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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Garden 2013

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:

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Sunchokes and onions peeking through.
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The front garden has been planted with tomatoes of different kinds among other things.IMG_3335

A new addition in the front are these two cedar boxes that I have stuffed with tomatillos and cucumbers.IMG_3331

Purple artichokes with leaves that look like they’ve outlived the dinosaurs.IMG_3325

The green zucchini is in full bloomIMG_3322

Our giant oregano bush survived the winter and is now trying to take over the garden.IMG_3320 IMG_3313

Bleeding hearts in bloomIMG_3309

The Purple columbine is back for the third time.
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Strawberries ripening.IMG_3305

New crop for this year – Fava beans with their huge leaves.IMG_3300

Giant garlic that was planted in the fall and some sugar peas peeking up behind them.IMG_3292 IMG_3288

Yellow plum tomatoes that we bought pre-grown from the garden centre in order to have some early tomatoes.IMG_3287 IMG_3284

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.

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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