It’s time to wave goodbye to July, and the end of our Scandinavian – Nordic adventure.
Icelandic Vegetable Soup
It probably comes as no surprise that hearty soups are part of traditional Icelandic cuisine. Although they’re not generally plant-based, it’s not difficult to turn a traditional Kjötsúpa into a satisfying vegan meal. Loaded up with vegetables, lentils and grains a big pot of this gave us ready-made lunches for the week. Unusually, oats are often used in the soups as a grain, but you can use brown rice or another grain if you prefer.
Icelandic Baking-powder bread
To go with the soup, I decided to try a traditional Icelandic bread – Hveitibrauð með lyftidufti. I looked at a few recipes, and when I saw this one, made from plain flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and milk or water, I thought it sounded very much like it was going to turn out like a traditional Aussie damper. I was right. Dense with a thick, crisp, crust this is at its best eaten warm. Plus it only takes a few minutes to put together, which only increases its’ appeal.
Finnish Cabbage Casserole
It’s an odd thing that Steve claims he doesn’t like cabbage. Not only is he a big fan of coleslaw and sauerkraut but he’s enjoyed every dish involving cabbage I’ve put in front of him. At least that’s what he tells me. Anyway, I had a fairly large wedge of green cabbage that needed to be used, so what better way to, impress Steve than make a big cabbage casserole! Cooked on the stovetop initially, and then into the oven for a fair while at a low temperature, this dish with minimal ingredients is really very tasty.
Norwegian Lentil, Mushroom & Kale Patties
These were inspired by Kjøttkaker, the Norwegian rival to Swedish meatballs, though the Norwegian ones tend to be larger and flatter. I had some lentils leftover from the cabbage casserole, and I thought that would go well with some mushrooms and kale, plus some of the traditionally used spices. They turned out better than I expected, with plenty of flavour, and a firm but soft texture. Often served with gravy, since we were having them with the cabbage casserole I opted for a creamy sauce.
Norwegian Mushie Peas
I’ve never actually had mushie peas before, but I’ve always found the idea quite appealing. They’re a traditional Norwegian side dish, so I decided to give them a shot. I don’t know how they’re made elsewhere, but the only flavourings were salt, pepper and sugar, and while they were tasty, they were a bit on the sweet side for me. I like my savoury food to be savoury. Not that it stopped me from eating them, but I think next time I try mushie peas I’ll go for a sugar free version.
Swedish mushroom omelette
I really wanted to try using the amazing aquafaba in an omelette. Of course I checked out the Facebook group Vegan Meringue – Hits and Misses! to see if anyone had tried it, which unsurprisingly they had, so armed with a successful method I went on my way. Mushroom, onion, spinach and dill combined with the batter to make something truly delicious. I couldn’t honestly say if it tasted anything like an egg omelette since I never really ate eggs much, but it was so, so good.
Cinnamon buns, snails or swirls are a traditional sweet in Sweden and Denmark, and while very similar they do seem to differ slightly. I combined aspects of both versions and threw in a few twists on my own. Some through necessity and some I just wanted to try. As luck would have it, they still turned out well, and were happily devoured.
Gnocchi with mushroom, pumpkin & green beans
For our final meal in July I wanted to make something that incorporated one of the flavour combinations I’ve come to love during this month – mustard and dill. Once again it was a time when our vegie supplies were running low, but I managed to cobble together enough mushrooms, green beans and pumpkin to make a respectable meal. They worked beautifully in a creamy mustard sauce with plenty of fresh dill. Served over mini gnocchi, it was a tasty and filling way to end our Scandinavian – Nordic adventure.
August has arrived with a welcome burst of warmth, as we head across the ocean to spend the month exploring Sri Lankan food!