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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How could I forget those?

Well, I guess it’s because while I often see them in the supermarket I rarely buy them for myself but eat some of it every time we visit my BF’s mother. But anyway. I will buy some after I come back from this long weekend to take proper pictures, as those are pictures I found on the web (baad wererabbit, baaaad!).

Messmör and Mesost packets.

Messmör (“whey butter”) and Mesost (“whey cheese”) are products made from whey, the part of the milk that’s left over after you take all the good stuff out of it when making cheese. Sound weird? It gets weirder.
Since it is made from leftovers, it is not very fatty (about 5,5g fat per 100g “butter” according to the labels) but it is very sweet and contains a lot of milk sugars, calcium and iron. It is supposedly very healthy and if you get to know it as a kid, you will love it.
Most of it is made in Norway, and it can be made from cow, sheep or goatmilk, although I suspect the original is supposed to be from goat milk. You buy the cheese in blocks and the butter in small containers.

Mesost (blatantly stolen from kuoksu at blogspot.com, I’m going to replace it soon, I promise!)

My verdict? Messmör is a little too weird for me. It’s very sweet but has no interesting taste or zest that would make me take to it better.
Mesost, on the other hand, is just weird enough for me. I love it! Now take this with a grain of salt and let me explain the taste before you rush to buy some: It tastes like sweet goat cheese. The texture is soft and sticky, a bit crumbly and reluctant to be spread, so still very much a cheese. But the sweet-and-sour mixture together with the zesty taste is actually very nice. It fits best on lightly toasted bread with some butter (if you need to have that fat after all!).

On a slightly different note, look what I found during my image search!

It’s a Wererabbits Wensleydale cheese! Anyone know where I can get my paws on one of those?

PS: I apologize for the images outside this post being down this weekend. We somehow managed to unplug the circuit for the Modem our server is connected to during shutting down for the weekend. They’ll be up again Monday or early Tuesday!

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I lived in Sweden for a few years now and am still discovering weird new foodstuff those Scandinavians have! So I figured I’ll have to introduce a new category: “Weird Swedish Food” for whenever I stumble across some.

Today’s new discovery is something I saw when I first came to Sweden a long time ago, when all food was still weird to me. So I forgot until now, when I mentioned something about rosehips to my boyfriend (I believe I asked if you can do the same things to the big fruits of the garden-hedgeroses – which also grow wild here, weirdly – as you do to the small wild ones). He suggested that I should try some “Nyponsoppa”, and being the sucker for weird exotic food that I am, of course we did.

Nyponsoppa is a sweet, soup-like stuff made from the pulp of rosehips. It is eaten warm with vanilla icecream (according to the BF, anyway) and sometimes little almond biscuits.

Since it was warm (and the icecream very unwilling) the picture didn’t come out so well. I added a few mint leaves since I figured they might fit the taste well (I was right) for color contrast.

So what’s the verdict?
It smells – weird. Sour, somehow. *wrinkles nose* But it actually tastes a lot sweeter, and has the aroma of rosehip berries. I missed having some nuts or those biscuits though – it was way too souplike for my tastes, especially when it had melted all the icecream. The taste is quite nice though – although I think I would prefer it to be a bit thicker so I can use it as marmelade instead. It seems like it should be a great comfort food having just a bowl of it with some buttered bread.

The packet lists another recipe: “Put soup in a bowl. Cut a banana into slices and add to the bowl. Sprinkle crumbled knäckebröd on top. Eat.”

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Meeta's wonderful article about German bakeries on The Daily Tiffin reminded me of a topic I've been wanting to write about for a while: Swedish bakeries, or rather, Swedish cafés because that’s what they usually are.

A typical Swedish café is far from cool. Nor is it stylish, designed or anything like that. The proper word for it is comfortable.

Swedes drink a lot of coffee, but, unlike say the Italians, they don't consider it to be a hip or sexy thing to do. It's a comfort thing, something to do with your family on a Sunday afternoon. And that is how Swedish cafés look and feel – a little like being invited to your grandma on a sunday afternoon, in a lovely, maybe a bit oldfashioned house. The coffee isn't espresso (though some cafés have started to serve that too) but filter coffee, but there is lots of it. And oh! the good food!

Apart from delicious bakeries (a photo of these is still forthcoming, as I didn't manage to take one last time), most cafés will have a lunch menu. There is no big restaurant tradition in Sweden, but a lot of places traditionally offer lunch with coffee at really nice prices.
Outside lunch times you can usually order smörgas – stuffed or single-layer sammiches with lots of nummy fillings! The ones my café makes are especially nice – you can see one with shrimp on the left and one with meatballs on the right!
The toast bread is also homemade and delicious – one of the few types of Swedish bread I really love, as it’s unsweetened! Most Swedish bread is sweetened, as opposed to German – it’s an acquired taste I guess, but I crave nice black bread!

The real deal though, of course, is the sweets. Mmm. I’ll continue about them next time – with photos!


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