Recipe for my homemade Swedish meatballs

One of my favourite Swedish dishes, and probably one of the few Swedish dishes non-Swedes have even heard about, is the famous Swedish meatballs. I’ve seen a few crazy interpretations over the world, but these are quite genuine. 🙂 There’s a crazy twist with these meatballs, and that is that you make them in the oven before finishing them in the frying pan. I did not really believe this would work before trying it myself, but they turn out super juicy and perfect.

Ingredients for approximately two or three persons:

  • 250 grams minced beef
  • 250 grams minced pork
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 stock cube
  • ~ 1 deciliter of water
  • Salt
  • Butter
  • Neutral cooking oil

1. Fry the finely chopped onion in butter on medium heat for about 10-15 minutes. Do not burn, but it’s okay if it’s a little golden. Set aside.

2. Heat the water in a microwave or on the stove. Add the half stock cube and use a spoon to stir until completely dissolved. Add the breadcrumbs to this and stir again. It will look like some weird savoury porridge (which it is) but trust me, this is an essential part of the process. Let the breadcrumb stock cube porridge sit for around 10 minutes.

3. Put the minced meat in a bowl and add a deliberate sprinkle of salt to this. It’s hard to say exactly how much, and the stock cube will be going in too, but trust your instincts. If you like it salty like I do, add more. If not feel free to add less. Let the salt marinate the meat a few minutes before adding the breadcrumb mix and the fried onion from earlier.

4. Wash your hands, nanananana, wash your hands nanananana, wash your hands nanananana, wash your hands. I’m sorry. But this is easier with your bare hands, and especially so with wet hands. So with your hands, combine everything together – you can use a fork if you really don’t want to do this by hand, but it’s harder to evenly mix the meatball mixture if so.

5. After everything is mixed thoroughly, it’s meatball rolling time. A top trick is to use an ice cream scoop to get even meatballs. Wet your hands again and roll between the palm of your hands until they are round. Put on an oven proof dish and set your oven to 175°C or ~ 350°F.

6. Put the meatballs into your oven and let them bake for 10 minutes.

7. Frying time. Add butter and neutral oil to a frying pan on quite high heat. I use 7/10. when the butter stops sizzling it’s time to add the meatballs. Fry until golden brown and cooked through, if you’re unsure pick one up and cut in two to check that it’s fully cooked. Watch out so they don’t get overcooked though, we want juicy, not dry, meatballs.

8. When meatballs are done, let them rest for a couple of minutes before serving. The Swedish way is to eat them like in the above picture with mashed or boiled potatoes, cream sauce, pickled cucumbers, and sugared lingonberries. Or just with macaronies and ketchup. We never use sour cream, at least I’ve never in my life heard of anyone doing that in Sweden. But maybe we should try?

If you read this and want a recipe for the cream sauce, drop a comment and I’ll add a recipe for that too. Smaklig måltid (enjoy your meal)!

Homemade pesto recipe

A weekday favourite of mine that is way simpler too make than it may seem. If you’re lazy (like I usually am), use a blender. If a bit more ambitious use a mortar & pestle.

What you need (four approximately 3-4 persons)

Basil, about 5 deciliters of fresh leaves

2 Tablespoons of pine nuts

1 clove of garlic

1/2 deciliter of grated parmesan cheese

Salt & olive oil

How to make the pesto:

1. Toast the pine nuts until golden, but not burnt. Set aside.

2. Peel and roughly chop the garlic.

3. Put garlic, basil, parmesan and nuts in a blender. Mix to a paste.

4. Add olive oil, little by little while continuing to mix until the pesto reaches a thick, slightly runny texture. Season with salt.

Serve with pasta, on pizza, a sandwich or just eat it straight from the jar, it’s that good. ☺️

Tarte tatin recipe

For Easter dessert this year, we made one of my favourite desserts, the French classic apple pie, tarte tatin.

Here’s the recipe if you too want to try.

You will need (serving two):

2 apples

1 deciliter of white sugar

45 grams of butter

Puff pastry, approximately one folded sheet

How to make it:

1. Put 1 dl of sugar in a small oven proof pan. Heat on medium until the sugar melts. Do not stir. While sugar is melting, peel, core and cut two apples into quarters.

2. Add 45 grams of butter to the dissolved sugar. Stir slowly until it turns into a thick, golden caramel.

3. Put the apples into the caramel. Keep in mind that the pie will be flipped over for serving. So put the apple pieces “upside down”. Let rest for about fifteen minutes. Set your oven to 175°C.

4. Roll the puff pastry to a circle a bit bigger than your pan. Then put the dough on top of the apple caramel pan. Tuck in the edges so it cover the apples. Fork the dough lid so it lets air steam out.

5. Bake for approximately 30 minutes, until golden.

6. For serving (make this when the pie is just out of the oven – be careful to not burn yourself on the super hot caramel): Put a bigger plate on top of the pan, then flip it over so it looks like in above picture, that is crust down, apples up.

Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Christmas dinner at Operaterrassen with Julbordsmäklarna

This is a paid article in collaboration with Julbordsmäklarna.

I recently visited Operaterrassen, a sort of fancier julbord– julbord being Swedish for a Christmas buffet – the literal translation being ‘Christmas table’, that you eat during the Christmas period, which roughly stretches from the 1st of December until Christmas Eve on the 24th.

Booking Operaterrassen using Julbordsmäklarna.se
I found and booked my table at Operaterrassen with Julbordsmäklarna, an easy and convenient online service that allows you to browse through and find your prefered pick among around 300 different julbord around Stockholm – and also nationwide in Sweden from 2020. Also, Julbordsmäklarna does not add any extra charge on top of the regular price.

Operaterrassen
Operaterrassen (or the Opera terrace) is located in the Stockholm Opera, built in 1773. It is pretty much in the very heart of Stockholm, and being up two stairs from street level, feature stunning views over Blasieholmen and the Grand Hotel, Stockholm’s old town and the surrounding water.

Vegetarian options
While Operaterrassens julbord is heavy on meat and seafood, there are a few vegetarian options. This is probably not your first pick for a julbord as a vegetarian and even less so if you’re a vegan. There are a couple of different salads, cheeses, breads, omelettes, cabbage and sauces, and of course the desserts, that lack meat or fish (to my knowledge).

Old school but very friendly service
We had our personal waiter, an older gentleman that possibly was the genuinely nicest waiter I’ve ever run into. Super relaxed and friendly in a very much non-posh way – as you may fear a little in places like Operaterrassen that has been around for a long time.

Seven rounds of Swedish Christmas food
Our waiter suggested that to fully appreciate the dinner experience, he recommended that we took “seven turns”. I’ve never done that, but hey, when in a super old restaurant – stick to tradition!

Round one: herring and condiments

Herrings; fish roe (much tastier than it might sound) with sour cream and finely chopped red onion; prawns in mayonnaise, and a carraway crispbread I rebeliously nabbed from the cheese table (that’s round 5!).

Round two: Mixed seafood

Two kinds of salmon: gravlax and smoked salmon. The gravlax was amazing and came with a very nice hovmästarsås, a mustardy sauce we put on salmon in Sweden. There were also eggs with shrimps and a bunch of pretty little potatoes that were separately brought to the table.

Round three: coldcut meats and condiments

Waldorf salad; smoked reindeer; pork roll; Christmas ham with coarse mustard; pickled veggies; kale & orange salad, and beetroot salad. There was plenty more in the buffet, but this was what I tried.

Round four: warm items

Prince (pork) sausage; meatballs; Jansson’s temptation with potatoes, cream & anchovies; mushroom and kale omelette (so good!); red cabbage, and finally pork ribs with the best ever apple sauce. Super traditional flavours, but really well made and delicious.

Round five: Cheese

I’m sorry dear reader, but I failed both our friendly waiter, myself and possibly you at this point: I did not really have room for cheese. The cheese table looked good though, although quite small.

Round six: Dessert

This was the highlight of the evening. It wasn’t hugely assorted, but everything I tried was really good. The ostkaka, Swedish baked cheesecake was great with cloudberry jam and whipped cream. The ris á la malta, a creamy cold rice dessert was super smooth and surprisingly light. The cake, a quite clever version of Swedish Princess cake with the usual plain cream replaced with licquorice cream, and more traditional raspberries. Nice combo, and I’m not really that keen on licquorice usually.

Round seven: Christmas candy

Since I did not take any good shot of the finishing Christmas candy, I’ll leave you with this menu from Operakällaren downstairs from 1898. I can report, however, that the candy was very nice. I had marmalade candy, ‘mint kisses’, knäck (chewy, nutty toffee), chocolates and even a candy cane. Then I couldn’t fit anymore food in, and had to give up.

I really liked my visit to Operaterrassen and would happily go back. If you’d like to read more about julbord in Stockholm – have a look at Julbordsmäklarna’s list below of Stockholm’s top 20 julbord.

Merry Christmas!

More:

Julbordsmäklarnas top 20 Stockholm julbord (In English)

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48 hours of eating in London

Except for Din Tai Fung Covent Garden, which I wrote about the other day, we visited a few other noteworthy spots.

Barrafina

One Michelin-starred Barrafina on Dean Street a stone’s throw from Piccadilly Circus delivered some of the best tapas I’ve had.

Cold meat platter. Everything extremely good.

Ham croquetas. Crunchy, delicious and perfect.

Best pan con tomate I’ve had.

A runny, perfect tortilla with peppers and prawns.

Morcilla; spiced Spanish blood sausage (similar to black pudding) with fried quail eggs, a crispy wafer thingy and a rich sauce.

Location: Dean Street, Soho.

Price: £80 for the above (and some more), including a glass of wine each.

Eve Bar (hidden in Frog restaurant’s basement)

It was nearly impossible to take decent pictures, but a staircase down from fancy restaurant Frog (by Adam Handling) is Eve bar. Get it, Adam and Eve?

Clever naming aside, Eve Bar was really my cup of cocktail with great cocktails, ambience, service and decent prices.

Location: Covent Garden.

Price: About £13 for a cocktail.

The American Bar at The Savoy Hotel

A 40 minute wait, £25 cocktails and lots of tourists. Could that be good? I’d say so! Friendly service, live piano music, free snacks and a hard-to-beat ‘old world’ atmosphere. As an extra bonus you’ll get access to their small museum, and can also sneak around the grand lobby (above) of The Savoy Hotel which The American Bar is a part of.

Location: Covent Garden(ish)

Price: ~£19-££££

Breakfast at Eggbreak

For our last meal for this time we went to Eggbreak in Notting Hill, after I read about their crab cake eggs benedict.

The coffee, a flat white, was, as the youth of today (I think as I’m old-ish) would call it: on point.

The star of the show: perfectly poached eggs on top of equally perfect crispy, delicious crab cakes. A few healthy spoons of sriracha-hollandaise sauce and some chives finished the decadent masterpiece.

Price: £45 for three coffees, two mains, a grilled grapefruit (also delicious) and a pain au chocolat.

Location: Notting Hill.

7 really nice restaurants to eat at while in Santorini (and one GREAT bar)

Visited the amazingly pretty Greek island of Santorini a couple of weeks ago. While I’ve had plenty of Greek food in Sweden, there’s nothing like having a proper Greek salad with sun-ripe tomatoes, a juicy grilled souvlaki or a fluffy delicious gyros pita while soaking up the views of the deep blue Med, white chalk stone houses and steep cliffs.

For once, we did not have that much of an agenda on Santorini; the plan was pretty much to laze by the pool, read books, watch the view, and of course, eat a lot of tasty Greek food. Below you can find my favourites (in no particular order).

Argo (Caldera view)

Price for 2: ~ €70

Website

Argo is a sort of fancy restaurant that faces the Caldera in Fira (although the view at some tables is limited. We stopped by our first night without any reservation, but were given a table right away. The food was quite good, especially the tomato keftedes, or fritters made from battered battered local tomatoes. The fava bean dip was nice too with a nice splash of olive oil and warm, fluffy pita breads.

For mains we had a seafood spaghetti and a veal stifado, served with either fries or linguine. We opted for the latter, and hence both had pasta our first night on the island. Sorry Greek food. Oh well, both dishes were good but by no means fantastic. The seafood was well cooked and served in a sweetish “Santorini style” tomato sauce. It was nothing wrong with it, but at €19, I expected to be slightly more wowed. The stifado was quite nice, tender and well-seasoned but could’ve been served with something more inspiring than chips or spaghetti.

All in all though, service was nice, food good and the view nice. But probably stick to the Greekier dishes if you’re a pasta snob like me.

Salt and pepper, Fira (no view)

Salt & Pepper is a nice little restaurant, run by a husband and wife, where the husband works in the kitchen, and the wife service the tables. Service is not very polished, but quite friendly and the food is tasty. I tried their keftedes, Greek meatballs, and they were yum, so was the Greek salad. Save some space for dessert which was complementary.

Price for 2: ~ €45

Website

Lucky’s Souvlaki

Of all the places we visited in Santorini, the downright most tasty food was at Lucky’s Souvlaki, a small, quite unimpressive looking venue on the tourist street close to Fira’s bus station. What they do is souvlaki; meaning kebab-style meat skewers; gyros, which is shaved, döner kebab resembling pork or chicken shaved vertically from a rotating spit, and a few other foods, served fast food style, meaning mainly wrapped in fluffy pita bread, slathered in tzatziki and then washed down with a cold mug of Alfa beer. Or two.

Another great benefit was that it was not only the tastiest, but also the most affordable of all the places we visited during our week. A nice little lunch kit with two gyros (pronounced yeeros), fries and a drink was €9,5.

Website

Anemoloos

Situated a bit of a drive from central Fira, with stunning views of the non-caldera side of the island, Anemoloos served up some of the best dishes we had during our visit to the island. The restaurant served local dishes, meze style, meaning loads of small platters of extremely delicious food that we shared among the table.

Favourites were the Santorini style Greek salad with capers, grilled pork belly and the grilled sausage. Also deep-fried potatoes with shaved butter was (as you can tell) very delicious.

Price: Since we were part of a tour during our visit, prices were never displayed, but I’m guessing prices were affordable.

Website

Parea Taverna

In the touristy part of Fira, but lacking a caldera view. Food is tasty, without being spectacular. We had a very tasty moussaka, and nice, soft and crunchy-from-the-batter calamaris.

Price for 2: €45 with wine.

Website

PK Cocktail Bar

Towards the end of our visit, we found the not-so-hidden gem PK (Palia Kameni) Cocktail Bar. The place offers incredible views, incredible sunsets and incredible cocktails. The prices are relatively expensive, but not crazy expensive. To score a nice seat, you can pre-book spots for a €10 (online) or €20 (walk-in) deposit that is then removed from the bill. Cocktails starts at ~€9 and goes up to ~€20. We tried a couple and they were all great.

Website

Aktaion

Aktaion was probably my favourite restaurant in terms of food in Santorini. Unfortunately we showed up without a reservation and only got an hour to eat (totally our fault), they did their very best to accommodate us.

We had their fresh sea bream with baked vegetables and lime sauce; falling-if-the-bone tender slow-baked lamb shank with roasted mizithra cheese, and Ouzo-spiked mussels.

As mentioned the food was great. For once I felt like also trying a dessert, but no time unfortunately.

More than in any other place we visited in Santorini (except for Anemoolos which was similarly great in quality), you could really feel the love in the food at Aktaion. The quality was a notch up compared to the competition.

Very recommended, but make a reservation in advance. And then walk along the edge back to Fíra (there is a footpath all the way), amazing views.

Price was ~€50 for two with house wine.

Website

To Ouzeri

Our last meal was enjoyed at To Ouzeri, very close to the caldera view, but without the view. Food is wholesome and tasty, but not fantastic. We had a spicy feta dip, warm pita breads, Greek salad and soft meatballs in a slightly spicy cumin-scented tomato sauce.

Price was around €40 for two including wine, starters and two mains.

Website

Swedish milk stewed macaronies recipe – stuvade makaroner

Made one of my favourite comfort foods for dinner tonight: fried falukorv (pork sausage from the city of Falun) with milk-stewed macaronies flavoured with nutmeg. I served it traditionally with a side of ketchup and untraditionally with a sprinkle of chopped fresh chives, which I think adds a nice-yet-subtle hint of fresh onionness to the generally sweet-salty-fatty dish.

Anyway, here’s how you cook Swedish milk-stewed macaronies or as they are locally known stuvade makaroner.

You need uncooked macaronies and you need milk. I use milk with 1,5 percent fat content.

Nutmeg, salt, black pepper.

Ketchup and falukorv (substitute with any pork, beef or veggie sausage, or bacon).

1. Slowy heat milk in a cooking pot until it is about to boil, eg. hot steam is leaving the milk. For four portions, add about 5 deciliters of macaronies to roughly 8-10 deciliters of milk.

2. Then pretty much stirr until the milk has cooked into the macaronies. Keep the cooking temperature to a gentle simmer. It’s similar to making a risotto actually. Slowly stirr, making sure the milk won’t burn into the bottom of the pot. That happens easy by the way, so no cheating with the stirring.

3. When most milk has reduced into the macaronies, add some grated nutmeg, salt and blackpepper. Remove from heat and serve immediately – as soon as the macaronies are getting cold they get about 50 percent less nice. So pre-cook your sausage. 

Enjoy with ketchup, possibly chives and a glass of milk or a beer. If you want to have some vitamins, Swedes (me?) tend to eat a Swedish carrot salad with raw, grated carrots with a splash of oil & vinegar and salt on the side.

Dinner at Restaurang Hantverket in Stockholm


After thinking of visiting for a year or so tonight it was finally time to visit Restaurang Hantverket in Stockholm. Below is what we had.

Nibbles: first a tuttul flatbread with ”slarvsylta” of pork knuckle and homemade butter. Also Hantverket’s possibly most instagrammed dish; deep-fried Hasselback potatoes with dill, bleak roe, sour cream and spring onion, and also “Struva” with whipped duck liver pâté, parmesan cheese and port wine.

Thinly sliced beef with Jerusalem artichoke, gruyère cheese and hazelnuts.

Fork-mashed potatoes with smoked roe, browned butter, crispy chicken skin and dill.


Blackened salmon with pumpkin, ginger, salmon roe and orange.

Pudding of spruce, roasted buckwheat, pine sorbet and birch powder. Three kinds of tree in a dessert sounds equal parts scary and intriguing to me. Fortunately this one was really wood… I mean good, sorry. ?

The verdict
A really delicious and quite affordable dinner at Restaurang Hantverket. Added bonus was unusually friendly staff, nice setting and great smelling soap in the washroom. 4,5 hasselback potatoes out of five.

Price
3 nibbles, 3 medium sized dishes, 1 dessert and three drinks divided on two persons clocked out at 1000 kronor.

Website (with menu in English)

Best fika in a while at Mr Cake

Just a short update since I had a really nice fika (coffee and pastry) experience at Mr Cake, a newly opened bakery/pastry shop/café in Stockholm.

Mr Cake is a collaboration by famous bakers Mattias Ljungberg and Roy Fares, and serves Swedish fika with an American twist. Naturally I had to pay them a visit. Since they did not serve cronuts (they only do on weekend according to the staff) I took their recommendation and tried a red velvet croissant, and my fika company took a cinnamon roll with frosting a la Cinnabon.

The red velvet croissant was extraordinary delicious. I had a sample of the frosted cinnamon roll and it was great too. When the lines have died down a bit, I shall return for cronuts and cake.


Cronuts

Update: Now I’ve had the cronuts (on a Friday), and they were delicious.

According to rumours they do not have the cronuts (at least last weekend) ready when they open, so maybe arrive a bit later if you’re after them.

Website

3 days of eating in Madrid, Spain

Just got back from a short, fun and busy trip to the great busy Spanish capital Madrid. Unfortunately the image quality is not that great since I only brought my phone. But nevertheless, below are the (mostly) great restaurants I visited.

O’Grove restaurant

Most restaurants that has a man or woman hand slicing pata negra when you enter turn out to be great places in my experience. The thin, nutty and fatty pata negra ham did not dissapont at all to start our meal.

Pulpo, eg. squid grilled and seasoned with smokey paprika.

Grilled seafood. Langoustines, prawns, crayfish, clams, razor mussels and lemon. So good.

Our main was a perfectly sized (after the enourmos amount of tapas to start) beef fillet, served with only a few chips and piementos de padrón.

O’Grove restaurant website

El Buey restaurant

Surprisingly, you got to cook your own steak on a hot plate set in front of you, something I did not realise while booking. This is the steak, pre-grilling. By some reason I took no post-grilling pics. The meat above was really good and was served together with some really good chips/fries and a nice, slightly acidic sauce to baste it in while grilling.

Starters were handed out before the meat and consisted of salad with a mayonnaisy dressing; a ratatouille-like tomato and vegetable stew topped with quail eggs, and deep-fried potato baskets. The same baskets were included with the blood sausage scrambled eggs.

El Buey restaurant website

La Lonja del Mar

Despite being the fancy restaurant of the trip, I was a bit dissapointed with La Lonja del Mar. Although the dishes were okay, they did not at all impress. Above is the two best dishes, a Donistiarra style hake with clams and Torrija, a Spanish version of ‘French toast’ served with missing cherries and ‘Amarena’ ice cream. Tasty enough, but by no means great, unfortunately.

La Lonja del Mar website

Bodegas Pablo Morate winery

Our visit to Bodegas Pablo Morate, a small family winery just outside of Madrid was a highlight of our stay. We got to try some excellent wines (unfortunately not the 101 year old bottle above) and got served some of the best tapas I’ve had. Extra good because Pablo Morate’s mom, the cook of above feast, joined us and told us about the food and even gave us the recipe for the incredibly tasty Spanish tortilla omelette.

Bodegas Pablo Morate website

Tapas tour in  the Salamanca district
Our last evening we decided upon a walking dinner with stops at three acclaimed tapas restaurants in the Barrio de Salamanca where we stayed at the Novotel Madrid Centro, which was pretty good.

La Castela restaurant

Cold but quite tasty shrimps to start the evening.

Pizza-like sandwiches with cheese, grilled and peeled peppers as well as ham. Went down well with a glass of red.

La Castela website

La Monteira restaurant

Might not look that exciting, but a quite nice little nibble in the form of deep-fried breaded pork.

Prawns, deep-fried and supposed to eat whole.

Seared tuna with a tasty dipping sauce. One of the highlights of the tapas we were served.

La Monteria Website

Restaurant Castelados


We got served a plate like above at each of the places visited. A mix of whole deep-fried fishes – to be eaten with bone and all, piementos de padrón and some crunchy stuff I can’t remember.


We had lots of sandwiches. This one was quite inventive, being the vessel of one of Madrid’s most famous dishes; oxtail stew. By this point I was so full, but still managed to chew one and a half of these guys down.

Restaurante Castelados website

The roof at Hotel ME (Radio), Madrid


As a bonus, we also visited the cool rooftop club/bar ‘The Roof at ME’. Not a very high up skybar (7th floor), but a really nice place to dance off the tapas from earlier, have a few nice drinks and admire the (although limited) view. Admission was 20 euro, but included a drink, including cocktails.

The roof at ME website

Breakfast at Novotel Madrid Centro


A breakfast plate at Novotel Madrid Centro, where we stayed. This is just picked up from the buffet, but I would like to mention it because of the nice assortment of charcuterie/coldcuts that they served. The watery juice above is some kind of watered down mango juice I mistakenly took. Fortunately they also had proper fresh squeezed orange juice that was much better.

Novotel Madrid Centro website

Mercado de San Miguel


We also managed to make a quick stop at Mercado de San Miguel food hall in the central parts of town. During the 10-minute visit I had both the above duck foie gras pincho with onion compote and fig jam (I think), as well as churros dipped in hot chocolate. Mmmm……

Merca de San Miguel website

Madrid, hit or miss?
It was a very short visit to the Spanish capital, but the food was great, the people friendly and the city very pretty. I’d love to go back soon to explore some more.