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.

February 21, 2007

Buy Swedish food online

Today´s Swedish word: sol. Means sun
We have a bright sunny day here in my hometown, but it is -15 degrees outside so I hesitate to go out, even though I should. I woke up at 4 this morning feeling thirsty and couldn´t go back to sleep so this is a drowsy day. Anyway. I just found
this, which I think might interest a few of my dear readers - an online shop for Swedish products like food, candy and gifts. The shop is called Hemlängtan which means longing home and you can buy herring, caviar (i.e. Swedish caviar which is pink and a little sweet-salty and comes in a metal tube) and reindeer soft cheese.

No Clivia, back to work now. I should:
  • Write job applications
  • Pay some bills
  • Go online and buy more books for the law course I am taking
  • Study the law books I have already got
  • Clean the floors
  • Finish the new baby quilt I am making
  • Fold and put away the laundry I made this morning
  • Go outside and get some fresh air

And I should not:

  • Drink coffee when I am in fact hungry
  • Read blogs all day
  • Wake up at 4 and not go back to sleep because my head starts rhyming songs for my sister´s wedding
  • Think that the phone will ring and someone will say: "Hello Clivia, I have a job for you. Do you want it?"

Well, better luck tomorrow!

February 16, 2007

My hero!

Today´s Swedish word: skådespelare. Means actor.
This (picture borrowed from Titan, thank you) is Per Morberg, a well-known actor in Sweden. But did you know, my fellow Swedish readers, that he also has become a TV chef? No, I didn´t think so. They send it on the somewhat forgotten channel TV4+, Thursday evenings at 9. Go see, immediately! This is, I must say, one of the best cooking programmes I have ever seen. Forget about Tina Nordström and go for Per Morberg instead. Why this programme is not more well-known is a mystery to me, I myself discovered it by pure coincidence.
This is passionate cooking, in his own home, with the best produce he can find from local producers. Morberg is in fact a trained chef and has worked in some of the finest restaurants which shows in his cooking kills and his fantastic kitchen. Last week A. made a beef casserole from one of his recipes and it was totally melt-in-mouth delicious.
But what really makes me love this is his style. Hygiene? Nah. He keeps running his hands through his hair, dipping his fingers in (boiling hot) sauces and licking them, then putting the finger somewhere else in the food without washing first... I don´t cook that way myself but I think it is cool that he does in this hygiene-crazy country without apologizing.
The fire alarm goes off at least once in each programme so he has to stop cooking and fan over the alarm with a tea towel (which he uses for wiping his hands, his sweat, his pots...) He uses a high-pressure cleaner to peel the potatoes (yes, outside) and an electric saw for the lamb ribs. And he is very, very funny. Yesterday when I was watching he was making chicken curry and had to cut up some chicken. He stared earnestly into the camera and said, preacher-like: "When you deal with chicken you have to be really careful about hygiene." Next thing he was outside by the cutting-block with the chickens and an axe. Ha ha!
Update: As my dear reader Krakel Spektakel points out I also just have to admit that he is also, as you can see, a very very beautiful man. Yeah OK, he is hot. I am not even much into macho men, but this man - well. I confess. Oh la la!
So just watch this, will you? For you not living in Sweden you can watch clips and pictures here.

February 12, 2007

Salad with almond potatoes

Today´s Swedish word: potatis. Means potato
At first I headlined this post "almond potato salad" but changed it, thinking about all those who might think it is a potato salad with almonds in it and then be disappointed since it is not. I can assure you, however, that this salad is indeed just thrown together in a hurry but certainly not a disappointment!

"Almond potatoes", mandelpotatis, is a kind of potato grown mostly in northern Sweden where they also take much pride in it. The name refers to the shape - rather small, oval potatoes. They have a lovely, clean and strong potato taste and are very floury so if you want to use them as they are you have to boil them with peel on. Substitute a kind of potato you like for its flavour if you want to try this salad.

I am currently unemployed after a re-organization (long story, but if you need a information´s specialist with a passion for food in the Stockholm area - here I am!) and decided to go to Stockholm this Friday meeting a friend. Just when I was about to leave A. called and dropped the fact that he would bring a dinner guest for the evening and could I come up with something really tasty? Gah. But I will never let a dinner on short notice defeat me, besides the guest is super nice and I looked forward to meeting him. I simply bought a bag of these fine potatoes and paired it with this and that from the fridge and kitchen cupboards. I also bought some well-hung steaks that went into the griddle pan and it all went down well!

Wintery potato salad
Serves 4

about 1000 grams good potatoes, boiled until just cooked through
some white and some green from a leek, finely shredded
a fistful of kalamata olives, pitted and halved
50 ml capers

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar or other mild vinegar
3 tbsp canola oil, I used 2 tbsp cold-pressed and 1 plain
1 tbsp dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste

Peel and cut the potatoes in nice chunks while still hot and pour over the dressing. Mix carefully with the other ingredients and serve immediately while it is still warm (it is of course just as tasty cold the day after) with steak or chicken for example.

February 05, 2007

Tuna salad with spelt wheat and miso dressing

Today´s Swedish word: tonfisk. Means tuna.

I don´t care much for tuna since school lunch days when we were served salad with dry rice and dry tuna, like sawdust...yuk. It just grew in my mouth and I tried to wash it down with lots of dressing and milk...
Anyway, when Anne and I was out celebrating the elections result with a real foodie afternoon we found real good (expensive too) tuna in a shop. At least Anne claimed that this tuna was completely different from the one most common in the ordinary food stores, and I decided to give it a go. The "completely different" tuna was allowed to follow me home.

I tested a jar and found it acceptable, but the remaining two small tins stayed where they were until last Saturday when the tuna lover A. came home with a tin of tuna in sweet and sour sauce which I found rather suspicious. He wanted to have this tuna for dinner served with quinoa and this was the time I felt I had to take control of the situation. No way was I having sweet and sour tuna with quinoa on a Saturday evening! If I would eat tuna, it would have to be proper tuna. And not warm either. I decided to revive the tuna salad of my childhood and empty some space in my kitchen cabinets at the same time.

The result as seen in the picture was delicious, so delicious in fact so I will go back to that shop to get more tuna. Instead of rice I used whole spelt wheat from a large bag I have. I think that tuna can be too dominating, but the nutty, chewy wheat somehow balanced the taste and texture, making it the tuna salad I want to make again.

For the salad I simply mixed the boiled spelt wheat (you could use farro, bulgur or indeed quinoa) with some bits and pieces I found at home. Red onion, leek, yellow peppers, corn, green peas from the freezer...
I had some miso and rice vinegar standing in the fridge since ages ago and decided to try a miso dressing. The first search result I found, from About: Vegetarian cuisine sounded perfect though I adapted it a little after my lack of sesame oil and taste for more ginger. The dressing was perfect, rather strong-tasting and drizzled over the salad:

2 tbsp miso
4 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp tamari soy or other light, Japanese-style soy
2 tbsp canola oil
2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
Ground ginger to taste, I used about 1 tbsp and also some fresh, grated

In the picture is the suspicious tuna to the left, the completely different tuna to the right and the miso dressing in the middle.