Best Scandinavian food – I want to hear from you!


This time, it’s all about you. What do you love best about Scandinavian food? Do you have a favorite Norwegian soup recipe or a beloved Swedish cookie you remember eating while growing up? What memories do the foods of Scandinavia evoke for you? I want to hear from you!

I’ve enjoyed hearing from many of you who read this blog and have shared your enthusiasm for the recipes and stories you’ve found here. Your comments always make me so happy, and it’s great to know that what you read here on Outside Oslo resonates with you.

So, this time I want to hear about your experience with Scandinavia and what the foods of Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and Iceland mean to you. Please leave a comment below or e-mail me. Or maybe get in touch on Facebook or Twitter. One of the great things about blogs and social media is that they’re all about the conversation. Now it’s time to hear from you!

Last-minute food ideas for Christmas

I’m spending a little time on this quiet Friday afternoon thinking about what to make for a few special Christmas meals in the next couple of days. If you, like me, are also looking for last-minute ideas, here are a few ideas from past posts on Outside Oslo.

Bisp and Trondheim soup – guest post from The Leftover Queen

Lussekatter, pepparkakor, Christmas ham, and knäck – guest post from Anne’s Food

Norwegian butter cookies – a simple cookie that can be shaped in many ways

Sugared cranberries – to add a little sparkle to your holiday table

Also, check out Outside Oslo’s recipe page for a complete list of recipes.

Follow Outside Oslo on Facebook and Twitter!

Swedish brandy cake

There’s one more slice of this cake on the counter, waiting for someone to take the first bite. The first bite that will inevitably lead to the next. And then the next. This cake is good.

It’s not often that I bake the same thing twice in one week, but this one called for it. The first time I made it, it was on a whim. Lounging around on a lazy afternoon last week, I flipped through Beatrice Ojakangas’ The Great Scandinavian Baking Book. My friend, S., who’s a fellow writer, had recently encouraged me to incorporate food into the novel I’m working on, so earlier that day I got to know one of my primary characters better by discovering how food plays a role in her life. Of course, I need to bake for inspiration, then, don’t I? The character, whom I’ll call Eva, is Scandinavian. The coming months could be very delicious as I discover some of the sweet treats she might have baked.

Anyway, back to the cake. Still warm from the oven, and delicately accented with the essence of brandy, I couldn’t help but eat dessert before dinner. However, I wanted to make the flavor more pronounced, so when I made it again on Tuesday for my book club friends, I increased the amount of brandy by a tablespoon and finished it off with a brandy glaze. That did the trick.

Swedish Brandy Butter Cake
Adapted from/inspired by The Great Scandinavian Baking Book.

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
3 tablespoons brandy
2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
4 tablespoons water
brandy glaze (recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9-inch springform pan, tapping off excess flour. Using a standing mixer, cream butter and sugar until smooth, then add eggs and brandy and keep beating. Mix together flour and baking powder and add it to the batter, adding the water a tablespoon at a time while the mixer is going.

Once incorporated, pour into pan and bake for 50-55 minutes. Remove from pan when cool enough to touch, then cool on a wire rack (or if you’re like me and enjoy cake while it’s still warm from the oven, eat it right away). Drizzle brandy glaze over cake. Serve the cake on the day you make it if possible—that’s when it’s at its moistest and most delicious.

Serves 12

Brandy Glaze
2/3 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon butter, melted
2 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons brandy

Stir powdered sugar and butter together, then add milk and brandy, stirring until smooth.