Monday, December 15, 2014

Seasonal holidays and feasts


"At no time of the year did one eat so abundantly and so traditionally as at Christmas. If one had to lead a simple and spartan life for the rest of the year, one would gorge oneself at Christmas, when there was a plentiful supply of fresh food, which kept well, thanks to the cold weather. The customs were rather similar within the county, but for economic reasons the number of dishes on the Christmas table naturally varied."

This was written by Rut Wallensteen-Jaeger in her book "Food for Workdays and Feasts", which describes the food traditions in the province of Östergötland at the beginning of the century.

The Christmas food has been, and still is, very important to most people. Then, more than ever, one wants to have the dishes one knows from one's childhood. In many young families food traditions from both parental homes are mixed and developed into new traditions.

It is no longer very profitable to make sausages, brawn and pâté at home, but there is a very valuable feeling of togetherness when the whole family, maybe several generations, works together preparing the Christmas food. The flavor of homemade food cannot be calculated in money either.

The other festivals do not show such a rich variety of traditional dishes. Easter has only a few. The salmon pudding on Good Friday is not so common nowadays as the boiled eggs on Holy Saturday. Midsummer means new potatoes, herring and chives, and often a cake, decorated with the first Swedish strawberries. The crayfish has many enthusiasts, and so has the November goose. The succession of seasonal dishes may contribute to an enhanced awareness of time and may lead us to collect good food memories year by year.

Christmas preparations start early in Sweden. There is a lot to do: gifts and decorations are bought or made, plenty of food is prepared. The preparations take on a festive air. Even the most anti-traditional people observe a few Christmas traditions.


Sunday, May 11, 2014

Beer Sandwiches - Ölsmörgåsar


A really scrumptious warm sandwich is excellent with a cold beer when evening comes around. This is a suggestion for a somewhat different sandwich, both filling and tasty.

Makes 4 sandwiches

1 onion
10 oz ground meat (I normally use
a mixture of 50% pork, 50% beef)
3½ oz baked liver pâté, a very popular
thing to spread on the Swedish open
good 1/3 cup beer
½ tsp salt
dash black pepper
4 slices white bread
1 tbsp butter or margarine
4 lettuce leaves

1 red sweet pepper
1 pickled gherkin
good 3/4 cup sour Cream

Start with the sauce. Rinse the sweet pepper, then dice it together with the gherkin. Mix them into the sour Cream.

Peel and chop the onion. Mix with ground meat, liver pâté, beer and spices. Spread this mixture on the white bread in a thick layer - it should preferably more than cover the crusts, as it will shrink when fried.

Brown the fat in a frying pan and fry the sandwiches, meat side down, on low heat. Turn the sandwiches and fry on the other side for a short while.

Put them on warm plates and decorate with lettuce leaves. Pour the sauce on top or serve it separately.




Friday, May 09, 2014

Prune Compote with Oranges - Katrinplommonkräm med apelsin

Katrinplommonkräm med apelsin

This type of thickened fruit soup is a very popular dessert in Sweden and we call it "kräm". It exists in practically any fruit taste there is and is mostly served with ice-cold milk. For this recipe you need dried, seedless prunes, also a very popular thing in this country.

Serves 4

1 package dried, seedles
prunes, good 1/3 lb
2 1/3 cups water
3 to 4 tbsp sugar
½ tbsp potato starch
good 3 tbsp water
2 oranges

Bring the prunes to a boil in the water. Let boil slowly for about 5 minutes and flavor with sugar. Stir the potato starch in some cold water, remove saucepan from heat and stir the thickening gently into the prunes. Put saucepan back on heat. Bring to a quick boil without stirring or the compote will be tough.

Cover and leave to cool completely.

Peel the oranges and cut the pulp in small pieces. Mix these into the cold compote.

Serve with cream or creamy milk.




Wine and Tomato Pork Chops - Fläskkotletter med tomat och vin

Fläskkotletter med tomat och vin

This is a suggestion on how to serve pork chops in a new and slightly more exciting way - let them simmer with tomatoes, wine and spices which makes them juicy and tender.

Serves 4

4 pork chops
2 tbsp oil, preferably olive oil
good 1/3 cup dry white wine
1 bay leaf
1 tsp paprika
1 garlic clove
2 tomatoes
freshly ground pepper

Brown the pork chops in hot oil in a frying pan. Remove from pan and keep warm.

Pour the wine in the frying pan and add bay leaf and paprika. Crush and add the garlic clove. Stir and reduce the gravy so that only half the amount remains. Remove the bay leaf.

Put the pork chops back in the pan. Rinse and dice the tomatoes. Put the tomatoes on top of the chops and flavor with pepper. Cover with a lid and leave to slowly simmer for about 10 minutes.



Scrumptious Raspberry Cake - Läcker hallontårta

Läcker hallontårta

Keep it simple, a world-famous chef once said, and that's often the best. To make this fantastic cake you don't need a lot of time or ingredients - just what you normally keep in your pantry plus some kind of jam.

Makes 1 cake

3½ oz butter or margarine
good 1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
butter or margarine plus
dried breadcrumbs for the
baking pan
good 1/3 cup raspberry jam

Stir fat and sugar until white and fluffy. Add the egg and stir vigorously. Mix flour with baking powder and stir this into the egg mixture.

Spread out about 3/4 of the dough in a greased, floured baking pan, diameter approx 9 in. Add the jam and put remaining dough in dollops on top of the jam. Bake in the oven at 400F for about 35 minutes or until done. Try with a stick.

Serve the cake with whipped cream or ice cream.

This cake is excellent for freezing whole and ready-made, so make several at a time and heat them up until crisp in the oven before serving.



Thursday, May 08, 2014

Here I am again! Welcome back to the blog!

Today it's May 8th, 2014, and lots of things have happened since I last wrote. The no doubt greatest of them all is that on March 18th I got my kidney transplant and now Fridolf, my new kidney, is living within me, helping me get back to normal and to get a new life. It takes time to get used to not having to go to dialysis 3 times a week, it takes time to get used to not having to take certain medicines, and it takes time to get used to TAKING some of the medicines - very strong immune suppressors (?) which can give me diabetes, heart problems and skin cancer. But if you compare it to having chronic kidney failure, it's a simple choice. I trust my luck and will do what I can to stay healthy. I've laid off all candy, soft drinks and such and only eat an occasional piece of cake, maybe once a week or less.

My idea now is to start writing recipes here again. I hope you will pop in here now and then to look at what I offer, and, as I've already said in the first blog entry, please bear with my home-made kitchen English ...

Love and hugs,