The ‘Scandilicious’ Way
Signe Johansen, otherwise known as ‘Scandilicious’ on twitter and her eponymous first cookbook, hosted a Scandinavian Smörgåsbord feast, fit for the most ardent of carb-lovers. Held at the spacious Holloway apartment of @chuchibum (Hannah, co-host), once the guests started eating, we simply didn’t stop being spoilt with treats, constantly flowing from the kitchen. This was the first brunch held in March, I didn’t mind this, as Signe’s excellent baking reputation proceeded her and she rolled out a stellar performance.
The table was dressed with single flower heads and rhubarb stems in vases. I especially liked the cute jug, inscribed with ‘modestly small jug’ and the wall hanging ‘keep calm and keep kissing’. All comforting touches, in addition to our hosts’ warm welcomes and hospitality, to put diners at ease.
On arrival, we were treated to an aperitif of a ‘Scandi’ Bloody Mary (I opted for the boozy variety, made with Aquavit, tomato juice and spiced up with horseradish and dill). The table was decorated with savoury muffins, deliciously soft and moreish.
This was washed down with the rather virtuous ‘Green Goddess’, a cucumber, mint, ginger and apple juice concoction. A pretty zingy and cleansing combination.
Next arrived, homemade yoghurt with sweet n’ crispy rye granola.
This was a medley of textures and taste, soured yoghurt, crunchy nuggets of sweetened granola and sticky compote.
Having the choice between cardamom and cinnamon and cardamom buns, my favourite were the latter. I thought the combined spices worked well together. These were delicious by themselves or smothered in the Queen’s compote.
Next up, was another refreshment, a divine smoothie made with: raspberry, vanilla, ginger, blended with peanut butter. This was so delicious, fruity with a creamy, nutty edge from the peanut butter.
To the main event: Gravadlax. Juicy morsels of sliced salmon, dressed with dill, in a sweet and salty cure.
Signe served the salmon with baked celeriac crowns, with a Halen Mon smoked sea salt crust. This was a completely new way of eating celeriac for me, I’d have never have thought of salting and eating the crust. The celariac was quite starchy, so great to have the silky contrast of salmon and hardened salt crust of it’s skin.
There were also Peter’s Yard sourdough crispbreads, laiden in beautiful biscuit tins, to drape salmon on. Being resourecful, even the circular discs of the crispbreads were utilised, dressed with dill and a dash of Norwegian Kaviar (creamed, smoked cod roe).
More vibrant colours were added to the mix, with an end-of-winter salad, featuring golden and purple beetroot, dressed in a delicious vinegarette, using Womersley Foods’ raspberry vinegar.
All was not over, out rolled some freshly made oatmeal bread, soft and just beckoned to be smothered in butter.
This came in handy to dunk into my baked eggs, seasoned with allspice and Abba anchovies.
Next up were some Norwegian vanilla & sour cream waffles, this was served with poached rhubard in blood orange syrup. Very sweetly heart shaped waffles, that were light as a feather and contrasted with the tart and sticky rhubarb.
Our penultimate item, was a freshly fried cardamom doughnut, a light and billowy fried treat. This was washed down with a choice of coffee from Square Mile or Tea’s from RareTea Company.
As a surprise finale, Signe presented us with some brownies (the recipe from her forthcoming book, Scandilicious Baking). They were velvety soft, rich with dark chocolate and a gooey centre.
I can’t say enough to say how good this brunch was. Reminding me of familiar Scandi favourites as well as a few new twists that I can try at home. Signe has a few more brunches and dinners pencilled in and there are some baking classes in the pipeline too. Thanks to both Signe & Hannah, they were devoted to producing a stunning array of delicious food and drink and were consummate hosts.
If you’re going to go along, I recommend skipping breakfast or lunch, you’re going to need all the belly space you can make. I’m a carb-aholic, so loved the different buns and breads but with the generosity of food provided needed a caffeine kick at the end to get me moving again from my food-coma and definately didn’t need dinner!
For details on these, please check out Signe’s Scandilicious blog: www.signejohansen.com