Maybe it is because the world’s perception of Swedish people as blond, slim and beautiful that Swedish girls in general don’t eat much. They are all very conscious about what they eat and unless it is low-carb, low-fat the food is merely pushed around the plate instead of put in the mouth.
This is a generalisation of course, but for a foodie, this environment felt rather hostile. Moving to the UK almost four years ago, I could not believe it when the really slim women in my office had a sandwich and a packet of crisps for lunch. I mean bread? Crisps? And they still stayed slim. Was that even possible? Of course it was. In the UK people ate the way we did when I was young; everything in moderation. And it works.
But you can imagine that if people don’t want bread for lunch they certainly wouldn’t eat crackling. In Sweden a few years ago it seemed that it was only chicken breasts and salmon fillets that people ate. Some still do, and I am sick and tired of both. But foodies eat differently, thank God, and restaurants with the same philosophy as St John are opening up everywhere in Sweden and it seems more OK to actually eat there now. Or maybe I just don’t care anymore.
Pork belly, Jerusalem artichoke purée and creamy black trumpets, serves 2
2 slices pork belly
a few sprigs thyme
300 g Jerusalem artichokes, peeled
3 tbsp salted butter
1 handfull dried black trumpets, soaked in water
1 tbsp butter
1 garlic clove
a splash of dry white wine
50 ml cream
1 tsp concentrated vegetable stock
salt, white pepper
Preheat the oven to 125C. Place the pork belly slices in a buttered dish. Rub salt into the crackling and add some salt all over. Place the thyme on the meat. Let it cook for at least two hours or until tender.
Cut the artichokes in equal pieces, cover with water in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Cook until soft. Turn the oven up to 250C and cook the meat for another 10 minutes until the crackling crisps up.
Squeeze the water from the mushrooms and chop roughly. Fry in the butter on high heat for about 5 minutes. Add the wine and let some evaporate. Add the cream and stock and let it thicken.
Purée the artichokes with the butter, season ieth salt and pepper.