Growing up in the countryside in the south of Sweden I didn’t realise how lucky I was to grow up in such an idyllic place. Fast forward to present time living in a big city, where getting fresh herbs and locally grown vegetables can be quite tricky at times.
So my first night in Sweden this summer I cooked us a fairly standard summer meal of pork fillet, salad and potatoes. Normally I would cook the meat on the barbecue to get that charred flavour, but due to the first barbecue ban in my life time (even in your own garden – it was that dry) I had to make do with the stove and oven. And sitting outside in the sunshine it was still a lovely meal.
Mainly because of the sauce I literally threw together on the spot. It’s a simple cold sauce with mainly creme fraiche and a little mayonnaise as a base (us Swedes make sauces like this ALL the time), but what made it so nice was the mix (and quantity) of fresh herbs from the garden. An absolute treat for this city girl and something I used to take for granted when I lived at home.
Garlic and herb sauce, serves 3-4
300 ml creme fraiche
2 tbsp mayonnaise (preferably Hellman’s)
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp Acacia honey
3/4 small garlic clove, finely chopped
approx 3 tbsp finely chopped fresh herbs such as rosemary, sage, thyme and parsley
salt and pepper
Mix creme fraiche and mayonnaise. Then add mustard, honey, garlic and herbs and leave for a while for the flavours to develop before serving. Season to taste.
Once again I have Nigella to thank for the inspiration. In her book Simply Nigella she uses caramelised onions in a yoghurt sauce, and since then I’ve started using caramelised garlic in just anything I can think of.
The taste is sweet and humble and far from the fierce raw garlic you but into the oven, which means you can actually use a lot of it, so put a few extra garlic bulbs in the oven, just in case! They’re highly addictive, so you can thank me later!
PS. It goes really well with the chicken dish I posted the last week and potato wedges.
Caramelised garlic sauce with creme fraiche, serves 10
2 large garlic bulbs
1 litre creme fraiche
100 ml Hellman’s mayonnaise
bunch of chives, chopped
salt, white pepper
oregano and thyme flowers to decorate
Caramelise the garlics when you’re using the oven anyway – they take up little space and won’t make anything taste of garlic as they’re wrapped in tin foil.
Cut off approx 1/2 cm of the garlic bulb on the top so you can see the cloves. Wrap separately in tin foil and place in the oven until soft (just squeeze them to check if they’re ready). It doesn’t really matter what temperature the oven is at, everything between 150 – 220C works, just be aware the cooking time will differ.
Leave to cool slightly. Mix creme fraiche and mayonnaise in a mixing bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Unwrap the garlic bulbs and squeeze out the soft garlic paste and add to the sauce. Make sure you get every morsel. Mix well and adjust the seasoning. Leave for a little while before serving. Add the chives and herb flowers when ready to serve.
The type of cooking I love the most is when you have a few simple ingredients that you add the together, and the result is so much more than the some of its parts. It’s like magic, really!
This excites me to no end and I love sharing those recipes with you readers.
The recipe below may sound simple, and it so is – if it didn’t involve a knife anyone could do it blindfolded – but the reward is grand. It’s the perfect recipe to remember for those light summer lunches in the summer when you’d rather sip rosé with your friends than cook (see evidence below).
Creamy apple and dill sauce for fish, serves 4
150 ml creme fraiche
2 tbsp Hellman’s mayonnise
3 apples, cut into small cubes
plenty of chopped dill
salt and ground white pepper
Mix creme fraiche and mayonnaise, then add the apple cubes and dill. Stir together and season to taste. Serve with fish.