Tag Archives: Norway

Brown Cheese – Where to Start

May 24, 2018 | Leave a comment

Ever wondered where to start with brown cheese? Scared of the taste, the colour, or even the texture? It is loved by Norwegians everywhere and gaining popularity elsewhere too. The distinctive tangy-sweet taste is quite unique – we think you’ll like it too.

In Norway there are many more varieties – but these are the most popular ones. From sweet and tangy caramore to the rounder, milder ‘gudbrandsdalen’ and the rich and tangy ‘ekte geitost’ – they are all delicious on freshly baked goods! Here are just some of our favourites.

Caramore – on waffles or pancakes. With a little jam. Sweet and delicious with a nice tang.

Gudbrandsdalen – on still warm croissants with a bit of jam. Croissants are about as Norwegian as marmite, but it really works.

Ekte Geitost – on freshly made buns (again with a little jam or honey). Try them on cinnamon buns, halved then toasted and buttered.

 

Do you eat it differently? Let us know in the comments!

    Tine Caramore – Brown Cheese 250g
    £4.99 £4.29
    - +
    Tine Gudbrandsdalen Brunost – Brown Cheese 500g
    £8.99
    - +
    Tine Ekte Geitost – Brown Goat’s Cheese 500g
    £10.79
    - +

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.

How To: Celebrate 17th May

May 14, 2018 | Leave a comment

How to celebrate 17th May - Norway Day

17th of May is a special day. Also known as ‘Norway Day’ it is the day the Norwegian constitution was signed – and thanks to Norway’s history of being ruled by big brothers Sweden and Denmark, the celebrations for this important step towards autonomy has been celebrated greatly since*. Anyone who has been to Norway for the day can attest to this – there are great big parades, double digit repetitions of the national anthem, so much flag waving you would get tennis elbow if you’re not careful and naturally a champagne breakfast to kick it all off. It is also a national holiday – lovely!

 

For some reason it is not recognised as such elsewhere so the celebrations tend to be slightly dulled – but that doesn’t mean you can’t drape yourself in red white and blue or wear your bunad to work (it just means most people will have no clue why you are dressed so peculiarly).

 

So, dear Nordmenn – Norwegians – abroad, this is for you.  A little how to celebrate if you’re stuck far away from the land of brown cheese and tall blonde people.

 

Host your own:

Breakfast or brunch. On the day the traditional choice – but we don’t think anyone would mind if you move it to, say, the nearest Saturday so you can take your time and not rush off to work (or feel guilty for being late).

The traditional brunch is for many a big buffet table of everything nice – scrambled eggs, smoked salmon, charcuterie (Norwegian fenalår being the prime choice), fresh fruit and veggies, cheeses, a cake, strawberries, fruit juice and champagne. For example. Both fenalår, cheeses and salmon are things we supply – so do pop by or get your order in online in time for brunch (last orders for next day delivery is 1pm – choose next day delivery at checkout).

Join the official celebrations:

In London? Join us in Southwark Park where the official celebration kicks off around 10am when we start serving our brunch platter. Fresh bread rolls, scrambled egg, salmon, cheeses, ham, freshly cut strawberries and a glass of bubbly or orange juice – a lovely start to the day which will continue with a parade, speeches and entertainment (just like in Norway). There will also be a bar serving drinks, coffee and cake, hot dogs and treats, ice cream and other goodies available during the day. All Norwegian, of course!

The brunch is pre-booking only – tickets can be found here.

Head to our café for hot dogs, solo, waffles & Bløtekake:

Our café is open as usual from 8am to 7pm and will be focusing a little extra on Norwegians in addition to our regular offering of lots of freshly made open sandwiches, salads, cakes and drinks –

  • We’ll be serving hot dogs in lompe (potato ‘wraps’ – if you know you know)
  • Krone-Is strawberry (imported specially!)
  • Waffles with brown cheese
  • Lots of Solo
  • Bløtekake
  • Free coffee to anyone wearing their bunad (better get polishing those silver brooches!).

Expect A-ha in the background and a lot of ‘Gratulerer med dagen’ – we look forward to seeing you.

*For the most part – there were a few exceptions, e.g. during the German occupation in the second world war, when waving of the Norwegian flag was forbidden

Recipe: Bløtekake – Norwegian Celebration Cake

May 10, 2018 | Leave a comment

Recipe: Bløtekake - Norwegian Celebration Cake

‘Bløtekake’ (also ‘Bløtkake’) literally means soft cake – and is Norway’s version of a Victoria sponge. The difference is that a Bløtekake is lighter – as it is traditionally made with a fat free sponge, ie. a type of Genoise sponge.

Layered with seasonal berries or fruit and whipped cream it is a traditional celebration cake in Norway – enjoyed for any occasion from birthdays to weddings, anniversaries and leaving parties. Easy to tweak to your preferences and great to look at. Ticks all the boxes in our book! You can use any sponge cake recipe you like – this is the one Martina’s Norwegian mormor (maternal grandmother) has been using forever. The mix of regular flour and potato flour makes for an extra tender crumb.

You will need for the cake:

  • 4 eggs
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 60g flour
  • 60g potato flour (we use this one)
  • 1 ts baking powder

For the filling / assembly:

  • 50-100ml milk or orange juice
  • 300 ml whipping cream
  • 1 heaped teaspoon vanilla sugar (like this one)
  • 400g fresh berries and fruit of your choice (use whatever is in season – a mix of strawberries and raspberries is good, and some like sliced fresh banana in the middle, too)
  • Optional: 100ml of your favourite jam

Method:
Whisk eggs and sugar until pale, light and fluffy – we recommend a hand mixer for this – 5-10 minutes. Mix your flours and baking powder and sift into the egg mixture, then fold carefully to combine. Try not to lose the volume you got from the frantic whisking.

Pour into a well buttered cake mould with loose base covered in baking parchment.
Bake at 190-200 degrees for 30 minutes until cooked through. Leave to cool for 10 minuted before removing the mould. Let cool completely before using.

Assembly:
Slice your cake into two or three layers using a long serrated knife (or whatever works for you – just be careful to do it evenly all the way through). Splash each layer with a few tablespoonfuls of milk or orange juice to keep them moist and lovely.

Whip your cream with the vanilla sugar until soft peaks form – then, using manual labour, whip it for another 10-20 seconds until stiff enough to hold its shape. It is easy to overdo it with a mixer so we like using doing it by hand to finish. Rinse and prepare your fruit / berries and have ready in a bowl.

Place your bottom layer on your serving platter / cake stand and place strips of parchment paper all the way around, covering the plate. With a spatula, spread 1/4 of the whipped cream evenly across the cake (1/3 if only two layers). If using jam, dollop this evenly across the cream. Spread 1/3 of your fruit/berries over the top in an even layer. Repeat with the next layer, if your cake is 3 layers. If only two layers, proceed to the next step.

Place your final layer on top of the cream/jam/berry and try to align it neatly so it is not leaning that way or the other. Cover the top of the cake with the rest of the cream – covering the sides if you like. Arrange the remaining fresh fruit / berries across the top any way you like. Any extra ones can be dotted around the serving plate. When you have finished with the cream and berries, carefully remove the parchment paper to reveal the clean plate.

Best eaten immediately.

You Know it is 17th May When…

April 18, 2018 | Leave a comment

    • You skip out of bed at 6 to be at a Champagne breakfast at 7.

 

    • You happily (well..) prance around in a heavy wool dress and your least comfortable shoes. And since it was a gift when you were 15, chances are it is a little tight around the middle, too.

       

    • You read several articles on how to dress for the big day – all in red white and blue, of course. Otherwise people may think you don’t take it seriously.

 

    • You plan a menu around the same colour scheme. Yep, very festive!

      picture via matprat.no

       

    • You happily iron shirts and polish silver for the entire family, and curse silently that you didn’t do this sooner.

 

    • You spend half a day either walking in or watching a parade whilst singing ‘Ja Vi Elsker’, then refuel on hotdogs, ice cream and more bubbles. Congrats!
      17mai parade norway

 

Scandinavian Easter: 7 random things

March 22, 2018 | Leave a comment

 

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

Recipe: Solskinnsboller

March 16, 2018 | Leave a comment

Solskinnsboller – Norwegian Custard Cinnamon Swirls

Of all the things to come out of Norway (brown cheese, knitted jumpers, a dabbing prince), these ‘Solskinnsboller’ buns must be amongst the tastiest. Don’t need another bun recipe? Listen. We think you do. These are named sunshine buns because they have the same effect – they make you happy. Buttery, soft cinnamon swirls with a gooey vanilla custard centre. Cinnamon buns = good. Custard = good. These buns? Criminal.

You will need:

  • 1 quantity bun dough (your favourite – or our favourite, recipe here)
  • 1 quantity creme patisserie or thick custard (homemade or bought – but if the latter thicken it with a bit of cornflour first or it will be too runny.

Quick and easy vanilla custard cream

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tbsp corn flour
  • 3 tbsp caster sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla sugar (or 1 tsp vanilla paste)
  • 200 ml whole milk

Method: In a medium size saucepan, heat the milk until steaming (do not let it boil). Remove from heat. In a bowl, whisk together egg yolks, corn flour, sugar and vanilla until a thick paste. Whilst whisking, pour a little of the hot milk into the egg/sugar mixture until combined. Continue adding the hot milk slowly until everything is combined. Return to the saucepan and let simmer over medium heat until thickened – whisk continuously to avoid lumps forming. Once thickened (you should be able to make soft blobs that don’t disappear immediately – it will thicken more when it cools) pour into a bowl and place clingfilm directly onto the top of the custard. This avoids a skin forming. Leave to cool completely – the fridge quickens this step.

Assembling the buns:

Make you cinnamon buns as normal and leave under a tea towel for 25-30 mins to rise a bit more. Place your creme patisserie in a piping bag or plastic bag.

Now, you need to make an indent in each bun to fit the creme pat in – press down in the middle with your finger (or something measuring about 2cm diameter) until you have even indents in every bun. Pipe a small amount of custard into each hollow. Don’t be tempted to use too much – it will just get messy (but still tasty). 1-2 tsp should be enough.

Bake at 220 degrees celsius for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Morsdag – Norwegian Mother’s Day

February 8, 2018 | Leave a comment

 

Morsdag – Norwegian Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is celebrated in many countries – but only Norway celebrates it the second Sunday in February which this year falls on the 11th. Mother’s Day was celebrated the first time in 1908 following an initiative from Anna Marie Jarvis who wanted to honour her mother for her work during the American civil war. The celebration became official in 1913, and set to fall on the second Sunday in May which is the day most countries observe it.

There is little evidence as to why they in Norway moved it to February – but it is likely linked to the many official holidays already observed in May; May 1st, May 17th, Christ Ascension day and Pentecost which can both fall in May. With any luck, you will have 4 additional days of during May if they all fall during the week.

Regardless of when it is celebrated, a special day to treat your Mamma should be acknowledged – in Norway you’ll often see cards, breakfast in bed or a present of some sort. Many people also see it as an excuse to get together for some family time – but whatever you do, just make sure to give your mamma a teeny bit of extra attention. If you are lucky enough to be spending the day with her you might want to mark the occasion with a little treat? This year it coincides with Fastlavn Sunday (the Norwegian equivalent to Shrove Tuesday and when most people eat their buns) so a given suggestion is the Norwegian jam semla – but we have listed a few other options for you in case you know some weirdo who doesn’t like these.

  1. Norwegian Jam Semlor AKA Fastelavnsboller. Cardamom scented buns filled with jam and lightly sweetened whipped cream. Get her favourite jam to fill them with.
  2. Sally’s chocolate buns. In case you live with someone who doesn’t appreciate the combo cream and bun (we know – they should simply be expelled from your household – but in the spirit of giving, we offer them chocolate buns instead). Think cinnamon bun but with chocolate in place of the cinnamon filling.
  3. Daim cookies. Addictive in their golden crispy chewiness and sweet enough to be the perfect excuse for a fourth cup of coffee, even on a Sunday. Plus they don’t require kneading.
  4. Lingonberry and spice layer cake (recipe in ScandiKitchen: Fika & Hygge). Looks gratifyingly impressive for the comparatively easy process – sure to score you tons of offspring-points. For any Norwegians out there – this is like a lighter take on classic ‘krydderkake’ layered with a cream cheese frosting tangy with lingonberries. Mamma will be impressed.
  5. Seeded rye rolls (recipe in the ScandiKitchen cookbook) Perhaps not your typical treat – but just imagine how nice it is to wake to a house smelling of freshly made bread, the breakfast table set and the coffee brewing. Nothing to do for mamma but sit down. A loving gesture if ever we saw one. Just make sure you also take care of the tidying up – unfortunately any goodwill built up from enjoying a prepared breakfast is at risk of dissipating with each crumb that needs tidying.
  6. Rye and bluberry granola bars (recipe in ScandiKitchen: Fika & Hygge) – attached to a promise of a hike, together. Fill a thermos with hot coffee, and you have the scene set for a lovely day spent outside. Don’t over complicate it – a walk to the nearest park and bench is fine.
  7. A cup of really good coffee and a card. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Write a card and say thanks for being mamma and bring her a cup of coffee or tea. This one is our current favourite.

Picture credit: Peter Cassidy for Ryland Peters & Small / ScandiKitchen: Fika & Hygge

Norwegian Fastelavnsboller – Berry Cream Buns

February 1, 2018 | Leave a comment

 

Norwegian Berry Cream Buns – Fastelavnsboller

Fastelavnsboller is the Norwegian version of Semlor – using jam in place of the marzipan filling which is more commonly seen in Sweden. The term semlor is often used to describe Scandinavian cream buns – but this is not completely accurate. Semlor is the word most commonly used in Sweden and parts of Finland, and usually refers to a sweet yeasted bun filled with marzipan and cream. In the other Nordic countries, they have different buns. So marzipan haters, rejoice! This one is for you. Every bit as indulgent, and even easier to make. The same bun, with a lovely lightly sweetened whipped cream with a touch of vanilla and your favourite Nordic berry jam.

Bun dough:

  • 13 g dried yeast or 25 g fresh yeast *(see below)
  • 250 ml whole milk, heated to 36–37°C (97–98°F)
  • 80 g butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 40 g caster sugar
  • 300–400 g white strong flour
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

Filling:

  • 100ml of our favourite jam – raspberry is most traditional but strawberry or blueberry are also popular (and delicious!)

Whipped cream:

  • 300ml whipping cream
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 0.5 tsp vanilla sugar or extract (optional)

Method (makes 12)
*If using fresh yeast, add it to the finger-warm milk and mix until dissolved. Then pour it into the bowl of a food mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment.
If using dried yeast, sprinkle the yeast granules into the finger-warm milk and whisk together. Cover with cling film and leave in a warm place for about 15 minutes to activate and become frothy and bubbly. Pour into the bowl of a food mixer with a dough hook and stir in the melted butter. Add the sugar and stir again. Add half of the flour as well as the salt, baking powder and ground cardamom. Add half the beaten egg (reserve the other half for brushing before baking).

Mix well until all the 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. Knead the dough for at least 5 minutes in the mixer. Cover the bowl with a dish towel or cling film and leave to rise in a warm (not hot) place until it has doubled in size – about 30–40 minutes.

Turn the dough out to a floured surface. Knead again for a few minutes, adding more flour if needed. You want a firmer but not dry dough. Cut the dough into 12 equal-sized pieces. Place, evenly spaced, on a baking sheet. Leave to rise for 25–30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) Gas 6.

Brush each bun with the beaten egg and bake for 8–10 minutes or until baked through – keep an eye on them as they can burn quickly. Remove from oven and cover the buns with a lightly damp dish towel immediately – this will prevent them from forming a crust.
When they have cooled completely, cut a ‘lid’ off the buns – about 1.5 cm/1⁄2 in. from the top. Add about 2 tsp jam on the bottom half (or to taste).

Whip the cream with the sugar and vanilla (if using) until stiff, then use a piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle to pipe cream on all the buns (a spoon will do too). Put the ‘lids’ back on and dust lightly with icing sugar before serving.

Psst – eat the lid first to avoid the cream filling going everywhere as you bite into it.

 

This is how happy these buns will make you.

Packed Lunch – Scandi Style

September 7, 2017 | Leave a comment

 

Packed Lunch – Scandi Style

Packed lunch comes in many shapes and forms, but one that holds a special place in our Viking hearts is the packed lunch. In Norway especially is this a thing, mostly made up of a few slices of bread – homemade or bread rolls if you’re lucky – with whichever topping your sleep deprived parent managed to dig out of the fridge that morning. Finished with a scribble on the parchment paper that it is all wrapped in – ‘love you lots, MUM’. It never fails to both make your heart smile and your ears go red as you try to quickly unwrap your food and hide the evidence that your mamma loves you and is not afraid to tell your cool friends.

Norsk matpakke

Oh yes, the humble ‘brødskiva’ (also just ‘skive/skiva’: lit. – bread slice – used about any open sandwich) is deeply engrained in Norwegian culture and almost everyone will have fond – and not-so-fond – memories of these. Each sandwich topped with a special, bread slice sized piece of parchment paper (sold in the supermarket, called ‘inbetween paper’ – mellomleggspapir).

Feeling inspired to make your own packed lunch? We thought so. So here follows, our top tips for avoiding sog and 10 classic combos.

Generally for all;

  • A thin layer of butter or mayonnaise will protect the bread from soaking up the moisture of your topping – and will mean other sauces, such as mustard, will not disappear into the bread.
  • Something fresh and crunchy is always a good idea, but remember that vegetables are best packed separately and added when you eat – except lettuce which transports quite well.
  • Separate your sandwiches. Cut pieces of parchment paper to layer between your open sandwiches so they don’t stick together or you get your flavours mixed up (nothing worse than a bit of jam stuck to the underside of your ham sandwich!).

10 Classic Packed Lunch Sandwiches

1. Ham and mustard. Optional extras: Sliced fresh cucumber, cheese.

2. Salami and mayonnaise. Optional extras: Sliced tomato.

3. Cheese and red pepper. We like nutty Jarlsberg or mildly spiced Nøkkelost for this; wrap your pepper in clingfilm separately and add when ready to eat.

4. Cheese with jam – a mature cheese with a sweet jam works. Trust us.

5. Liver pate and cress or pickles (pickles packed separately – cress is fine to pre-pack)

6. Meatballs and beetroot salad. Leftover meatballs (as if..) in slices with creamy beetroot salad –delicious.

7. Smoked salmon. With cream cheese if you’d like – we also really like it with mustard.

8. Brown cheese and raspberry jam. Sweet, yummy and a bit sticky.

9. Hardboiled egg and herring (note – this one works best with a top piece of bread, too). Slices of hardboiled egg with a few very well drained pieces of herring – e.g. mustard herring – on top. Delish!

10. Cheese in a tube. Bacon, ham or prawn cheese – choose your favourite. Nice with crunchy cucumber or red pepper to top.

Matpakke norsk packed lunch

A very sad example.

A few crunchy carrots, slices of raw swede or an apple on the side – you’re good to go. Check out or packed lunch shop here – for breads, condiments, hams, cheeses and more.

 

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