Rødkål (Braised Red Cabbage)

December 7, 2016
Rødkål (Norwegian Braised Red Cabbage)

Rødkål (Norwegian Braised Red Cabbage)Rødkål is a sweet and sour braised red cabbage. A side dish that is a necessity for many Norwegians when it comes to the Christmas Eve meal. Tradition dictates its presence and it is most often paired with ribbe (pork ribs with a layer of crispy fat) and potatoes.

Cabbage has been an integral part of the Norwegian livelihood for centuries, as well as Scandinavia and the rest of the world. As cabbage can be stored throughout the winter, it makes an appropriate ingredient during the colder months. It is also extremely healthy and in some cultures, a sign of luck and prosperity.

Rødkål (Norwegian Braised Red Cabbage) Continue Reading…

Sirupskake (Layered Spice Cake with Candied Oranges )

December 1, 2016

Norwegian Sirupskake (Layered Spice Cake with Candied Oranges and Orange Frosting)Norwegian Sirupskake (Layered Spice Cake with Candied Oranges and Orange Frosting)

The sound of wood crackling in the fireplace. A good friend stopping by for the day. The trickle of snow seen from the window. Folk music resounding and the smell of fragrant spices filling the air. The atmosphere seems too enticing, as if you could eat it all up. It can only mean one thing. Holiday baking has begun.

Quite recently I visited the Rollag Bygdekvinnelag, a wonderful group of ladies who meet throughout the year to swap stories, share meals, go on excursions, and maintain traditions, which have been shared and passed down through the women in the area. I was invited to look through some old cookbooks that had been kept within each respective family for generations. Some dated back to the 1800s and some were as recent as the 1970s. Mostly all were handwritten and well-used with smudges and small tears caressing the pages.

Pages filled with exciting and interesting recipes. Some still popular today, some forgotten, some a bit more unusual and some, perhaps, better left as ink on the page. With the holiday season fast approaching, a few of the traditional baked goods popped out at me. One of them being, sirupskake or syrup cake.

Norwegian Sirupskake (Layered Spice Cake with Candied Oranges and Orange Frosting) Continue Reading…

The Smokehouse (Røykhuset)

November 25, 2016
The Smokehouse (Røykhuset)

The Smokehouse (Røykhuset)The Smokehouse (Røykhuset)An army of snowflakes drape over the valley in a continuous flutter, creating an atmosphere that is quite magical, quite harmonious. A picture of white amidst a mountain landscape. And there, at the edge of the farm and near a trickling brook, stands the old smokehouse.

Aged timber cloaked in a history and a promising future. A future, which may not have existed had it not been important to revive and maintain this old tradition by the Traaen family.

The Traaen’s are a great example of those who are committed to their heritage and their connection to nature and the community. I had the privilege of learning about hunting in the Norwegian mountains from Olav and his son, Knut Halvor. Today, they are showing me another important aspect of Norway’s food culture and one they are learning more about themselves. The art of røyking or smoking.

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Fattigmann (Poor Man Cookies)

November 22, 2016
Fattigmann (Norwegian Poor Man Cookies)

Fattigmann (Norwegian Poor Man Cookies)The farm has become a blanket of white, with only the contrast of branches and jetting rock to add depth and structure. It’s tranquil and all encompassing.

With the holidays fast approaching and the weather conveniently allowing for more time indoors, baking is on the mind. For centuries, people have gathered around the oven, the stove, the griddle, and the fire to produce baked goods befitting of a celebration. It’s a social event from the moment the ingredients are combined all the way to the last bite. Continue Reading…

Rakfisk (Norwegian Fermented Fish)

November 16, 2016
Rakfisk (Norwegian Fermented Fish)

Rakfisk (Norwegian Fermented Fish)Rakfisk (Norwegian Fermented Fish)

Centuries ago, a group of fishermen mounted their horses early in the autumn and began their trek deep into the mountains of Norway. Lakes abounding, the fishermen spent their days in much success. Preservation of the bounty would have included much salt, but to their dismay they had not brought enough on this journey. They used all they had with nothing left to spare. They began their long journey back down the mountain in the hope that the fish would still be preserved. Days turned into weeks and the fish began to ferment. Upon returning home, and in anticipation that the fish had not gone to waste, the fisherman discovered something quite unusual. The fish had gone through a process in which had preserved it in a different way. They had stumbled upon something so delightful that it took hold and became a traditional delicacy across the land. 

This is the story I am told when asked how rakfisk came to be. A legend? Most certainly. But what we do know is that the process of fermentation has been known and popular across the world for thousands of years. Whether tales of accidental fermentation are true or not, is it certain that once the method of fermenting fish arrived in Norway, it became a significant part of the diet and an old tradition which is still upheld today. In fact, rakfisk is considered one of the most culturally important and iconic Norwegian recipes. And while many will never have the opportunity to make it themselves, this is certainly a dish you should try at least once. Continue Reading…

Multekarameller (Cloudberry Caramels with Sea Salt)

November 9, 2016
Multekarameller (Cloudberry Caramels with Sea Salt)

Multekarameller (Cloudberry Caramels)Multekarameller (Cloudberry Caramels)This recipe is not one that you can just make at any time and anywhere. It’s a special recipe featuring Norway’s golden berry. A berry that grows in the mountains and gets the nickname fjellets gull (mountain’s gold) because of its color and the fact that finding them is like discovering hidden treasure. The season is short and those who manage to get a hold of them will usually freeze them and save them for a celebration or a holiday such as Christmas. These berries, known as multebær or cloudberries, are, in short, one of a kind.

With this in mind, it is possible to substitute the berries with another berry of your choice, however, the flavor will not be the same at all. I do hope this recipe will evoke a sense of curiosity and a desire to one day try these berries if you have not been able to do so. They grow in North America and Scandinavia around early August. They have a unique and very aromatic taste; a combination of sweetness and acidity. Continue Reading…