Recipe: crostini with mushroom spread

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This Finnish-Russian mushroom salad or spread is absolutely delicious. When it was first introduced to me by fellow food blogger Anna, I couldn’t believe it was made from only a few ingredients (fried mushrooms, smetana, dill and salt). It truly is one of those dishes where the sum if far far greater than its parts.

The fabulous recipe is courtesy or Swedish food writer Jens Linder and was published in one of the leading Swedish newspapers as a dish for Julbordet, i.e. the Christmas smorgasbord, but I prefer it like this, served on crostini as a pre-dinner snack, all year round.

Please note the recipe calls for smetana; the Russian version of creme fraiche/soured cream. If you can’t find it creme fraiche is a good substitute, but smetana works so well here it’s worth going out of your way to find it. Personally, I will place an order for some here next time I get a craving.

I also mixed fresh and dried mushrooms as I prefer the texture of the fresh ones but as it’s not mushroom season, they taste less than the dried porcini and black trumpets I have in my cupboard.

Mushroom salad, makes 1 batch (enough for 12 crostini which serves 3-4 people)

Translated from and adapted after Jens Linder’s recipe.

This salad is so delicious I would urge you to make a double batch straight away. That’s what I did, and it was the perfect amount for five hungry people as a pre-dinner snack.

600 ml fresh or frozen mushrooms, or 50 ml dried mushrooms

2-3 tbsp butter

plenty of sea salt flakes

4 tbsp finely chopped dill

300 ml smetana (or creme fraiche)

12 crostini

Soak the dried mushrooms in warm water for ten minutes. Drain and discard the liquid. If using fresh or frozen mushrooms, finely chop these.

Fry the mushrooms in butter on medium heat until golden. Stir occasionally. Remove from the heat and leave to cool. 

Mix the now cool mushrooms with whole sea salt flakes, dill and smetana. The mixture should be plenty salty. Leave for a few hours in the fridge before serving. 

Divide between the crostini and serve. 

 

Recipe: Crisps with feta crème and pomegranate

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When I had the girls over for dinner, I started the evening with a prosecco cocktail and crisps with toppings. I’ve already introduced you to the bleak roe version (so yum!) but this, much more accessible version with feta, pomegranate and parsley is just as nice. Perfect for the holidays!

Crisps with feta crème, pomegranate seeds and parsley, serves 6 as a nibble

1/2 bag salted (nice) crisps 

1/3 packet feta

100 ml creme fraiche

pomegranate seeds

chopped parsley

Find the nicest looking crisps in the bag and put them on a plate/platter. Whip creme fraiche and feta until smooth. Season with pepper. Place a small dollop of the feta crème on each crisp, top with pomegranate seeds and parsley. Serve. 

Recipe: Crisps with bleak roe, creme fraiche and red onions

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In Sweden, coming up with new yummy ways to serve bleak roe, is almost a sport. And when I saw this genius idea on Foodetc’s instagram; serving bleak roe and it’s best friends creme fraiche and finely chopped red onions on crisps I just had to try it.

And it turns out crisps are a great vehicle for the bleak roe. They’re crispy and light and has the same effect as rösti and butter-fried bread. So good!

Crisps with bleak roe, creme fraiche and red onions, serves 6 as a canapé

1/2 bag lightly salted good quality crisps

1/2 jar bleak roe

100 ml fat creme fraiche

1/2 red onion, finely chopped

Find the prettiest crisps in the bag and put them on a nice plate/platter. Top with small dollops of creme fraiche, add bleak roe and lastly finely chopped red onions. 

Recipe: gravadlax (cured salmon) with apple and dijon crème

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I served this lovely canapé at the crayfish party in September, but you can make it any time of year; in Sweden we eat gravad lax all year round. We have it at Christmas, for Easter, Midsummer and in between.

I liked the idea of serving a canapé on forks, especially as I knew the guests would mingle around the garden, but I just couldn’t bring myself to use plastic ones (they’re hideous, bad for the environment and usually break), and the wooden ones don’t taste nice. Instead I bought silver plated vintage forks on eBay and Etsy; much better quality and much more me.

I cured the salmon according to this recipe, but the mustard crème and the general recipe idea is courtesy of Pytte and her lovely (Swedish) book Bjud hem!

Cured salmon with apple and dijon crème, approx 30 canapés

400 g cured salmon

2 apples, cut into small cubes

Dijon crème:

100 ml creme fraiche

1 tbsp dijon

2 tsp runny honey

salt and pepper

To decorate:

extra dill, chopped

Mix the ingredients for the crème, season to taste and leave in a cool place until serving. Slice the salmon and put on forks. Place the forks on a serving tray or platter and top with apple cubes, dijon crème and maybe some extra dill. 

Recipe: Toast Lingstrom

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You’re probably familiar with Toast Skagen; the iconic Scandinavian starter consisting of butter-fried bread (oh yeah!) topped with a mixture of prawns and dill in mayonnaise?! It’s a true classic that will never go out of style. And so very delicious. My mother serves it at dinner parties and so do I, and sometimes I make one for myself just because I feel like it.

But this thing of placing things on top of butter-fried bread is bigger than just this one dish. It’s a whole food category. And I’m pleased to say I have discovered yet another recipe to add to my repertoire; this wonderful Toast Lingström with ham, named after its inventor, chef Christer Lingström.

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The combination of smoked (or cooked) ham, creamy mayonnaise and a little tartness from the creme fraiche really works with the heat from the horseradish. It’s such a great little starter. Or nibble, in which case the recipe below is enough for 8 nibbles. Just cut the bread slices in half.

Toast Lingström, serves 4

Adapted from Christer Lingström’s recipe.

150 g cooked or smoked ham

100 ml crème fraiche

50 ml mayonnaise

2 tbsp finely chopped chives

1 tbsp grated horseradish 

salt and pepper

4 slices white tin loaf

3 tbsp butter

Slice or dice the ham and mix with creme fraiche, mayo, chives and horseradish. Season to taste. Cut the crusts off the bread slices and fry in butter until golden. Drain the excess fat on kitchen towel. Divide the mixture between the four bread slices, garnish with some more chopped chives, if you like, and serve.  

Sweet potato rounds with feta, pomegranate and parsley

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I made these colourful nibbles for a party in the summer, when the sun was shining and children were splashing in the pool. But they work as well lighting up the December darkness or brightening up an October day.

They’re both easy to make and really lovely to eat, so it’s a good idea to make a few extra.

Sweet potato rounds with feta, pomegranate and parsley, makes 30

3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled

2/3 packet feta

1 packet pomegranate seeds or a whole pomegranate (seeds only) 

1 bunch parsley, chopped

mild oil

salt and pepper

Slice the sweet potato in 1/2 cm thick slices. Place on a parchment paper covered baking sheet and drizzle with oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in a 200C oven until soft but not mushy, approx 10-15 minutes. Leave to cool. 

Top all the rounds with crumbled feta, pomegranate seeds chopped parsley.

Dill-y hummus and pitta chips

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Dill works really well in hummus, I discovered this summer when I thought of trying it for a dinner party. It went down really well with my friends and especially with my best friend Emma who liked it so much she urged me to make it again a few days later when cooking at her house.

Dill-y hummus, serves 4-6

1 can (400 g) good quality chickpeas

100-150 ml nice olive oil

1 1/2 – 2 tbsp tahini

1/2 -1 lemon, the juice only

1 medium garlic clove

1 pot or a large bunch dill

plenty of salt and black pepper

Rinse the chickpeas and pour into a food processor bowl. Add 100 ml olive oil, 1 1/2 tbsp tahini, the garlic and the juice of 1/2 lemon. Mix for a good while until you have a smooth paste. Add salt and pepper and taste. Add more oil, tahini, lemon juice, salt and pepper – whatever you think is needed. Add the dill and mix again. Season to taste and adjust the flavours once more if needed. Place in fridge until serving. Keeps for 5 days in the fridge.  

Pitta chips, serves 4

5 pitta bread

olive oil

salt, black pepper

Cut the pitta breads into smaller pieces using a pair of scissors. Place on a parchment lined baking tray and drizzle with olive oil. Add salt and pepper (and any other seasoning you might like) and place in 200C oven for approx 10 minutes (until golden and crispy). Serve immediately.