I think one of my fondest childhood memories was to walk into our garden and behind the stabbur (storage outhouse) with a cup of sugar where a wild bunch of rhubarbs grew. I would dip a rhubarb stalk into the sugar, and marvel at the tartness of the rhubarb being mellowed out by the granular sugar. While not sounding like a gourmet experience, to my child’s heart it was. It was a sure sign that summer was here and that there were a lot of other things to look forward to – among others bowls of fresh strawberries, which we also grew in our garden.
Potatoes. What could be more Norwegian than that? … Today, Norwegians are more adventurous when it comes to preparing potato dishes. We eat them mashed, fried, and baked, and shred them to form special potato dumplings called “potetball” or “kumler.” During midsummer, however, new potatoes are in season in Norway and the most popular dish to make is undoubtedly the potato salad.
It’s no secret that Norwegians love bread. Not only do we love and eat a lot of it in general, but many are also fantastic bakers. I think it’s generally more common for people in Scandinavia to make their own loaves at home than in any other region of the world. We eat bread for breakfast, lunch, and even as a late evening snack before bed. Whether it’s for our lunch box or the more fancy open-faced sandwiches, bread has always played a huge part in our diet.
Pytt i panne is a Norwegian everyday classic dish I probably would most closely compare to Asian stir fry, or a British bubble and squeak or even a good old American hash. Made up of leftovers, it typically consists of fried potatoes, onions, and meat.
Pytt i panne loosely translates to ‘small pieces in a pan’, and that’s exactly what it is. Pytt also indirectly means “everything is going to be ok”, and perhaps that is what they refer to with this dish, as not much can go wrong when you throw in a little bit of this and that.
In my household growing up, all we ate on a daily basis were whole wheat or seeded, whole grain loaves my mom made from scratch. They were healthy and quite heavy but I loved them. I think this is why I often thought of white bread as quite naughty, something reserved only for a special occasion. On the occasional weekend, my mom would splurge and make fletteloff, a braided, light, and fluffy loaf made from white flour that had a slight sweetness to it.
There have been a few recipes I’ve struggled with as a vegan chef, and vanilla custard has definitely been one of them. Either the texture came out too gelatinous (it’s supposed to be thick and creamy, not jiggly!) or too runny, or the color was off. I see no point in making something if it doesn’t both taste and look good, so the experimentation continued.
Pickling is a huge tradition and has a rich and long history in Norwegian and Scandinavian cuisine. I grew up with a mother who pickled everything from cucumbers, beets, cabbage, pumpkins, all kinds of fruit, and yes…herring too!
I will admit I’m not a huge cake eater, which is why I don’t have loads of cake recipes on my blog, and if I do, they are super simple and in a more simple and ‘rustic’ style. The exception is the 17th of May of course when no koldtbord (or as the Swedes say, ‘smorgasbord) is complete without at least one decadent cake.
I’m a big fan of the “cook once, eat twice” concept, or in other words—repurposing a dish into a second meal to both save time and money. This is why I love the classic Norwegian dessert riskrem…Riskrem literally translates to ‘rice cream’, and is a great way to make dessert from leftover risgrøt, a traditional dish in Norwegian homes.
I love making creamy soups from butternut, potatoes, broccoli, and cauliflower, particularly during colder winter months. It’s simple, quick, nourishing and filling. In this recipe, I cooked potatoes in vegetable broth with a little sautéed onion and garlic and puréed them into a beautifully rich and silky soup. My secret trick is to add in some pre-baked potatoes, which I find adds an extra depth of flavor.