Tag Archives: swedish food

Scandinavian Cheese: A Handy Guide

March 9, 2017 | Leave a comment

The Essential Guide to Scandi Cheese – Part 1

We first posted this no less than four years ago, and considering how much we love cheese it is due a re-visit – we consider it our duty to share the with you the wonders of Scandinavian cheese. Over the next two weeks we’ll introduce six of our favourite cheeses.

To kick off we will give you a brief introduction to the many faces of Scandinavian cheese – because let’s be frank – Scandinavian cheese doesn’t have a very sexy reputation (with names like ‘Old Ole and ‘Old Cheese’ we really don’t get why).

Many of us have memories of sitting in a field on a summer’s day eating crusty French bread and sharing a kilo of creamy Brie (also French). In fact, some of us would like nothing more than to spend most of our days doing just that, had it not been for the eventual need to be moved around by a pick-up truck.

Fewer people have such glorious thoughts when thinking about Scandinavian cheese – in fact, most people associate Scandinavian cheese with Eurovision. The exception is those – very few – of us who know just how many amazing cheeses actually come from our northern corner of the world.

Cheese has been made in Scandinavia since the days of old Harold Bluetooth, and the vikings reportedly had a diet rich in milk, butter and cheese – and it was thought to be a sexual stimulant.

Here’s a brief introduction to some of the more famous Scandinavian cheeses.

Gamalost Scandinavian Cheese

1. Gammelost (Old cheese)
A recipe dating back to the Viking times, ‘Old cheese’ needed very little help to mature. Most people say both taste and smell resembles something that has spent a few months inside a sweaty old sock. As you know, nothing pleases a true tyrophile more than a slice of stinky old sock. Admittedly, perhaps due to the taste, younger Norwegians are falling out of love with it, even if it is does have the nickname of Norwegian Viagra.

Danablu Scandinavian Cheese

2. Danablu (Danish Blue)
We had to include this as it is the most popular Danish export cheese and it is a darn fine cheese. Invented originally to emulate Roquefort, and quickly making its own mark on the cheese scene, Danablu has a sharp, salty note and is excellent served on just about any kind of bread. Swedes tend to love blue cheese on ginger biscuits (we say don’t argue with anyone who invented Billy bookcases, Volvos and the zipper) – and the rest of us agree. A match made in cheese-heaven.

Brown cheese - Scandinavian Cheese

3. Brunost (Brown cheese)
Comes in many different varieties: the two best known are the Gudbrandsdalen (cow and goat) and Ekte Gjeitost (pure goat); the latter is the connoisseur’s choice

Okay, so it’s an acquired taste, but, vasterbottenon average, Norwegians eat about 4 kilos each of this stuff a year so there must be something to it. It’s as Norwegian as trolls and fjords. It looks a bit like a block of plasticine, tastes a bit like caramel and is enjoyed on its own, on open sandwiches or with freshly baked waffles: all you need then is a patterned jumper and people will soon start calling you Håkon.

4. Rygeost (smoked cheese)
A very Danish invention that is never exported due to its very short shelf life. Unmatured, smoked cheese made from buttermilk and milk and turned in less than 24 hours, after which it is smoked very quickly over a mixture of straw and nettle and topped with caraway seeds. This cheese is simply amazing, light and divine eaten on a piece of rye bread. Resembles a firm ricotta in texture.

Vasterbottensost Scandinavian Cheese (1)

5. Västerbotten
If ABBA is the queen of cheese, Västerbotten is the king. A firm, kinda crumbly, aged Swedish cheese not unlike parmesan in smell but with immense flavour and character. This cheese is a welcome addition to any cheeseboard and is also a partner to any crayfish party. Can also be used to make the excellent Västerbotten pie.

hushallsost - scandinavian cheese

6. Hushållsost
A cheese that has a name that translates as “household cheese” sounds like it belongs on a value shelf in a corner shop in Hackney, but it is actually an excellent cheese. Mild, creamy and full of small holes, this cheese is usually a big hit with the younger generation. Hushållsost is one of six Swedish food products with a so-called TSG protection (only one other cheese, Svecia, also holds this distinction). Taste wise it is unoffensive and buttery – a good all-rounder.

Gamle Ole Scandinavian cheese (2)

7. Gamle Ole (Old Ole)
A sliceable mature Danish cheese, this baby stinks. Oh yes. Don’t touch it too much or your fingers will honk all day. The taste, however, is mellower and really lush. Also known in Denmark as Danbo 45, there are many varieties in the same vein: ‘Sorte Sara’ is another good version, popular in Norway.

Prastost Scandinavian cheese (1)

8. Prästost (Priest cheese)
Sweden’s most popular cheese. It was given its name because the farmers at the time it was invented could pay their church taxes in dairy products. Prästost comes in many varieties, from the mild to the mature and flavoured with anything from vodka to whisky.

Squeaky Cheese Scandianvian Cheese

9. Leipäjuusto (also known as “squeaky cheese”)
This is a fresh young cheese from Finland. The milk is curdled and set into a flat round shape, then baked. In the olden days it was dried for months and people put it on the fire to re-activate it. The name comes from the sound it makes when you bite into it. The taste is not unlike feta. Hugely popular – very difficult to export due to its fragile nature.

Prawn cheese - Scandinavian cheese

10. Rejeost (Prawn cheese)
For some reason, spreadable prawn cheese (ideally in a tube) is immensely popular across all of Scandinavia. Not really a great cheese from a connoisseur’s point of view, but surely any product that manages to combine cheese and prawns and make it taste good needs a mention. If cheese and prawn can be coupled in peaceful harmony, then there’s hope for world peace.

For all our cheeses, click here.

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.

Crispbread Pizza – Weekday Dinner Revelation

February 6, 2017 | Leave a comment

Crispbread Pizza – White Winter Pizza

A super easy, quick and tasty take on pizza. By using a round of Leksands as your base you can have pizza in 12 minutes – and the mild rye flavour goes really well with the white sauce and salty bacon.

  • 1 round of Leksands crispbread
  • 100ml creme fraiche
  • 3 rashers of streaky bacon in small pieces
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 30g fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 60g mozzarella
  • Good handful grated gruyere (or try it with Vasterbotten)
  • Sea salt & freshly ground pepper

1. Pre-heat oven to 225 degrees celsius.
2. Finely chop onion and fry in  a bit of butter until soft – add a pinch of sugar and the garlic and let caramelise. Season with salt & pepper.
3. Spread the creme fraiche over the base and add the onion mixture, chopped spinach and bacon – finish with the cheese.

Bake for approximately 10 minutes until the cheese is bubbly and slightly golden.

Enjoy!

—–

Pizza Bianco - White Winter Pizza

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

Semla Season 2017 – Everything You Need To Know

January 26, 2017 | Leave a comment

 

Semla Season 2017 – Everything You Need To Know

After Christmas we always feel determined to start a new and healthier life – less chocolate and more spinach, but only until we remember the next big occasion in the Scandi baking calendar; Semla season. Semla is the Swedish answer to pancake-day pancakes, but in our completely unbiased opinion; a million miles better and far too good to only eat once per year.

We started selling these chubby marzipan and cream filled buns of glory in the café a few weeks ago – and as we are now only 1 month away from the big day, it is time to kick off and remind each other what the Semla is all about. We have collated some essential reading (all the important semla-facts), our favourite recipes, and our very own semla product bundles if you want to give them a go at home without the hassle of seeking out the products you need. Ah, you’re welcome. Public semla-service is what we do.

– 12 Things You Need To Know About Semlor –

– Princess Semlor – The 2017 Luxury Semla – Recipe –

Princess Semla Recipe Image

Classic Semlor – Swedish Marzipan Cream Buns – Recipe

Classic Semlor Recipe


 

Fancy doing some baking? Try our kits to get started;

    Prinsess Semla Bun – Bundle
    £26.42
    - +
    Cinnamon Bun – Product Bundle
    £9.75
    - +

 

Now, promise you try one. Come say Hej and have a coffee and semla with us in our café or make your own, just don’t go without. They are too good to be missed.

Swedish Cheesecake – Ostkaka – Recipe

January 18, 2017 | Leave a comment

Swedish Cheesecake (Ostkaka)

If you’re looking for one of those sweet Americans style cheesecakes, forget it. This is the much less sweet Swedish version – ‘Ostkaka’ – which simply means cheesecake. It is a really old Swedish traditional favourite, first mentioned in the 16th century – it’s that old.

The original version requires you to go buy some rennet and make milk curds from scratch, but cottage cheese works well too, so that’s what I use in my version. Indeed, most people use cottage cheese nowadays except purists. I’d say this cheesecake is not dissimilar to the ones you get in Northern Spain, in the Basque Country – and, like the Spanish ones, work well with a glass of sweet sherry on the side. This recipe is naturally gluten free.

This cheesecake is served lukewarm, never cold and never hot. Most people enjoy it with a dollop of strawberry or cloudberry jam on top, although I prefer a quickly made compote and some fresh berries.

The recipe fits a standard brownie tray, approx 20 x 20 or similar, but you can use any sort of dish or even a spring form. Just don’t forget to line the dish.

Ostkaka with hallon (raspberries)
  • 3 eggs
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 400g natural cottage cheese
  • 100ml double cream
  • 50 g ground almond
  • 1 tsp vanilla sugar or vanilla bean paste
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp almond essence (optional)
  • 50g flaked almonds
  • Dusting of ground cardamom
For the topping:
  • 125g raspberries
  • 2tbsp sugar
  • Dash of water
How to:

Turn the oven to 160 degrees celsius fan (170 degrees normal).

Whisk the sugar and egg until light and fluffy. Add all the ingredients apart from the flaked almonds and cardamom and pour into your prepared tin.

Scatter the flaked almonds on top, then dust the tiny bit of ground cardamom (less than 1/2 tsp – it’s just for a bit of flavour).

Place in the oven and bake until set and slightly golden on top. This depends on your oven – but around 30-40 mins is a good guideline.

To make the topping: Place 100g raspberries in a saucepan, add the sugar and a dash of water and boil until the raspberries have broken down and it looks like a runny jam. Leave to cool. Use the remaining berries to decorate.

Kalles Kaviar – The Legend, The Myth, The Breakfast Topper

January 12, 2017 | Leave a comment

Kalles Kaviar – Everyday Hero #1

This is the first of six posts – each presenting one of our favourite everyday products. The things we eat again and again and that always provide a taste of home.

Open a random Swedish fridge and chances are you’ll find at least one blue and yellow tube of creamed cod roe with a smiley blonde on the pack. Creamed cod roe..may not sound very appetising, but its slightly salty, savoury mild taste makes it an excellent addition to your egg-sandwich – and this, indeed, is how most people enjoy it.

We have shared the recipe on this Swedish delicacy before – check it out here; Kalles Kaviar 3 Ways.

Kalles Kaviar Kaviar

What’s the fuss about you may ask? Well let us tell you how it all started (drumwhirl please)..
Kalles Kaviar was launched in Sweden in 1954, and is based on several hundred years old recipe from the Swedish west coast. Its iconic blue and yellow tube has changed little since then, and is a much-loved sight for a Swede in need of some TLC. No one is quite sure who to credit for the recipe, which was bought by Abba from a peddler for around 1000SEK – a small fortune in the 50s.

The mystery of Kalles remains to this day – not least to non-Swedes, who struggle to find anything lovable about this little bit of Sweden in a tube – well, maybe apart from Kalles’ smiley self.

Fancy some? Order some Kalles and some crispbread today and we’ll send it straight to you – your Swedish breakfast dreams will soon be answered.

    Abba Kalles Kaviar Original – Smoked Cod Roe 190g
    £3.29
    - +
    Leksands Brungraddat – Brown Baked Crispbread 830g
    £4.49 £3.39
    - +

 

Swedish Meatball Sandwich – Recipe

October 6, 2016 | Leave a comment

Swedish Meatballs With a Chance of Lingon

We love meatballs. Who doesn’t? A meatball a day keeps the doctor away, and so on.

Aside from the usual preparation, meatballs with creamy mash, cream sauce and sharp lingonberries (we have a lovely recipe for a meatball dinner here), we like eating them as a sandwich.

Here’s our simple Meatball Sandwich;

Swedish Meatball Sandwich Step by Step

  1. Start by cutting your meatballs into smaller chunks and fry them on medium heat in a little butter to make the edges go golden crisp, until they are warmed through. They’re already cooked so no need to cook them for very long.
  2. Then grab a plate and place 1 round polarbrod on it; we like it toasted but it doesn’t have to be. Spread a little salted butter on. Add a green leaf if you want. Spinach or rocket is good, or just plain lettuce. It adds a bit of freshness and crunch.
  3. Spread the beetroot salad on top your bread, approximately two tablespoons.
    Variation; Swap pickled red cabbage for the beetroot.
  4. Finish by adding your warm meatballs, some chopped chives and perhaps lingonberry jam, although we tend to think the sweetness from the beetroot salad is enough in this instance.
  5. Add a good sprinkling of salt and pepper to finish.

Sit down. Grab a knife and a fork and enjoy. ‘Mums filibaba’, as a Swede would say! (it means Yummy!).

Fancy making this? We have a bundle for you:

    Swedish Meatball Sandwich
    £6.97
    - +
    Per i Viken Farmors Köttbullar – Meatballs 8-Pack
    £2.99
    - +
    Felix Lingon – Wild Lingonberry Jam 283g
    £2.29
    - +

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15 Facts About Cinnamon Buns

September 20, 2016 | Leave a comment

15 Things You Need to know about Cinnamon Buns

This year, as every year, we are celebrating the official Cinnamon Bun day. A national holiday in Sweden (not really, but it should be) – it falls every year on October the 4th and is celebrated by eating cinnamon buns en masse.

For many Scandis, us included – every day is cinnamon bun day. There’s always a reason for a cinnamon bun. It is, as you may know, also referred to as an edible hug. No? Just us then. Because that’s how we feel about it. It is as comforting and warming as a hug from your best friend, a stranger or your dog. Whichever of those you prefer.

As Scandinavians we feel it is our duty to educate those less knowledgeable about this harmonic symbiosis of flour, butter, sugar and cinnamon. This is lesson 1, based on our post from last year (read it here) – we’ll keep it simple.


Cinnamon Buns – Cinnamon  Swirls – Kanelbulle – Kanelsnegle – Skillingsbolle
  1. The cinnamon bun’s origin is a hotly debated topic. The Swedes claim it originated there in the 1920s. Usually, we won’t shy away from a debate, but in this case – it doesn’t matter where it is from. We love it too much. It is a love-child of Scandinavia.
  2. Cinnamon bun day has been celebrated since 1999, and the bun itself didn’t really become popular until the 1950s.
  3. A Nordic cinnamon bun is typically made with a bit of ground cardamom in the dough – this is what differentiates it from other cinnamon buns, such as the over-the-top sticky sweet buns you often see in north America.  with a bit of ground cardamom, which sets them apart from other cinnamon buns on this lovely planet of ours.
  4. A real cinnamon bun (a Scandi one) does not have icing on the top. In Norway, a sprinkle of normal granulated sugar – in Sweden those lovely big-ish sugar crystals called Pearl Sugar.
    kanelbullar cinnamon buns
  5. A typical Swede eats 316 cinnamon buns per year – in our central London cafe we sell about 60 cinnamon buns per day (and we all smell faintly of cinnamon..mm!).
  6. That is roughly 21600 per year.
  7.  If you stack all these buns, the total height would be 648 meters, or roughly the height of the Shanghai Tower, the 2nd tallest building in the world with 632 meters. Only Burj Al Kalifa would be taller, with its 830 meters. (Eat more buns, people!)

    cinnamon bun lenght

    Or, you can bake a really really long one to share.

  8. In Norway (and highly likely elsewhere in Scandinavia too) there are various very important cinnamon bun competitions held every year, where readers of the local newspaper nominate and vote for the best cinnamon bun in town. It is prestigious and competitive, and taken very, very serious.
  9. The same place refers to its cinnamon buns as Skillingsboller – ‘schilling buns’ – referring to the cost of one back in the day.
    cinnamon buns skillingsboller
  10. In Denmark, they are often called ‘cinnamon snails’ – Kanelsnegl’, and in Finland, ‘slapped ear’ – Korvapuusti. Maybe because if someone did slap your ear, a cinnamon bun would be a suitable treat to comfort you in your pain and distress.
  11. Cinnamon buns are made a variety of different ways. You can swirl them and pop them into a little paper case to keep all the buttery sugary gooeyness; do a simple swirl and bake, cut side up, or do a thinner swirl baked cut sides out. We love them all.
  12. The cinnamon bun is perfect – it doesn’t need meddling with. Still, some people make things as the below – a bacon cinnamon bun roll sandwich. Proceed at your own responsibility; we take no responsibility for whatever may come from consuming this (delicious?) concoction.
    Cinnamon roll with bacon
  13. There are two kinds of cinnamon; Ceylon and Cassia. Ceylon is also referred to as sweet cinnamon – or true cinnamon and is the most popular one. It is a bit more expensive than the other, but the taste is miles better. Get it if you can – otherwise your buns won’t be as good.
  14. Cinnamon also contains a substance called coumarin – which can damage the liver if consumed in larger quantities. The Scandinavian countries regularly relish in this fact, purely so they can put a scare cinnamon headline out, such as;
    ‘How to avoid cinnamon-poisoning’
    ‘Be careful with cinnamon’
    ‘Cinnamon buns can damage your liver’But fear not – you would have to eat approximately 10 cinnamon buns per day for an extended period of time to notice anything.
  15. It is Scandifically proven that it is impossible to resist a fresh cinnamon bun still warm from the oven. Try it. Sprinkle with almonds for a nutty taste..mmmm!

    Cinnamon Twists Bronte Aurell ScandiKitchen

    Phoro credit: Peter Cassidy, for Ryland Peters.

Enjoy Bun Day on the 4th October – we want to see your buns, so don’t forget to send us a picture to iloveherring@scandikitchen.co.uk and we’ll post the best ones on facebook and instagram. Prizes for the best looking buns.

Fancy making your own? Check out our recipe for the world’s best cinnamon buns and head to our webshop to buy our cinnamon bun baking kit, containing the essential ingredients you need for a Scandi cinnamon bun.

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The Breakfast Edition; Scandi VS British Breakfast

September 15, 2016 | Leave a comment

Breakfast, Frokost, Morgenmad, Frukost. 

As the saying goes (well, in Scandinavia at least), dear child bears many names. We love breakfast. It is often the main reason we go to bed at night – to fast forward to another lovely meal. Best enjoyed with big yawns, squinty eyes and coffee-hungry brains.

Fun-fact: In Sweden and Norway, breakfast is called Frukost/Frokost. The same word means lunch in Denmark. In Denmark, breakfast is called morgenmad – morning food. So naturally, a lot of confusion arises around the two first meals of the day when Scandis visit each other. Frokost? Nej mand, it is way too early. Frokost? Vad då, it is far too late!

Ah, the stress!

Important-fact: 1 of 3 children in the UK don’t have breakfast. We are working with charity Magic Breakfast to reduce this number – please read more here about this important cause.

Whatever you call it, the first meal of the day is important, and each country has its own traditions. Scandinavian breakfasts differs a lot from the British – so, because we know you’ve been wondering, let us present – some basic differences between British breakfasts vs Scandi breakfasts .

The Brits have.. toast.
In Sweden: Crispbread. More crispbread.
In Norway: Various breads or crispbread. The one called Frukost.
In Denmark: Rye bread.

swedish crispbread knackebrod

The Brits top theirs with.. butter and Marmite or jam.
In Sweden: Egg and kaviar, cheese (Aseda graddost)
In Norway: Norvegia cheese or brown cheese.
In Denmark: Cheese. Butter.

Swedish breakfast egg kaviar

The Brits drink..tea or instant coffee.
In Sweden: Black coffee. Proper brewed coffee. Like this one from Zoegas.
In Norway: Black coffee. Sometimes with milk. This one from Friele, for example.
In Denmark: Black coffee. Proper brewed coffee. You get the drill.. we all like real coffee!

Image result for black coffee gif

 

The Brits also drink..orange juice.
In Sweden: Milk, sometimes juice.
In Norway: Milk, juice sometimes.
In Denmark: Milk or juice.

Milk for breakfast in Sweden, Denmark, Norway

 

The Brits who don’t eat bread eats.. cereal.
In Sweden: Filmjolk (a light natural yougurt) with granola or musli and some berries. Or kalaspuffar.
In Norway: Frokostblanding – breakfast mix! Ie., cereal. With banana  if you’re being virtuous.
In Denmark: Skyr or Ymer – a type of natural yogurt – with Ymerdrys – a lovely rye bread crumb cereal. 
swedish breakfast kalaspuffar
For a weekend breakfast, the Brit will have.. a full English (or components thereof).

In Sweden: ALL the crispbread. Several types of bread. Eggs and kaviar, different cheeses, jams, perhaps a ham or pate. Something bun-like. Yogurt pots, fresh fruits, something with egg. Coffee. Juices. Milk. Many many hours, newspapers and good company.

In Norway: Several types of bread. Toaster handy. Fresh rolls. Norvegia and brown cheese. Boilt eggs. Ham and chopped up cucumber and red pepper. Tomatoes. Jams. Pate. Basically – your entire fridge. Milk and juice to drink. Coffee AND tea. Many many hours, the radio in the background and good company.

In Denmark: Fresh rolls from the baker – at least one per person plus a Danish pastry and white bread, which is never normally eaten. Rye bread. Cheeses and jams and marmalade. OR a full on Scandi brunch with scrambled eggs, bacon, all the sandwich toppings in the fridge. Juice and milk, tea and coffee. Perhaps a shot of Gammel Dansk (a digestif) or three if it is a special occasion.

dansk morgenmad danish breakfast

Drool.

 

There you have it. The full low down on Scandi breakfasts. Fancy it? To shop Scandi favourite cheeses, jams, coffees and more have a look in our webshop – click  here.

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