The most famous of all Swedish dishes is probably meatballs and potatoes (boiled or mashed) with a cream sauce and lingonberry jam. Every IKEA serve it as standard food. But homemade is the best!!! Especially if it is made from moose😉
There is no standard recipe, everyone has their own way of making meatballs, but the most common ingredients are:
Minced meat (beef), chopped onions, breadcrumbs (half a cup or so, some also add half a cup of full cream), an egg to bind it together, salt and pepper. Mix it and form small balls, fry them in butter and put them in a bowl. Pour half a cup of water into the frying pan (don’t clean it), add a cup of full cream, a few drops of soy sauce and let it simmer for a while. Taste it and add salt/pepper. Put the meatballs in the sauce to warm them up. Serve with boiled potatoes and lingonberry jam.
A common game on midsummer is “Kubb”. You stand on opposite sides and have two rows of small logs standing in front of you. In the middle you have a bigger log called the king. The purpose of the game is to throw a stick and knock down your opponents small logs, and then the king before your opponent has done the same to you. 👑
And now it’s time for rhubarb pie and vanilla custard. 😉
Glad (pronounced with a long a as in armour) Påsk (the å is pronounced a bit like the O in lock)
During Easter Swedes eat a lot of eggs (a newspaper wrote 2000 tons, and the total population is only around 9,3 millions….). But not only ordinary eggs are common, a very common gift is an Easter egg which is a paper or plastic egg filled with candy (the sizes vary from 3 inches to 2 feet).
Other common food is cured salmon, roasted lamb, pickled herring (or any other food you will find on a normal Swedish buffet, just like on Midsummer). The big difference is that you find painted/colorful eggs and a lot of yellow (i.e. yellow marzipan on the cake etc).
There is also a tradition to have decorated Easter twigs with feathers and eggs or small witches.
For children it is all about dressing up (often like a witch or monster), walk around the neighborhood to give away paintings called Easter letters and receive candy (a bit like trick-or-treating).
Easter is mostly about having a few days off from work (the holiday is from Friday to Monday) and spending it with your family. Some visit church to attend mass, not many (but a few more than just a regular Sunday).
I pimped the twigs this Easter by spraying copper paint on them.
The perfect Swedish egg waffle 🙂 with whipped cream and strawberry jam. Many will have a waffle dinner or lunch (waffles are not breakfast food in Sweden)
3 eggs, 1 cup milk, 1 cup flour (depends on the consistency of the batter), 2 tbs melted butter
The steak has to be frozen!!!
Turn the oven on 167 F and then put the frozen steak (you can do more than one at a time) on the rack, I also put something at the bottom of the oven to collect all the fluid.
After approximately three hours I insert my steak thermometer into the meat (if it is soft enough) then I wait many hours until it shows 140 F = the meat will be red / 158 F the meat will be pink / 167 F it is well done. At the end of the cooking time start with the next step (the seasoning). Mix 0,5L (approx. one pint) water, 15 crushed juniper berries, 1 dl (0,5 cup) salt and 2 tsp crushed black pepper. Boil it for three minutes let it cool a little. Take the steak out of the oven and put it into the salty fluid. (Make sure it is covered. Let it rest for 5 hours. DONE!!! Keep it in the fridge. Slice thin slices and serve cold with i.e. Potato gratin or put it in your sandwich.
As I started with, it takes some time, but it is well worth it!! Just try.
It can be done with any type of meat.
In Sweden it is called “Tjälknul” [tjaelknul] 🙂
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.