ovely Stockholm. Sweden must have been the longest standing contender on my ‘must-visit’ destinations list. Without even having stepped foot in this glorious country I had already fallen in love with the culture, people, lifestyle and not to mention the food. Ah the food. Rye bread, salmon, cray fish and beetroot. Dill and cardamon and cinnamon. Dreamy matcha and cardamon lattes and high champagnes kisses. And some of the most fantastic restaurants in Europe. Stockholm’s foodie scene was therefore a must see and it certainly lived up to expectations. With only a short whistle wind tour in two days this certainly warrants another visit not only as I am still to sample the hay smoked creations of Ekstedt….thats for next time.
The beautiful water-hugged city cleared our lungs and wooed us with its romance. Exploring the old town of Gamla Stan was by far the most enjoyable delight. Lunching like kings at ‘Kryp In’ (which I highly recommend) tucked secretly down a cobbled side street in the old town before fast forwarding to the future to the Gondelen in Sodermalm which in summer has the best sun kissed terrace and high city views in town. However, with a crisp chill in the air, we enjoyed our sparkling champagne in the warmer, gorgeous and hipster-filled bar overlooking the city before gliding through the restaurant to the ‘Kitchen’ area, an informal and casual bistro like setting, where we were immersed in the action. The food was perfect and the wine….strong.
fter the effects of the ‘strong’ wine, after a slow morning we had a day of touring the city, sadly in the persistent rain. However, warming cardamon lattes and cinnamon buns soon warmed our souls at the quaint and authentic Vetekatten in Kungsgatan. But dinner was by far the highlight of the day. New modern Nordic cuisine with excitement, imagination and most importantly, flavour. ‘The Flying Elk‘ was the perfect gastropub to warm our bodies and dry our sodden feet. An amazing menu starting with a delicate and ‘jump-up-and-down-on-your-seat’ tasty carrot and foie gras macaroon with creamed corn and cress. This I did not share. You would not have either. This was followed welcomingly with an aurora salmon salad with vanilla marinated crayfish meddled with sweet yellow carrots among a bowl of fennel, lemon verbena salad, orange and almonds. This menu was an absolute highlight. And with the Flying Elk book perched on the neighbouring window sill the entire evening, it isn’t a surprise I left with one in hand. Slight technical hurdle is the Swedish dialogue and no copy yet in English translation….but we’ll get over that.
With the sun in full power on our final day, we ventured to the island of Djurgarden, a stone throw and hop over the bridge from the old town. A beautiful island. Tree lined cycle paths hugged the river but we chose to amble in the crisp sun on foot, past the joggers, boating site-seers and keen cyclists. We rested our weary feet and an true Swedish hidden gem. Rosengard Tradgard, and organic cafe and garden centre set in following fields and orchards. We quenched our thirst with homemade teas, juices and lemonade. Organic produce and home baked spiced breads littered the shops and entertained our senses. A true delight which I can only compare to the delights of the infamous ‘Petersham Nurseries‘ in Richmond for ambiance, intention and style. Being on the island was 10 minutes escape from the city into peace. Even if it meant being dragged there on foot….
But one of the highlights in Sweden. Cinnamon. Finally a country that appreciates this festive spice just as much as me. With cinnamon buns and fresh OJ for breakfast it was time to recreate the scene at home once back on UK soil to sooth the post holiday blues.
Makes about 15 (adapted from Jamie Oliver)
- 7g dried yeast
- 250ml almond milk/whole milk
- 60ml boiling water
- 50g demerara sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 400g plain flour
- 1/2 tsp ground cardamon
- 4 tbsp oil
- 1 egg, beaten
- Pearl sugar (optional)
- 75g softened butter
- 25g dark brown soft sugar
- 50g demerara sugar
- 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
- Pinch salt
- Combine the water and milk and stir in the yeast. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, mix the sugar, salt, flour and ground cardamon.
- Make a well in the centre and stir in the warmed yeast mixture and the oil. Mix until combined before getting your hands in and bringing together into a dough.
- Tip onto a floured surface and knead the dough together until you have a smooth springy dough. This should take about 10 minutes. Oil the bowl and place the dough inside. Cover with a tea towel or cling film and leave to rest and prove in a warmish place for about an hour until doubled in size.
- Meanwhile make the filling. combine the ingredients until you have a really soft spreadable paste.
- Once the dough is risen, roll it out on a floured surface to a 35cm x 35cm square. Spread over the cinnamon butter filling evenly.
- Fold the dough into thirds like a business letter and roll into a rough rectangle (20cm x 35cm)
- Cut the dough into 20cm long strips about 2-3cm wide. Take strip and twist it as seen below.
- Now for the tricky bit – the knot! I found this link very useful as it contains a video and is where I have based my recipe on with a few adaptations. (Basically, grab one end and coil around your hand twice. Then over the top and coil and tuck the loose end at the bottom. As I said, the video helps!)
- Place the shaped buns onto a lined baking tray and preheat the oven to 180°C.
- Leave the buns to rise again until doubled in size for about 30-40 minutes.
- Brush with a little beaten egg if you like and to be really authentic, sprinkle with pearl sugar or almonds.
- Bake for about 15-18 minutes until golden.