You’ve tried everything from Vietnamese to Ethiopian food. But have you tried Nordic? You should.
New Nordic cooking aims to achieve a perfect balance of sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami. Sometimes this is done simply through the clever use of a quickly pickled garnish to offset a sweeter dish; or it could be via a more complex layering of flavours. To make things even more interesting though, the lines between sweet and savoury are often blurred, with flourishes of each dotted throughout. In the past 10 years there has been a surge in interest in what the chilly, often sparse Nordic habitat can bring to the dining table, and with coastlines and forests ripe for harvesting, foraging is a popular endeavour. I encourage you to look at what is growing around you and all that is local to your environment.
Dream cake with barley & berries
Serves 8 –10
300g (2 cups) plain flour
3 Tbsp baking powder
3 large eggs
300g caster sugar
90g unsalted butter, melted
2 tsp vanilla extract
200ml pouring cream
175g fresh or frozen blackcurrants or blueberries
Cream or custard, to serve
180g unsalted butter
60ml (¼ cup) full-cream milk
300g soft brown sugar
175g barley flakes or rolled oats
3 Tbsp dark malt (optional)
Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F). Sift the flour and baking powder into
In a separate large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar for about 10 minutes, until pale and fluffy.
Sift the flour and baking powder into the egg mixture and fold to combine. Stir in the melted butter, vanilla and cream. Fold in the currants or berries.
Pour the dough into a 20 cm round springform cake tin (you can use a larger cake tin, but bear in mind to reduce the cooking time). Bake for 40 minutes,
or until the middle of the cake is firm to touch.
About 5 minutes before the cake is ready, make the topping.
Mix together all the ingredients for the topping in a saucepan over a medium heat. Cook, stirring, until it bubbles slightly.
Remove the cake from the oven and increase the temperature to 220°C.
Pour the caramel over the cake then return it to the oven for 5-7 minutes, until you see it set and start to turn dark brown at the edges. Allow the cake to cool in its tin for a few minutes before running a knife around the edge and releasing the springform. Cool and allow the topping to set before cutting into slices. Serve with cream or custard.
Recipes & photography Simon Bajada