Tag Archives: Sweden

7 Random Crispy Facts

September 7, 2017 | Leave a comment

7 Random Facts About Crispbread

  1. Crispbread is common across Scandinavia, but especially so in Sweden, followed closely by Norway. 85% of all Swedish households have it at all times.
  2. Crispbread is Sweden’s second largest export – second only to Absolut vodka.
  3. Your average Swedish munches through 5.5 kg of crispbread every year – and crispbread is amongst the most missed food products for Swedes abroad. It may not sound much, but considering an average crispbread weighs about 12 grams, this equates to 458 slices every year. A crispbread a day keeps the doctor away.
  4. What.. IS crispbread? Crispbread is traditionally made with only wholegrain rye, yeast, salt and water, although these days you have a wide range of variety ranging from all-wheat to all nut and seed (to purist, these don’t count). However, when you say crispbread, most people will still think of your classic rye crispbread.
  5. In Scandinavia, crispbread is treated as any other type of bread. It can be topped with almost anything, and is a common part of breakfast, lunch, dinner or snacks in between.
  6. Super versatile, you can have crispbread at every meal. Crushed over a bowl of yoghurt, maybe with some berries, for a naturally low sugar, high fibre and delicious granola for breakfast; topped with smoked salmon and cream cheese for lunch; used as pizza base for dinner (oh yes, crispbread pizza is a thing and it’s delicious. In Sweden you can even buy ready made frozen crispbread pizzas).
  7. In the UK, crispbread is often thought about in one of two ways; 1; as a cracker for cheese or 2; diet food. This saddens our crispy Scandi hearts and tummies. Because; crispbread is absolutely great with cheese, and is definitely much better for you than mass produced wonderbread – but Scandis eat crispbread because it is tasty (and you can top it with anything you like), convenient (it keeps forever) and good for you. You could eat 4 triangles of crispbread for every slice of white bread – and thanks to the high fibre content you will stay fuller for a lot longer. Meaning you may be able to resist that cinnamon bun later. Or not. But that’s ok. Balancing your crispbread with cinnamon buns is what the Swedes would call ‘lagom’.

Now, pass us the crispbread someone. Fancy some? Find our crispbreads here.

Crispbread as base = pizza in 10 minutes.

Crispbread Pizza With Pulled Pork and Guacamole

August 24, 2017 | Leave a comment

Crispbread Pizza With Pulled Pork and Guacamole

Another lovely version of crispbread pizza – this time with pulled pork and avocado cream. Oh yes. Guaranteed to make you popular. We like the original Leksands (blue packaging) for this, but any big round will work as the toppings are so flavoursome.

  • 1 round of Leksands crispbread
  • 100ml tomato sauce
  • 75g pulled pork (leftovers or ready bought)
  • 1 tomato
  • 60g mozzarella
  • 2 handfuls grated Vasterbotten– (or Cheddar)
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 lime
  • 1 avocado
  • Fresh chili, finely chopped
  • Fresh coriander, finely chopped
  • Sea salt & freshly ground pepper

1. Pre-heat oven to 225 degrees celsius.
2. Prep the pickled onion; place thinly sliced onion in a bowl and cover with lime juice, squeezing it together with a spoon or your hand.
3. Spread the tomato sauce over the base. Add the sliced fresh tomato and chunks of pulled pork. Season with salt and pepper, then finish with the cheese.

Bake for approximately 10 minutes until the cheese is bubbly and slightly golden. Meanwhile, mash the avocado with the chili, coriander and lime juice – serve with a dollop of guacamole.

Enjoy!

—–

Thanks to our friends at Leksands for the recipe – just mildly adapted for a UK kitchen.

7 Random Facts About Surströmming

August 16, 2017 | Leave a comment

7 Random Facts About Surströmming

  1. Surströmming is made by preserving the raw herring with just enough salt to prevent it from rotting, then left to ferment for at least 6 months. A Japanese study ranks it as one of the most putrid food smells on the planet.
  2. Surströmming day is the 3rd Thursday in August – in 2017 this falls on the 17th August.
  3. Surströmming translated to sour Baltic herring. Tempting, ey?
  4. How to eat it? A common way is to have it in a ‘klämma’ – a ‘squeeze’. Take two pieces of (crunchy) flatbread and spread with sliced or crushed boiled potato, add the surströmming, squeeze and enjoy. Alternatively, place on a soft flatbread with potato, sour cream and some raw onion. Eat as a wrap. Think of it as the Swedish burrito.
  5. Whatever you do – NEVER open the tin inside. To say the smell is strong is an understatement. And it lingers.
  6. Beer and aquavit are commonly served along with it – but milk, too, is a common drink.
  7. Surströmming is so smelly it is forbidden on most airlines.

Despite (or because of – we don’t know) the smell – surströmming is very popular in Sweden, and many await the season with anticipation, dreaming about the first taste of this speciality.

Our Jonas had a chat with a lovely chap from the Telegraph a few years ago – to find out what he thought have a look at the resulting video here, or click here to read about it.

Have you tried it? What did you think? Share in comments please – we’d love to hear your thoughts on this smelly subject.

 

Easy Västerbotten Cheese Quiche

August 10, 2017 | Leave a comment

Easy Västerbotten Cheese Quiche

A great side dish for a crayfish party – this traditional cheese tart is really lovely served with caviar dressing.

For the pastry:
125g cold butter
200g plain flour
pinch of salt
1 egg (plus water, if needed – add a few drops if dough is not coming together)

For the filling:
250g Västerbotten cheese, grated
3 eggs
100ml whole milk
250ml double cream
½ tsp paprika, salt and pepper

You’ll need a tart tin (25-28cm diameter) with a loose base.

Method:

  1. Blitz your pastry ingredients in a food processor (egg and water at the end only) to form a dough, then leave to chill for about 30 minutes in the fridge.
  2. Heat the oven to 180°C.
  3. Roll out the chilled dough and line the pastry tin. Prick the base with a fork and blind bake using baking beans for 10-12 minutes. Remove the beans and bake for a further 5-6 minutes.
  4. For the filling, mix together everything except the Västerbotten cheese.
  5. Scatter the cheese on the base of the pastry, evenly all over – then pour over the egg mixture.
  6. Return it to the oven for about 15-20 minutes. It’ll puff up quite a bit towards the end, but will turn golden on top. It’s done when it is ‘set’ so do keep an eye on it.

Leave it to cool before slicing. Serve cold or lukewarm.

Västerbottenpaj goes well with romsås, a caviar sauce. Alternatively, if you can get real bleak roe (Löjrom), serve the tart with a spoonful of this, some crème fraîche and finely chopped red onion.

Romsås Caivar Sauce:

In a bowl, mix together 3 large tbsp. crème fraiche and one jar of red lumpfish roe (80g). Leave to set in the fridge, then stir again just before serving.

11 Facts About Beer in Scandinavia

August 3, 2017 | Leave a comment

11 Facts About Beer in Scandiland 

    1. In Sweden and Norway, you have to go to specialist shops to buy anything stronger than 4% (in Sweden, that’s 3.5%). In Norway, only an estimated 50% of the population live in a town or parish that has this specialist shop (aptly named the Wine Monopoly).
      Systembolaget Sweden Christmas
    2. In Norway, you cannot buy beer after 8pm Monday to Friday, or after 6pm Saturdays. Not at all on Sundays, any public holidays, and limited hours only on Christmas Eve, Pentecost Eve and New Year’s Eve. Basically, you Should learn to be very organized with your alcohol shopping in Norway – but at 7.57pm on a Wednesday, just before that Champions League match starts, you’re likely to find several stressed out people queuing in your local shop to get that 6-pack scanned before 8.
      Olsalg Norge
    3. In Norse mythology Ægir is credited as the beer-god – known for throwing frequent parties for the other gods, with copious amounts of strong beer for his guests.
    4. In 1857 there were 353 breweries in Norway – the population was only 1.5 million. Beer brewing was encouraged by the government (and failure to brew could be punished) – as drinking beer was considered better than drinking liquor.
      norsk ol norwegian beer
    5. Between 2002 and 2008, the number of breweries in Denmark grew from 19 to over 100 – a result of growing economy and popularity of craft and gourmet beers.

    6. Until Sweden joined the EU in 1995, beer with higher ABV than 5.6% was forbidden, and the government had to abolish their monopoly on wholesale meaning foreign beers were finally made available to thirsty Swedes.
      sweden eu sverige eu 1995
    7. Since the early 1970s, it has been illegal to advertise for alcohol in Norway.
      Norwegian beer advert
    8. Per capita Denmark is the biggest beer drinker in Scandinavia; consuming an average of 60.6 litres vs 52.7 and 51 litres, respectively. If we go Nordic, Finland towers over the others at 77.4 litres per capita. (The UK, for comparison, clocks in at 67.7 – Ireland at 97.5)

      European beer consumption Telegraph

      Photo: telegraph.co.uk

    9. Despite the Danes drinking more than Norwegians and Swedes, the latter two flock to their neighbour in the south to take advantage of the cheaper prices and overdo the drinking far more publicly than most Danes would.

      (Foto: BJARKE ØRSTED/SCANPIX NORDFOTO 2002)

    10. No random beer facts without this one – beer was illegal in Iceland until 1989.
      beer ban iceland celebrations
    11. After he won the Nobel Peace Prize, Dane Niels Bohr – famed for his contributions to understanding atomic structure and quantum theory – was gifted a house from brewery Carlsberg; next to the brewery, with a direct pipeline meaning Bohr had free beer on tap whenever he wanted.
      Niels Bohr Beer

Scandinavian Beers; Nils Oscar

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Scandinavian Beers; Nils Oscar

Nils Oscar’s microbrewery is located in Nyköping near Stockholm. Their beers are distributed across Sweden to both shops and restaurants – and the beers are many and varied. We stock three of these – a lager, an India ale and a rich and charismatic smoked porter. Oh yes. Here is a little introduction to our three main lines – (we sometimes also stock their seasonal beers, e.g. for Christmas).

Nils Oscar Beers

God Lager – 5.3%

The beer with the strange name – in Swedish it simply means ’good lager’, although when exported it has attracted name’s such as God’s lager or heavenly lager. God lager is the first beer produced from the brand Nils Oscar and is the best-selling microbrew in Sweden.

God lager is made with wiener malt from Germany; highly regarded in the industry. Slightly darker for a richer taste. Two types of hops are used – Spalt Select and Tettnanger – for flavor and aroma. The yeast is a German pilsner type. And together, God lager is an easy drinking but interesting beer that is equally good on its own, with salty snacks or with your meal.

India Ale – 5.3% ABV

Launched in 2005, Nils Oscar’s India Ale has won several accolades in Sweden. Nils Oscar themselves say it is almost a British Ale with American Hops; which we agree that it is. The beer has both a rich sweetness and a fruitier, bitter note from the hops – meaning it is well rounded and suits traditional as well as modern dishes, as well as being great, just as it is. Enjoy well chilled.

Rökporter – 5.9% ABV

This smoked porter is rich and complex – with notes of caramel, dried fruit and smoked charcuterie. Made with five different types of malt including caramel malt and two types of hops (Fuggles and Amarillo), this beer goes well with rich foods such as barbecued meat, and is lovely added to a meat stew or to your bread dough for richer flavour. Not an easy summer drink; save this one for the darker, colder months, where it will fit perfectly.

For a more detailed review of God Lager and Rökporter – Check out Craft Council’s review below.

 

Seven things about Nordic Midsummer

June 9, 2017 | 1 Comment

 

Seven things about Nordic Midsummer

The longest day of the year is very important to us Northern people. We have light! And not only that, we have so much of it we hardly see dark and we get to make up for all of those months of candle lit cosiness and snow.

We all celebrate the day slightly differently, so here are a few facts to get you started in the preparations.

Sweden treats Midsummer like it’s national day. Actually, Sweden’s national day is a few weeks earlier, but everybody celebrates Midsummer instead. It’s always celebrated on the closest Friday (this year, 23rd June) and it’s a public holiday.

In London, it’s celebrated on the Saturday because we need to not be at work when we do it.

St John’s Eve In Denmark and Norway, the evening is celebrated on the actual day (23rd June, no matter if it’s a Friday or not) and there, it’s called more St John’s Eve as well as Midsommer Aften.

Sweden and Finland celebrate with Midsummer poles. These are a bit like May Poles, except it’s not May and ours have a lot of fertility symbols associated with them. The Midsummer poles are covered in flowers and greenery. Everybody wears flower garlands in their hair and very summery clothes. Some people try the yellow/blue flag combo for clothes, but it is rarely a good look.

Danes burn witches on Midsummer eve. Much like the British burn Guy Forkes, the Danes like to burn witches on this evening and send them off to Blue Mountain in Germany to dance with the devil. All while the (usually stuffed hay effigy) witches are burning on the bonfire, Danes sing songs about how much they love Denmark (usually a lone guy on a guitar will lead the singing – he always sings with his eyes closed and is very serious).

It’s still all about food. For the Swedes, it is all about the day long picnic and being outside. Meatballs are featured and it is high season for Sandwich cakes, too. The Danes tend to celebrate in the evening with dinner at home, but spend the evening trying to bake stick bread on the embers of the bon fire (it never works).

What about the little frogs? The Swedes, at every given opportunity but none more so than Midsummer, will sing songs about little frogs with no ears and no tails, whilst jumping around the Midsummer pole. Old, young, everyone. It’s a thing and it looks odd – but it is super fun. Do join in.

Swedes pick seven wild flowers on Midsummer eve and put them under their pillow. They will dream of the person they will marry. Some don’t even wait that long, as the birth rate spikes in Sweden every year exactly nine months after Midsummer.

There are Midsummer events held all over the UK – both Danish, Swedish, Finnish and Norwegian. Local churches are a good place to start for information on where to go.

There is no big official London picnic (there never is – it’s all a bit spontaneous) but people tend to gather in patches in the different parks and just bring a picnic. Ask local Scandies for details or just wander around and look for the people with flowers in their hair. You’ll find them.

There is a massive official Midsummer Party in London in the evening of 24th June – arranged by London Swedes – it is at the Loft in Kilburn and you can buy tickets here

7 Nordic ways to talk about hangovers

April 28, 2017 | Leave a comment

Seven Nordic ways to talk about hangovers

‘Bagstiv’ is a Danish word for when you wake up the next morning, still drunk. Literally: Backwards drunk – in Sweden and Norway, its Bakfull and bakrus.

2. A drunk Dane might say he has a “Stick in ear” (en kæp i øret)

3. The Finnish word for hangover is “Krapula” 

4. The Old Norse Viking word for hangover was ‘kveis’, meaning “uneasiness after debauchery” 

5. In Denmark, if you drink a beer on a hang over, it is known as a Reperationsbajer – literally, a ‘repair beer’

6. In Danish, hangovers are known as Tømremænd  – literally, carpenters.

7. “Fylleangst” pronounced (foola angst) means “drunk anxiety” in Norway and is the unsettling feeling one has the day after drinking when you can’t remember what you did, how you acted or who may have seen you do it!

7 strong Scandinavian names for your new baby

April 20, 2017 | Leave a comment

 

7 strong Scandinavian names for your new baby

Here are a selection of 7 strong Scandi names you could name your new baby. Or not.

Love
The Swedish boy’s name – actually the Swedish version of Louis. It’s pronounced more like lo-vey than love.

Bent / Bendt
Boy’s name – meaning ‘Blessed’.

Odd
How about naming him Odd? Or maybe Even? Both are strong Norwegian names. In Norway, there are 22 people named Odd-Even as a first name. Take your kid to the Casino. (name is also used in Sweden).

Gunn

A good old Norwegian name for your daughter?

Jerker

For a boy, maybe? It’s the old Swedish version of Erik. No, not Jerk for short.

Björn / Bjørn

Maybe the best of the bunch, especially if you like ABBA. It means ‘bear’.

Fanny.

A strong Swedish girl’s name and still popular today.

Any more suggestions? Pop a comment below.

7 Scandi Ways To Screw Up

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7 Scandi sayings for when things are not going well.

  1. If a Dane has his ass in the surface of the water (Røven i vandskorpen), it means things are not going well.

roven i vandskorpen dog

 

2. In Sweden, if you have made a real fool of yourself, people will tell you that ‘you have taken a shit in the blue cupboard’ (Nu har du skitit i det blå skåpet)

 

3. If you make a fool of yourself in Norway they might tell you that you “shat on your leg” (Nå har du bæsjet på leggen).

 

4. In Iceland, if someone says ‘peeing in your shoes will only keep you warm for a short while’ (“Það er skammgóður vermir að pissa í skó sinn”) they mean to tell you short term fixes don’t work.

 

5. If a Dane says you can both blow and have flour in your mouth, he means to say you can’t have your cake and eat it, too. (Man kan ikke både blæse og have mel i munden).

 

6. In Norway people might say you stomped in the piano if you mess up – ‘trampe i klaveret’.

trampe i klaveret mess up

 

7. If a Dane says ‘hot potato’ he could mean simply a hot potato – or he might also be referring to a tricky situation.

hot potato danish

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