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Archive for January, 2012

For many of us Swedes, IKEA has been a “life line” for food and many other Swedish things.  People probably never realized that IKEA is a very accurate picture of Sweden. We eat the meatballs, we sleep on the sheets, we burn the tea lights and we often end up buying napkins.

A while ago, IKEA decided to take away all the “non-IKEA” brands from their food department. There was an outburst of giant proportions. Protest organisations were started. Lists were signed. “No julmust” for christmas??? Are you kidding me?? (Julmust is the Swedish christmas soda. A mix between coca cola and beer.) “No ham??”, “No Kalle’s caviar??? “What happened to the Swedish chocolate??”…”Oh, nooooo!!!”

We were all shocked. How could they take away all our “stuff”??  I was reading in the newspaper, that IKEA has agreed to take some brands back. After all the protests, IKEA backed down!!!!  Hallelujah. This shows that the little (hungry) people can win!!! However, it is only for a short time, until IKEA has a full assortment of their own products in all stores.

I was there this past weekend, hoping they had gotten in the promised and valuable goods. But not yet… But make no mistake, it is like Arnold says, “I will be back!’

Here is one of my favorite things I do from something I always buy from IKEA. The shrimps.

Shrimp sandwich.

Shrimps. About a small handful peeled shrimps per person. These shrimps are the Greenland shrimps. Also called sweet shrimps or Main shrimps. You can also use salad shrimps.They must be cooked.  If you buy them un-peeled, just remember that after peeling them, you have about a third of shrimps left.

1 egg per person/ sandwich.

Lettuce.

Mayo.

Bread.  I prefer something more healthy with grains. But please use any kind you like.

Lemon.

Dill for decoration.

Directions:

Boil the eggs. 10 minutes to make them hardboiled. Peal and slice very thin. Preferably use an egg slicer.

Take the bread. Butter it. Add lettuce leaves. Add 1/2 – 1 tbsp of mayo onto center of sandwich. It is working as “glue” to keep the egg from “sliding off”. Add the egg. Keep it in an “egg shape” or as close to it as possible.

Poor over the shrimps. A small handful of peeled shrimps or as many as you want.

Add a sprig of dill on the top for decoration. Cut a lemon into wedges and add to plate next to shrimp sandwich.

Add some cracked pepper on top.

Enjoy.

On the below photos… Shrimps & smoked salmon, herring, coffee, cheese, cinnamon buns, jam…



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Go for the hot sauce!!!

My mother in law taught me how to do the best hot sauce ever.  She just never told me to wear rubber gloves and preferably not to touch the suckers!!   The first time I made hot sauce, I touched the suckers.

I didn’t have a food processor or blender at the time, so I hand chopped a whole big bag full of Habanero & Scotch Bonnet peppers. Great, some of the hottest kinds known to mankind… Half way through chopping, my left hand that held on to the peppers (while the right hand kept chopping), started to go a little numb. After a while it felt as if it was dead. I couldn’t almost move it. Since I wasn’t done with the chopping, I had to suffered through it .

All well that ends well. My hand was numb for almost a week and  I seriously thought I had damaged some nerves in my hand forever. But it got all well again. Thank god for that. So please, don’t chop massive amounts of hot peppers by hand!! All is well now and  I have become a “mean hot sauce making machine.”

Hot sauce can be varied after your own mood and tolerance.

If you don’t like the hot sauce to be very hot, use mild peppers or season peppers. You can also “calm it down” by adding regular sweet peppers.If you really like it hot, use any kind. I actually use a medley of anything and everything. Both hot and mild peppers.

There is a fantastic website     http://www.chileplants.com/    (Cross country Nurseries)  where I now buy most of my pepper plants. You decide the delivery time in the spring and they all come nicely boxed up. Very convenient I must say. They also sell eggplant & tomato plants.

I have a backyard where I grow lot’s of things in the summer. But you don’t have to have a backyard to be a great gardener, plant some in a container or a pot. Outside in the summer or inside in the winter.

Hot sauce.

2 cups of hot peppers (Any kind of your own choice)

1/2 cup of white vinegar.

2 tbsp dry herbs. (Any of your favorite kinds.)

1 tsp mustard. Dry or powder.

(My mother in law puts a little turmeric into her sauce for the color, but I don’t.)

1 tsp  of oil (I use olive oil or whatever I have in the house.)

1/2 tsp  of salt.

Pour all ingredients into a blender. (The blender makes it more smooth. A food processor makes it a little corse, but is ok.)

Blend all together well. A little longer if you are not sure. if it is done.  Make  sure it is smooth.

Poor into bottles or jars.

Optional;

1 tsp ground cinnamon or 1/2 tsp ground cardamom or 1/2 green mango, well chopped. Not at the same time though. You can vary your hot sauce as you want. Anything goes.

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Ok, I confess…..

If you ask me to recommend a good book, I probably would give you a cookbook. If I go on vacation, I would rather go to the food markets than seeing the sites. If you tell me about your day, I might ask you what you ate…

I know, I’m a FOODIE!!

I love food. I never really thought about it much as me being a foodie, but if you always talk about food and relate to life in general by adding on experiences with  food, I guess you just have to face it. You are a foodie. Nothing wrong with that.

But in my defense, this is how I grew up.

My mother worked with food her whole life. I was around pots and pans from an early age. My mother always cooked everything from scratch. She baked, she cooked, she pickled, she made preserves….. She did it all. How can you not be affected by that?

I actually didn’t realize that not everybody knew how to cook.

Not everybody buys a whole fish, cleans it , fillet it and then makes a little “something..something” with it.

Salmon mousse & Gravlax.

Salmon mousse. 

Ingredient:

1/2 lb. of smoked salmon for mousse

(1/2 lb. of smoked salmon for lining the bowls for the mousse. Can be eliminated.)

1/2 lb. fresh salmon

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 Lemon

3-6 black pepper corn

1 bay leaf

Dill for decoration

A couple of bowls or containers to use for pouring the mousse into.

Directions:

Add the fresh salmon to a pot of water. Add pepper corns, bay leaf and squeeze half the lemon into the water. Throw in the peal. Let the water just cover the salmon. Let it come to a boil. Let the salmon boil for about 2 minutes. Turn off the heat. Let the salmon cool in the water. While the salmon is cooling down, put the smoked salmon in a food processor. Grind it down. Make sure it becomes more of a thick paste. (Add a little heavy cream if it is too thick to grind.) When the boiled salmon has cooled down a little, add it to the smoked salmon in the food processor. Break off the meat. Make sure not to add any bones or spices. Just the boiled salmon flesh. Mix together. Pour in a couple of tea spoons of the heavy cream so that the salmon paste can mix. (At this point, the mixture is a little thick.) When the two salmon kinds are well mixed, pour mixture into a bowl. Squeeze a little of the lemon juice into salmon mixture. Add in non whipped heavy cream. Use a spatular, and “fold” in the cream. Keep adding until the salmon paste is feeling less thick and lumpy. It should feel more as a smoothie in the consistency.

Take slices of smoked salmon and line the inside of a bowl or container. (This can be eliminated. If you prefer to pour mousse directly into bowls, use plastic wrap as liner. This will make it easier to remove mousse from bowl.)

I usually make a couple of smaller bowls then just one big one. (You can easily freeze any extra little container of mousse.) When inside walls are well covered, pour in mixture to center of bowl. Fill almost all the way up to edges of the smoked salmon “lining.” Cover with plastic wrap and let cool down and settle, in the fridge. It is great if the salmon mousse can sit over night in. When mousse has stiffened up, turn mold upside down onto a plate. Decorate with a sprig of dill. 

I usually decorate with dill around the salmon mousse. Another more “festive” or spectacular decoration is to dissolve some gelatin into white whine. See directions on gelatin package. Let it stiffen up in the fridge. When the whine has become a gelatin, use a fork and “scrape” it out of the bowl. This will look like crushed ice. If you spread the “ice” around the salmon mousse, it will look absolutely fantastic.

The salmon mousse absolutely melts in your mouth. It is very nice to drink some “bubbly” to it.

It is always nice to add a small frozen strawberry or raspberry into the glass.

My mother used to love this one food magazine “All about food”. She had stacks and stacks of them. You know, how people collect things….My mother collected these magazines. I all of a sudden noticed in my 30’s or so, that I started having little piles of the same magazine. Hm…. What about that apple again??

When I was little, I remember my grandmother calling on the phone talking about  what she had eaten that day. Things like a “fantaaastic sandwich. With an absolutely looovely piece of ham and gorgeous vegetables.”

So, if this is how you grow up, no wonder you become the same.

And it isn’t just me. My 2 brothers both cook. My sister does too. We all have our food pantries stacked. Just like mom. “In case you can’t get to the store.” Or, “In case there is an emergency.” But do you need enough food to last for  months???  When my husband and I moved into our house, I told him we absolutely had to build a food pantry in the basement. We also needed to have an extra freezer down there. “Just in case.”

Keeping in mind, I have been damaged by my environment” , it now means that I don’t bake a cake using a box mix. I don’t buy a frozen dinner. Even if it promises on the box to taste “Exactly like home-made!”

I love having dinner parties and BBQ’s for friends and family.  It is a great time to try new things and revisit old favorites. I started working on a cookbook. While testing recipes on people, I found that I actually liked giving tips on cooking, teaching and recommending. I have been pushing this one person to write a food blog, not even thinking that I actually should write one myself. I just happened to look in to it, and liked the idea.

So, I would love to welcome you to my food blog.

I will share recipes and food experiences with all of you.

Since I am a Swede, and there is a favorite Swedish dessert, let me share that with you.

                                              Swedish pancakes.

Or “Svenska pannkakor” as we say at home.

Makes about 12-14 pancakes

Ingredient:

2 cups of milk

1 cup of flower

1 large egg

1 pinch of salt

butter for frying (or oil if you do not like butter).

1 1/2 cup of fruits or berries. Use any kind or your favorites.

1-3 tbsp. of brown sugar.

1 sprig of mint for decoration

Directions:

Mix the flower, milk and salt well in a bowl. Make sure there are no lumps. Add the egg. Mix well. Put the batter aside and let it rest.

Take 1/2 of the rinsed fruits and berries. Add to a pan. Add sugar. One table spoon at a time.

Be sure to taste so that it doesn’t get too sweet. Simmer on low/ medium heat. Let the fruit and berries melt down creating a syrup. This will take about 10 minutes or so.. Depending on what kind of fruit or berries you are using. If you need to cook longer, do so. You can also prepare this ahead of time.

When you have a nice syrupy juice, take off the heat. Use a sift to press out the last precious drops of your syrup. Use the back of a spoon to gently press down the fruit /berry mixture. 

Heat up a frying pan/ skillet on medium high heat. Add a teaspoon of butter to pan. Use butter/oil to every other pancake. Add one ladle full of batter to the frying pan. Pour it into the center of pan. Make sure the batter distributes well into edges. You do this by lifting the pan up and swirling it slowly. Some flours thickens up more then others. If you feel the batter is a little too thick, just “thin out” with a slightly bit of milk. 

You know the pancake is ready when it is starting to “dry up” on the surface and when the edges are starting to turn golden brown. Use a “turner” to lift up the pancake and flip it onto the other side. It takes less time on the second side of the pancake to brown. When ready, fold in half and the fold the half into a quarter. Lift onto platter. Decorate with berries or fruit. Poor on the syrup. Decorate with a sprig of mint.

Some people loves to eat some whipped cream to the pancakes. You could also sprinkle over some powdered sugar. It looks very pretty.

Enjoy.

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