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Enjoy a traditional Scandinavian Smorgasbord this Christmas.
In our recent blog post about all things Hygge, I mentioned how my time in Norway had shaped my love of creating a cosy and welcoming home. Well, it also gave me a love of entertaining, cooking and dinner parties. In this blog post, I want to share with you some of my favourite Scandinavian recipes and dinner party ideas. In true Hygge style, the dinner table should be a relaxing place to sit and share in the company of friends or family. Light candles, place cushions on the chairs, have throws to wrap up in should it be cold outside and use low lighting.
One of my favourite Scandinavian style meals is a smorgasbord and Christmas isn’t the same in Sweden or Norway without one.
Rödbetsallad Apple and Beetroot Salad
Prep time: 10 mins
Total time: Original recipe: Bronte Aurell
- 1 jar of pickled beetroot 300g (drained weight approx. 280g)
- ½ apple
- 50g Mayonnaise
- 50g Crème fraiche
- Squeeze of lemon juice
- Salt, pepper
- 1 tbs chopped chives (optional)
- Drain the beetroot well and cut into bitesized pieces.
- Peel and cut the apple into similar sized pieces.
- Mix the beetroot and apple in a bowl, add mayonnaise and crème fraiche and stir. You are looking for a good creamy consistency and a medium pink colour (if the beetroot is not drained properly, you will get a runny consistency).
- Season to taste (add sugar if using a tart variety of pickled beetroot). Add more mayo and crème fraiche, if a creamier salad is desired.
- The colour of the salad will go darker once it sets. Leave to set in the fridge for a few hours or even overnight. If it goes too dark, just add a bit more crème fraiche or mayonnaise just before serving. If using chives, add chopped on top before serving.
This is simply put, cured salmon. But originally it was known as buried salmon when the fish was put in holes in the snow and covered in salt to preserve it. Nowadays, we have different methods, but it is a simple and quick process and some say ‘a very calming process to carry out in the kitchen.’ Couldn’t we all do with some of that during this busy festive period. Dill and pepper are the main flavours to focus on when making Gravadlax.
Recipe – thanks to the Guardian.
1 side of salmon (about 1kg)
1 tbsp peppercorns (black or white, depending on preference)
70g caster sugar
50g coarse sea salt
Serve with dill mustard sauce:
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp soft light brown sugar
2 tbsp cider or white wine vinegar
Pinch of salt
2 tbsp vegetable oil
50g dill, stalks removed and finely chopped
If you want to be super safe, freeze the salmon for 24 hours, then defrost before starting the curing process. This will kill any parasites present.
Trim any thin bits from the sides and tail end of the fillet to make it into a even rectangle – this may seem a waste, but thinner bits will over cure and be inedible, so it’s better to eat them now.
Crush the peppercorns in a pestle and mortar, then mix with the sugar and salt. Roughly chop the dill. Put one of the fillets, skin-side down, in a dish and put half the dill on top, followed by the salt and sugar mix. Finish with the remaining dill, then put the other piece of fillet on top, skin-side up.
Put a small board or lid on the dish, weight it down with something heavy, and chill for 48 hours, turning the fillet over every 12 hours or so.
To make the mustard sauce, whisk together the mustard, sugar and vinegar. Add a pinch of salt, then whisk in the vegetable oil. Add the dill.
Scrape the cure from the fish. Slice and serve with the sauce.
Both the Beetroot salad and the Gravadlax isn’t the same unless it is served with Knäckebröd. You can buy this is most supermarkets, but it’s also very easy to make at home.
Knäckebröd: Swedish crispbread.
Recipe from Nigel Slater – https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2010/may/16/nigel-slater-recipes-crispbread
Makes 12 crispbreads the size of a side plate
400g rye flour
1 tsp fine sea salt
10g fresh yeast
Put the flour into a large bowl and add the salt. Warm the water to about 22C (if you don’t have a thermometer get the water pleasantly warm).
Crumble the yeast into the water and whisk until the water is milky and has virtually dissolved.
Pour the yeast mixture into the flour and stir. The result will be sticky, stiff and wet. Cover the bowl with clingfilm or a cloth and leave in a warm place for an hour, during which time it will rise a little. Don’t expect the rise to be as voluminous as with white dough – it should just be a little puffed up.
Line a baking sheet – or better still, two – with baking parchment. (You will need to bake these large breads in batches.) Set the oven at 200C/gas mark 6.
Roll out about a 12th of the dough into a rough disc the size of a side plate. It will be difficult to roll, so you might like to do this on the baking sheet rather than on the work surface. You can cut the edges using a plate as a template if you wish, though I tend to leave mine rough. Pierce the surface of the dough all over with holes, using a fork or skewer. Bake for 15-18 minutes until the bread is truly crisp. Remove and continue with the rest of the dough. Once cool, the bread will keep in a biscuit tin for a few days.
To add to the breads
Put a pinch of pumpkin seeds, nigella, sesame seeds, anise or caraway seeds into each piece of dough as you roll it, then scatter a further pinch on top before baking, pressing it down lightly with the back of a spoon.
Enjoy your festive Scandinavian smorgasbord! A great time to enjoy this light feast is on Christmas Eve, before the traditional Christmas Day turkey and trimmings.