Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Danish Cuisine and a couple of easy recipes

Traditional Danish food is based on what farmers were able to store through the long winter months, things such as pickles, salted meat, dense bread and potted herrings. Favourite meals include meat balls, roast pork and crackling and poached cod served with mustard. Denmark is also famous for smorrebrod, or open sandwiches of buttered rye bread usually layered with fish, eggs, salad vegetables and pickles.

My morning tea in Copenhagen
And as for Danish pastries, those delectable delights which had me drooling outside the windows of the many bakeries which dot the country, what can I say?  I have never seen so many different flavours and permutations.  I am sure if I spent any length of time in Denmark the weight would start piling on!  Not that the Danes seem to have that problem.

Over the last few years Danish chefs have taken an innovative approach to cooking using traditional core ingredients to develop a modern Nordic cuisine.  Restaurant Noma in Copenhagen specialises in this new style and has been named the best restaurant in the world in four of the last five years, including 2014.

I made this smorrebrod for lunch.....

.....And here are the traditional Danish recipes I used:

GRAVLAX ( Gravet Laks)
This is salmon cold cured in salt, sugar and dill.

1and a half kg salmon fillet with skin on
60g salt
60g white sugar
80g fennel seeds, toasted and ground
3 bunches dill, coarsely chopped plus extra, chopped to serve

Place the salmon skin side down on a chopping board and trim.
Pin bone if necessary
Sprinkle with salt, sugar, ground fennel and dill in that order. Wrap tightly in the plastic wrap and refrigerate, preferably with a weight on, for 3 to 5 days.

To Serve
Scrape all the coating ingredients off the salmon and sprinkle with the extra dill.
Serve with Dijon mustard

DANSK REDKAL (Pickled red cabbage)
This is a staple food in most Danish homes.

25 gm butter
4 tablespoons redcurrant jelly
1/2 (half) cup cider vinegar
1/2 (half) tsp allspice or ground cloves
1 teaspoon rock salt
Pepper to taste
Half a head of finely chopped red cabbage

Mix butter, jelly, vinegar, allspice and salt in a pot. Stir till melted then add the cabbage.
Cover with lid and boil for up to an hour, or until cabbage is soft, on a moderate heat.
Remove the lid and boil, watching carefully, until all the liquid has evaporated.
Can be eaten hot or cold and tastes even better reheated the next day

Place Gravlax, mustard, pickled cabbage and rye bread on a platter and let everyone help themselves.  Delicious.

Oh, and make sure you wash it down with a Carlsberg (Danish beer)