Building Up The Fire

Yeah Summer is on its way! I am looking forward to lots of picnics in London Fields with the kids and I’m hoping we get away for a week or so too. Summer officially begins on June 20th and I can’t think of a better way to start the season then the 2 day festival of all things Scandinavian, Scandi Feast. My lovely friend and colleague Chloe Avery is the creator and host. She has organised for the best of the best of Scandinavian chefs, cooks and bakers. Talent such as Niklas Ekstedt, his Stockholm restaurant utilises only fire to cook their dishes. No gas burners or electric ovens, everything is cooked over birch and flames and smoke and soot. He will be demoing such techniques. We also have the “Delia of Scandinavian baking”   Trine Hahnemann taking us through our feast menu and demoing some Scandi treats. Valentine Warner  will be making Sild (pickled herring) and other delicious Scandi delights. We cannot have a feast without booze. Lovely Joe Wadsack will be showing us how to make some Scandinavian cocktails and no doubt we will be trying out some schnapps too.

I am going to be demoing how to make a Scandinavian floral head wreath, making florals for the feast table and will also be part of the food team cooking the feast for the evening. I cant wait!

As I have been immersed in all things Scandi for weeks now I thought I would share with you my recipe for Skagen Sild. I can pretend its authentic, I’m not Danish but I know how to pickle a fish!  I remember a few friends when I was in my 20’s who totally loved rollmops. You know those rolled up bits of fish in a jar with vinegar and stuff. I never tried them and never wanted to. Over the years though I have come to love making my own pickles and also making ceviche dressings for all kinds of fish and seafood. It one of my favourite ways to prepare and eat seafood. Herring is delicious prepared this way. Those Scandinavians know a thing or two about fish!

I leave you with my recipe and a few pics of the Chefs involved in Scandi Feast.

Have a great week!


NIKLAS EKSTEDT 2 copy600 TRINE NEW600 Val 1 - credit Jake Gavin copy600


Skagen Sild – Pickled Herring with Sour Cream Dill and Apple

Herring is not a fish I buy regularly. I think most of us Brits think of it as a fish in a tin or in a jar. My fishmonger is shut on a Monday so off I went to Ridley Road Market to the Medeterrainian Fishmonger. He had some and filleted it for me. The most annoying thing about this fish is the bloody bones. I didn’t really feel I had a right to tell him to pin bone the fillets better. If you have a good fishmonger your pin boning time should be cut down dramatically.

I don’t really care that much about the bones but my kids are really annoying when it comes to tiny bones. Especially the boy. Its worth my time to do such a dull chore just to negate the whinging later.

Anyway I digress. This recipe is simple and quick and once you have pickled the fish you can do what I did and cool it down and shove it in the fridge in its pickle juices for up to a couple of days. Or serve it hot from the stove with a cold potato salad and some rye bread. Apparently so I have been told by an expert in Danish tradition and Sild you ‘have to serve it with schnapps” Not that horrid Archers stuff but real Danish Schnapps…Ok well if you can do that then great otherwise a glass of your favourite white wine will do.


For the Sild

  • 4 – 6 Herring fillets
  • 200ml water
  • 200ml white wine
  • 100ml white wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • Large pinch or two of Maldon Sea Salt
  • about 25 white peppercorns
  • tablespoon of mustard seeds
  • 1 red onion sliced

Put everything except the fish in a medium saucepan and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat to a gentle simmer and add the herring placing the lid on the saucepan cook for 12 mins.

Turn off the heat and wait for everything to cool a bit so you can handle it. You have a choice now, you can serve it warm from the pan with potato salad or some bread and butter. Or turn the whole lot out into a kilner jar and store in the fridge for up to two days. You can make a delicious dressing for an open rye bread sandwich.

For the Sandwich topping

(Serves 2)

  • 1 pickled herring fillet (with some of the onion)
  • Half an apple cubed not peeled
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • pinch Maldon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon chopped dill
  • 2 pieces of rye bread

Mix everything together.  Place on a couple of slices of rye bread. Eat!