Tag Archives: swedish

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.

Scandinavian Beers; Nils Oscar

August 3, 2017 | Leave a comment

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.

 

Recipe: A Simple Potato Salad

July 24, 2017 | Leave a comment

A Simple Potato Salad

This is the simplest and loveliest potato salad we know. It tastes of summer and picnics – and we pair it with anything from salmon to meatballs.

The best thing is that it takes only a few minutes to prepare after the potatoes have been boiled – and you can enjoy it hot or cold.

Cook the potatoes in their skin (new potatoes or salad potatoes). You can use slightly warm potatoes for this, or cooled ones straight out of the fridge. The most important part is to dress them just before serving.

Prepare the dressing:

• 75ml sunflower oil or other light oil

• 25ml white wine vinegar

• 1 tbsp Dijon mustard

• 1 tbsp caster sugar

• 1 medium shallot, very finely chopped

• 1 bunch of dill, finely chopped (around 30g)

• Salt and pepper to taste

Whisk the liquids, mustard and sugar until the sugar has dissolved, then fold in the chopped shallot and dill. Pour the dressing over the potatoes and make sure each potato is coated.

Enjoy.

The Crayfish Season

July 16, 2017 | Leave a comment

Crayfish Season

Picture this: a little, red wooden house set by a calm, blue lake that sparkles silver from the rays of the summer sun. Rolling green hills and never ending meadows full of wild flowers and berries, surrounding everything and everyone on pure postcard bliss.  Welcome to the picture perfect Swedish late summer evening and welcome to the Crayfish Season: it’s time for Kräftskiva (or, if you’d rather: a somewhat messy event involving lots of crustaceans and hard liquor).

Every year in August, Finnish and Swedish people all over the world get excited by the start of the crayfish season. The timing of the season is founded in local law which dictates that Scandinavian freshwater crayfish must only be fished in late summer and early autumn. Although in this time of easy imports where crayfish is available all year round, tradition still holds strong and the season is very much part of the Swedish and Finnish calendar of events, thirdly only to Midsummer and Eurovision.

Crayfish was first mentioned by Aristotle back in the really old days but as a delicacy its big break came in the 1800’s when Monsieur Napoleon developed a thing for the ‘écrevisses’ and got the whole of France hooked as a result. Initially crayfish were plentiful in rivers and lakes all across central and northern Europe, but as this gastronomic trend spread across the continent, the crayfish stock was in steep decline. A lethal pest almost wiped out the entire stock in the early 1900’s and local laws were quickly introduced to limit the availability of the delicacy thus saving it from extinction.

Today most crayfish in the world is farmed, although the ultimate delicacy for a crayfish party is still locally sourced Swedish or Finnish beauties. These are seriously pricey, though, so most people settle for the almost-just-as-good imported, cooked and quickly frozen type, usually imported from China, Turkey or other fancy far-away places. Alternatively, if you happen to have your own Swedish lake handy, you can opt for some night time fishing with wire traps – these buggers are nocturnal and will do much to avoid your dinner plate.

The difference between crayfish you buy at your local fishmonger outside Sweden is that the Scandinavian kind is cooked in a brine sauce of dill, then some dill and a bit more dill thrown in for good measure. Crayfish is, like lobster, cooked alive (sorry if you are vegetarian and reading this) which is why most people who do not have access to live crustaceans tend to buy the frozen kind – these have been cooked to the Scandinavian recipe already and all you need to do is remove from freezer and wait a while.

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So, how do you go about celebrating the humble crayfish, Scandinavian style? A traditional Kräftskiva, or Rapujuhlat as it is called in Finland, typically starts late afternoon or early evening. A long table, which is usually outside in the garden or park, is decorated with colourful tablecloths; there are silly special crayfish party hats and bibs available for all guests to wear (surprisingly, with pictures of crayfish on them), lanterns depicting the Man in the Moon as well as festive crayfish cut-out garlands.

The crayfish is served cold in a big bowl on the table, lovingly decorated with some more dill. Eating crayfish is a long process: a crayfish party can last well into the night, so mountains of toasted, white bread is also served to ensure the aquavit is soaked up along the way. It’s always preferable that the guests don’t end up too wobbly too quick and get ideas about skinny dipping and sing-songs before time.

Blocks of the infamous Västerbotten cheese (a 12 months aged Swedish cheese from the Västerbotten area, not unlike parmesan in consistency but without the smell of feet) is also served. Along with this is an abundance of cold beers and, of course, no Scandinavian party is complete without the presence of the old Aquavit – a grain based, flavoured strong liquor that is served ice cold.  Some people practice “one shot for every claw” but as you’ll eat your way through a good dozen crayfish during the course of an evening, pacing yourself below this is recommended – at least until someone starts singing.  Singing is a good sign that you may as well just give in and join the fun – and there’s no drinking without any singing, according to Swedish law (nor is there any singing without drinking, or any time for silence, according to most local ‘Crayffectionados’).  A few of those aquavit and you’ll automatically be able to sing all the songs in fluent Swedish.

Crayfish is eaten with the hands and it is a lovely, messy affair.  If you are invited to one of these special parties during the season, do remember that it is absolutely a requirement to slurp noisily as you suck up the dill juices from the claws and belly of the “kräft” as well – a sign that you are truly initiated into this wonderful tradition.  Before you know it, all the people around the table will be your best friends, you’ll be planning next year’s holidays with Björn and Agneta in Uppsala and maybe even having a cheeky footsie session with Lars under the table.  Suddenly, after you’ve thrown in a swarm of evil mosquitoes, that little red house by the lake doesn’t feel that far away after all.

    Hedlund Festlykta Dragspel – Crayfish Party Lantern 2-pack
    £4.29
    - +
    Hedlund Festlykta Måne – Crayfish Party Decoration (medium – 44cm)
    £4.49
    Hedlund Kraftgirland – Crayfish Garland 4m
    £3.49
    - +
    Brondums Snaps 40% – Aquavit 700ml
    £29.49
    - +
    Hedlund Kräftservietter – Crayfish Party Napkins (20 pack)
    £2.99
    - +

Aquavit Songs (Snapsvisor) for Midsummer

June 22, 2017 | Leave a comment

 

Swedish Midsummer Drinking songs ‘Snapsvisor’

 

Going to a Midsummer party with some Swedes? You will be asked to dance, like a frog. You may also be asked to sing songs in Swedish. This is very easy once you have had some aquavit (it makes you fluent) – but to begin with, it can be tricky. Here are a few of the easier songs to get you started – and there is even one in phonetics.

Enjoy!

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 things you didn’t know were invented by the Nordics….

April 27, 2017 | Leave a comment

7 things you didn’t know were invented by the Nordics….

  1. You can thank the Swedes that we don’t always have to have elasticated waistbands in our trousers, because the Swedes invented the zipper. Thanks, Sweden.
    zipper glidlås lynlås glidelås
  2. The cheese slicer was invented in Norway in 1925 by Thor Bjørklund. We thank him every day for ensuring level cheeses. More people should use cheese slicers, really. How the rest of the world eats cheese, we do not understand.
    cheese slicer - ostehøvel
  3. The Finns invented the ice skates about 3000 years ago.
  4. ice skates Alfred Nobel (a Swede) invented dynamite. Hailed in the construction business, he became rich – and in the mid 1860s established the Nobel prizes to reward curious, brilliant minds. No one knows why the peace prize has to be awarded by a Norwegian committee, but that’s how it is.

AlfredNobelhome

  1. A Norwegian made the first fishnet underwear, from – you guessed it – old fishing net in 1933. Deemed ‘lightweight and practical’ – it keeps the wearer warm due to the thin layer of air that gets trapped in the mesh.
    fishnet top norwegian*
  1. The Swedes invented the adjustable wrench. And they call it a shift key.

Wrench skiftnokkel

    1. The Danes invented…. The Clapping Hat (klaphat). The hat that claps for you so you can focus on your beer. Thank you Denmark for your contribution.
      Klaphat clapping hat danish

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

| Leave a comment

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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