Reminder: Västerbotten cheese quiche

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In Sweden crayfish season is in full swing, and I wanted to remind you all that one of the most important things for a crayfish party (apart from the crayfish and snaps) is this Västerbotten cheese quiche. You can buy the cheese from Ocado (love their Swedish shop!) but you could also substitute it for a sharp cheddar if you prefer.

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We had a little crayfish party when I was home in Sweden and I love this non-holiday more than some actual holidays. The crayfish are just delicious, but we went all out with both fresh and smoked prawns (they’re delicious!) as well.

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And yes, we had snaps (Linie Aquavit, pictured above) and silly hats.

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Bread and cheese is also needed to soak up the alcohol (snaps is strong!) and maybe some homemade mayonnaise for dipping.  And don’t forget the finger bowls – this is a very messy (but really fun!) affair!

Skål!

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Västerbotten cheese quiche, serves 6

Dough:

120 g softened butter

300 ml plain flour

1/2 beaten egg

Filling:

250 g grated Västerbotten cheese (or a sharp cheddar will do)

2 egg yolks

2 eggs

200 ml cream

salt

Topping:

100 g girolles

2 tbsp salted butter

1 shallots, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, chopped

salt, pepper

chopped parsley

Mix the ingredients together for the dough and press it out in a quiche dish. Use a fork to pierce the dough all over. Pre-bake the dough for 10 mins at 175 C.

Mix the grated cheese with the cream, eggs and yolks and pour the mixture into the pastry case and bake for another 20 mins.

Fry the girolles in butter on medium-high heat until almost done. Add the shallots and garlic and fry until golden. Season well and add the parsley. Place on top of the quiche just before serving. 

First week of holiday!

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My holiday was rather busy, but that’s what it’s like when you’re living abroad; lots of family and friends to catch up with and you’re constantly behind on that front, however hard you try, as there simply isn’t enough time. My strategy this time was to start off busy and try to wind down a little towards the end, as I need to sleep and relax as well. And for once I think it worked. To say I feel refreshed might be pushing it, but I feel less tired than when I left London, which is the whole point of a holiday, isn’t it?!

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But since I had a 7am flight on the Saturday I took that day to relax and really feel that I was on holiday. It was pure bliss to arrive at the beach house, change into a bikini and a cover up, have an glassbåt ice cream in the sun and just try to switch off a little.

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I also walked down to the beach to dip my toes in the water and breathe the fresh air. And in the evening I enjoyed some bubbly and a nice homecooked dinner (pork fillet with lemon and herbs, new potatoes, tomato salad and a cold garlic and herb sauce).

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The next day I went to Helsingborg for lunch with friends and got to see both the hosts’ lovely new house and meet other friends’ little baby for the first time. For lunch we had a lovely poke bowl with sesame marinated tuna and ice cream for pudding. It was so nice to sit in the garden catching up with dear childhood friends like that. The afternoon went by in a flash!

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On the Monday I went to Copenhagen for the day with two friends, and we’ve been doing it for so long it’s a tradition we do everything to keep every summer.

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We started off with tacos and smørrebrød for lunch at Torvehallerne, had fika at our favourite café and in the evening wine and cheese at one place before dinner at another. It was a perfect day chatting away with friends, looking in a few shops and just enjoying what this lovely city has to offer!

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The next day I didn’t have many plans so started with a lie-in and a late breakfast in the garden. I did a few errands and sunbathed a bit and had dinner with my parents in the evening before a visitor from London arrived late that night as the flight was delayed.

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So the next morning another lie-in was in order followed by a cooked breakfast outside. By the way, poached eggs on toast with tabasco is delicious!

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We continued the day driving around the south coast, checking out the beaches and eating ice cream.

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And in the evening we had a crayfish party complete with Västerbotten cheese quiche, fresh and smoked prawns, snaps and silly hats!

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The following day my visitor played golf in Falsterbo while I spent the day with by best friend and my god daughter before meeting up with the golfers for lunch. Afterwards we went to Badhytten for a drink followed by a quick swim in the sea.

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Then I was put to work making burgers (with fake shack sauce) for us all. So yum!

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Friday was my visitor’s last full day in Sweden so we made the most of it spending most of it on the beach and after a late lunch we made our way into Malmö for drinks, dinner and some more drinks.

The next day we had time for a long breakfast and a swim before my visitor had to leave for the airport and I spent the rest of the day taking it easy and had dinner with mamma and pappa in the evening.

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The next day (Sunday) we drove to the southeastern part of Skåne to have lunch with two of my cousins and my auntie. We had hot smoked salmon with new potatoes, soft boiled eggs, asparagus and a cold dill sauce. Very Swedish and so yummy!

It was a lovely week and as you can see I got to see and do a lot and catch up with many of my friends!

Recipe: boiling crayfish

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The last few years I have made sure to invite my London friends to a proper Swedish crayfish party, as it’s my favourite non-holiday holiday in my native country. I usually buy the pre-cooked frozen crayfish from the Swedish shop but last year I actually found a crayfish seller who sold fresh crayfish caught in local lakes or ponds. The price was almost the same, and the quality so much better, but I also really wanted to cook my own crayfish!

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Compared to lobsters who you usually cook in boiling water, we cook crayfish in a sort of brine that we then leave the crayfish in until we eat them, adding a salty dilly taste to the crustaceans.

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My London friends love crayfish as much as I do, so I ordered 7 kg for 12 of us, which may sound like a lot, but we ate every single one. It was a little tricky cooking that many with not that many large pans to hand but I managed*, and had a good time in the process experimenting with two types of brine; one with just salt, sugar and dill and one with beer in (a common practice for cooking crayfish) that add more depth to the flavour.

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Boiling crayfish, basic recipe

20 crayfish

2 1/2 litre water

75-100 ml salt

1 tsp sugar

plenty of dill flowers (dill seeds can be used instead)

Make sure all the crayfish are alive, discard any dead ones. Rinse in cold water. Bring water, salt, sugar and dill flowers to the boil. Put the crayfish in a colander and lower it into the boiling brine to cook the crayfish. Cook for 10 minutes, from the brine starts boiling again. Leave to cool in the brine, keep cold and eat within 24 hours. 

Boiling crayfish, with beer

20 crayfish

2 1/2 litre water

1 litre beer

75-100 ml salt

1 tsp sugar

plenty of dill flowers (dill seeds can be used instead)

Make sure all the crayfish are alive, discard any dead ones. Rinse in cold water. Bring water, beer, salt, sugar and dill flowers to the boil. Put the crayfish in a colander and lower it into the boiling brine to cook the crayfish. Cook for 10 minutes, from the brine starts boiling again. Leave to cool in the brine, keep cold and eat within 24 hours. 

*The trickiest part was actually storing 7 kgs of crayfish in its brine in a cold place. The fridge surely wasn’t large enough and it was full of all the other food we were having with the crayfish, so I put them in bowls and pans in the bath and filled it with ice. Bonus pic:

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Crayfish!

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As I’m hosting a crayfish party tonight I thought I’d share these pictures from my last crayfish dinner in Sweden. I managed to eat crayfish twice in the two and a bit weeks I was at home, and lots of other lovely seafood too, but I am just as excited about tonight’s festivities with my London friends.

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But back to the crayfish party in Sweden. It was just a family affair so we started with rösti, Kalix roe (bleak roe from Kalix), creme fraiche and chopped red onions. This is such a Swedish classic it’s almost a cliché but I absolutely love it (as do most Swedes!). IMG_6758

We had two types of crayfish, both fresh, Swedish and Turkish. They were both nice but the Swedish ones were the nicest. 
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We also had a typical Västerbotten cheese quiche (here with fried girolles on top) which is a must with the crayfish, bread, cheese and of course snaps. 

Crayfish party or not – have a nice weekend!

Seafood feast!

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No, this is not what we eat every day in Sweden but I so wish it was! My first evening at the summer house (a Saturday) my parents and I had a proper seafood feast to celebrate being together again and my birthday the week before.

We love girolles almost as much as we love seafood and as they’re in season we started off with a proper girolle toast (fry the bread in butter, fry the girolles in more butter with garlic, add parsley) and bubbly and then got serious about the seafood. We had langoustines with garlic butter, fresh Swedish crayfish (such a treat!), crab claws and smoked prawns. Smoked prawns may sound weird but they are oh so delicious!

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It was such a wonderful meal with amazing seafood, great company and the accompaniment of bread, cheese and home made mayonnaise.

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Mayonnaise

1 egg yolk, at room temperature

1/2 – 1 tsp dijon mustard

1/2 tsp white wine vinegar

ca 200 ml neutral oil (I used rapeseed oil) 

1 lemon, juice only

salt, white pepper

Mix the egg yolk with mustard and vinegar. Beat the egg mixture while adding the oil drop by drop. When the mixture has thickened you can add the oil in a thin spurt. Season to taste with lemon juice, salt and pepper.

Crayfish party! (Oh yeah)

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A few weels ago my flatmate Daisy and I decided to host a proper Swedish crayfish party. And I’m so glad we did because it turned out really well! We were an eclectic mix of nationalities but everyone was super psyched up about eating crayfish and drinking snaps. Thanks guys!

It was a Friday night and when we waited for everyone to arrive we sat outside as it was a mild evening and had some Prosecco and some Pimm’s with elderflower and blackberries (with lemonade and club soda) and had a few nibbles. One was Swedish crispbread topped with a herring and egg salad. Very Scandi and for those not fancying herring we also had crostini with tapenade.

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As you can see we had proper crayfish knives and crayfish hats!

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With the mountain of crayfish (at the middle of the table) we had a Västerbotten cheese quiche which is a must at every crayfish party. (Thanks Ocado for having that and lots of other goodies in your Swedish shop!) The quiche was decorated with lumpfish roe, creme fraiche, chopped red onions and dill. We also had bread, cheese, cream cheese with caraway, honey and dill, wild garlic mayo, saffron mayo and new potato and girolles salad and a regular green salad with radishes and avocado.

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It was such a fun evening complete with crayfish peeling tutorials form the Swedes, snaps songs and lots of laughter. We also had pudding very late at night but it was so good I think it deserves its own post.

Herring and egg canapé, makes about 25

200 g (1 tin) matjes herring, drained and roughly chopped

3 hardboiled eggs, chopped

1/2 jar red lumpfish roe

chopped dill

1/2 red onion, finely chopped

2-3 tbsp creme fraiche or soured cream

crispbread

Mix all the ingredients, season to taste with salt and white pepper. Break up the crispbread and place a dollop of the herring mixture on each piece. Decorate with dill.   

Saffron mayonnaise

200 ml sunflower oil

1 egg yolk, at room temperature

a large pinch of saffron

2 tsp warm water

lemon juice

salt

white pepper

Mix saffron with warm water. Add half of the saffron water to the egg yolk and mix a little before starting mixing in the oil, drip by drip at first and then in a gentle pour while using a stick blender. Season with lemon juice, add the remaining saffron water and season with salt and pepper. Leave for half an hour before serving (for the flavours to develop). 

New potato and girolles salad, serves 8 on a buffet

1 kg baby new potatoes, boiled and cut in half

200 ml (2 handfuls) girolles

salted butter for frying

1 garlic clove

1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

sherry vinegar 

olive oil

salt, pepper

chopped parsley

Fry the girolles and pressed garlic in butter. Season. Put the onion slices in a bowl and cover with cold water for 5 minutes. Drain. Add the onions and girolles to the potatoes. Add a nice olive oil and some sherry vinegar, salt and pepper. Season to taste. Add chopped parsley and serve. 

Seafood feast, Swedish caviar and girolle toast

IMG_8610In my family, we don’t need much of an excuse to have an extravagant dinner, but celebrating my belated birthday with my parents we went all out on the stuff we love – seafood.

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Girolles are usually in abundance in August, although the first little ‘shrooms can be found in the woods as early as June. In Sweden we worship girolles as their season coincide with the crayfish parties. The first ones I eat every late summer has to be served like this; fried in butter with garlic and parsley, served on bread also fried in butter (or at least toasted). So delicious!

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Then we went outside to the barbecue to grill some oysters. I love oysters regardless of how they are prepared but my parents prefer them warm.

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Simply place the opened shells on live coal until the juices start to bubble. Remove with a thick glove as they heat up quickly. Add lemon juice and tabasco and eat.

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After that exercise we had löjrom (Swedish caviar; vendace roe from Kalix) served in the classic manner with butter-fried toast, creme fraiche and chopped red onions.

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After that we got started on the seafood. We had smoked cold-water prawns, Swedish crayfish, langoustines and crab claws. All washed down with Taittinger Brut Réserve. Needless to say we did not need any pudding after all that…