Salmon pudding – A Swedish classic

Salmon pudding – or laxpudding as we say in Swedish – is a bright shining gem in the crown of culinary Swedish classic home cooked dishes.

While there was still a staff canteen at work, and salmon pudding was on the menu, I was often one of the first in line for a plate of this divine dish.

Due to cost reductions though, the canteen is now replaced by coffee machines and microwave ovens in some distant corner of the office together with a long list of what you can and cannot do in this area. For instance, you are not allowed to use the microwave during office hours. Four microwave ovens and you may not use them to heat your lunch?! So much for cutting expenses.

I once decided to ignore the ban and tried to sneak the lunchbox with my homemade salmon pudding into the microwave. Immediately our boss, who seemed to have an extra set of eyes in the back of her head, came running, waving her finger in a big NO, NO. It might cause odor!!!

If anyone want to taste (and smell) a Swedish laxpudding, please be my guest.

Salmon pudding
4 servings

a-plate-of-salmon-pudding

Ingredients Ingredients

  • 1 kg potatoes
  • 300-400 grams salmon, cured, salted or smoked, or a mix of two or three
  • 1-2 yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch chopped dill

Filling Filling, ingredients

  • 4 eggs
  • 200 ml milk
  • 200 ml heavy cream
  • 1-2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • Salt and coarsely ground white pepper to season
  • Butter for greasing and sautéing + melted butter to serve on the side
  • Peas and grated carrots

Method

  • Preheat oven to 200 degrees C.
  • Peel and boil the potatoes. When tender, drain the water and let cool.
  • Melt butter and sauté onion until softened.
  • In a large bowl, whisk eggs, cream, salt and pepper.
  • Slice or cut the salmon in chunks.
  • Slice the potatoes and start layering the ingredients; potatoes, onion, salmon and dill. Continue layering untill the dish is full or there is nothing left. Season with pepper between the layers. Top layer should be potatoes.

Layering the ingredients

  • Pour the egg mixture over potatoes and salmon.
  • Dot some butter on top before baking. (I have drizzled the top layer with a mixture of butter and rapeseed oil from a squeeze bottle).

Ready to bake

  • Bake for 45 – 60 minutes until golden and the egg mixture has set.

Salmon pudding

  • Cut in squares and serve with green peas, grated carrots and melted butter.

Salmon pudding 2

PS It is quite easy to salt the salmon yourself, but you have to start 2-3 days in advance. 500 grams of salmon (mid section) 2 tablespoons of salt 2 tablespoons of sugar

Brine

  • 500 ml of water 25 ml salt
  • Rub salmon with salt and sugar and place in a  plastic bag and let rest in the refrigerator for 24 hrs.
  • Mix water and salt in a dish and add the salmon to the brine. Leave in the refrigerator for another 24 hrs. Check that the salmon is just enough salt. If not, leave it for still another day. If too salt, let it soak in milk or water for an hour or two.
  • Pour off the brine.
  • Salmon is sustainable about 1 week in the refrigerator.

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

Raspberry caves

Raspberry caves, or hallongrottor as we call them, is a Swedish classic pastry cookie filled with raspberry jam, and commonly found in most bakeries and cafés as well as on the Swedish coffee table.

Raspberry caves

Ready to eat and enjoy in less than 30 minutes.

Ingredients

Makes 40-45 cookies

  • 250 g butter
  • 1.5 dl of sugar
  • 1.5 teaspoons baking powder
  • 4 – 4,5 dl flour
  • 1 dl Marsan powder (this is a Swedish product for making custard sauce and may be difficult to find in other countries. Can be replaced by corn starch + 2 tsp vanilla sugar)
  • Raspberry jam, solid (or other favorite jam) for filling

Tips: If you want to hot these cookies up a little extra you can add 1,5 dl coarsely chopped hazelnuts before starting the food processor.

Directions

Preheat oven to 200 degree C.

  • Cut butter in chunks and mix with the other ingredients except for raspberry jam, preferably in a food processor.
  • Divide the dough in half and roll out into two logs.
  • Cut each log into 20-22 pieces.

  • Roll the pieces into balls and place in small baking cups placed on a baking sheet
  • With your thumb, press a rather large indent in each ball and fill with raspberry jam.

  • Bake for 12-15 minutes. Keep an eye on the cookies so they won’t burn.

Juicy meatloaf wrapped in bacon

After a night of temperature down to -10° C a skin of thin ice covered the lake next to land this morning.

Now the snow is whirling, wet and sharp against the face and a stiff northerly wind is whipping up whitecaps on the graphite grey lake.

We’re back in Paradise for a few days to enjoy the last days of vibrant autumn colors. Too late though, and even if today’s snow is just a teaser and might be gone by tomorrow we know winter is lurking around the corner. For Devoted Husband the weather is never a problem – we have a saying  in Sweden that translated goes “there’s no bad weather, just bad clothes” – so he just wandered off with his camera to get some nice white winter shots. I, though, prefer to stay indoors and curl up on the couch by the fire enjoying a nice mug of hot cocoa and start thinking about dinner.

This is one of those days that makes you yearn for a hearty, warming stew. Unfortunately I don’t have the ingredients needed for something like a boeuf bourguignon or a coq au vin. All I can come up with right now is a juicy meatloaf wrapped in bacon, but I know he’ll love that just as much when he gets back.

Juicy meatloaf wrapped in bacon

Ingredients

6 servings

  • 800 – 1000 grams ground meat
  • 1 pkg bacon (140 grams)
  • 1 egg
  • 100 ml milk
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 3 pinches of black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large yellow onion, coarsely grated
  • 1-2 carrots (130 grams), coarsely grated
  • 1-2 potatoes (130 grams), coarsely grated
  • 1-2 apples (150 grams), coarsely grated
  • 1 tbsp Chinese soy sauce for brushing
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped parsley for garnish (optional)
  • 100 ml beef stock (water + stock cube)

Directions

Preheat oven to 200° C.

  • Peel and grate onions, carrots, potatoes and apples coarsely.
  • In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except bacon, beef stock and soy sauce.

  • Form into a loaf and brush with soy sauce.
  • Put into an ovenproof dish, cover the loaf crosswise with slices of bacon and carefully fold them underneath the edges.

  • Bake the meatloaf in the oven for 20 minutes, then add beef stock to the dish and scoop some of it over the meatloaf.
  • Continue to bake for another 40 minutes or until inner temperature reaches 75° C.

Garnish with chopped parsley and serve with a broccoli and bean sallad, pickled cucumber, lingon berry or cranberry jam and your favorite gravy, with or without cream.

Bon Appetit!

Autumn chanterelle, bacon and spinach pie

It was our last day in Paradise and a lot to deal with before leaving the country side and going back home again. Turning the water off, taking the boat up, storing the kayaks and garden furnitures, do the packing and taking care of all the food that was left in the fridge and freezer. But despite all the work we had ahead of us, I just couldn’t resist taking one last round in the nearby woods to see if there were any autumn chanterelles left. Not that I needed any, the freezer was already overfilled, but just for the fun of picking them. And this is what I came home with.

So why not kill two birds with one stone and use the mushrooms with the stuff still left in the fridge and freezer (which might otherwise have been thrown in the garbage can) – cheese, cream, eggs, spinach and bacon – and make a couple of pies and invite our neighbours over for a farewell dinner.

So this is what I came up with – an autumn chanterelle, bacon and spinach pie.

Autumn chanterelle, bacon and spinach pie

Ingredients

Pie crust

  • 3 dl flour
  • 125 gram butter
  • 1 tbsp ice cold water + 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp salt (to your own taste)
  • 2 tsp dried thyme

 Filling

  • 4 eggs
  • 3 dl light cream
  • 1 heaped tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 pressed clove of garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 250 gram frozen spinach, thawed, squeezed to drain
  • autumn chanterelles or other mushrooms
  • 1 package of bacon (140 grams)
  • 100 grams grated Swedish Västerbotten cheese (a Swedish version of parmesan cheese) or any other strong flavored cheese
  • grated nutmeg (optional)

 Instructions

Preheat oven to 225º C

  • Make the pie crust by mixing all ingredients except water/vinegar in a food processor. When mixture starts to crumble, add water/vinegar, little by little until the crumbles form a dough.
  • Roll out pastry on a lightly floured surface into circle, larger than the pie pan, and carefully lift it into the pan.

Pastry

  • Gently press pastry against bottom and sides of pan. Trim overhang and prick bottom with a fork.
  • Prebake pastry for about 7-10 minutes until pastry is dry.
  • Cut bacon in pieces and fry until crisp and let it drain on paper towels.
  • Fry the spinach until all liquid is gone and season with grated nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste.
  • Fry the chanterelles in a dry pan until the liquid is gone, then add butter to the pan and fry for another few minutes.
  • Combine the eggs, cream, pressed garlic, mustard, salt, and pepper in a bowl.
  • Layer the bottom of the pie crust with some of the grated cheese, add spinach, chanterelles and bacon.

  • Pour egg mixture and the rest of the cheese on top.
  • Lower the heat to 200º C and bake for about 30-35 minutes until the egg mixture is set.

 A tasty pie dish served as a main meal with salad and bread – together with a glass of red….

Bon appetit!