From Haparanda’s northern islands to just south of Piteå, the enormous flow of fresh water from the mighty rivers of Swedish Lapland has created the world’s largest brackish water archipelago. Here, and only here, do vendace provide the exclusive, deep reddish-gold caviar, Kalixlöjrom, the red gold of the Gulf of Bothnia.
Löjrom has an intense salty taste and a very pleasurable fish taste. If you get the chance to try it, take it. The most classic way of eating Löjrom is together with a toast or potato pancake, sour creme, lemon and finely chopped red onion. If it is served with potato pancakes it is my all time favorite starter and I have it every time I go back to Sweden.
You shouldn’t change a winning concept but here I did it with good result.
The Löjrom is served with cauliflower puree, pickled onion, apple baton, caramelized apple and dill. In the glass I had one of the best ales I had in 2012 Oppigård Winter ale and a Linie Aquavit.
It is 4 PM. It is cold and it is dark but heading home thru my hometown a day before Christmas eve is a pleasant walk. There are plenty of lights in every window and you could see the positive expectations in the faces you meet.
24 hours later most of the Swedes are full, just stopped watching cartoons and are waiting for the Santa to arrive. Eating a huge buffet, watching cartoons and greet Santa are the traditional way of celebrating Christmas. At 3 o´clock after the buffet most people sit down and watch one hour Disney cartoons. And the older generation has done this since 50 years! 50 years ago I have understanding for this habit, but today when every family can watch cartoons round the clock…I must admit it is a weird tradition. There are only two reasons I can think; 1) people need to lay down in the sofa and digest all the food they just consumed, 2) they are getting tired of their relatives and need a break.
After the cartoons, dad needs to go out and buy the newspaper. As if there was no better think to do on Christmas. Unfortunately he then misses the arrival of Santa.
However the most important tradition takes place before the cartoons and the Santa visit – the julbord. The julbord is a long lived tradition and the main ingredients have not changed over the year. It contains lots of fat fish (herring and salmon), smoked fish and meat and lots of different pork dishes. Therefore it takes an empty stomach to make it through all the delicacies.
Eating a traditional julbord, you should at least eat five different plates;
Different kinds of pickled herring
All other cold fish dishes, such as cured and smoked salmon,
Cold meat such as smoked and salted ham and sausages
Warm meat (Köttbullar, sausages, ribs)
Sweets (chocolate and sweets with traditional Christmas flavouring, ginger, cinnamon, clove).
In our family the focus is on herring. The last couple of years we have made at least 10 different pickled herring each Christmas. We try new tastes each year and this year’s favorites were a tomato and capers herring and ginger, fennel hering.
A julbord without Snaps is like a Italian dinner without wine – not an option. Our traditon is to purchase the special Aquavit Aalborg bring out each year. We are only allowed to drink these Snaps at Christmas and therefore it is hard to empty them. We started this tradition 1996 and so far we have emptied all bottles until 2002. The 2012 edition was one of the best with a nice touch of caraway and dill.
Do you wonder what happens after Santa has left? We bring the best of the Julbord on the table and eat it all over again.
Had a blast cooking at the Supper Club Summit in London. Teamed up with great Ed from Rocket and Squash and prepared a great 5-course dinner two nights in a row. Read about it on the RollinRestaurant blog.
Sunday was recreation day. We went to the pop up barbecue place Burnt Enz and shared a monkfish. Great weekend.
It is that lovely time of the year again – asparagus season. We do our best to help the region’s farmers. This is a nice one where you could easily change the type of fish depending on what your local fisherman has available. This was the first time I cooked grey gurnard (Knorrhane, Knurrhahn) and if you haven’t tried it, you should.
800 g grey gurnard
1 kg asparagus (green and white)
400 g boiled potatoes
0,2 l flour
0,1 l olive oil
Start with the gnocchi. Work the boiled and riced potatoes with the flour, lemon zest and the egg to a roll of dough. Cut into pieces. Boil in salted water for 3 minutes (the gnocchi should come to the surface. Remove the gnocchi and put them in a bowl with icy water. Fry them in butter 2 min before serving.
Peel the white asparagus and cook for 7 minutes in water with a pinch salt and sugar. After 4 min add the green asparagus (leave two uncooked for the serving).
Make a sauce of the lemon juice, olive oil and finely chopped shallots. Add salt and pepper.
Fry the fish. Mix the asparagus with the sauce and the fried gnocchi. Slice the parmesan and the green asparagus and use for garnish.
San Pelegrino has announced the best restaurants in the world 2012. For the third consecutive year Danish Noma with Rene Redzepi is the winner. Last year we tried to get a reservation but failed. Not very surprising – we were not alone. They received over 300.000 requests.
Noma has made the jury interested in what’s cooking up in the north. This year we have three Swedish restaurants on the top 50 which must be a record. Frantzen/Lindeberg ended up on 20th place. Far up in the north at Fäviken, Magnus Nilsson is experimenting with lichen and moss which gave him the 34th place on the list. My favorite restaurant and chef, Mathias Dahlgren, captured a well deserved 41st spot.
As you probably have noticed we love cod. It is extremly hard not to buy cod when you see the fresh fillet or the thick cod loins, at our local store often placed next to the lovely but so grey coalfish, and then the cod looks even nicer with it’s white flesh. Anyway this is not to be a declaration of love to all you Cods out there ;-) But make this dish, I promise that you will enjoy it. And you can of course use regular cod.
800 g Winter cod with skin
1 Leek, cut in 3 centimeter pieces
20 Hazelnuts, cut
1 Black salsify
1 dl Youghurt
2 Lemons, fruit flesh
1 tbsp Sugar
1 teespoon Salt
Start with the lemons; cut fillet and marinate them in their own juice together with sugar and salt.
Boil the cauliflower until it’s done, approximately 15-20 minutes. When done; use a mixer, add yoghurt and mix until you have a smooth pure. Season with salt and pepper.
In the meantime peel the black salsify and cut it in half centimeter pieces. Wash the leek and cut it in 3 centimeter pieces.
Set the oven to 100 degrees Celsius. Heat up a pan and before adding butter fry both ends of the leek pieces until they are “sooty”, remove them from the pan and leave them in the oven until everything is done.
Add butter to the pan and fry the cod with its skin side down. When almost done turn it around just to get a nice colour on the flesh side, place the fish on to your plates. Add more butter to the pan to quickly fry the black salsify pieces.
At the same time use a small casserole; heat up butter and the cut hazelnuts until the butter becomes a nice golden brown colour.
Last Saturday we opened the doors to the fourth RollinRestaurant. This time the nice restaurant Naked Lunch hosted the event.
The menu Wild at heart contained lots of great stuff from the forest and like the last time the menu had a Scandinavian touch. Many had their first experience with elk and we included lingonberries in different textures to each course. On the RollinRestaurant site you will find all details. We had a great evening and were very satisfied with the food we put on the table. Judging from the nice posts from Zoe & James (Uberlin) and Boris (Berlintourist) we were not the only ones having a great evening;)