The pure joy of having the opportunity of living in Sweden for a couple of years is irrevocably tied to the world’s current fascination with Scandinavian food trends – from dishes rooted in centuries of traditions to the ever evolving new Nordic flavours and textures.
There is nothing more heart warming than indulging on a daily basis the Swedish love of dishes that revolve round the freshest local ingredients that faithfully follow the timelessly changing seasons.
While the vibrant restaurant and café scene in Stockholm promises endless discoveries of trending culinary delights, there is much to be said of the enduring pleasure of blissfully recreating the quintessential Swedish palate pleasers in our very own kitchens.
And there are such recipe books aplenty to keep us home cooks idyllically happy – from fine dining to rustic hearty food, from what goes well with aquavit or Sweden’s time honoured fika, from the special occasions to the everyday, from the pure indulgences to the deliciously healthy.
So Your Living City’s pick of cookbooks has something for all manner of Swedish food and drink aficionados:
(1) Cookbook: Notes from a Swedish Kitchen
Author: Margareta Schildt Landgren
Passionate for not just Swedish food, but also its culture?: Margareta Schildt Landgren charmingly shares wonderful stories from her own kitchen in Skåne, in the south of Sweden, alongside over 100 fabulous traditional and modern recipes; ranging from the much loved gravlax with herbs and Swedish meatballs to St Lucia buns and elderflower cordial.
A freelance food writer, author and filmmaker with over 20 recipe books to her name, Margareta’s “Notes from a Swedish Kitchen” was such a runaway success in the United Kingdom, it got translated into five languages, including Swedish!
With her Swedish “New Nordic Kitchen: Nature, flavours and philosophy” awarded 2015’s prize for the best cookery book about Nordic food by The Library of the Academy for Swedish Cuisine, Margareta’s equally mouth-watering recipes in “Notes from a Swedish Kitchen” promise to enchant us with captivating stories on Sweden’s food traditions and the development of regional cuisine, along with the importance of seasonal eating and celebration foods.
(2) Cookbook: Snaps – Swedish aquavit flavourings and selected food recipes
Authors: Cecilia Vikbladh and Lo Söllgård
Love indulging in the Swedish ritual of drinking fiery snaps at holidays during Midsummer, Christmas and Easter?: Cecilia Vikbladh and Lo Söllgård suggest wonderfully flavourful recipes from traditional bitter orange and caraway to the more unusual rosehip or liquorice as a starting inspiration to creatively experiment and develop your very own favourite concoctions.
Linguist-writer Söllgård and Swedish veggivore, barbecue and baking cookbooks authoress Vikbladh encourage spicing up your own snaps conventionally with wormwood, myrtle and St John’s wort, as well as splicing out-of-the-box rosehip, licorice and juniper berries!
Their fun-filled recipe book also offers a delectable collection of Swedish dishes that merrily maximizes the perfect taste-bud tingling experience of downing a generous sip of your snaps!
(3) Cookbook: Fika: The Art of The Swedish Coffee Break, with Recipes for Pastries, Breads, and Other Treats
Authors: Anna Brones and Johanna Kindvall
Anyone living in Sweden knows fika – the well-cherished Swedish tradition of the twice-a-day coffee break complete with sweet food; a time to slow down, catch up with others, and refuel to relish life’s small joys. But do you know its history, culture and modern incarnations, along with that of coffee in this Scandinavian country?
Anna Brones and Johanna Kindvall’s delightful little baking book maps that out; extolling its down-to-earth virtues, and shows how to brew the perfect cup; accompanying it with recipes for traditional baked favorites like Swedish cinnamon buns, ginger snaps, rhubarb cordial or rye bread.
Brooklyn- and Sweden-based cooking blogger and illustrator Kindvall, and online EcoSalon’s “Foodie Underground” columnist Swedish-American Brones include 45 classic recipes from their motherland — from cardamom cake to ginger meringues — and talk about the significance of this pause in the day that we all could use to stick with the basics in the kitchen as well: so steer clear of buying ground cardamom. Crush the spice with a mortar and pestle instead!
At the same time, they place emphasis on quality, locally sourced produce and baking methods that preserve the ingredients’ inherent tastiness. And offer recipes that range from the pleasantly and simply delicious nutmeg slices to the slightly more complicated but oh-so-worth-it almond tartlet shells to take your coffee break to the next level.
(4) Cookbook: World-Class Swedish Cooking: Artisanal Recipes from One of Stockholm’s Most Celebrated Restaurants
Authors: Björn Frantzén and Daniel Lindeberg
For ambitious home cooks with a decided partiality for top-notch innovative Swedish food, this is a must-have book as chefs Björn Frantzén and Daniel Lindeberg share culinary secrets that made their two Michelin-starred Stockholm restaurant, Frantzén/Lindeberg, renowned as 2012’s Best Swedish Restaurant.
It was subsequently renamed Restaurant Frantzén after Daniel Lindeberg left the partnership in 2013 and remained equally successful. The book is thus a time capsule of the duo’s passionate uncompromising detail-oriented use of raw, season-conscious ingredients to artistic plating of one-of-a-kind dishes while taking us on their journey to culinary stardom.
Many of the recipes were created specially for this cookbook, to have been served in Frantzén/Lindeberg’s continually evolving menu after publication; like the Swedish crayfish with late autumn flowers pork with caramelized sesame, apples and carrots in mild curry. And the poached and grilled guinea fowl with fried rhubarb and sage. Or the roast duck glazed with white miso, along with the white and green asparagus with cilantro, lime and lemongrass. Desserts that beckon include the sweet, salty and sour macarons, as well as the salted caramel ice cream with chocolate and toasted canola oil.
So the easy to navigate index of recipes comprehensively and temptingly offers entrees that pleasingly run the range of meat, poultry, fish and vegetables; mouth-watering breads, cheeses and butters along with as many sides, salads, amuse-bouches and desserts.
(5) Cookbook: Fäviken
Author: Magnus Nilsson
Yet another treat for all enthused by Björn Frantzén and Daniel Lindeberg’s success story and creative recipes is remarkable head chef of the world’s most interesting and daring two Michelin-starred restaurant Fäviken Magasinet, Magnus Nilsson’s tale of choosing to serve only what can be hunted, gathered, sourced, raised, farmed and prepared in the immediate area surrounding his gastronomical 16-seater establishment built on a 20,000 acre farm and hunting estate in remote Järpen in northern Sweden.
Many of his inspirational dishes – from dairy to meat and vegetables – are not only grown right on the farm, but are harvested, butchered and preserved by hand using the most natural and primitive methods possible and often painstakingly cooked over open burning coals; revealing his incredible approach to working with nature to create food with extraordinary far from seemingly traditional intense flavours.
Featuring 100 recipes; of which many are dishes he serves at the restaurant, including those straightforward easy to follow natural preservation methods for yogurts, breads, vinegars, pickles and preserves; the cookbook is also literally an exploration of the fertile lands it resides on; inspiring ravenous readers to carefully look at their surroundings when searching for edible treasures, and think differently about available ingredients.
(6) Cookbook: The Nordic Cookbook
Author: Magnus Nilsson
A glorious follow-up for fans of Fäviken, Magnus Nilsson’s weighty culinary ‘encyclopedia’ is a gigantic comprehensive compilation of more than 700 easy to recreate authentic definitive Scandinavian recipes for the home cook, along with their respective food cultures, of not only the usual Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark, but also of Greenland, Iceland and the Faeroe Islands that lie between Norway and Iceland.
It devotedly explains Nordic ingredients, cooking techniques and culinary history so clearly you get a very good idea of what foraging for fulmar eggs on the Faroes, plating the notorious rotten shark of Iceland, cleaning a Baltic herring, and baking flatbread with Nilsson’s mother and aunt truly entail, while genuinely appreciating how pizza landed in the Nordic region and how a Faeroe Island whale hunt takes place.
Recipes vary from the definite palate pleasers to those that require an acquired taste – from sugared cloudberries, taco quiche, chilli creamed chicken and banana casserole to reindeer heart stew, ground offal stew, Faroese blood sausage and Icelandic rotten shark!
Nilsson’s book lends itself as resplendently thick but very fun to read.
(7) Cookbook: Tina Nordström’s Scandinavian Cooking
Author: Tina Nordström
A Swedish celebrity chef, television personality and pitch lady from Helsingborg, charming and lovable Tina Nordström was one of the hosts for American PBS’s “New Scandinavian Cooking” and Tellusworks/Anagram Produktion’s “Perfect Day”, as well as the producer of “Tina’s Cookalong”.
Currently part of the jury in the Swedish version of “Masterchef Junior”, Nordström’s lavishly wonderful recipe book opens the door to her home kitchen; letting her fans in on favorite recipes that are not about how they look when plated, but rather about being delicious comfort foods that bridge the gap between old characteristically traditional Scandinavian flavours and those cooked and eaten in Sweden today.
Offering fresh and new dishes, like barbecues, green pea guacamole tacos, tapas with horseradish dip and salmon roe, as well as dill and cumin cheesy pizza – all ideal for casual Friday night dinners with friends or for breakfasts with visiting in-laws, her book uses ingredients easily found just about anywhere in the world, along with easy instructions to beautifully rustic results.
As there are no dos and don’ts that take the fun out of cooking, and as there is no need for a fancy set of kitchen utensils and unlimited time to prepare amazing food, it is a great book for those starting to cook Scandinavian food at home!
(8) Cookbook: The New Nordic: Recipes from a Scandinavian Kitchen
Author: Simon Bajada
Offering as easy to cook up delectable dishes as Tina Nordström’s, The New Nordic is chef, food stylist and photographer Australian Simon Bajada’s first book of recipes since moving to Stockholm with his Swedish wife and children.
Lovingly highlighting contemporary everyday recipes common in homes across Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Iceland and Norway, Bajada makes it his point to start his sharing by detailing simple to understand basics involved in classic Nordic pickling and smoking techniques through novel uses of equally readily available kitchen tools and equipment.
Showcasing Scandinavian cuisine across the seasons, his recipes use the freshest of natural traditional produce from the sea, land and forest, reflecting the food’s regional geographical landscape.
From potato waffles to gravlax, or herring to lingonberry, Bajada shows he has the new to Scandinavia and those living beyond the region in mind by including a seasonal listing of typical Nordic ingredients and a glossary explaining substitutes for hard-to-find ones.
With his stunning photography of dishes we are seduced to cook, and of the region’s natural landscapes and foods, The New Nordic is a sumptuous feast for all our physical and spiritual senses.
(9) Cookbook: Nordic Light: Lighter, everyday eating from a Scandinavian kitchen
Author: Simon Bajada
Unlike The New Nordic, Simon Bajada’s second cookbook shies away from the Scandinavian classics, presenting lighter, cleaner and modern recipes that celebrate simple-to-prepare wholesome and nourishing vegetable-centred daily food that make surprisingly but truly satisfying eating.
Still embracing the fresh flavours of modern Swedish, Danish, Finnish, Icelandic and Norwegian cuisine while concurrently taking inspiration from further afield to give the currently trendy Nordic recipes and techniques a modern twist, as well as to give food from all cuisines a Scandinavian one, it provides a compelling new blueprint for the way we now eat.
From Nordic brunches, mid-morning snacks, lunch plates, fika and bowl food to dishes for many after dinner and on weekends, Bajada’s interestingly diverse recipes include rye crêpes with banana and salted caramel, flourless almond tea fiber balls rolled in pollen and hemp, Icelandic flatbread served with cashew cream and caviar, flourless matcha millet and blueberry buns, and kelp noodles with smoked mackerel, radish and elderflower vinaigrette.
With his exquisite photography, styling, and design, and incredibly breathtaking seasonally changing landscape shots continuing to astound all our senses, Nordic Light winsomely takes us on an aesthetically ecstatic Scandinavian journey to a deliciously healthier living.
(10) Cookbook: The ScandiKitchen: Simple, Delicious Dishes For Any Occasion
Author: Bronte Aurell
With her Swedish husband, Danish Bronte Aurell dishes out hearty, simply-prepared farmer’s fare from the land and sea in their popular ScandiKitchen Café in London’s bustling West End, selling Scandinavian food via their online scandikitchen.com as well.
So her delightful volume of over 80 easily doable recipes at home is an accessibly entertaining introduction to cuisine that stretches from the midnight sun of northern Norway to the flat fertile fields of Denmark; all created by thousands of years of heritage and shared natural and honest culture of working with the very best produce.
For all occasions and times of the day, the featured recipes range from morning buns, lunchtime savories, hearty dinners and indulgent desserts, to goodies – baked or otherwise – for special celebrations. Featuring fresh and simple open sandwiches, healthy Nordic salads, delicious traditional hot dishes and indulgent cakes to mustard pickled herring, gravlax, Swedish meatballs and sticky Kladdkaka cake, it takes to exquisite heights your divine discovery of quintessential Scandinavian flavours and textures.
Photo credit: Simon Bajada, as extracted from his “The New Nordic”