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Author Archives: Bronte Aurell

Celebrate Bun Week with us 21-27 July 2014

July 17, 2014 | Leave a comment

Next week  (21-27 July 2014) is bun week at the cafe. Here’s the voucher you need in order for you to get your mitts on a free cinnamon bun on the mornings.

Print the voucher or smart phone it – but you do need mention the offer and show voucher when you order.

Please do read the t&c, too.

See you next week.

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Unfortunately named Scandi products

| 3 Comments

Oh, some of these made us snigger.

A brand of crab sticks in Norway…

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The name of some biscuits in Sweden…

fingermarie

Bread rolls from Finland…

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Snus tobacco in Sweden…

goteborg

The word actually means ‘big bag’ in Finnish…

mega

Toilet rolls from Sweden (okay, so it was the eighties, but still…)

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We stock this.  It’s called Spunk and it doesn’t mean anything in Danish. Salty or fruity sweeties.

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Tins of ham product from Norway….

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Aptly named starch…

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Skum means ‘mallow’ in Scandi lingo…

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Oh, it’s just chewing gum

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Imagine buying food for your little cat….

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Or how about a few bars of Plopp chocolate? It’s actually really nice.

plopp

 

 

WIN: Liquorice from Johan Bülow LAKRIDS

July 10, 2014 | Leave a comment

We love the amazing liquorice from Johan Bülow and have been stocking their wares for a long time at our cafe and web-shop. From the delicious chocolate covered sweet liquorice (A) to the salty chilli and cranberry (no 5) – and we use their raw liquorice powders in our coffee, too.

This week, to celebrate our liquorice weekend, we have a treat for you: Win a presentation box with four jars of Bülow Lakrids (value approx. £30). Yes, you even get to choose which flavours go in there.

To be in with a chance to win, just answer this super easy question:

The really salty components in most Nordic liquorice is often referred to using the Finnish word…

a) Salmiakki

b) Porkkana

c) juokaamme

Answer to iloveherring@scandikitchen.co.uk before Tuesday (15/7/14) at noon. Usual competition rules. No cheating. No alternative prize. No nonsense and no cash alternative. Winner chosen from correct entries. Randomly.

Recipe: Sweet Potato & Rye Salad

June 30, 2014 | 2 Comments

Print Recipe
4 from 1 vote

Sweet Potato & Rye Grain Salad

We get asked for this recipe so much that, in the end, we simply decided it had to be shared with the world. It is not a traditional Nordic recipe, but rather one that draws on all the flavours we love so much. The tarragon has the aniseed type flavour, the rye is our staple... The sweetness of the potatoes. It all simply adds up to one amazing dish that only takes about 25 minutes to put together if your grains are soaked. 
Prep Time25 mins
Total Time25 mins
Keyword: salad
Servings: 2 4

Ingredients

  • 2 cups rye grains (or whole wheat, spelt or other grain)
  • 6 sweet potatoes depending on size
  • 1 bunch tarragon
  • 1 bunch spring onion
  • 200 g feta
  • dash of balsamic vinegar
  • olive oil
  • seasoning

Instructions

  • Starting one day in advance: Soak the rye grains (or whole wheat) overnight in double the amount of water.
  • The next day, drain and rinse the grains. Place in a large pot with a good pinch of salt and cook for approx. 25 mins (from boiling), or until tender. Drain and allow to cool completely (cooked grains keeps for a few days in the fridge and can be made ahead).
  • Wash and slice sweet potato (skin on) into chunky sized pieces, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place on tray and roast at 160 degrees C, turning occasionally, until cooked through (but not over cooked).
  • Separate the leaves of the tarragon from the stalks, place in a bowl, discard the stalks. Remove the first outer layer from the spring onions, then slice finely at a large angle (tops included). Add to the tarragon.
  • With your fingers lightly crumble the feta into the same bowl. Lastly, add the part cooled sweet potatoes and fold gently.
  • Adjust seasoning with balsamic, salt and pepper and more oil, if needed.
  • The grains can be cooked on the day without soaking - however, soaking allows for a more even texture throughout the grain and shortens the cooking time.

WIN the last ever Wallander series on DVD

June 21, 2014 | Leave a comment

The last episodes of Wallander, ever, are out on DVD Monday 23rd June (Arrow Films).

We’ve got a copy to give away to one lucky person.

To be in with a chance to win, simply answer this question:

Wallander’s dog is called:

a) Mussi

b) Jussi

c) Frank

Answer to iloveherring@scandikitchen.co.uk before Wednesday 25th June 2014 at noon. Winner will be drawn at random from correct entries. Usual competition rules apply. No cheating and no alternative prize and so on.

Get your hands on the DVD series in all good stores or online – it’s a really really good one!

Recipe: “Jordgubbstårta” Strawberry Celebration Cake

June 19, 2014 | Leave a comment

Strawberry Celebration Cake

Ahhhh.... This is such a nice cake. It tastes of summer. Pure summer. We re-tested the recipe last night and the result lasted only for as long as it took us to eat it. With second helpings. For us, no Midsummer is complete without strawberrry layercakes, also known as "Jordgubbsstårta". If you want to cheat and make it easy for yourself, cheat's notes are at the bottom of the post. We do feel that it is worth the effort, though, to make everything from scratch.
Course: Cake
Cuisine: Scandinavian
Author: Bronte Aurell

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 Strawberry layers

For the Cake Layers

For the Whipped Cream

Instructions

Vanilla Patisserie Cream:

  • 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 directly on to the cream to avoid a skin forming and cool down completely in the fridge before using.

Cake Layers:

  • Heat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
  • 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.

Whipped Cream

  • On high speed, whisk all ingredients 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).

Assembly

  • 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 a good handful of sliced strawberries evenly spread out. 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).
  • Using a palette knife, spread a thin layer of the whipped cream on the top of the cake. Using a piping bag with a star nozzle, add the rest of the whipped cream and pipe carefully around the edge of the cake in an up-and-down motion until the sides are completely covered. If you do not have a piping bag, you can use the palette knife for this and just make smooth edges. If you prefer less cream and a more rustic look you can omit the cream around the edges all together.
  • Finish by adding the remaining strawberries on the top of the cake. It doesn’t have to look too arranged – just scatter them so the cake is evenly covered.
  • This cake greatly improves after a few hours in the fridge so all the flavours are soaked into the cake layers.

Notes

Cake layers – in speciality shop, you can buy sponge layers already baked. (Scandi Kitchen sells ‘Lagkage bunde’ – already come split into three layers).
Crème patisserie: We stock a product called 'Kagecreme’ which is sachet of instant creme patisserie. Mix one sachet with 500ml cold milk, wait ten minutes and it is ready to use.
Substituting with custard will not give you the exact same result, but you CAN do it at a push – but don’t use half and half, use ¼ custard to ¾ whipped cream volume. Omit the sugar in the whipped cream as custard is really sweet.
    Dr Oetker Kagecreme Vanilje – Instant Vanilla Creme 3x85g
    £3.09
    Torsleff Vaniljesukker – Vanilla Sugar 100g
    £3.19
    Den Gamle Fabrik Hindbær Marmelade – Raspberry Jam
    £3.59
    Kungsornen Vetemjol Finaste Kärn – Wheat Flour 2kg
    £2.59
    Karen Volf Lagkagebunde – Cake Sponges 3-pack
    £2.99

Midsummer – The Danish Way

June 12, 2014 | 1 Comment

Danes celebrate Midsummer differently to the Swedes. So, if you fancy doing it a bit different this year, follow this mini-guide

Pick the right date

Midsummer in Denmark is mostly known as Sankt Hans Aften, and is celebrated on 23rd June. We don’t move the date around like the Swedes do. In some parts of the British Isles St John’s Eve is observed at the same time. They’re essentially the same event.

Collect a lot of sticks

In a similar way to our British and Irish cousins, Danish midsummer is all about bonfires. Ideally on a beach or in a town square. Big, huge bonfires. Start collecting twigs now; you’ll need a lot.

Heks

Get back into witch burnings

Top off your bonfire with a few straw witches dressed in old lady clothes. Legend says that on the longest night of the year, you burn a few witches and send them off to Brocken mountain in Germany to dance with the Devil. Some stuff the witches with firecrackers, which is not a good idea and quite possibly against the law here. Yes, it’s a bit like Guy Fawkes except it’s not about blowing up parliaments.

Have a summery dinner with friends and family

Every Scandi tradition revolves around food. Because the bonfire is not lit until 10pm, you have plenty of time for a Danish midsummer buffet in the garden. In the rain. It is likely to be raining at some point. Don’t forget umbrellas.

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Find an excuse to go skinny dipping

This is where we deviate from the Brits. If you happen to celebrate by the beach, you’ll need minimal encouragement to get your kit off for a swim. In town squares, wait and see what everybody else fancies doing. But do accept that sometimes the skinny dipping doesn’t happen.

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Bake snobrød

The Danes believe they invented snobrød, which are pieces of bread dough rolled around a wooden stick and cooked on the bonfire. If you’ve ever seen campfire twisted bread, you’ll have a good idea of what snobrød is, because it is the same thing.

Eat your snobrød

It’s unlikely that the snobrød will actually ever bake properly, unless you twist and turn it for about two hours over the last embers of the bonfire – and who wants to do that? If you can get the half-baked dough off the stick, fill the hole with strawberry jam. It doesn’t taste any nicer, but it sure doesn’t make it any worse. Eating unbaked dough will leave you with a stomach ache – all part of the experience.

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Pølser

Sausages! You need sausages. Throw them onto the fire, scramble around looking for them with a stick, poke them until you’re sure they’re on fire, remove from bonfire. Eat. Burn tongue. Enjoy. Make your kids do the same to help them develop fond memories of Danish Midsummer on the beach.

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Vi elsker vort land

We Love Our Country is a song also known as ‘Midsommervisen’ – the midsummer song. It’s an old hymn about midsummer and how much we love our country. Nobody ever knows the second verse. However, everyone knows the modern version by Shu-bi-dua, an old Danish pop group. We all prefer this version. Someone will play other songs by Shu-bi-dua. We may all join in with their classic song (There Is A) Dogshit In My Garden, because this is how Danes roll. We all giggle.

The guy with the guitar

If you see the guy with the guitar, either run or stay close, depending on how you feel. He will almost certainly have a beard and look a bit like Thor (if Thor was born in 1971). He usually sings with his eyes closed. His name is Bent. Or Kaj. Or Flemming. He will encourage everybody to hold hands.

Drink Tuborg

You’re on the beach, man. Drink beer. If you go to the beach with someone’s parents, they will bring a box (yes, a box) of wine and plastic glasses half full of sand. Stick to Tuborg. You’ve been warned.

Ha’ en dejlig midsommer aften!

x

 

How to create a midsummer picnic – the easy way

June 5, 2014 | Leave a comment

How to create a midsummer picnic – the easy way

Midsummer occurs at exactly the same time as the summer solstice. It’s a wonderful time of year where we have almost round-the-clock daylight and try to tap into as much of it as we can, preparing ourselves for the long dark winter days ahead.

In Sweden, ‘midsommar’ sort of means picnics. It also means midsummer maypoles, aquavit, dancing, fun and frolics, and maybe a sing-song or two. It means flowers in your hair, and it definitely means local food eating outdoors with friends and family.

If you want to try your hand at a typically Scandi midsummer picnic, here’s our easy guide to doing it yourself. And don’t worry if you think you’ll have problems getting some of the trickier ingredients – we’ve suggested alternatives throughout.

What to make and pack

The emphasis is on seasonality and authentic produce.

Herring

It’s just not Scandi unless there’s herring, so don’t be squeamish and give it a try. At midsummer, we enjoy Matjes herring in particular. A lot more delicate than the usual pickled herring, it goes very well with the season’s new potatoes.

We usually have at least two types of herring, so try one with Swedish mustard dressing – ABBA’s Senaps Sill is great.

Some UK supermarkets do have Scandi brands of pickled herring, so go for those if you can as they have a sweeter brine. Matjes herring is available online from ScandiKitchen.co.uk and you can also get it at Ocado. Rollmop herring is easy to find, but it is rather sourer than what we have in Scandinavia, and we have it in chunks rather than rolled lengths – avoid unless there’s nothing else.

New potatoes

A must-have. Get really good quality new potatoes, boil and cool down to bring along to the picnic. Some people like them very plain, some like them tossed in dill. We prefer them in a light dill dressing as follows:

Cook the potatoes as described above. 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

• 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.

Gräddfill

Swedish sour cream. There’s no direct British equivalent (due to the fat content), but if you mix half natural yoghurt to half crème fraîche, you’ll get something very close. Make a small batch so you have enough to pour over the potatoes and Matjes herring as a dip or dressing. Add a handful of finely chopped chives to the mixture.

We do sell Gräddfil at ScandiKitchen if you want to get hold of the real thing.

Beetroot salad

This makes an appearance at every festive season. It’s delicious and simple to make, but you can easily buy our own from ScandiKitchen or Ocado.

To make it yourself, drain a jar of Scandi pickled beetroot and lightly chop them. Mix with one chopped tart apple. Add enough crème fraîche and mayonnaise to create a light pink hue, then season with salt, pepper, a dash of balsamic and maybe a squeeze of lemon juice if needed. Leave to set.

If you use British pickled beetroot, you may need to add sugar for a more authentically sweeter taste.

Meatballs

Of course. Did you think we could have a picnic with no meatballs?

Make or buy. If you decide to make, do so a day in advance, as it takes quite a while to make a full batch. If you buy, we highly recommend either Per i Viken or Mamma Scans. Either way, eat them cold.

Salmon

We love salmon, but it can be a bit difficult to sit and eat on a picnic. We suggest making a cured salmon salad with new potatoes. You can omit the potatoes if you don’t want to double up on spuds for your picnic.

300g cooked, cooled new potatoes, halved
200g cured salmon (or smoked salmon, if you prefer)
100g green beans, blanched, cut into 3-4 cm pieces
150g green asparagus, blanched, cooled, cut into 3-4 cm pieces
100g green peas, blanched, cooled
10 cherry tomatoes, halved
A handful of crunchy green leaves (from iceberg to frisée – whatever you prefer)
1/3 cucumber, cubed
1 tbsp chopped chives
Sprigs of dill to decorate
Fold together and dress lightly with gravlax sauce, which is a dill and mustard dressing. We stock it, as do some supermarkets.

Green salad

Nobody will eat it, but it’s pretty and looks like you’ve make a massive effort. Optional, of course.

Cheeses

Go for a lump of lovely Swedish Västerbotten or Prast. Don’t forget the cheese slicer.

If you want to show off, make a Väststerbottenpaj. It’s a cheese quiche made with Västerbotten and full-fat cream. The dressing for the quiche is easy: a small jar of red lumpfish roe mixed with 100ml of crème fraîche. Or just buy a cheese quiche and smile sweetly.

Bread

This bit is important. You have to have crispbread, of course. Go for Leksands or Pyramid, both are very nice. Crusty bread is also common – get a baguette or some seeded rolls, whatever you fancy. Just don’t forget the butter.

Sweet stuff

Midsummer is all about the humble strawberry, and you’ll need to incorporate strawberries into your picnic somehow. If you’re having it in your garden, you could make a jordgubbstårta – a strawberry layer cake – but that would be hard to bring along to a picnic. Instead, we suggest a few punnets of strawberries with a bit of cream and you’re done. If you want to bake, make a delicious Swedish sticky chocolate cake called a kladdkaka the day before. Chill it and slice before you leave (it’s slightly under-baked and sticky, so you can only cut it while cold).

Serve with the cream and strawberries.

Booze

Aquavit, cider and beers. You can add wine or champagne, but be careful of mixing aquavit and wine. We recommend a bottle of Skåne aquavit or Hallands Fläder, both are nice and summery. Only ever drink very cold, and as shots. For beers, go for Tuborg or Pistonhead. Rekordelig or Kopperberg are good cider options and probably the easiest thing on your shopping list to obtain.

If you can’t get aquavit, try flavouring a bottle of vodka. Google “make your own Swedish aquavit” for ideas.

Singing

Once you crack open the aquavit, the desire to sing will become evident. Prepare some good old Swedish ‘snapsvisor’, aka drinking songs. If you don’t speak Swedish, just pretend to be the Swedish Chef from The Muppets for a few minutes. More aquavit helps with that. Please be aware that after two shots of the strong stuff, you are likely to be fluent in Swedish, just by default.

Midsummer maypole etiquette

If there is a maypole, you need to dance around it. Not on your own, but with other people. Let them take the lead if you are unsure (and you will be unsure, so let them take the lead). If you find yourself pretending to be a little frog, this is quite normal. More aquavit helps with that.

Dress code

Well, there’s not a dress code as such (although UK midsummer celebrations probably should include an anorak and umbrella). Women tend to wear white clothing, with wild flowers in their hair. This is of course optional, especially when it comes to keeping tidy during a picnic, although the floral hair arrangements can get quite competitive. Men tend to wear stuff that makes them look even more Swedish. Like tight trousers, maybe even yellow ones. We don’t really advise either, if we’re honest.

And that’s it. Just have a lovely day whatever you do.  Glad Midsommar!

Recipe: Blueberry, Gorgonzola and rye crouton salad

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Blueberry, gorgonzola & rye crouton salad

This is probably one of the easiest salads in the world to make. The marriage between blueberries and gorgonzola is everlasting - fruity, creamy, tasty.
Course: Salad
Cuisine: Scandinavian
Keyword: blueberry, gorgonzola
Author: Bronte Aurell

Ingredients

  • 120-140 g mixed salad leaves (we prefer ones containing beetroot leaves as these go very well)
  • 1180-230 g blueberries
  • 150 g gorgonzola cheese
  • 2 slices of seeded rye bread
  • a small handful of toasted walnuts (optional)

Instructions

  • Arrange the salad directly on four small plates – or on a big serving platter (as preferred).
  • Scatter the salad leaves across the plate, then the blueberries.
  • Spoon out small lumps of Gorgonzola cheese across the serving plate.
  • Add the walnuts either whole or slightly broken up.
  • Toast the rye bread, the cut into small croutons (don’t over toast it or it will be hard to eat – the bread should still be slightly chewy). Then tear and scatter the bread onto the plate.

Dressing:

  • This salad thrives on strong tastes from the creamy cheese and the berries. It really doesn’t need seasoning or oil – but instead, choose a really good aged thick balsamic vinegar or glaze and sprinkle lightly just before eating.

Recipe: Smoked mackerel salad with fennel and apple

May 29, 2014 | Leave a comment

Smoked Mackerel Salad with Fennel, Apple and peas

Ahhh, hello summer.
Try this salad - it may sound simple, but it is very delicious.
Course: Salad
Cuisine: Scandinavian
Keyword: apple, fennel, mackerel, peas
Servings: 2
Author: Bronte Aurell

Ingredients

  • 250-300 g smoked mackerel fillets
  • a large handful of mixed salad leaves
  • ½ fennel bulb
  • ½ apple such as Pink Lady or Granny Smith
  • 200 g frozen peas
  • 1 tbsp chopped chives
  • 1 tbsp fresh tarragon
  • salt
  • pepper
  • dollop of olive oil
  • a squeeze of lemon juice

Dressing:

  • 50 g honey
  • 15 g wholegrain Swedish mustard
  • 15 g red wine vinegar

Instructions

  • Finely shave fennel on mandolin or with a very sharp knife and place in a bowl. Then shave the apple in similar thin pieces. 
  • Combine with fennel, then dress with lemon juice and a few drops of olive oil.
  • Arrange the mixed leaves on individual plates or a large flat serving dish.
  • Thaw the peas and sprinkle on the leaves along with the tarragon and chives.
  • Tear bite sized pieces of smoked mackerel and arrange across the salad (taking care to check for bones), then add the fennel and apple pieces on top.

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