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Author Archives: Bronte Aurell

Danish Koldskål dessert

June 24, 2019 | Leave a comment

Danish Koldskål and Kammerjunker biscuits

The most Danish of summer desserts
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Danish

Ingredients

The ‘soup’ base

  • 1 litre/4 cups buttermilk the liquid kind, not thick – usually found in Polish shops or larger super markets
  • 150 ml/2/3 cup Greek or natural yoghurt
  • 2 egg yolks (pasteurized
  • ideally – this soup contains
  • raw egg yolk)
  • 60 g/1/3 cup caster/granulated sugar
  • seeds from 1 vanilla pod/bean
  • zest from ½ lemon
  • freshly squeezed juice from ¼ lemon

Kammerjunker biscuits

  • 150 g/1 cup plus 1 tablespoon plain/all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 50 g/. caster/granulated sugar
  • 50 g/3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom optional
  • zest from ¼ lemon
  • 2 teaspoons single/light cream

Instructions

Method

  • On high speed, whisk egg yolk and sugar until white and thick. Add the vanilla and lemon zest, then the yoghurt and start to add the buttermilk whilst continuously whisking.
  • Add lemon juice to taste – the soup should be sweet but have a good lemon flavour coming through.
  • Serve the cold soup in bowls, topped with strawberries and Kammerjunker biscuits.

Method

  • To make the biscuits/cookies, combine the flour with the baking powder. Add the cold butter, cubed, and mix in until you have grainy consistency. Add the sugar, then the other ingredients and mix again until you have an even dough.
  • Leave to chill for 20 minutes before rolling the dough.
  • Turn the oven to 200 degrees C
  • Roll the dough out and cut 35-40 small pieces, roll them and place on a lined baking tray.
  • Bake for 7-10 minutes, depending on your oven. Remove from oven and cut each biscuit across the middle so you end up with two flat halves. Return to the warm oven and leave them to finish baking, at 170 degrees, for 8-10 more minutes OR until golden and crisp.

Notes

Tip This soup should be eaten on day of making it as it contains raw egg. However, if there’s ever any leftovers at home, I use the this mixed in with a fresh fruit smoothie the morning after: It’s delicious. Recipe is taken from the ScandiKitchen Cookbook by Bronte Aurell, published by Ryland Peter and Small, photography by Pete Cassidy.

Swedish Sandwich Cake (Smörgåstårta)

June 11, 2019 | Leave a comment

It’s often described as Sweden’s guilty secret: in all the Nordic Diet, healthy eating and green good-for-you flurry, we also have The Sandwich Cake.

We’re unsure of the exact origins, but suspect it may have come over from the States in the early sixties when housewives made similar ‘cakes’ for their cocktail parties. Someone must have brought it back to Scandinavia, and voila, it took hold and never went away. In all our obsession with rye bread and crisp bread, using soft white sandwich bread was – and is – seen as a huge treat. So, the Smörgåstårta became synonymous with birthdays and big celebrations and times to indulge.

If you google Smörgåstårta, you will see a variation of monstrosities. Eighties creations that would make any Sundsval housewife from 1984 weep with pride. Still today, this is what they look like – some with seafood, some with ham, cheese, pate, tuna and anything else you can think of. Smothered in mayonnaise and then decorated with twirly bits of cucumber and the odd radish rose.

In recent years, many have tried to make the Sandwich Cake look a bit more current – but it is hard: You don’t want to play too much with tradition, but also, you don’t want to start bringing back hair scrunchies, Miami Vice and Melanie Griffith. It’s a fine balance.

Since our Bronte showed off one of our sandwich Cakes on Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch last year, we had a lots of request for the recipe. So, here goes: There is no recipe. You make it up as you go along. But, to please you all, here is the recipe for the one we showed on the TV show. Just remember: You can make it any way you like – any shape, any size – just adapt the recipe to fit your party.

A few things to note and adhere to:

– White bread works well. You can also use wholemeal, but hey, why go wholemeal with a mayo cake? Rye bread does not work well.
– Butter the bread still, it will create a barrier and avoid it all going too soggy
– make the base the day before, then decorate on the day.
– Keep the layers tasty – although some people put both ham and prawns in one, it doesn’t taste nice. Keep it classic – we love seafood salad with salmon, for example, and egg.
– Make it on the tray you plan to serve it on – don’t try to move it once done.
– Plan to serve other things along side it – or else it gets too heavy. It’s a nice addition to a buffet with some salads and other bits.

Swedish Smorgastarta Sandwich Cake

Smörgåstårta is the Swedish food equivalent of Liberace.
Enjoy - these are fun to make. Happy Midsummer.
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Swedish
Author: Bronte Aurell

Ingredients

  • 6 slices of white English bread crust cut off
  • 200 ml prawn salad (use your favourite or mix together peeled prawns, dill, chopped chives, lemon, mayo, creme fraiche, salt, pepper - to taste)
  • a tub of good quality prawns
  • 200 g smoked salmon
  • 1 cucumber
  • fresh dill
  • fresh chives
  • a tub of mayonnaise
  • 3 hard-boiled eggs
  • butter

Instructions

  • Butter the bread on one side. Please two sides side by side and top with as much Skagenröra mixture as you feel is needed (you may not need it all). Add two slices of bread on top.
  • Mash the eggs and mix with a little bit of mayonnaise and season with salt and pepper. Add to the top of the bread. Add the last two slices of bread.
  • Using a pallet knife, add a thin layer of mayonnaise all around the sandwich cake. This will help the other toppings stick.

To decorate:

  • We like using nice slices of salmon on the top of the sandwich cake. Try to arrange in a nice pattern and let it overhang slightly on the sides to avoid blunt corners.
  • Using a cheese slicer or mandolin, cut long pieces of cucumber and use to decorate the sides. If you need a bit more mayonnaise to make it stick, well, so be it.
  • Once the sides are looking neat, you can decorate the top. This is the bit where you’re likely to overdo it. We tend to simply add some Skagenrora on top and then add loads of prawns and simply decorate with sprigs of dill.
  • When done, refrigerate before eating.
    Abba Klassisk Matjessill – Classic Matjes Herring 200g
    £2.89 £2.46
    ScandiKitchen Gravlaxsås – Dill & Mustard Sauce 200g (Rævesovs)
    £2.89
    ScandiKitchen Kottbullar – Swedish Meatballs 300g
    £3.99
    Estrella Dillchips – Dill Crisps 175g
    Rated 5.00 out of 5
    £2.59
    Reimersholms OP Anderson 40% – Aquavit 700ml
    £31.49

Ultimate Swedish Kladdkaka

June 9, 2019 | Leave a comment

 

Ultimate Swedish Kladdkaka

At the café, we’ve been baking that most famous Swedish cake – Kladdkaka – for years. The name means ‘sticky cake’ – owing to the fact that the middle is left a little under baked and still sticky. There is not baking power in this cake precisely to keep it dense and claggy.
Now, our recipe is pretty good… However, we have to admit that it has now been improved by Astrid Aurell (11 years old – and born the day that ScandiKitchen opened in 2007).
If you have never had Kladdkaka before, we highly recommend that you try this cake. There is a reason Kladdkaka the most baked cake in Sweden… also, it is SO simple to make. The only thing is: The baking time is VERY important, you need to remove the cake JUST before it is baked, or it will be dry. Better under baked than over baked.
Serves 4-6 people for afternoon Fika.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time16 mins
Total Time26 mins
Course: Baking
Cuisine: Scandinavian
Keyword: chocolate
Servings: 5

Ingredients

  • 150 g butter
  • 100 g good quality milk chocolate or dark, if you prefer darker flavours
  • 200 g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 40 g cocoa powder
  • 125 g plain flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla sugar
  • Pinch of sea salt

Instructions

Method

  • Turn the oven to 180C (200c if not fan)
  • Melt the butter and then add the chocolate – and set aside.
  • In a stand mixer, whisk the egg and sugar until pale and fluffy.
  • Mix the dry ingredients together.
  • Sift the dry ingredients into the egg and sugar mixture and then fold in the butter and chocolate mixture.
  • Using a spatula, add to the baking tin and place in the pre-heated oven for 14-15 minutes.
  • Baking time of kladdkakor really varies – you don’t want the middle to be baked through, but you do want the cake to hold. Using a tooth pick, test the edge of the cake – if it comes out clear about 2 cm in and the cake does not look TOO runny in the middle, take it out. If you feel it needs a bit more, simply leave it to cool in the tin (but if you feel it may have had 30 seconds too much, remove from the tin immediately to stop the baking.
  • Once you know how your oven react and bake it, you will know the perfect length to bake it going forward.

Serve the cake luke warm with a dollop of cream or ice cream.

    Västerbotten Cheese Tart

    | Leave a comment

    Västerbotten Cheese Tart (Västerbotten Paj)

    This savoury tart can be found on every Swedish family’s dinner table several 
times a year. It’s essential to get hold of Västerbotten cheese as it really does have
a very unique taste and it is exported to speciality shops across the world. You can substitute with a good aged Cheddar, but for the ‘real’ taste, do make this if you have Västerbotten cheese. This one is normally served at room temperature rather than hot, and it is marvellous as part of a summer smörgåsbord or served just on its own with a leafy salad. It is also an essential part of an August crayfish party.
    Prep Time15 mins
    Cook Time40 mins
    Total Time55 mins
    Course: Side Dish
    Cuisine: Scandinavian
    Keyword: sweden
    Servings: 6

    Ingredients

    The pastry

    • 125 g/11⁄8 sticks butter cold and cubed
    • 200 g/11⁄2 cups plain/all-purpose flour
    • pinch of salt
    • 1 egg
    • small dash chilled water if needed

    CHEESE FILLING

    • 3 eggs
100 ml/1⁄3 cup whole milk
    • 250 ml/1 cup double/heavy cream
    • 1 ⁄2 teaspoon paprika
    • 250 g/9 oz. Västerbotten cheese finely grated
salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Instructions

    • In a food processor, briefly blitz the pastry ingredients together
to form a dough, only adding a tiny bit of chilled water if needed to bring it together. If you don’t have a food processor, you can do this by rubbing the butter into the flour with your fingertips until it is crumbly, then adding the rest of the ingredients and mixing until smooth. Wrap the pastry in clingfilm/plastic wrap and rest in the fridge for 30 minutes before using.
    • Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) Gas 4.
    • Roll out the chilled pastry until nice and thin and use to line the
tart pan evenly. Prick the base with a fork a few times, then line the pastry with baking parchment and fill with baking beans. Blind bake in the preheated oven for about 12–13 minutes. Remove the beans and baking parchment and bake for a further 5–6 minutes. Remove from the oven but leave the oven on.
    • For the filling, mix together all the filling ingredients except
the cheese, seasoning well with salt and pepper. Evenly scatter the Västerbotten cheese all over the base of the pastry, then pour over the egg mixture.
    • Return to the oven for about 15–20 minutes. It’ll puff up quite 
a bit towards the end and will turn golden on top. It’s done when the middle is set, so do keep an eye on it. Leave to cool before removing from the pan and slicing.
    • Note: This dish goes very well with romsås, a caviar sauce (pictured). To make this, mix together one small jar of red lumpfish roe with
 3 large tablespoons of crème fraîche and leave to set. Just before you serve the tart, stir the romsås again. Alternatively, if you can get real bleak roe (löjrom – a beautiful but quite pricy caviar delicacy), serve the tart with a spoonful of this caviar and some crème fraîche and chopped red onion.

    Notes

    This recipe is taken from the book ScandiKitchen Summer by Bronte Aurell, published by Ryland, Peters, Small. Photo by Pete Cassidy. You can buy singed copies of this book on our website. Also available in all good bookstores and on amazon (both in the UK and US)
      Abba Klassisk Matjessill – Classic Matjes Herring 200g
      £2.89 £2.46
      ScandiKitchen Meatballs cooked 3-Pack (3 x 300g)
      £11.97 £7.98
      Pandalus Kräftor – Crayfish in Dill Brine 1kg
      £15.99 £12.99
      Norrmejerier Västerbottensost – Mature Cheese 33% 450g
      £9.99 £9.00
      ScandiKitchen: Summer – Bronte Aurell
      Rated 5.00 out of 5
      £16.99
      ScandiKitchen Rödbetssallad – Beetroot Salad 200g (Rødbedesalat)
      Rated 5.00 out of 5
      £1.99

    A guide to being Swedish

    June 6, 2019 | Leave a comment

    You think you can be Swedish? We’ll give you a helping hand. Here’s the ScandiKitchen guide to basic Swedishness.

    Be lagom

    Everything is balance. Not too much, not too little: just right. Don’t be flashy, but don’t be too frugal either. From now on, you like semi-skimmed milk. Not too fatty, not too lean. From the car you drive, to the house you live in to the clothes you wear; everything from now on is comfortable shade of lagom.

    Sweden is the BEST

    When someone non-Swedish says anything about anything, just reply: “In Sweden, we have that, except ours is better”.

    Your friend: “Oh, taste these lovely British chocolates that I just bought”.

    You: :We have the same sort in Sweden, too, except our chocolate is lingonberry/liquorice/dill flavoured. And better. Also, have you SEEN our nature? Better.”

    Perfect your cheese slicing

    If you make a ski slope on your cheese, you will never be Swedish. Always use the correct slicer and always keep your massive block of cheese level. Also, only buy blocks of cheese that are the size of your own head.

    Remove those shoes

    Every time you enter someone’s house, remove your shoes. Also when you enter your own house. Tell your guests to remove their shoes, too. Nobody is wearing shoes indoors from now on.

    Drink coffee

    A lot of coffee. Go for the strong filter that keeps you going like an old Volvo. Whenever you think you’ve had enough coffee, just add one more cup. The more coffee, the Swedish’er. No milk (what are you, Danish?!)

    Breakfast like a Swede

    It’s a ritual: Bread (ideally, the crispy stuff), add boiled egg, creamed cod roe. Top up with a lot of coffee. Drink a glass of milk. More coffee.

    Sweden is closed

    July is now when you holiday. All of it. Sweden is closed.

    Fika practice

    At least twice a day, stop what you are doing and go get another coffee. Sit down. Eat a bun. Talk to others who are doing the same. This is now something you do twice a day for the rest of your life. It’s called Fika. It’s a noun and a verb, so you can meet for a fika or you can fika with someone. You can even fika-date.

    All the beautiful buns

    Seeing as you’re now eating two buns a day, you need to make your own. Most Swedes bake buns at home. If you ever add any kind of icing on top of cinnamon buns, go back to Swedish School: you just lost the game.

    Live like a Swede

    Paint everything white (walls, doors, floors… everything). This is your canvas on which to express yourself. Add a few block colours, maybe some Billy bookcases or tastefully selected IKEA key pieces with names such as DalaBördiGurdiHolm or something (laugh at the fact that all things you step on in IKEA have Danish names). Add some cushions with tasteful Swedish patterns. Add candles everywhere, then add some more candles.

    Eat like a Swede

    Meatballs with mash and gravy is too stereotypical. Instead, the real Swedish the national dish: Kottbullar & Snabb Makroner.

    SnabbMakroner is basically quick-cook pasta. Because real Swedes refuse to wait 8 minutes for pasta to cook, so they invented one that cooks in 3 (See point no 2). Add Köttbullar meatballs, squirt Felix Ketchup all over the plate and award yourself another 5 Swedish points.

    Eat in the dark

    Swedes know that eating in the dark is good. As darkness falls, light 20-30 candles and turn off all electric light (keep heating at 24 degrees, which is natural indoor Swedish temperature). This is to be referred to as ‘mysigt’, or ‘really cosy’. At any time where darkness falls, do this, especially when eating, even if you can’t see your quick cook pasta with ketchup.

    Schedule your washing time.

    It’s a Swedish thing, tvättstugatid, or ‘booked washing machine time’ – because if you live in an apartment in Sweden, you have shared laundry room. Feel more Swedish by doing this at home in England: just write a post-it note and stick it to your washing machine. Put all your clothes in a blue ikea bag, go to the machine at your allotted time and loudly sigh when you find your flatmate has rudely taken the machine because you pre-booked it. 3 points to you.

    Avoid neighbours

    From now on, every time you need to leave your home, you need to check the titthål (door spy hole) first, in case there are neighbours outside. Neighbours mean small talk and you no longer wish to engage in this. Consider going to work at 5:00 and returning after 20:00.

    Have a lot of days for things

    Days when you can eat more cinnamon buns? No problem: 4th October. A day in spring when you have permission to stuff yourself silly with whipped cream buns? Yes, it’s Fat Tuesday. There are also a month for crayfish, days for chocolate cake and much more. Fill the calendar.

    Announce pee-pee intentions

    It’s a thing. At a board meeting? Stand up and confidently announce: “Jag måste kissa” (I need to pee), then leave the room and do not look the least bit embarrassed. You’ve just earned 5 Swedish points, my friend.

    Cosy Friday

    It’s Friday night. Your friends are going out. You’re not, because you’re doing

    Cosy Friday (except now you call it Fredagsmys). This involves opening a large bag of dill crisps and making some dip mix, then you dip every crisp before eating. Don’t forget to do all this in darkness.

    For extra Swedish points, start every Friday evening by eating Old el Paso tacos. Only ever do this on Fridays; tacos are only for Fridays.

    Sweet Saturday

    It’s Saturday. From now on, you only eat sweets on Saturdays and you refer to it as Lördagsgodis: Saturday sweets (by definition, you then can’t eat it on other days). Stay in and watch things like På Spåret, which is the best game show on Swedish TV (except for Melodifestivalen). Don’t forget to tell everybody you hate Eurovision, but watch it anyway.

    Sports

    Anytime anyone says anything about football, realise you can’t really compete, but just add at the end of every sentence:

    “We once had this guy called Zlatan. We didn’t even need a full team to win, we just used to send him”.

    At any other given opportunity, explain the off side rule for handball or ice hockey into conversation.

    Keep fit like a Swede

    Two buns a day isn’t going to be guilt free, so take up any or all of the following:

    Skiing, cross country skiing, walking, hill walking, stick walking, Nordic walking, stick Nordic walking, dog walking, walking Nordic dogs with sticks… Or anything that requires you to go outside and get rosy cheeks and fresh air. During these outdoor pursuits, do not engage in conversation with strangers, other than a quick ‘hej’’ grunt. Always make sure you wear a mössa, a woolly hat.

    How to Queue

    At bus stops, ensure at least 1 ½ safety metres between you and the closest stranger to you. Do not make conversation (not even about the weather). Ask your local shop to re-install the ticket queuing machines that went out of fashion here in 1987 – because Swedes need these so they don’t have to stand in line (see issue with bus stop queuing and safety metres). See point 2, if in doubt of this particular practice.

    Congratulations: you are now a bit more Swedish.

      ScandiKitchen Falukorv – Swedish Smoked Sausage 400g  
      £4.29
      ScandiKitchen Kottbullar – Swedish Meatballs 300g
      £3.99
      Pågen Kanelgifflar – Mini Cinnamon Buns 260g
      £2.39
      Cocktail Flag – Swedish – 20-pack
      £2.59
      OLW Cheez Doodles – Cheesy Corn Snacks 160g (Ostepop)
      Rated 5.00 out of 5
      £2.59
      Malaco Gott & Blandat Original – Fruity Wine Gum Mix 160g
      £1.99
      Kungsörnen Snabbmakaroner – Pasta 750g
      Rated 5.00 out of 5
      £2.59
      Marabou Mjolkchoklad Daim – Milk Chocolate With Daim 200g
      £3.29
      Abba Kalles Kaviar Original – Smoked Cod Roe 190g
      Rated 5.00 out of 5
      £3.29

    Eurovision Bingo 2019

    May 10, 2019 | Leave a comment

    The ScandiKitchen Eurovision Bingo 2019

    Every year, we make a Eurovision Bingo card for you to play along on the big day (18th May).

    We watch the clips, listen to the songs and make our best guess about what may come up on the night.

    You can follow our live tweeting on Twitter (@scanditwitchen). (If we go quiet, it simply means we’ve overdone the Pina Colada. But we’ll try to help call out the Bingos as they happen).

    Want printed cards? We will be giving them out in the cafe from Tuesday-Saturday this coming week – pop by and grab yours. We’re just six min walk from Oxford Circus in London (61 Great Titchfield St, London W1W 7PP)

    Nordic Ice Creams – Summer 2019

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    Our Nordic Ice creams 2019

    Every summer, we import a selection of our favourite ice creams from Scandinavia.

    You can get these at the cafe, whilst stock last (arriving Tuesday 14th May 2019 – although the Piggelin is coming a week later).

    Our ultimate favourite? It has to be the salty liquorice ‘Salmiakki’ one – what’s not to love? Well, okay, if you like salty liquorice, that is.

    30 steps to become a Norwegian

    May 3, 2019 | Leave a comment

    30 steps to become Norwegian

    As all Norwegians know: everyone else just wishes they were Norwegian. (Yes, even you, Swedes and Danes. You know you want to, deep down).

    So, here is a handy guide on how and what to do if you want to be more like the Norwegians.

    1 Own at least one Norwegian flag. Ideally, have a drawer full of flags. In fact, the more flags you own, the more Norwegian you are. Stick little flags in all your food, too.

    2 Norwegians are born with skis already on their feet. Uncomfortable for the mothers, but useful once they learn to stand up and navigate down snow covered mountains. If you can’t ski, don’t move to Norway.

    3 Own at least one hi-tech brightly coloured jacket to protect you from the elements. Wear this jacket every day, in any weather. Norwegians refer to such jackets as “All Weather Jackets” (allværsjakke). These are extremely practical, if a little bright. Yes, people on the moon can also see you.

    4 When having a conversation, about anything, make sure to say ‘ikke sant’ a lot. It’s a bit like English speakers using ‘right’. Depending on your intonation, ‘ikke sant’ can mean a range of different things, including but not limited to:

    • Ikke sant. Yes, I agree
    • Ikke sant? Do you agree?
    • Ikke Sant! YES
    • Ikke SANT? You’re kidding?!
    • Ikke sant. Yes, yes.
    • Ikke sant…? Really?
    • Ikke sant?! I hear you.

    (illustration: Jenny K Blake)

    5 Say Yes in English (but spell it jess).

    6 Say ‘Ja’ (yes) on the inhale.

    7 Never, ever, admit to a Swede being better than a Norwegian at anything. ANYTHING. Especially not skiing. Sweden will never be better than Norway at anything (apart from the price of everything -but of that you shall never speak openly).

    (Footnote: Denmark will never be better than Norway at anything. Apart from its easy availability of booze, which you can talk about).

    8. If you live close to the Swedish border, drive across the border on meat-safari (fleskesafari). This is because everything is cheaper in Sweden, especially meat. Also known as a Harry-Tur (Harry trip).

    9 You will realise there is a sausage for every occasion. It’s called Pølse. Travelling by train? Have a pølse. In the airport? Have a pølse. Watching the footy? Have a pølse. Celebrating the day Norway got its own constitution? Pølse.

    Depending on your mood, you can either have it in a hotdog bun (novice) or be really Norwegian and stick it in a potato pancake called Lompe.

    10 If a Swede beats a Norwegian at skiing it is always because of ‘Smørekrise’ (the way the skis are prepped, depending on conditions). It has nothing to do with the athletes themselves – only the faulty way in which the skis were prepared. Probably by a Swede.

    11 Extra proud Norwegians own a National Costume. It’s called a Bunad. It’s made from wool and it’s itchy and heavy. It will keep you warm should it snow on National Day.

    Usually given to people when they’re around 13-14 years old, these cost thousands of £ and for this reason, you would be better off not changing your size for the decades, until you can afford a new one.

    12 Own at least one practical rucksack – and use it every day. It goes very well with your All Weather Jacket (see point 3).

    13 If someone asks you how you are, you must be honest – and in great detail. Having a rubbish time? Elaborate on this – and do not under any circumstances try to make it less awkward.

    14 Always bring a matpakke (packed lunch) when you leave the house. These little open sandwiches must be separated by little greaseproof pieces of paper that makes the cheese extra sweaty after a few hours in your backpack. Adventurous toppings need not apply: sweaty cheese, salami, maybe a bit of pate with one slice of cucumber (soggy).

    The special piece of paper even has a name: middle-layering-paper.

    15 Wear cool jumpers. Perfect for occasions such as being in temperatures of -20, Eurovision, fishing and crossing the border to acquire meat. Caution: Itchy.

    16 In autumn, winter, summer and Easter time, never ever go hiking without a Kvikklunsj chocolate bar in your bag. You must also bring one whole orange.

    17 Avoid looking directly at your fellow citizens in all urban areas. That includes pavements, public transport and inside shops. Always keep a safe distance of at least 1 metre at bus stops.

    If a stranger smiles at you on the street (or other urban areas) assume they are drunk or crazy. Look away immediately and do not engage.

    18 When out on a hike, remember to say Hei hei to everyone. Just briefly, but this is when rule no. 17 does not apply.

    19 Eat tacos every Friday. Yes, every Friday. The tex mex stuff in boxes you mix with real meat and then you do TacoFredag. Add cucumber, that essential Mexican ingredient.

    20 As a Norwegian, you know the only true pizza is a Grandiosa frozen pizza. Love.

     

    21 Go to your cabin – Dra på hytta – every weekend. Sure, you’ll spend 4 hours in your car each way to get there, but go, you must. If you don’t have a cabin near a fjord, go to your garden shed. Use motivating sentences such as ‘Ut på tur, aldri sur’ (literally: ‘out on a hike, never angry’).

    22. Eat boiled sheep’s head, dried lamb sticks or cod preserved in lye.

    And fermented trout – that you should also be down with.

    23 Eat brunost. Enthuse about brunost. Live the brown cheese life.

    Brown cheese. It’s the food of the gods, the cheese of the people. It’s made from goat’s milk and it looks like Plastacine and tastes of caramel. You put it on waffles. What’s not to love?

     

     

    24. Eat waffles, loads of waffles. These must be made in a special heart-shaped waffle maker. Ensure that in your fridge you have ready-to-waffle mixture in a jug (at all times).

    Top waffles with brown goat’s cheese or jam with sour cream. Or all three things, why not? Even more Norwegian-ness right there.

    25 As soon as the sun comes out, run outside and smile yourself silly. Have utepils. Do not, under any circumstances, stay inside on a sunny day.

    26 Utepils is any beer that is drunk, sitting outside – literally ‘outside-beer’. From now on, your life revolves around the possibility of Utepils.

    27 .Every summer, you must travel to Syden and get a sunburn.

    Syden means ‘the south’ – and means anywhere south of your home town (but usually excludes Scandinavia).

    28 Drink a lot of coffee. And milk. A glass of milk with every meal for extra Norwegian-ness.

    29 Always say Takk for maten (thanks for the food) after food, or mamma will be most upset. Every meal, every time.

    30 Celebrate Norway’s national day on 17th May. No exceptions, no matter where you are in the world.

    You are proud of Norway. The 17th May is the most important day of the year, better than Christmas, birthday and Eurovision put together. The Norwegian Constitution Day is a day celebrated by all Norwegians and Norgesvenner.

    Get up, eat Norwegian food, wear a bunad (see above), sing songs about how much you love Norway. Wave flags around a lot. Ice cream. Waffles (see above). Brown cheese (see above). Repeat. Follow with alcohol (possibly purchased in Sweden). Forget how you got home, but wake up loving Norway even more than you did before.

    Happy 17th May.

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    Little Lessons: Smorgasbord

    April 5, 2019 | Leave a comment

    Little lessons: How to Smörgåsbord

    There is literally nothing more Scandinavian than a good old Smörgåsbord. Except, Smörgåsbord is a Swedish word and in Norway and Denmark, it’s called something else (Koldt Bord (cold table), and similar). But really, it’s all about food and our way of grazing through a nice, big wonderful lunch.

    No matter which of the Scandinavian countries you are in, follow this guide and you won’t go far wrong, bar a few regional variations. As long as there is enough aquavit, people will be happy.

    The word smörgåsbord comes from the Swedish word smörgås, meaning ‘open sandwich’ or ‘buttered bread’, and bord, meaning ‘table’. If you translate it very literally, it could also mean Butter-Goose-Table, but that would be wrong, although quite funny.

    A smorgasbord is basically means a buffet made up of many smaller dishes: ‘a laid-out table’. The traditional smörgåsbord is slightly different, depending on the country you are in. Just follow the guidelines of what to eat and in what order and you’ll be all right, no matter where you are. It’s our tapas, our buffet, our small-plate-phenomena.

    The term smorgasbord first cropped up outside Scandinavia during the 1939 World’s Fair in New York, when a Swedish restaurant served a smörgåsbord as we know it today. This, however, was not the first occasion of a smörgåsbord, as this was more of an accidental invention. Many centuries earlier, people in well to-do homes had what was known as an “Aquavit Table”. They would return back from whatever they had been doing (hunting moose or looking after their estates etc) and enjoy a few snacks. A few hours prior to dinner, shots of aquavit were served, likely as an afternoon pick-me-up. These were accompanied by a selection of cheeses, pickles and meats laid out on a side-table to snack on before the main meal. Over the years, the choice of dishes expanded and, one day, the Aquavit Table because the main event instead of the actual lunch or dinner. Clever marketing people at the World Fair coined a new word that since then has been adopted into a word that works in many languages.

    The essence of a real smörgåsbord (or cold table) is all about taking your time to eat and talk to your guests as you do it – and share food, conversation and time. There is lots of food, granted, but we spend many hours eating it. No smörgåsbord ever took an hour – and there is no time limit on how long we might sit there – the Danish Christmas Table, for example, can easily take an entire afternoon and end with an early dinner and most certainly result in quite a hangover, too. This is why these are usually done during high seasons such as Christmas, Easter and Midsummer when people plan big get together and have time to relax and enjoy both food and company to the max.

    Traditionally, a smörgåsbord is served in ‘rounds’ – on a Swedish one, usually everything is set out at the start of the meal in buffet style, whereas in Denmark, each round is brought to the table one after the other in strict order and shared round.

    It’s tricky to know how to maneuver a smörgåsbord if you are a rookie, especially if you are in Denmark and nobody has told you that there are seven more rounds of food to follow the one you are eating. What foods go together? Can you put remoulade on liver pate (answer: No) and do you ever put herring with prawns (answer: NEVER). How much aquavit are you allowed to drink? (Answer: As much as you can, but not so much so that you appear drunk until everyone else is).

    Rookies will fill a plate like they are at an all-you-can-eat buffet. They will also hit the aquavit hard – and you just know that no rookie will last till the end. Many a newbies have fallen off the Smörgåsbord wagon at round 2 and missed the party.

    The biggest smörgåsbord of the year is at Christmas. This is the julbord (literally meaning ‘Christmas table’) and is also the one that takes the longest to complete. There are many dishes and rounds – and there will absolutely be beer and aquavit, too. And singing. Lots of singing.

    During December, people across Scandinavia will attend many different julbords. There is the work julbord, the friends’ julbord, the julbord for the golf club, the book club … The most intimate one is always on Christmas Eve with the family (less drinking at that one). Then there is the smörgåsbord at Easter, Midsummer and birthdays.

    The dishes on a Scandinavian smörgåsbord vary seasonally and regionally, but the main dishes are the same – and these are also what connects us Scandis together, despite living in a place 3 ½ time the size of Britain and with quite a varied food culture. This is where you will always find herring and meatballs!

    Photo: ScandiKitchen Summer Cookbook – by Bronte Aurell, photo by Pete Cassidy – click on photo for link to buy a signed copy.

    The order and how-to of a good Smörgåsbord

    Always eat everything with a knife and fork – NEVER with your hands.

    Always start with the herring. It needs its own plate, because it’s a strong fish and you don’t want it to flavor all the other foods. We eat the herring first – and it needs a glass or two of Aquavit to go with it – it pairs well in flavor. Yes, you have to drink the whole shot and smile through gritted teeth. From this follows other fish, sliced meats, warm meats, salads and other warm dishes, then cheese and then – finally – dessert. And coffee.

    Everything is served buffet style or passed around the table in small servings. You will never find pre-made open sandwiches on a smörgåsbord – you are supposed to make your own as you go along – and you will also rarely find many ‘fillers’, such as warm potatoes or gravy (it is not a dinner, it is a cold table with a few contradictory warm dishes included).

    A good old smörgåsbord may sound a little complicated at first, but it is a very enjoyable way to spend 4-6 hours with some really nice people you get along with. While Scandinavians will never, ever talk to you at the bus stop or in the supermarket, once you have shared a few merry tunes around the smorgasbord and a few shots of aquavit, you’ll be making new friends in no time, perhaps even find yourself fluent in a Scandinavian language by song number three.

    The basic order of the smorgasbord – a guide

    Round one

    Pickled herring (a few different kinds, served in bowls) and shots of cold aquavit. Singing at this point is optional. Beer is the traditional drink served with smorgasbord. You can drink wine, but if you mix that with wine, it just gets you even more drunk.

    Suggestion: A good plain onion herring and then Mustard herring for Swedish, Curried herring for Danish, spiced herring or tomato herring for Norway.

    Round two

    Fish and seafood dishes. Smoked or cured salmon (with dill & Mustard sauce). Serve bowls of good quality prawns, smoked mackerel (either fresh or literally from a tin), skagenröra, halves of hardboiled eggs or any fish other than herring – even small, warm fried plaice fillets (quite a Danish thing – goes well with remoulade dressing). Lumpfish roe and creamed cod roe on the side.

    Round three

    Cold meats and pâté. Smoked ham, salami, liver pâté (a firm favourite amongst all three countries), cold roast beef, rolled rullepolse sausage – any deli meats are served in this round, along with pickles and/or toppings.

    Round four

    Warm meats. Meatballs (Danish, Swedish, Norwegian), roast pork (Christmas only for the Danes), mini sausages – anything warm is served for this course. If you want to serve Janssons frestelse (Jansson’s Temptation – a traditional Swedish gratin-style casserole made with potatoes, onions, cream and sweet pickled sprats) for the smörgåsbord, this is the course to do it. It’s mainly served at Christmas, but can also be served at Easter with some lamb (The sprats go well with lamb). In the summer seasons, serve a light quiche instead of heavier meats – Vasterbotten cheese quiche, mushroom pie or similar. But always meatballs.

    Any warm sides, such as red cabbage, can be served here – but again, warm cabbage is usually more of a winter thing. Opts for a coleslaw style in the summer.

    Round five

    Cheese selection. Optional decorative grapes that nobody will eat and maybe a slice of green pepper that you can put in the bin after. 2-3 cheeses is enough. Go for a good blue cheese such as Kornblost or Danish blue, a solid harder cheese – Vasterbotten is always a hit here. And a milder one such as Creamy Havarti (Åseda). For the love of Thor and Freya, get yourself a good few cheese slicers.

    Round six

    Dessert and coffee. Any soft cake, such as a strawberry Midsummer cake or a berry cake, works here and a nice selection of little fika treats goes well too – there won’t be many hungry people at the end of a smorgasbord, so limited selection is fine. At Christmas, you might have your creamed rice pudding, in the summer a more fruity option. Or simply little marzipan/chocolate treats with the coffee. By this time, there will be no more singing, just attempt to manoeuvre a fork.

    Stuff to always serve alongside a smörgåsbord:

    Rye bread, crusty bread and crispbreads, bowls of salads (beetroot salad, mainly), pickles, condiments, sauces such as dill and mustard sauce, Mayo, Danish remoulade – and more.

    Traditional drinks for smörgåsbord: Beer and aquavit.

    Round Seven

    Bugger off – food

    In Denmark, the last dish serves is called Skrub-Af Mad, this means “Bugger off, food” – it is served right at the end a few hours after the last bit of the smorgasbord – it is a signal for people to leave. This might be a light soup, a hotdog or similar.

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    Little lessons: Hiking in Norway

    March 22, 2019 | Leave a comment

    Little lessons: Hiking in Norway

    One of the most favourite thing to do amongst Norwegians is going for a hike. No, not just going for a walk, but a hike. Which essentially means going for a walk but a bit longer and you have to bring a thermos of something to drink along the way. 

    There is a Norwegian saying that goes ‘Ut på tur, aldri sur!’, which literally translated means ‘Out on tour, never sour!’ You should never start your hike in a bad mood – always be positive and ready for a great experience. Sing this merry little tune in your head every time you head out for a hike, especially if you are not in the frame of mind to be out walking – and think lots of positive thoughts.

    Norwegians’ love of hiking and skiing is absolutely second to none. It is an essential part of being Norwegian both to go hiking and go skiing. It is unlikely you will find many Norwegians who do not enjoy these two activities.

    Weekends and holidays are spent getting out into the fresh air and heading upwards to a hill or mountain, on foot or skis. To gå på tur (‘go for a walk’) is a favourite pastime – and is done by, literally, everybody. It is absolutely part of being a Norwegian.

    If it’s a weekend day and impractical for you to get out of the city, you are allowed to take your walk in parks and around where you live. These are leisurely walks, but do not include popping to the shops for a loaf of bread or cat food: the walk has to be for the purpose of the walk itself. A weekend walk is often called a Søndagstur (Sunday walk). Then everyone knows what you’re doing and with what purpose (i.e. no purpose, other than the walk itself).

    When out for a weekend walk, you must always factor in a stop for coffee (drinking this from your thermos that you packed at home, because a cup of coffee in Norway will set you back a small mortgage – bring your own). You must also bring one treat – usually a chocolate bar – and, if there is any kind of snow or ice, you must also bring one fresh orange.

    Why an orange? Nobody knows, but it is always: an orange. Maybe its because it is super refreshing and completely impractical to peel when your fingers are frozen (which is often the case in Norway). An orange is, nevertheless, essential.

    The word Søndagstur can also be used in Norwegian to describe something that was a bit easy, as in ‘How was that ultra marathon yesterday?’ ‘Oh, it was like a Søndagstur.’

    When you manage to leave the city and aim to go on a proper hike, you need more appropriate equipment. These include:

    Physical maps

    Because you are unlikely to have any phone reception once you leave the town as half of norway is made up of fjords, mountains and other inaccessible terrain. It’s massive, but with only very few people in it. Bring a map, Citymapper is not your friend here. You can go out on a hike and see nobody for days and days, so best to be prepared like a native or risk getting lost.

    More oranges

    For these longer hikes, still bring the obligatory orange, your Kvikk Lunsj chocolate bar (although other brands are allowed) and the thermos of coffee. a Matpakke (packed lunch) is also advisable.

    Hiking smile

    Being on a hike is the only time in Norway when you are allowed to talk to strangers. You meet someone along your merry way, you smile and say Hei. Do not stop: Just “hei’ and get a “hei” back – and then you hurry along, minding your own hiking business.

    Good Shoes

    The shoes for a good hike are the kind that will rip your feet to shreds for the first few trips. Eventually, they will fit you and you will love them. Until them, bring plasters. Stop moaning: It’s normal. Keep walking.

    Layers

    Every Norwegian knows the saying: No such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes. Dress for the weather and don’t try to get away without layering. Do not, ever, wear jeans. Wear proper waterproofs if it’s raining. Norwegians out hiking tend to look like an advert for comfortable hiking clothes (in rather bright colours so you can warn other hikers to put their hiking smile on.

    Happy hiking!

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