Sunday, 12 August 2012

Olympic Food Challenge - Smörgåsbord Open Sandwiches on Black Bread with Pickled Cucumber - Denmark

It's all over.  This is my final Olympic Food Challenge Post.  The last medal has been contested and the UK won a silver.  I never thought I'd be sad to see the end of the Olympics, but it's been an amazing nineteen days that has bought most of the country together and encouraged me to learn more about the world and have fun whilst doing it.

Nom! is all I have to say about this
Denmark have had an okay games.  With 113 athletes competing in 17 disciplines, they will be heading home tomorrow with two golds, four silvers and three bronzes for their troubles.  And they even managed to swipe a gold medal in the track cycling which is pretty impressive given how well Team GB dominated that domain.

As for the foodie side of things, Denmark is the only place on my list of countries that I've actually been to.  I was about ten and my mother took me to Legoland.  My overriding food memory was of this really posh woman with an awful, horsey voice who used to spend all her time whinnying on about how 'Daddy has a private jet' and 'Daddy has a 40ft yacht' and how 'Tarquin and Ophelia are privately educated, don't you know'.  And yet every day, whilst everyone else stumped up the two Danish Kroner for a packed lunch, she used to save herself a few bob by taking enough food from the Smörgåsbord breakfast table and slipping it into a carrier bag to be consumed later in the day.  She even emptied bowls of rice krispies into bags.  I guess this is why I'm not rich.

Other than that, I remember eating a lovely, red spicy dish with frankfurters in it, potato salad and drinking Apfelsaft which bemused me because it was orange juice and not apple.  We may or may not have had Danish pastries.  We might have had bacon.  But there is nothing that I could put my finger on that I ate that I wanted to make again (25 years does a lot to dull the memory).

Not quite black, but close enough
So, having already tried making Danish pastries on this blog several times (cherry Danish, quick apricot Danish, disaster Danish and Dan Lepard's Amazing Danish), I wanted to try something else.  Before I picked Apple Cake for my Romanian offering, I really wanted to make Aebleskiver which are little apple dough balls from Denmark.  Trouble is, you need the proper pan or you don't get to make them as they come out in little spheres.  A bit of Googling told me there's not much else you can make in the special pan other than Aebleskiver and having already bought a bamboo steamer, I decided to try and keep on the husband's good side and not buy yet more things to clutter up the cupboard with.

Further Googling led me back to Smörgåsbord and a picture of Danish Open sandwiches.  Bingo.  I could get through today by trying a new recipe to satisfy my own blog criteria (however loose they are and how ever much I bend the rules to get through the 366 recipes!) and by making something remotely Danish looking, I'd tick the box on the OFC too.

I chose Dan Lepard's Black Bread recipe as I'd already done his Black Pepper Rye.  I know Scandinavians eat lots of rye bread.  Whether or not Dan's recipe is anywhere near what you'd find in Denmark, I have no idea, but I knew it would work and I'd most likely enjoy it.  And it did.  But I didn't go much on it sliced and buttered as I'd do with normal bread.  However, topped with cream cheese, pickled cucumber, prawns and caviar, the bread really came into its own and the liquorice flavour from the fennel seeds really complimented all the other flavours.
Labelled Elsinore but made in Sweden

I am seriously not a fan of licorice and only went with fennel seeds because I couldn't find my cumin seeds (hubby has been 'tidying' again).  If I make it again, I'll definitely go with the cumin seeds and replace the treacle with honey (as suggested by Dan).

And my new addiction is pickled cucumber.  This was a last minute addition as I suddenly got a bit panicked about what to put on the sandwich.  I already had the caviar and prawns but wondered if I could do two different types.  T'interweb suggested pickled cucumber and pickled herrings.  I found a recipe and made my own cucumber - simple, addictive, making more once this blog is posted.  Sadly(!), Sainzlebobs were all out of pickled herrings.  I was devastated.

So we go out on a high with me having tried some more new stuff, and enjoyed it.  I would like to thank Ewan Mitchell for hosting this challenge and encouraging us to experiment (although I draw the line at SoupTuesday's Deep Fried Duck Tongues).  Do go and read all the other amazing posts too.  You can find links on the Olympic Food Challenge blog.

Bread recipe can be found here (and also in Short and Sweet) and the one for the cucumber is here.

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