Archive for the '*Recipes: ETHNIC CUISINE' Category

Swedish cheesecake – Småländsk ostkaka

Monday, October 4th, 2010

Swedish cheesecake with whipped cream, blackberries and jam.

I know, I know. The photo is really bad and doesn’t do this dessert any justice. This Swedish cheesecake, originating from the province of Småland, is probably far from any cheesecake you’ve ever had. It’s not at all like the smooth biscuit based New York cheesecake. This cheesecake is grainy, full of toasted chopped almonds and has a very vague taste of bitter almond. And it’s absolutely lovely! Serve it lukewarm with berries, jam and whipped cream. This cheesecake needs to be served directly from the pan it was baked in as it’s not really sliceable.

To make Swedish cheesecake you need to make your own cheese, but don’t let that scare you off. You’ll need rennet and in Sweden you’ll always find it at the pharmacy. If I’m not wrong, bitter almonds are banned in the US. They are poisonous, but only in very large quantities so don’t worry as they are very common in European baking. If you live in the US you can substitute with almond extract.

    Småländsk ostkaka – Swedish cheesecake from Småland
    (Based on a Gert Klötzke recipe. I significantly increased the amount of almonds, increased the amount of egg and used vanilla infused sugar).
    Serves 6-8

    Day 1:
    3 litres of milk (at least 3 % fat)
    75 g flour
    2 tsp rennet
    Day 2:
    400 ml double cream
    3 eggs
    90 gram sugar (vanilla infused).
    2 small bitter almonds, finely grated
    100 gram blanched almonds, roasted and chopped

    Mix 200 ml milk with flour and rennet to a smooth batter. In a big pan, heat the rest of the milk to 35 degrees C. Add the flour mixture and stir until it reaches 37 degrees C. Remove from the heat and let stand for 30 minutes. Carefully separate the whey from the cheese using a very fine sieve and/or cheese cloth. Let it continue to drain in the fridge over night.

    The next day combine the cheese with the rest of the ingredients. Pour the batter into a buttered pan. Bake the cheesecake in 165 degrees C until it has a nice and golden colour, approximately 30-40 minutes. Make sure it’s completely baked but not overbaked.

    Serve lukewarm with jam, berries and whipped cream.


Friday, October 1st, 2010

No, this is not a call for help. SOS is a classic Swedish starter, short for sill ost smör (pickled herring, cheese, butter). It’s served with crisp bread and snaps. We had it as a starter just the other day when lovely Courtney and her CS was visiting for a dinner, together with Anne and her family.

Two kinds of pickled herring: mustard and onion & cranberries. Västerbotten cheese, the Swedish equivalent of Parmesan. Butter with sea salt.

Crisp bread. I love the sticks from Vilmas, this one was with dill and onion.

Dreaming of summer; archipelago mackerel

Thursday, November 12th, 2009


It’s only November but I’m already dreaming about summer. Despite the fact that I really look forward to our upcoming New York trip I almost regret not booking a beach vacation instead. But only almost :-)

The above photo was taken at my parents in law’s house on the west coast of Sweden. I love their terrace which is facing the sea. I can sit there for hours watching the boats go by while the sea gulls are flying around. The dish on the photo is a very tasty and easy to make mackerel. You start with frying fresh mackerel fillets, then you add cream and parsley and let it simmer. Salt and pepper, and serve with boiled summer potatoes. Swedish summer in a nutshell!


The amazing view from their balcony.

Shrimp frenzy

Tuesday, September 9th, 2008

What would you say if you would be served a large bowl of unpeeled shrimps, cooked and cold? That is typical Swedish and we even have a specific word for it, räkfrossa. The closest translation would be something like shrimp frenzy, which tells you a little bit about the scale of the event. So what is it all about? You eat shrimps, a lot. And with a lot I mean enormous amounts with condiments such as mayonnaise, different sauces and fresh baguettes. You peel the shrimps on your plate and indulge them until you almost drop.

The last time my parents in law visited us they brought 6 or maybe even 8 kg of fresh shrimps that were caught and cooked the day before coming to us. We had a lovely shrimp frenzy with the shrimps from the west coast. There’s something therapeutic with peeling shrimps, talking and catching up. Despite our shrimp frenzy, we didn’t manage to eat much of them so the majority of the shrimps went to the freezer.

Smörgåstårta – savoury sandwich cake

Tuesday, May 13th, 2008

The Swedish savoury sandwich cake (smörgåstårta) is very common at parties and celebrations. Especially since it’s beautiful and tastes best if it’s prepared one day in advance and then decorated on the serving day. The layered cake is very rich with fillings stuffed with goodies of your choice spread on crustless toast bread. My mother is the queen of all cakes, including smörgåstårta, so this was one of many things that we had for her 60th birthday. She made this fantastic cake and there isn’t really any recipe as she does everything by heart. The bottom consists of crustless toast bread. The first filling consists of mayonnaise, crème fraîche, asparagus, boiled eggs and tuna. Then there’s crustless toast bread again. The second filling consists of mayonnaise, asparagus, boiled eggs, mushrooms and shrimps. Then there’s crustless toast bread again. Finally there’s the decoration with cucumber, roe, cray fish tails, shrimps, mayonnaise and salad. Delicious!

Sałatka Jarzynowa

Sunday, December 23rd, 2007

One dish that is always served at my family for any of the holidays is a Polish mayonnaise based vegetable salad, sałatka jarzynowa. It goes very well with the rest of the mandatory Polish dishes served during Christmas, Easter and other important occasions. Every family has their own recipe, but the common ingredients are diced potatoes, eggs, carrots and mayonnaise. This kind of salad with diced vegetables bound in mayonnaise can be found in many countries with various names and a bit different ingredients. The most common name is Russian salad, even though the original recipe contained lobster and truffles and differs a lot from today’s version. But the most important thing isn’t the origin or name, but the taste!

    Sałatka Jarzynowa

    4 large potatoes, boiled with their skin on and then peeled
    2 red onions
    6 eggs, hard boiled
    3 large carrots, boiled
    250 gram green peas, boiled or from can
    200 gram fermented cucumbers
    350 ml mayonnaise
    optional: 1 tbsp of grated horseradish
    optional: a handful of grated cheese

    Dice potatoes, eggs, carrots and cucumbers. Finely dice the onions. Combine the diced ingredients in a bowl and add peas. Add mayonnaise and combine everything. Salt and pepper to taste. Add grated horsradish and/or cheese if wanted. Cover with cling film and keep in the fridge. May be prepared one day in advance for a better taste.

Tiger cake

Monday, November 5th, 2007

Tiger cake, disguised as a teddy bear

Tiger cake, or Tigerkaka as we call it in Swedish, is a simple marble cake. The name comes from the marbled pattern, resembling of a tiger’s fur pattern. The cake is simple to bake and is very good, especially when newly baked. Although I have to admit that I find it a little bit boring, I’m just not into sponge cakes. But I love my husband and he loves tiger cake so of course I bake it for him, this time ready to attack disguised as a teddy bear. But actually we attacked first, by brutally cutting his head off :-O

The teddy bear without it’s head…

    Tiger cake

    200 gram butter
    200 ml (180 gram) caster sugar (vanilla infused)
    3 eggs
    400 ml (240 gram) flour
    1 tsp baking powder
    100 ml milk
    zest and juice from 0.5 orange
    2 tbsp cocoa powder

    Preheat oven to 175 degrees C.
    Grease and bread a mold, with a volume of around 1.5 litres. Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until white and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time. Fold in flour and baking powder. Add milk and combine.

    Set aside one third of the batter in a separate bowl. Add cocoa and combine. To the first bowl (the one with the remaining 2 thirds), add orange zest and juice. Combine.

    Spoon half of the orange batter into the mold. Cover with the cocoa batter and finally cover with the remaing orange batter. To create marbling, run a fork through the batters in a swirling motion.

    Bake the tiger cake for around 40-50 minutes, until a tooth pick or potato stick comes out clean.

    Let the tiger cake cool in the mold for at least 10 minutes until you turn it out. Serve it when still luke warm.

Racuchy z jabłkami (Polish apple pancakes)

Sunday, September 23rd, 2007

I’ve lost track of all those autumn afternoons and evenings during my childhood when I impatiently waited for my mother as she fried racuchy with apples. They are delicious Polish apple pancakes based on a dough containing yeast which gives them a different texture compared with normal pancakes. The crucial ingredient is tart apples, you don’t want sweet ones in this dish. You should really give them a try, especially now during apple season.

    Racuchy z jabłkami (Polish apple pancakes)
    (makes 10)

    250 ml milk
    30 gram fresh yeast
    1 tsp sugar
    50 ml sugar
    2 eggs
    250 gram flour
    1 tsp vanilla sugar
    1 tbsp oil
    1 tbsp Grand Marnier (can be omitted)
    2 tart apples (don’t use sweet ones for this recipe), peeled and cut into small pieces.

    neutral oil (I use canola) + butter for frying.
    icing sugar for serving

    Heat the milk to 37 degrees C. In a bowl combine 1 tsp of sugar with the yeast. Pour the milk over the yeast and combine. Cover with a kitchen towel and leave for 20 minutes until it starts to bubble and the mixture has started to “grow”.

    In another bowl, with an electric beater mix 50 ml sugar with the eggs. Add the sugar/egg mixture to the yeast mixture. Add the flour, vanilla sugar, oil and Grand Marnier. Combine, use an electric beater for a minuter or two. Add the apple pieces and combine. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise for 45 minutes.

    Pour neutral oil in a frying pan, add butter. Fry the pancakes on medium heat, it’s important that the fat isn’t too hot as you want the pancakes to rise without beeing burned. Use two heaped table spoons of batter for every pancake. Fry until golden brown and then flip. Add more butter if needed. Sprinkle with confectioners/icing sugar and serve immediately.