Recipe: bleak roe pizza

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Bleak roe, i.e. Swedish caviar, is a treasured ingredient in Sweden and something I can really long for. We eat it with devotion and save it for special occasions. I always make sure I have some, for emergencies, in my London freezer, and try to eat it regularly when I go home to Sweden to visit. Luckily we’re more or less feasting the whole time I come home as my parents and I are so happy to be together.

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My only “problem” with bleak roe, is that I under no circumstances want to mess it up. Therefore I often serve it like a ‘toast‘ with butterfried bread, creme fraiche or smetana and chopped red onions. Because, as we now, less is sometimes more.

But it’s equally lovely as a topping for crisps (it’s the perfect snack to accompany a glass of champagne) or served with crispy rösti as a starter.

When I was last home in May, we decided to branch out to pizza. A pizza bianco though as the tomato would rival the bleak roe too much. And, as you can probably guess, it was wonderful! I used a recipe from a restaurant in Stockholm famous for their bleak roe pizza (or löjromspizza as it’s called in Swedish) but made a few minor changes to it (because I simply can’t help myself).

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Bleak roe pizza, serves 4-6 as a starter (2 as a main course)

Translated from and adapted after Taverna Brillo’s recipe.

Pizza dough:

250 ml water

1 tbsp olive oil 

390 g 00 flour 

1 tsp dried yeast

2 tsp sea salt

Topping:

8 tbsp creme fraiche flavoured with a little lemon

100 g buffalo mozzarella 

100 g coarsely grated mature präst cheese or cheddar

80 g Kalix bleak roe

100 g creme fraiche

finely chopped red onions

finely chopped chives

dill

lemon

Ina  mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast in the water. Add salt, olive oil and flour. Knead the dough by hand for 15 minutes (or in a machine for 10 minutes). Divide into two, cover and leave to rise until doubled in size, approx 30 minutes. Roll out the dough and shape into round pizzas. Place on a parchment paper covered baking tray. Heat the oven to 250°C.

Spread 4 tbsp creme fraiche onto each pizza and divide the mozzarella (in chunks or slices) and präst/cheddar cheese. Bake in a low oven for 8 minutes. Remove from oven and top with bleak roe, creme fraiche, onions, chives, dill and lemon. 

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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: Beef Rydberg (a Swedish classic)

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Typically when I buy fillet of beef to make a steak sandwich or a pizza with steak and bearnaise sauce, I get some steak leftover. A first world problem I know, but this is the best way I know to use up those bits of steak. (Please note that only fillet of steak will do here as you want small tender uniform pieces.)

Beef Rydberg is a real classic Swedish restaurant dish served with fried onions and potatoes, a dijon crème and plenty of grated horseradish. It’s both hearty and sophisticated somehow and very comforting during the colder months.

Beef Rydberg, serves 2

ca 300 g fillet of beef, cut into (not too small) cubes

1 yellow onion or banana shallot, finely chopped 

400 g firm potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes

butter for frying (and a little oil) 

salt and black pepper

Dijon crème:

100 ml thick creme fraiche

2-3 tsp dijon mustard (to taste)

1 tsp runny honey

salt, white pepper

To serve:

fresh grated horseradish 

chopped parsley

Mix the dijon crème and keep it cold. Bring water to the boil in a saucepan, add salt and the potato cubes and boil for about 5 minutes. Drain.

Meanwhile, fry the onions until soft in plenty of butter on a low-medium heat, without browning. Remove the onions and fry the drained potatoes in butter. Add salt, pepper and a little sugar abd fry until golden on the outside and soft inside (pierce with a knife to check). 

Pour the sauce into a little bowl or an empty egg shell, chop the parsley and keep the the onions and potatoes warm in separate pans while you fry the steak on high heat in butter and oil for approx 2 minutes (you don’t want the meat well done and it cooks quickly when it’s cut up like this). Rest the meat for a few minutes, then plate up. Scatter with parsley and serve with plenty of grated horseradish. 

Visiting home and wild garlic fever!

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After four days in Italy, I had six days back home in the south of Sweden. I tried to keep it low key and just spend time with the family, and as usual we enjoyed some wonderful food together.

Spring had arrived in Sweden too, even if it was a little behind the Italian version. But the wood anemones flowered and the wild garlic was ready to eat, so I was pretty happy!

The evening I came home my mum and I (dad doesn’t like wine as much as we do) shared a lovely bottle of  Crèmant from Alsace, to celebrate we were together again!

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Another evening we enjoyed a cheese board with my Italian favourite Erborinato, Brie de Maux and Saint Albray. We also had some biscuits, pear slices, honey, rose hip jam and port. So yummy!

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I also picked wild garlic in the woods, as you can see it’s easy to forage; it’s everywhere!

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I also picked some wood anemones. It’s a spring ritual for me.

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We also cooked with wild garlic and one evening we had this great dish as a starter; asparagus (that I bought in Italy) with wild garlic mayo, parmesan and rapeseed oil.

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Afterwards we had cod loin cooked in the oven with wine and dill, potato purée, peas and carrots. And browned butter. Just. Amazing.

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One day we did a road trip to Höganäs and also stopped in Mölle by the sea to enjoy the view and the sunshine.

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In Höganäs we found an amazing fishmonger who sold fresh Swedish bleak roe so we of course had to buy some.

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We had it with rösti, creme fraiche and chopped red onions as a starter that evening.

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The rest of our dinner that night was a bunch of nibbles: leftover asparagus and wild garlic mayo, serrano ham, smoked prawns, some smoked mussels, tomatoes and wild garlic bread.

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One night we had friends over for a dinner of tried and tested recipes. We started the evening with champagne and Nigella’s prawn cocktail in lettuce leaves. Love this!

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The main course was fillet of beef with hasselback potatoes, broccoli, carrots and two sauces: bearnaise and peppercorn. Delicious!

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After a breather we enjoyed a rhubarb crumble with mum’s homemade custard. Such a wonderful evening!

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My last evening in Sweden was on a Sunday, and for dinner we had wild garlic soup to start.

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Followed by wonderfully tender pheasant with cream sauce, boiled potatoes, jelly, broccoli and carrots.

Thank you, Sweden, for a lovely time!

Kale soup with pork quenelles

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This, dear fellow foodies, is old-fashioned Swedish peasant food. In a good way. Perfect for this cold time of year this soup is warming and nourishing and so are the pork quenelles, which are basically meatballs cooked in stock instead of pan-fried.

Please note that the quenelles takes longer to make than the soup, so do start with these. If you think the quenelles are strange or you don’t eat meat, garnish your soup with medium-boiled eggs instead. Cut them in half and put them in the soup – it’s also delicious and another common way to eat the soup.

Kale soup, serves 4

Adapted from Hannu Sarenström’s recipe in the book Vinterkalas.

ca 375 g chopped fresh kale

2 tbsp butter

2 tbsp plain flour

1 litre chicken or vegetable stock

100 ml cream

salt, black pepper

Melt the butter in a large saucepan, stir in the flour and add the stock little by little while stirring. Add the kale and let simmer for 10 minutes. Mix with a stick  blender and add the cream. Bring to the boil and season to taste. 

Pork quenelles, serves 4-6

500 g pork mince

1 egg

100 ml breadcrumbs

1-2 tbsp water

salt, white pepper

1 onion, finely chopped

1,5 litre chicken stock (from a cube is fine)

Break the egg into a bowl and stir in breadcrumbs. Add salt (more than you think) and white pepper. Let the mixture swell for a few minutes. If the mixture is thick add 1-2 tbsp water to loosen it. Stir in the chopped onions and the mince. Mix well and roll the mince into 2 cm thick balls. Rinse your hands in between rolling to make it easier. 

Bring the stock to the boil in a large saucepan and let it simmer. Add the quenelles and let them simmer for approx 15 minutes (check with a knife that they’re cooked through, i.e. not pink in the middle). Remove with a slotted spoon and add to the soup bowls. Fill up with kale soup and serve. 

Christmas Eve 2015

 

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In Sweden Christmas Eve is the big day. Christmas day is for going clubbing (no thanks!), early sales (again, no thanks!) and just chilling (much better).

In my family we open the stockings on Christmas Eve morning. Christmas stockings are not a Swedish tradition, but my family thinks it’s nice and cosy. But we only open a few presents in the morning as Father Christmas always comes by in the evening with a sack full of gifts (no chimney action in Sweden).

Then at 3pm, the whole country is glued to the television watching Donald Duck and other Disney cartoons. It sounds silly, but it’s one of the fundamentals of a Swedish Christmas Eve.

Then in the evening, probably after coffee and cake while watching Donald Duck and then glögg and gingerbread a bit later, it’s time for dinner. In most families this comprises a julbord; a smorgasbord with lots of  Christmas food, like herring, smoked salmon, cooked ham, meatballs, sausages, cabbage, sprouts, Janssons temptation, patés, ribs etc etc).

We took an alternative route this year, stepping away from the traditional heavy food, and instead enjoying, a still festive, and a little Christmas-y, menu.

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Our evening began with prosecco and these lovely parmesan biscuits, then Toast Skagen as a starter followed by halibut and boiled potatoes, cooked peas and the most heavenly sauce for fish for mains.

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For pudding we had the same as we do on Christmas Eve; Ris a’la Malta. A cold rice porridge with a lot of whipped cream folded in, served with a berry sauce, but as this dessert is seriously rich we served it in individual bowls. (It’s usually served in a large bowl it an almond hidden in the porridge and you try to eat as much as possible to secure the almons and receive a gift. )

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This alternative approach to the Christmas dinner suited my family perfectly. It felt festive (more festive than ham, cabbage and meatballs actually) and even though the food was still on the heavy side it’s nothing compared to the julbord. 

 

Dinner at Matbaren, Stockholm

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I chose the dinner restaurant for the Stockholm trip carefully; I wanted it to have amazing food (of course), have food my non-foodie friends would enjoy and a nice atmosphere and I think I did very well choosing Matbaren from those parameters. The restaurant is a contemporary bistro with one star, and more casual than chef Mathias Dahlgren’s two-starred Matsalen.

When we were showed to our table (starving after having danced around Carina’s flat to 80s tunes) the menu as well as a paper bag with three types of crispbread and butter was already on the table.

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We then ordered a bottle of wine and after having finished the crispbread we were served nice sourdough slices. The concept here is small plates and the staff recommend you order one at the time, which worked really well; the kitchen was utterly efficient (it’s the Swedish way!). My first dish was amazing. Smooth potato purée, 53 degree egg (which means it’s super creamy), crispy potato sticks and shaved black truffle.

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Carina and Emma both chose the aubergine purée with delicious beetroots and sesame seeds. They both really enjoyed the dish, but the pricing was a bit off as quite expensive but not containing any fancy ingredients.

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Our first courses were quite filling and Carina was full already, but Emma and I needed (and wanted) more food, so we decided to share two dishes. The first one was the above chicken kebab in a Chinese steamed bun with yoghurt sauce. Fun fusion and so very delicious!

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We also shared this plate of Swedish sashimi. It was pretty as a picture and absolutely amazing. The oyster crème in the middle was to die for and the fish just melted in the mouth.

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We were very content after these dishes and asked for the bill, skipping pudding. And I am glad we did as this big bowl of sweets were put in front of us. The madeleines with almonds, lemon and poppy seed were fantastic and the peanut fudge was lovely as well. Such a nice way to end the meal!

I really enjoyed Matbaren, just as I thought I would. The menu was nice and varied, the dishes interesting and modern (and of course very well executed), the ambiance nice and the service friendly and efficient. The only thing I can’t seem to get to when eating out in Sweden is the wine prices, but that’s not the restaurant’s fault.

Matbaren, Grand Hotel, Södra Blasieholmshamnen 6, 111 48 Stockholm, Sweden