Being the last day at work before a Bank Holiday weekend, Friday was terribly busy – but considerably brightened up by the arrival of my Euro Blogging By Post parcel from Sweden! Once goods inwards got round to delivering it to my desk, I resisted the temptation to open it immediately and tucked it safely under my desk (sneaking looks at it all the time!) until it was home-going time…only to discover that it was too heavy to carry for 30 minutes on a too-warm summer’s evening. Luckily, the Boyfriend and I were able to call into the office on Saturday morning before we headed down the country for the weekend. I ended up opening it at home with the Little Sister, who got me out of my digital camera-not-working dilemma by using her phone to take the photo of “Swedish summer treats” illustrating this post.
The first thing that I came across in Alexandra‘s well-packed box was a bulging tin of Surströmming Fileer marked with a warning! A Swedish delicacy, it apparently smells so much that she strongly recommends that I “open it outside and far away from people…It will leave an unforgettable memory.” Seeing as I live surrounded by people in an apartment block in Dublin at the moment, I’m going to have to wait for an appropriate moment to try it. Perhaps I’ll wait until a weekend after we move into our country cottage in the middle of nowhere, Co Cork.
Also tucked into Alexandra’s box were Matjesfiléer and Loksill, two different kinds of pickled herring – just as well I’ve started eating fish in the last few years! She tells me that these are eaten with new potatoes or are “delicious in sandwiches.” I don’t think it will take as much courage to eat these as the Surströmming but, between being at home with my family, travelling and having my Vegetarian Cousin for dinner, they remain in the fridge for the moment.
I couldn’t resist opening the jar of Hjortronsylt (cloudberry jam) immediately. I’ve read lots about these berries – most recently (albeit briefly, despite the name) in Tessa Kiros‘ Falling Cloudberries – and the jam is delicious, with a flavour somewhat like honeyed apples. They are related to raspberries and, like that fruit’s jam, the Hjortronsylt is packed full of crunchy seeds that give it a wonderful texture. Looking for information on them, I came across Pille’s nami-nami blog and her recipe for Rye Bread Canapes with Blue Cheese and Cloudberry Jam. First I’ll try out Alexandra’s suggestion of serving the jam on top of ice cream and then, if there’s any left, will use it to top some of the Cashel Blue and Crozier Blue cheeses that Mum packed for me when I was leaving after the weekend.
A bottle of Pippi Longstocking‘s beloved Sockerdricka (sugar soda), some great Krafthattar – party hats for traditional crawfish parties which are held in August – and a tin-foil wrapped package of sweet and short homemade sugar cookies completed the parcel. Unfortunately, while packing to return to Dublin, our dogs at home got their noses into the box of goodies and ran away with the cookies, leaving behind nothing but a well-licked piece of Swedish tinfoil. I did a search on Alexandra’s blog, Catching Points, and discovered Alexandra’s recipe for these Sugar Cookies so I’ll have to make them for myself and, this time, make sure they’re nowhere accessible to a naughty Labrador and terrier combination. I think those cookies would make a great combination with some warmed cloudberry jam and ice cream…hmmm…how far can one jar of cloudberry jam go, I wonder?
Thanks to Alexandra for such a fantastic taste of a Swedish summer and insight into another country’s summertime traditions – I’ll let you know how I get on with the Surströmming when I muster up enough nerve to finally open the tin! – and also many thanks to Jeanne for doing all the organising and hosting the event. If you’re interested, you can track all the other parcels here and even (before 25 August) sign up to international Blogging by Mail at The Happy Sorceress.