Salmon from the grave (gravlax)

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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:

Gravad lax

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.

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Serve rolled up like little roses to get the perfect midsummer smörgåsbord:

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Microbes in the kitchen: Home made goat cheese!

IMG_3226Yes, you herd right – I made my own goat cheese!

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!

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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!

IMG_32232. Filter the tiny cheese curds out with a fine meshed cheese cloth or like I did it, with coffee filter in a funnel.

IMG_32223. Squeeze out the last liquid and pour the mass into a bowl.

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.

IMG_32286. Serve with a cracker or some yummy brunch frittata to an appretiative friend :)

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Prune-stuffed pork tenderloin

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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 :)

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Fungal feast!

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.

When the chanterelles are just picked they still have that creamy white colour, but as soon as they get a little bruised they get yellow stains. Nothing that you need to cut off though.

Here’s a picture of some really big golden ones (the shoe is size 10) to compare with that I picked home in Sweden.

Moules marinières

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
  • butter
  • 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 :)

Strawberry midsummer cake

Celebrating midsummer requires a good strawberry cake, and this year I decided to invent my own. It has a touch of marzipan, rhubarbs and ginger, but besides that a classic recipie.

To begin with, you need to make the filling (which is kind of like making jam).

I chopped strawberries, rhubarb and fresh ginger into little cubes, covered them with white sugar and boiled them at a low heat for about 40 min until the jam was soft and gooey but not too rinny (it will solidify more once it cools off). Let the jam cool completely before putting it into the cake.

For the cake you will need:

  • 4 eggs
  • 100 g grated marzipan/almond paste
  • 150 g butter (half melted, soft but not rinny)
  • 100 ml sugar
  • 200 ml flour
  • 50 ml milk
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp vanilla sugar
Mix all the ingredients to a smooth paste and pour into a buttered and breaded cake pan and bake in the middle of the oven at 200ºC for about 30 min. Stick a toothpick/fork into it to make sure it’s not rinny insde before you take it out.
Once the cake is baked, follow instructions through the pictures below :).

Ready to be baked in the oven

Cut the cake into two halves

 

spread the jam evenly across the bottom slice.

Put the lid on

cover the cake with whipped cream and sliced strawberries

Ready to serve!


Chili glazed salmon with sunchokes and guacamole

Some days even a simple meal can feel festive. Baking some fish in the oven very seldom goes wrong, and it always looks really nice. Adding some boiled sunchokes and guacamole doesn’t hurt either :).

For the fish:

  • Chop vegetables to fill the bottom of a glass pan with, creating a bed for the fish filet. I used fennel, red pepper, garlic and onions, but you can use pretty much any vegetable you feel like. Add some olive oil to keep the veggies from sticking to the bottom.
  • Put the fish on top of the veggies and rub fresh chopped ginger, sweet chili sauce, salt and pepper onto the fish.
  • Bake in the oven (200°C) for about 30 min (check in on it to make sure it is baked through and not burnt. The cooking time is gonna depend on how thick your slice of fish is.

For the guacamole:

  • Mash 2 ripe avocados
  • Add juice from ½ a lemon, salt, pepper, 2 chopped cloves of garlic, coriander, paprika, a teaspoon of sambal oelek, some cumin and some fresh chopped cilantro.
  • Stir it all together to a smooth/chunky paste depending on how you like it.

Boil sunchokes in salted water with their peels on (the will peel off really easily once they ar boiled.

Serve it all together and enjoy!

Easter/Påsk/Pesach and lots of food

I’ve been a bit busy this week and not really had time to post about all the deliciousness that happened over the last weekend. On good friday  we went to a Seder (big jewish passover dinner) that David helped cook the food for.

For the seder, David cooked: a brisquet (with some of my winter chanterelles), gefilterfish (made with fresh snapper) and matzoh farfel. I just helped out a little :). Here’s a little slideshow with pictures from the cooking and the dinner:

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On easter monday, the weather got up to 17 degrees, so our backyard patio was the perfect setting for a yummy brunch with some of my baked goods, eggs to paint and other delicious treats such as waffles and blueberry muffins brought by the guests. The recipe for how to make the vanilla buns (that I thought looked like cracked eggs with some yolk sipping out) you can find here.

Purim pastries (Hamentashen)

I love traditions, especially food related ones! Therefore, this year, I decided to join forces with David to bake jewish treats to celebrate purim. For purim, people bake sweet pastries called hamentashen. It is like a citrusy shortbread dough filled with different stuffings where a poppy seed-paste is the most traditional one. We made three different kinds of hamentashen; poppyseed, apple – caramel & cocolate chip – cream cheese.

For the dough, we used this recipie (but switched the orange for a lemon) and for the various fillings we followed instructions from this pretty blog (poppy, apple, chocolate).

To bake the hamentashen we got help from a bunch of our friends and it turned into a wonderful baking-masquerade party with lots of pretty costumes and tasty treats. Here’s a small summary in pictures: