From a Midsummer smörgåsbord to Fika, the taste of a Scandinavian summer is filled with delicious flavours
After a long and dark winter, the Scandinavian summer is a specially happy occasion when food becomes a celebration of colour. Abundant produce from fields and forests are used to concoct the most delicious treats. In London, we can have a taste of this cuisine thanks to Danish cook and author Brontë Aurell who runs the ScandiKitchen Café together with her Swedish husband Jonas. The café specialises in Nordic seasonal cuisine and traditions from Sweden, Denmark and Norway. It offers classic staples, from Fika to Smörgåsbord, but also some surprising dishes and interpretations of classic recipes. Brontë's new book is a complilation of summer recipes (with beautiful photography by
Peter Cassidy) in the spirit of the Scandinavian concept of lagom (not too much, not too little, but just right). As we Brits would say, it's a perfect combo of 'naughty' and 'nice' and she has indeed 'included plenty of indulgent cakes and bakes, as well as salads and a few leaner dinners'. Here's a tiny glimpse of the delicacies the book will tempt you with ....
Västerbotten Cheese Paj
125 g/1 1/8 sticks butter, cold and cubed 200 g/1 1/2 cups plain/all-purpose flour pinch of salt
1 egg small dash chilled water (if needed)
100 ml/1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon whole milk
250 ml/1 cup plus 1 tablespoon double/heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon paprika
250 g/9 oz. Västerbotten cheese, finely grated salt and freshly ground black pepper 25-cm/10-inch loose-based tart pan baking beans
Makes 1 large tart
In a food processor, briefly blitz the pastry ingredients together to form a dough, only adding a tiny bit of chilled water if needed to bring it together. If you don’t have a food processor, you can do this by rubbing the butter into the flour with your fingertips until it is crumbly, then adding the rest of the ingredients and mixing until smooth. Wrap the pastry in clingfilm/plastic wrap and rest in the fridge for 30 minutes before using.
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) Gas 4. Roll out the chilled pastry until nice and thin and use to line the tart pan evenly. Prick the base with a fork a few times, then line the pastry with baking parchment and fi ll with baking beans. Blind bake in the preheated oven for about 12–13 minutes. Remove the beans and baking parchment and bake for a further 5–6 minutes. Remove from the oven but leave the oven on.
For the fi lling, mix together all the filling ingredients except the cheese, seasoning well with salt and pepper. Evenly scatter the Västerbotten cheese all over the base of the pastry, then pour over the egg mixture.
Return to the oven for about 15–20 minutes. It’ll puff up quite a bit towards the end and will turn golden on top.
It’s done when the middle is set, so do keep an eye on it. Leave to cool before removing from the pan and slicing.
Note: This dish goes very well with romsås, a caviar sauce (pictured). To make this, mix together one small jar of red lumpfi sh roe with 3 large tablespoons of crème fraîche and leave to set. Just before you serve the tart, stir the romsås again. Alternatively, if you can get real bleak roe (löjrom), serve the tart with a spoonful of this caviar and some crème fraîche and finally add some chopped red onion.
Handful of flaked/slivered almonds 400 ml/14 oz. good quality vanilla ice cream
150 ml/2/3 cup whipping/heavy cream 1 teaspoon icing/confectioners’ sugar 3 drops vanilla extract
4 generous tablespoons cloudberry/apple jam/jelly
4 store-bought meringue nests, lightly crushed
4 dessert glasses or sundae glasses
_______________________________ Lightly toast the fl aked/slivered almonds in a dry frying pan/skillet until golden. Stir them often and take care not to burn them. Set aside until needed. Remove the ice cream from the freezer at this point so that it is easily scoopable. Whisk the cream with the icing/confectioners’ sugar and vanilla using a hand-held electric whisk until soft peaks form. Set aside.
Heat the jam/jelly over a low heat in a saucepan or put it in a bowl and give a few short blasts in the microwave until just hot.
Split half of the hot jam/jelly between the four serving glasses, then add one crushed meringue to each glass.
Add a spoonful of whipped vanilla cream to each, then divide the ice cream between the glasses, too. Finish with the remaining whipped cream, then the rest of the jam/jelly – and top with the toasted fl aked/slivered almonds. Serve immediately.
Summer Fruit Roulade with Lemon Thyme
120 g/1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons caster/ granulated sugar
100 g/3/4 cup plain/allpurpose flour 25 g/1/4 cup ground almonds
1/4 teaspoon salt
13/4 tablespoons butter, melted 1 teaspoon vanilla sugar or extract
1 nectarine or peach
20 leaves fresh lemon thyme, or to taste 1/2 quantity of pastry cream extra red or white currants, to garnish icing/confectioners’ sugar, to garnish 35 x 30 cm/12 x 14-inch Swiss roll/jelly roll pan, lined with baking parchment