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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Advent treats

IMG_3208Something 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.

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Dates stuffed with blue cheese.IMG_3203

Traditional Swedish saffron buns

IMG_3174Citron knäck (lemon toffee)

I will post the recipes for the buns and the knäck another day.

Chocolate balls

These little guys are the swedish take on rum balls and a treat. They take minimal time and effort to make, all you have to be prepared for is getting your hands sticky!

This is what you need:

  • 100 g butter
  • 150 ml sugar
  • 300 ml oats
  • 4 spoons of coacoa
  • 3 tbs liquid (There are many options here: coffee, kaluha, some fruity liqueur or simply water)
  • pearl sugar, finely chopped nuts, sprinkles or or grated coconut to roll the balls in.

Mix all the ingredients except the topping together with your hands to a solid not too soft dough.

Wash your hands from all the stickiness and start rolling balls. I tend to make them a small one bite size since they’re quite rich.

Roll the balls in which ever topping you chose and put them all on a plate in the freezer.

Once the balls have hardened in the freezer, eat them with a nice Iced latte – perfect for this crazy 35 degrees heat that just hit us!

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!


Rabarberkräm (gooey rhubarb deliciousness)

I’ve been longing to make a post about kräm because it’s something I find very delicious and that I always have a hard time describing to people here in Canada. “It’s like jam but soft and gooey, kind of like jelly but not solid like jelly…” yeah, not the easiest thing to describe. Anyways, after some oppurtunistic foraging in an abandoned corner of the neighbourhood (and a dose of Carrie’s courage), I finally got my hands on some rhubarb stalks to cook up a storm.

One of the main ingredients in this recipie is potato starch. I am not sure if you can buy it in the grocery store over here, but to be on the safe side, I brought some over from Sweden when I was visiting last month (not suspicious at all to bring a package of white powder on the plane…). I managed to find this homepage though, with information about potato starch in Canada, and who knows, corn starch might work as an ok substitute.

Enough about that, here’s the recipie:

  1. Chop 5 medium sized rubarb stalks
  2. Put in a pot and cover with white sugar (you don’t need very much, maybe 200 ml)
  3. Pour in water until the rhubarb is covered but not floating.
  4. Add a cinnamon stick and let boil until the rhubarb softens and splits into strings.
  5. Mix 4 tbs of potato starch with some water in a bowl until it is completely dissolved (no resistance when stirring).
  6. Slowly pour the starchmix into the pot while stirring. The starchmix should run in a slim continuous stream into the pot to avoid lumps.
  7. Keep stirring until the kräm thickens (it shouldn’t have to boil any more).
  8. Pour the kräm into a glass bowl and sprinkle ground cinnamon on top.

Let the kräm cool off and then serve with cold milk.

If you don’t want to serve this as a dessert, it can also make for a yummy afternoon snack in the summer, and if you have access to gooseberries, they make for a great replacement to rhubarbs. The truth is that you could do this with almost any kind of fruit, you just have to adapt the amount of water, startch and sugar you put into it based on how sour and watery the fruit is.

Cracked egg buns (vanilla buns)

I learnt how to make these from one of the nurses when I worked in eldercare, and one thing is for sure: even if they can’t cure cramps – old people love them!

To make vanilla buns you basicly just have to follow my dough-recipie for Cinnamon buns and then when you’ve rolled out the dough, just cut out squares, put a spoon of vanilla sauce (custard) on it, fold it up and then pinch the fold together (like in the picture above) into a little ball and flip the buns over. Be careful not to put too much sauce in them or making the dough too thin, then they will leak.

To make the buns look like eggs with yolk peeking through, I brushed them with whipped egg to make them shiny and cut a little peek-hole with my scissors.

I then baked the buns in 200°C for about 12 min. Take them out once they look golden. Every oven can be a bit different, and you don’t want them to be dry and burnt.

If you want to make them extra sweet or sparkly, once they’ve cooled down, brush them with melted butter and roll in some white sugar.

Pannkakor for breakfast!

I’ve adapted the North American tradition of eating pancakes for breakfast, but I still don’t think that the thick pancakes really measures up to the Swedish ones that are usually slightly thicker than the french crèpes, but thinner than the dutch ones.

Here’s how I make them (enough for 2 people):

  • 2 eggs
  • 200 ml flour
  • 400 ml milk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • a chunk of butter to fry them in.

Whisk eggs, flour and a little bit of the milk into a smooth paste without lumps, then add the rest of the milk and the salt.

Add a piece of butter to the frying pan, and when it’s melted and sizzling in the pan, pour a thin layer of the paste into the pan. I normally start off frying the first pancake on the highest heat and then turn it down a bit. Flip the pancake once it has dried out on the surface and once it’s caught some colour on the other side, it’s ready to be served :).

In Sweden we normally serve our “pannkakor” with jam or sugar, but if you have access to some french chestnut paste, that’s also a favourite!

Caramelized oat bisquits

Crunchy, crispy, sweet deliciousness is what awaits you if you try this recipe out.

  • 75 g butter
  • 100 ml all purpose flour
  • 100 ml oats
  • 100 ml sugar
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbs syrup (I used swedish cane syrup – “ljus sirap” but I think corn syrup could work as well)
  • 2 tbs milk

Melt the butter and stir together with the rest of the ingredients. Scoop spoonfulls of the mixture onto baking trays covered with parchment paper. The lumps will melt and spread out a lot so leave a generous amount of space betweeen them.

Bake in the oven at 200°C for ca 5 minutes. Take them out when they are flat and golden. Pull the parchment paper with the bisquits off the trays and let cool on a net or a cool surface.

Enjoy with a cup of dark coffee or a black flowery tea.

The recipie came from this site.

Fat tuesday buns (semlor)

February could be one of my favourite months of the year. Mainly because you get to eat these wonderful treats for breakfast, lunch and dinner (or at least every Tuesday). Originally they were supposed to be eaten before lent, but in Sweden it has become more of a pastry-holiday than a religious celebration.

I’d say these buns deserve some celebration, they’re delicious!

For the buns you need:

  • 500ml milk
  • 150g butter
  • 2 tsp dried yeast
  • 2 tsp cardamom
  • 150 ml sugar
  • 1-1.2 litre flour
  • 1 egg
Baking instructions are the same as in this recipe.

This is how you do it:

1. Start by putting the yeast into a large bowl, then melt the butter in a pot, add the milk and heat it up to 37°C (the perfect temperature for the yeast to grow). If you don’t have a thermometer you can measure the heat with your finger tip. If it feels neither warm nor cold, it should be 37°C like your body temperature. If the milk + butter is too warm, let it cool down in a water bath.

2. Add the milk + butter to the yeast and whisk/stir until the yeast is dissolved.

3. Add sugar, salt and cardamom. Stir so that the sugar dissolves and the spice gets evenly distributed.

4. Add the flour little by little. Start off with a whisk and swith to a wooden spoon about half way through, when the dough starts getting heavy and sticky. Try to lift the dough up with the spoon and then slap it down in the bowl again to get a lot of air into it. Add flour until the dough feels smooth like a bum and do the last kneading with your hands.

5. Cover the bowl with a cloth and let the dough rise for about an hour. If it has risen properly, you should be able to poke it loosely with your finger and see the dough rise up again.

6. Roll round balls of dough, put them on a baking tray and let rise under a cloth for another good 20 min before brushing them with a stirred egg.

7. Bake in the oven at 200°C for about 12min (take them out when they look golden.

For filling & decoration

  • whipping cream
  • almond paste (if you can’t find any then crushed amaretti-bisquits with a spoon of cream might do the trick).
  • finish by sprinkling some icing sugar on top through a sieve.

Follow the steps in the pictures below:

 

 

1. Cut off a “lid” and add a layer of almond paste.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Add a spoonfull of whipped cream and close the “lid”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Sieve icing sugar on top.

 

 

 

 

 

4. Serve and devour!