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…

NYE 2013

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My bestie Emma and I have always liked a good party and quite often organised New Year’s Eve parties ourselves. Although it has always been lots of fun it takes quite a lot of time and effort to do it well so, in lieu of a big NYE party to go to, we decided to go back to basics for once. Just a few people, four in fact. Easy but classic and very tasty food, champagne and nice wines to drink and just lots of fun because you’re among great friends.

I wouldn’t mind a repeat this year, guys!

After watching some ice hockey in the afternoon (the Junior World Championship was on in Malmö) we started our evening with Champagne and canapès consisting of crispy bread fried in butter topped with creme fraiche, Swedish caviar (löjrom), red onions, dill and lemon slices. It doesn’t require much cooking but it is so delicious it still impresses your guests!

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Our starter was lobster with melted garlic butter and puff pastry twists. Again very simple, but absolutely gorgeous!

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The even bigger hit was the main course with incredibly tender fillet of beef that I managed to buy in a regular (but very good) supermarket (where I also found bone marrow  – I was in heaven!). Served rare with a wonderful mushroom crème, tenderstem broccoli, caramelised shallots, Hasselback potatoes and creamy red wine sauce, I think this was everyone’s favourite dish. So so delicious!

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I made the same dessert as last year, as it was such a success! Fluffy parfait with chopped dark chocolate and caramelised hazelnuts served with honeycomb and butterscotch sauce. Delicious!

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Just before midnight we walked down to the Opera in Malmö where the fire work display was going to be, toasted in some more bubbly, watched the fireworks and went back inside to eat and drink some more. It was a great evening!

The Recipes

Swedish caviar with butter-fried bread, serves 4

4-6 slices of nice white bread

2 tbsp salted butter for frying 

1 packet Swedish caviar (löjrom – bleak roe)

200 ml creme fraiche

1/2 red onion, finely chopped

dill lemon slices to decorate

Heat up a frying pan on medium heat and melt half the butter but don’t let it burn. Fry the bread slowly first on one side and then on the other until crispy and golden brown. Add more butter when you turn the bread. Cut into smaller pieces. 

Chop the red onion and let it soak in icecold water a few minutes before serving to lose some of the sharpness. Drain before serving. 

Either place a dollop of creme fraiche, caviar and some red onion, dill and a small lemon segment on each bread piece or serve in bowls and let people assemble their own canapès. 

Lobster with garlic butter and puff pastry twists, serves 4

2 fresh lobsters

100 g salted butter, at room temperature 

1 medium garlic clove, pressed

1 handful fresh parsley, chopped

white pepper

1 roll all butter puff pastry 

sea salt flakes

lemon slices to serve

Start with the puff pastry twists. Cut the roll of puff pastry into 2 cm wide strips. Twist each strip a few times and place on a lined baking tray. Sprinkle with sea salt flakes and bake in 225C oven for 8-10 minutes or until golden and crisp. Leave to cool. Keep in an airtight container. 

Mix the softened butter with garlic, parsley and some white pepper.

Cut the lobsters in half lengthways with a sharp yet sturdy knife. Remove the black vein and any roe. Rinse very carefully. Remove and open the claws and keep the claw meat on the side. Place the lobster halves on a baking tray, spread with butter and place in a 200C oven for about 10 minutes. Serve with a lemon wedge, a fresh claw each and the puff pastry twists. 

Fillet of beef with Hasselback potatoes, tenderstem broccoli, mushroom crème, caramelised shallots and creamy red wine sauce, serves 4

1 kg good quality beef fillet, trimmed of any tendons and cut into 3-4 cm thick medallions 

1 kg medium Maris Piper potatoes (or another firm type)

2-3 broccoli stems per person

1 batch red wine juswith approx 400 ml liquid

200 ml double cream

Start with the sauce, crème and onions (recipes below). Add the cream to the red wine jus, let it thicken and season to taste. Can be reheated before serving. 

Peel the potatoes and cut in half lengthways. Put them flat side down and make small incisions creating a ridged effect with a sharp knife. Don’t cut all the way through and leave 1-2 mm between the incisions. Place the potato halves on an oiled baking tray, drizzle with mild oil and add salt and pepper. Bake until crisp and golden brown, approx 30-40 minutes in 200C. 

Brown the meat on all sides. Season well with salt and black pepper. Place in oven on 150C until the inside temperature of the meat is 55C (for medium-rare). Rest the meat a few minutes before serving. 

Cook the broccoli in salted water until soft but not mushy. Drain and add some more salt. 

Plate with the mushroom crème underneath the meat. 

Mushroom crème, serves 4

125 g chestnut mushrooms

1 handful dried ceps (porcini) in pieces 

1 shallots, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, pressed

2 tsp Dijon mustard

1 tbsp Cognac

50 ml double cream

salt, white pepper

Soak the ceps for a few minutes then squeeze out the excess liquid. Chop all the mushrooms roughly. Heat up a knob of butter in a frying pan/sauteuse on mediun heat and add shallots, garli and mushrooms. Fry slowly adding more butter if needed. Once the mushrooms have browned, add the mustard and Cognac and let the liquid evaporate. Add the cream and let the mixture thicken. Blend to a smooth paste using a stick blender. Adjust the seasoning. Heat up again before serving.

Caramelised shallots, serves 4

10-12 shallots, peeled and cut in half

1 knob salted butter

200 ml red wine

100 ml beef stock

2 tsp Acacia honey

salt, pepper

Use a non-stick pan. Caramelise the onions in the butter on medium heat, it takes about 5 minutes. Add red wine, stock and honey and let the liquid evaporate (without a lid) until you have sticky dark brown onions. Add salt and pepper. 

Cooking at the meetup

After touring the countryside looking for good produce we returned to the hotel and the kitchen. We put our aprons and chefs’ hats (oh la la) on and got cooking divided into groups. One team made three different amuse bouche with different shell fish such as crayfish, langoustines and mussels. The all male team cooked the first two courses, one team cooked the fish for the main course, my team made bread and tomato jam to go with cheese and one team took care of the pudding. We also had a vegetarian team creating all their own dishes.

We also got a lovely drink with blueberry vodka and blood oange juice to stay hydrated while cooking, then moved on to beer and wine.

My team mates, Helena (left) and Kim (right).

The amuse bouche team consisting of Gun and Emmy

A whole kitchen filled with bloggers!

Maria (left) is making pudding while Sofie (right) is frying the cod loin for the main course.

Gun and Anki

Amuse bouche x 3: 1. crayfish tartare 2. Langoustine on rye bread with dill mayonnaise 3. Mussels with butter, garlic and spring onions

Magnus, Håkan and Calle

Helena and Charlotta

Malin, Sofie and Lotta

Girolle soup with celeriac creme

Blinis with Swedish löjrom (caviar), creme fraiche and chopped red onions

Perfectly cooked cod loin with onion puré, marinated onions and lardons

Locally sourced blue cheese, bread and tomato jam

Tarte tatin with thyme, honey brittle and vanilla icecream

Our waiters and chef; Dennis, Thomas and Marcus

Thanks for a lovely weekend all!

Dinner at Atmosfar, Malmo, Sweden

My birthday this year was a Wednesday. Rather boring, but a good excuse to have bubbly mid-week. I was in Sweden on holiday and wanted to have supper with my closest family and best friend.

Mum, dad and I met at Emma (said best friend) and Claes’s for a class of bubbly and some nibbles, before walking to the restaurant of my choice; Atmosfär.

In general I am not very impressed with the restaurants in Malmo, but there are a few good ones, Atmosfar included. You can tell that they have a passion for food there, and on the walls hang lots of certifications.

The menu is not very long, but it doesn’t matter as you want to eat it all. They have smaller and bigger plates, but no proper maincourses, so you can mix and match the dishes how you like. This makes the atmosphere less stuffy and it is all about enjoying food.

We started with the fabulous ham (top photo), Jamon from Spain. It was melt-in-the-mouth fantastic and we all loved it. We also had some marinated olives, white wine and plenty of water as it was a really hot summer’s day.

There were also several baskets of bread and we ate and ate. I don’t want to think of how many loaves our table of five went through, but it kept on coming. The bread was airy and light in the middle and had a lovely buttery crust all around it. Addictive!

When we started with the smaller plates (not starters, mind you) both mother and I were very indecisive and ended up sharing two. The first one was the lovely scallops with crisp vegetable and a lovely jus.

The second plate was a Swedish all-time classic, a plate of caviar (löjrom), creme fraiche, chopped red onions, lemon and toast. Yum!

When it was time for the larger plates, the whole table settled for two varieties. I had this lovely lamb fillet with jus, fried button mushrooms and girolles and a thin thin crisp slice of bread. It was wonderful; meaty and light at the same time.

Dad among others had the beef with jus, chickpea creme and roasted tomatoes. Lovely as well and the meat was great produce.

We skipped pudding (had too much bread anyway) and went back to Emma and Claes’s to enjoy a cake my mother had made. After a slow walk and a good rest of course.

This restaurant never disappoints me (as Malmo restaurants often do). For being in Sweden the prices are very good, the produce and cooking amazing and the service and atmosphere good. It reminds me of smart casual restaurants in London, which definitely is a good thing.

Atmosfär
Fersens väg 4
Malmö