Simple pleasures

Tag: northern sweden

Blini in the sunset

by tableofcolors

A couple of weeks ago my husband made his annual hunting trip to the Swedish Lapland. This time it was only three gentlemen and three dogs as the rest had conflicting schedules. In the north where they were, the foliage on the ground was starting to turn colors while the trees were quite green. I have been impressed as they do real cooking everyday. They usually make one crockpot meal and on other days they might make premium burgers that would make a fast food burger pale in comparison or roast chicken. Yes, the meals tend to be quite masculine in that they have plenty of meat but on the other hand they are trekking in the forest of the nordic fell all day and eat their main meal after they return to the cabin. The time that the ladies came along two years ago, we were served plenty of greens. So I suppose their meals are quite well balanced. That time as well, they took care of the meal planning and cooking. It was a true vacation.tunturin syksy Since I began blogging a little over two years ago, this has become a family project. So my husband took these photos of northern Sweden for me to share. Back at home we had an abundance of apples received from friends and coworkers. Our three little apple trees were just planted this summer and fall and so it will be some time before they grow to become good climbing trees full of fruit. Some of the apples were pressed for fresh apple cider and some apple sauce was made in the crockpot and a couple of apple crisps were made as well. Did you notice the apple that jumped out of the basket and rolled across the patio? This time I happened to be at the right place at the right time and snap the shot as well. It doesn’t always quite work out that way.

jumping applesWhile the men were gone we enjoyed a meal of what I thought was Blini but was actually Oladji, as one dear reader pointed out in the comments. Blini are the thin and crêpe-like and Oladji are thick and hearty. Mine were the thick and hearty version and served with savory fillings might be just the perfect meal after a hunting or fishing trip. I used only buckwheat which makes them completely gluten-free but if preferred you may subsitute some of the buckwheat flour with regular wheat flour. The dough is thick and includes yeast and must be made into a large bowl as it will rise and be full of air bubbles.

blini doughThe reason why I thought these would be a perfect part of their menu repertoire is that the dough can be mixed in the early morning and then placed into the fridge for the day to rise. Then when they make their way back to the cabin in the evening, only a hot griddle is needed with some butter and a savory topping that can be easily mixed by the others while one fries.

bliniIn Russia, these round blini symbolize the sun and are quite rich. Traditionally they are served before Lent with melted butter, sour cream, caviar, jam and really, the list could go on. I served my blini with shrimp and a dollop of sour cream that had a bit of red onion and dill in it. You could use your imagination and serve your blini with what suits your fancy.


Blini or more correctly Oladji    gluten-free (makes about 15)

recipe from Viljatuote buckwheat package

3 dl/ 1 and 1/3 c Greek or Turkish yoghurt
15 g/ 1/2 oz yeast (I used fresh yeast)
2 dl/ just under 1 cup buckwheat flour
1 tsp sugar
1 dl/ just under 1/2 c hot milk
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp melted butter
1 yolk
1 egg white

Warm the yoghurt until it is luke warm. Stir in the yeast until it is dissolved and then add the buckwheat flour and sugar. Allow the dough to rise for a couple of hours at room temperature or for longer in the refrigerator. Before frying the pancakes add the hot milk, salt, melted butter, egg yolk. Whip the egg white until fluffy and fold into the batter. Fry the blini in a knob of butter at low temperature in a frying pan or a blini pan. Serve hot with a topping of your choice.


2 dl/1 c sour cream
juice from a half of a lemon
1 small red onion, finely chopped
small handful of dill, finely chopped
black pepper


Mix all of the ingredients except for the shrimp. Spoon a large spoonful of sour cream topping on the blini and serve with shrimp.

sunset in swedennordic fellswedish lapland landscape


The Swedish Lapland and the heart of a moose

by tableofcolors

Little by little we have been eating the contents of our freezers. This year we were lucky to have a fairly large quantity of game meat. As nature goes through cycles, so does our freezer. Some years it is better for a population of a species to grow and flourish and then if there is too many for the ecosystem, it provides a window of opportunity to hunt. Since I grew up in the city and my family did not have hunters, I really did not understand the essence of hunting. I have been learning. Since my husband is a passionate hunter, I get regular lessons. If done correctly, it is about following the cycles of nature, protecting the wildlife and also conserving areas so that wildlife might have a refuge. Although every hunter would like to at least occasionally catch some game, the most important part is being in the quiet forest and observing nature. Often the reward from an early morning venture is only a healthy amount of exercise and fresh air. And sometimes there might be a story to tell and some fresh game. I would like to believe that hunters truly want their game to be wild and free and if they would be caught, that their death would be quick and painless as possible. The photos below from the Swedish Lapland are from last fall and are taken by my husband. Every year my husband and a few of his close friends and brothers drive to northern Sweden. If you have been following tableofcolors for some time, you may recall the post on the nordic fell. It was a hunting adventure that included the ladies. The pictures from the trip below was for the gentlemen and four dogs, and I would like to share some of their experiences and stories they brought back. Their trip was for grouse but the recipe I will be sharing below is for moose heart, a delicacy rarely had.

latoAll alone in the middle of the wilderness was this old barn and farm. The closest road was twenty kilometers away. The people who had inhabitited the farm had used a boat to reach it. It had no road or path leading up to it, perhaps at one time there had been a small path. Most likely it was now overgrown with grasses and shrubbery. It makes one wonder who built this farm so far from the towns and villages. Maybe the children grew up and left for the cities as so many others and so it now stands alone.

lato2landscapeThe landscape is scarce of people and it is easy to see how the mythology of elves has evolved. The Finnish elves or tonttu often protect a home or sauna. Perhaps the abandoned farm has it’s own elf, protecting it in the middle of the wilderness.

The heart of the moose or deer is a rare treat. Sometimes when we have had some on hand it becomes an evening snack after the kids are in bed, quickly fried on the pan so that it remains very tender. We always eat it fresh and this time we did share with the children and it was a weekend meal served with sweet potato and potato mash.

moose heart sweet potatoThe heart of the moose

Trim away all valves, connective tissues and papillary muscles and cut into slices. Using a mortar and pestle grind a mix of peppers and a few chili flakes. Rub the ground peppers on the meat and fry on a hot pan for about two minutes per side and season with sea salt.

moose heartSweet potato mash

1 large sweet potato
8-10 floury potatoes
about 7-8 dl/3-3.5 c hot milk
about 70 g/2.5 oz butter, melted
black pepper

Peel sweet potatoes and potatoes. Cut the sweet potato into large chunks and potatoes into fourths. Place into a large pot and add water so that it just covers the potatoes. Bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are tender. Pour out the water. Place the milk and butter into a microwave proof bowl and heat until the milk is hot and butter is melted. Using an electric hand mixer, mix the hot milk mixture into the potatoes and whip until desired consistency. I usually prefer mine to have a few lumps. Season with salt and pepper. If the mash is too stiff for your liking add a little bit more hot milk or some of the cooking water to thin it out.


The Nordic fell in Northern Sweden

by tableofcolors

Last week was a first for me. I was able to participate on a hunting and a week long hiking trip with my husband and another couple that are close friends and two dogs. One the way up north we stopped at the Storforsen falls. I posted a picture of the falls(here) from one of my husband’s trips that took place in August. This photo is of the falls in the winter.

Storforsen falls

I have been along for shorter day trips and for a weekend but this is the first time that I was able see and explore the nordic fells. From afar they appear to be small rolling mountains. We saw many reindeer and each morning we saw moose on the road or in the forest nearby as we drove to our destination. I believe we had twenty-three moose sightings in the mornings. I saw moose tracks frequently when walking in the woods but maybe we were being too loud, I never saw a single one when actually walking in the forest. I’m not sure if I would have actually wanted to meet one up close and personal. They are large, majestic animals that seem to magically disappear into the forest when they take off in a sprint. We also saw many Willow Grouse outfitted in their snow white feathers that would quickly fly to a new location. They generally do not fly long distances and so we saw many tracks on the freshly fallen snow.

Moose on the road

The first day turned out to be a great work-out. We spent the day on a nordic fell. We were at about 800 meters above sea level and there was an abundance of snow. The snow came up to our knees and at times up to our waists. The weather rapidly changed throughout the day and times we got heavily snowed on with strong winds and at other times the sun came out for a bit. When the sun was behind the clouds the scenery was very black and white.

Black and white scenery

The pointing dog

A peek of sunshine

It turned out to be the completely relaxing vacation for the ladies. I think the gents were so happy to have us along that they pampered us the whole week. Every morning breakfast would appear on the table and when we returned to the cabin in the afternoon or early evening they would fix us dinner and heat the sauna for us. It was like having Mother’s day for a week.

We left the cabin a little after 8 am and by 9 we would be exploring the forest. Sometime between noon and one we would stop for a bonfire and lunch. Sometimes we roasted sausages or heated up ready made sandwiches over the bonfire or cooked up a piece of cured ham. For dessert there was coffee and chocolate. The chocolate tasted wonderful when you are burning up lots of energy. After lunch we continued until about 3 or 4 pm.


Enjoying life and roasting a sausage for a simple lunch

Part of the reason why the trip was so relaxing was that I knew that our kids were in good hands. Gramma had come for the week, and since she has many more years of experience with children than I do, I knew that they would do fine at home. In addition to taking care of the kids, the cupboards were cleaned, the fridge had been washed and all the laundry done when we arrived home. It was the perfect Christmas gift for me. Maybe now I won’t stress with the annual Christmas cleaning ordeal.

Road over the ice

The beautiful morning sun

So much to be thankful for! Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!