A Nordic Feast

A Nordic Feast

A Nordic Feast – I love Scandinavian food. I’ve visited Helsinki with a top British chef and was in food heaven exploring the market and enjoying a crayfish supper.  And I’m lucky enough to have a good friend who is not only Swedish, a consummate foodie, and an excellent cook to boot!  So, when I found out about this freshly published book by Mikkel Karstad – a nordic feast – I was very keen to get my hands on a copy.  This book follows Nordic Family Kitchen, where Karstad applied his culinary skills to easy family meals.  In this latest book, he offers the same, impeccable flavours, practised techniques and laid-back style in a guide to effortless entertaining.

Divided into six occasion-based menus, the book sets the stage for a summer barbecue, a formal Christmas dinner, a relaxed family lunch, a children’s birthday picnic, weeknight suppers for friends, and Sunday brunch. Each setting is captured in elegant photographs reflecting a sense of togetherness, friendship, and joyful community. Karstad’s menus are packed with mouth-watering, vegetable-forward recipes using fresh, seasonal ingredients.  Recipes include: grilled zucchini halves with ricotta and tarragon; lettuce wraps with squid, papaya, lime, and chilli; vegetable chickpea tagine with coconut milk and mint; buttermilk focaccia with wild herbs and mozzarella; rice pudding with cherry sauce; apricot cake with mascarpone; raspberry lemonade; and a blackberry juice gin and tonic.

In a time when gathering with loved ones is more important than ever, this book helps you create valuable memories with minimum fuss and maximum pleasure.  It’s published next week by Prestel at £30 for a lovely hardback book.  Here are a couple of recipes to encourage you to explore Scandi food and perhaps buy your own copy.

A Nordic Feast

Tomato Tart with Cream Cheese, Salted Onions, and Herbs SERVES 8 –10

 2 onions

Sea salt

9½ oz (270 g) store-bought puff pastry, thawed overnight in the fridge if frozen.

⅓ cup (100 g) ricotta

2½ cups (500 g) mixed cherry tomatoes.

Leaves from 10 sprigs tarragon

Leaves from 6 sprigs marjoram

3½ tbsp (50 mL) olive oil

Freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a large baking sheet with parch­ment paper.

Peel, halve, and thinly slice the onions, then place them in a large bowl and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Massage the salt vigorously into the onion slices until they are soft and exuding some liquid.

Spread the puff pastry on a work surface. Put an 11-inch (28­cm) round plate on top as a template and cut around the edges of the plate with a sharp knife. Transfer the circle of pastry to the prepared baking sheet. Keep the rest of the pastry in the fridge for another recipe (it will keep for up to 2 days in a sealed container).

Spread the ricotta evenly over the pastry, leaving a gap of about ½ inch (1 cm) around the edge. Spread the onions on top of the ricotta.

Cut the tomatoes into halves, quarters, or small chunks, depending on their size. Set some of the whole tarragon and marjoram leaves aside for a garnish. Roughly chop the remaining leaves and mix in a bowl with the tomatoes, the olive oil, and some salt and pepper.

Spread the tomato mixture over the pastry. Bake the tart for 18–20 minutes, until the puff pastry is crisp and golden and the tomatoes are soft.

Remove the tart from the oven, sprinkle with the reserved whole herb leaves (including some marjoram flowers if you have any), and serve immediately, while it is still hot and crisp.


The tart can also be baked the previous day, then reheated briefly before serving.

A Nordic Feast

Trifle with Plums, Amaretti, and Whipped Cream SERVES 4

12 fully ripe plums

2 tbsp runny honey

1 organic lemon

1 tbsp dried rose petals

¾ cup (200 mL) heavy whipping cream

⅓ cup (100 g) full-fat Greek yogurt

1 tsp vanilla sugar

12 store-bought amaretti (or 24 amarettini) cookies


Preheat the oven to 250°F (120°C).

Halve the plums, remove the pits, and place the fruit in a baking dish with the cut sides facing up. Drizzle with honey. Quarter the lemon, then squeeze the juice over the plums. Add the squeezed lemon quarters to the dish. Crumble the rose petals and scatter them over the fruit, then mix everything well.

Bake the plums for 15 minutes or until they are soft and have absorbed the honey, lemon, and rose flavours. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely.

Meanwhile, use an electric mixer to whip the heavy cream until it is very thick. In a separate bowl, stir the vanilla sugar into the yogurt until smooth, then fold this mixture into the whipped cream. The result should be a soft and creamy vanilla scented topping.

Gently crumble the amaretti cookies.

To assemble the trifle: Arrange alternate layers of plums, crumbled amaretti, and cream in decorative glasses until all the ingredients have been used.

This trifle is an impressive way to round off a wonderful summer barbecue.


The plums can be baked the day before and kept in the fridge. You can also assemble the trifle a few hours in advance, so you can give your guests your full attention in the evening. Choose a high-quality product when buying the amaretti cookies—they’re worth it!

Extracts from A Nordic Feast by Mikkel Karstad, with photography by Anders Schønnemann

Available from Prestel.com

The Seasoned Gastronome

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