After the big rains in June, temperatures have now reached an average of 33 degrees, and the garden is exploding! We’re still waiting for the tomatos but starting to cash in both giant garlics, plenty of zucchini as well as carrots and herbs.
Something that we Swedes eat for pretty much every holiday is cured salmon, or as we call it – gravlax (salmon from the grave). It got it name from the fact that fishermen used to ferment it by burying fish in the sand by the high-tide line for a while (probably flavoured by some brackish Baltic sea water) but I promise you, it works just as well to make it in a plastic bag in your fridge.
The taste is similar to smoked salmon but with a slightly different consistency (it kind of melts in your mouth!). It’s quite expensive to buy pre-made and believe it or not – dead easy to make at home! All you need is:
1 filet of pre-frozen salmon (buy it previously frozen or have it in the freezer and then de-frost before you make it)
1 large ziploc plastic bag
Per 1kg salmon:
- 3 tbs salt
- 3 tbs sugar
- 1½ tsp white pepper corns
- 150 ml chopped fresh dill
Mix the salt, sugar and ground pepper corns in a bowl.
spread the mix out evenly on two pieces of salmon filet (I kind of rubbed it in a little too).
Add the chopped dill on top and press the two filet pieces together.
Put the whole package in a sealed plastic bag and let sit in the fridge for 3 days. make sure to flip the package half way through so that everything gets evenly cured.
The picture below is from the original recipe where they did it between two plates instead of in a bag:
Once the 3 days have passed, take your filets out and scrape off the dill & pepper (you could wash it lightly if you want to make it a little less salty). Finish by cutting thin slices along the fish like in the picture.
Serve rolled up like little roses to get the perfect midsummer smörgåsbord:
I haven’t been updating about all our garden preparations this year, but we have big plans, tons of seeds and things are already growing out there! Here’s a little summary of what the garden looks like at the moment:
The whole idea started after we got to inherit a bacterial strain to try to make filmjölk (similar to buttermilk) from a friend. Traditionally, bacteria of the order Lactobacillales are used to produce dairy products like this.
To make filmjölk we mixed:
7 teaspoons of milk with culture in it
1 litre of homogenized milk
and left it out in room temperature for 24h after which it was kept in the fridge.
Since the filmjölk was a success, David and I decided to get a little adventurous and bought a 2L package of goat milk with the intentions to make some cheese. Our friend had told us that if you heated up the fermented milk it would turn into cheese curds and so the project was instigated!
Once the goat milk was fermented in room temperature it sat in the fridge for a few days before I got the time to continue the process which was the following:
1. Heat up the thickened milk in a pot – don’t boil!
4. Flavour your cheese with herbs or honey or other things you would like (the honey one was my favourite) and roll into nice cheese-rolls.
I was happily surprised to discover that my photo of vegetables grown in our front yard won a shared firts place in the people’s choice -best fall fair vegetable category of the “6th Annual Blooming Hall of Fame Photo Contest” at the Greenery garden center here in Kelowna.
I’m so excited to get to receive a $25 Gift Certificate and a Gardener’s Delight Gift Basket in the spring!
Check out the other winners here.
And here’s the winning photo I submitted :)
Something that becomes obvious when you’re living abroad are all the things you used to take for granted. I guess, to me, celebrating advent is one of them. Lighting one candle every Sunday up until christmas and gathering with friends and family to drink mulled wine and eat christmas treats was something I for most of my life took for granted.
Here in Canada I find that advent is mostly celebrated among religious people and people who aren’t religious find it odd to celebrate it. I wouldn’t call myself very religious, but I like following traditions religiously, especially when they involve baking, wine and gathering with friends. Therefore I still put together my buffet of advent treats and cuddle up under a blanket to christmas tunes with the first candle burning.
Dates stuffed with blue cheese.
Traditional Swedish saffron buns
I will post the recipes for the buns and the knäck another day.
When dark nights and the cold & wet outside is creeping up on you, this meal will keep make you warm inside out. It looks fancy and tastes yummy but is actually not that complicated to cook.
This is what you need:
- 1 pork tenderloin
- 200 ml cooking cream
- 8-10 prunes (depending on how large the tenderloin is)
- 1 large yellow onion
- A handful of mushrooms (we used frozen chanterelles from this year’s harvest)
- 2 tbs balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbs mushroom soy sauce
- salt & pepper
- fresh parsley
- a squirt of port wine (I have used lingonberry vinegar instead and I guess you could skip it if you want).
Sear the tenderloin on both sides in some butter in a frying pan. Then, take it out and put it in a glass or ceramic oven ware. Fry the mushrooms and onions in the butter+juices from the tenderloin, add the cream, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, salt and pepper to make a sauce. Let simmer on low heat for a few minutes. Make cuts in the tenderloin, approximately 3 cm apart, and stuff prunes into it. Pour the mushroom sauce over the tenderloin and roast in the oven at 200°C for 25 minutes (this might vary depending on the size, so make a cut to check that the meat is cooked through). Garnish with chopped parsely once it’s taken out of the oven.
Serve with some fresh mashed potatoes and red wine :)
Since David and I went to Revelstoke to pick mushrooms, I have been eating chanterelles almost every day for almost a month! I have not documented all the different recipies that I’ve used the mushrooms for, but in my opinion you can for example add them to creamy pasta sauces, quiche, beef stroganoff, pizza, soup, or simply just serve them on a piece of toast.
A large part of the harvest is also stored in our miniscule freezer. Before you freeze the mushrooms though, you want to fry them in a bunch of butter with some salt and white pepper (it enhances the flavour of the chanterelles). I freeze them in old philadelphia cheese containers, it makes a perfect portion to defrost and use all year round.
The variery that commonly grows here in BC, Canada is the White chanterelle (Cantharellus subalbidus). It is said to be even more flavourful than the golden one that I am used to from back home.
Summer heat is gone, and it’s time to enjoy the last few dinners on the patio. I love to make some hearty soup at this time of year, and since I’m a huge fan of beats, the traditional borscht is a natural choice to make. This time though, I thought I should include some of our enormous tomato harvest in it, and what would fit better than some tomatoes of the variety “Black russians”.
Here’s what I put in the soup:
- Pulp from ~20 black russian tomatoes
- 2 large beets
- 2 onions
- 2 carrots
- 3 cloves of garlic
- a chunk of red cabbage
- two spoons of vegetable stock mix
- 2 bayleafs
- ground black pepper
- hungarian paprika powder
- fresh cilantro (parsley works good too)
- olive oil
- 500 ml water
- sour cream
I started by chopping onions, carrots and garlic finely and frying them in some olive oil in a large pot. To avoid getting the tomato peels in the soup, I grilled them in the oven for about 10 min and then pressed them through a sieve into the pot and threw out the peels. To make the beets cook faster, I peeled and grated them before putting them into the soup. Depending on how much juice you got out of the tomatoes, add water (I added another 500 ml). Add spices and let simmer until the beets and carrots are soft. Add some chopped cabbage and cilantro last to keep some crunch in the cabbage and the flavour of the cilantro.
Serve with a spoon of sour cream, some fresh ciabatta and fried chantarelles (if you have some :).
One of my favourite foods all time is freshly boiled mussels. As a kid my family used to spend the summers in northern France, more precisely here:
As a consequence of this, I got spoiled eating really good mussels already as a kid. Living in Halifax for a year didn’t make me any less spoiled, and there I actually took a university course in aquaculture where we got to go out to a mussel farm to see how they grow them.
So, I guess the point I’m trying to make is that eating mussels is something very dear to my heart, and my favourite version of preparing them is the classic recipe for moule marinière.
This is how I make them:
- 3.5 pounds of mussels
- 1 bottle of white wine
- 400ml cream
- 4 chopped shallots
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 branches of fresh thyme
- a fresh garden carrot
- 3 cloves of garlic
- salt & pepper
- a big bunch of parsley
Wash the mussels. Chop the shallots and the garlic and fry them up in some butter in the bottom of a large pot. Add the herbs and the wine and the cream, pour the mussels in and let boil/steam with a closed lid until the mussels are opening.
Serve with some fresh baguette :)