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Monthly Archives: September 2014

What is Fika?

September 25, 2014 | 10 Comments

Full_fika-0023_original

Time for Fika

Every language contains a few untranslatable words.  In Denmark and Norway, “hygge” is generally used as an example for a general state of lovely cosiness.  In Sweden, the word that is hard to translate literally is ‘Fika’.

‘To Fika’ is a good old Swedish word that basically means to ‘meet up, have a coffee and a chit-chat’.  We Scandinavians love nothing more than to meet up for a Fika. This can be done at any time – and a Fika can take anything from 10 minutes to several hours, depending on how good you are at Fika-ing.  If you’re in Norway or Denmark you don’t use the actual word Fika, but the rules of the game are the same.

For a good Fika you’d be expected to serve good Scandinavian coffee.  People in the Nordic countries drink more coffee than anyone in the world, even the Italians.  This is because we love our filter coffee – and it needs to be very strong and served in abundance.  When you have a Fikarast (coffee break) at work or meet someone for a Fika it is not unlikely to polish off a good 2-3 cups of filter coffee in one sitting.  Each.  Perhaps this abuse of caffeine goes a little way to explain why the Norwegians always sounds so happy and why we’re one of the biggest producers of Europop: Our veins are constantly beating in tune to Basshunter hits.

Once upon a time, back in the day, when men were men and women wore twin-sets and went to bed with rollers in their hair, people knew how to treat their guests when they popped by for a Fika.  No pre-packaged cakes, no just popping out to M&S for a roll of digestives and a ham & egg sub.  No, no, back when Granny ruled the roost, things were made from scratch, guests were treated to coffee in the finest china and nobody had to help with the washing up.

Back in the forties, a book was published in Sweden entitled ”Sju Sorters Kakor” – meaning, Seven Kinds of Biscuits.  It does contain recipes for well over a hundred biscuits and cakes, but the reason for the title was simple: seven was the number of different homemade cakes a good housewife should offer any guests that popped over for Fika.  Hmmm, yes.  Six kinds and you were stingy (and probably lazy), any more than seven and you were a show off.  Lagom.

sjusorter

This lovely book quickly became part of Swedish culture and every household owns at least 4 copies and swear by the fact it is the most influential book since the Bible. Almost.  Every time a distant relative dies, you are guaranteed to receive a few more copies.  Despite the fact that it is illegal to throw any copies of this book away, it is still in print and new editions are churned out every couple of years.  There is a fear Sweden may sink into the ocean one day from a surplus of Sju Sorters Kakor books. Seeing as very few people still offer you seven kinds of biscuits when you pop over, one can conclude that someone somewhere is slacking in the baking department.

In Denmark, a similar fashion arose at around the same time.  In the south of Denmark, near the German border, a tradition known now a days as Sønderjysk Kaffebord, literally Coffee Table from Sønderborg, seeks to rival the Swedish housewife’s offering.  There, you are also expected to serve seven sorts of biscuits – as well as seven sorts of soft cakes – from carrot cake to chocolate cake and layer cakes.  Considering the generation of South Danish ladies who lunched at each others’ houses did not have to be carried around by pick-up trucks, one must conclude that restraint is in the back bone of those Danes.

While the average Scandinavian household no longer has a mini production line of home baking going on (the same as most British household no longer serve high tea on a daily basis), Scandinavians still do love their coffee breaks and we always take time to fika when we can – it is simply part of our culture and still today, it is generally accepted you can pop over to visit your friends without having to synchronise your Blackberry diaries 2 week in advance.  Whether you choose to take your fika breaks with seven kinds of cake, or simply pop out for a skinny soya decaf with vanilla syrup in the sun, make sure you spare a thought for the poor grannies that had to stay at home baking all day fretting about how to look better than the neighbour without over stepping the ‘lagom’ rules – and maybe have a go at making a few of your own (Ask any Swede and they’re bound to have a few spare copies of ‘Seven Kinds of Cakes’ recipe books lying around).

 

 

 

Ten cool Vikings

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Let’s face it: We have quite a few to choose from. Here’s our selection

BlueTooth

Harold Bluetooth

Dear old Harold. Not only did he have a blue tooth, but he was really good at unifying and connecting places – such as Norway and Denmark, where he ruled for many years. And this is why Bluetooth is called Bluetooth today: all because of good ol’ Harold and his incredible social skills.

Ragnar

Ragnar Hairypants

Ragnar is our choice because he has a great name. Also known as Ragnar Lodbrok or Ragnar Hairybreeches, it is likely this Viking ruler wore pants made out of fur. Either this or he was extraordinarily hairy. The sagas say Ragnar Lodbrok may have worn those renowned breeches as protection from the venomous serpents he battled to court his second wife, Swedish princess Thora. Fathered a lot of sons – so many so that historians dispute whether he actually existed or was several different people.

Australian actor Travis Fimmel plays a Ragnor in ‘Vikings’ – although his character is only very loosely based on the real Ragnar. And no hairy pants.

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Freydis Eriksdottir

Our fearsome Viking lady. Freydis was the daughter of Erik the Red (of America fame), married to a spineless man called Thorvard, she joined him on expeditions around the world. One time, Thorvard left her behind in Vinland (North America), fought the natives on her own whilst pregnant, became a farmer, gave birth to her son – until Thorvard came back for her, eventually. She joined Thorvard  on several more expeditions, also taking part in battles. Later on she became a bit too brutal for her own good and was feared amongst other Vikings for slaying men and women regardless. She also invented the sleeping bag (apparently).

dirtyviking

Ogmund Tangle-Hair

Not much is known of this Viking, other than he probably had a bit of a bad hair do.

leiferiksson

Leif Eriksson

Son of Erik (see below), brother of Freydis (see above), Leif was the one to discover North America nearly 500 years beforeColumbus. For that alone, he is on our list. Most likely born in Iceland.

ErikRed

Erik the Red

Our favourite ginger of all and founder of Norse settlement on Greenland (after he was thrown out of Iceland for murdering a few locals). A master of marketing, he deliberately named Greenland to be more appealing to other potential settlers (having seen what Iceland had done to itself by not naming their island ‘valleys of green and warm earth showers’). Father of Leif and Freydis.

Viking and burning building

Eysteinn Fart

Actually, his real name was Eysteinn Hálfdansson, but in one of the sagas, he’s named as Eysteinn Fart. Why? We guess he had a bit of a flatulence problem. He was Norwegian, and in Norwegian he is known as Eysteinn Fjert, meaning fart. Lived 720-768 where he was blown off his ship by a ‘gust of wind’.

VikingLagetha

Lagertha

This lady was rather awesome. Wife of the man with the hairy pants, Lagertha was a Viking shieldmaiden from Norway.  Her name most likely came from Hlaðgerðr.

‘Ladgerda, a skilled Amazon, who, though a maiden, had the courage of a man, and fought in front among the bravest with her hair loose over her shoulders. All-marveled at her matchless deeds, for her locks flying down her back betrayed that she was a woman.’

Ragnar dumped Lagertha to marry a Swedish princess, but when he got into trouble in battle, Lagertha still came to his aid bringing 120 ships for him.

The character in Vikings is loosely based on her.

skullsplitter

Thorfinn Skull-Splitter

The 10th-century Earl of Orkney, this fearsome named Viking was born on Orkney. The mother of his five sons was Grelad, a daughter of “Earl Dungad of Caithness” and Groa, herself a daughter of Thorstein the Red. Thorfinn died a very old man and is buried in Hoxa.  The modern Orcadian beer Skull Splitter is named after him.

King-Canute

Cnut

Cnut the Great (Old Norse: Knútr inn ríki) born c. 995, more commonly known as Canute.  King of Denmark, England, Norway, and ‘some Swedes’.  Son of the infamous Sweyn Forkbeard, his grandfather was Harold Bluetooth, so he was from good Viking stock.  Often had to be careful when spelling his own name.

Cnut is often described as being exceptionally handsome ‘except for his nose’.  Cnut was buried at Winchester Cathedral, where some remains are in chests above the choir.

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Some of our quirky little Scandi habits and ways…

September 18, 2014 | 17 Comments

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Scandi habits. Some of our quirky little ways…

We asked around on Facebook and Twitter today for what little ‘ways’ we Scandies have that others may find…. shall we say… quirky?

– Swedes especially like to make an announcement when they need to pee. Stand up in the middle of a board meeting and say : Jag måsta kissa (I need to pee) is perfectly acceptable. In Sweden.

– We may ask to ‘borrow’ your bathroom. Don’t worry, we always give it back.  It’s a literal translation. We may also ask to borrow a cigarette or a cup of sugar. But we especially like borrowing your bathroom. In turn, we find it odd that you are ON the bus and not IN the bus. It works both ways. We drive a bicycle, we don’t ride it.

– Inhale as we speak, especially when we say ‘Ja’ (yes). Try it. Go on, can you inhale and talk at the same time? We do.

– Eat liquorice. Strong, salty liquorice. Our favourite thing is to try and make you taste some of it, and laugh when you choke in disgust and nearly die.

dill_5

Add dill to things, many things. From sweet stuff to savoury stuff. From cheese to veg. Add some dill.


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Obsess about Eurovision. In Sweden, they have 5 regional heats before the final.

Eat jam with other stuff than bread. Cloudberry is for vanilla ice cream. Lingonberry is for meatballs. A nice dollop of strawberry jam on stinky cheese.

tubes

Stuff in tubes. Okay, so that’s mainly the Swedes, but there is a lot of it around. And not just puree and toothpaste. We’re talking cheese in tubes, mackerel in tubes. Cod roe kaviar in tubes. If you can squeeze it out of a tube, you’ll be able to buy it in Sweden. Add dill.


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Coffee, the real deal. Filter stuff, made from an unspeakable amount of ground beans. Not one cup, but several. Scandinavia has the highest coffee consumption in the world. We’re practically wired from morning to night. Our veins are like a Basshunter song.

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We like combining good things. Prawns? Good. Cheese? Good. Prawn cheese, anyone? It’s lovely. Ideally in tubes.

 


noshoes

– Shoes off. No shoes allowed in the house. Ever.

– Cover everything in Ketchup. We eat spaghetti or macaroni – with ketchup. No need for a fancy sauces here, just ketchup, please. We even put it on pizza. Ironically, we don’t tend to have ketchup with our fries. Why would you have ketchup with fries?

heta_tacos

Tacos. Our new national dish. We only ever eat it on Fridays, though, because Friday is Taco Night in Scandinavia.

candlelight

Candles. And darkness. Scandinavians love to turn off the lights and light candles. All the time. They especially like creating ‘atmosphere’ for evening dinner, sitting completely in the dark with only a candle lighting up the room. Some of us never get to see what we are eating.

Can you think of any more ways we are a bit quirky? Feel free to add your comments here.

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A very Danish coffee time in South Jutland

September 9, 2014 | 2 Comments

by Bronte Aurell

I have family in the southern part of Jutland (the part of Denmark that’s connected to continental Europe),  and one of the most vivid memories of my childhood is hearing of the elaborate gatherings known as ‘Sønderjysk Kaffebord’ – literally, a ‘Southern Jutland coffee table’.

Danes love meeting up for coffee and cake of course, but in the south of Jutland, they take it to the extreme. There, a normal coffee time features  seven types of soft cake, and seven kinds of biscuits. Anything less just won’t do.

Such gatherings first became popular in the mid-1800s, when indoor ovens became increasingly commonplace (communal ovens were the norm in  villages and on farms). As home baking became easier, the availability of recipe books led to people experimenting more, and the variety of coffee-time goodies increased accordingly.

While extreme rationing during the First World War meant that southern Jutland’s coffee times were a more austere affair, they took on a new significance during the Nazi occupation of Denmark in the Second World War. The occupiers outlawed public meetings, but welcoming guests for (ersatz) coffee in the home was permitted. So what better way to discuss resistance than doing it while stuffing your face full of delicious baking at the same time?

Of course, there was also an element of out-doing the neighbours. At communal coffee times at a village hall, each wife would bring her cake. But maybe Gerda would bring two different cakes, while Katrine down the road might attempt to outdo her with four types of biscuits. A bake-off gone nuts.

These days,  a typical Southern Jutland coffee table is served in hotels and restaurants, and also sometimes at weddings, christenings and funerals. In fact, the other day I called my dad, who was on his way to Sønderborg with my uncle. He told me that a distant relative had sadly passed away, and they were attending the funeral. I offered my condolences – to which I heard my uncle chirpily reply in the background : “Ah, but there’s a full coffee table afterwards!”.

How to do it – the original way

Present seven types of soft cakes and seven types of biscuits or hard cakes.

People gathered around the table to take one portion or slice of EACH soft cake on your plate AT THE SAME TIME. Yes, really.  You don’t have to do that any more, but that is the tradition. The reasoning was that if you got full up and hadn’t yet tasted Helle’s delicious strieftorte, it just would not do.

How to serve?

Start with the soft cakes, followed by the hard cakes. Always. Never the other way round.

There is a huge list to choose from – some that probably wouldn’t appeal to our pallets these days. The popular ones will always be layer cakes of all shapes and sizes, from strawberry with crème pâtisserie, to ones made with berries from the garden. You will probably always have someone attempting a rye bread layer cake (it’s an interesting thing). Kartoffelkage is another good one – literally ‘potato cake’, but it has nothing to do with potatoes. And then there are tarts, kringles – and so it goes on….

The hard items include fried wheat biscuits known as ‘klejner’, as well as the more familiar butter cookies.

My very favourite kaffebord item is a  biscuit called ‘Ingenting’ which literally means ‘nothing’.

Ingentings are the last biscuit served. A host would ask a guest what more they could eat, to which they would answer ‘ingenting’. And so the guest be offered precisely that – one of these deliciously light, soft meringue biscuits. Because there is always room for nothing.

ingenting

Ingentings Biscuits

Course: Fika
Servings: 30 biscuits
Author: Bronte Aurell

Ingredients

The biscuit

  • 200 g plain flour
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 125 g butter
  • 1 tbsp cream
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar
  • lemon zest

The topping

  • 2 egg whites
  • tiny pinch of salt
  • 100 g caster sugar
  • 1 large tsp vanilla sugar or vanilla essence
  • 2 tsp white wine vinegar
  • Optional: 3 tbsp finely chopped almonds

Instructions

  • Method:
  • In a food processor blitz the ingredients for the biscuits (if you don’t have a processor, crumble the cold butter into the flour, then incorporate the rest of the ingredients). Do not work the dough too much. When it is smooth, pop it in a plastic wrap and leave in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to set.
  • Meanwhile, make the meringue topping. Whisk the egg whites with a teeny pinch of salt. Slowly add the sugar and vanilla sugar, bit by bit, and whisk on high speed until you have a shiny, glossy, firm mixture that forms sharp peaks. This will take quite a while. At the end, add the vinegar and – if using – the chopped almonds.
  • Roll the dough out on a floured surface to the same height as a digestive biscuit. Use a round cookie cutter to cut out the biscuits and place on a baking tray. Repeat until all dough has been used.
  • Either spoon out or use a piping bag to get the meringue mixture on to each biscuit. I like quite a thick layer (so the meringue stays gooey in the middle), but if you prefer less, this also works.
  • Bake in the middle of the oven at 150 degrees for around 15 minutes until the base is cooked. I usually leave mine in the over with the door open for a further fifteen minutes,but this is optional.
  • Variations: add colouring, different flavours and experiment. This really is a lovely light treat and worth the effort.

 

Recipe: Prinsesstarta (Princess Torte)

September 5, 2014 | 2 Comments

Prinsesstårta (Princess Cake)

Prinsesstarta (Princess Cake) is the most famous cake in Sweden. The Swedes love it so much, there is even a Prinsesstarta week.
Traditionally a celebration cake, Prinsesstårta is a layer cake consisting of alternating layers of airy sponge, raspberry or strawberry jam, patisserie cream, and a thick layer of whipped cream. This is topped with green marzipan, sprinkled with powdered sugar with a pink marzipan rose on top. If it's your birthday, you get to eat the rose. It's the law.
This recipe is easy to follow and it's definitely worth trying. Even if you don't have time to make this yummy cake from scratch you can still impress people with our cheat's version (see the bottom of the page). It is quick, simple, but oh so delicious.

Ingredients

For the vanilla patisserie cream

  • NOTE: Needs to be cooled before using in the cake or the cream will split.
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 500 ml whole milk
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 140 g caster sugar
  • 45 g corn flour

For the cake layers

For the Whipped Cream

To garnish:

Marzipan Rose

  • 40 g marzipan
  • 1 drop red food coloring
  • 1 drop green food coloring

Instructions

  • Split the vanilla pod and scrape out the seeds and add to a saucepan with the milk. Bring to the boil. Take care not to burn and turn off heat as soon as boiling point is reached.
  • Whisk egg yolk and sugar until it goes almost white, then turn off the whisk and add the corn flour. Turn the whisk back on medium and slowly add the hot milk to the bowl, whisking continuously.
  • Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and bring back to the boil and cook for 1 minute to thicken. Turn off, sieve the mixture into a bowl, cling film and cool down completely in the fridge before using.
  • Heat the oven to 200 degrees Celcius.
  • Trace 3 identical circles onto baking paper – approximately 20-22 cm diameter. Place baking paper onto flat baking trays.
  • Whisk egg and sugar until white and fluffy. The key here, is to whisk for a long time to incorporate as much air as possible as there are not raising agents in the mixture.
  • Sift flour and vanilla sugar into the egg mixture and fold, very carefully, until completely incorporated. Preserve as much air as possible, so fold carefully but thoroughly.
  • Carefully divide the batter between the three circles and ensure batter fills the circles all the way around, neatly.
  • Bake in the oven until just golden brown and done – this will depend on your oven, but 5-6 minutes is usually fine.
  • Remove from and leave to cool completely on a cooling rack. Very carefully remove the baking paper – if it sticks, wet the back of the paper a little bit and it should come off with more ease.
  • On high speed, whisk all ingredients for the whipping cream until stiff peaks form. The cream needs to be quite firm to hold when decorating the cake – but take care not to over whip.
  • Divide the cream into two equal portions. Fold one half of the whipped cream together with the cold vanilla patisserie cream until completely incorporated (The other half is used to decorate the final cake).
  • Place the first layer cake on the plate you wish to serve on. Spread a nice layer of raspberry jam, follow by a 1cm thick layer of the patisserie cream / whipped cream mixture. Add another cake layer and repeat over again and then add the final cake layer on top (You may have a bit of excess custard cream left).
  • On the top sponge layer, carefully add the whipped cream in a “dome” shape – you will need to use a spatula here to get it quite smooth all over. You’re looking for around 3-4 cm “top” on the cake. Then carefully place the marzipan lid on top and over the edge of the cake, making sure the sides are completely covered and smooth.
  • Garnish:
  • Add the marzipan lid.
  • If you make your own marzipan lid, add the food colouring to the marzipan and roll it out into a round plate which you then put on the cake.
  • Sift powdered sugar on top.
  • Use a piping nozzle and any leftover whipped cream to pipe rosettes of cream around the edge to hide the bottom of the marzipan and any folds.
  • To make a rose: add few drops of food colouring to the marzipan – add icing sugar if it gets too sticky. Roll out a 1 mm thick piece, 2 cm wide and around 10 cm long. Roll it up loosely, nip the bottom together, spread the leaves a bit and voila: A marzipan rose to the top of your cake
  • This cake greatly improves after a few hours in the fridge so all the flavours are soaked into the cake layers.

Princesstarta - Cheat's version

Author: Bronte Aurell

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Whip the cream together with a few table spoons of icing sugar. Whip it to hard peaks (not soft)
  • Make the Creme patisserie: 1 sachet of kagecreme powder mixed with 500ml whole milk. Whisk well and chill for 15 minutes in fridge before using.
  • To assemble the cake:
  • Remove packaging from sponge cake layers. On your chosen tray, add first layer of sponge. Add on top a thin layer of raspberry jam, then add half the crème patisserie evenly all over. Add sponge layer and repeat. Add top lid.
  • On the top sponge layer, carefully add the whipped cream in a “dome” shape – you will need to use a spatula here to get it quite smooth all over. You’re looking for around 3-4 cm “top” on the cake.
  • Once you are happy with the whipped cream, add the green lid. This is the tricky bit. Carefully unwrap the lid and line it up to go on the cake. You only have one shot at this as it is hard to move. Once placed, carefully press the sides down around the cake. Some cream may seep out, so use a spoon to wipe any excess so the lid will fit snugly
  • Use a piping nozzle and any leftover whipped cream to pipe rosettes of cream around the edge to hide the bottom of the marzipan and any folds.
  • To make a rose: add few drops of food colouring to the marzipan – add icing sugar if it gets too sticky. Roll out a 1 mm thick piece, 2 cm wide and around 10 cm long. Roll it up loosely, nip the bottom together, spread the leaves a bit and voila: A marzipan rose to the top of your cake
    Dr Oetker Kagecreme Vanilje – Instant Vanilla Creme 3x85g
    £3.09
    Odense Marsipanlock – Marzipan Cake Cover 200g
    £5.59
    Karen Volf Lagkagebunde – Cake Sponges 3-pack
    £2.99

The 10 strangest Scandinavian dishes

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Let’s face it: While the majority of our foods makes you want to dance across a Swedish meadow, naked and with joy in your Viking heart, not all of our culinary creations please people from outside Scandinavia.

1. Surströmming.

Fermented herring in a tin. It’s a delicacy and yes, people get excited about Surströmming season and have smelly parties where people get together and eat what is basically rotten fish. When you open the pressurised tin (and only ever do so outside), the smell is so bad you feel sick. Oh, but did we mention it tastes delicious?

Also banned by all airlines –even in checked in luggage. No, don’t try it.

Watch our Jonas open a tin of the strong stuff in Hyde Park

2. Salmiakki salty Liquorice

We Nordics have a great love of salt – and people say this stems from our food heritage of many salted foods.  Most of us grow up eating liquorice so salty it makes grown British men cry tears and beg for mercy. Getting unsuspecting foreigners to try ‘Djungelvrål’ or ‘Tyrkisk Peber’ is a favourite pastime of ours.

Salmiakki is the Finnish word for ‘Ammonium Chloride’, which is a type of salt.

rakost-tub-275g-kavli

3. Prawn cheese

We love combining things.  Prawns? Good. Cheese? Good. ‘Prawn cheese’ must then, by definition, be good.

Actually, it really is. Don’t believe us? Try it. It comes in a tube, as nature intended.

4. Wormwood aquavit.

It’s strong, incredibly bitter and not very pleasant, really. In the 10-pack of Swedish mini bottles of Aquavit there is one of them called ‘Bäska Droppar’ – we usually pass this one to foreigners, to see their reaction. Try to avoid it if you can.

5. Salmiakki Vodka

We gave the Salmiakki liquorice flavoured vodka shots a category all on its own. Crush a bag of Tyrkisk Peber sweets, add to a bottle of vodka. Pop the lid back on, leave for a week, turning occasionally. Shake before use, serve chilled in shots. Can also be store bought.

Gamalost

6. Gamalost

Literally, ‘old cheese’.

A Norwegian cheese that could be stored for long periods of time without refrigeration.  Instructions on how to make it include helpful suggestions such as “take some cheese, stuff it in an old sock bury it in the manure under the barn and when it is ready it will crawl out”. Also known as the cheese of the Vikings, the Gamalost is strong, smelly and a very acquired taste.

True to form, we like to have Gamalost parties and sing songs about how much we love Gamalost.

7. Rakfisk

Not dissimilar to Surströmming, Rakfish is fermented char or trout. The fish is eaten raw in a wrap after a good three months of fermentation. Stinks. A lot. What do you expect? It’s rotten fish.

8. Hakarl

So strong it deserves a place in here even if Iceland is not part of Scandinavia.

How would you like a bit of fermented shark? This is a very good guide.

9. Hotdog topped with prawns.

Hotdogs? Good. Prawns? Good. Well, Norwegians and Swedes love nothing more than topping their hotdog with a good dollop of prawn mayonnaise salad.

Why?  Told you. Prawns? GOOD. Hotdogs? GOOD. Get with it, people. It just works.

smalahove

10. Smalahove

Our favourite is Smalahove, simply because of the look. In Norway, you can get a boiled sheep’s head, on a plate. No effort has been made to make it look anything but like what it is. A boiled head. It is tradition to start with the eyes. Yes, the eyes.

Bon Appetit, folks.

 

Recipe: Our Banana Cake

September 4, 2014 | 2 Comments

Our Banana Cake

We get asked every week for this recipe. So, here you go: Our banana cake.  Ah, you're welcome.
Course: Cake
Cuisine: Scandinavian
Author: Bronte Aurell

Ingredients

  • 3 bananas ripw
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 300 g caster sugar
  • 125 g butter softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 200 g plain flour
  • 50 g corn flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp vanilla sugar
  • 250 ml Greek yoghurt or natural yoghurt
  • 23 cm round tin for the timings below

For the topping:

  • 125 g butter softened
  • 125 g Philadelphia cream cheese
  • 1 tsp vanilla sugar
  • juice of ½ a lime
  • 300 g icing sugar
  • Chopped pecan nuts optional

Instructions

  • Puree bananas lightly with lemon juice and set aside
  • Cream butter and sugar really well until very smooth, then add eggs one at the time. Whisk well.
  • Sift dry ingredients together and then fold into the batter.
  • Add banana puree and fold well, bit by bit and carefully, with the yoghurt.
  • Pour into round cake form and bake for around 50-55 mins at 175 degrees OR until done. It’s done when a skewer comes out clean but this cake can vary greatly depending on oven and the size of your bananas so keep checking. Cool the cake completely before adding icing, ideally make cake the day before using.

For the topping

  • Whisk very, very well. (Leave it to whip for several minutes, ideally). If too soft, leave in fridge for twenty minutes before using.
  • Spread on the cooled down cake and decorate with a small handful of finely chopped pecan nuts.

A bunch of stuff the Scandinavians invented

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Black-Zip

1. The zip.

Without the zip, your pants would be around your ankles or you’d be wearing braces. Thank the Swedes for this one.

osteskaere-p

2. The cheese slicer

Seriously, can you imagine a world without a cheese slicer? Just don’t enter into a discussion with us about the different types… (metal for hard cheese, plastic for the softer ones – and the string cheese slicer for any of the Danish cheeses).

Dynamite

3. Dynamite

Boom. Thanks, Alfred Nobel. Oh, and thanks for the Nobel prize, too.

4. Lego

The biggest toy company in the world. We can’t get enough of Lego and parents the world over thoroughly enjoy stepping on that missing two’er that never seems to make its way back into the box.

5. Tetra-Pak

Yes, that handy thing your juice is in. You know, the special type carton.  Tak, Sverige.

6. Safety matches.

Yes, thanks again, Swedes.

7. The Loudspeaker

Peter L. Jensen invented the loudspeaker in 1915. Okay, he launched it in America but he was Danish.

spanner

8. The adjustable wrench.

Also known as Monkey wrench. You need one of these if you want to be handy around the house and assemble (mainly Swedish) furniture and stuff. Ikea is also Swedish. Coincidence? Not.

9. Gas turbine

Thanks to the Norwegians. Who also invented brown cheese (that has nothing to do with gas turbines, but we wanted to get it in there because brunost is utterly awesome).

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10. Clap Hat

Thanks, Denmark, for your glorious contribution.

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