As we are spending more time at home at the moment and Easter is almost here, we thought you might like to try something a little different this Easter at home. The Scandinavian’s have many traditions like us and a family celebration with food is always a big part of that. This year it may be a smaller affair for us all, but we can still make it special.
Why not try the nordic tradition of making homemade letters with drawings and greetings with the children. These would normally be swapped at houses for chocolate treats, they would have cunning messages and if the recipient recognises who has sent it, they have to give them a treat, you could send them to friends, grandparents, instead and they can send the treat this year.
For the low down on all the different Nordic Easter traditions, take a read on this blog, it involves, dressing up, like freckled witches and bonfires as well as chocolate eggs!
A traditional Easter lunch is likely to consist of different varieties of pickled herring, cured salmon and Jansson’s frestelse (potato, onion and pickled anchovies baked in cream). The table is often laid like a traditional smorgasbord (or smörgåsbord as it’s written in Swedish). Spiced schnapps is also a feature of the Easter table. At dinner, people eat roast lamb with potato gratin and asparagus, or some other suitable side dish.
From our Scandilicious Cook Book and Baking Book we have chosen a couple of easy recipes you might like to try.
Let’s start with a staple dish that most people will love, Janssons Frestelse (Jansson’s temptation) potato gratin
You need a 2 litre shallow pyrex style dish or oven proof pan and if you have a mandolin it will make slicing the potatoes easier.
- 2 large onions, finely chopped
- 2 tbsps vegetable oil
- 1 tin of anchovies or from a jar (use as many as you feel if you like it salty, add more)
- 4 large potatoes, waxy are best, but any will work
- 200 ml créme fraiche
- 170 ml double cream
- 75g krisprolls, or melba toast, crushed. If you do not have this, I would use homemade breadcrumbs or crush crackers
- 25g butter or vegetable spread to top.
Preheat oven to 190 degrees / 170 for fan/ gas 5. Butter the oven proof dish and set aside.
Sweat the chopped onions in oil in a medium frying pan over a low heat for 5-8 minutes until soft and translucent. Chop the anchovies in half ( you could use salty olives instead if you are vegetarian) salty bacon, whatever you have to hand. Cut the potatoes in 5 mm- thick slices ( using a mandolin if you have one, or food processor). Lay, one – third of the potato slices to cover the base of the dish and scatter half the anchovies or alternative and a quarter of the cooked onions on top. Cover with half the remaining potato slices, the rest of the anchovies, or alternative and another quarter of the onions. Top with a final layer of potato slices.
Tip the remaining half of the cooked onion into a small saucepan, add the créme fraiche, double cream and a good pinch of salt, with white pepper if you have it, if not black pepper is fine, then gently heat until it starts to simmer.
Pour the warm cream mixture over the potatoes and sprinkle with the crushed krisprolls or replacement to cover.
Be adventurous, I might add some sunflower seeds, or similar to the topping, anything you fancy to give it your own twist, or what you have in your cupboards now. Dot the crunchy crust with the butter and season well with salt and pepper before placing in the oven to cook for 45- 50 minutes, after which time it should look golden brown and crispy on top. Serve whilst piping hot and Scandiliciously delicious!
Now for some restorative CAKE!!!!
This is also from the Scandilicious secrets of Scandinavian cooking book.
Do you LOVE Lemons, we do !!! Zesty lemons always make a delicious cake.
If you feel like trying a citrus cake, we love Mor Monsen, (a Norwegian lemon, currant and almond cake) so easy and so tasty all our family love it.
No one knows who who Mother Monsen was, but her cake is very well known. Great with tea or coffee a pot of Earl or Lady Grey or a fruity Oolong will compliment its citrus and almond flavours, always a winner with us!
Makes 12- 16 slices ( If you want to make a smaller cake, just half the ingredients, or bake two smaller ones and try freezing one) It will keep well in a sealed tin or container for 3 – 4 days freshly baked.
Again, swap for alternatives such as sultanas, cranberries or limes if you do not have the below. I would definitely add more lemon zest if you like it very lemony as this is a subtle flavour.
- 250g butter
- 250g golden caster sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 medium eggs, separated room temperature
- 200g refined spelt flour, or plain flour
- zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 75g ground almonds
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/8 tsp bicarb of soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 75g currants, soaked in water for 10 minutes
- pinch of salt
- 40g toasted slivers / flaked of almonds
- 4-5 tbsps natural sugar crystals or similar
Preheat oven to 180 degrees/160 fan/ gas mark 4. Lightly oil a 20 x 30 cm rectangular tin and set aside. Again, if you want to use a round one, get a similar size, or smaller if you are making smaller version of this.
Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla extract together in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Mix in the egg yolks one at a time along with a tablespoon of flour each time to keep the the mixture from splitting. Add the lemon zest and juice, along with the rest of the flour, ground almonds, baking powder, bicarb of soda and salt, and use a large spoon to fold them in to the butter mixture until evenly combined. Drain the currants and fold them in too.
Whisk the egg whites in a separate bowl with a pinch of salt until the reach stiff peaks. This is easier if the egg white’s are at room temperature. Add one third of the beaten egg whites to the cake batter and fold through to loosen the mixture. Then fold in the rest of the egg whites, using figure-of-eight motions so that you retain as much air as possible. Don’t worry if there’s the odd bit of egg white still showing – it’s better to keep the mixture light and you can always blend them in the with a small teaspoon or a toothpick .
Carefully scoop the mixture in to the cake tin and scatter the almonds and sugar crystals on the top before baking in the oven on the middle shelf for 20-25 minutes, until golden yellow and firm to touch. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in its tin before cutting into triangle shaped pieces which is the traditional way to slice it. This keeps well in a tin or sealed container for 3-4 days. This will definitely become one of your staple bakes and there are so many more tasty recipes in the book.
This is from the Scandilicious Cook Book and so is the potato bake above.
Get creative with the children!
Here is a link to a wonderful blog post on how to make decorative eggs, naturally dyed Easter egg tree on Thehousethatlarsbuilt.com they also have a little video too.
If you feel like trying a tasteful literary covering, then click to this beautiful post on how to use old book pages to decoupage some eggs. It is Yvonne from Stonegable and here DIY Book page eggs
Go to our Pinterest board for Easter fun ideas:
To celebrate Easter we have
30% Off the Scandilicious Cook and Baking books….
So you have no excuse to get cooking and baking, Scandi style!!!
HAPPY EASTER TO YOU ALL