Come Dine With Me – Day 4 of 6 – A Taste of Sweden with No Meatballs

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come dine with me - day 4
come dine with me - day 4

Welcome to the fourth day of our Come Dine With Me competition. Tonight we find ourselves in an apartment by the Greens just off of Sheik Zayed Road. Our culinary journey, however, takes us even further. We head to Sweden, a country that has touched many of our lives at one time of another through their most famous export, IKEA.

When thinking of Swedish cuisine, what first comes to your mind? Sadly for me, it is Swedish meatballs. A cheap and cheerful dish, I can’t help ordering the 5-meatball meal each time I am at IKEA and I always have it with a side of boiled vegetables and extra gravy. I also like to browse the IKEA food section by the check-out lanes just to see what variety of Swedish food is being sold. I haven’t bought a single thing yet but I feel inclined to do so after tonight’s meal.

Our Swedish hostess, IK, whose initials happen to be the first two letters of IKEA, (coincidence? hmm…) wanted to share with us what real Swedish cuisine can be and when submitting her menu, she titled it, “A Swedish menu without a single Meatball.”

Her Swedish dinner was so authentic, she even flew in a Swedish helper all the way from Stockholm. (Kidding, kidding – but IK did had a friend visiting from Stockholm at the time.)

salmon crostini
salmon crostini

We started off the night with salmon crostini canapes and fizzy drinks with floating white raspberries. Why are they called white raspberries when they are really yellow-orange? Hmm…

Starter – Toast Skagen

toast skagen
toast skagen

An open-faced seafood sandwich, Toast Skagen was created by the famous Swedish restaurateur Tore Wretman who elevated Swedish cuisine to a new level. Although it is named after a fishing port in Denmark, Toast Skagen has become a classic Swedish appetizer.

I love open-faced sandwiches because I think that bread gets in the way of my food. Before I bit in, I allowed my eyes to feast on the image in front of me. Savory dill-poached shrimp covered in make-me-happy-mayonnaise and creme fraiche with a sprinkle of red onions, a large dollop of briny fish roe, and a garnish of dill on a very thin piece of toast. What’s not to love? Dare I say it? “Come to mama you Toast Skagen!”

Main Course – Traditional Swedish Stuffed Beef Roulades in a Cream Sauce

beef roulades
beef roulades

There is something festive about a dish that’s brought out as-is from the kitchen and served family style. These Swedish oxrulader, or beef roulades, still had steam coming off them as IK set the pan down onto the table. We all salivated at the sight of those roulades, stuffed with apples and dill pickles, resting in a dark pool of gravy and each of us wondering who would be served first, secretly wanting it to be ourselves but etiquette would demand that we must defer if offered to be first…until someone (usually me), bursts out, “Oh, OK, I’ll go first.”

oxrulader with tagliatelle
oxrulader with tagliatelle

But I held in my over-eagernesss this time (probably because I was busy snapping photos of the food) and waited patiently until my platter was set before me. IK served her Swedish beef roulades with tagliatelle – perfect for soaking up all those pan juices.

In case you wanted a completely authentic version, I have also posted this recipe below in its original Swedish form.

Dessert – Chocolate Mousse with Coffee and Booze

chocolate mousse
chocolate mousse

Is it possible to not like something but then declare that it is very good? If I weren’t talking about myself in regards to desserts, I would have said, “No.”

This chocolate mousse was from the personal recipe box of IK’s mom. It was light, perfectly sweetened, and had a welcome taste of brandy. I couldn’t find one fault in it but I had one spoonful, maybe two, and that was it. I had no desire to have any more. You dessert lovers out there are probably thinking, What is wrong with you, girl?

Well, of course nothing’s wrong with me :). Perhaps I was just born without the dessert-loving gene. But my wine- and beer-loving genes make up for the calories. Funny enough, when I was pregnant with Wee Scotch, I had no interest in eating anything but dessert – I think it was my replacement for not being able drink booze.

chilli safron truffles
chilli safron truffles

We finished the night with coffee, tea, and chilli saffron truffles. IK made these truffles by infusing cream with saffron and red chillis. The cream was added to melted dark chocolate and cocoa powder was used as the final coating. I was enticed by the use of red chilli as an ingredient and took a small bite. It took a few seconds for the spiciness of the chocolatey truffle to slowly invade my mouth and make my eyebrows go up but it was a welcome invasion, much like when I first tasted a chilli martini.

IK packed a few of these in cellophane tied with red ribbon for us to take home to our husbands. First fudge and now truffles, if this keeps up, Scotch will have a smörgåsbord of treats to choose from.

Thanking IK for the lovely evening and the Swedish culinary introduction, we said our goodbyes and made plans for the final two dinners that will take us to two more far away places, to India and to the Philippines, but closer to announcing the winner of our Come Dine With Me competition.

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Recipe for Swedish Beef Roulades with Smoked Pork

16 thin slices of beef (think minute steak style)
16 slices of smoked pork bacon
2 litres of beef stock
500 ml of cream
dill or kosher pickles (not gherkins)
2 apples
Dijon mustard
butter for frying
salt and pepper, to taste

Serves 8.

Cut the pork into strips lengthwise. Slice the dill pickles lengthwise. Core and cut apple into thin slices.

Lay beef slices on a cutting board and flatten them out a bit with your knuckles. Spread the Dijon mustard onto the beef and add salt and pepper to your liking. Place the pork, pickles and apple slices across the beef so that when rolled up the filling is inside the whole roll.

Roll up tightly. Tie with kitchen string or fasten with two toothpicks. Fry rolls in butter in an iron pan until the meat is nicely browned.

Remove the roulades from the pan and whisk in a little of the beef stock to loosen the caramelized meat at the bottom of the pan. Place the rolls back in the pot, pour in the stock and let it simmer with the lid on for about 1 hour until roulades feel very soft. Add a little cream (only if desired) to the sauce and serve.

Serve directly from the pan with boiled or mashed potatoes or noodles and dill pickles.

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Recept på Oxrulader med kallrökt fläsk

16 skiva(or) innanlår, (ca 600 g, ex- eller ytterlår)
8 skiva(or) kallrökt fläsk, (eller rökt sidfläsk)
2 l sky fond, konc eller oxbuljongtärning ev
500 ml grädde
2 st gul lök(ar)
4 st äpple(n)
4 st morot/morötter
1 dl ansjovisspad
salt och peppar
saltgurka, i stavar ev
5 msk dijonsenap, ca
smör, till stekning

Till servering
potatis(ar), eller potatismos

8 port.

Skär fläsket i strimlor på längden. Skala och skär lökarna i smala strimlor. Skär saltgurkan i stavar. Kärna ur och skär äpplet i stavar.

Lägg ut köttskivorna på en skärbräda och platta ut dem lite med knogarna. Bred på dijonsenap. Salta och peppra. Fördela fläsk, lök, saltgurka och äpple på skivorna och rulla ihop dem hårt.

Trä upp ruladerna fyra och fyra på grill- eller träspett. Bryn spetten i smör i en vid panna så att köttet får riktigt fin färg.

Ta upp spetten och vispa ur pannan med lite vatten. Fyll uppmed 1 liter vatten som får koka upp. Smaka av med salt, peppar och eventuellt buljongtärning eller koncentrerad fond.

Skala och skiva löken till såsen. Kärna ur och skär äpplena i vackra bitar. Lägg över spetten i en järngryta, häll över skyn ochhäll på ansjovisspadet. Skaka grytan och låt den puttra under lock ca 1 timme tills ruladerna känns mjuka. Lägg i grönsakerna efter halva tiden.

Servera direkt ur grytan med kokt potatis eller potatismos samt eventuellt fler stavar av saltgurka.

Recipe and English translation courtesy of IK.

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More Come Dine With Me Dubai:

The Culinary Battleground is Set!
Come Dine With Me – Day 1 – A Risotto Disaster?
Come Dine with Me – Day 2 – Ceviche, Ceviche!
Come Dine With Me – Day 3 – A Grand Feast
Come Dine With Me – Day 4 – A Taste of Sweden with No Meatballs
Come Dine With Me – Day 5 – Kilawin, Kilawin!
Come Dine With Me – Day 6 – The Winner is Announced

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  1. Great menu. I like dessert but don't plan my meal round it like many of my friends do! Having said that I'd love the recipe for the truffles – they sound amazing.

    Lovely pictures – what a great job you've done in documenting your dining.

  2. i been away for awhile.. missed your posts and photos!

    the funny part is, i dreamed of Sweden last night!! never been there tho. 🙂 it was in a farm, very nice, a lot of wooden stuff.. was cool.. i think only one thing was missing in the dream.. fooood! hehe

    have fun!