DUE NORTH

Gourmet Traveller (Australia) - - Oct -

Mag­nus Nils­son cel­e­brates the com­fort­ing food and bak­ing tra­di­tions of his Nordic her­itage.

Some years ago I wrote a book about Nordic food. The Nordic Cook­book is a doc­u­men­tary book in the sense that the recipes weren’t my own – I sim­ply col­lected and com­piled them in a way that made it pos­si­ble for peo­ple to un­der­stand and use them. An im­por­tant aspect of that was to make the recipes and my own food cul­ture un­der­stand­able to those who didn’t grow up in the Nordics. Most peo­ple never see past the flurry of recipes and vari­a­tions of a hand­ful of dishes such as gravlax, herrings and meat­balls. Or ar­ti­cles about very am­bi­tious Nordic restau­rants like my own (Fäviken), which are all fan­tas­tic at what they do, but don’t re­flect the food cul­ture of peo­ple in­side their homes. I wanted to help peo­ple to eas­ily gain a deeper in­sight into what we eat in this re­gion and hope­fully by do­ing so, in­spire many to cook dishes from the re­gion.

The Nordic Bak­ing Book is very much a con­tin­u­a­tion. I wanted it to be a snap­shot of what peo­ple ac­tu­ally bake to­day. I de­cided to in­clude any­thing and ev­ery­thing that in­tu­itively made sense to me to have it there, as long as peo­ple in the Nordics cooked or baked it, and as long as it served a pur­pose for the book.

It con­tains pretty much all the dishes of the Nordic re­gion con­tain­ing grains: from por­ridge to pasties, as well as recipes for breads, cakes, cook­ies and pas­tries. But it also pro­vides you with all the in­for­ma­tion nec­es­sary to un­der­stand why those recipes are ac­tu­ally im­por­tant to us. It also in­cludes the sup­port­ing recipes you need to make ev­ery part of the dishes and recipes de­scribed through­out the book.

Be­cause of this ap­proach, there is a whole chap­ter on mak­ing jams and cor­dials, as well as a large ba­sic sec­tion that tells you how to make pas­try cream and choco­late sauce, and all kinds of things that aren’t strictly bak­ing but which are re­ferred to and used in many of the dishes in the book. It should re­ally be called The Nordic Grain-dishes-bak­ing-pasties-pas­tries-desserts-sweets-jams-and­cor­dials-and-any­thing-else-vaguely-as­so­ci­ated-with-the-afore­men­tioned­sub­jects Book. Imag­ine the poor de­signer com­mis­sioned to fig­ure out what the cover would look like.

I hope that you read the book and that you bake and cook from it. That you dare to make the recipes your own and not just fol­low the in­struc­tions but adapt them to your pref­er­ences and the cir­cum­stances in which you live.

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