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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.

SOS

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!

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.

Mini crisp bread with herring and fresh potato

Sunday, April 22nd, 2007


Mini crisp bread with fresh potato, herring, sour cream and chives.

We spent the whole Easter in Gothenburg with our families, eating a lot of wonderful food and playing games. On Easter Saturday, Fredrik’s father made these simple starters with a taste of Sweden, due to the herring and crisp bread. They were inspired by a commercial which he saw in the grocery store and I must say that it’s a great idea, especially for Midsummer’s Eve. I’m aware of that it can be hard finding mini crisp bread abroad, but maybe at IKEA? Both Wasa and Leksands bröd produce mini variants of their crisp bread, and it doesn’t really matter which you use. Swedish herring can definitely be found at the food market at IKEA. An idea that I’ll try to remember for next time is to add a slice of the strong Västerbotten cheese between the potato and herring, just to add more taste.

    Mini crisp bread with herring and fresh potato

    Mini crisp bread (either Leksands Mini or Wasa Knäckis)
    a couple small fresh potatoes, boiled
    Swedish herring
    sour cream
    chives
    butter

    Butter the mini crisp bread. Slice the potatoes and cut the herring into small pieces. Put a slice of potato on each crisp bread, add a piece of herring and decorate with sour cream and chives.

Västerbottensoststipendiet 2007

Monday, April 16th, 2007


Jesper Kansten, winner of Västerbottensoststipendiet 2007

Västerbottensost is a Swedish hard cheese aged for at least 12 months and is one of my very favourite cheeses. It has a rich and heavy flavour and some people say that it reminds of young parmesan cheese. It’s quite salty and a bit fruity with a vague hint of toffee, but I have to admit that I never analyse the taste, I just eat it. But today on the seminar on Västerbotten cheese, which was given by the producer Norrmejerier due to the Västerbotten cheese scholarship, there were discussions on the characteristic taste while we tasted it. Apparently the cheese also has an element of umami, which you probably know is the 5th basic taste. After the seminar we had a nice buffet, and of course all dishes had Västerbotten cheese in them. Following the buffet, the winner of the Västerbotten cheese scholarship was announced. The scholarship is a competition between students from the restaurant high schools, where the purpose is to create and cook a modern dish with Västerbotten cheese. Furthermore the price per serving may not exceed 20 SEK.

Jesper’s winner dish: Warm terrine consisting of hand of pork, apple and mushrooms with a celery and Västerbotten cheese crème, Västerbotten cheese sticks and pearl onions in saurkraut.

This year’s winner was Jesper Kansten who won 3 weeks of internship at Erwin Lauterbach’s restaurant Saison in Copenhagen, Denmark. Jesper’s dish can be seen on the photo above. We weren’t able to taste the creation, but at least it was on display.


Food from the buffet: Asparagus tart, Chicken and Mango salad, Roasted pepper soup with grilled scampi, bread with Västerbotten cheese butter and Vegetarian Carpaccio with Västerbotten cheese.

I had a nice time at the event together with Anne from Anne’s Food. We got recipes for all of the dishes, both from the buffet and the three finalists creations, and also some other interesting recipes containing Västerbotten cheese. We also received a signed book (Lust, en bok om livets salt) written by the conferencier, Steffo Törnquist, a big piece of Västerbotten cheese and a bag of grated Västerbotten cheese. Thanks to Prime PR for the invitation!