All posts tagged: scandinavian food

Meatballs or….meatballs?

We ate at this quirky little cafe and deli on the High Road in Beeston recently. Odin’s table is a new venture by a couple, one Swedish, one English who previously worked in IT. It had only been open a week when we stopped by, so still very much finding its feet. Having lived in Finland for several years, I was keen to try out a bit of Scandinavian food as (apart from Ikea…) there aren’t many opportunities to do so locally. The couple make all their own cakes and bread and meatballs. I love meatballs – and these were particularly delicious – and they were pretty much the only hot item on the menu. You could have the option of a bowl of 5 or 10 hot meatballs with Lingonberry or cold meatballs with bread or a beetroot salad, or an option for bread with Swedish Cheese, and then they had a range of Scandinavia cakes and bakes (and some vegan sausage options). I think you might say it is a fairly paired down …

LohiKeitto – that’s Finnish for a traditional, creamy, buttery, indulgent Salmon Soup.

To me, the best soup ever. As summer turned to Autumn overnight last week, as school started and there was a distinct nip in the air, I needed something comforting to herald the new season. I used to live in Finland and this soup was taught to me by an elderly Finnish lady who grew up in Lapland in the very north of the country, where calories are properly necessary to keep out the cold. This has them in abundance but don’t let that put you off. Just promise yourself an extra long run next week.     Traditional Finnish Salmon Soup (and home-made bread) (as usual, my measurements are a guide only – add to taste) 200g onions, 800g waxy potatoes, 150g Butter, 2 litres of Fish Stock, 6dl of double cream (I acutally used a bit more than this, well quite a bit more, as I love it), sea salt, a tiny pinch of all-spice, 4/5 Bay leaves, depending on size, 500g skinless and boneless salmon, loads of Fresh Dill to taste Method Simmer …

Italian Foods in a Leicester Market, oh, and a Plantagenet King.

Another beautiful day in Nottinghamshire, and time to venture out from the Kitchen, indeed out of the county. Oh yes. A family day out to our neighbouring county of Leicestershire to visit the Tomb of King Richard III. What an astonishing story that is, if you get chance, go see for yourself. After a fabulous lunch (more of that later) we spent a joyful afternoon exploring the sun-drenched food market in the city centre. What an unexpected pleasure it all was. What a glorious stall this was, cheeses, meats, olive oils and pastries…. oh and a rather attractive chap…….what more does one need in life (except wine, of course). This stall smelled of so many wonderful holidays in Italy. We couldn’t resist and bought loads. Of course. We also bought three types of sausage….. And some pastries…………. Well, loads of pastries, actually. And of course, I was too stuffed from lunch to eat these……………well almost.

Crayfish – Rapu

  The Crayfish is a thing of beauty, a small freshwater “lobster”. When, in the depths of the Finnish archipelago, I first came across  vast piles of  bright orange and ruby crayfish piled high on plates on wooden tables, glinting in the midsummer sun – the air mellow with the smell of the all-pervasive Dill that smothered the crayfish and fragranced their cooking broth, I was smitten. Washed down with ice-cold vodka and adorned with a bib to catch the juices we, a little inelegantly, sucked the tender meat our of the shells, the evenings were, quite literally, endless. Sadly, the lovely Finnish crayfish is becoming rarer and rarer and so are increasingly replaced by the larger Signal crayfish from north American and that, indeed, is the only one I  source here in England. For all its voracious takeover, however, the Signal is still a fabulous treat. And that brings me home. Our native White-Clawed Crayfish which inhabits many of our streams and small rivers in under severe threat from these rapacious North American Signals …

“Karjalanpiirakka” Finnish Karelian Pasties – a little indulgence from memories

I spent much of mid-Twenties in Finland. These tasty little pies were available in every supermarket and from street vendors, and there was little better than a hot Karjalanpiirakka clutched in your hands when it was -20 degrees C, well possibly beaten only by the deeply satisfying “lihapirrakka” (meat pasties) served by the vendor in Helsinki Harbour  – where the steam condensing in the freezing air from the little “kioski” was all but irresistible (I wonder if that stand is still there?). More of that another time. Anyway, Karelian Pasties were generally stuffed with a rice or potato mix, simple but so delicious. I recently acquired the fantastic “Mamushka” by Olias Hercules, and this inspired me to dig out my ancient Finnish Cookbook and have a go at recreating the pasties of my memories. There are regional variations in this traditional recipe, my version is posted in the recipe section. I don’t want to wish away this delightful Nottinghamshire spring, but the only thing missing from the recipe was the addition of a foot of …