Summer memories – Mandelkubb (almond cake)

I was brought up on the east cost of  Sweden in the wealthy 70-80′s. We had 10 weeks of summer school holidays. My mum worked part-time in the summer and every sunny day we were picked up at noon in the old yellow Saab. My mum had packed the bags for the beach. My dad worked at Saab and they had a resort just outside my hometown. It was a peninsula with 20 small cottages, a swimming pool, rowing boats and a beach.This were the place we headed towards every day.

The same procedure took place every sunny afternoon. We arrived close to 1 pm and unpacked sandwiches, radio, coffee, syrup and mandelkubbar (almond cake). At 5 past 1 the genius radio program “Sommar” started . A program that have been broadcasted since 1959. Well known people get the air for 90 minutes to tell their stories, reflections, memories and playing their favorite music. We listened to the program while we had our sandwiches. After a long bath we sat down for coffee (me and my sister had syrup) and almond cakes. The cake gets dry very fast so we washed it down with the syrup. Never has a dry cake tasted as good as on the cliffs after a long bath.

Yesterday we baked mandelkubbar for the first time. They are easy to make and only takes 30 min including oven time. You should enjoy them when they are still warm from the oven.

Ingredients for 20 mandelkubbar

  • 50 g almond
  • 12 bitter almond
  • 125 g butter
  • 2 dl sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 dl yoghurt (use filmjölk if you live in Sweden)
  • 5 dl flour
  • 2 teaspoons hartshorn salt (hjorthornssalt, Hirschhorn salz)
  • egg, chopped almond and pearl sugar for decoration.

Heat the oven to 200 ⁰ C. Chop the almonds and grate the bitter almond and put aside. Whisk sugar and butter. Add egg, yoghurt to the sugar mixture. Mix flour and hartshorn salt and add together with the almonds to the mixture. Make 20 rectangular cookies and put on a plate covered with oven-paper. Whisk the remaining egg and sprinkle on the cookies. Add chopped almond and pearl sugar. Bake for 12 minutes.

When the Mandelkubb gets dry, and this will only take a couple of days, you could use them for this easy-to-make dessert.

Split two almond cake in smaller pieces. Marinate in 1 dl Amaretto. Put the marinated almond cakes, strawberries and ice-cream in layers.

Enjoy!

Music: Intro to the radio program Sommar i P1

Countdown to midsummer part IV – Marinated herring

From our perspective, the most important ingredients on the midsummer table, except from Snaps, are all different kinds of home-made herring. Unfortunately, if you use salted herring they need at least 60 h to get really tasty. If you live near a IKEA you can get hold of pre-marinated herring that you could spice up. The pre-marinated herring was salted and has been soaked. Then, just mix all ingredients, including the herring, at marinate for at least 12 hours. Herring without milk products last for a week in the fridge. Do you use milk products you should finish it within 4 days which won’t be a problem.

From left to right: Lemon herring, Onion herring, Curry herring, Ginger, lime and fennel herring, Bloody Björn herring

Lemon herring

  • 420 g pickled Herring
  • 1 dm Leek
  • 1 Egg yolk
  • 1 tbsp Mustard
  • 1/2 dl Rape oil
  • 1 Lemon, juice and zest
  • 1-2 tbsp Sugar
  • 5 tbsp Crème Fraiche

Let the herring rest in water for 4-6 hours. Cut the herring in 2 centimeter pieces. Cut the leek in small cubes. Save some for garnish. Blend egg yolk with mustard and add rape oil until you get a smooth sauce. Add the leek cubes, lemon zest and juice, sugar and crème fraiche – stir and then add the herring. Keep in the fridge and before serving garnish with leek and lemon.

When you use salted herring you need to soak it before using it. Ask for salted herring fillets in your local fish store. Put the fillets in cold water and leave them over night. Remove the water the next day and your ready to start.

Onion herring

  • 2 Herring fillets, salted
  • 1 small Red Onion
  • 1 dm Leek
  • 1 Clove
  • 1 Allspice
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 1,5 dl Water
  • 1 dl Sugar
  • 0,5 dl Vinegar essence, 12%

Soak the herring in the fridge for at least 12 hours (can use pre-marinated herring instead). Start by letting water and sugar come to a boil. Let it cool off and add the vinegar essence. Put the herring in the fluid and add the rest of the ingredients. Keep in the fridge until serving.

Curry herring

  • 2 Herring fillets, salted
  • 1 tbsp Curry
  • 1 tbsp Rape oil
  • 1 Egg yolk
  • 1 dl Sour cream
  • 1/2 Apple, Granny Smith, chopped
  • 3 cm Leek, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper

Blend curry, rape oil and egg yolk. Whisk or shake it to a smooth sauce. Add the rest of the ingredients. Keep in the fridge until serving, decorate with apple and curry.

Ginger, lime and fennel herring

  • 2 Herring fillets, salted
  • 2 tbsp Vinegar essence, 12%
  • 2 tbsp Sugar
  • 2 dl Water
  • 1 Lime, the juice
  • 1/2 Fennel, thinly sliced
  • Dill
  • 1 cm Ginger, finely chopped
  • 5  Szechuan pepper corns
  • 1 Yellow Onion

Soak the herring for at least 12 hours in the fridge (you can use pre-marinated herring as a substitute). Let the water and sugar come to a boil, let cool off add vinegar essence and the herring. Add the rest of the ingredients. Keep in the fridge until serving.

Bloody Björn herring

  • 2 Herring fillets, salted
  • 1 dl Ketchup
  • 1/2 dl Tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp Rape oil
  • 1/2 tbsp Vinegar essence, 12%
  • 1 Garlic clove
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp Capers
  • 1/2 Red onion, chopped
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Dill

Soak the herring for at least 12 hours in the fridge (you can use pre-marinated herring as a substitute). Blend all the ingredients to the sauce together. Add the herring. Keep in the fridge until serving.

Music: one snaps song per herring

Countdown to midsummer Part III – Salmon tartar

Salmon tartar

  • 200 g Salma salmon, without skin
  • 2 tbsp Salt
  • 5 dl Water
  • 2 Dill sprigs
  • 20 cm Cucumber
  • 1-2 Granny Smith apples
  • 20 small Dill sprigs
  • 2 tbsp Roe from trout
  • 1 slices of  Rye bread
  • Rape oil
  • 1 dl Sour cream
  • 1 dl Yoghurt
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • Salt and white pepper
  • 1 dl grated Horseradish
  • 2 tbsp Chives

Start with the salmon. Let salt and water let come to a boil. Add the 2 dill sprigs and let cool off. Add the salmon and let soak for 2 hours. After two hours; take out the fish and cut the fish in 1×1 cm cubes.

Peel cucumber and apples and remove the pips and the seeds. Cut both cucumber and apple in 1×1 cm cubes.

Make a sauce out of sour cream, yoghurt, Dijon mustard, salt and white pepper.

Roast the rye bread in the oven at 250 degrees Celsius with a little rape oil. The slices should be golden and crisp when done.

Serve as shown in the picture. Start with the sauce, then arrange the salmon, apple and cucumber cubes. Add roe and rye bread. Place the small dill sprigs and the chives and last, but not least, grate horseradish all over the dish.

Serve on a large platter for all your guests or serve on smaller side plates.

Music: Listening to

Countdown to midsummer Part II – Poached cold salmon

Believe it or not, not all Swedes like herring. When we were kids the children always had hot dogs for midsummer and the grown-ups that didn’t like herring got cold roast beef and potato salad. Nowadays the guests who don’t like herring get treated better. Here is one really tasty dish to serve at midsummer.

Poached cold salmon

  • 800 g Salmon, without skin
  • 3 Shallots
  • 4 dl Tomato juice
  • 2 tbsp Honey
  • 2 tbsp Salt
  • 4 dl White wine
  • 1 Lemon, the juice
  • 1 dl Olive oil
  • fresh Dill

Cut the salmon in cubes 2×2 cm. Peel and slice the onions, put them in a sauté pan together with the tomato juice, the honey, the salt, the wine and the lemon juice. Let it come to a boil for a few minutes. Add the olive oil and the salmon cubes. immediately remove the sauté pan from the stove and leave the salmon to cool off.

Serve the salmon on a platter in its sauce and add fresh dill. We mostly eat our salmon with a really tasty bread.

Music: Listening to a traditional summer song by Evert Taube – Sjösala vals

Countdown to midsummer part I – Warm matjesherring

We just realized it has been a while since we posted any Scandinavian dishes. This will now be changed. On Friday Midsummer is celebrated in Sweden so this week will be dedicated to Swedish food.

Midsummer eve is always on the Friday between 19-25th of June. Why we celebrate Midsummer depends on who you ask. Christians have their reasons and atheists their’s. Nowadays Midsummer is connected to dancing around the Midsummer pole, lots of food and lots of alcohol. It is one of the toughest evenings for the police and if you thought of invading Sweden, Midsummer day would definitely be the day to do it.

This is a food blog so cut the crap and get down to business. Four ingredients are on everyone’s tables at Midsummer; new Swedish potatoes, herring, strawberries and snaps. Not in that order, but this is what Swedes traditionally eat on Midsummer. Most people eat a lunch with focus on herring. Matjesherring is a must and this herring is not the same as the one produced in the Netherlands. Is is much spicier and if you live outside Sweden, you will get it at every IKEA-warehouse in the world.  In addition to matjesherring, different kind of marinated herring accompanied by fresh Swedish potatoes and loads of Snaps are served. In the afternoon you have coffee and strawberry cake. In the afternoon you often have different competitions but you never leave your beer out of sight. If you still stand when the hunger sets in again, most people light their grills.

We start paying homage to Midsummer with a herring dish.

Ingredients

  • 400 g matjesherring (Swedish version that is marinated in sugar, cinnamon, clove, allspice)
  • 100 g butter
  • 500 g fresh potatoes
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 red onion
  • dill

Boil the potatoes and the eggs. Cut the egg in small pieces. Chop the onion and the dill fine. Put the matjes in an aluminium foil and put in oven (100 ⁰ C) for 5 min. Melt the butter.

Serving: Put the matjes on a plate and poor the melted butter on top. Add egg, dill and onions. Serve with potatoes. Enjoy with a cold beer and a snaps.

Music: The most well known snaps song Helan går.

A wurst case scenario

I went to buy milk and dinner and came home with 6 m sausage casing and 4 kg pork. It is stormy and rainy outside so this is the perfect day to fill the fridge to be prepared if a worst case scenario would hit us. We now have sausages that will keep us alive and happy for at least 2 weeks.

If you don´t have a food processor with an additional tool for sausage production you should not try this. Since we got so much casing and meat we decided to do three different sausages.

A wurst case scenario

The Italian job

  • 1 kg minced loin of pork
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tbsp dried sage
  • 1 teaspoon truffle oil
  • 100 g breadcrumbs
  • 2 dl water
  • 2 m casing

We minced our pork ourselves. You could buy minced pork or beef. Use a mortar to grind the spices to powder. Mix all ingredients in the food processor.

Prepared the casing. They should be rinsed (the butcher will deliver ready-to-use casing) and you should apply the casing on the additional tool for sausage production on your food processor. Stuff the sausages slowly. Try to avoid bubbles of air and do not stuff them to hard. Make one long sausage and divide them into smaller sausages after you filled the casing. You do not need any string. Watch this video to learn how to bind the sausages (the video is in Swedish but by looking how he works you will understand how to bind the sausages).

Desperado

  • 1 kg minced loin of pork
  • 500 g minced smoked pork belly
  • 1 tbsp sambal oelek
  • 4 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
  • 2 tbsp paprika powder
  • 1/2 a leek
  • 5 dl water
  • 1 dl potato starch
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 m sausage casing

Fry the leek and garlic in some oil for some minutes. Should be a bit brown. Mix all ingredients in a food processor and stuff the sausages as described above.

To add more smokey flavor we smoked half of the Desperados for 10 min.

The good German

  • 600 g salted pork belly
  • 600 g minced loin of pork
  • 1 tbsp caraway (Kümmel, kummin)
  • 1 tbsp marjoram
  • 6 dl water
  • 1,5 dl potato starch
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2,5 m sausage casing

Use a mortar to grind the spices to powder. Mix all ingredients in the food processor. Stuff the sausages as described above.

We got 50 sausages in total. If you haven’t invited the whole soccer team you could refrigerate the sausages.

Music: Listening to Köttgrottornas Sista festen

The favourite summer cocktail

I am one of those guys who prefer my cocktails short and really strong. My favorite drinks all contain strong alcohol mixed with…strong alcohol. Manhattan, Sazerac and Old fashioned are on the top 5 list. All of them lack juices, mixed fruits and lemonade. And it is good so. However, now when the summer arrives I get a craving for Margaritas. This was the most ordered drink  by me the last summer and it will, most likely also be the case this summer. In my Margarita I add a pinch of sugar to get a smoother taste. A perfect Margarita out of a salted glass is the perfect company on the balcony.

Ingredients

  • 3 parts Tequila (6 cl)
  • 1 part Cointreau (2 cl)
  • 2 parts lime (4 cl)
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar
  • salt

Start with the glass. Rim the glass by rubbing the rim with a lime wedge and dipping it into a saucer of salt. Combine all other ingredients in a cocktail shaker with loads of cracked ice. Shake well and strain into the salted cocktail glass. Enjoy!

Music: Enjoyed on the balcony listening to The tallest man on earth

We made sushi

We have made sushi at home before and it is not that hard as it seems. We went to our local fish store, Frische Paradies, and bought sashimi tuna, salmon and smoked halibut.

For nigiri we made it easy with salmon and tuna, but for the makis we experimented a bit.

We made four different makis:

  1. Avocado, shrimps, spring onion, cucumber
  2. Smoked halibut, spring onion, sesame seeds, black radish
  3. Salmon marinated in beer and soy sauce, homemade mayonnaise with liquid smoke, cucumber, spring onion
  4. Tuna, homemade mayonnaise, spring onion

Smoked halibut maki

Served of course with wasabi, soy sauce and pickled ginger, gari. We wanted to try an inside-out maki but didn’t dare, maybe next time. Definitely next time!

Music: Listening to the German group Alphaville and their hit

Two for one with rhubarb

In Berlin they really do practice seasonal food. We eat white asparagus April-June, we eat chanterelle in the autumn and we eat as much rhubarb as we can before they are all gone. Even though I sometimes miss strawberries, rhubarb and chanterelle, I like the idea of adjusting to nature – not the other way around.  We’ve made two different rhubarb desserts; one sweet and one with cheese.

Rhubarb sorbet with strawberries

  • 500 g Rhubarb
  • 300 g syrup of Sugar*
  • 25 g Lemon juice, (squeezed from fresh lemons)
  • 1/2 Gelatin leaf
  • Strawberries
  • Black pepper

Blend rhubarb, syrup, lemon juice and gelatine together. Use an ice-cream maker.

Serve on top of fresh strawberries and just before serving grind black pepper on top!

* Syrup of sugar

  • 540 g Sugar
  • 3 dl Water
  • 100 g Glucose

Boil until 106 degrees Celsius, let cool off. Keep in the fridge.

Goat cheese with rhubarb

  • 2 Rhubarb stalks
  • White wine, enough to cover the rhubarb
  • 1-2 tbsp Honey
  • 8 thin slices of Baguette or Brioche
  • Goat cheese

Cut the rhubarb stalks in pieces, cover them with white wine and let simmer for 10 minutes. They shall be cooked so as to still be firm when eaten.

Roast the bread in the oven, until they get a bit of colour.

Place the rhubarb and the bread on a plate, sprinkle honey on top of the rhubarb. Serve together with a piece of really fine goat cheese. (If you’re uncertain wich cheese to choose, ask if you can taste it)

Music: Listening to Emmylou Harris’ Hard bargain.