In Sweden we have Sportsweek holiday week 7. We are probably the only family on Hönö that doesn’t go skiing. Not that I don’t want to, I have warm memories going along with other families to the north of Sweden and to Norway. Also memories from being kicked out of pubs, getting some poor guy beaten up and my friends parents forbidding her ever to contact me again. Lets not talk about that. Sooo we have had a nice lazy week but in some ways very productive. Today started with me mixing chemicals for the wet plates and husband doing a new batch of the chili marmalade Nam Prik Pao. This thai chilli marmalade is my absolute favourite. It goes with just about everything, especially nice with prawns or cheese. Also on Knäckebröd(Swedish crisp bread) with butter. It is so lovely, tasty, addictive but so stinky while you make it. Nam Prik Pao ingredients are: Fried chillies, fried onions, garlic- all ground together. Return in the oil with shrimp paste, tamarind, fish sauce and palm sugar. Yesterday we had Focaccia with mozzarella, chillies, basil, garlic and serrano ham. Today sourdough pizza, the dough rested in the fridge for 2 days, with calabrese, mozzarella and Nam Prik Pao. If my husband was home all the time I would get so fat. He is set on baking mode so we’ve had to give bread away to neighbours, no more room in the freezer, and tomorrow I’ll do a round with eggs because the chickens have been very productive as well. I’ve been spoiling them with food so everytime I go outside so they come running up and run after me wherever I go. A little bit scary hearing their little claws and they peck more at my fingers than the food when I feed them but still nice to have company out there. I sat down in the hammock outside with my daughter and said -I hope it doesn’t collapse. Sure thing it did! It had rusted so badly on one side of the hammock that it just broke off but we stayed sitting there pretending we where sat in a ski slope. Fed the chickens corn and popcorn. This afternoon I re-planted all my chillies to larger single pots and moved them downstairs because we are getting Airbnb guests upstairs next week. The majority of the family took a walk down the beach and we chose a direction that me and my daughter discovered last week, full of mystery, great photo opportunities and not too long. Great to have lived on this Island for 6 years and still have parts to discover!
So a couple of years ago I bought this quince tree and brought it home on the bus and moped. See Travelling tree. I was told at the garden center that it’s not really hardy for our climate but for some reason I’ve always wanted one so I bought it. Last year it grew some fruit but they never got bigger than cherries and all fell off. This year there’s loads of fruit! My husband wanted to make crumble while I had other plans for it, luckily there was enough for both of us. The crumble I must say was a failure(hope he doesn’t read my blog), quince and vanilla gone all mushy with crunchy salty crumble, nah not for me. Of course I had to top him but with the bar set pretty low I didn’t think it would be that hard. First thing I tried was making quince cheese, also known as Dulce de Membrillo, I chopped and boiled and mushed and boiled again to put in the oven. It didn’t set properly and I ended up throwing it out. Next thing I tried was quince and apple jam, that was a tastier but didn’t get any of the nice dark colour you see when you google quince jam but rather a light pinkish beige. So yesterday I picked most of what was left on the tree and tried making marmalade. I chopped half of it up and boiled, mushed and then grated in the rest of them together with sugar and lemon. After reading up on how to get the lovely dark quince colour I kept the pot boiling for five hours. Still not much of a colour change. Apparently it goes really well with Manchego cheese so I bought some and opened one of the jars (after checking on the pan for that many hours it felt like opening a pot of gold). Turns out the marmalade was really thick and jelly-like, so I tried making marmalade but made quince cheese! All in all my conclusion is I love the very special flavour of quince, bet it will be nice with green mouldy cheese like St Agur or Cambozola or with meat, but this years quince-cooking was a big failure. It’s a finicky fruit with a weird name as well- one quince two quinces? Can you really say quinces? We decided no, sounds weird, so from now on it’s one quince two quinci (pronounced as quince-I, like in rastafari). Next year we’ll have to do better!
Gosh and the food yesterday… My husband smoked salmon on the barbeque. He used a new seasoning for it and added a pinch of nutmeg, allspice, bayleaves and cloves to the usual sea salt and sugar. He let it soak in water for an hour before smoking so it wasn’t as salty as it sometimes has been. Best one so far! We had it with Pancanella which is a salad made out of roasted veg and roasted bread croutons, eggs, cheese and broccoli pie. Sourdough bread, crackers, a lovely selection of cheese and finished off with Banoffee pie. Oh and on top of that a tonne of easter sweets and crisps. Today we went for a dip in the sea (surprised we didn’t sink!) and tonight we will have homemade Cumberland sausages on new baked bread. I love the fact that we can produce so much of what we eat instead of buying ready made stuff. Not only does it taste so much better but it’s cheaper and I’m sure healthier to.
Well my food-loving husband was right about the Cronuts, see Baking bonanza. Now he’s predicted that Byalis will be the next trendy thing. Didn’t do any storm chasing with my camera because it pissed down most of the day. Instead I spend some hours on the sofa with my seed catalogues and a good book while my husband kept busy in the kitchen. He’s started with best-ever-bagels last night. After they are rolled out and shaped they sit in the fridge over night and today he cooked them for a minute in barley syrup and water and then baked in the oven. So for lunch I had warm bagels with homemade hummus and ajvar, yummy! Then it was time for the Byalis. They are apparently from Poland but are becoming a hit in New York and if he’s right, here in Sweden in a year. Personally I don’t see the big thing, it’s just a like a bagel with fried onions and poppyseeds in the middle but it was still very tasty. Now there’s a Pain Ancienne a cold fermented dough waiting to be put in the oven tomorrow. The list of breads that my husband succeeds in perfecting is getting longer by the day! My favourite is the Focaccia that he makes for special occasions like New Year or payday weekend. A light fluffy Focaccia brushed with garlic oil, halved and filled with mozzarella, charred spring onions, Serrano ham and of course lots of chilli, baked in the oven until the cheese melts. Oh and don’t get me started on the pizza… he’s managed the perfect pizza base, we had peperoni pizza 4 times over Christmas. Can you tell I’m getting hungry?
or well I got to “eat my words”. See posting a few days ago Crabs! After all the DIY yesterday, plus lawn mowing, long cycle ride, washing and evening swim I was too tired to cook. Some chips from the Burgerplace around the corner (not sure you can call it a Burger joint, they mainly sell newspapers and cigarettes but any who) had to do as last nights dinner. No dishes to wash either.
Then my cousin shows up with not a couple(as he said on the phone) but a huge box of crabs! There I was cooking crabs ’till bedtime instead of relaxing on sofa watching Torchwood. I did have some fun tormenting the cats by letting the crabs chase them across the kitchen floor though.
Perks of living on the island! Last night the doorbell rang and there was a man with a bag of live crabs. A friend of my cousin had heard that I never say no to seafood and so came by to drop some off instead of chucking them. I was so obviously overjoyed that now he will come by every time he has too many!
When we first moved to the island my cousin rang me at work and left a message saying he left some crayfish in the snow in our garden. Only about 5 kilos or so… It still feels like luxury every time. Maybe this will change if we get a boat one day to do our own fishing but I doubt it.
My son just started middleschool and they can choose navigation on sea as individual subject, I’ve tried my best to talk him into it but his answer is tough -Sure I’ll do it if you buy me a boat.
Maybe I should build one?