Main Meals

Sweden: The Eurovision Feast

The flag of Sweden

Well, Eurovision is now over. Congratulations to Denmark on their well deserved win, and to Sweden on holding a very good concert last night. With the usual mix of ‘interesting’ numbers and countries who take it half seriously, my favourite track was definitely this one, (the national interval performance) – I’m just sad you couldn’t vote for it!

As you saw on Saturday, to celebrate the Eurovision Song Contest we enjoyed a Princesstårta, a traditional Swedish cake. This post chronicles the rest of our Swedish meal, and provides the recipes for those dishes. Our menu included:

  • Gravlax on crispbread with pepper, lemon, capers and dill
  • Swedish meatballs with boiled potatoes, lingonberry jam and pickled cucumbers
  • Princesstårta (recipe here)

Now when there are only two of you, cooking a three-course meal can seem like a lot of fuss, but it is a task that really gives you a sense of occasion! Now Eurovision may seem a rather silly occasion to celebrate, but when all birthdays and other celebrations occur around Christmas, you have to have some things to look forward to during the rest of the year! More to the point, with a program as long as Eurovision, you need a lot of food to break it up!

Anyway, enough justifying – I love Eurovision and need no excuse to cook a lot of food – the stage was set!

Gravlax on Crispbread with Lemon, Pepper, Capers and Dill

Gravlax

Ok, this doesn’t really need a recipe, but a list of ingredients can be useful.

  • Smoked Salmon (Gravlax if you can get it)
  • Crispbread (I was short on time so used Ryvita – cheating I know!)
  • 8-10 peppercorns, crushed with a pestle and mortar (or freshly ground black pepper)
  • 1/2 lemon, sliced
  • 1 tsp chopped dill

Instructions:

Start with the crispbread and top with a folded piece of smoked salmon. Squeeze a little lemon juice over and garnish with a thin slice of lemon, black pepper and a few capers. Top with a sprig of dill.

Meatballs with Potatoes, Pickled Cucumbers and Jam

Meatballs Final

Ingredients (Serves 4):

Meatballs:

  • 300g minced pork
  • 300g minced beef
  • 1 large egg
  • 100ml milk
  • 75g dried breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • a handful of dill and parsley, roughly chopped.

Pickled Cucumbers:

  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 12 floz/360ml water
  • 4 floz/120ml  white wine vinegar
  • 8oz/225g sugar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 allspice berries

Side Dishes:

  • Potatoes of some type – mashed, boiled, chipped, it’s up to you!
  • lingonberry jam (blackcurrant, blackberry or cranberry jams can be used if you cannot get lingonberry)

Instructions:

The day before you wish to eat, make the pickled cucumbers – this will give them time to marinate. Slice the cucumber as thinly as you can (a mandonline can be useful for this) and toss them with salt. Place into a colander and leave for 30 minutes. Combine the rest of the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to the boil, before removing from the heat and allowing to cool. Rinse the salt off the cucumbers and squeeze out any remaining moisture. Place the cucumbers in a bowl and add the pickling  liquid, ensuring they are completely covered. Leave for at least 6 hours before serving.

To make the meatballs, reserve a tablespoon of the herbs before adding all the ingredients to a large bowl. Mix thoroughly, using your hands – this works better than anything else! Use the mixture to make 30 meatballs, wetting your hands to ensure a neat shape. Place on a baking sheet, cover with cling film and chill for at least 1 hour.

Heat up your largest pan and add a small amount of olive oil. Add the meatballs and cook for 10-15 minutes until golden brown and cooked through. Stir occasionally, but be gentle – you don’t want them to break up into mince! (though if it does, add a tin of tomatoes and a splash of red wine and call it ragu!) Serve the meatballs with the pickled cucumbers, homemade chips and a jam of your choice.

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