I’ve already attended a couple of cookery classes at Food at 52 – Flavours of Italy run by school founder John and Scandinavian Christmas Baking with Trine Hahnemann. Recently, I went back to attend another of Trine’s classes, Flavours of Scandinavia.
The class focuses on the kind of simple, healthy cooking that Scandinavians enjoy at home, using ingredients such as root vegetables, kale and rye grains.
Unlike my previous classes at the school, this one was less hands on. In the other classes, we worked in pairs to create most of the recipes ourselves and made just one or two as a whole group. This time, we made nearly everything as a group. In practice, that meant we discussed and watched a lot more, but there was still plenty of opportunity to handle the ingredients, to smell and touch and taste. Where we did get more hands on experience was in peeling and chopping vegetables, forming and frying frikadeller (Danish meatballs), making individual salad dressings and frying the mushroom and rye dish and the apple and onion dish.
What was most valuable, for me, was the confirmation of how simple and achievable this cuisine can be when you focus on everyday cooking rather than the new modern approach of the famous Scandi restaurants.
And though I’ve had it once before, at an Abergavenny Festival class by Trine and Signe Johansen, I had forgotten how very delicious celeriac root is when baked whole after rubbing with oil and salt. It has a wonderful earthy flavour and a soft fluffy texture, much like a properly baked potato.
Even without the three day curing, Trine’s orange and lemon cured salmon was another hit for me – I had never imagined that orange would go so well with salmon, even though it’s second nature to pair the fish with lemon. We tried a few slices of the salmon after only a dew hours, and it was super.
Roast root vegetables are always a winner and Trine encouraged us not to peel them, for added flavour and roughage. Tossed in oil and sprinkled with a restrained scattering of fennel seeds these beetroot, carrots and parsnips were very good indeed.
Rye grains turned out to be much like spelt grains once cooked, and make another excellent alternative to rice.
Trine brought along some of her home made rye bread too, which is always a treat.
The chicken, potato, kale and almond salad was good, but I’m still not as much of a fan of kale as I am of other cabbages such as savoy. The dressing was much as I usually make – vinegar, mustard, honey and oil.
On the other hand, the kale “pesto” was wonderfully green, lemony and light. Because it didn’t have the heaviness that cheese brings, it was also a good way to eat more of this nutritious winter vegetable.
But my favourites were the frikadeller served with fried apple and onion. Similar in taste, but not in shape and size, to the Swedish köttbullar I fell in love with during many childhood trips to Sweden these were comfort food at its most comforting.
Making good frikadeller is all about the fars, or minced meat mix, so Trine made sure we all had the chance to feel it and understand the texture we should aim for. Then she showed us how to shape the balls with oiled spoons and we formed a rotating queue, shaping and dropping into the pan, shaping and dropping into the pan.
After the cooking (and talking and laughing) we sat down to lunch (with more talking and laughing) and enjoyed the feast.
Thanks to Trine and Food at 52 for another lovely day.
Kavey Eats attended this class as a guest of Food at 52.