Dill stewed potatoes and gravlax (cured Salmon)

I love cured salmon and could easily eat it in various forms almost every day. A real Swedish classic is to serve it with dill creamed potatoes, and a perfect dish to cook if you have leftover potatoes from a previous meal.

Dill stewed potatoes

Dill stewed potatoes and gravlax 1

Ingredients

  • 10 firm potatoes, peeled and boiled
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 500 ml milk or half and half
  • 100 ml finely chopped fresh dill
  • 1 tsp sugar

Method

  1. Drain the boiled potatoes of water and let cool.
  2. Mix chopped dill with sugar.
  3. Melt the butter in a large saucepan.
  4. Whisk in the flour and add milk to the paste, a little at a time during constant stirring until incorporated.
  5. Let the sauce simmer for a few minutes on low to medium heat – and don’t stop stirring – until thickened into a cream sauce!
  6. Add the dill and season to your own taste with salt and black pepper.
  7. Slice the potatoes, not too thin, or cut it in cubes and gently fold into sauce. Cook until warmed through.

Serve with slices of gravlax (cured salmon), smoked salmon or mackerel, mixed salad and a wedge of lemon.

Dill stewed potatoes and gravlax 2

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Fried camembert with hot cloudberry jam and parsley

Long time no post, and to “celebrate” my comeback on the blog I’ll give you a highly prized and hard-to-find treat. A classic – and easy to make – Swedish dessert from the 70’s, but still going strong: Deep fried camembert with parsley and hot cloudberry jam.

The orange-yellow cloudberry resembles the raspberry and is commonly found in wet bogs and mashes in the northern parts of Scandinavia. This exclusive berry is often called the “Nordic gold” and makes an exquisite jam.

Hjortron_cloudberry

Those of you who, unlike me, don’t live in a cloudberry tight area, nor has a Scandinavian deli around the corner can always try IKEA in search for the jam.

Deep fried camembert with cloudberry jam and fried parsley

Fried camembert with cloudberry jam2

Ingredients

I won’t give any measures, just adjust to the numbers of servings.

  • Camembert cheese (or brie will do too)
  • Flour
  • Egg
  • Panko or breadcrumbs
  • Rapeseed oil
  • 1 bunch parsley/2-3 servings
  • Cloudberry jam (or jam of your own choice)

Method

Start by washing the parsley and shake it dry in a clean tea towel. Be sure there is no surface moisture left or it will spit nastily when later hitting the hot oil.

Cut the chilled camembert (or brie, as I am using this time) into equally sized wedges.

Camembert cheese

Pour flour into a plastic bag, add the cheese wedges and carefully shake until the pieces are coated all over.

Coated with flour

Beat the egg in a bowl and sprinkle the panko or breadcrumbs onto a plate.

Dip the wedges in the egg,

Dip in egg

and roll in panko or breadcrumbs until completely coated.

Coated in panko

Place the coated pieces  on a plate, cover with cling film and place in the fridge.

Heat the cloudberry jam (or jam of your own choice).

Heat the rapeseed oil in a deep-sided, heavy-based pan until a breadcrumb sizzles and turns golden-brown when dropped into it. The oil should come at least 2-3 cm up the sides of the pan.

Fry the camembert wedges (two at a time) until crisp and golden. If the oil isn’t deep enough to cover the pieces, turn them and make sure all five sides are fried.

Frying camembert

Remove from the pan using a slotted spoon and set aside to drain on kitchen paper.

Add the sprigs of parsley into the oil and fry until crisp and brittle. Remove and drain on kitchen paper.

Plate up.

Fried camembert with cloudberry jam_redigerad-2A bite

Enjoy!


Spring chicken with asparagus and autumn chanterelle sauce

Celebrating Valentine’s Day or “Alla hjärtans dag” (All Hearts’ Day) is a fairly new tradition in Sweden. It was slowly introduced for commercial reasons in the 1960s and peaked in the 1990s when more and more students, after spending a high school year in the U.S., brought this custom of Valentine’s Day with them when they returned home.

Commuting home from work on February 14, whether by train, bus or subway, it is a rather moving sight to see all these tired and half asleep men and women, all having a flower package resting on their knees, containing the day’s mandatory rose for their loved ones.

Fine dining, roses and heart-shaped jelly candy are the most common gifts this day, while Valentine cards are no bestsellers.

Our day started early this morning with breakfast in bed, served by Devoted Husband, and tonight it was payback time for me, which meant cooking and serving my beloved man a delicious meal accompanied by a glass or two of a great red wine.

I often try to avoid buying vegetables and fruit / berries that do not naturally exist in our country this time of year, but today I could not resist the temptation of  a bundle of green asparagus from Spain. With asparagus, my dried autumn chanterelles and a couple of chicken fillets I was able to treat him with a dinner that rocks hard, despite its simplicity.

Spring chicken with asparagus and autumn chanterelle sauce

IPlated dish 2

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 2 fillets of chicken
  • Salt and pepper
  • Butter and olive oil

Sauce

  • 5-10 cm leek, rinsed and shredded
  • 2 cups dried chanterelles
  • 2 tablespoons butter + 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons sherry
  • 200 ml cream
  • 1 tbsp black currant jelly
  • 1 teaspoon bouillon powder
  • 2 pinches of curry
  • 2 pinches of smoked paprika
  • black pepper, thyme and salt

Methods

Soak the chanterelles in water for 20 min. Drain and gently squeeze the excess water out.

Soaking chanterelles

Dry sauté chanterelles until remaining water has boiled away.

Add butter and oil together with spices and leek and stir fry for a few minutes.

Add cream, sherry, jelly and bouillon powder, reduce heat and let simmer for 10-15 minutes. Check the seasoning.

Meanwhile mix butter and olive oil in a frying pan, season the chicken fillets and fry them until the meat juice is clear. If the fillets are thick continue baking them in the oven at 175 degrees C.

Frying chicken fillets

Rinse asparagus under running water and snap the bottom part.

Fill a large pan with a little water, add salt and let come to the boil, then add asparagus and cook for 3-4 minutes.

Cooking asparagus

Drain of excess water in a colander, then rinse in cold water to preserve crunchy texture.

Distribute asparagus stalks on warm plates, place the chicken fillets on top and spoon the sauce over.

Plated dish

Tuck in!

A bite

Enjoy and have a Happy Valentine’s day!

Recipe: From Nyfiken Grå (Curious Gray) a blog that caters seniors and retirees.

Clam chowder my way

This soup is a pleasant reminder of the years when the family lived as expats in Princeton, N.J.

It was Labour weekend and we were heading home after a camping holiday among wild horses on a Maryland beach. It was quite late and the children were tired and grumpy. Well, we were all rather tired and grumpy, but most of all very hungry and in a desperate need of food. So we stopped at one of all these more or less shabby truckstop diners along U.S. Route 1.

The smell of French fries, burgers and fried eggs hit us like a wall when we entered the room. A bored looking waitress with quite an attitude told us that all that were left on the menu at this late hour were burgers and clam chowder. So burgers (for the kids) and soup it had to be.

And was that soup delicious? To put it mildly, yes, the very best I have ever tasted. Since then I have tried to copy it many times over the years and I think I have come pretty close.

What’s there to learn from this? Well, maybe never to judge a shabby truckstop diner before you have tasted its clam chowder!

U.S. Route 1 Clam chowder
4-6 servings

Clam chowder

Here goes!

Ingredienser

Sorry, I forgot to display the saffron!

Ingredients

1 kg fresh blue mussels
2 finely chopped shallots
2 cloves garlic, chopped
200 ml white wine
100 ml water
1/2 bunch chopped fresh thyme
1/2 bunch parsley, chopped

2 cans of clams à 400 gram
100 grams of diced salted pork
2 coarsely chopped yellow onions
5-6 potatoes, diced
Olive oil for the frying pan
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1-2 tsp smoked paprika powder
1 gram saffron
Juice from the canned mussels + water = 500 ml
200 ml white wine
3-4 tbsp Touch of Taste fish bouillon or 2 fish stock cubes
300 ml cream
1-2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 bunch fresh thyme, chopped
1/2 bunch parsley, chopped (save some for garnish)
salt and pepper

Method

Oops, I did it again! Halfway through the cooking process, I realize that I have once again forgotten to photograph the various moments. But what the heck, everyone knows how chopped and fried onions and vegetables look like, and when it comes to pouring wine, water or cream there are so many much more elegant pouring shots than mine out there. Instead I hope the soup itself will tempt you.

Preparing the mussels

  • Clean and rinse the mussels under cold, running water and remove the beards sticking out.
  • Discard any broken shells or shells that do not close when tapped. Set aside the rest.

Cooking the soup

  • Pour some olive oil in a large saucepan, add parsley, thyme, chopped pork, onions and potatoes, smoked paprika powder and saffron and fry for a couple of minutes.
  • Add wine, water, lemon juice and juice from the canned mussels, the Touch of taste bouillon and bring to a boil.
  • Let simmer for about 15-20 minutes or until the potatoes are soft.

Cooking the mussels

  • Meanwhile fry shallots and garlic in a large pan, add parsley, thyme, wine  and water, and bring to a boil.
  • Add the mussels, cover with a lid and cook for 4-6 minutes while shaking the pan occasionally. The mussels are ready when the shells open.
  • Discard any mussel that hasn’t open.
  • Reserve and set aside three mussels in their shells / person for garnish. Remove the remainder from the shells and lift into a bowl and keep warm.
  • Add strained broth and cream to the soup and bring to a boil. Let simmer for another 5 minutes.
  • Check and adjust the seasoning.
  • If you find the soup too thin, a small amount of corn starch slurry may be added.
  • Add canned and fresh mussels to the soup and heat gently for another minute. Don’t boil!
  • Ladle the soup into warm soup plates and garnish with the reserved mussels in shells and finely cut parsley. Serve with garlic bread.

Bon appétit!

Clam chowder 3

Clam chowder 4

Clam chowder 2

Sweet chili baked salmon with cashew nuts

Does it sound familiar? Late home from work and you have barely closed the door behind you before the yelling starts. “What’s for dinner?”, “I’m hungry!”, “Ain’t dinner ready soon?” At times like these it’s great to have some quick and easy recipes up your sleeve. This sweet chili baked salmon with cashew nuts with mustard cream and a steamed broccoli and bean salad could be your savior, ready in 15 minutes.

Sweet chili baked salmon with cashew nuts

Plated salmon
 Ingredients

Ingredients

Besides the ingredients above you’ll need a package of creme fraiche, coarse-grained mustard and honey for the sauce and broccoli and kidney beans for the salad.

Methods

I won’t give any measures, just adjust according to the size of salmon.

  • Preheat oven to 200° C
  • Brush the salmon with some olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper on top.
  • Mix sweet chili sauce with lemon juice (to your own taste) and 1-2 cloves minced garlic and spread over the salmon.

Sweet chili sauce

  • Add a couple of handfuls coarsely chop cashew nuts on top and optional some rose pepper corns if you happen to have some in your spice rack.

Cashew nuts

  • Bake in 200° C until inner temperature is 56°. Takes about 8, 9 minutes.

Baked salmon

While the salmon is baking steam broccoli and mix with kidney beans and a vinegar dressing of your own choice and mix crème fraîche with honey and mustard.

This far into the recipe / cooking I always seem to lose focus and forget to shoot the planned photos. So sorry, no picts of how to make the mustard sauce.

Plated salmon 2

Swedish Cheesecake Day

According to the Swedish calendar November 14 is the day when Emil and Emilia are the names of the day meaning that all boys named Emil and all girls named Emilia can celebrate a little extra.

Since 2004, November 14 is also the Swedish Cheesecake Day or ‘Ostkakans dag’. Cheese means ‘ost’ in Swedish and cake means ‘kaka’, cheesecake, but not as in ‘American cheesecake’.

The Swedish cheesecake is traditionally produced by adding rennet to milk and letting the casein coagulate. Then cream, sugar, eggs, flour and almonds are added to create a batter, so I suppose a more correct translation would be ‘curd cake’.

Since the process of curding milk is somewhat complicated I’ve instead simplified the recipe by using cottage cheese as a base to simulate the curd texture of the dessert.

So here is to all you Emils and Emilias out there, a real Swedish ‘Ostkaka’ to celebrate your name day!

Swedish Cheesecake

Ostkaka, served with cloudberry jam

Ingredients

Ostkaka, ingredients

  • 500 grams cottage cheese
  • 50 grams chopped or ground hazelnuts or almonds
  • 2 bitter almonds
  • 100 ml sugar
  • 1 heaped teaspoon vanilla
  • 300 ml creme fraiche
  • 4 eggs, divided into yolks and whites
  • 6 tbsp flour

Method

  • Preheat oven to 175 degrees
  • Mix the cottage cheese quickly with hand blender and add the creme fraiche.

Ostkaka, cottage cheese

  • Add egg yolks, flour, sugar and vanilla and mix thoroughly.

Ostkaka, batter

  • Add the ground hazelnuts and bitter almonds.

Ostkaka, almonds

  • Beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks (do the upside down-test) and fold gently into the batter.

Ostkaka, eggwhites up side down

Ostkaka, fold in eggwhites

  • Pour batter into a greased tin and bake for 50 to 60 minutes. Cover with waxed paper if the surface tends to burn,
  • Serve luke warm with jam and whipped cream.

Ostkaka, 3 kinds of jam

Ostkaka, served with cream and jam

Sugar and salt-cured lavaret with mustard and dill sauce

Devoted Husband is a passionate fisherman, and a rather successful one too, and he really contributes to keep our food costs down during the summers spent in our summer-house. Besides all the pikes, which nobody but ourselves and the French seem to appreciate, here is one of his more exclusive catches, a lavaret (European whitefish).

When I recently visited one of Stockholm’s better seafood stores I noticed that they sold lavarets at the price of 30 € / kg. This one weighed 2.2 kg, so maybe fish monger may be a lucrative future business.

The lavaret is a member of the salmon family but with a much lighter, almost white-pinkish flesh, than its cousin. It can be eaten smoked, freshly sugar and salt-cured, baked, fried, poached, or grilled. Its roe is almost as prized a delicacy as that of vendance.

Caught wild in lakes or sea the lavaret is more sensitive to parasites than the salmon though, so if you think of eating it raw  you’ve to let it stay in the freezer for 5 days before preparing it.

This one landed in the freezer before she (yes it was a she!), or it, was cured and served as a starter with toasted bread crumbs and a dill and mustard sauce. Cured in this case means raw fish that has been preserved with sugar and salt.

This recipe and method is the same I use preparing sugar and salt-cured salmon (gravlax or gravad lax), the crown jewel on the Swedish smorgasbord.

Sugar and salt-cured lavaret (gravad sik)

Sik - Lavaret, plated

Ingredients

  • 2 large filets of lavaret, about 1 kg
  • 50 ml salt
  • 100 ml sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp coarsely crushed white pepper corn
  • 1 bunch chopped dill
    ********************************************
    So far the basic recipe. You can either stop here and go straight to “Method” or continue and give it a personal twist by adding your own favorite flavours that can be anything from false/pink pepper, zest and juice from lime, lemon or orange, fennel seeds and juniper berries to whiskey, gin, calvados or vodka. Only your imagination sets the limit! Here are my extra all!
  • 1 tbsp coarsely crushed pink pepper
  • 1 tbsp crushed juniper berries
  • 50 ml lingonberries (save some for serving)
  • 3 tbsp whisky or other alcohol (gin goes very well with both the juniper and lingonberries, but whisky was all that was available at the time)

For serving: toasted bread crumbs of dark rye bread, mixed sallad or ruccola and lingonberries.

Method

  • Start by placing the two filets skin side down on a cutting board. Feel the row of pin bones with your finger and remove them with a pair of fish tweezer.

Sik - Lavaret 4

  • Combine sugar and salt until evenly mixed and sprinkle a thick layer of the mix onto the filets.

Sik - Lavaret 5

  • Sprinkle peppercorns, juniper berries and dill and spoon the liquor over the filets.

Sik - Lavaret 7

  • Finally add the lingonberries.

Sik - Lavaret 8

  • Place the filets one on top of the other, thick part against thin part, with the spices in between.
  • Wrap tightly in cling film and put the package in a sealed plastic bag.
  • Place in a deep dish large enough to allow the filets to lay flat.
  • Let rest in the refrigerator for 48 hours, Flip the package over a couple of times during curing.
  • Remove plastic wrapping and the accumulated juices.
  • Carefully scrape off peppercorns, dill and lingonberries with a knife and wipe the surface clean, not too neatly though (don’t rinse in water).
  • Cut the lavaret flesh into thin slices.

Sik - Lavaret 9

  •  Arrange 2-3 slices on a bed of mixed sallad. Sprinkle toasted bread crumbs along with some lingonberries and spoon the mustard sauce (gravlax sås) on top. Garnish with a slice of lemon.

Sik - Lavaret extra

Mustard sauce

  • 1,5 tbsp sweet mustard
  • 1,5 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp red (or white) vinegar (little at a time while tasting)
  • juice of half a lemon (little at a time while tasting)
  • 200 ml  rapeseed oil
  • A bunch of chopped dill

Mix all ingredients except oil and dill. Whisk in the oil, little at a time to start with and finally add the dill. If the sauce is too thick dilute with a little water.