An other thing that hit me this morning was that I have never seen non dairy coffee creamer in Sweden (there might be, but I don’t know).
Swedes drink a lot of milk… Therefor there are fewer lactose intolerant people in Sweden compared to other countries (I have read some research on this topic). Milk is a common beverage when you eat among all ages (it used to be even more popular, but I have noticed that many adults today prefer other beverages).
In the past when you were offered tea or coffee you were offered cream (it was more exclusive back then), but today it is almost always milk that people use with their coffee or tea.
Yesterday I was going to buy popcorn and there were rows and rows of different flavours (in Orlando, FL). In Sweden there are two, salted or buttered (and not the butter oil they pump over the popcorn bowl, it is more like a flavoured salt usually).
To me caramel or any other kind of sweet popcorn is just wierd… I love the bacon cheddar flavour though!!!! 🙂
Pie is something most Swedes like to bake/eat in summer. Especially now when many types of berries are ripe. Today my cousin walked in with a pint of blueberries and asked if I could make a pie. Since I am fond of both blueberries and pie I said yes!!
The most common type of pie is crumble, it is also very easy to do. I didn’t want the ordinary crumble today so I used ground almonds instead of wheatflour, and added some oatflakes (to get a bit of crunch), vanilla sugar, butter and also a little bit of roasted oatflour.
The roasted oatflour is called “skrädmjöl” and is very special for the county “Värmland”, it is used in many different types of bread and cakes but the most famous thing with this flour must be the “nävgröt” (= fist porrige, because you ate it with your hand) or “Motti o fläsk” which basically is a lumpy (dry) porrige that you serve with unsmoked fried bacon and lingonberry jam (you also pour some of the frying fat over the food to make it less dry). Despite the sound of this the dish is actually really good.
And so was the pie I made! 🙂
Swedes are well known for their “fika”, there is even a coffee shop in New York named Fika (I heard from others that the only Swedish thing there was the foto wallpaper with a view over Stockholm. The coffee tasted like any other American coffee and the cinnamon roll was big and dry. Why would I want to go there when I can find a Starbucks in every other corner). 😉
Any way, Swedes are very fond of buns and rolls filled with cinnamon, vanilla, pistachio, apples….
It is very traditional and common to have some kind of bun when you invite someone for a cup of coffee “fika”, and you can find them in every bakery and coffee shop in Sweden (they even sell them in gas stations).
With this recipe you can bake your own delicious cinnamon buns (or rolls if you want that).
100-150 g melted butter (warm)
5 dl milk (full-cream)
50 g yeast (if dry yeast is used it has to correspond with 50g fresh)
1 dl sugar
1,5 tsp vanilla sugar
0,5 tsp salt
1-1,3 dl wheatflour
Add the milk to the butter and then let the yeast dissolve, mix everything but the salt and 4 dl of the flour. (Beat the dough for about 10 min. Add flour until the dough feels good and releases from the bowl a bit). Add the salt, work the dough for about a minute. Allow the dough to rise for 45-60 min.
Pour the dough onto a table (with some flour on), divide it into two halves). Flatten one half at a time and spread soft butter on it. Sprinkle sugar, cinnamon and vanilla sugar over (make sure it is covered).
If you want to make rolls just roll it up like a Swiss roll and cut pieces about three cm thick. Place them in paper cups (you can also put them on a bakning tray but they will be flatter and bigger then).
If you want buns just fold the dough once and then cut slices about three cm thick, cut each slice again but not all the way up so that it lookes a bit like a pair of pants. Twirl the two “legs” around eachother and then swing the bun together a bit like a knot. (Practise makes perfect).
Let them rise 40 min., brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with some sugar (big crystals).
Bake approx. 5-8 min. until dark golden brown, in 250 Celcius = 482 F (according to Google).
It can’t all be about food 😉
The Swedish summer is quite short (June-August), but the days are looooong sometimes there is light 24/7 (and in the north you can see the midnight sun). July is the month when most people finally get their vacation, up to five weeks, (the thing everyone has waited for a whole year…).
Swedish summer is all about nature, being free, and relaxing. Common activities are going to the summer cottage, boating, swimming (even if the water sometimes is cold…), hiking, canoeing, riding day trails, eating, relaxing and sightseeing etc. Many also take the opportunity to go abroad (this is the most expensive period to travel to and from Sweden, mainly because families can travel because the children are free from school from mid June until mid August).
Personally I feel that this is the best time to be in Sweden (but even I go abroad sometimes despite all the beauty here)…
It should really have been a strawberry cake (typical summer cake), but I felt that rasberries and lemon worked better. (Besides, the strawberry season is almost over).
Anyhow… In Sweden cakes normally have three layers and the bottom filling is usually a thick custard, next filling is often jam, jam/whipped cream or sliced berries/whipped cream. On top of the cake (and on the side) is almost always whipped cream. No icing, as in many other countries. This makes the Swedish cakes taste very natural and you can taste the berries or fruit (in my opinion, have to admit I am a bit biased though) 🙂
Sometimes cakes are covered with marzipan (usually green or pink).
Of course if you want to be very creative, and want your cake to look like a piece of art, you might have to use sugar paste…. (Not that it will improve the taste though)
Sponge cake recipe (sorry for the use of the metric system, but it is easy to thansform with some help from Google)
2 dl sugar
1 dl potato flour
1 dl wheat flour
3 tsp bakning soda
Beat the eggs and sugar very fluffyand fold in the rest of the ingredients (make sure to keep the fluffyness). Pour it into a tin. Bake in 175 degrees Celcius = 347 F for 45-50 min. (Test it so that it is not sticky inside). Remove it from the tin and let it cool. Cut the layers, fill it and decorate!
This is a very common type of meat on the Swedish BBQ (or at least it used to be, but still common). It is called “Flintastek” (=Flintstone steak), a thick slice from the ham with bone and everything. Not a very expensive piece of meat and perfect when you are many (they are always big…). Usually served with a side of salads.
Although it was a couple of weeks ago it feels wrong to start a blog about Swedish food culture on any other note than the Swedish midsummer celebration…. Known to non Swedes as an evening when the sun never sets, everyone has flowers in their hair and the alcohol is flowing….
This however is not the full truth about the holiday.
It is true that it never gets dark (although the sun is only seen in the northern parts at night, during the summer), we do have a lot of flowers, a May pole, music/singing, dancing, social games and usually some alcohol (of course some drink more than others).
BUT the most important ingredient to the midsummer celebration is the food! It is very common with a buffé (a smörgåsbord) including different kinds of pickled herring, sour cream with chives, egg halves, anchovi/potato gratain, potatos with dill, smoked, poached and/or cured salmon (lax) with sauces, cold meat (ham, turkey, elk, deer etc.) and sausages, potato sallad, BBQ, salads, strawberry cake and some kind of pie (in my family always rubarb) with custard.