Sweden: dinner by the beach at Badhytten

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My first night in Sweden was sunny and glorious and I spent it the best way possible: with dear friends having dinner at the beach.

This restaurant, bar and nightclub is our favourite place to go in the summer as the setting is beautiful and the place has a fun atmosphere. In recent years it’s been rebuilt, so although the charm from when I was younger is gone it feels a lot more modern and grownup in it’s current design.

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We all enjoyed our meal here, it’s not a place where you come just for the food, but combined with the decent wine list, helpful waiters and lovely atmosphere it’s a lovely place.

For the starter, we all ordered exactly the same, the Scandinavian classic Toast Skagen. It’s essentially prawns in mayonnaise and dill served on toast. Here the toast was brioche  (nice!) and it was nicely presented with a ribbon of cucumber holding the prawns in place. Extra plus for the generous size!

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For our main courses two had the cod loin with pea purée, new potatoes and carrots, two steak and fries with bearnaise sauce and one fish stew.

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We were all pleased with our choices, and although the menu is very similar to last year, it’s consistent. My only remark was that my steak was rather overcooked, but still nice.

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After the two courses each we were far too full to have pudding, so instead we moved to the lounge area of the restaurant to finish our wine and have teas and coffees. Then later on we hit the bar and dance floor upstairs!

Badhytten, Skanörs hamn, 239 30 Skanör, Sweden

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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.  

New Year’s Eve luncheon

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I know a lot of people think NYE is a real anti-climax, but I really enjoy celebrating it. Any excuse to dress up and drink champagne works for me!

Growing up, my parents and their friends made it special, always making it an occasion. Us children got to play with each others new toys (one NYE turned into Super Mario tournament), but also celebrate with the grown-ups, cheering with alcohol free cider instead of champagne, watching the fire works through the windows (to this day I still don’t like to go outside in the cold on the stroke of midnight), and watch the speech and the countdown on Swedish Television. It felt magical and that’s the feeling I carry with me now on New Year’s Eves with friends.

Nowadays the food make it special, and we really enjoy the Kalix roe, lobster and fillet of beef, but we have also realised that it’s really nice to do something on the day. So we prep as much as we can the day (or days, depending on the ambition) before NYE, so that we have the day free to hang out together until it’s time to get ready and cook dinner.

 

 

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This year, we thought a lunch in Malmö would be ideal. We went to Copenhagen last year for lunch and although lovely it felt a little rushed. But, it turned out, no restaurants in Malmö were open for lunch on New Year’s Eve. Maybe it’s un-Swedish to go out for lunch before a big evening celebration, who knows?! Luckily, after a lot of googling, we did find ONE restaurant open for lunch so we quickly booked a table and enjoyed a nice French lunch.

La Bonne Vie is a cosy French restaurant in the middle of town, just on Davidshalls Torg, and when we arrived for a late-ish lunch the restaurant was full up. And, just like us, most guests were drinking bubbly.

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The lunch menu was classic French with a few Swedish touches and very affordable. Emma and I both had the Toast Skagen with a very generous portion of prawns with mayonnaise and dill on butter-fried bread. Delicious!

Claes had the moules frites and also received a very generous portion of mussels, nice crispy fries and rouille.

We had a lovely lunch and will certainly be back this year too. Thank you for staying open!

La Bonne Vie, Davidshallstorg 7, Malmö, Sweden

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. 

 

Seafood toasts

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During the Christmas break we had plenty of Toast Skagen at home in Sweden as it is so easy to get hold of good cold water prawns. I love this toast and for one dinner party we made a cured salmon toast as well and served both (although smaller than usual) as a starter. So yummy!

Toast Skagen, serves 4

4 slices white bread

butter for frying

4 lettuce leaved (such as little gem)

 750g cold water prawns, preferably unpeeled

1 batch homemade mayo (without the chipotle paste)

1 tbsp chopped dill

salt, white pepper

lemon, dill and lumpfish roe to serve

Cut out a round of each bread slice using a glass or a cutter. Fry the bread golden brown in butter on both sides. Leave to cool. 

Peel the prawns. Make the mayonnaise. Chop the dill and mix it together. Season. Place a lettuce leaf on each bread round, top with the prawn mixture and decorate with a sliced lemon, roe and dill.

Salmon toast, serves 4

4 slices white bread

butter for frying

4 lettuce leaves (such as little gem)

4 larger slices homemade cured salmon (gravadlax)

100 g Philadelphia

1 tsp paprika

1 tbsp chopped chives

1 small pinch cayenne pepper

salt, white pepper

dill to decorate

Cut out a round of each bread slice using a glass or a cutter. Fry the bread golden brown in butter on both sides. Leave to cool. 

Mix the cream cheese with chives, paprika, cayenne, salt and pepper. Spread the mixture onto the bread rounds. Add the lettuce leaves and roll the salmon slice into a rose and place on top of the lettuce. Decorate with dill and serve. 

 

 

 

 

Toast Öjeby

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The more famous cousin to this recipe is the classic Toast Skagen (prawns with mayonnaise and dill served on buttery toast) served at many restaurants and dinner parties over the years. I absolutely love it. But this Toast Öjeby is lovely too and very different in flavour.

The key ingredients here are crayfish tails (buy good quality ones), sharp cheese, caraway seeds and honey. Mayonnaise to bind it all together and dill to complement the crayfish. It really is superb and a great example of Scandinavian flavours!

I served mine on thin slices of baguette fried golden in butter and I promise you that’s all you need (bar a nice glass of white wine) to enjoy this.

Öjebytoast, serves 4

Translated from and adapted after Annika’s recipe.

340 gram crayfish tails
125 gram Swedish Västerbotten cheese, which I substituted with sharp cheddar, finely grated
1 tbsp caraway seeds
2  tbsp dill, finely chopped
1 tsp honey

3 heaped tablespoons homemade (omit the chipotle) or Hellman’s mayonnaise

Drain the crayfish tails if needed and finely chop them. Mix with mayonnaise, grated cheese, caraway seeds and dill. Add the honey to taste, but you need at least a teaspoon. Season. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes. Serve on slices of baguette, fried golden in salted butter. And a glass of wine.