Friday, April 29

Happy Hour

It's after five o'clock so of course I have on my evening wear and a cocktail in hand.  Today's happy hour is made especially chirpy by a Pimm's Cup variation:

2 oz Pimms
3 oz ginger ale
1 lemon slice

Pour the Pimms over ice into a tall glass, then pour on the chilled ginger ale and top it with a slice of lemon.  Refreshing!

Leftover Scones

Leftover scones with aged cheddar and marmalade for a snack.

Cherry Blossoms at Kungsträdgården

Yesterday was a lovely sunny day; we took advantage of it and walked down town to Kungsträdgården to see the cherry blossoms. It seemed like all of Stockholm was there enjoying them too!

My new shoes, Swedish Hasbeens! (from Grandpa here in Södermalm)

Scones and Lemon Curd

Scones with homemade lemon curd and tea for a sunny breakfast!  I made the lemon curd to add to a lemon chiffon pie but I'm afraid the scones got to it first. Oh well, I'll just have to make more...
Is there any sunnier food than lemon curd though? Add it to quick scones and it's a guaranteed good mood!

Cream Scones (from America's Test Kitchen Cookbook)

2 cups flour
3 tbs sugar
5 tbs cold butter
1 cup cream
1 tbs baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
pearl sugar

  • Preheat the oven to 425F/220C.
  • Sift together the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder.  Cut in the butter with either and electric mixer, a pastry cutter or your hands (if you haven't a mixer I think it's easiest to use your hands, I did!).  Mix in the cream until all the dry bits are gone then turn the dough out onto a work surface and knead for a moment or two to make sure everything is evenly mixed. 
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment. Press the dough into a cake pan and then turn out onto the baking sheet.  I like to make them in a round like this. Now cut all the way across, then cut across again and again til you have eight pieces.  Sprinkle with pearl sugar and bake for 15 minutes or til lightly browned at the edges. 

A sweet and tart way to start the day!

Tuesday, April 26

On the windowsill

Today I had rice pudding for dinner, it's such a comfort.

Belated Easter Dinner

On monday we had a roast lamb Easter dinner, it was lovely.  I used a Jamie Oliver recipe (link) but couldn't get the cut of meat he used (shoulder bone in) so I had to change it a little. I used a boneless leg, which I know is very different.  The recipe called for 4-5 hours of cooking but I cooked my roast for 2 hours and it was just right.  I coated in in olive oil, salt/pepper, sat it on top of rosemary and garlic and put it in the oven at 450 F but turned the heat down immediately to 350F.  Since it was a leaner cut of meat I used a lot of olive oil and intermittently spooned the pan juices over it.  And that was it, simple and excellent!

 We left the apartment for a walk and I felt like I was leaving a baby unattended, the lovely smell when we got home was worth it though. Oh, roasted garlic, I love you.

Next up was an asparagus and cheddar tart (link):

This was very simple as well. The dough is defrosted puff pastry, which is perhaps the most convenient thing ever.  I tossed the asparagus in olive oil, salt and pepper; shaved some cheddar and made an egg wash to coat the edges.  It baked at 400 for 20 minutes and that was it.  The tart was light and crunchy with that lovely moist, buttery centre that puff pastry has, and the asparagus and aged cheddar were a perfect combination.  The sharpness of the cheddar nicely contrasted with the mild asparagus.  And it was quite satisfyingly pretty to make!

Lastly we had the mashed potatoes and carrots, and the gravy (with capers!) from the Jamie Oliver recipe.
And to top all this off we drank Pimms with a french sparkling lemonade, such a refreshing combination!  We're going to be taking some on a picnic this weekend; I'm going to mix the Pimms with strawberries, apples, cucumber and lemon slices in a bottle and then bring a couple bottles of the lemonade so we can mix them when we get there.  I'm in such a picnic mood just thinking of it!

We cooked to sunny sixties pop, the pastel sounds of bubblegum pop always make me think of Easter eggs!

Monday, April 25

A really good sandwich

Breakfast on a park bench

Devilled Eggs and Filmhuset

On Sunday we ate devilled eggs (an Easter imperative) and then went to see The Sound of Music, which was playing at Filmhuset here.  Filmhuset is really cool, they play old and obscure and odd movies.  They have an Alien marathon coming up, I won't be attending that but me and my new membership card will be going to see Vertigo (my favourite Kim Novak movie) and I'm Not There soon. 

Saturday, April 23

Evening walk

My Swedish Easter

We had a Swedish Easter dinner today and oh my goodness am I full!  Our menu was: Gravlax, two types of pickled herring (one with caviar and sour cream) and crackers, meatballs, rodbets salad, Johnsons Frestle, fried mini sausages and then coffee and biskvier. Phew!
It was marvelous though, it's so nice to have such a variety of food. And of course the leftovers...

Gravlax is salmon cured in sugar, salt and dill.  I don't much care for smoked salmon so I wasn't sure about this but I like gravlax much, much better. It's mild and a little sweet. Very delicate. We may eat the leftovers with potato salad tomorrow, I am particularly looking forward to that!

The meatballs were made with a mix of pork and beef, two eggs, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper and quickly fried in oil and butter.  You really can't go wrong there!

Johnsons Frestle is a lovely combination of potatoes, cream, onions, butter, anchovies and breadcrumbs. Our apartment seems to have trapped that smell but I can't say I mind too much.  The potatoes are cut into french fry shapes then layered with the other ingredients sort of like scalloped potatoes, and the whole thing is roasted in the oven til it's crunchy on top and soft and buttery inside.  The anchovies make it wonderfully salty too.

All together:

And according to my boyfriend Easter isn't complete without a particular soda named Påskmust. I have to say, I can see his point.  It's not very sweet so it's very refreshing to drink with such a heavy meal.  For me a holiday isn't a holiday without a cocktail so I attempted one with Swedish punsch (to stay on theme).  It wasn't a marvelous success but we managed to drink it anyways. Maybe I'll fiddle with the recipe a cocktails usually start to taste better about three deep.

Swedish Punch Cocktail:
 2 oz swedish punsch
1 oz vodka
dash of cassis
dash of lemon juice

 I served it over ice which was good because it was rather too sweet at first (for me at least).

We're taking a break tomorrow from cooking (leftovers!) and then on monday we're going to have my traditional Easter dinner; roast lamb, asparagus tart, lemon chiffon pie.  And probably more påskmust.

Easter Lilies

Just about ready to bloom!

Friday, April 22

The Grandpa


I made it to Wijnja's Ostkällare here in Stockholm, it's pretty great.  Wijnja's is sort of a garage filled with cheese, every kind of cheese, so much cheese. And cheap! We left with enough for the next month (though I'm sure it won't last that long..). I just couldn't stop adding things to the basket when I noted the prices.  Honestly, it was a mere fraction of what I've paid for the same cheeses here in Södermalm.  Yes, that was a lovely afternoon.

This is Langres. It's a cows milk cheese from the Champagne region of France.  It's very pungent, really quite stinky.  But the smellier cheese is the better, right?  Certainly in this case anyways.  It has a soft crumbly inside and a creamy ring surrounds that which is coated by a soft orange rind.  It came in the lovely little basket pictured, we thought it was decorative but found that it's more practical; as soon as you cut the cheese it starts to spread outwards like it's melting.  We ate it with a little bit of pear and jasmine tea jam on top. I thought this was marvelous though those very serious about cheese may find me rather unsophisticated.

And with all this we had a Belgian cherry beer (Timmermans).  I like these fruity Belgian beers. I've only ever had strawberry before, which I liked but would probably be too sweet to go well with this meal. The cherry beer was almost a little bitter which suited the cheese very nicely indeed.


Going to Ikea in Sweden, super swedish.  Why is everything so cheap? I'm pretty sure if I could carry it back home on the subway I would buy the whole Ikea store.  The pinnacle of their bargains must be their hotdogs though, 4 SEK.  That's about 60 cents. And they're still great! Especially after hours blindly following arrows and wandering through the maze that is Ikea.

Also they're chokladbollar are really good. They don't taste quite as you'd expect, they have oats in them and are less sweet than they look.  It reminded me of the topping for an oatmeal crisp when it's raw which I loved as a kid.

Wednesday, April 20

Strawberry Cinnamon Oatmeal

Strawberries and cinnamon are such a homey combination.  I love it especially in oatmeal smothered with cream and brown sugar. I always cook my oatmeal with milk too, not water, a bit of butter and salt.  It's oatmeal, it's already a healthy way to start the day, I can enjoy it and feel I'm making responsible choices. Then cover those choices with cream and sugar. But honestly, strawberries and cinnamon, brown sugar and cream? Irresistible.

Tuesday, April 19

Lazy chocolate croissants

Making croissants from scratch is no simple task and when I want croissants I usually want them immediately, not the next day when the dough is finally ready.  So my solution is to fake it with frozen puff pastry that I roll into croissants, popping a piece of chocolate on the long side before I roll them up.  We used milk chocolate here instead of the dark and I topped it with an egg wash and pearl sugar.  An easy standby that kids especially are impressed by. They might even get out of bed in the morning without prompting if these are promised. That's a pretty big might though.

Apple, bacon and cheddar frittata

Anything that combines apple, bacon and cheddar is bound to be good and this was no exception. It also looks lovely and intricate, which really it is not.  So if you want to seduce and impress someone I might recommend this. It went quite perfectly with the movie Inception, there's nothing complex about a frittata. The sugar in the apples caramelized a little so it had a crunchy sweet crust and we actually used a combination of appenzeller and cheddar so it was tangy, sweet and bacony.  Great!

Monday, April 18