30/08/2009

Boiled and stewed rutabagas (swedes) - Soðnar rófur og rófustappa

This root is known variously as a rutabaga, swede, swedish turnip or yellow turnip.

I prefer rutabagas raw, but I also like them in lamb soup.

Poached rutabagas:

Wash 1 kg. the rutabagas in cold water and peel them. If small, leave whole or halve, if big, quarter and then halve or cut into wedges and halve those. Try to make the pieces a uniform size.

Bring 1/2 liter water with 2 tsp salt to a gentle boil. Drop the rutabaga pieces into the water and poach - or steam them for a stronger flavour - until soft. Take care not to overcook, of they will become watery and bland.

Serve with boiled meats and fish.

Mashed rutabagas:

1 kg rutabagas
salted water
(100-200 ml milk)
50 g butter
salt, pepper, (sugar)

Wash, peel and re-wash the rutabagas in cold water. Cook in the salted water until soft. Remove from the cooking liquid and mash thoroughly. Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the mash and thin with the milk, if needed, to the consistency of thin mashed potatoes. Add salt, pepper and sugar, if desired.

Traditionally served, hot or cold, with traditional Þorri foods.

24/08/2009

Whey soup

I have never tried this soup, so I am not taking any responsibility if you make it and hate it!

1 liter strong whey
4-5 tbs sugar
1 cinnamon stick

50 g potato flour or cornstarch
100 ml cold water


Cook the whey with the cinnamon and sugar for 5-10 minutes. Make a paste from the starch and cold water and stir into the soup to thicken. Pour into a bowl, sprinkle with sugar and cool. Red food colouring or crowberry (or redcurrant or cranberry) concentrate can be used to give the soup some colour.

20/08/2009

Red beet salad - Rauðrófusalat

This is delicious with pork roast, ham, hangikjöt or salt herring:

Pickled red beets (beetroots)
Sweet apple
Beet juice
Lemon juice
Cream
Sugar
all to taste

The beets and apples are cut into small cubes and mixed into softly whipped cream, along with lemon juice, sugar to taste, and enough beet juice to turn the salad pink.

Pickled red beets

Red beets are traditionally served with meats, especially pork, but I like them best in herring salad, creamy beet salad (recipe upcoming) and with liverwurst on Danish rye bread.

Red beets
water
salt

100-200 g sugar
1 liter white vinegar

Wash the beets thoroughly in cold water, put into cold water, add salt and cook until done through. Remove from the cooking liquid and gently remove the skins with your hands and cut off the tops. Slice the beets into slices, about 1/2 cm thick (I like them crinkle-cut). Fill a pickling jar with the beet slices.

Cook together sugar and vinegar until the sugar is melted. Pour boiling vinegar over the beet slices. They will keep in sealed jars for 2-3 months.

17/08/2009

Boiled lamb, mutton, veal or fish with curry sauce

My mother used to make this dish several time a year when I was growing up, and I liked it then, but now that I have learned to appreciate genuine Indian and Chinese curries, I never make it, simply because I detest pre-mixed curry powder (the only thing I use it for is sauce for marinated herring). The curry used is the mild type, but I imagine that a medium hot curry powder would be good with mutton, which has a stronger flavour than lamb or veal.

This is a relatively new but still traditional Icelandic dish. I think curry powder first appeared in Iceland in the 1940s or 50s, and this dish has been part of the Icelandic everyday diet ever since. Lamb or mutton is generally used, but this recipe is also suited to veal.

750 g lamb, mutton or veal
800 ml water
2 tsp salt
2 carrots

Curry sauce:
2 1/2 to 3 tbs flour
1 tsk curry powder
150 ml cold water
400-500 ml meat cooking liquid or stock


100 g rice
1 liter water
1 tsp salt

A cheap cut like shoulder can be used in this dish. Meat should be in small pieces, about 2-3 mouthfuls each piece.

Bring the water to the boil and drop in the pieces of meat. Skim and salt. Lower the temperature to simmer and cook under a lid until it is soft and just beginning to come off the bone (about 40 minutes to an hour for lamb, 1-2 hours for mutton). Clean and slice the carrot and cook with the meat for the last 10 minutes. When the meat is cooked, remove from the saucepan and keep warm while you make the sauce.

To make the sauce, sift together the flour and curry powder. Mix with the water to make a paste.

Strain the cooking liquid from the meat, return to the saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the salt. When the liquid is boiling, pour in the flour/curry paste in a thin stream, stirring constantly. Keep stirring until the sauce boils again. Simmer gently for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Cook the rice according to the instructions on the packet.

To serve with fish:
Poach the same amount of cod or haddock as there is meat in the above recipe, leaving out the carrots. Instead of cooking liquid from meat, make the sauce with the cooking liquid from the fish, fish stock or milk. Serve with rice.

14/08/2009

Cod cheeks - þorskkinnar

The cod's cheeks are eaten both salted and fresh. this recipe will do for either. Salted cheeks must be soaked in water to wash out some of the saltiness.

10 cod cheeks
an egg yolk, lightly beaten
some breadcrumbs mixed with salt and pepper
100-200 g butter

If you have whole cod's heads, cut away the cheeks and clean them well. Roll in the egg white, and then in the brumbs. Melt the butter in a frying pan and brown the cheeks in the butter. They may also be fried in an oven-proof dish in the oven.

Serve with boiled potatoes.

10/08/2009

Breaded lamb cutlets - Steiktar kótilettur í raspi

You can use either rib cutlets or leg cutlets to make this dish. This was one of my favourite Sunday dishes when I was growing up, and remains a comfort food for me.

The recipe works with pork or veal cutlets as well, but the traditional meat is lamb.

750 g of rib half-cutlets or leg cutlets of lamb
2 egg whites or 1 egg and 2 tbs milk
3 tbs bread crumbs (we generally use Paxo brand crumbs, but home-made or other brands are fine as long as they are unflavoured)
2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp pepper*
100 g butter or margarine
20 g butter

1-2 onions
extra butter as needed
2-3 tbs water

Traditionally, the cutlets are beaten with a meat mallet, but if you have nice, tender lamb, it really isn't necessary.

Set up a mise-en-place: frying pan on the stove, dish with bread crumbs and spices, dish with egg, dish with cutlets.

If using egg whites, whip them until they begin to froth. If using a whole egg, break and stir vigorously with the milk until slightly frothy. Mix together the bread crumbs and salt and pepper.

Melt the butter/margarine in the pan and when it is hot, start frying the cutlets: coat each cutlet with egg and then with bread crumbs and drop into the pan. When the crumbs on top begin to look damp, turn over. When both sides are evenly browned, put pats of butter on top of each cutlet and fry over low heat for about 10 minutes. Leg cutlets need longer cooking than rib cutlets. Remove the cutlets and keep warm in the oven until the onions are ready.

Alternatively, arrange the cutlets in a single layer in an oven-proof dish and bake for 30-40 minutes at 180°C, turning twice. Dot with butter for the last 10 minutes.

Slice the onions, turn up the heat and brown the onions in the remaining butter, adding more of needed. When golden, add water and cook until it evaporates.

Arrange the cutlets on a platter and either pour the onions over the cutlets or serve on the side in a bowl. Serve with fried or boiled potatoes and fresh or cooked vegetables, rhubarb jam and cooked green marrow peas for an authentic Icelandic flavour. I also love mushrooms fried in butter with this dish, but that's not traditional, and, strictly speaking, neither are fresh vegetables.


Note:
* for seasoning, I add Aromat and a spice mixture called Kød & Grill, both made by Knorr. If Aromat and Kød & Grill isn't available, you can use Accent and Season-All, or just use the basic salt and pepper.

08/08/2009

Old Icelandic bread moulds

These carved wooden moulds would be pressed on top of the bread prior to baking, to make patterns in the crust:


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Both are on display in the museum in Skógar.

07/08/2009

Traditional salt cod

Salt cod is made by filleting or butterflying cod and arranging in layers with layers of coarse salt in-between. The fish is allowed to stand in a cool place for 1-2 weeks. To increase the time it can be stored, salt cod is dried, traditionally by laying it in a single layer on clean rocks or gravel, in dry weather, until reduced in thickness and dry to the touch. If the fish is sun-dried, it can turn yellowish.

Small codfish are treated differently: they are gutted, their heads cut off and they are washed in cold water, then arranged in a barrel. A layer of salt is put on the bottom, then a layer of fish, with the backs down, then another thick layer of salt, taking care to fill the body cavities of the fish with salt. When the barrel is full, a final layer of salt is put in, a loosely fitted lid put in and a light weight put on top.

To cook salt fish, soak it in a generous measure of water for 12 hours, changing the water 2-3 times. It is then cooked in fresh water for 10-20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the pieces. It is traditionally served with boiled potatoes and turnips, and butter or tallow (with cracklings).

03/08/2009

Rye bread tops - Rúgbrauðstoppar

These little rye bread "cakes" are made to be served with milk soups or hot milk. Make sure you use the sweet Icelandic type of rye bread and not the Danish or German style unsweetened pumpernickel bread.

250 g rye bread, finely crumbled or grated
75 g sugar
100 g butter or margarine

Mix together bread and sugar and gently brown in the butter in a frying pan until it begins to harden. Press into egg cups or miniature muffin tins to cool. Serve with sweet milk soups or hot milk.

01/08/2009

Spice-pickled herring

Spice-pickled herring is used both as it is and also as an ingredient in various dishes, especially salads and Danish-style open-faced sandwiches. The taste is similar to that of pickled anchovies.

3 kg fresh herring, gutted

pickling mixture:
750 g pickling salt
150 g sugar or brown sugar
20 g allspice
15 g bay leaves
30 g pepper
5 g saltpeter

Mix together all the ingredients except the herring. Take a container, e.g. a large pickling jar, and cover the bottom with the pickling mixture. Arrange the herrings tightly in layers, head to tail and belly up, with a layer of the pickling mix in-between, ending with pickling mix. Close the container and store in a cool place for 3-4 weeks.