The other day Bronte made this wonderful Västerbotten & Dill Pesto at home. Because, to be fair, sometimes, normal pesto get a bit boring!
You may think that dill is too strong for a pesto like this – but it’s not. It’s just perfect. Because its not for a pasta, but for other stuff. Do try it out at home – it is super easy to make and one portion is enough for all three dishes.
Västerbotten & Dill Pesto
1 large bunch of fresh dill (30-40g)
1 tbsp chopped parsley
½ clove of garlic
50g grated Västerbotten cheese (or substitute with an aged, hard cheese with good depths of flavour such as pecorino)
50-100ml good quality oil (extra virgin olive oil)
In a food processor, pulse the dill, parsley, garlic and walnuts. Add ¾ of the cheese and 50ml of the oil and pulse again until you have a finely chopped paste. Remove from the food processor and add the rest of the cheese (if needed), more oil until you have a pesto consistency (not too runny, but enough oil so that it can be used as a dressing or topping). Taste and season with salt and pepper.
Västerbotten & Dill Potato Salad
500g cooked new potatoes, skin left on. Cooled slightly.
In a bowl add the potatoes and a few tablespoons of pesto. Mix until potatoes are coated. You may need to add more pesto – to taste. serve as part of your Summer Garden BBQ Smörgåsbord.
Place the salmon fillets skin side up in a bake safe tray. Add 1-2 tbsp pesto on top on each fillet and place in a warm oven. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until cooked through (cooking time will vary depending on the size of your fish pieces). During baking, the pesto will change colour a bit and the cheese will form a slight crust.
Serve with salad or new potatoes.
The best Chicken Sandwich
We love this sandwich. You need:
1 crusty baguette style roll, ideally seeded
Leftover roast chicken pieces
Some green leaves
Butter your bread and add salad and chicken. Top with a few teaspoons of the dill pesto and add a bit of extra seasoning.
Summer’s here – and many of you Scandiphiles are heading to our native countries for your vacation. We asked our team where their favourite little unknown places are in their home countries – so if you are anyway near, you should pop over and check it out.
Guldhedstornets Café in Gothenburg! Funny little cafe up the top of a water tower, you can have both ice cream AND vanilla sauce with the blueberry pie! In the winter they have only a few lights so each table gets candles and you can enjoy the view over the city with coffee and free refills. http://www.guldhedstornet.se
Trelleborg near Slagelse in Denmark. It’s the site of the best preserved Viking ring fortress. It really makes you realise just how big these fortresses were and how cleaver the Vikings were with regards to working the land and the sea. We can trace my family back in this region to 1736 – okay, not quite back to Vikings, but its still a place I like to go for a long walk. It’s absolutely home – and part of my heritage.
Svaneke on the island of Bornholm in Denmark. Svaneke, Bornholm. The town has its own Bryghus (brewery) and ‘silde rōgeri’ (herring smoker) for a smoked herring with radishes and raw egg yolk on rye bread. A must.
(it’s like a crack in the mountain) where they filmed parts of Ronja Rövardotter.
The best location for a lovely day out on the beach in Norway would most definitely be at Ingierstrand Bad just a little bus or car ride away from Oslo it is a little hidden gem that most tourists never get to see. If your not dressed too casually (not in a bikini that is) the lovely Ingierstrand Bad Restaurant with its historic people’s house history and funky architecture is also based there and they serve delicious sea food with a view to die for.
Mountain climbing for everyone, close to Hoga Kusten, great experience with lovely scenery – go there and see for yourself!
My secret place to go and visit: It’s a restaurant called “Möruddens brygga” that is on Hammarö (close to my home town Karlstad). They re-opened a few years ago and is located near by Sweden’s biggest lake “Vänern”. They serve delicious seafood and is one of my very special places because of the scenery and food.
One of my favourite places in Stockholm (especially in the summer time) is called Loopen. It is a bit hidden but lies on a bridge by the water in Hornstull. It is a Caribbean restaurant and turns into a dance place at night! Surrounded by palm trees and water it feels like you are in the Caribbean!
Here is the link: www.loopen.se
We do love a good morning muffin, but what we don’t like is over-sugary sticky muffins that does not make you feel as if your day got off to a very good start. No thank you.
So, we came up with the StudMuffin, where we added lovely blueberries and baked it with spelt flour and oats.
We’ve been baking this muffin in the café for years and finally have agreed to share our recipe. You’re welcome.
Makes 6-7 large tulip muffins or more if using normal muffin cases (around double)
The lovely Blueberry, Banana & Spelt Studmuffin
Recipe Type: Cake
Author: Bronte Aurell
A lovely, filling blueberry muffin that is utterly delicious and food of oats and fruit.
250g spelt flour
100g light brown sugar
75g porridge oats
½ tsp salt
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla sugar or extract
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
75ml sunflower oil
2 tbsp apple sauce
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 ½ ripe banana
100g frozen blueberries.
Ost flakes or
Jordan’s Nut Crunch (if you want to make them extra indulgent).
Turn you oven to 180C.
Line your muffin tray with 6-7 tulip muffin cases or double of normal size muffin cases, if using those.
Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl.
Combine all wet ingredients in a different bowl, mix together with wet ingredients using a spoon (you do not have to beat the mixture, just fold well until everything is properly incorporated).
Mash the banana into smaller pieces using your fingers (rough is good – it is nice to have banana pieces in the muffin). Spoon the mixture into the muffin cases (3/4 full only) and top with blueberries evenly (these will sink when baking). Top with your chosen topping.
Bake until done – this depends on the size of your muffins, but around 20-25 minutes of the larger ones, a lot less for the smaller muffins. The muffins are done when a skewer comes out clean when poking it.
Smörgåstårta is the Swedish food equivalent of Liberace.
Look, we know what you’re thinking: A Sandwich cake, really? Yes, really. It’s a big thing in Sweden. And the more mayo, the better.
It’s completely against all this ‘Scandinavia is super healthy’ movement, but it is also about admitting that once in a while, we – like most people – overdo things. It’s not all about super healthy stuff all the time. But actually.. we think it is the balance that makes it both sustainable, fun and healthy!
Smörgåstårta is eaten at celebrations, such as Midsummer, birthdays, Christenings and more. The basic idea is to make a huge sandwich, cover it with more filling and decorate it, then cut it like a cake and eat it by the slice. In truth, someone forgot to tell the Swedes not to mix and match stuff that really does not go together, so at times, you will find Mrs. Jonsson has made a sandwich cake with a layer of pork liver pate, salmon, prawns, roast beef and topped with ham and cheese. It’s all a bit too much.
No, we don’t care if it has become tradition; it doesn’t make it right!
So, at the café, while we don’t often make Smörgåstårta, when we do, we stick to combinations such as delicious seafood and fish. We always make Smörgåstårta for Midsummer and people queue up, waiting for their slice to have with their open sandwiches and salads. It’s one of our favourite times of the year, helping the people of London have their first taste of Smörgåstårta!
If you Google Smörgåstårta, you will find that – as if straight out of a 1960s cookbook, Smörgåstårta are decorated as if it is the food equivalent of Liberace. More is more, and the more shaped rose radishes you can fit on there and swirls of cucumber, the better. It is all allowed when making Smörgåstårta, so feel free to get your creative spark on.
If you want to make a less Liberace version at home for your Midsummer Smorgasbord, here’s a quick serves-four recipe to follow. If you feel it does need some extra OOOMMPH on there, feel free to go mad.
Enjoy! And Happy Midsummer.
What you need:
6 slices of white English bread, crust cut off
about 200ml prawn salad (use your favourite or mix together peeled prawns, dill, chopped chives, lemon, mayo, creme fraiche, salt, pepper – to taste)
A tub of good quality prawns
200g smoked salmon
A tub of mayonnaise
3 hard boiled eggs.
Mix the Skagenrora with an extra handful of prawns and freshly chopped chives. You can also add some chopped salmon to this – it depends how you prefer your fish/mayo ratio.
Butter the bread on one side. Please two sides side by side and top with as much Skagenröra mixture as you feel is needed (you may not need it all). Add two slices of bread on top.
Mash the eggs and mix with a little bit of mayonnaise and season with salt and pepper. Add to the top of the bread. Add the last two slices of bread.
Using a pallet knife, add a thin layer of mayonnaise all around the sandwich cake. This will help the other toppings stick.
We like using nice slices of salmon on the top of the sandwich cake. Try to arrange in a nice pattern and let it overhang slightly on the sides to avoid blunt corners.
Using a cheese slicer or mandolin, cut long pieces of cucumber and use to decorate the sides. If you need a bit more mayonnaise to make it stick, well, so be it.
Once the sides are looking neat, you can decorate the top. This is the bit where you’re likely to overdo it. We tend to simply add some Skagenrora on top and then add loads of prawns and simply decorate with sprigs of dill.
Midsummer in Scandinavia. Think clear blue lakes, rolling green hills and lots of people running around barefoot, singing and dancing. Here’s our little guide about how to be more like a Swede at Midsummer…
Midsummer is the longest day of the year. Swedes (and Finns) celebrate it on the Friday that is closest to actual solstice. This year, Midsummer in Sweden is 19th June, but any Swede abroad will celebrate it on 20th because that is a Saturday, so this is much more convenient.
Most people think this is Swedish Midsummer…
Okay, so this is actually a bit true….
Midsummer is almost as big as Christmas and Eurovision. We take it very seriously. So, if you are planning on joining in, you need to know the basics.
You need nature. Midsummer is not an indoor celebration. It’s not possible to be authentic celebrating midsummer in a Hackney bedsit. Head to a park near you if you are in the city – such as Hyde Park (like a calling, Swedes randomly seem to gather there most years, although it is not an organised event).
The Midsummer Pole (Midsommarstången)
Get a few wooden poles, put them in a cross, add two round balls and decorate with flowers. Yes, we know, it is an upside down willy. It is a big fertility ritual, really. Erect your pole in the grass.
It’s basically a Maypole, but we don’t have enough flowers to decorate it in May, so we wait until June.
Dance like a frog
All Swedes know that the most natural thing in the world is to dance around the big phallic pole, pretending to be a little frog with no ear and no tail. Everybody joins in – old, young, drunk. Get the song here.
The food: Herring
Pack a picnic or make a buffet of the most delicious Scandi traditional foods.
Eating herring is essential. For midsummer, the delicious Matjes herring is the way forward. If anyone offers you something called Surströmming, tell them to go where the sun doesn’t shine: It is fermented herring and it smells like gone-off dog poo (tastes okay, though). A word of advice: If you are going to go down the Surströmming route, be very careful not to get any of the brine on your clothes as your chances of finding mate for the evening will be reduced to below zero. Also, the tin is pressurised, so when you open it, the brine will squirt out. Just say no. If you don’t believe us, watch this clip with our Jonas opening surstromming in Hyde Park.
The food: Strawberries.
You will need to include some strawberries in your picnic, as required by Swedish law (we think). Make a strawberry cake (Recipe here) or just bring a kilos along to share out. Rub yourself with strawberries to increase your overall appeal (this is not a proven method, but it might work, who knows).
The food: Dill
The secret to making any dish ‘traditionally Swedish’: Just add dill.
Add to potatoes, add to salads, add to crisps and sandwiches. Just add dill. Then add a bit more. You can never have quite enough dill on things. No, you can’t smoke it.
Guarenteed to rain. Then it will be sunny after. Every time.
Swedes at Midsummer will be consuming a lot of aquavit. It’s a strong alcohol made from grain and flavoured with dill, aniseed and caraway. We drink it in ice cold shots (nubbar), one after the other roughly 1 shot for every 2 beers consumed.
A few things to note: 1) It gets you drunk from the waist down first (i.e. no walking) and 2) It puts you in a slightly amorous mood. Fact: The birth rate in Sweden spikes nine months after Midsummer every year.
Someone will try to offer you the aquavit shot made from wormwood (it’s the one called Bäska Droppar) – they do this because they don’t want to drink it themselves its horrible) and it is really funny to see non-Swedes try it. Polite refuse and say you know what they’re up to.
Ladies tend to wear white dresses or very flowery frocks. A bit like a Laura Ashley showroom, but worn by really pretty people who look like goddesses sent from a different planet to save humanity. Or something.
Men tend to wear what they normally wear to look very Swedish: tight light-coloured trousers, pointy shoes, gelled slicked back hair, a pink shirt and maybe a crown of flowers. Sunglasses essential.
Some people wear traditional dress. If you are not Swedish, it will just make you look like a bit of a twig, so don’t go there. And whatever you do, please, no blue-yellow clothes combos. Bring flags instead. As many as you can carry (this will make you everybody’s best friend).
There are many, many different drinking songs to learn, but if you make an effort and learn ‘Helan Går’, you’ll be the Måns Zelmerlov hero of the night. Don’t worry too much if you don’t get around to learning it, most people are automatically fluent in Swedish after 2 shots of aquavit. If you overdo the aquavit, you may end up sounding Danish. don’t worry, this is not a bad thing, the Swedes will assume you brought cheap beer and will possibly try to befriend you.
Games people play
Don’t be surprised if you are invited to take part in a tug-of-war, egg and spoon race or a game of ‘kubb’. Kubb is a Swedish game involving some wooden sticks and some very drunk men falling about laughing. As far as we can tell, there are no rules (except the ones the drunk Swedes make up on the day).
Flowers in your hair
This applies to everybody. We all do it. Old, young, man, woman – get some flowers in your hair. Kudos if you make your own garland, but you can get hold of cheapie artificial ones at most H&M shops. Flower garlands look especially good on bald, middle aged men.
Legend says that if you pick seven different wild flowers and put them under your pillow at night, you will dream of the person you will marry. This makes the Tinder-swiping a lot easier going forward if you already know what he or she looks like.
It’s yours to deal with, all alone. Enjoy. Hurdy Gurdy.
We are selling out ready to pick up Swedish picnic boxes – booking taken up until 3 days before the event, so just click HERE to order. A box for 4 people costs just £50 (£12.50 per person).