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Ice chocolate

Saturday, December 23rd, 2006


Ice chocolate, to the left with almonds and to the right with walnuts.

Ice chocolate, ischoklad, is a typical Swedish Christmas candy which is made really easily. I must admit that I have no clue where the name comes from, maybe because you have to store these chocolates in the fridge or else they’ll melt.

    Ice chocolate (ischoklad)
    (makes about 45)

    200 gr chocolate
    80 gr copha (Swe: kokosfett, Eng: Palmin)
    45 tiny aluminium cups
    optional: your favourite nuts
    optional: orange liquor

    Break the chocolate into pieces and put it in a deep heatproof bowl together with the copha. Melt them at a rather low temperature in the microwave. Stir the mixture and pour it into the aluminium cups.
    I usually fill up 25 of the cups, then I add some drops of orange liquor to the rest of the mixture and fill the remaining cups. Add nuts. Store in the fridge, in airtight containers with a sheet of greaseproof paper between each layer.

Lingonberry caves with cinnamon

Sunday, December 17th, 2006

A raspberry cave is a typical Swedish short bread cookie filled with jam. In this variant the common raspberry jam is substituted with lingonberry jam and there’s cinnamon in the dough which make the cookies quite Christmasy. The cookies are very easily done and you are quickly rewarded with delicate and delicious cookies. I always use butter, never margarine, when I bake to get that extra nice flavour.

    Lingonberry caves with cinnamon
    (makes 30 cookies, source: Arla)

    200 gram butter, at room temperature
    100 ml caster sugar
    1 tsp vanilla sugar
    450 ml flour
    1 tsp baking soda
    1 tsp cinnamon
    75 ml lingonberry jam (or substitute with your favourite one)
    30 medium paper cups (“småbrödsformar”, about 4 cm wide)

    Heat the oven to 200° C.

    Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla sugar. Add the flour, combined with baking soda and cinnamon. Divide the dough into 30 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and put in a medium sized paper cup (the ones I used are called “småbrödsformar”). With your finger, do an indention and fill it with jam.
    Bake in the middle of the oven for about 12 minutes.

Kärleksmums or Snoddas or Mocha Squares

Saturday, December 16th, 2006

I can promise you that no matter which Swedish café you’ll enter, they will most probably have kärleksmums. It’s a typical Swedish cake, which translates to the cute name love yummies. In the book Sju sorters kakor (Swedish cakes and cookies, which you can win here) they are called Snoddas and some people even call them Mocha Squares, but I’ve always called them love yummies becuase that’s what they are :-) They are not as rich and dense as the rather similar chocolate gingerbread from Nigella; but they are much lighter and have a rather mild chocolate taste. I really like the frosting and my mother often use the frosting from this recipe on other cakes and cookies.

    Kärleksmums / Snoddas / Mocha Squares
    (makes 30-35 pieces. Recipe from “Sju sorters kakor” aka “Swedish cakes and cookies)

    cake:
    150 gram butter
    2 eggs
    300 ml caster sugar
    2 tsp vanilla sugar
    1 tbsp cocoa, sifted
    450 ml flour
    2 tsp baking soda
    150 ml milk

    frosting:
    75 gram butter
    2 tsp cold coffee
    1 tbsp cocoa, sifted
    2 tsp vanilla sugar
    350 ml icing sugar

    garniture:
    shredded coconut

    Heat the oven to 175 degrees C.

    Melt the butter and let it cool. Whip the eggs and sugar until white and fluffy. Add the dry ingredients varied with the milk and the butter. Pour the batter into a buttered and breaded rectangular pan, about 30 X 40 cm.

    Bake the cake in the lower part of the oven for about 15 minutes but not too long as you don’t want a dry cake.

    Let the cake cool. In the meantime melt the butter for the frosting. Add the remaining ingredients. Spread the frosting over the cake and sprinkle a lot of shredded coconot. Cut the cake in squares.

Lussekatter or Lucia cats or Saffron buns

Monday, December 4th, 2006

Yesterday was the first sunday of Advent. Christmas is getting closer and closer and it’s time to get into that Christmas mode. We bought new Advent star lights for our windows which we hang up, we baked ginger bread cookies and we started on building a ginger bread cookie house which we’ll finish this evening. And for our Advent breakfast I baked Lussekatter which means Lucia Cats. They are basically S formed Saffron buns which are very common in Sweden before Christmas and especially on Lucia day. I always use the same recipe, the one from Arla which contains quark (Kesella) as it makes the buns moist and nice. I really recommend this recipe, the saffron buns becomes very moist and juicy, far from the dry ones found in stores. The only thing I’ve changed about the recipe is that I add more saffron, which both I and Fredrik like a lot.

    Lussekatter

    50 g fresh yeast
    100 g butter
    500 ml milk
    250 g Kesella lätt (quark)
    1.5 g saffron (3 Swedish “bags” of saffron).
    150 ml caster sugar
    abour 1700 ml flour

    For garnishing:
    raisins

    For brushing:
    1 beaten egg

    Melt butter in a pan and add the milk. Make sure that the mixture is lukewarm (37 degrees C). Pour the mixture over the finely divided yeast. Mix and then add the remaining ingredients. Work the dough so it becomes smooth and nice. Cover the dough with a kitchen towel and let it rise for 40 minutes.

    Knead the dough, divide it into 32 pieces. Form each piece of dough into a string, 15-20 cm long, then arrange the string in a double S. Place 2 raisins at the ends of each bun. Cover the buns with a kitchen towel and let them rise for 30 minutes.

    Brush the buns with the egg and then bake them in the oven at 225 degrees C, about 5-8 minutes until they are golden brownish yellow.

National Day

Tuesday, June 6th, 2006

National Day Pastry
Swedish National Day pastry

I’m a bad food blogger, instead of baking my own Swedish National pastries today on the Swedish National Day I sent Fredrik to buy two ones from Hemköp. They had a a suspicious list of contents, but they were actually pretty OK. Next year I’ll make my own ones though, they’re not so complicated to make, they basically consist of almond paste and Strawberries.

Shrove Tuesday: Semla

Wednesday, March 1st, 2006

Semlor
Semlor (I still havn’t unpacked my battery charger for the camera so you have to stand with the cell phone photos)

Yesterday was Shrove Tuesday, and in Sweden we have a tradition eating a special bun called Semla on this day. It is a plain wheat bun with cardamom filled with whipped cream and almond paste. There’s a long story behind this bun, and I have to admit that I don’t know all about it even though I just bought a book called “History book for cookie lovers” (in Swedish though) where there’s a lot of history to read, including the history behind and about the Semla. The Semla is eaten in many nordic countries, with a few modifications and other names. For example you can read about Pille’s Estonian Vastlakuklid here.

Anyway, you either go to the nearest bakery and buy a Semla (which nowadays can be found from New Year’s to Easter) or you bake them yourself. Yesterday evening I did my own ones, for the first time. The bun is easy to do and was excellent, but I wasn’t quite happy with my almond mixture. I did my own almond paste, but as I don’t have any kitchen mill I first grated the almonds in my food processor and then I used the food processor knife. I didn’t get the almond paste as fine as I wanted but it was sufficient. I also (as usual) havn’t found my kitchen scales in any of the unpacked boxes yet so I just used the deciliter measure, even though I prefer to weigh my ingredients.

    Semlor
    (12 ones)

    Buns:
    100 g butter
    300 ml milk
    1.5 tsp cardamom
    50 g fresh yeast
    a pinch of salt
    100 ml caster sugar
    1 egg
    1 tsp baking powder
    900-1200 ml of plain wheat flour (about 540 g-720 g)

    To brush on the buns:
    1 egg + a small amount of water

    Almond paste:
    200 g sweet Almonds
    120 ml icing sugar
    1 drop of bitter almond extract

    To the Almond mixture:
    100 ml milk, hot

    Decoration:
    500 ml double /whipping cream
    Icing sugar

    Melt the butter and combine with the milk. Make sure that the mixture has the right temperature, which is 37 degrees C.

    Crumble the yeast in a large bowl or a kitchen aid. Add the milk and egg mixture and stir until the yeast has dissolved. Add cardamom, sugar, salt, egg, milk, butter and baking powder, and combine. Then start to add the flour while you work with the dough. Make sure not to use too much flour. Knead the dough until it’s smooth. Then let the dough rise in its bowl for about 45 minutes.

    When the dough has risen enough, knead it again and add more flour if needed. Shape 12 round balls that you put on 2 baking sheets covered with parchment paper. Cover the buns with a kitchen towel and let them rise for about 45 minutes or until they have doubled in size. Beat the egg and add some water, then brush the buns with the mixture. Bake in the oven (225 degrees C) for 8 minutes, make sure not to burn them. I baked both baking sheets at the same time as I nowadays have a fan oven (yay!! ) Let the buns cool.

    AlmondsNow it’s time to start with the almond paste. Blanche the almonds by boiling them for 3 minutes. Drain off the water and slip the skins off by squeezing the almonds between your thumb and fingers. Be careful as they really are slippery! If you have a kitchen mill, then use it. If you don’t, first grate the almonds in a food processor and then use the food processor knife so that you get a very fine mixture. Now add the icing sugar and the bitter almond. Mix some more. Add some drops of water so that the almond paste binds together.

    Plain bun with a hole!When the buns have cooled completely it’s time to assemble them. Cut off a small lid on top of the 12 buns. Put the lids aside. Scoop out the crumbs from the buns, making a small hole. Mix the crumbs with the almond paste and the hot milk. If the mixture is too firm you can add some more milk and also some more icing sugar if it isn’t sweet enough. Whip the cream, but absolutely not to hard. You don’t want the semlor to taste like butter. Add a pinch of vanilla sugar to the cream.

    Cut the 12 lids, which you earlier put aside, so that they become triangular.

    Fill the buns with the almond mixture, about 2 tbsp for each bun. Now put some whipped cream on each bun and top it with a triangular lid. Sift each bun with icing sugar. Enjoy!!

Dagmar’s tip: Yesterday when I baked, I only assemled 4 semlor. The rest of the buns I put in the freezer so I easily can assemble more Semlor when I want, without having to bake new buns.

Smörgåstårta – Sandwich Cake

Monday, January 16th, 2006

Smörgåstårta

Smörgåstårta, which means Sandwich Cake, is typical party food in Sweden. It’s like a large sandwich with a lot of creamy filling, just like a cake, and it is served cold. The smörgåstårta consists of several layers of bread slices (most common is toast bread) with different delicious creamy fillings. It is then decorated with mayonnaise, sea food and vegetables. The sea food smörgåstårta on the photo was made by my mother for my brother’s 40th birthday and it has two layers of creamy yummy filling. I don’t know exactly what she used, but among other ingredients there were mayonnaise, boiled eggs, crayfish tails, shrimps, asparagus, caviar and dill leafs. Delicious but far from fat free….

Smörgåstårta can be made with all sorts of fillings, but I have always prefered the sea food one that my mother makes. It’s great party food as it can be prepared in advance, it looks beautiful and it’s rather easy to make. Just use your imagination when combining fillings, but don’t forget that a dry sandwich cake that don’t have enough filling is a bad sandwich cake! :-)

Pille at Nami-Nami made a lovely Ham Sandwich Cake for New Years Eve, read her post here.

The Nobel Banquet

Saturday, December 10th, 2005

Today, December 10th, is the anniversary of Alfred Nobel’s death. Since 1901 the Nobel Prizes have been presented to the Laureates at ceremonies on this day. I will not write about the Nobel Price here, but you can read about it on the official homepage. But I will mention a few words about the Nobel Banquet that follows the ceremonies.

The Nobel Banquet is held for about 1300 guests, among them the Nobel Laureates with their families, Their Majesties the King and Queen and other members of the Royal Family of Sweden. There are of course other important guests there as well. The Nobel dinner is luxurious and the menu is not revealed until 7 p.m the same day as the Banquet is, and that was just a few minutes ago. You can read this year’s menu further down in this post; it is always presented in French but an English translation is added as well.

The responsible Banquet staff consists of 280 people: 156 waiters/waitresses, 52 wine waiters, 33 chefs/pastry chefs/cold buffet manageresses, 18 washer-ups and 5 head waiters. The Nobel Banquet demands careful organization as all 1300 guests have to get their warm food at the same time. It takes the staff 6 minutes to carry out the food from the kitchen to the guests!! The different dishes are started to be served at very specific times: the starter is served at 7.18 pm, the main course is served at 8.20 pm, the dessert is served at 9.21 pm and afterwards the dancing begins at about 10.30 pm. I don’t know about you, but it’s amazing that the staff manages to serve all their 1300 guests in such a short time as 6 minutes.

The first Nobel Banquet in 1901 was attended by 113 male guests. The first female guest didn’t appear until two years later, in the shape of Polish Marie Curie who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics, sharing it with her husband Pierre Curie and Henri Becquerel. During the years the guests have increased, but as long as the Nobel Banquet will be held in the Stockholm City Hall they won’t increase as there is no more space.

    Menu from the Nobel Banquet 2005

    Pannacotta d´écrevisses avec omble chevalier,
    coquilles Saint-Jacques et langoustines

    Poitrine de perdrix des neiges
    en robe forestière et sa garniture,
    gâteau de pommes de terre,
    sauce Normande

    Mousse citronnée garnie de framboises,
    coulis de framboises arctiques

    VINS
    Pommery Grand Cru Vintage 1995
    Champagne

    Penfolds RWT 2001
    Barossa Valley

    Le Dauphin de Guiraud 2002
    Sauternes

    Café
    Remy Martin VSOP
    Cointreau

    Eau minérale Ramlösa

    Translation in English:

    Crayfish panna cotta with fennel-baked Arctic char, scallops and Norway lobster on baby lettuce

    Ptarmigan breast baked in horn of plenty mushrooms with caramelised apples, poached onions and broad beans, served with Calvados sauce and potato cake

    Lemon and yoghurt mousse with Arctic bramble marmalade, fresh raspberries and raspberry-Arctic bramble sauce

If you want your mouth to water even more you can read all earlier menus starting from 1901 here. And more information about the Banquet can be found here.

To this day no cat has been invited to the Nobel Banquet which is a pity as my cats would love some Crayfish panna cotta. But I guess that we’ll just watch the whole Banquet on TV, because it’s a really big event and thus shown live on Swedish TV.