Food: Vegan Smørrebrød

Smørrebrød, (lit. butter and bread), or open faced sandwiches, are an iconically Danish dish, but much of their popularity is due to a recent renaissance thanks to Adam Aaman’s Deli and Takeaway. Before that, their heyday was during the 19th century when they were eaten in Copenhagen restaurants by men playing cards. These days they’ve become an art form in themselves, each sandwich carefully constructed like ‘Nordic sushi’.

Using my recipe for Vegan gravlax I decided to come up with some classic combos. Smørrebrød needs good bread base so I bought a seeded rye rugbrød from Brød in Cardiff. The smør (butter) element is just as important to the dish as the bread, so make sure you layer each slice with a generous spread of your favourite butter, Vegan in my case. Spread liberally, In Denmark they say you should ‘spread corner to corner’.

Here are three classic varieties.

For the laks you’ll need:

  • 4 slices of Vegan gravlax,
  • Sprig of dill
  • 4 slices of cucumber salad,
    • Half a cucumber, sliced finely
    • 4tbsp sugar
    • 4tbsp white wine vinegar
    • some mustard seeds; some black peppercorns
    • Handful of fresh dill, chopped finely
    • a few bay leaves and a splash of water.

To make the cucumber salad simply combine the ingredients in a small bowl and leave to do their thing for an hour or two at least. It’s best to leave them for longer so the cucumber has time to soften a bit. I make mine up and leave them in the fridge as they last for ages.

To assemble, simply combine artfully & garnish with a sprig of dill 😀

For the kartoffel, you’ll need:

  • 3 medium new potatoes, boiled, cooled and sliced into coins,
  • A dollop of vegan cream cheese,
  • A spoonful of seaweed caviar (available from IKEA),
  • Sprinkle of crispy onions,

For the cream cheese I used Oatly’s PåMackan that I brought back from my trip to Malmö. Sadly it’s a Scandi exclusive for the time being but any Vegan cream cheese would work. I personally like the one from Bute Island Foods.

Again, to assemble, simply layer artfully with the potatoes at the bottom.

For the Levepostej og rødbeder, you’ll need:

  • 2tbs of Vegan leverpostej (see below),
  • 3 pieces of crinkle cut pickled beetroot,
  • 1tbs of chopped parsley,
  • 3 rings of lingonberry pickled onions:
    • 1 red onion, sliced thinly on a mandolin,
    • 1tbs lingonberry cider vinegar (IKEA),
    • 1tbs lingonberry syrup (IKEA),
    • A splash of water,

Again, the pickled onions benefit from having been made in advance, but an hour or two will do. As for the leverpostej (liver pate), this was a bit harder to replicate. It’s a classic Danish ingredient but for a Vegan it requires a degree of creativity! I used the mushroom pate from Suma, which is very rich and delivers that meaty body that you need. To give it the classic pink hue I simply mixed in some pickled beet juice! Hey presto – a convincing alternative is born.

Enjoy your smørrebrød with a shot of cold snaps – oh, and don’t forget to use cutlery! (It’s a faux pas to pick them up with your hands in Denmark :P)

SKÅL!

Advertisements

Food: Gulrødspølse

Inspired by my many trips to Denmark, and their national fast food the rødpølse, I’ve made my own vegan version, which is tasty AF and a lot cheaper than sourcing the Danish hotdogs! You’ll often see a pølsevogn (or hotdog cart) on most street corners in Copenhagen!

The ristet hotdog is a rødpølse with many toppings. They are quite an experience to eat, trying to not drop it all on the floor is like a national challenge. Good luck, but it’s worth the challenge!

The recipe is similar to my Currywurst one, so feel free to make double the amount for two different Northern European dirty favourites!

Once again, I highly recommend prepping the carrots in advance, they’re dead simple to prepare but it makes all the difference when they’ve had time to marinate.

You’ll need:

  • Two medium sized carrots (per person)
  • 1tbs Smoked paprika,
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard,
  • 1-2 drops of liquid smoke,
  • 1tbs of cider vinegar,
  • 1tbs of light soy sauce,
  • 1tsp Garlic infused oil
  • 10ml water

Remoulade:

  • 3tbs vegan mayo,
  • 1/4 tsp curry powder,
  • 1 small gherkin, chopped,
  • handful of parsley, chopped,
  • 1tsp Dijon mustard,
  • 1tsp sugar,
  • 1tbs finely chopped onion
  • 2 chopped capers

To serve:

  • Ketchup (the Danes have a special hotdog ketchup, which I got from Scandi Kitchen but regular ketchup will also work)
  • Mustard
  • Handful of crispy fried onions
  • 1 Sandwich gherkin or 3-4 gherkin slices
  • 1tbs of chopped onion

Begin by topping and tailing the carrots and “carving” to make rounded ends, a bit like a wurst or hotdog style sausage. Peel the carrots and simmer in salted water on a medium heat until soft. Don’t over boil because they’ll fall apart and be of no use to anyone! You want the knife to slide through but not disintegrate when you lift them. When they’re done leave them to dry out and cool.

When they’re dry put them in a freezer bag or container to marinate with the paprika, cider vinegar, oil,  liquid smoke, mustard and soy sauce. Leave them to soak up the flavours for 3-4 hours or best, overnight. They’ll keep for a few days in the fridge if you’re making them well in advance.

Remoulade to the Danes is what brown sauce is to Brits or fish sauce is to the Thai, to make this curry infused mayonnaise sauce is rather easy. Simply, add all the ingredients and mix into a creamy, piquant sauce. Once mixed, Set aside.

To cook the hotdogs, simply take them out of the marinade and brown them in a pan, remembering to turn them. Once brown on all sides, they’re ready to load up!

Home your dog in a hotdog bun and top it with all of the toppings. Start with the ketchup, mustard and remoulade. Then the gherkins and the onions.

Serve with some fries or dill potatoes. Traditionally the Danes pair it with chocolate milk (even grown ups!) or a cold bottle of Danish beer like Tuborg.

Velbekommen!

 

Also- If you are in Copenhagen, the D.Ø.P pølsevogn do a cracking vegan hotdog!

 

Food: Butternut squash and thyme frikadeller

Here’s a quick recipe to make when you’re stumped to rustle up something. It’s great for entertaining and a Vegan twist on a Danish classic!

You will need:

  • Half a roasted butternut squash, de-skinned
  • 1 onion, chopped finely
  • 1 tsp garlic paste/1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 20g rye bread crumbs
  • 1 tin of butter beans, drained
  • 1tbsp dried parsley
  • 1tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • Pinch of salt
  • Generous amount of cracked, black pepper

To make start by quartering and deseeding the butternut squash then place in a deep baking tray. Drizzle with vegetable oil, sprinkle with salt and cover with foil and bake in the oven at 180° for around forty minutes. You can roast the squash in the bottom of the oven when you’re cooking other things – basically, roasted squash is a really versatile ingredient, especially in Autumn and Winter, so bung one when it’s convenient.

Check when they’re done by poking with a fork – they should be really soft. Take them out and allow them to cool (so they’re okay to handle) and save half the squash for a future recipe (soup is good). When they’re cool, scoop out the flesh of the other half and add to a mixing bowl.

Soften the chopped onion in a little oil and add to the mix. Combine the rest of the ingredients and mash with a masher until the beans are broken up and not too big. You can freeze whatever mix you don’t use or otherwise allow to rest in the fridge for a day or two. Form the mix into round, meatball sized balls and shallow fry in a little vegan butter until browned on all sides.

Serve with some boiled potatoes and a simple cucumber salad/pickle;

  • Half a cucumber, sliced finely
  • 4tbsp sugar
  • 4tbsp white wine vinegar
  • some mustard seeds; some black peppercorns
  • dill, chopped finely
  • a few bay leaves and a splash of water.

Make sure the cucumber is covered and leave to do its thing for at least an hour or two, longer if possible – it’ll keep in the fridge for AGES).

 

Velbekomme!

Design: Normann Copenhagen in Homesense

On Monday evening, perusing around Homesense with Tom, I came across this treasure trove of Scandinavian design. They had boxes and boxes of Normann Copenhagen design. I couldn’t believe my luck!

Agnes Vases in all different shapes & sizes from the mini up to the 32cm one & the fat  ‘plant pot ‘ looking one, all priced from £3.99 up to £7.99, (Which is an absolute bargain considering they usually start at £10 and can go up to as much as Seventy quid!)

The Agnes Vase, designed by Agnes Fries uses Handmade Chinese porcelain from Jingdezhen and combines & contrasts it with a top of black hand-painted brush strokes. Its subtle yet striking, graphic and perfect for a monochrome/ Scandinavian styled interior.

I decided to go for the 20cm vase, a Goldilocks among the rest in my opinion. Being ‘Not too big, not too small’ it doesn’t get swallowed up by a room, but it isn’t also too large to be a centrepiece on my small dining table, and at £6.99 instead of £39.99 I just had to get it!

They also had the Floe tealight holder there in so many shades & hues. I picked up two considering they were £3.99 each in coral and dark green, perfect for both my Spring/Summer  & my Autumn/Winter looks! Designed by the Spanish designer Ramírez i Carrillo to echo a traditional antique oil lamp, it gives a small but impacting atmosphere when styled into your interior.

When I got home I immediately had to take them out of the boxes and incorporate into my Winter décor.

IMG_8098.jpg

the Agnes Vase looked perfect on my Normann Copenhagen Block Table, rubbing shoulders with some succulents & my Yule candle from Flying Tiger Copenhagen & Menu X Stokke Austad candle holder. I used a branch, that we had lying around from last christmas and adorned it with some of our homemade baubles & himmeli.

I followed this tutorial by Nalle’s House to make the ornaments. It all fits so well together, with the vase completing the look. Not too ‘out there’ & Kitschy Christmassy. Monochrome, just festive enough & classy!

IMG_8086.jpg

The Floe fits perfectly on my IKEA side table keeping my little Tomte company. It looks great with the Sanna Annukka illustrated ‘The Fir Tree’ by Hans Christian Andersen underneath, strengthening the green and it also works well with the Iittala Aalto pieces, all creating a nice harmonious look.

Let’s hope some Normann design is at your local Homesense store, but get it quick as it will vanish fast!

Food: Apple, Plum & ginger crumble

Here’s a recipe for a hearty and warming crumble with a speculoos/speculaas topping.

Makes 6 portions.

To make, you’ll need:

For the filling:

  • 8 medium apples,
  • 1 jar of sour plums,
  • Half the liquid from the plum jar,
  • 1 star anise,
  • Thumb size piece of ginger (grated),
  • 125ml of apple cider,
  • 20g of crystallised ginger,
  • 1 knob vegan butter,
  • 80g of brown sugar
  • Zest and juice of half a lemon,
  • 1 tbs of golden syrup (agave/ corn syrup will work as well),

For the topping:

  • 120g of plain flour,
  • 60g of brown sugar,
  • 60g of vegan butter,
  • 60g speculoos biscuits,

 

To make the filling:

Peel, core and slice the apples then set aside. Begin by melting the butter in a pan, add the sugar and allow them to caramelise. Add the apples and stir them around until they’re coated. Then add the plums along with the juice, the apple cider, the star anise and allow to simmer on a medium heat for 10-15 minutes with the lid off.

When the mixture has reduced add the grated fresh ginger, the crystallised ginger, the zest and juice of half a lemon and the golden syrup. Stir until combined and the golden syrup has loosened and melted. Spoon into a medium sized baking tin until you’re ready with the topping.

To make the topping:

Measure out and combine the flour, sugar and butter in a bowl and breadcrumb by rubbing between your fingers. Smash the biscuits in a pestle and mortar (or in a plastic bag and bashed with a rolling pin) until they’re a mixture of crumb and rubble sized pieces. Combine the two and sprinkle over the mixture.

Bake in the oven at 180 degrees for forty minutes until the topping is rich and golden. Once out of the oven, leave it cool slightly and serve with some soy custard 😉

Enjoy!

 

Food: Brød, Cardiff

The other weekend, with Broen/Bron/The Bridge back on our screens, my partner  & I were feeling peckish for something Scandi for breakfast, so jumped in the car and made for Pontcanna, Cardiff, to visit the new Danish bakery, Brød, that had opened two weeks previous.

Brød, situated in the old  Philip Morgan and Son premises and was set up by Betina Skovbro. Originally from Copenhagen and inspired by her grandfather, a baker, the vision was to bring a slice of Denmark to Cardiff, with Ben Davies (an ex-Starbucks supervisor) in charge of the coffee and Danish baker Simon Stokholm in charge of making their delectable pastries & breads.

12346762_10153736047279054_1960887091_n

With an interior to make a mid-century fanatic drool and peppered with Danish flags, the place definitely is a little Scandinavian grotto, in the heart of Cardiff, Skovbro even imported her grandmother’s furniture, for that sense of Scandi-authenticity.

Arriving 20 minutes after it opened, the place was already buzzing with a variety of people, from families grabbing a Saturday morning treat to friends gossiping and laughing about the night before. Being greedy I fancied trying everything on the menu, but it being early, they hadn’t quite finished making everything. So we had one of each (of what was available) and two lattes. It all came to £15! Bargain :O !

On a big wooden platter we had a chocolate cinnamon swirl (snegl); a Danish crown (spandauer); two kinds of pastry slice – one being  a Copenhagen slice (Købehavner); a chocolate topped pastry (chokolade bolle) and a danish raisin bun (not pictured).

So buttery, so decadent and the best pastry I’ve had in a while. It simply transported me back to our little holiday to København, that we had in October! (More of which to come!)

After a long chat with the owner – she’s so  lovely, very friendly – it was time for us to be on our way. With my usual ‘eyes bigger than belly’ syndrome (we ordered way too many!)  a doggy bag was definitely needed. Plus, I couldn’t help but buy a fresh rye sourdough loaf on my way out (which was lovely, topped gravadlax and pickles, I have to add!) it was time to book.

I would recommend this little slice of Denmark to anyone; anyone looking for a great coffee, great pastries and a great atmosphere.

Mange Tak Brød!

https://www.facebook.com/thedanishbakery

@TheDanishBakery

126 Wyndham Crescent

CF11 9EG

Food: Tonight’s dinner

Felt like pigging out tonight, so I made a nacho bake out of a chorizo and butterbean stew we had in the freezer. Added some piquant olives and fresh rosemary to pep it up a bit – and plenty of tangy cheese 😉 All made in a vintage Dansk casserole pan by Jens Quistgaard that Tom, picked up from America for me.

Served with a dressed rocket and tomato salad.

And in the Iittala Essence tumblers is a simple but pleasing cocktail made from ABSOLUT Citron, sparkling water and mint. Very refreshing!