Tag Archives: Scandinavian Food

Shall we fika?!

We dispelled all January blues a couple of weekends ago  when we brought the wonders of Scandinavian fika and hygge to the Manor! Fika is a Swedish term for a kind of coffee break, a conscious pause in the day to stop, reflect and enjoy a liquid refreshment and baked good! Hygge is that intriguing Scandinavian term for all things cosy, except we don’t have an English word for it so it’s nigh on impossible to explain! We created a lovely afternoon tea using the new Fika and Hygge cookbook from the guys at London’s Scandi Kitchen and some of our other favourites including Scandilicious.

Our adventurous diners were welcomed with a revitalising shot of aquavit – the Scandi water of life that comes flavoured with fennel and caraway. We served it Swedish style, over lots of ice and bitingly cold.

Our Nordic savouries included homemade rye crisp breads with caraway. These were topped with a soft gravadlax mousse and home pickled samphire – a creamy, salty and sour mini bite. Our rye bread open sandwiches came topped with a luscious dill mayonnaise, soft boiled egg and tomato.

Also on offer was a creamy, decadent mushroom tart. Mushroom, tarragon and shed loads of creme fraiche, baked and encased in a crisp shortcrust pastry shell. Finally was our take on Swedish meatballs! Little pork and fennel balls, with a dill and cucumber pickle and cranberry, wrapped in a soft home made brioche roll.

For our sweets we tried to use some seasonal produce and also serve some slightly unusual bakes. For seasonality our first nod to fika was a cute little rhubarb and custard bun spiked with cardamom and drenched in rhubarb syrup. A last minute addition to the tiers was a lightly spiced gingerbread cake filled with a raspberry cream. We had initially intended for this to be a Danish honey cake square but having tried the recipe twice over we could not get it to work and so had to bake a last minute alternative! To make up for the lack of honey cake we also offered an extra treat in the form of a mini fig tart. These were soft and chewy almond cakes filled with a lovely fig jam.

If that wasn’t enough other fika treats included mini cardamom buns filled with almond custardThese buns are traditionally served at Easter – almost a baked Scandi version of a doughnut! To finish off was the traditional Swedish chocolate sticky cake, Kladdkaka. A rich, dense chocolate cake with a gooey centre. This was served with fresh raspberries and clotted cream to make it even more decadent!

So, we’re glad to have started 2017, but it was a bit of a stressful event to break us into the new year! I’m not sure I’d recommend the Scandi Kitchen book – as beautiful as it is the recipes are complicated, confusing and not always very reliable! Having said that it’s Ottolenghi coming up next in February – now you can’t get more reliable than that! See you then…

January ’17 Menu – Scandi Afternoon Tea

Happy New Year to you all! We’re feeling rested (albeit still hungover) after the festive break and in a week’s time we’ll be kicking off our 2017 events.

Our first event of the year is an afternoon tea, using Scandinavian influences as our inspiration. We’ll be inviting out guests to partake in some Fika within the Hygge surroundings of the manor.

Think open sandwiches and rich bakes, this is a great way to start off the new year!

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How it all went a-rye!

We took a trip to the chilly climes of Scandinavia for our first afternoon tea of 2015. Using Trine Hahnemann’s beautiful book ‘Scandinavian Baking’ as our muse, we served up an array of filling and tasty Northern European treats. Baking has seen huge success in the UK of late, partly thanks to Bake Off, and Trine is keen, through this book, to demonstrate the baking heritage found in Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Norway.

A veritable smorgasbord was put on for our guests, which consisted of savouries and open sandwiches. Our open sandwiches included our very own homemade rye bread. We had a bit of a nightmare with rye if we are honest! The starter was temperamental to say the least. Mine failed to ferment and bubble alive, Susie’s did but then it didn’t rise the dough! Needless to say we persevered and were able to serve bread on the day. It’s a long process making rye bread (24-36 hours for proving) but despite the length of time required it’s actually a simple bread to make as it requires no kneading at all. We ‘cheated’ by chucking a teaspoon of yeast in, which seemed to do the trick! I made a classic rye and Susie made a seeded, malted rye – both chewy and full of flavour. Our toppings were classic Scandinavian fare – I went for a salt beef with horseradish cream, pickles and red onion. Susie went for a smashed avocado with prawn and quail egg. Our top tip for buying rare and organic flours is Shipton Mill!

Our other savouries were Susie’s little sausages rolls, but instead of pastry, they were encased in kale pesto and chewy onion bread. Think mini hotdogs (which the Danes are crazy about!) and you’re about there. I opted for a tart which came complete with a spelt crust and then filled with home smoked salmon, spinach and asparagus. The spelt pastry was a revelation – easy to work with, flexible and forgiving, it didn’t need any resting either. Essentially it is wholemeal spelt flour mixed with fromage frais! The result is not the shortest of pastries but it’s very pleasant so I’ll be making again.

A quick interlude followed where we refreshed our guests’ pallettes with a spiced winter berry sorbet. This gave us time to set the cake tiers with our cake offerings. It was only as we were doing this that we realised we were serving up not one, not two, not three but four different cakes all filled with lashings of cream – woops!

I had made semlor, which are little marzipan cream buns that are traditionally served in the time period between Christmas and Easter, so very apt! These were very fun and satisfying to make. They start life as a dough made from Italian pasta flour. I was worried this might be quite a tight dough but it was actually lovely and soft and supple. It rose beautifully and once rolled into balls and glazed with egg, yielded beautiful golden buns! These were hollowed out and stuffed with homemade marzipan. I did find with this recipe that it wasn’t as sweet as my taste buds liked so I did throw a bit more sugar in. To enhance the almond flavour in the marzipan I added some amaretto. The buns were finished off with a dollop of amaretto doused cream and a dusting of icing sugar.

My other cake was a walnut macaroon cake. This is an interesting take on a coffee and walnut. It’s gluten free because the cakes are made of only egg whites, ground walnuts and sugar. These are then sandwiched together with cream flavoured with coffee and brown sugar. Again, I didn’t find this sweet enough, but maybe that’s just me and my Americanised taste buds?! I was also disappointed with the chocolate ganache topping. My instinct was telling me to chuck some cream in (Trine only uses chocolate and butter) but I didn’t. The result was a very hard topping that then made the cake impossible to cut neatly! Next time I shall definitely add that cream in!

Susie’s cakes included little crispy choux buns filled with a Yorkshire rhubarb vanilla cream. Rhubarb is roasted with sugar and vanilla until soft,then folded into cream. We saved the rhubarb syrup for cocktails later! The last cream filled cake was the hilariously titles Fru Pigalopp cake, (that features on the cover of the book) named after a character from a Danish series of children’s books. Susie’s mini versions were probably a more dainty svelte version! These were individually sized genoise sponges, filled with whipped cream and berries. A Scandi take on a Victoria sponge!

Fru Pigalopp!

So all in all another successful and enjoyable afternoon! I am a bit sick of the Scandinavian baking book now, however there are tons of recipes that are tempting me to try them so once I’ve had a rest I’m sure I’ll be going back. It’s a beautiful book with stunning pictures and there’s recipes for all kinds of level of cook. On the whole the recipes are accurate and work (well apart from the rye bread, but we won’t go there!)

We’ll next be back in April, after a short break, for our Persian event, so see you soon!

February Menu – Scandinavian Afternoon Tea

Where does time fly? We’re already in February and next weekend see’s us play host to twelve hungry guests for our Scandinavian afternoon tea. Using Trine Hahnemann’s beautiful book, Scandinavian Baking, we’ll be serving up delicious rye breads, a smorgasbord of tasty toppings and some beautiful pastries and cakes to boot, all served from our vintage china!

Have a nose at our menu and let us know what you think!

Feb 2015

A Scandi Afternoon Tea

Saturday 7th February 2015

SOLD OUT

Regular readers and diners will know we have a love of all things Scandinavian. The Nordic noirs, the funky knitwear and not to mention the food! In February we’ll be baking some wonderful delights from our favourite Scandi food writers including Trine Hahnnemann.

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If you want an afternoon filled full of luscious breads, pastries, cakes and other treats, then book now on the link below. Cost per guest is £20.

Noma – Part II

So, onto part II of our experience at Noma! If you haven’t seen part I, it’s here

Wooo Noma!

Wooo Noma!

Having had the huge array of canapes in the first part of the meal, the second part allowed us to start sampling the wines to go with each dish. Now I’m not a massive wine expert, so I won’t even try and describe each one we drank but I do like being introduced to wines that I wouldn’t normally choose. I love the way that a wine can change once paired with food. Biodynamic, natural, unfiltered wines are all the rage in Denmark and they’re something that you’ll either love or hate! The wines can almost take on a cider / sherry flavour, nothing crisp or fresh here! Anyway, back onto the rest of the food. Continue reading

Noma – Part I

It’s taken me an age to write this post, mainly because there is just so much to write about. In its entirety I’ve written just under 2000 words on Noma so I’ve decided to split this up into two posts. Trust me, you’ll thank me for it!

Just before Christmas Dan and I were dining at one of the best restaurants in the world, the mad world of Rene Redzepi and his team at Noma, and realising a dining ambition we’ve had for years.

We started planning our trip to Copenhagen just under a year ago, not knowing whether or not we would actually be able to book those elusive spaces… Months later, October came around and we eagerly sat at our computers waiting for the bookings to open up. We realised that we had only one day during our stay due to Christmas, which really narrowed down our chances. Would we get a reservation?!… Yes we would! Hooray! Only, we realised that our flight landed after reservation, Nooooo! After much deliberation we decided to change our flights! Dan and I were going to the ball and something like flights wouldn’t stop us!

We’ll have a few Copenhagen write ups coming soon, but for now just sit back and take in the poor quality photos and my ramblings of this delicious affair.

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So, Noma. The Nordic powerhouse that put Scandinavian fine dining on the radar. Two Michelin stars and crowned the worlds best restaurant for three years (now rated 2nd). We’d seen glimpses of Noma on programmes, such as Masterchef, and read everything there is to know about Rene Redzepi, but what would it actually be like to experience Noma, would it be everything we expected and more? What would we eat? Insects? Moss? Badgers?! Continue reading