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Scandi Easter Foods – things we also eat

March 22, 2018 | Leave a comment

 

Scandi Easter Food – things we also eat.

Aside from the lovely leg of lamb or delicious fish dish that mamma normally dishes up, your pick and mix filled Easter egg and the stale marzipan that invariably ends up on the table, there are some foods that we love eating and making at Easter – some you can enjoy as part of your Easter brunch, others that are perfect for a relaxed afternoon fika or to enjoy when hiking.

Waffles – Waffle day is a wonderful day to celebrate. Not an actual part of Easter – but the day being the 25th of March, it always close to Easter so we include them here. Have them the traditional way, with jam (and brown cheese if you like) or with whipped cream and berries – or try something a little more adventurous, egg & bacon waffle for brunch maybe? Here are some more waffle-varieties to try.

(The origins of the day are somewhat obscure – but several sources say it started in Sweden as ‘Vår frue-dagen’, meaning ‘our lady (mother Mary from the bible, that is). Somewhere along the line this was turned into ‘våffeldagen’ due to its linguistic similarities – and today the religious background is lost to most people. But there you go – waffle day started as a day to celebrate the conception of Jesus. Now you know.)

Buns. Frankly, every season is bun season in Scandinavia, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t great. In Norway you will often find a type called ‘solskinnsboller’ – sunshine buns – this time of year, to mark the return of the sun. Sunshine buns are essentially cinnamon buns with an added vanilla custard cream centre (although the same name can be used for other buns too – it varies regionally). So. Good. Recipe here.

Jansson’s Temptation – the Swedish dish with the wonderful name. Swedes love naming dishes after people (Biff a la lindstrom, flying Jacob, Wallenbergare..). Jansson’s temptation is a potato gratin with added ‘Ansjovis’ – sprats cured in a spiced brine. Truly delicious and goes really well with lamb. It is also common in Finland, where they call it ‘Janssoninkiusaus’. Try our recipe here.

Jansson’s Temptation

 

Meatballs. Our old friends. As Scandi as they come and with regional varieties, these seem to sneak their way onto every celebration worth it’s ink in your calendar – especially in Sweden. Meatballs are always, always popular – and can be eaten both hot and cold. You can make your own or get them ready made.

Meatballs - Lingonberry Jam

Photo credit: Peter Cassidy for Ryland Peters & Small

Herring is a must in Scandinavia – especially with the slightly older generation – and you can either make your own or just get your favourites from the shop. Serve with good rye bread and perhaps some aquavit. New to herring? This one with dill, this one with mustard sauce or this one with curry (yes curry!) is lovely.

Kvikk Lunsj and oranges or Solo. Yes, it is a bit of a stereotype – but that doesn’t make it any less true. Norwegians eat Kvikk Lunsj when they go skiing or hiking over Easter, that is just the way it is. Often an orange too, because, you know – balance.

Kexchoklad. Slightly less set in stone than the aformentioned Kvikk Lunsj, but all the same kex choklad is associated with being outside and  being active – and Easter is the perfect time do just that. Get outside, move, then chill in the sun with your choccy bar.

Easter smorgåsbord. There is no escaping it, a classic smorgåsbord is the thing to do in Scandinavia. A big table loaded with pickled herring, salmon, eggs in various forms, hams or meat dishes, veggie side dishes and plenty of good rye bread or lighter bread. Be prepared to sit for hours. If you don’t fancy going full Scandi you could always try just adding elements or adopting the idea – sitting down with a table full of of foods (and some token Franken-chicks for decoration) and friends is what matters most.

Picture: TT via dn.se

 

Scandinavian Easter: 7 random things

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7 random facts about Easter in Scandinavia

  1. In Sweden, the children dress up as little Easter Witches on Easter Sunday and go door to door, asking for sweets and treats.
  2. Norwegians are obsessed with reading who-dunnit-crime novels at Easter – sales triple all over Norway in the run up to the holidays. Norwegians like to go to their hytter (cabins) for Easter – and there, they read crime novels when they are not skiing. So obsessed are they there are even little crime stories printed on milk cartons over Easter so they never have to stop reading. Solving crime over breakfast? So very Norwegian, it seems.

    paskekrim melkekartong norwegian Easter milk carton
  3. Scandinavian Easter Egg traditions are people buying an empty cardboard shell and filling it with their favourite sweets, rather than just a huge chocolate egg. We like a mix of everything – sweet, sour, salty, liquorice, chocolate, marshmallow, and perhaps and extra Kvikk Lunsj, Kexchoklad or marzipan eggs for good measure.

    Easter eggs
  4. The Easter lunch is usually a huge Smorgasbord (with various regional variations and names). There will be pickled herring, every sandwich topping your mother and grandmother combined can think of, and lots of egg things. Maybe dyed, maybe scrambled, fried or boiled.

    Picture: TT via dn.se

     

  5. Easter in Scandinavia is called Påsk (Sweden), Påske (Denmark, Norway). An Easter egg is known as a Påskägg / påskeæg / påskeegg – and is gifted on Easter morning. We also like decorating with little chickens – usually slightly deformed with a leg out their head or an eye on their bum. They are, of course, called ‘påsk-kycklinger’ / ‘påskekyllinger’ – Easter chickens.
    Easter egg chicken decorations
  6. You’ll see many places with decorated twigs – feathers and other types of decorations, depending on area. This is a Påskris – Easter Twigs – to signify Christ’s suffering – originally used to lash out at people as a tease – and in some areas, get people out of bed on Good Friday morning. Nowadays, used mainly as decorations.
  7. Easter is the absolute last time you will see Semlor anywhere in Sweden. Most of these lovely luscious Lent buns are already gone at this time of the year, but for those still clinging on, Easter marks the final hurrah, signalising the end of the season. No more semlor until next year.
    skarsgaard semlor

Things you wanted to know about Semlor but were afraid to ask

February 1, 2018 | Leave a comment

 

Things you wanted to know about Semlor but were afraid to ask

Okay, maybe you’re not quite afraid to ask, but it’s more interesting than ‘Stuff you might know about semlor but let us just tell you in case you don’t”.

Here at ScandiKitchen, we’re always being asked about what these buns are, and why Swedes are so crazy about them. Here’s a handy 101 so you can impress your pals while you try to eat one.

What is a semlor?

First of all, it’s a semla. One semla, two semlor, and so on.

A semla is a cardamom bun made with yeast (yes, like a sweet bread roll, but nicer than you’re thinking right now). It’s served stuffed with very soft marzipan, a ton of whipped cream and a bit of icing sugar.

Yes, Swedish people love them. But so do Norwegians, Danes and Finns. In Norway and Finland, they serve them with jam instead of marzipan, which is also good. In Denmark, they use a slightly different pastry – mainly because Danes always need to be different. In Danish and Norwegian, a semla is called a fastelavnsbolle (two fastelavnsboller, etc.). In Finland, it’s known as a hyppytääaanaaanaaä. Or something like that. Maybe.*

Danish example:

But when?

A semla is a seasonal bun, served around Shrove Tuesday (we call it Fat Tuesday) and then sort of pushing towards Easter a bit. And then they’re gone. These days, most places start in January and end before Easter. One of our Swedish friends found two semlor in a plastic tub on sale in a supermarket on 26th December, so you could say they’re a bit like a Cadbury’s Creme Egg in terms of the fury generated if they’re seen on sale too soon. Some people get really worked up about it.

Scandinavians love rules and regulations for things, so Semlor have a season and can only be served during that time. In Sweden, it actually even used to be illegal to serve a semla outside of the accepted period. Here’s a genuine newspaper article from 1952 where the police were called to deal with some out-of- time semlor.

What’s the big deal?

Besides the threat of bun-jail? A semla is cream and marzipan in a bun, so it’s delicious. It’s quite heavy and makes you feel all ouuuuahhhh inside, as if you’ve just shoved two fingers up at your diet. So it’s an excellent way to celebrate the end of January.

How do you eat one?

There are FOUR ways. Four. Your basic method is to lick the lid and use it to scoop the cream, then eat the bun.

When you feel more confident, eat the lid first then stuff your face and get cream on your nose and in your left nostril.

If you want a traditional old-style Swedish experience, place your semla in a bowl of hot milk and eat it using a spoon. (Seriously.)

Your fourth method is the most important one: shove it in your face. Inhale it.

How popular are they?

Around 20m (yes, million) are sold in Sweden each year. This doesn’t quite add up with the other statistic (see sweden.se for more) that the average Swede consumes five semlor from a bakery each year, because that would mean 45m buns per year, plus the homemade ones. Millions of buns. Billions of calories.

On Shrove Tuesday (called Fettisdag in Sweden, which literally means ‘Mardi Gras’ or Fat Tuesday to us), six million semlor are sold in Sweden alone.

Are they dangerous?

Why would a cream bun be dangerous? Well, it turns out that a semla is Scandinavia’s sort-of answer to Japanese fugu fish. A former king of Sweden did die after eating too many semlor. King Adolf Fredrik decided to follow a banquet of lobster and champagne with 14 semlor in 1771. Cause of death: indigestion.

Can I make them at home?

Of course you can. Here’s a great recipe. And that also means you can eat 3 of them in one sitting and nobody will know, only you may need to wear pants with stretchy waist band for a while if you over do it. Also, you can make them in October and you won’t go to jail.

I can’t be bothered to bake today, can I get them at ScandiKitchen?

Yes, and we’ll never judge you because this isn’t the Great British Bake Off. We’re selling them every day until Good Friday. But not later, because we’ll get a warning from the Bun Police. Find us here 

Did anyone ever make a big huge semla?

Someone in Sweden baked a 160kg semla in 2001, fact fiend.

Does Boris Johnson like semlor?

Yes, we think so. This may be photo-shopped, or it may not. Who knows. And frankly, who cares? Look, it’s Bun Boris.

Are there any famous people called Semla?

Yes, Semla Hayak, Semla Blair and Semla Norén. Måns Semlalöv. Many people love the Semlas. Sorry, Semlor.

Can semla-eating be sexy?

Yes. Also, if you bring your loved one semlor, they will love you even more. It’s a little known fact. Try it.

Can I get other varieties?

Yes, it’s actually becoming a Swedish sport to come up with different varieties. This year, someone even made a semla-flavour water. And semla flavoured beer. And Nacho Semlor.

Here at ScandiKitchen, we created 15 different kinds this year – read all about them here.

Keep an eye on our social media for when they’ll be on sale.

ScandiKitchen’s 2018 Pride Semla.

 

*Okay, we may have made that bit up.

WIN a Mega Scandi Easter Egg

March 7, 2017 | Leave a comment

WIN a Mega Scandi Easter Egg

As we find ourselves in the deepest, lagom-est lent – we dream about all the sweets we’ll be eating once Easter is here (by Easter, we mean this Saturday.  We have to quality check the sweets well ahead of time, you know).

Scandis are big on Easter. It is a reason to get together, be merry, enjoy some outdoors – or indoors – activities, and gather round a big table filled to the brim with all things nice and decorated with little deformed bright yellow chickens. And of course, munch away on your well deserved Easter egg after lent.

Easter egg chicken decorations

We think our Easter eggs are pretty epic – and so we introduce our annual ‘win a massive Easter egg competition‘. Yay! That’s right, you can win a 23cm diameter Easter egg chock full of our favourite Easter sweets and treats.

Fancy winning? Simply answer the easy question below;

Which colour is usually associated with Easter?

A.) Bright green

B.) Pink

C.) Yellow

Send your answer by email to iloveherring@scandikitchen.co.uk before Tuesday 28th March 2017 at midday. One main winner, getting a big ScandiKitchen Easter egg, will be drawn from all correct entries.

The usual rules apply. UK residents only. No cheating. One main winner. No alternative prize and no cash alternative.

WIN a Big Scandi Easter Egg

March 17, 2016 | Leave a comment

WIN a Big Scandi Easter Egg

Easter is fast approaching (yes, already!) and if you’re yet to load up on sweeties and chocolate it is time to do so. We have stocked up on sweets and chocolate – and some lovely Scandi Easter eggs chock full of lovely Scandi pick’n’mix.

Fancy winning one of these? Simply answer the easy question below;
Filled easter egg 18cm 2

In Sweden, little children traditionally dress up as what on Easter eve?

A.) Bunnies

B.) Chickens

C.) Witches

Send your answer by email to iloveherring@scandikitchen.co.uk before Tuesday 22nd March 2016 at midday. One main winner, getting a big ScandiKitchen easter egg will be drawn from all correct entries.

The usual rules apply. UK residents only. No cheating. One main winner. No alternative prize and no cash alternative.

Read more →

Easter in Scandinavia

April 2, 2015 | Leave a comment

 

After the long, dark nights of winter, Easter and the arrival of spring are truly celebrated in Scandinavia. Whether spent in the south welcoming the return of the spring flowers or spent escaping to the mountains in the North, getting in a few last runs on the slopes, Easter is a time of renewal for Scandinavians, celebrated with good food and good company (and perhaps the odd shot of aquavit or two). Peek into the history of the Viking north and you’ll find plenty of magic things that add to the richness of Scandinavian Easter celebrations.

Many of the Scandinavian countries have their own specific traditions associated with Easter, most of which stem from Christianity, but some of which have other origins and over the years have become part of the Easter holiday traditions.

gc3a6kkebrev

In Denmark, for example, the tradition of writing “teaser letters” still holds strong and has done since the early 1800s. A teaser letter is a pattern carefully cut into a piece of paper with a little verse written between the cuttings. The sender then adds dots in place of his or her name and encloses a snowdrop – considered to be the first flower of the year in Denmark and a symbol of springtime and lighter days. If the receiver cannot guess who sent the letter before Easter, the prize for the sender is a nice big Easter egg. If, however, the sender guesses, the prize goes to the recipient (although, miraculously, most parents never do seem to be able to guess which letters are from their own kids).

In Norway a slightly different tradition is associated with Easter, and perhaps a slightly unusual one at that, with no links to anything much historic: around Easter, publishers rush to churn out masses of what are known to all Norwegians as “Påskekrimmen” – literally translated as ‘Easter Thrillers’ – and bookshops are filled to the brim with newly published crime novels. This fascination with “whodunnits” even extends to mini-thrillers being published in obscure places such as on the side of milk cartons. So, if this Easter you happen to bump into a Norwegian who has his backpack stuffed with a selection of gory crime novels, an orange and a ‘Kvikk Lunch’ chocolate bar, it’s pretty standard fare.

witches

Sweden, on the other hand, has Easter celebrations that are deeply rooted in the old Christian witch-hunt times. The celebrations last from Maundy Thursday until Easter Monday. In the olden days it was thought that on Maundy Thursday, all the Witches would fly off on their broomsticks to the Blue Mountains in Germany to have a weekend of fun and dancing with Satan. Today, children in Sweden celebrate by dressing up as little witches, called påskkärringar (literally: ‘Easter Witches’): dressed in long skirts, headscarves, painted red cheeks and freckles. The kids go from house to house to collect money or sweets – this is the Swedish version of the North American tradition of Halloween.   The children sometimes also deliver an Easter Letter – the identity of the sender is always supposed to be a secret.

Easter time in Scandinavia is, of course, also about eggs – both the chocolate version, the version filled with sweeties, the painted version and the version that has a place on the traditional Scandinavian smorgasbord. In Sweden and Denmark, the traditional Easter lunch is pretty much the same as it is at Christmas time except minus a few of the heavier winter dishes. Plenty of herring, cured salmon with dill sauce, meatballs and beetroot salad and perhaps smoked or roasted lamb dishes. All washed down in the company of good friends and a bottle of something strong, such as the delightful aniseed flavoured Danish Aalborg aquavit.

Scandinavia comes highly recommended for Easter, whether you fancy walking through the budding green forests of Denmark in the south or feeling serene in the still snowy mountains of northern Scandinavia – there are certainly adventures to be had and beautiful scenery to be explored along with rich traditions in which to take part. Alternatively, be Norwegian right here at home and cosy up in front of the fire with a bunch of crime novels and dream of long summer days to come.

 

 

WIN a big filled Easter Egg

March 12, 2015 | Leave a comment

Fancy a treat this Easter? Then how about entering the competition for a filled egg from ScandiKitchen. No, not the small kind, the nice big beautiful kind. The kind stuffed with amazing pick and mix from our cafe (over half a kilos worth of sweets and treats).

We’re giving away one egg this week – to be in with a chance of winning, simply answer this super easy question:

Which of these is not a town in Norway?

a) Hammerfest

b) Bornholm

c) Bergen

Answer by e-mail to iloveherring@scandikitchen.co.uk before noon on Tuesday 17th March 2015.

Usual rules apply: no cheating, no non sense, no change of prize, only one winner, all rigths reserved to amend competition at any time. Winner selected at random from correct entries.

 

Recipe: Softly boiled egg with asparagus on rye

March 5, 2015 | Leave a comment

Just some inspiration for a lunch time open sandwich to make at home… A beautifully softly boiled egg with delicious green asparagus.

Soon, asparagus will start to be more available as the season starts in the UK – and what better pairing than egg and delicious dark rye bread.

Open sandwiches are super healthy and easy to make. And so very, very pretty.  We recommend serving this along with two other kinds as a light lunch – you can find other open sandwich inspirations on our blog.

Recipe: Soft egg with asparagus on rye
Recipe Type: Open Sandwich
Cuisine: Scandinavian
Author: Bronte Aurell
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 2
Spring, asparagus and eggs… What’s not to love?
Ingredients
  • 2 slices of seeded rye bread
  • Butter
  • 10 asparagus
  • 2 boiled eggs (boiled 5 minutes – still soft but not too runny)
  • Chives or chopped spring onion to top
  • Salt, pepper
Instructions
  1. Boil the eggs and dump into cold water to stop the cooking process
  2. Blanch the asparagus for 1-2 minutes and also dump into cold water to stop the cooking process.
  3. Butter the rye bread, cut the asparagus to fit the length of the bread.
  4. Carefully peel the egg – it should still be very soft but not completely runny. With a sharp knife, cut in half and carefully place yellow side up on the asparagus.
  5. Top with sliced spring onion or chives, salt and pepper.
  6. As with all open sandwiches, eat with knife and fork.

 

Recipe: Semlor Lenten buns

January 22, 2015 | 7 Comments

Ohhh, those delicious buns of delight and loveliness. It’s the season and we have a great recipe.

Lent buns (Semla for singular, Semlor for plural) are buns eaten leading up to and during Lent in Scandinavia. In Sweden the are most popular and bakeries start selling these already in January. Fat Tuesday – Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras – is the day when we eat at least one and maybe more of these buns. We basically fatten up before Lent.

You will never ever find Semlor buns sold outside the season – it is just not done. So, take advantage of the season now that runs until Easter and have a go at making these seriously rich buns at home.

Let us tell you that the little dollop of custard or creme patisserie makes all the difference. Thats just our little trick and hint for an extra delicious bun.

Enjoy.

Love, The Kitchen People

 

Recipe: Semlor Lenten buns
Recipe Type: Baking
Cuisine: Swedish
Author: Bronte Aurell
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 12
A delicious bun eaten for Lent.
Ingredients
  • 25g fresh yeast (or 12g active dry yeast)
  • 80g melted butter
  • 250ml whole milk
  • 40g caster sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tsp ground cardamom
  • Approximately 300-400g plain bread flour
  • ½ egg for brushing
  • Filling:
  • 100g Marzipan
  • A good dollop of custard or crème pâtisserie
  • 500ml whipping cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla sugar or extract
  • Icing sugar to dust
Instructions
  1. If using mixer, set it up with the dough hook attachment. Melt the butter and add the milk, ensuring a lukewarm temperature of around 37-38ºC. Add the fresh yeast and stir until dissolved.
  2. Add sugar and stir again. Add half of the flour as well as the salt, baking powder and ground cardamom. Add the ½ egg (preserve the other half for brushing before baking).
  3. Mix well until all ingredients are incorporated and then start to add more of the flour, bit by bit, until you have a dough that is only a little bit sticky. Take care not to add too much flour: you will get dry buns. Knead the dough for at least five minutes in the mixer, longer by hand. Leave to rise in a warm (not hot) place until doubled in size (30-40 min).
  4. Turn the dough out to a floured surface. Knead again for a few minutes, adding more flour if needed. Cut the dough into 12 equal sized pieces. Take care that the balls are completely round and uniform in size. Place on baking tray with good spacing between buns. Leave to rise for another 25-30 minutes.
  5. Gently brush each bun with the remainder of the egg wash and bake in a hot oven (200ºC) for about 8-10 minutes or until baked through – keep an eye on them as they can burn quickly. Remove from oven and cover the tray with a lightly damp tea towel immediately – this will prevent the buns from forming a crust.
  6. When the buns have cooled down completely, cut a ‘lid’ off the buns – about 1½ cm from the top. Scoop out about 1/3 of the inside of the bun and place crumbs in a separate bowl.
  7. Mix the almond paste with the crumb until it forms a very sticky mass –add a dash of milk, custard or crème pâtisserie at this point to help it along. You want a spoonable, even mixture. Spoon the filling back into the buns, equally divided. Whip the cream with the vanilla sugar until stiff and use a piping bag to pipe cream on all the buns’ tops. Put the ‘lids’ back on and dust with icing sugar.

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