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Yummy Pineapple Pie

28 Jun

AnanaspajThis yummy dessert has the look and feel of a cheesecake but not as heavy. It’s absolutely delicious and extremely easy to do. My friends adore it and are visibly disappointed if it’s not part of my dinner party menu. I sometimes vary the fruit with fresh strawberries (when in season), but reduce the amount of sugar in the filling as strawberries have a natural sweetness.

 

Ingredients:

Pie crust

  • 150g butter
  • 300 ml flour
  • 100 ml sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder

Filling

  • 1 can crushed pineapple (400ml) – all liquid thoroughly drained through a sieve prior to adding to mix
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 200ml crème fraiche
  • 1 tbsp vanilla sugar
  • 1 egg

Method

1. Put all the ingredients for the crust in a sauce pan on very low heat until the butter has just melted enough to be easy to work. Press the filling into a pie tin and shape along the bottom and the edges. A tin with removable sides is recommended. Leave to cool.

2. Mix all the ingredients for the filling in a bowl and stir until evenly mixed. Pour the filling into the pie tin and place it in the oven at 175 degrees/gas mark 4 for approx 25-30 minutes. Check it from time to time by giving it a bit of a shake. If the filling seems a bit too runny, leave it a bit longer. It should have just set when you take it out.

Serve it warm with a bit of vanilla ice cream on the side. Yum!

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Swedish Yellow Split Pea Soup (Ärtsoppa)

28 Feb

artsoppaThis is an immensely gratifying, warming soup traditionally made from dried yellow peas and served on Thursdays in Sweden.

Ingredients:

  • 500g dried yellow split peas
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • 2 finely chopped onions (2 cups)
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • Salt & Pepper

Preparation:

Rinse the dried yellow split peas.

Fill a large pot with 8 cups of water (or 6 if you like a thicker soup. You can always thin it with water as you go along if it looks too dense). Add the peas, the chicken stock cube (crumbled), the thyme and the chopped onions.

Bring to a boil, then cover pot and reduce to a simmer over low heat for 90 minutes.

Remove 2 to 3 cups of the soup, puree in a blender or food processor, and return puree to the pot (this helps to thicken the soup).

Continue to simmer for at least 30 more minutes; another hour or more won’t hurt it. Season to taste.

Serve, passing around grainy brown mustard to stir into soup to taste.

Option: This is very often served with cubed ham hock pieces to add a bit of meat to it. I sometimes use streaky bacon or pancetta crumbs. Fry the bacon/pancetta pieces until crispy, dry off on a piece of kitchen roll and crumble to small pieces. Sprinkle over soup just before serving.

Swedish Meatballs with Cream Sauce

19 Jan

MeatballsI think quite a few people on this island have been an IKEA restaurant at some point, whether they wanted to or not. The most popular dish served there is Swedish meatballs. In the Swedish Food Shop people can then buy frozen meatballs and the sachets of the divine cream sauce served with it. Here’s my version of the sauce + a basic meatball recipe.

Basic Meatball Recipe (Serves 4)

Ingredients:

  • 400g mince meat
  • 1 egg
  • 4 tbsp breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 0.2l water

Method:

Mix breadcrumbs and water. Add salt and pepper and allow the breadcrumbs to swell in the water for approx 10 minutes. Add the mince meat and the egg. Mix until the mince is smooth, but not stringy. Start rolling the meatballs, approx 1 inch/2cm wide. TIP! Keep a bowl of water next to you to dip your hands into as it makes it easier to roll the meatballs and the meat won’t stick to your fingers quite as much.

Fry a handful of of meatballs at a time until nice and brown on the outside. I always keep a sauce pan with some warm water in the bottom (just a small amount) which I add the browned meatballs to and let them continue to gently simmer in the sauce pan. (This liquid can later be used as stock in the cream sauce as it’s been flavoured by the meatballs simmering in it).

TIP! Most people add sauteed onions, garlic, herbs and spices etc to the basic meatball recipe. Have fun playing around with your own favourite flavours! I quite like sundried tomato paste myself :-).

Cream Sauce

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 0.4l beef stock (I use the liquid the meatballs have already been simmering in)
  • Single (or double) cream to taste
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • Light soy sauce to taste

Method:

Melt butter in a pan. Add the flour and mix together. Once mixed, remove from heat and add the beef stock gradually, stirring continuously until the sauce is even and lump free. Return to hob and let it simmer for a few minutes. Add the seasoning, soy sauce and cream to taste. (Cream will make the sauce taste ‘richer’)

Serve with new potatoes or mash and lingonberry jam. If you can’t get hold of the jam, cranberry sauce is a pretty good substitute.

Swedish Cinnamon Rolls

19 Jan

Cinnamon RollThis is a firm favourite with all Swedes, old or young. No self-respecting Swedish home is without cinnamon rolls lurking in the freezer in case a friend pops by unannounced (which is the norm in the north of Sweden where I come from). They’re more savoury than what people are used to having in Britain, but still seem to go down extremely well with all my friends. I’ve even had to have one-on-one tuition with some of my friends on how to make them! :-).

Here’s the basic recipe for approx 35 medium sized rolls:

Ingredients:

Dough:

  • 100g butter
  • 0.5l milk
  • 50g fresh yeast (dried yeast works fine too – approx 16-17g of dry Easy Bake Yeast)
  • 0.5 tsp salt
  • 150ml sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cardemom (might be tricky to get hold of in the UK, but give your pestle and mortar a use – it’s worth it)
  • 1 kilo flour (add more if needed)

Filling:

  • 100g butter
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Sugar
  • Vanilla infused sugar (can be found in bigger supermarkets in the home baking section – if not use vanilla essence mixed in with the soft butter)

Decoration:

  • Egg wash
  • Crystallized sugar (if available) / granulated sugar / almond slices

Method:

Melt the butter until just melted. Add the milk and heat gently until approx 37C. This is very important if you’re using fresh yeast as it may kill the rising element in it! If you’re using dry yeast, you can let the milk get slightly hotter as it can take the heat. Remember to stir and check the heat of the milk underneath the melted butter that tends to float to the top and can be a bit misleading.

Add yeast, salt, sugar and the ground cardemom + approx 2/3 of the flour to a large mixing bowl. Add the milk/butter mixture little by little while stirring until all has been used up. When the dough gets too dense to stir, roll up your sleeves and continue by using your hands. The kneading process is very important. If the dough feels too sticky, add more flour until it feels nice, smooth, soft and elastic. The dough is ‘ready’ when no mixture clings to the sides of the bowl and it’s all one big lovely lump of warm dough (feels almost like a living breathing entity at this stage :-)). Cover the bowl and leave the dough to rest in a warm place until twice the size.

Work the dough for a few minutes after the resting time is over. Take it out of the bowl and continue kneading it for a while on the kitchen surface, adding flour to stop it from sticking. Again, the dough is ready when it no longer sticks to your hands or the surface.

Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough over a flour covered surface until you have a thin layer of dough (approx 5mm thick). Spread out the filling mix evenly across the whole surface. Personally I like quite a decent layer of the filling – if you’re going to do it, do it properly! :-). Once this is done, just roll up the dough like a Swiss roll into a baguette like shape. With a sharp knife, cut 1.5-2cm wide ‘slices’ and place each roll on an oven tray with some non-stick baking sheet underneath to stop it from sticking. Swedes very often use greaseproof paper muffin cups as well.

Cover with egg wash and garnish with your preferred choice.

Swedes very often use ‘Nib sugar’ sprinkled on top of the buns, which I have never come across in the UK. A sprinkling of normal granulated sugar works too. Small almond slices is another option.

TIPS! Add some custard as topping before putting it in the oven.Gives it a bit of a luxurious feel. Add apple sauce to the filling mix for a bit of fruity feel to it!

Bake in the middle of the oven at 225C/gas mark 7-8/425-450 F until golden brown (c. 15 minutes depending on the oven).

Great for freezing and defrosts in less than an hour.

Enjoy!