It’s hard to know where to begin with practicing cooking from another culture, especially one as varied as Scandinavia. To help you along we have given you an insight into our trusty reading resources so you can begin to explore the culture of Scandinavian cuisine. Mary-Jane, our Head Baker, and Jacob, our Head Chef, have chosen three books for three different purposes for you to get to grips with Scandinavian cooking methods and ingredients.
Best for… Baking
Scandinavian Baking: Loving Baking at Home by Trine Hahnemann
From show-stoppers and crowd-pleasers to simple breakfast delights and something to dunk in your brew, Hahnemann provides an authentic introduction and teaching on traditional Scandinavian baking. Mary-Jane, our master-caker-maker recommends this book as a place to start experimenting with Scandinavian baking techniques and as a course to develop those skills, just as she has. Infused with information about festivities and celebrations, Hahnemann welcomes you to the true culture of Scandinavia, explaining the meaning behind flavours and ingredients and their origins. The book offers challenging bakes as well as recipes that are sure to become daily or weekend favourites. It is sure to give you a new perspective on baking!
Best for… Cooking
Fäviken by Magnus Nilsson
This is a cookery book like no other. Jacob, Baltzersen’s Head Chef and who has also worked at Norse, recommends this book for its revolutionary approach to sourcing ingredients and handling produce. The book is based on a restaurant called Fäviken in Sweden which exclusively uses ingredients grown on their remote farm allowing the menu to be as seasonal as possible. The restaurant serves just 12 people everyday, giving ‘quality’ a deeper meaning. As the author and chef of Fäviken, Nilsson provides, as he says in his own words, a book that is “in between a reading book and a recipe book”. Don’t expect to be practicing these recipes on a regular basis, but do expect it to encourage you to reimagine sourcing ingredients and freshen up your attitude to cooking.
Best for … Lifestyle
Secrets of Scandinavian Cooking… : Scandilicious by Signe Johansen
Both Mary-Jane and Jacob agreed that Johansen’s book serves as an all-rounder for baking, preserving and cooking and is a valuable resource in their kitchens. Scandilicious offers a wealth of knowledge to cover all occasions and times of day such as smørrebrød for lunches, and pastries for fika. The methods are well explained and approachable making it a good resource to incorporate into your own kitchen and introduce Scandinavian cooking into your daily routine. Mary-Jane’s favourite recipe is the Prinsesstårta, a layered cake with sponge, jam, crème pâtissière, cream and marzipan. It is one of the more complicated cakes, but is certainly one of our most popular bakes! Jacob suggests experimenting with Scandinavian breads, the book includes a dedicated chapter, his favourite is 100% rye bread as it provides a richer flavour that adds depth.
Each of these books require some essential Scandinavian ingredients that should always be in your cupboard. Experiment with different flours rather than just plain flour: spelt and rye flour are readily available in most major supermarkets and although Jacob warns that “these flours can be harder to work with as they react differently to liquid” he encourages use of them as they offer the chance to achieve different flavours and textures that can transform even the basic of bakes. Scandi baking also uses plenty of ground almonds mixed with flour so make sure they are a regular addition to your baking cupboard. Mary-Jane also advises a healthy supply of cinnamon and cardamom, there is not a day that goes by that she doesn’t use these two vital Scandinavian spices!
We hope you enjoy learning more about this tasty and lovely culture!
P.S : Raid your local library for these books, Grace found her copies there – in perfect nick!