Author Archives: Bronte Aurell

WIN The Bridge DVD Box Set Seasons 1-4

May 24, 2018 | Leave a comment

 

WIN The Bridge DVD Box Set Seasons 1-4

Love The Bridge? Want to keep Saga Noren in your life on 13 DVDs after the last episode of the popular Swedish/Danish crime drama Season 4 of The Bridge (Broen/Bron) has aired on BBC2? Then you want to enter this competition to be in with a chance to win the complete box set for Season 1-4. Just imagine the binge weekend up ahead!

ScandiKitchen has teamed up with Arrow Films for this fantastic prize to celebrate the release of the DVD Box Set of The Bridge (out 29th June 2018):

You can win:

• Box Set of The Bridge Seasons 1-4 on DVD/Blue Ray
• A big box of Swedish goodies to eat while you watch it
• A big box of Danish goodies to eat while you watch it
• A ‘I wish I were Danish/Swedish’ T-shirt from ScandiKitchen


We’ll make sure the winner has the Box Set as soon as it is released so you have time to plan your long weekend, turn the phone off and tell the world you’ve gone away to a dark, dark place.

To be in with a chance to win, just answer this question:

How long is The Bridge connecting Denmark and Sweden? (the bridge, not tunnel bit)

a) 5,492m
b) 7,845 m
b) 14,341m

Answers to iloveherring@scandikitchen.co.uk before 15th June 2018. Winner will be picked from all correct entries.

Usual competition rules apply – including no alternative prize, the prize has no cash value, no cheating, one winner only. The responsibility of this competition lies with ScandiKitchen and Arrow Films. One entry per email.

Catch The Bridge Season 4 now on BBC2 on Friday evenings and on BBC Iplayer.

Swedish Valdemar and Almost-Danish Adam, posing with the box of goodies. What handsome chaps indeed.

Norwegian Smash & Kvikklunsj Brownies

May 22, 2018 | Leave a comment

 

Smash & Kvikklunsj Brownies

For Norway Day in Southwark Park this year, Bronte made a batch of brownies and stuffed them with the most delicious – and iconic – Norwegian chocolates.
By popular demand, here are the recipes.

The base recipe is the same, so just amend the filling.

It also works as a SMIL chocolate brownie (add Smil and salted caramel topping), Firkløver brownie (add more hazelnuts) – and pretty much anything you can think of trying. It’s the most versatile brownie base recipe, ever.

If you prefer a very sticky under baked brownie, use even less baking powder. But we find that just one teaspoon helps a bit.

Ingredients
• 200g good-quality, 70% dark chocolate (OR a mixture of milk and dark – if you prefer a less bitter end result)
• 250g unsalted butter
• 275g caster sugar
• 3 eggs
• 80g plain flour
• 1 tsp baking powder
• 50g good-quality cocoa powder (we use Fazer Cacao)
• Pinch of salt
• 1 tsp vanilla sugar (or extract)

Smash
• 2 bags of 100g Smash (200g in total), slightly smashed (ha! We mean crushed).
• Ready made toffee sauce or chocolate sauce (for decorating)

Kvikklunsj
• 3 bars of Kvikklunsj, cut into pieces
• A good large handful of mini marshmallows
• 50g pecan or walnuts – optional

Method
Pre-heat your oven to 170C and line a brownie tin (20cm x 20cm is good, but similar size can also be used – note baking times vary by oven).

Melt the butter and the chocolate in a bowl over simmering water – or in the microwave. Set aside to cool a little.

Whisk the egg and sugar, then slowly add the melted chocolate mixture.
Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt and vanilla sugar – and fold into the chocolate mixture. If using vanilla extract, add at end.

Add 1/3 of the fillings to the mixture, then pour into the prepared tin. Add the rest of the filling on top (except the toffee sauce – and hold back a few marshmallows/chocolate too for decorating before serving).

Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the side comes out clean – the middle can still be gooey but it should not wobble when you shake the pan. Leave to cool, then drizzle toffee sauce and the extra topping, cut into squares to serve.

Remember Bronte’s mantra: Ovens are not created equal and baking times always vary. Check your bakes.

The Bridge – hotdog style

May 18, 2018 | Leave a comment

 

The Bridge – hotdog style

When it comes to food, we Danes and Swedes have our little differences. Take our hotdogs, for example – and here’s our The Bridge Hot Dog version. Do you prefer you hotdog Danish or Swedish?!

The hugely popular Nordic noir TV series The Bridge Season 4 is currently showing on BBC 2 on Friday nights. It is the final series and the one that will hopefully provide all the answers.

For those who do not know, the story started when a body was found on the bridge that connects Denmark with Sweden – with half of the body on the Danish side, half on the Swedish, forcing the two crime teams to work together.

For us Scandies, The Bridge provide an amazing way to experience both different languages spoken in one series, with everybody understanding what is going on. The funny thing is, there’s only 600 words difference between Danish and Swedish, so we actually do understand each other most of the time, even when we just speak our own languages.

Watch this space for an upcoming competition to win the entire box set of The Bridge season 1-4 along with LOTS of Danish and Swedish goodies to go with it. More details will be released next week. A massive 13 DVDs: you will literally not need to leave your house for the entire weekend if you win this box set and all that food.

We’ll be running this competition together with the nice people at Arrow Films. More next week.

Koldskål & Kammerjunker – Danish buttermilk dessert

May 7, 2018 | Leave a comment

 

Koldskål & Kammerjunker – Danish buttermilk dessert

Ask any Danes and they’ll agree this dessert signifies the height of summer.

We stock this in our online shop and our café deli in London (get your stash right here), but if you fancy having a go at making it at home, here’s a great recipe that tastes ‘just right’.

This recipe requires the simple buttermilk usually sold in litres. You can find fresh buttermilk in larger supermarkets and in a lot of Eastern European shops, too. We prefer the Polish buttermilk that comes in one litre – some of the UK types can be a bit too thick.

‘Kammerjunker’ biscuits are crisp, but sweet, biscuits, lightly crushed or added whole to the soup. They need to be super crispy to carry the lightness of the soup, hence why they are returned to the oven after the initial first baking to ‘dry out’ and bake twice. If you cant be bothered to make the biscuits, fresh strawberries work really well too.

Ingredients

For the soup:
1 litre buttermilk
150ml Greek or natural yoghurt
2 egg yolks (this dessert contains raw egg yolk)
60g caster sugar
Seeds from 1 vanilla pod
Zest from ½ lemon
Juice from ¼ lemon

For the ‘Kammerjunker’ biscuits
150g flour
1 tsp baking powder
50g caster sugar
50g butter
1 egg
1 tsp good vanilla sugar or extract w seeds – or seeds from one vanilla pod
½ tsp ground cardamom (optional)
Zest from ½ lemon
2 tbsp cream

To serve
Seasonal fruit – strawberries, quartered

Method

To make the biscuits
Combine the baking powder with the flour. Add the cold butter, cubed, and mix in until you have grainy result. Add the sugar, then the other ingredients and mix again until you have an even dough.

Leave to chill for 20 minutes before rolling the dough.

Turn the oven to 200 degrees C

Roll the dough out and cut 35-40 small pieces, roll them and place them on a lined baking tray.

Bake for 7-10 minutes (depending on your oven). Remove from oven and cut each biscuit across the middle so you end up with two flat halves. Return to the warm oven and leave them to finish baking, at 170 degrees, for 8-10 more minutes OR until golden and crisp.

To make the soup/dessert

On high speed using a mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk egg yolk and sugar until white. Add the vanilla and lemon zest, then the yoghurt and start to add the buttermilk whilst continuously whisking.

Add lemon juice to taste – the soup should be sweet but have a good punch of lemon flavour coming through.

Serve the cold soup in bowls, topped with strawberries and biscuits.

This soup should really be eaten on day of making it as it contains raw egg.

The best summer slaw

May 6, 2018 | Leave a comment

 

Summer Slaw

Try Bronte’s summer coleslaw – for a lighter slaw. Recipe from her book ScandiKitchen Summer – out now!

There’s coleslaw and then there is coleslaw.

I love coleslaw, I really do, but I detest the gloopy factory-made rubbish that seems to have become standard fare in supermarkets all over. If you ask me, the secret to a good slaw is lightly pickling the cabbage base before adding a punchy, flavourful dressing.

Serves 4–6 as a side dish

Ingredients

CABBAGE BASE
300 g/5 cups shredded white and red cabbage
1 red onion
2 large (or 3 smaller) carrots
100 ml/1⁄3 cup plus 1 tablespoon water
100 ml/generous 1⁄3 cup plus
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
3 generous tablespoons icing/confectioners’ sugar
1⁄2 teaspoon salt

DRESSING
3 generous tablespoons good quality mayonnaise
3 tablespoons buttermilk
1 tablespoon icing/confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar (only if needed)
1⁄2 teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon grated fresh horseradish or horseradish sauce
salt and freshly ground black pepper

TO SERVE
3 spring onions/scallions, sliced
50 g/generous 1⁄2 cup toasted, chopped walnuts
30–35 g/1⁄4 cup pumpkin seeds

Method

Place the shredded white and red cabbage in a large bowl. Finely slice the red onion into half rounds, and then grate (or julienne, if you can be bothered) the carrots and add both to the bowl. In another bowl or jug/pitcher, mix together the water, white wine vinegar, icing/confectioners’ sugar and salt. Pour over the cabbage, then cover the bowl and shake well. Leave for at least one hour, ideally two – shake it once in a while. You’re lightly sousing the cabbage, ensuring it is easier to eat and digest.

Press the cabbage free of excess vinegar liquid and leave in a sieve/strainer until excess vinegar has drained. The cabbage will now be softer and the onion appear almost a little cooked. Make sure the vinegar is well pressed out or the end result will be too acidic.

Mix together the ingredients for the dressing. Mix the dressing with the slaw and taste – it should be a bit tangy. If not, add a teaspoon extra of vinegar (this depends how much of the pickle juice was pressed out – it is easier to add a bit than remove if too much).

Just before serving, fold in the spring onion/scallions and toasted chopped walnuts. Sprinkle over the pumpkin seeds for extra crunch. This coleslaw is extra delicious on days two and three – when it will be pink (if you have used red cabbage).

Great served alongside the Beef Lindstroöm burgers or just as a side to most other summer dishes.

Beef Lindström Burgers

May 5, 2018 | Leave a comment

 

Beef Lindström Burgers

Hello sunshine, summer and barbecue season.

Well, it is not like we Scandinavians only BBQ in the summer. No no, we do it all year round, especially the Swedes and Norwegians who will happily step outside to grill those Wienerkorv sausages in minus 20 (it’s quite a thing in the Scandinavian ski resorts, this).

Over the next few days we will add some nice ideas for you to take to your garden and bring a bit of a Scandi flair to your BBQ.

From Bronte Aurell’s new book, ScandiKitchen Summer, comes this lovely take on the Swedish classic Biff Lindström – in her book, she decided to make them into burgers. A classic combo of ground beef and beetroot – with an egg on top. The book does not contain a recipe for the rye burger buns, so we have added those at the end here. If you can’t be bothered to bake your own burger buns, go for a nice brioche bun.

Beef Lindström Burgers
Bronte Aurell

Serves 4

One of the most famous burgers in Sweden, the biff à la Lindström is named after Henrik Lindström, a prominent industrialist with Swedish parents, who grew up in St Petersburg in Russia. On holidays in Sweden, he taught the chef at his hotel how to make this burger with capers and beetroot/beet. It became a hit across the country – and rightly so as the combination is super-nice. The traditional way of serving these is without the bun and with potatoes on the side. We used to make it like this at home, until my burger-loving kids suggested we add a bun and have it with coleslaw one sunny day.

Sometimes, having Anglo-Scandinavian children who are not bound by ‘how things are usually done in Scandinavia’ means we can find new ways of enjoying old classics. The patties are quite fragile, so be aware of this if you plan to stick them on the BBQ.

Ingredients

500 g/18 oz. minced/ground beef
good pinch of salt
1 onion, finely chopped
100 g/31⁄2 oz. pickled beetroot/beet, finely chopped
40 g/11⁄2 oz. pickled cucumber or gherkins, finely chopped
2 tablespoons capers, roughly chopped
1 medium cooked white potato
(approx. 80 g/3 oz.), peeled and
roughly mashed
4 egg yolks
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
salt and freshly ground black pepper
olive oil or rapeseed oil and butter, for frying
4 eggs, to serve

Method

Put the minced/ground beef and salt in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Mix for around 1 minute on medium speed. Alternatively, you can mix for a little longer in a large bowl with a wooden spoon.

Add the onion, beetroot/beet, pickled cucumber or gherkins, capers, cooked potato, egg yolks and mustard. Season with salt and black pepper. Mix again until all the ingredients are evenly incorporated (but not too long or the burger will become tough).

Shape the mixture into 4 burgers and leave them to rest for 30 minutes in the fridge before frying.

Preheat the oven to 120°C (250°F) Gas 1/2.

Heat the oil and butter in a frying pan/skillet. Fry the burgers (in batches if needed, depending on the size of your pan) over a high heat for about 3–4 minutes on each side, depending on how you like your beef to be cooked.

Once cooked, pop the beef patties in the oven to keep warm and fry the eggs sunny-side up in the same frying pan/skillet. Serve each beef patty on a lightly toasted burger bun with the fried egg on top. Serve with summer slaw and condiments on the side.

To serve:
Seeded rye burger buns or buns of your choice, toasted
Summer Slaw, condiments of your choice

Bonus recipe: Rye Burger Buns

These buns are light and fluffy and go well with the Swedish Biff Lindstrom Burger.

Makes 8 buns

Ingredients

25g fresh yeast (or 13g dry active)
150ml lukewarm water (36-37C)
150ml lukewarm whole milk
50g light brown sugar
1 egg (plus ½ egg for the glaze)

200g dark rye flour
400g White bread flour
1 ½ tsp salt
80g soft butter

Black (or white) sesame seeds to decorate
½ egg to glaze

Method

Add the yeast to a mixing bowl and then add the sugar and milk and water. Mix until everything has dissolved.

Add the rye flour and then start adding the white flour and salt. Add the egg and the butter. Keep kneading on a medium setting – around five minutes – adding as much flour as needed as you go. You may need more or less than stated here. Your dough should be sticky – cover with cling film and leave to rise for around an hour until doubled in size.

Line your baking sheets.

Knead the dough through and cut into 7-9 pieces depending on the sizing of your buns. Roll the pieces into even and uniform rolls and place on the baking sheet, a good distance apart (5-6 cm). Leave to rise under a damp teatowel until doubled in size again (could be another hour, but times vary).

Turn the oven to 180C

Brush the buns lightly with egg wash and add the black sesame seed (or use light brown ones, if you prefer – I just like the contrast of the dark seeds). Its always a good idea to keep the moisture in the oven when you bake these – so I always add a bowl of water to the bottom shelf of the oven.

Bake for about 12-14 minutes or until baked through – it depends on your oven. Remove from oven and allow to cool before using. These buns freeze well.

Get the book ScandiKitchen Summer here. Published by Ryland Peters and Small with beautiful photographs by Pete Cassidy.

WIN ScandiKitchen Summer Cookbook

April 20, 2018 | Leave a comment

 

WIN ScandiKitchen Summer Cookbook

The sun is finally here and we’re celebrating by giving away one of our fancy new ScandiKitchen Summer cookbooks, signed by Bronte Aurell. Oh, and we may just include some Scandi sweet treats, too, for the winner.

Swedish Mess

Danish breakfast rolls

You can buy signed copies of the book here 

To be in with a chance to win, all you have to do is answer this ridiculously easy question:

Which of these is not a famous Scandinavian singer?

1. Sigrid
2. Peter Schmeichel
3. Zara Larsson

Send your answer to iloveherring@scandikitchen.co.uk before Tuesday 24/4/2018 and we’ll pick a winner at random from all correct entries.

Terms: UK residents only (it’s a legal thing, guys), one entry per email, winner will be picked at random. No prize alternative, no cash value. No cheating.

ScandiKitchen Summer is published by RPS. Photographs by Pete Cassidy.

  

23 ways to annoy a Scandinavian person

April 5, 2018 | Leave a comment

 

23 ways to annoy a Scandinavian person

We’ve updated our list which now includes no fewer than 23 ways on how to annoy us. So, if you ever find the need to want to really get to one of us, this is a helpful start. Proceed with caution.

1. Sweden, Norway and Denmark, it’s all the same, right?

Not right. Different countries, cultures and languages. Yes, really, and don’t make it worse by tilting your head to one side and saying ‘oh really?!’ as if you don’t believe us.

(Finland is sometimes included, but officially, it’s not really Scandinavia).

2. Ah, you’re Dutch, are you?

When you insist that Danes are Dutch. As in: “Oh, I love Copenhagen, I always wanted to go to Holland for my holidays”.

Not.even.close.

3. Ah, you’re Swiss? Sweden, right?

No, Swedish, like ABBA and Volvos. The Swiss have cheese with big holes, an army with small knives. We have blondes and meatballs. They speak five languages, not one of which is Swedish.

4. Do you have polar bears in Oslo?

Sure thing. They also roam the streets of Copenhagen. Some of us keep them as pets, next to our penguins.

5. Scandinavian? Do you eat herring, like, all the time?

No, we mostly eat sharks and whales, covered in liquorice.

6. When you sing the Swedish Chef song from Muppets.

When you go hurdy, gurdy bork bork bork, we die a little bit inside.

7. When you kill the cheese

Seriously, it’s a cheese, it needs to be respected. Get a proper cheese slicer and do NOT make a ski slope.

8. When you say: “To be honest, you don’t LOOK Swedish/Norwegian/Danish…”

I don’t? And you don’t look English, either.

9. “Ahh, you’re Swedish? I used to have a Norwegian girlfriend once…”

Fail. Go back to start and read point one.

10. When you don’t remove your shoes before entering our house

Because we don’t like dirt being dragged all over the house. It’s the ultimate sin.

11. Refuse our offer of coffee

Hva?! Don’t you like COFFEE? Don’t you know we drink more of it than anyone else in the entire world and we don’t know what to do if you don’t want coffee?

Our bodies are full of caffeine. It’s like a Eurovision final in our veins and we’re wired, from morning to night, from drinking litres of strong filter coffee. We even drink coffee at 9:30pm.

12. When you talk to us in a queue
This applies to any queue. Queues are not places for talking, they are places for not standing next to other people. Places to pretend people do not exist. A good approximate distance of 1 ½ metres minimum either side will do.

13. When you refuse to go outside because, well, THE WEATHER!

It’s just weather. There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes. Suck it up, dress for it and get out side.

Even worse: When you claim you can’t get to work because of snow/wind/rain/leaves/sun.

14. When you say: “You’re cold? But you’re Scandinavian!”

Yes, and we feel cold. Just like you, fellow humans. Our veins are not made of ice, they are filled with hot Eurovision coffee, remember?

15. “So, what do you all get up to in the sauna, then? You’re all really NAKED?”

Yes. We don’t have an issue with nudity. It’s really just skin. The sauna is for health reasons (And also for drinking home brew aquavit, but we’ll never tell you about that).

16. “And here’s your new bathroom, the sink has separate hot and cold taps…”

We are Scandinavian: this does not please us. We cannot function with separate hot and cold taps, we grew up with mixer taps and water at nice temperature… We invented Ikea and we are the kings of common sense design in houses.

See also: Showers with no water pressure, carpets in bathrooms, cold floors…

17. “Kvikklunsj, it’s just a KitKat, right?”

Say that to a Norwegian and they are unlikely to invite you for any more hygge candle evenings up at the Hytte (cottage). KitKat is nothing like a Kvikklunsj, except that it looks the same. It’s better, far superior and the taste test has been won more times than we care to remember. Don’t go there.

Photo: The Guardian

18. When you tell us we invented Hygge and Lagom just to be cool.

Ehh… you took our words and made candles, socks and underpants out of them.

See also: People who pronounce hygge to rhyme with jiggy (you’re dead to us)

19. When you question our milk consumption

It’s perfect normal to drink a massive glass of milk with your breakfast. And dinner.

20. When you laugh at Eurovision

We know that it clearly is one of the highlights of the year – alongside Christmas and Midsummer and all our birthdays put together.

Without Eurovision, you’d have no Waterloo, no Euphoria, no nada. Don’t knock it: We gave cheese to you guys. Be grateful.

21. When you schedule a conference call in the middle of our lunch hour. Which is at 11 am.

We like to lunch between 11 am and midday. It’s a thing.

 

22. When you forget to listen to how we REALLY are

Why ask us ‘How are you’ when you don’t mean it? We do not understand this.

It’s simple: “How are you?” And we reply. Yes, we’re happy to tell you about our dodgy knee, our unfortunate incident at Tesco’s and anything else on our minds. Why do you give us that polite nod? If you don’t want to know, don’t ask us.

23. When you’re late.

As a general rule, Scandinavians are on time. Every time. Not early, not late but on time. Dinner invites, meetings, work: Be ON TIME.

Did we forget any? Leave your comments below.

Rye Banana Bread & Cinnamon Butter

March 28, 2018 | Leave a comment

 

Rye Banana Bread & Cinnamon Butter

A recipe from our new book ScandiKitchen Summer – out now, published by Ryland Peters and Small and available in all good bookshops.

At our cafe, people used to ask for banana bread a lot. As it’s not a really traditional Scandinavian thing, we wanted to make it our own with a ‘Scandi’ twist. So, we created this version with added rye flour to make it more wholesome. We like to serve it with a delicious cinnamon butter that just melts on slices of this loaf when toasted.

Makes 1 loaf

Ingredients
125 g/11⁄8 sticks butter 150 g/3⁄4 cup dark brown soft sugar
4 very ripe bananas
100 g/1⁄2 cup Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla sugar
125 g/1 scant cup plain/all-purpose flour
125 g/11⁄4 cups whole rye flour 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda/baking soda
2 UK large/US extra-large eggs cinnamon butter to serve (optional)

Equipment: a 500 g/ 1 lb loaf pan, lined with baking parchment

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) Gas 4.

In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and dark brown soft sugar.

Meanwhile, mash the bananas and mix with the yogurt, lemon juice and vanilla and set aside.
Mix the flours with the salt and bicarbonate of soda/baking soda and set aside.

When the butter and sugar are creamy and well combined, add the eggs one at the time, scraping down the sides of the bowl between each addition to ensure they are fully incorporated.

Add the mashed banana mixture and mix until incorporated, then add the flours and mix briefly until smooth. Do not over mix.

Bake in the middle of the preheated oven for around
30 minutes. – Check with a skewer – it is done when the middle just comes out clean. Leave to cool. Serve toasted with cinnamon butter (see below).

Cinnamon butter
Mix 3 tablespoons of strong cinnamon sugar (half and half) with half a packet of soft butter – re-chill and use as needed.

Open Sandwiches: Smørrebrød

March 26, 2018 | Leave a comment

 

Open Sandwiches

Famous all over Scandinavia but especially in Denmark, open sandwiches has long been a staple of our diet and way of eating.

But what IS an open sandwich and why is it called an open sandwich when it isn’t actually a sandwich?

Let’s go back a bit…

A piece of bread was, way back in time, used as a plate. It was simple: Add the bread, then something on top and you had a meal. Usually stale bread was used – called Trenchers. Still today, bread with toppings are parts of many food cultures (Tartines in France, some of the pinxchos in Basque, and popular from Czech to the Baltics. In the UK, however, open sandwiches were never as popular, as softer white bread was used in favour of the darker, more wholesome breads – and, well, The Two sliced Sandwich gets its name from the 4th Earl of Sandwich whom, in the 18th Century, is reported to have ordered meat and bread in this way, as it allowed him to keep playing cards and eat his ‘sandwich’ at the same time without the use of a fork. In 2006, in the US, there was even a court case, concluding that ‘a sandwich has to be between two slices of bread’.

Well, why do we Scandinavians call them Open Sandwiches, then? Eh, we don’t. We call them Buttered Bread (Smørrebrød). You’re the ones who call them sandwiches. Anyway, we digress from the history lesson…

While open sandwiches are common place in Norway and Sweden, it is in Denmark where the whole thing really took off and became a showcase for the food culture. Nowadays, considered one of our national dishes.

During the 1800’s, suddenly, people started to decorate the slices of bread – rather than simple use them as a plate and quick fix bit of food. It became the fashion, even, and people would gather to eat grand creations in new Smørrebrød shops and cafes.

The Danish Smørrebrød falls into 3 categories:

1. Party Smørrebrød – elaborately decorated, lots of different toppings and spices and colours. This is the stuff you get in fancy Smørrebrød places, usually – or at parties. Usually, you eat just one or two, as they are quite large (and expensive – around £7-9 per piece is not unusual). Always eaten w knife and fork. There is a restaurant in Copenhagen famous for offering over 160 different options!
2. Homely Smørrebrød – served for Christmas, Easter and other high seasons. Still pretty, but you may get a few different kinds as they are smaller. Again, a knife and fork job. Never the hand.
3. Lunch Smørrebrød – quick slice of rye bread with pate and maybe some gherkins – or similar really simple toppings. These are eaten with the hand, can be put in a lunch box and made in a jiffy. These are known as Madder (‘foods’), Håndmadder (‘hand food’), Klapsammen madder (if they have bread on top).

At ScandiKitchen Café, we decided early on that we never wanted to be fancy – we simply wanted to make open sandwiches we wanted to eat. Not too fussy, but still pretty and full of flavour. So, ours are sort of a bit like the Homely Smørrebrød – and our selection is priced simply: Every one is £3, two for £5.50 and add a side salad to that and it’s £7. We do deals on more sandwiches, too, for the extra hungry. During weekdays we usually have around 12-13 different kinds, more on weekends when we make speciality traditional ones, too.

Rules? What rules?

Scandinavians love rules, so don’t be surprised: Smørrebrød has rules. Especially the Danish kind. Lots of ‘this goes, this does not’ so we thought we better tell you the basics:

1. Pickled herring is always first.

Herring is strong in flavour. It also easily soaks the bread in brine, which is not nice. Serve the herring on its own plate, as a starter to the rest of them. A shot of lovely Aquavit is usually enjoyed alongside it.

Some of the more popular choices are:

KarrySild – curried herring (its better than it sounds!) – on buttered dark rye bread with maybe half a boiled egg and some chives.
Marineret sild Onion herring – plain, just with dark rye bread and onion rings
Senapssill Mustard herring – a Swedish choice, usually served with crispbread in Sweden but Danes will always say that herring goes with dark rye bread.

We all agree it never, ever goes with white bread of any kind.

2. Other fish

After the herring, other fish follows. Prawn is an obvious choice. Its easy to make it look pretty, too!
If you serve it with boiled egg, in Denmark, it would go on rye bread. In Sweden, this is usually on white bread and is called Räkmacka (usually a big sandwich, a meal it itself – often eaten on the ferry on the way to Denmark, for some reason!).

A lovely way to make Prawn and Egg on Rye bread is a slice of dark rye bread, buttered – then top with 1 sliced egg, then a bit of mayonnaise and then as many prawns as you fancy. We serve this at the café, topped with lots of cress and lemon zest. It’s a best seller. Always use good prawns (we favour prawns in brine).

Smoked salmon – usually served on white bread. The same with gravad lax (cured salmon) – although the latter can also go on dark rye bread.

We like to add a bit of avocado now and then – and use different rye breads, such as the Finn Toast.

3. What about meats?

In Denmark, most places will display a rare roast beef piece of Smørrebrød – and truth be told, it doesn’t get much better than that! To make this, all you need is buttered dark rye bread, some lettuce and then arrange about 40g of thinly sliced rare roast beef on top. On this, add a good dollop of Remoulade – a famous Danish dressing, it works so well with beef. Top with pickles, tomato and grated horseradish and maybe some crispy onions. Simply stunning and amazing to eat.

Other toppings include:
Liverpate with pickles, mushrooms and bacon (dark rye)
Meatballs with red cabbage (dark rye)
Swedish Meatballs with Beetroot salad (crusty bread)
Ham & Asparagus Salad (dark rye)
Chicken & Bacon

And many more….

4. Open sandwiches are great for veggies, too. And Vegans.

Most rye bread tends to be dairy free, so it makes a great base for vegan open sandwiches too. Okay, not too many traditional vegan recipes, granted, but only your imagination stops you here.

Great veggie options:
Egg Salad –people often ask us what makes a great egg salad (Egg Mayo) – we say Good eggs, great mayonnaise, red onion, lots of chives and some mustard. Simply add to rye bread – yes, dark rye for egg.
Avocado and Tomato salsa – a simple Vegan option.
Västerbotten Crème
Sliced cheeses with jam or onion pickles

No-nos for Open Sandwiches / Smørrebrød:

• Do not eat with your hands. Unless your open sandwich is really simple, it is likely that you will be expected to eat it using cutlery and a plate. It is not an ‘on the go’ food.
• There are no Smørrebrød that have ketchup on them (that we know if)
• Don’t add a top piece of bread
• Don’t mix your proteins unless its traditional (no ham on the meatballs etc).

Good for you

Look. we do like to add mayo and other condiments on to the open sandwiches, but by and large, they are not that bad for you seeing as they are mostly made on dark rye bread.

On top of this, you are forced to take a break and sit down to eat and enjoy your open sandwiches – you will not be able to shove an open sandwich into your gob as you are waiting on the tube. Eating slowly and taking a break, well, it is good for you, too.

On top of that, open sandwiches and topless. They have everything on show – there is no hiding behind bad ingredients or any nasties: You can see what is on there. Pretty much a win-win-win in our opinions!

More open sandwich recipes to follow over the next few days.

Love, The Kitchen People x

Ps our lunch of open sandwiches is served 7 days a week from our London cafe. The nearest tueb stop is Oxford Circus. We get really busy, but the best time to get there is noon – when you have the biggest selection. Just saying…

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