Today we celebrate Fat Tuesday in Sweden, which means that we eat a super delicious pastry called Semla. But not only is today a treat filled day because of this, it also happens that today is my mum's birthday. Happy Birthday Mum! Which has meant that I also got treated to a very yummy Sandwich Cake earlier today when we celebrated her birthday. Of course she got treated to a lot of birthday presents in return. :-)
It was filled with lots of yummy seafood, salmon, eggs, vegetables, cheese and more.
My (not so small) piece. Lol! ;p
My dog Lisen waited patiently for her turn. :-)
A bit later it was time for dessert, a Danish pastry type of Lenten Bun (Semla) filled with the traditional sweet filling of almond paste and whipped cream. So we did not eat a traditional Lenten Bun to celebrate Fat Tuesday this year. I first tried this version of a Semla - Lenten Bun last year and really liked it, because it was not as heavy as a traditional one. Which fitted great today, because of the Sandwich Cake we had earlier.
This is how a Semla should be eaten, the lid first with some delicious filling that has been scooped up. And with a big cup of black coffee. :p
Of course this little lady got some Semla too! :-)
Another fun thing I found out recently was that my blog was chosen as number 24 on a list of Top 100 Pet Blogs to follow in 2013 - yay! I have posted the entire list at Top 100 Pet Blogs To Follow In 2013.
So it certainly has been a treat filled day today, in more than one delicious way. ;p
One very popular fish to eat in Sweden is herring, various types of herring prepared in all kind of different ways. I have already written a bit about our love for pickled herring here in Sweden, as well as bit of why/how and when we eat pickled herring in Sweden. So in this post I thought I would share how I make another classic Swedish herring dish, namely Fried Baltic Herring With Mashed Potato And Lingonberry Jam. Which is a very simple, cheap and tasty dish.
Cheap fish. Today I bought Baltic Herring at our local grocery store City Gross here in Karlskrona, price per kilo was 55 SEK or 8.50 USD.
The Baltic Herring was, and is usually, sold like this. The only thing I did before I started to cook them was to wash them and cut out the fin.
Then I seasoned with salt and pepper.
Rolled in a mixture of flour and breadcrumbs.
Melted plenty of butter.
Which I then fried the Baltic Herring in for a few minutes.
And this is how I like to eat my fried Baltic Herring, with home made mashed potato, lingonberry jam, some dill and a slice of lime or lemon. Simple, cheap and most importantly - tasty!!! :p
Now herring is an oily fish and rich in beneficial polyunsaturated fatty acids (omega 3). Which is good for you. But because of environmental toxins in the oceans around here the herring has elevated levels of dioxins that, among other things, can affect fertility in women. Therefore the National Food Administration recommend pregnant and women of childbearing age not to eat herring of any kind from the Baltic Sea and/or Gulf of Bothnia more than once a month. The rest of the population can consume herring once a week, but preferably not more often. Which is quite sad actually, both for the fish and that we have become restricted to eat herring because of this.
But, hopefully we can change this scary development so that we in the future can continue to enjoy our Swedish classic herring dishes - like the one I have written about today. And a good sign that this can happen is that the dioxin levels in people have declined since the 1970s, so we are at least headed in the right direction. Which I am happy about. Because herring is certainly a big part of the Swedish food heritage and I wish it will continue to be a part of our Swedish food future as well.
Though I was not aware of this until a few days ago, apparently Rose Hip Soup is quite the Swedish soup. So naturally when I learned of this, I just had to write this post about it. Now Rose Hip Soup is made out of Rose Hips, which are the fruits of wild roses that grow in in Sweden. Rose Hip Soup can be eaten or drunk both cold and warm and is consumed either as a snack, beverage or dessert.
I prefer to eat Rose Hip Soup just like this, lukewarm in a bowl with vanilla ice cream. Yuuummyy!! :p
Other common ways to eat Rose Hip Soup is with tiny macaroons, corn flakes or even sprinkled crisp bread in it. To eat or drink it just as it is works too of course.
But even though I do eat Rose Hip Soup from time to time nowadays, I mostly associate it with my childhood. I especially remember how Rose Hip Soup was a common treat served to us children when we visited my friends grandparents. It was also something I sometimes ate or drank in school or at the community youth center when I was younger. So because of these memories, Rose Hip Soup feels more like a childrens soup to me. However, like I said, I do get the occasional craving for it every now and then - although I do think it is more the ice cream part than the soup that entice me about it. Lol!
But back to what I said before, Rose Hip Soup is made out if Rose Hips - the fruit of wild roses that grow in in Sweden. The flower of the plant grow between May and September and the fruit between August and September. When the Rose Hips are ripe, they are collected in dry weather. They should be picked just when they become red, but not hard. Because after that stage the vitamin content in the fruit decrease.
When it comes to making the soup, many Swedes prefer to make their own Rose Hip Soup. Some people also add special twists to their soup or use old family recipes when they make it. I, on the other hand, prefer to buy ready made Rose Hip Soup. In Sweden we can buy liquid ready made soup or powder soup which you then add liquid to at home to make the soup. I usually buy the liquid option in tetra pack.
This is the Rose Hip Soup I have at home right now.
Typical ingredients in a ready made soup are: water, Rose Hips (or Rose Hip powder), sugar, thickener, citric acid and vitamin C. In fact, Rose Hip Soup is quite rich in vitamin C and therefore it is said to be rather healthy (if you do not add any other sweet stuff to it of course). Though the sugar in it is not that healthy really. Actually, I have tried Rose Hip Soup without any added sugar, which is available to buy. But honestly, that soup was quite tasteless. So some sweetness is needed in there I think.
During the manufacturing of ready made Rose Hip Soup the whole Rose Hip is used. The parts that are not in the base of the soup, like the seeds, are burnt up in ovens and in that way the "waste" provide some of the heat and energy needed in the making process. When the soup has finished boiling it is freeze dried or heated and cooled in a protected environment to later be filled in bags and tetra pack.
When Rose Hips are dried and pulverized to become Rose Hip powder, the seeds are removed and the rest of the fruits are dried airy in room temperature or in an oven at 50°. Afterwards the fruits dry a bit more until the are hard and completely dry so they then can be pulverized into the powder which is used to make the Rose Hip Soup. Both of these methods help ensure long duration, which is why no preservatives need to be added. And because basically no commercial Rose Hip Farms exist in Sweden, the soup produced in Sweden is also sold in Sweden. No major export occur. But about 800 tons of dried Rose Hips are annually imported to Sweden, mostly from Chile and Bulgaria.
Now, due to the fact that I knew I was going to write this post today I kept an eye out for Rose Hip bushes on my walk with my dog Lisen this morning. And it did not take very long until I spotted some. :-)
In fact, these two Rose Hip Bushes on either side of the walkway grow just a few hundred meters from where I live here in Lyckeby in Sweden. Though I should say that I am not sure these are the type of Rose Hips you can make soup from, or anything else for that matter? After all, more than ten different kind of wild species of Rose Hip bushes grow in Sweden. And I have no idea which kind this is?
Either way, I did find a few OK looking Rose Hips on the bushes today.
But most of them had dried out.
Lisen looking like she is a bit tired of all my new found Rose Hip fascination. Lol!
Now these are the seeds in the Rose Hip that are removed before drying the fruit. Actually these seeds, or fine hairs here, are commonly known as itching powder. Because they make your skin itch like crazy when applied onto to it - ouch!! I remember how this was a popular way to mess with someone when I was in school, to grab some Rose Hips seeds and pour them inside somebody's sweater. Not very nice...
But besides also being used as a cruel practical joke, the Rose Hip is used for many other things as well. Like tea, marmalade, jam or lemonade for instance. The fruit can even be eaten as it is, though you must remove the seeds of course. Even so, Rose Hip Soup is what the fruit is mostly used for - at least here in Sweden. And in case anyone is curious to see a recipe of Rose Hip Soup, I found one in English at foodbycountry.com - it only has four ingredients! Actually, now that I think of it, maybe IKEA sell Rose Hip Soup? Hm.. Could be quite possible. Either way, I do hope you all give it a go. AND, of course - please do not forget to add some ice cream to it! Because then surely the Rose Hip Soup cannot be anything but a delight to eat. ;p
My favourite thing about August in Sweden is the Swedish traditional crayfish premiere, yum! So finally a few days ago I had my first taste of beautiful crayfish for this year, and it was super delicious!
I had some whole crayfish, crayfish tails, different cheeses, baguettes and crackers. A simply delicious simple plate of deliciousness - YUM again! :p