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.