31/01/2010

Blóðmör - Icelandic blood sausage

Blood sausage is an ancient dish and can be found in many countries where domestic animals are kept and there are no taboos against eating blood. This is the Icelandic version.

Slátur is the collective name for blood sausage and liver sausage, and also for the necessary ingredients. "To take slátur" means to buy the ingredients and make the sausages, and in fact Icelandic supermarkets sell boxes with blood, livers, suet and stomachs (sometimes also the salt, cereals, thread and needles) in the autumn when the summer lambs are slaughtered.

2 litres sheep's blood
1 litre water
50 g coarse salt
1 kilo rye flour
200 g flour
400 g oatmeal
2 - 2 1/2 kilos sheep's suet

Some people add raisins or chopped Iceland moss to the stuffing. If using Iceland moss, use correspondingly less rye flour and a little more water in the stuffing. If using raisins, use correspondingly less suet.

Cut each stomach into 4-5 pieces suitable for stuffing, or use bags of sausage skin or even plastic cooking bags if you can't get stomachs or they don't appeal to you (sorry, the recipe does not state how many sheep stomachs are needed and I can't tell you because I always use sausage skin bags and make a much smaller recipe).

Strain the blood and mix with water and salt. Stir in the flour, rye flour and oatmeal. Chop the suet - taste will decide whether finely or coarsely, but make the pieces no larger than 1/2 cm across. Mix with the rest.

Take the pieces of stomach and sew bags out of them, using blanket stitch or overcasting stitch, leaving a hole for stuffing. Only stuff each bag a little more than half full. Stitch closed (use pure cotton thread).

To cook, drop the sausages into plenty of boiling salted water and simmer for 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Turn over now and then, and prick gently if they look likely to burst. Remove from the water. If the sausages are to be served cold, let them cool in the skins. Store in the refrigerator.

Remove plastic cooking bags and sausage skins before serving. The stomach bag can be peeled off before serving or served and eaten with the stuffing.

Serving:
Serve hot with boiled or mashed potatoes.
Serve cold on the side with rice pudding or porridge or sliced on top of bread.
Fry and serve sprinkled with sugar and mashed potatoes on the side.
Pickle in whey for a month or more and serve cold. Blood sausage can actually go sour on its own, with a flavour similar to whey-pickling.

May be frozen if raw.

24/01/2010

Snúðar og snúðakaka - Rolled buns and Bun cake

This is a nice cake that appeals to kids. The buns can also be baked and served separately.

25 g cake yeast OR 2 1/2 tsp dry yeast
100 ml milk, skimmed milk or water
400 ml flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
30 g butter or margarine, soft
1 small egg (or 1/2 a big one)

Filling:
1 tbs butter
2 tbs sugar
50 ml raisins or 1 tsp ground cinnamon

Icing:
4 tbs confectioner's (icing) sugar
1/2 tsp cocoa powder (optional)
2 tsp boiling water

Heat the milk to 37°C and dissolve the yeast in it.

Mix the flour, salt and sugar together in a bowl. Crumble in the butter. Add the egg and milk, mix well and knead well. Set dough aside to rise for 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile you can prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Punch down the dough and knead again. Roll out into a rectangular shape, about 20x30 cm. Spread with soft butter and sprinkle over the sugar and raisins or cinnamon. Roll up into a sausage shape and cut into 10-12 slices.

To make a cake, arrange the slices into a buttered cake pan so that they touch and let them rise for 20-30 minutes. If you want to make individual buns, arrange on a buttered cookie sheet with about an inch between them and let rise for 20-30 minutes.

Bake on a lower rung of the oven at 200-225°C for 15-20 minutes for cake and 10-15 minutes for buns. Pour over the icing while still warm.

17/01/2010

Steikt síld - Fried herring

This recipe also works with mackerel and other fish of the herring family, just adjust the cooking times according to the size of the fish.

Serves 2:
2-4 fresh, whole herrings (depending on size)
1 medium onion
40 g butter or margarine or equivalent in vegetable oil
3-4 tbs rye flour or wheat bran
1/2 – 3/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground white pepper
1/2 lemon
Parsley for garnishing

Clean the herrings (or get your fishmonger to do it): remove all innards and membranes from the body cavity, remove the spine and bones from the insides, cut off the tail and fins, scrape the slime from the skin. Remove the head if you would rather not have it on, but don‘t fillet the fish.

Peel and slice the onion. Mix together the flour or bran and the salt and pepper. Melt and heat half the butter and fry the onion in it until slightly browned. Set aside.

Put the remaining butter in the pan and heat. Roll the herrings in the flour mixture and put in the pan. Brown at medium-high temperature, lower the heat and continue frying for 3-5 minutes on each side. Remove and set aside.

Reheat the onion and spread over the herrings. Arrange lemon wedges around the fish and garnish with parsley.

Serve with boiled potatoes.

10/01/2010

Oven-baked fish in cream sauce

This is a nice fish dish that my mother sometimes makes. I make no claims about its traditionality.

Serves 2:

400 g fish fillets (mom uses cod or haddock, but try plaice, sole, flounder or other white fish)
1/2 tsp salt
25 g butter or margarine
50 ml cream
100 ml milk
1 tbs breadcrumbs (Paxo crumbs look nice and colourful, but home-made ones are fine)
2 tbs grated cheese (mom uses Gouda, but I imagine Cheddar or a mixture of Mozzarella and some stronger cheese would be good)

Set the oven temperature to 175°C. Butter or oil a shallow oven-proof dish. Cut the filleted and boned fish fillets into pieces and arrange in the dish. Sprinkle the salt over the fish and dot with butter.

Put the dish into the heated oven and bake the fish for 8-10 minutes.

Mix together the milk, cream and cheese and pour gently over the fish. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs evenly over the top and continue baking for 15 minutes. Serve in the dish, with potatoes or rice and a fresh salad on the side.

03/01/2010

Curried fish, 2 varieties

This is basically the same recipe with one ingredient replaced with another.
As I mentioned earlier, Icelanders embraced curry powder as an exotic new cooking ingredient when it arrived in the country and there are numerous recipes for food that call for curry powder.

Here are two that I like:

Serves 2:
400 g fish fillets (tradition calls for cod or haddock, but any lean white fish can be used)
1/2-1 apple OR 1 medium onion
25 g butter or margarine (or equivalent in the frying oil of your choice)
1/2 tsp mild curry powder
1/2 tsp salt

Remove the skin and bones from the fish fillets if necessary (or just buy them boned and skinned to save you the work). Cut into 4 even pieces.

Peel and grate the apple, if using. If you are making the onion version, peel and finely chop the onion.

Heat the pan and turn the heat down to low. Melt the butter (or heat the oil). Add the apple or onion and fry gently for a minute or so.

Add the curry powder and mix well. Top with the fish pieces and sprinkle the salt over the fish. Close the pan tightly and allow to gently cook over low heat for 10-15 minutes. Serve in the pan.

Sides: Cooked potatoes or rice, and a fresh salad.