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Scandikitchen, the Scandinavian cafe and shop in Fitzrovia, has recently launched its cookbook of the same name. We popped in to see what their seasonal offering is and to get a glimpse of some of the creations that you can now bake at home.
Whatever you go in to try, you’ll come out with either a packet of salted liquorice, Pepparkakor or, at the very least, a satisfied hunger.
Scandikitchen – the Cafe
Before browsing what you want to eat, order a coffee. For a few moments enjoy the rich, mellow flavours from Scandikitchen’s chosen beans, happy in the knowledge you haven’t paid twice the price for something half the quality in one of the nearby coffee shops.
Visiting mid-afternoon we tried two lunch options, the first being a selection from the Smorgasbord – five pieces for £9.95 (to eat in). There was a good selection of generous small plates and salads, ranging from very stereotypically Scandinavian to those that might be considered slightly ‘safer’ if you’re unsure about some of the flavour combinations.
We didn’t notice all of them, as some are hidden away at the bottom of the counter – it would have been nice to see everything easily on display.
For our Smorgasbord, we chose:
- -Pickled Scandinavian Herring with mustard
- -Smoked mackerel with apple, fennel, crushed peas on dark rye
- -Avocado, tomato and cress on dark rye
- -Sweet potato, rye grain and feta salad
- -White cabbage salad
The herring with mustard was our favourite small plate – although it’s certainly not something to be eaten everyday this delicacy definitely fulfils the Scandinavian fix.
The feta and sweet potato salad was equally well executed, which we definitely recommend.
Unfortunately the ‘safer’ avocado, tomato and cress on dark rye didn’t really hit the spot with tomatoes that were rather limp, rather than firm, fresh and ripe.
Our second option was a hot one in the form of a Swedish meatball platter with buttery mash and red cabbage and pear coleslaw. The Swedish meatball platter was a cut above any IKEA offering – the meatballs themselves were good but it was the rich, buttery mash and fresh pear coleslaw with a great crunch that we were pleasantly surprised at. A higher pear-to-red-cabbage red cabbage wouldn’t go amiss in the next batch though.
What really impressed us is the service and product knowledge of the friendly staff. The cafe-cum-shop setup means you can buy traditional Scandinavian products after eating, and the staff were able to provide recommendations and assistance.
For dessert (as there’s always room for one), we couldn’t settle on one, so shared three – the first two of which are in the recipe book.
The kärleksmums chocolate love cake is a giant chocolate cake with a coconut and mocha topping. The sponge here has been made with lots of dark cocoa, and given the richness we’d recommend serving with lashings of whipped cream, all for balance of course.
The semlor lent bun was the next from our dessert trio, and this is an absolute must try! The dough is enriched with warming cardamom and the bun is stuffed with a light marzipan and bulging with creme patissiere. We will be coming back regularly to buy these, whilst they’re on sale.
Our third dessert was a chocolate coated Italian meringue. Whilst this was exceptionally well executed, it is not something we would consider traditionally Scandinavian, nonetheless a bijou treat.
Scandikitchen – the book
If you fancy trying your hand at Scandinavian cooking yourself, then the Love Cake above is an easy place to start. The recipe below is an extract from the book and makes 8 – 10 portions.
- -3 ½ tablespoons cacao or cocoa powder
- -100 ml whole milk
- -175 g butter
- -225 g granulated sugar
- -2 eggs
- -225 g plain flour or cake flour
- -1 teaspoon vanilla sugar or extract
- -1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- -½ teaspoon salt
- -150 g icing sugar, sifted
- -50 g butter
- -1 generous tablespoon cacao or cocoa powder
- -½ teaspoon vanilla sugar
- -4 tablespoons strong filter coffee
- -50 g desiccated coconut, plus extra to decorate
- -coarse sea salt, to decorate
You will need a 20-cm deep round cake pan, greased and lined with baking parchment
- 1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C (350°F) Gas 4.
- 2. In a bowl, mix together the cacao or cocoa with 100 ml of boiling water to make a thick paste and leave to cool. Gradually pour in the milk and stir well until combined and smooth.
- 3. In a separate bowl, cream together the butter and caster sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one by one, mixing well between each addition and taking care that they are completely incorporated.
- 4. In a third bowl, sift together the flour, vanilla sugar or extract, bicarbonate of soda and salt.
- 5. Add the flour and the cacao or cocoa mixtures to the egg mixture, whisking continuously, taking care to ensure everything is well incorporated, but not over-beating or your cake will be heavy. Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake pan, spreading evenly. Bake in the middle of the preheated oven for 20–25 minutes, or until a skewer comes out just clean (take care not to over-bake).
- 6. Leave to cool slightly, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- 7. To make the topping, put all the ingredients except the salt in a saucepan. Melt together gently, stirring until well combined. Cool, then spoon the topping onto the cooled cake and spread evenly. Decorate with the extra coconut and sea salt, then leave to set before serving.
The Scandikitchen book is available to purchase in store on online, priced at £16.99. An online purchase also includes a voucher for a free coffee and cake in store and £5 off your next online purchase.
Scandikitchen is located at 61 Great Titchfield Street, London, W1W 7PP.
For more information, their online store or to purchase the book visit scandikitchen.co.uk.