Cabbage pudding (Kålpudding) – A Swedish classic

Every time I opened my fridge a big head of white cabbage, getting closer and closer to be on its last leg, glared at me, reminding me of this miserable so-called summer that had spoiled all our plans for an outdoor barbecue. The cabbage, that was supposed to be the shining star of my coleslaw and the perfect side dish to anything cooked on the grill.

Realizing that my supermarket had mince meat on special offer I saw a perfect opportunity to combine the two, cabbage and mince meat, into a classic Swedish home cooked meal, a kålpudding or cabbage pudding.

Cabbage pudding?! Oh no, don’t puke! Taken out of its context these two words might perhaps bring back unpleasant memories from the school canteen and probably won’t score high, but don’t judge the book by its cover. That was then, you’re a grown up now, so give it a go. You might be surprised.

Cabbage pudding
(5-6 servings)

Plated up 1

Ingredients

  • 1000 g white cabbage
  • 1 leek
  • 1 large onion
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 1000 ml water + 2 cubes vegetable stock
  • 800 – 1000 g mince beef
  • 75 ml bread crumbs + 300 ml of the strained cooking liquid
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsps HP-sauce
  • 1,5 tbsp Worcestersauce
  • 1-2 tsps dried chiliflakes
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  • Preheat oven to 200 degrees C.
  • Let water and vegetable stock come to a boil in a large saucepan.
  • Add shredded cabbage, finely sliced leek, and chopped onion and garlic to the water and boil for 5 minutes.

# 2

  • Strain the water, but save and set aside 300 ml (in a big bowl).
  • Drain the cabbage mixture carefully of excess water before frying in rapeseed oil in a large frying pan or wok over medium heat. It’ll take some time for the cabbage to get translucent and golden brown (not burnt).

# 3

  • Meanwhile, add the bread crumbs to the cooking liquid and let it swell and cool before adding mince meat, eggs and spices. I use to fry a piece of the meat mixture just to check the seasoning. Adjust if needed.

#4

  • Combine meat mixture with half of the cabbage and spread in a buttered oven proof dish. Cover with the remaining cabbage and bake for about an hour or until the inner temperature reaches 70 degrees C. Cover with waxed paper if the cabbage tend to burn.

#7

Serve with gravy, pickled cucumber and lingonberry jam. If the jam is hard to find, cranberry sauce will do just as well.

Plated up 2

MARGARETA – the name of the day

Smultrontårta 4

In the Swedish calendar, every day has a name or two, male or female, associated with it. The week that officially starts July 18 and ends with July 24 contains six women’s name in a row. First up is Fredrik though – I suppose he sees himself as the cock in the henhouse when followed by fabulous and honorable ladies like Sara, Margareta, Johanna, Magdalena, Emma and Kristina. The Swedes call it fruntimmersveckan or the ladies’ week. Or less nice, pee-week, as it is statistically proven to be one of the wettest weeks of the year.

This is also the week when weeklies are overflowing with delicious recipes dedicated to the cock and his hens.

Today MARGARETA was the name of the day, and Margareta, that’s me! So this is my treat, an ordinary sponge cake, nothing fancy, with raspberry and blueberry jam between the layers and covered with whipped cream. On top of that, freshly picked wild strawberries, and served with a nice cup of black coffee. Can’t be much better!

Smultrontårta 1_redigerad-2

Smultron 3_redigerad-1

So, if you have a Johanna, Magdalena, Emma or Kristina among your loved ones, why not surprise them with a homemade cake or tarte on their day.

Roasted chicken drumsticks with fennel and orange

Yes, I know, I haven’t been around much on the blog lately, but it’s not that I have been busy just doing nothing at all. No, I have cooked, tried new recipes or created my own, photographed my cooking and written posts, but as it seems seldom simultaneously.

Half way through the cooking, though, I suddenly realize that I have forgotten to take those alluring photos of my dishes, and just as often to scribble the recipe down while it’s still fresh in my mind.

Being that disorganized I more often than not end up empty-handed, or at least half empty-handed. Either recipes, or photographs.

For once though, I have finally managed to combine the two, images and recipe, in this chicken and orange dish.

Roasted chicken with fennel and orange

Orange wedges and chicken drumsticks

Ingredients
4 servings

  • 1 fennel
  • 1 red onion
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 leek
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 oranges
  • 900 gr chicken drumstick
  • a few sprigs of fresh thyme or 1-2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon whole fennel seeds
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1-2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 pinches of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 can of kidney beans

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 200° C.
  • Toast the fennel seeds in a dry pan.
  • Cut fennel and onion into wedges and mix with vinegar and let stand for 10 minutes.

Fennel and onion mix 2

  • Cut the leeks into 2-3 cm pieces
  • Peel the oranges and cut out the fillets and save for garnish.
  • Fry the drumsticks in a little oil together with left over orange juice and fruit pulp.
  • Place the fennel seeds in a mortar and crush with the pestle and season the chicken pieces together with salt and pepper.
  • Mix the drumsticks with vegetables, thyme and olive oil and place over the roasting pan and roast in the oven for about 35 minutes.

Ready for oven

  • Rinse the kidney beans in cold water and add towards the end, just long enough to heat the beans.
  • Check that the juice runs clear by inserting a fork into the meat.
  • Garnish with orange wedges and sprigs of green herbes.

Garnished with orange wedges 1

Plated dish

 

 

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