Food: Whole roasted Levantine spiced rutabaga

Inspired by perusing the NOPI cookbook by Ramael Scully and Yotam Ottolenghi, I came across their recipe for ‘whole roasted celeriac’. This is my interpretation of that kind of dish using a rutabaga.

 

You’ll need:

  • 1 peeled rutabaga (Swede, Swedish turnip)
  • 2tbs gram flour, sifted
  • 1tsp sumac
  • 1tsp tomato pureé
  • 1tbs Lakrids salted liquorice syrup, liquorice powder will also work
  • 1tsp dried parsley
  • Zest of 1/2 a lemon
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • Splash of rosewater
  • 1tsp ground coriander
  • 1tsp ground cumin
  • Oil, for frying
  • Salt & Pepper

 

For the pistachio pickled apricots:

  • 5 apricots, halved
  • 1tbs Maille white balsamic vinegar with pistachio nut flavour
  • 1tbs cider vinegar
  • Splash of water

 

Start by placing a baking dish with a layer of flavourless oil into the oven at its hottest setting. Then, boil the rutabaga for 15 minutes in a big pan of salted water.  Whilst it’s boiling you can start making the spice crust. In a bowl combine all the ingredients until they make a sticky, aromatic paste. When the rutabaga is sufficiently boiled, take it out and pat it dry with some kitchen towel/tea towel. Now cover the vegetable in the spicy mixture. Take the baking tray out of the oven and place the covered root vegetable in the oil, so it starts sizzling. Be careful the oil doesn’t spit onto you!

Place back in the oven and turn the heat down to 180°C. Cook for a further 30-40 minutes, taking it out at regular intervals to turn the rutabaga. Once it’s had its 40 minutes, take out and place a skewer through the middle, If it goes in without much resistance, then you know it’s done, if not, place back in the oven for a further 10 minutes.

If you’re going to make the pickled apricots, I’d do them the night before, so they have time to soak up the pickle. Simply fill up a small dish with the vinegars, place the apricot halves in and top up with a splash of water.

I’d recommend serving this with a great big bowl of fluffy couscous, the pickled apricot halves, tomato wedges and chopped coriander & walnuts.

 

Enjoy!

Drink: Salmiakki black Martini

After discovering the amazingness that is the FRUGO ‘Ultra Black’ , Polish juice drink, in the world foods isle at my local Tesco I was inspired to make this tasty lil’ drink . With the tasty flavours of grape, dragonfruit and chokeberry, it perfectly compliments the flavours of Nordic salty liquorice. Which had me thinking, I could concoct a cocktail using the Finnish Salmiakki Koskenkorva that I brought back from holiday.

You’ll need:

  • 2 Shots of Salmiakki Koskenkorva (if you cant find it, black Sambucca can be used)
  • 1 Shot of  Dry Vermouth
  • 10ml FRUGO ‘Ultra Black’
  • Dash of blueberry syrup (I got mine from IKEA)
  • Ice

Combine all into a cocktail shaker and shake until all have thoroughly mixed. Strain into a martini glass and garnish with a handful of frozen blueberries.

 

Perfect for those classy eternal Goths out there (like myself 😉 ) or those who love liquorice!

 

IMG_0529.JPG

FRUGO ‘Ultra Black’

 

 

 

Design & Food: Nordic Berlin: The Nordic influence on the German Capital

Recently I went on a cultural exchange trip to Berlin with University, funded by DAAD. Whilst there I noticed the Nordic influence on the city. Whether it’s my Scandi-obsessed mind I don’t know, but I found many influences from the Northern lands on the German Capital.

Architecture

 

 

It is possible to see the Nordic influence within Berlin,with some of its architectural destinations.

 

The Hansaviertel complex, near the Tiergarten has some of the best examples of mid 20th century architecture in the country, Interbau, a competition devised in 1957, for the world’s best architects to come up with a building each, within the complex. Here, you’ll find buildings from the Scandinavian masters of functionalism; Alvar Aalto, Arne Jacobsen and Kay Fisker, along with other international tour-de-forces such as Oscar Niemeyer, Le Corbusier and the famous Bauhaus school founder, Walter Gropius. In recent years, they have uncovered- and restored, a mural on the pavilion of the Aalto building. This mural, is a wave of sinuous, organic lines, that references his famous piece of design, the Savoy vase- now produced by Iittala.

 

Built in 1999, the Nordic Embassies in Berlin house all the diplomatic buildings of the Nordic countries, shoulder to shoulder. Devised by architects Alfred Berger and Tina Parkkinen, the embassies,- all designed by teams of different architects have been arranged geographically, each one reflecting the qualities of each nation. For instance the use of Milk glass in the Norwegian Embassy, references the glaciers of the Norwegian landscape. The Swedish and Danish Embassies proudly display the materials of their homelands, with the Swedish Embassy using white Gotland limestone, and the Danish Embassy highlighting its use of warm wood, and contrasting cold steel- its trademark materials, made famous internationally. The Icelandic Embassy, features a floor, paved with large lava tiles, which are illuminated below with a red light- giving the impression of the stark, volcanic landscape of the country. The Finnish Embassy, even includes two saunas- a nod to the compulsory national past-time of Finnish life. At the heart of the building complex is the Felleshus, or the Pan Nordic Building- which combines a space for exhibition, conference rooms, canteen, auditoriums- for all of the Embassies- and the general public, too. Using a mixture of Nordic materials, this building, expresses the unity of the Nordic countries.

 

The Nordic influence on Berlin can even be seen in the most German of all buildings; The Reichstag Building, housing the Bundestag. Along with the amazing architecture of Norman Foster, the Danish architect Per Arnoldi designed the concept of all the doors and the protocol room.

 

 

 

Shopping

 

Being a capital, Berlin is a shopping haven. The Scandinavian influence shines no less here, with so many Nordic brands to choose from. If you’re looking for clothes shops, stores such as H&M, COS, ECCO, Monki and Marimekko are for you. Design lover? You’re spoilt for choice with stores such as Scandinavian Objects, Iittala, Bolia and Bo Concept. Not forgetting that the big department store,

KaDeWe, stocking the Scandi favourites such as Normann Copenhagen, HAY, Ferm Living, Design House Stockholm and Georg Jensen.

 

 

 

Food & Drink

If you’re fed up with currywurst and pommes and looking for something a bit more Northern in flavour, then the restaurant Munch’s Haus on Bülowstraße is worth a shout. Serving up Norwegian traditional fair, with a twist, I’d recommend a visit!

 

A place that is equally popular in Berlin, as they are in the Nordic countries, is the humble liquorice shop. Loved by Northern Euopeans alike, these small confectionary shops are where you go for your fix of the black gold, or rather salty, black gold- flavoured with Salmiak ( an ammonium salt). In Berlin, Kadó, is where you go. An institution for 18 years, they stock a variety of liquorice products, from subtle Italian stuff, to the punchy (and tongue numbing) Icelandic and Finnish liquorice.

 

Just fancy something light with a coffee? Then look no further than the Oslo Kaffe Bar, at the Nordic Embassies. Wether you’d like to have a ‘kaffee pause’,‘kaffe og kaker’,‘fika’ or ‘kaffee og kage’, the act of having something small, with a coffee (or tea) and an opportunity to catchup with friends is an institution all over Northern Europe. The Oslo Kaffe Bar is a great place to do it too! Sip a well made latte, and eat buttery, cinnamon filled pastries amongst great pieces of design, such as Jacobsen’s iconic Swan chairs. There’s nothing better, I dare you!
 

 

Miscellaneous

 

A few more Nordic influenced perusings on this trip:

 

When the group and I had an opportunity to bake for students at a school, I noticed their cupboards stocked with Rosti Mepal cookware. They seem to be very popular here. Once two brands, Danish Rosti and Dutch Mepal, the companies were combined in 1976. In 1950 the Swedish Sigvard Bernadotte and the Danish Acton Bjørn designed the Margrethe bowl. This stackable mixing bowl, named Margethe after the queen of Denmark, is now in many homes across Northern Europe and Berlin and is a Design classic.

At the U-bahn station in the Gesundbrunnen district, you’ll find a beguiling sight. Osloer Straße isn’t just named after the Norwegian capital, as architect Rainer G. Rümmler designed the station emblazoned with the Norwegian flag, since its conception in 1973.

 

 

Food: Chocolate, blueberry and liquorice tarts

To finish off my Icelandic themed Saturday, celebrating the end of the chillingly good Icelandic drama, Trapped, I decided to make some Icelandic themed, Vegan friendly treats.

Chocolate, blueberries and liquorice make an amazing combination, and they come together brilliantly in these little tarts.

Makes 4 tarts.

To make, you’ll need:

  • 2 packs of Oreo cookies
  • 80g Vegan butter, melted
  • 150g dark chocolate (80% minimum), chopped
  • 250g coconut cream
  • 1 tbs liquorice powder, sifted
  • 1tbs golden syrup (agave/cornsyrup will also work!)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 handfuls of fresh blueberries
  • 1tbs blueberry jam
  • 100ml water.

Making these couldn’t be simpler. Start the bases by crushing up the Oreo cookies into rubble in a baggy and a rolling pin. I then used my mini food processor to get them into fine crumbs – alternatively, if you’ve got a large food processor do it in that. Once they are like breadcrumbs combine them in a mixing bowl with the melted butter. Press the black sludge into 4 tart tins – make sure you get into every corner and press it out evenly so that you get a level amount of filling in each. Place into the fridge to set for 30 minutes.

To make the ganache, melt the chocolate in a glass bowl over a pan of simmering water. Stir minimally, until it’s all melted. Take off the heat and set aside. Next, stir in the coconut cream until it forms a ganache. After it comes together, you can add in the golden syrup, salt and liquorice powder. Stir until it all comes together into a nice smooth and silky filling. Leave to cool, slightly.

The crusts should be ready by now. Take them out of the fridge and pour the ganache into them. Shake them, so they are level and them place back in the fridge, for a good couple of hours, if not overnight.

Just before you are ready to eat them. Take them out of the fridge and put a saucepan on the hob on a medium heat. Pour in 100ml of water and 1tbs of blueberry jam. It shouldn’t take long for the jam to dissolve and with a few stirs – it should come together into a nice glaze.

Top each tart with a handful of blueberries and brush on a nice layer of the glaze. It shouldn’t take long to set and it will look so much more professional – straight out of an Icelandic bakery!

Now, devour and Enjoy!