every saved krona can be put somewhere else where it is more needed. A classic saying from my father is "Un-bought, that is the best thing there is!" When he finds something for free, or when he can fix something that is broken not having to replace it he smiles pleasantly and says it, with a certain glow to him.

As I am very much my father´s daughter, last weekend these little stingy darlings made me glow. Nettles, true gourmet food. Tasty, very good for you and best of all: they are free. Well, apart from a few drops of fuel for the car that is. We decided to go and pick a good bunch of them while they are still fresh and delicate, for freezing and using later on. The only downside is the stingy part of the business, even if I wear thick gloves I always seem to get burned somewhere, picking or preparing.

We used some of the nettles for soup and some for a frittata, and froze the rest in small bags for soups and pies later. Pick as many small, delicate, fresh nettles as you want and put them in a large bowl or the wash basin in the kitchen, with lots of cold water. Stir and work with your hands (they don´t burn in water if you are careful) very carefully so the sand sinks to the bottom. Pick out grass, leaves, bugs and woody stalks and scoop up the nettles into a large pan. Bring to the boil with water and let simmer for abot 15 minutes. Strain the nettles (save the stock for soup!) and pack into plastic bags or chop them and use for example in a...

Nettle frittata
Serves 4

1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
olive oil for frying
about 100 grams parboiled nettles
150 ml grated cheese, I used some "ordinary" cheese and some parmesan
pinch of salt
pinch of pepper
4 eggs


Put the oven on 200C. Fry the onion in the oil until soft and shiny. Add the chopped nettles and stir in. Whisk the eggs and add the onions and nettles, stir in the cheese and spice to taste with salt and pepper.
Grease a small ovenproof dish or line it with greaseproof paper. Pour in the egg batter and bake until settled, about 15-20 minutes. Serve hot, tepid or cold with for example smoked salmon.

Recipe from Swedish TV chef Maud Onnermark, originally with green kale but I have used both spinach and now nettles.

May 08, 2007

DBP: potato gratin with olives

Today´s Swedish word: ugn. Means oven.

A. called this Saturday from work (Ericsson is busy these days, keep their employees busy all week round!) to tell me he was really really up for a potato gratin of some kind and I took out my mandoline for slicing the potatoes. (You really have to try and make the best of these last days of winter potatoes, don´t you? Soon you will find nothing but new potatoes in the shops here, and that is the way it should be, by the way.)
Anyway. Before I had the mandoline I was afraid of the knife for my food processor. Then I was afraid of the mandoline, but when I discovered how practical it is and that I really can use it without slicing myself open somewhere (knock on wood) I started to really loving it and now I am afraid of my new Tupperware onion chopper instead. It is this little round container with a rotating lid and a blade inside, so sharp that my hair just stands up when I see it. Ouch.

As I stood there slicing potatoes and carrots with my mandoline and contemplating different flavourings for the gratin I came to think of half a jar lemon-filled green olives in the fridge and said onion chopper. Hmm, I could finish those olives and practise on the chopper!

This gratin came out really, really tasty! I haven´t got a recipe but simply slice some winter potatoes and a carrot, and a small fresh yellow onion. Layer them in a greased dish with chopped green olives, salt and pepper. Pour over fluids of some kind to almost cover, I used milk and creme fraiche whipped together because that was what I had on hand - and bake on medium heat (175-200 C) until the potatoes and carrots are soft and with a nice colour. You can add some grated cheese on the top towards the end if you like to.
We had the gratin with seared fillet of beef, top Swedish well-hung quality, and a salad, on the balcony. Life is sweet sometimes if you try and embrace your very sharp kitchen tools. Now, I could imagine having one of those microplane graters to be afraid of next...

May 05, 2007

First salad dinner of 2007...

Today´s Swedish word: kyckling. Means chicken.
I made this salad a couple of weeks ago when we had some friends over from the dancing group. It was one of the first really spring-like days and I felt like cooking something light, but still a little warming and filling.

The starter was served on the balcony: Anne´s very very tasty pitta chips with hoummos and feta cheese dip. I cheated and grated the cheese into a tub of ready hoummos, and mixed with some finely chopped red onion. I cannot recommend those chips enough! Very easy to make and super tasty. I spiced mine half with ancho chili powder and half with an Indian spice mix called Panch Phoran which I got from a friend and haven´t figured out how to use. For this it was perfect!

The recipe for the salad is from my trusted cooking guru Anna Bergenström and her book (written together with her daughter Fanny) Kärlek, oliver och timjan.

Bulgur salad with chicken and pine nuts
Serves 6-8

300 grams bulgur wheat
700 ml water + 1 tbsp olive oil
1 cube chicken stock
salt and pepper
4-5 tomatoes, cut in bite-size pieces
1 finely chopped red onion
1 large bunch rocket salad
1 small cucumber, diced
mint or basil (I used basil)
toasted pine nuts
Chicken: about three fried chicken fillets, 1-2 ready grilled. I used a bag of chicken legs which I simply cooked in the oven and cut in pieces.

Dressing:
zest + juice from 1.5 lemon
4-5 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

Bring the water and olive oil to the boil and dissolve the chicken stock in it. Stir in the bulgur wheat, lower the heat and let simmer for 3 minutes. Stir a couple of times. Put aside with a lid on and let it sit on a wooden board for 10 minutes. Stir it up, mix the dressing and stir in. Let it cool.
Prepare the chicken as you like it, you can shred the meat or just leave the pieces whole.
Mix the bulgur wheat with veg and shredded meat, or put the meat on top. Arrange on a platter and put pine nuts over it.

I served a dressing on the side, from the same book. Very very tasty as well!

Yoghurt dressing
300 ml plain yoghurt
pinch of coarse salt, I use Maldon
black or shite pepper
1 tbsp vinegar, I used apple cider
1/2 tbsp runny honey
small pinch of herb salt
dried thyme or tarragon
1/2 pressed garlic clove
Finally, for dessert my trusted vanilla yoghurt panna cotta with blackberries. We finished the dinner in a very good mood, trying out Latvian and Estonian liqueurs and singing nasty Swedish folk songs. A nice start on the spring!

April 29, 2007

Beef for the oceans

Today´s Swedish word: hav. Means sea.

Oh sorry sorry sorry again for my long silence, the weeks just fly right now with work, law studies, my sister´s hen party, gardening, having friends over... I have had to cut down on my computer time. But now I am up to speed again!
Today I am going to share with you a real gem from the Swedish culinary traditions, sjömansbiff. It means "the seaman´s beef" and the recipe is adapted for being cooked on a simple stove, beef and potatoes and sauce in the same pot.
Try it now, while we still have winter potatoes in the shops and we still have chilly evenings. .. The recipe is from
my favourite TV Chef, Per Morberg and we have made it several times now. Always a success, and even better the next day. It is fine to make a double batch but the potato doesn´t freeze well so make sure you finish it in a few days - not that it is any problems with that... The cooking procedure is a little time-consuming but well worth the result. This recipe is good because you cook the meat and potatoes separately, in old recipes you cook it together which can yield very very mushy potatoes.

Swedish "Sjömansbiff"
Serves 4

600 grams tender beef, sliced in 0,5 cm thick slices
100 ml plain wheat flour
4 large yellow onions
8-10 large potatoes
800 ml good beef stock
400 ml beer, I use my trusted A le Coq from Estonia
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper


Put the flour on a plate and flip the beef slices in it. Brown the meat in a frying pan and transfer it to a pot together with the tomato paste. Peel and slice the potatoes in 1.5 cm slices, brown them in a frying pan and put in another pot. Finely slice the onions, fry until golden and put half of it with the meat and half with the potatoes. Spice with salt and pepper, a bayleaf each and pour over stock and beer in the two pots. Let the meat simmer for 1.5-2 hours until tender, and cook the potatoes during the last half hour so everything gets ready on the same time.
To serve, drain the potatoes and layer beef and potato in a serving pot and pour over the fluids from the meat cooking. Salted cucumbers is good to have with it, and a glass of beer.

Celebration dinner sandwich

Today´s Swedish word: fira. Means celebrate.

This one I haven´t made myself but I have to show it anyway. I have told you before how good my man is at plating and decorating food, cakes and sandwiches. Myself I am a good cook and baker - but decorating? Nah. Sometimes I sprinkle something on the food but mostly I just present it as it is. And when I want a beautiful and tasty sandwich, for example when I wanted to celebrate my new job, now one month "old", I just turn to my dear A, with confidence.

On this one we have beetroot salad and meatballs on one side and eggs, prawns and prawn salad, lemon and dill on the other. Maybe it looks strange having this mix on one (it is large though) sandwich but it is really common here in Sweden and is called landgång. Hmm, don´t know the English word for it but it means the thing you walk on to get on a boat. (My dictionary says gangway but that sounds so crazy. I don´t trust my dictionary after the second cousin debâcle...)

April 10, 2007

DBP: lentil and roots pyttipanna

Today´s Swedish word: linser. Means lentils.
DBP is a new kind of posting here at my cuisine - Devoured Before Picture. You know, sometimes you just forget taking that picture of your food, because you are very hungry or you just cannot find the camera or something else. Instead of skipping the post, I will call it DBP and so there. I am not that good at taking pictures anyway and this pyttipanna was not very photogenique. Good, though!
We are very reluctant at the moment to buying food and try to use up what we have in our fridge and cupboards, being creative. Today I accompanied four chicken legs from the freezer with this pyttipanna style lentils and root veg creation. Pyttipanna is a very Swedish dish where you fry finely diced cooked meat and boiled potatoes and the only similarity with this is really the diced rooties but I call it pyttipanna anyway since this too is a good way to use leftovers.

Lentils and roots pyttipanna
Serves 2-3
1 carrot
1 yellow onion
1 smallish piece each of celeriac and swede
2 parsnips
about 100 ml green lentils, washed
Butter or oil for frying, salt and pepper and herbes de provence or other herb you like


Finely dice the vegetables and fry on medium heat until shiny and a little soft in a pan with a lid. Add the lentils and boiling water just up to maybe 2-3 centimeters in the pan. Spice it up, cover with the lid and let it simmer until the lentils are just cooked through, check the water so it doesn´t dry up and burn. It should take about 20 minutes.
Serve as it is with just some grated parmesan on top or with leftover meat or fish. I was lucky to find some goat´s cheese in the fridge which went perfectly with this.

April 05, 2007

Easter and surprise lamb meatballs

Today´s Swedish word: påsk. Means Easter.

Let me begin with an apoplogy for my sporadic appearance here on this blog, but right now my life in Real Life consumes most of my energy and time. I have had some rough months being unemployed and now when I have my new super life (my new job is SO wonderful) there are a lot of things to catch up with! Today for example I am doing laundry (OK, I have washed my clothes once in a while even before) and also cleaning in strange places. You know, those cupboards in the kitchen you dread to open because you a) won´t find what you are looking for anyway and b) something will inevitably fall out and smack you in your face. We have a couple of those! And I have decided that this Easter is going to be perfect. Lots of food, lots of feathers, lots of eggs, everything sparkling clean and sorted out (well, I have surrendered to our home office which is beoynd help) and lots of cooking.

In the picture is our Easter decoration in the kitchen, birch twigs with feathers and my cute little eggs and rabbits and whatnot. We got a little carried away when we were out walking in the forest last weekend and picked half the tree (of course we didn´t pick of a standing tree but one put down by someone) so this is big. And the leaves are coming!

We won´t have lamb on the Easter table so I decided to make something with lamb yesterday instead. These large meatballs are easy to pull off, very tasty and freezes well. Since A. won´t touch anything with garlic I now have some tasty lunches in the freezer! The recipe is one of my classics, I made it up some years ago and makes it once in a while.

Happy Easter!

Lamb meatballs with surprise inside

400 grams lamb mince
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 large egg
salt, pepper
(optional) 1 clove pressed garlic
200-300 ml ready tomato sauce, bought or home made.
50 grams feta cheese
Stir the mince with onion, the spice and egg to form a smooth batter. Cube the cheese. Rinse your hands in cold water and take a blob of the mince, flatten it out and put a feta cube in the middle. Wrap the mince around it to shape large meatballs or patties. Put them on a cutting board or plate rinsed in water. I got eight meatballs from this amount of mince.
Brown the meatballs in butter on all sides. When golden, pour over the tomato sauce, put a lid on the pan and let simmer for about ten minutes until cooked through. Serve with bulgur wheat, rice or pasta.

March 25, 2007

Kiwi and elderberry sorbet

Today´s Swedish word: glass. Means ice cream

Recently I have played around with the thought of making ice cream, sorbet, semifreddo... Maybe it is the coming spring with promises of sun and warmth that inspires me, and also a longing for something light and fresh. Next time I go home to my parents´and bring the car I will ask to borrow mum´s ice cream maker but for now a bowl, a fork and a freezer will have to make do. And it does!

Last weekend after a more than hectic week I discovered a whole tub of kiwi fruits, hidden away in the kitchen AND a plastic bag with four new ones. That is what happens when you are not around keeping an eye on your loved one and his grocery shopping... Anyway, I immediately decided to use the kiwi galore for some kind of sorbet or ice cream.
I checked my trusted Bonniers kokbok for advice, then tweaked the recipe quite a bit. It said to use gelatine but kiwi and gelatine don´t like each other so that was out of the question. It also said to use sugar syrup but I had some concentrated elderberry cordial in the freezer and used that instead. In the end my kiwi and elderberry sorbet came out really well, beautifully green with the little black speckles from the seeds, fluffy and icy and refreshing. The elderflower and the kiwi turned out to be good mates, too. Next time I will perhabs use a little less elderflower because it was kind of dominating but then again I love elderflower and you could taste the kiwi too. Anyway, the recipe is so easy so you can try both!

Kiwi and elderberry sorbet
one small batch
3 ripe kiwi fruits
200 ml concentrated elderberry cordial or 100 ml sugar syrup* and 100 ml water

Peel the fruit and blitz it in a blender or with a hand held mixer to a smooth purée. Mix well with the cordial and pour into a freezer container with a lid. Put it in the freezer for a couple of hours, then take it out and fluff it up with a fork to get rid of the crystals. Put it back, let it stay for an hour more or so, take it out and fluff and etc. until it sets and becomes more smooth. Scoop it up, serve immediately and devour in no time, before it melts.

*the recipe said to boil 150 ml caster sugar and 100 ml water together until the sugar dissolves, and let it cool.

Waiter - there´s something in my... Easter Basket

Today´s Swedish word: dag. Means day


Today is Waffle day, and also we put our watches one hour forward, to save daylight. It is tough to wake up, notice that the time is 8.30 on a Sunday morning, prepare to go back to sleep and then realise that it is in fact 9.30 instead so you really have to get up. But we made waffles for breakfast, for comfort. (The recipe is of course from Backstugan and you find it here.) And it is nice in the evenings when you get one hour extra sunlight!

Anyway. It is time again for "Waiter, there´s something in my...", this time hosted by Johanna with the theme Easter Basket. Two weeks to go to my favourite holiday! I really like Easter a little better than Christmas both because of the spring and the food. After writing this I am going to spring clean our place and put up some chickens and eggs for decorations. And after this coming week with its insane schedule of evening classes (even on my birthday, boohoo) and meetings I will also plan the food. Easter food tends to be lighter, with less meat and more fish. I want gravlax and smoked salmon, vegetable and/or fish paté with a cold sauce, perhabs lamb, spinach and asparagus, and naturally lots of herring and the most important thing: eggs. Both plain boiled eggs and egg halves which is my contribution to this event. When I set the buffet table for Easter I always include a large tray of egg halves with different fillings.
I like to make things up and use whatever I have in the cupboards so egg halves is the perfect starter in Easter times. Cold potatoes, caviar, smoked salmon or gravlax, shrimps, chives, anchovies, capers, dill... Only your imagination sets the limits.
These are a product of what could be found in our kitchen yesterday. From back to front:
  • Mayonnaise mixed with dill from the freezer and shrimps on top
  • Whipped cream mixed with Swedish caviar (try IKEA) and chives on top
  • Egg yolk mixed with chopped anchovies and chives and then put back in the eggwhites

I am so sorry about the blurry picture but something mysterious happened while uploading. Got to start working on my photos when things start to slow down...

March 17, 2007

Oink, oink

Today´s Swedish word: gris. Means pig. And they say "Nöff nöff" here.

I am sitting here in the middle of the night after a very tough week, waiting for the oven thermometer to beep. And I wonder: what on earth possessed me when I volunteered to cook pork loin for 55 people?
The story goes like this. As you might know I am a keen folk dancer and spend Thursday evenings dancing, first training a children´s group and then dancing myself. Midsummer is a very traditional day for most Swedes, and then most Swedes like to see folkdancing, and hence we spend midsummer dressed in our traditional costumes, very warm clothes by the way, dancing and dancing in at least three different places. Of course we love it, but it is also totally exhausting!

And that is why we tomorrow will celebrate midsummer the proper way, in the proper clothes (brrr, it is still rather cold here), with a folk dancing group coming to perform for us (but hush, it is a secret) and above all the proper food - and this is where my pork loin gets into the picture. At midsummer, you barbecue. Of course you eat herring, but barbecuing is at least as important. And that is why I am cooking 8.5 kilos pork loin in my oven. I have brushed it with soy sauce and a little liquid smoke, hoping that it will get the authentic, slightly burnt, aroma. Then tomorrow I will slice it, put it on plates and brush it with a marinade I still have to make up, with - I plan - more smoke, oil and a little garlic. We will eat it authentically with potato salad, we have bought 12.5 kilos and then do our traditional frog-leaping dance around the pole - of course we have one of those as well. I will get back to you with a full report when I come to my senses again.

The photo is of me in the clothes I won´t have to wear for "midsummer" tomorrow.

March 12, 2007

Pasta with brussels sprouts and mustard

Today´s Swedish word: brysselkål. Means brussels sprouts.


Oh joy. The sun is still shining, the sky is still blue and I have got a job. Oh yes, I already told you that... But I am really excited about it! It is "only" a part-time job for 6 months but it is my dream job, where I get to meet lots of interesting people and where I can use my creativity. I will, in short, be planning courses and seminars on different subjects for different people and the job also is here in my home town which is very nice, just a 15 minute walk from home. Yay! Of course I will miss working in Gamla stan, but Stockholm is just 30 kilometres away so I can go there whenever I like.


Well, enough on that subject. Today I will share one of my favourite recipes for pasta, with brussels sprouts, mustard and cream. I first found it in one of my oldest cookbooks: Kokboken Format by Malin Landqvist and Lotta Seipel, and has made it many times in different shapes. This time I used a new product which I got as a sample, Valio creme fraiche with a mix of mustard and lemon in the lid to stir in the creme fraiche. It was OK, but I found it a little too strong and maybe shouldn´t have put in all the spice mix. Or maybe I am simply not very much into this kind of convenience products, at least not when making it from scratch will take you just 2 minutes more... This is one of my quickest recipes, you make it while the pasta boils.


Pasta with brussels sprouts, mustard and cream
Serves 4



500 grams brussels sprouts, fresh or frozen
small knob of butter
half a yellow onion or 2-3 large schalott onions, finely shredded
200 ml whipping cream (I more often use cooking cream or creme fraiche)
2 tbsp french mustard


Boil the sprouts for 10 minutes or prepare them according to instructions on the bag. Drain in a colander. Meanwhile, sautée the onion in the butter and stir in the cream. Let it simmer for a while until a little reduced. Stir in the mustard and spice to taste with salt and pepper if needed. Add the sprouts and heat it all up, and serve immediately with pasta. I often add a few slices of crisp streaky bacon on top, too.

March 11, 2007

A quick note on happiness

Today´s Swedish word: lycka. Means happiness.

Let me just tell you, that today we have sun, blue sky and a whopping 9 degrees above zero. All the snow is gone and I have got a job. And now I will head off to a tupperware party at Anne´s where I will, without doubt, be fed lots of wonderful things.

See you later!

March 03, 2007

Five things you didn´t know about me

Today´s Swedish word: sak. Means thing.
Pille has tagged me for a meme and I happily accept since I am a wee bit uninspired these days and don´t post nearly as much as I should, or as I did when I worked full-time. I will try to come back soon to my old energy!
Anyway, the theme of the meme this time is Five things you didn´t know about me and I have thought a lot on what to reveal this time. I have actually taken part in a similar meme last year and then gave ten random facts. This is what I came up with now:
  1. Cousin statistics: I have 15 cousins. 10 boys and 5 girls. 7 on my father´s side and 8 on my mother´s and I am the second oldest on both sides. 7 of them lives around here in the Stockholm area, 2 in Järvsö, 1 in Hammerdal, 1 in Uppsala, 1 in Linköping, 1 in Värnamo and 2 in heaven. I have 4 second cousins (kusinbarn). Update: apparently my dictionary was wrong about this. I have much more second cousins (sysslingar) than 4! What I meant was that my cousins´children all in all is 4. 3 girls and 1 boy!
  2. I have had eye surgery twice as a little girl to correct a squinting eye but my mother claims that I still squint when I am tired.
  3. I can hold a speech or be toastmaster for a large number of people without thinking twice but if you suggest us playing charades at a party I will go and hide somewhere or just plain refuse. I hate playing charades, and also board games where you have to sing, even though I am good at singing.
  4. I love Monty Python. My favourites (some of them): Fish slapping dance, Penis song, The Pet Shop and everything when they are dressed like old ladies. Oooh, and the Spanish Inquisition. Nobody expects it.
  5. I am a total sucker for accordeon music and also folk music, preferrably involving a tramping organ. When I really love a song, like "Tukkipoikka" with JP Nyströms (a group from the very north in Sweden which sings in both Swedish and Finnish) I play it over and over again and once made a friend of mine yell: "Oh please, just shut it off! It is so terrible!" And yes, I like music you actually heard of too, like R.E.M. and Ella Fitzgerald.

February 25, 2007

Waiter - there´s something in my...pie

Today´s Swedish word: paj. Means pie, and is pronounced almost the same way!

After my last somewhat whiney posting I have decided to not complain any more. I have my friends and family and my health and above all there is so much food to cook. What more could you ask for in life? (ah, oh well. A job. I know I know, but surely it will be OK.) My main problem now is that I can feel a cold coming - but I will fight it! With, for example, this:

In this round of "Waiter, there´s something in my..." the theme is pies. And as hostess Jeanne told us, it should be a closed pie. Since closed pies are not at all common in Sweden and I felt a little insecure trying to make one (the cold makes me weak) I decided to interpret it the way Jeanne in fact encouraged us to: you should not be able to see the filling of the pie. Instead of closing the pie with a lid I went for a crumble, a savoury one. The filling is mince, and as you can see in the picture it is indeed invisible. And so is the crumble - apart from the chili speckles. Next time I make this crumble (and I will, it was so tasty) I will choose something else for filling - perhabs some mussels, or chicken.
Anyway. I found the crumble recipe in one of my favourite cookbooks, Manna, written by Karin Bille with recipes by chef Carola Magnusson. There it is used on a hot sandwich with mussels but I can think of dozens of other ways to use it too. The garlic and chili goes well with cold weather and a runny nose - but as I said: the mince filling is rather tasty but *not* pretty. Feel free to improvise!

Garlic and chili crumble
Enough for one small pie
60 grams cold butter, straight from the fridge
200 ml spelt wheat flour or wholewheat flour
half a fresh red chili pepper, deseeded and finely chopped
1 small clove garlic, pressed or finely chopped
a good pinch of sea salt

Put everything in a bowl and pinch it together with your fingers until it forms medium crumbs. You can also use a food processor. Put on top of the filling of your choice (for mine I fried 500 grams mince and 6-7 champignon mushrooms, and a small chopped yellow onion and seasoned with garlic, salt and pepper) and bake in the oven, 175C, for about 10 minutes.