Archive for the ‘weird swedish food’ Category

Need a last-minute gift to bring to your Christmas party? These homemade chocolates take almost no time at all.

Ice chocolate is also a traditional Christmas candy in Sweden, but I used to make it at home as well. It’s homemade chocolate that comes in little forms – and is cooled down by putting them out in the snow! (But warmer countries need not despair, the freezer is fine as well.)
I put my foot down on using my grandma’s recipe though – I was NOT going to make it with pre-made cooking chocolate. Nope, nothing but cocoa, sugar and cocos fat in this one.

250g Cocos fat
200g powdered Sugar, sifted
50-60g plain Cocoa powder (NOT drinking chocolate!), sifted (Adjust depending on how dark you want your chocolate to be.)
Aluminium foil cups, traditional ice chocolate forms, or even ice cube forms for pouring into
Snow! Or alternatively, space in the freezer.

Melt the cocos fat over a water bath. It only needs about 70 degrees Celsius to melt, so it’ll melt quickly. Stir in the sifted sugar and cocoa powder. Stir well!
Pour into the forms and put the forms out in the snow immediately.
When the chocolate has hardened, stack in a jar (if using disposable forms) or (if not) remove the chocolate from the forms, stack it and pour more!
Store in a jar in the fridge.

The cocos fat makes the chocolate very soft, but also cool in your mouth. Be quick or it’ll be gone before you know it!

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This weekend, the boyfriend and me made Knäck!

That sounds wrong. Let’s try again.
This weekend, the boyfriend and me made traditional Swedish Christmas caramels! I feel so Swedish now!
And it wasn’t even hard – surprising for anything that contains the words “caramel” and “candy”, Knäck is amazingly easy to prepare.

Knäck is a kind of Toffee, made with sugar, syrup, butter, cream and almonds. The consistency varies depending on local tastes, from fudge-y to stick-to-your-teeth hard. The longer you boil the candy, the harder it will become after pouring. Ideally, you should be able to stack them in a jar without them sticking together.
The candy comes in little paper cups that look like muffin cups but are thimble-sized! They are sold all over in Sweden during Christmas time and usually, the back of the packet contains the recipe.

Since we doubled it for our purposes, this recipe makes about two jars of Knäck. That is quite a lot!

The ingredients:
3 Tsp. butter
4 dl sugar
4 dl light syrup (Swedish “light syrup” seems to be best translated to inverted sugar syrup)
3 dl full fat cream (whipping cream is fine)
150g sweet almonds, peeled and chopped.
The Container:
Lots of those tiny little paper cups. We made about 120 with this recipe, which is half a packet.

The recipe?
Dump everything but the nuts together in a thick-bottomed pot. Boil for approx. 30 minutes.
When it reduces and becomes a darker shade, try dripping a spoon or so into a glass of cold water. If you can easily mold the caramel after fishing it out, without it crumbling apart, it’s done.

During the time it boils, prepare a lot of those small paper cups, best on a baking tray so that you can move them close to the pot for pouring. You should have them all set up and ready to be filled or you won’t manage!

Mix in the nuts and put a spoonful into each paper cup. Be careful to keep the pot over low heat in the meanwhile so the candy doesn’t harden in the bowl.
(Or, in the immortal words of my great-aunt: “And then we don’t throw away the pan…”)

Let cool at room temperature, then store. I had brought out my pretty Christmas-themed candy boxes, but the boyfriend said they looked best in glass jars.

And they do!

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It’s midsummer here in Sweden* and I packed bentoboxes to bring on a celebratory picknick.
Most of the food is Swedish food that’s somewhat typical to have at parties like midsummer. The upper box contains brussel sprouts, a hardboiled egg, locally grown ripe and luscious strawberries (drooool!), chili cheese bits on picks instead of meatballs for me, and baked red beets (typically it should be salad but I don’t like them in a salad).
The lower layer is filled mostly with tiny new potatoes baked in the shell – they’re not bigger than the cheese bits! Then there are some more brussel sprouts and a silicone muffin cup of pickled herring sill with cream and caviar sauce and a blue pick for easier eating.

There were a lot of potatoes, prepared to share with the BF.

His box contains the same stuff, except for the sill, which he doesn’t like. It’s replaced with red beet salad, which I in turn am not too fond of :)
Although I have to pat my own shoulder here and say that since I made it myself, it’s actually not that bad – for red beet salad…

Have a happy midsummer, everyone!

*) It’s summer solstice everywhere else as well, but it’s not as hugely celebrated outside scandinavia, I think…

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In Austria, the traditional Fat Tuesday food are hole-less donuts filled with apricot marmelade called “Krapfen”.

In Sweden, the traditional Fat Tuesday food is a yeast dough bun hollowed out and filled with almond paste and whipped cream. It’s called a “Semla”.

Do you celebrate Fat Tuesday? What’s the traditional Fat Tuesday food in your country?

Photos not by me. I found them on the web, sadly without source.

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And here they are, the saffron cakes! They are actually yellow, much more so than normal cakes. The smell of saffron is now an integral part of my christmas… mmm!

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Now that I’ve written so much about Austria, I should write something about Swedish christmas traditions too.
Today in the morning, I tiptoed into my work’s garage, where in the dark, surrounded by test cars, prototype engines and various tools my colleagues sat at tables by candlelight, drinking mulled wine on work time.

December 13: St. Lucia day in Sweden

St. Lucia is a wonderful Swedish christmas tradition – that is, if you unlike me have no problems with getting up early and can actually enjoy music then.
On Dec 13, before it gets light, St. Lucia walks the rooms of Sweden waering a white dress and a wreath of lit candles in her hair.
Traditionally, it is the youngest daughter of the house who is Lucia, accompanied by the rest of the children in similar robes. They carry candles, sing christmas songs and bring breakfast – coffee, mulled wine and the traditional yellow, spiraled-S shaped saffron buns – to their parents.
At offices and schools the tradition is also kept. It is very beautiful, and many places put much pride in their choir singing. The picture above is an unfinished sketch I made from my impression of seeing it at university the first year I spent in Sweden – girls singing by candle light in absolute serenity. Mmm… winter and darkness are so much more bearable with such traditions!

I may post a picture of the traditional saffron cakes later, if I can pick one up on the way home. I don’t like posting stock photos…

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October 4th is Kanelbullens (Cinnamon rolls) day in Sweden!
Have you had yours yet?

I didn’t bake any though because my company and a consultant company both invited me to one already. Mmm, freshly-baked, aromatic cinnamon rolls…
I’d have taken a picture of the tray but they were gone faster than you could say “plague of locusts”. But I managed to save one for pictures at my desk! (Excuse the bad quality. My phone cam sucks *cough* not that I’d be allowed to take any photographic device to work anyway…)

But I am planning to make some in my new food processor soon, and post a recipe for “real Swedish” cinnamon rolls!

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