Sugar rush! These are homemade sweet creations for the Swedish Chef , all time favorite Swedish cakes Prinsesstårta, Budapestrulle and Schwarzwaldtårta.
“I love the mountains. There is something about the mountains..it’s just the feeling. I can’t really explan why.” The Swedish Chef said, while gazing at the green silhouette of the majestic Alps mountains.
First time he was here was fifty-two years ago. And for this trip, we made sure we visit this little village again. This paradise, called Hallstatt, is an idyllic place. Visitors and locals are welcomed with breathtaking view of fairytale houses, impressive Alps mountains and the serene Lake Hallstatt.
What you read about Hallstatt is never enough to describe the real magic of being there. The experience can never be contained in one or two blogs or a hundred photos. With all its historic houses, cobblestones and manhole plates I have inscribed this travel in my heart and mind to treasure until the next time we visit Hallstatt again. Or maybe Not.
Kräftstjärtar smörgås (crayfish sandwich) is one of the best Swedish food you have to try. You can make this in 5 minutes and finish it in 3 minutes. Yum!
This is a labor of love worth a thousand kisses. In between bowl mixing and batter whisking, the Swedish Chef smothered me with lots of love.
“That’s how it is,” he says, confirming that with a kiss.
125g 70% Lindt dark chocolate
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 c milk
2 c brown sugar
1/2 c oil (1/3 c vegetable oil+1/4 olive oil)
1/2 c espresso coffee (or 1/2 c hot water+2tsp strong instant coffee)
2 eggs, beaten
Pinch of salt
To make the cake base:
Preheat oven 350F. Grease and lightly flour 2 9-inch round cake pans.2. Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl.3. In a mug, microwave chocolate for 1 min or until slightly melted. Add hot espresso and stir until chocolate dissolves. Set aside.4. In another bowl, whisk together sugar and eggs until light and fluffy. Slowly pour in oil, milk, vanilla and chocolate- coffee mixture.5. Gradually add dry ingredients to chocolate mixture. Continue whisking until combined.6. Beat all together. This will be very thin. Pour and divide batter into two greased baking pans.7. Bake 20 minutes at 350F. DO NOT OVERBAKE OR IT WILL NOT HAVE THAT WONDERFUL MOISTNESS.
For Mousse ingredients:
- Grate 50g/2oz of the chocolate and reserve. Break the rest into small, even-sized pieces and melt over a bain-marie (double boiler or pan of simmering water). When chocolate starts to melt, add coffee until combined. Take the pan off the heat but keep the bowl over the hot water. Don’t worry if the mixture thickens – it will smooth out again later.
- Whisk the egg whites in a large bowl until they’re standing in stiff peaks. (To test if whipped cream peaks are stiff enough, you can hold and tip bowl over and it holds its form without collapsing.) Spoon in half the sugar, whisk again, then add the rest of the sugar and whisk until it looks glossy like meringue. Whip the cream in a separate bowl. (Cold bowl and chilled whipping cream results to quick stiff peaks.) Take the melted chocolate off the pan and fold in a heaped metal serving spoon of meringue to loosen the consistency, then tip the chocolate into the meringue and fold in lightly but thoroughly. Gently fold in the whipped cream until no more white streaks.
- Transfer to a clean bowl and chill in the fridge for at least an hour.
- Spread generous amount between cake layers. Make sure to leave a bit of mousse to cover the top of the cake.
- Drizzle ganache and sprinkle with chocolate bits.
- Refrigerate the cake for at least 2 hours or overnight to set.
- Serve and enjoy.
“Love is always sweeter when you bake cake together.” – Grandma Glasses
Happy Valentine’s Day!
50g dark chocolate
1/4 whipping cream
2tsp icing sugar
In a cup, put coarsely chopped chocolate with cream. Microwave for 30 seconds just to melt chocolate. Mix well. While still warm, add butter and sugar. Continue mixing until well combined. Shiny and smooth consistency is desired.( For thinner chocolate sauce, add 1-2 teaspoon of cream) Use as final frosting for cake. Chill for 2 hours or overnight to set.
I felt cold air on my nose. I woke up and look around. No snow here. I must be dreaming. Everything looks the same, except for one thing. It is Christmas Eve.
They told me to wait by the fireplace for the BigFatMan in the Red Suit. With a head-tilt, I looked at them, “But we don’t have a chimney here. I would rather be close to the warm stove where the smell of cookies is coming from.”
Then I heard the doorbell ring. “Who is it? Did we order pizza today?”
“Oh good! I thought I would not get it on time. Next year will be too much waiting,” said the Swedish Chef to the man by the door.
“Nope that’s not TheBigFatMan in the Red Suit,” as I glimpsed at the man before he disappeared. That man is not fat and not dressed in red suit either. But why did he give the Swedish Chef a big white bag? And then when I looked at the Swedish Chef, his face is beaming and he was grinning from ear to ear.
“I wonder what’s in the bag?” My senses dictate a fact. It’s definitely not bacon. They don’t have that here either. Maybe it’s a bag of sweet goodies. Or prinskorv or falu sausages. Or roasted beef ribs. Or liver patty. Or cold meats. Or gravlax. Or dinner steaks.
Then I saw him pull out a black shiny thing out of the box. Now this is really getting out of shape. I was expecting something soft and fluffy, not a hard black box.
“It’s the Force!” hollered the Swedish Chef to me. “Oh! That’s a holler of joy by the way,” as he grinned back to me.
“Where’s the button? Isn’t that suppose to glow in the dark like in the movies? Or maybe it will transform into a nice pudding pie after a few minutes.”
“Drake, always remember some days it’s a grocery bag, some days it’s not. And a shopping bag doesn’t always mean it has meatballs in it,” whispered Grandma Glasses.
“ Am I hallucinating or have I developed 3D senses? Aha! I am having hunger pang attacks again. And no one is in the kitchen.”
Oh well, back to being patient. I don’t mind waiting for the julbord to be ready, if only the days are shorter and the nights longer. I know TheBigFatMan in the Red Suit has some rabbit meat in his big sack when he comes.
On a warm quiet evening, I went into the kitchen to get some water. And there she was, Grandma Glasses digging into the pantry shelves like a treasure hunter.
She turned around to me and said, “I have to be quick Drake. I need to prepare the ingredients. The Swedish Chef is cooking tonight.”
“But this is not the first time he will be cooking dinner,” I muttered while I take a sip of my cold water.
“But tonight it’s going to be different. You will see him do the Swedish Hambo-Polka steps,” said Grandma Glasses in a voice that sounded like a burble.
“The what?” I turned to her as she speak. Most of the time I hear the Swedish Chef speak and he sounds as Swedish as a Swedish should be. But everytime Grandma Glasses says it herself it confuses me.
“The hambo is a traditional dance that originated in Sweden in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, has three-count step, with one step movement on each beat of the measure, danced smoothly and easily, not tense but floating with the music,” explained Grandma Glasses.
“The steps should be smooth and relaxed, never jerky.” as she flipped her feet to do a turn.
“It requires coordination and control to become a graceful Hambo dancer,” I sneered in silence as I watch her. As if she heard my thoughts, she stopped.
She turned to me and said, “Oh yes he can dance! Pirouetting back and forth, he moves with grace. And with extreme precision, he makes a hambo turn so graceful even Gene Kelly would approve. The best timing I’ve seen in my lifetime.”
“From what you just did, that fancy footwork in the kitchen is The Stove Top Hambo.” I said loudly with a sniff.
“Oh Drake don’t be silly. You’ll see what I mean.. Here he comes now. Out of his way, and stay in the corner.”
“Today it is Stir Fried Chicken Liver in Bacon and Mushroom Sauce I will cook,” said the Swedish Chef .
“We need 300g chicken liver,strips of veal bacon,1/2 cup of chopped mushroom,1/2 cup of diced onions, fried potatoes, 4 tbsp of butter, 1 tsp of dark soy sauce, 1/4 cup of cooking cream, salt, pepper and sprinkle of dried oregano.”
Grandma Glasses and I listened carefully while he gives cooking instructions.
“First I marinate chicken liver in soy sauce, salt, roasted garlic and herb seasoning and set aside.”
Then suddenly he did a hambo turn as he puts a pan on the stove. Grandma Glasses looked at me and smiled.
“Heat the pan, and when it is warm enough put the butter to melt until bubbly.”
Another hambo turn as reaches for the other ingredients. I am surprised to see him move without bumping into anything, so perfectly in such a small space for a big guy like the Swedish Chef.
“Saute onions, bacon and mushroom and let it cook for 3 minutes.”
I was quick to notice another hambo turn as he takes the next ingredient.
“Add the chicken liver and soy sauce. Sprinkle dried oregano and continue cooking in medium heat for 3 minutes.”
He looked at us to check if we are listening. He did another hambo turn to reach for the cream.
“Pour cream and let simmer for 2 minutes or until sauce thickens. Add salt and pepper to taste.”
Another hambo turn and he has salt and pepper in his hand.
“Oh I know good food when I smell one,” I whispered to Grandma Glasses.
“Quiet now Drake, this is the best part,” Grandma Glasses whispered back.
We stood still, only our eyes following the Swedish Chef as he makes his finale. This is like watching a movie on the big screen with the popcorn box almost empty.
“Aha! Time to remove from heat and serve with fried potatoes or rice.”
The Swedish Chef said it in a loud voice I almost jumped. He takes a plate and scooped a big serving on it. And for his finale, he did a last hambo turn as he exits the kitchen and walked to the dining table with the plate.
Grandma Glasses smiled at me and gave me a pat on the head.
“Yes Drake, that is what we call The Stove Top Hambo.” I wagged my tail to agree as she walked away to follow the Swedish Chef.