Flying Jakob – Swedish cult curry

Flygande Jakob

Flygande Jakob (flying Jakob) is a modern Swedish classic, invented in the 70s by an airline freight man called Arne. I love its savoury weirdness, as it mixes whipped cream, ketchup, curry and banana. The original includes chicken and bacon, but I enjoy this one with quorn. In trying to become a half-veggie, recipes such as these are a good way of substituting chicken, telling no substantial difference whatsoever.

I tend to be skeptical of meat imitations, because vegetarian food holds it own very well without copying meat, and also because imitations rarely taste as good as the real thing. But this tastes marvellous, and I over-binge every time we make this at home.

Cream and ketchup

For four portions, you need:

  • 2 bags of defrosted quorn (or 500 grams of chicken)
  • Bacon (optional, for the meaties)
  • 4 dl cream
  • 1 tsp mild madras curry powder
  • 1 1/2 dl ketchup
  • 2 bananas
  • 2 handfuls peanuts or cashewnuts
  • Basmati rice and sriracha sauce to serve

Quorn, banana, and cream mix

Start by frying the quorn pieces in a little bit of the curry powder and oil. Once they’ve taken on some colour, let them cool while you whip the cream. Mix the ketchup into the the cream, and add the rest of the curry powder. Cut the banana up in fat, coin-sized pieces, and scatter it with the quorn in an oven-proof pan. Distribute the whipped cream evenly on top, and let it sit in the oven at 200 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until it has  browned on top. About five minutes before you think it’s ready, scatter the nuts on top, and put it back into the oven.

Flygande Jakob out of the oven.

Take it out and let cool slightly while you prepare a cold beer and set the table. Serve it with basmati rice, and some sriracha chili sauce on top for those who want to some heat with the savoury sweetness. Needless to say, this really does taste better the day after, and makes for a perfect lunchbox. We’ve tried making it healthier by substituting cream with Turkish yoghurt, but I would not recommend it.


Peppe’s courgette and parmigiano soup

I live with a dramatic Sicilian, and predictably, everything he touches turns into kitchen gold. I’ve stopped taking pride in my home cooking, as everything I make pales in comparison to the humble little dishes Peppe throws together. My favourite soup of his so far is very simple: it has courgettes, potato, onion and garlic. The secret is that it is thickened and made savoury with parmigiano, and has tons of aroma thanks to Peppe’s mother’s own olive oil.

I’m somewhat of an olive oil skeptic, as I feel it’s being used and abused all the time where it doesn’t quite belong. You need look no longer than Jamie Oliver for examples of that, and to illustrate my point I’ll just point you to this hilarious, simple montage from his shows. However, if strong olive oil belongs anywhere surely it is in Sicilian cooking. Of course, sourcing home-made Italian olive oil might be near impossible, but as long as you invest in a very good quality bottle, you should be on the right way. And spending a bit on the parmigiano and olive oil is worth it: coming home to this after a long night at the office and a damp walk home in uncomfortable shoes feels like the most wholesome experience ever.

You need:

  • 3 large potatoes
  • 3 courgettes
  • 2 yellow onions
  • 1 garlic clove
  • half a cube of vegetable stock
  • Good quality olive oil
  • Grated parmigiano
  • Water
  • A blender to blitz the soup in the end

Start by slicing the onions, and then fry them with a generous splash of olive oil in a deep-bottomed pan. Add the whole, peeled garlic clove after a few minutes, and fry on medium heat whilst you peel and chop the potatoes, and chop the courgettes (keep the peel on). Add the courgettes and potatoes together with the stock cube, and add just enough water to make sure everything is covered. Boil for about 20 minutes or until all the vegetables have softened considerably, then take off the heat and spoon out a little bit more than a coffee mug’s worth of water (you can save and freeze this as stock to use on some other occasion). Take to the side and blitz with a blender for about a minute, or until you have a smooth, rather thick soup. Add salt and pepper to taste. When done, serve in bowls with a generous sprinkle of parmigiano and a few additional drops of olive oil, as well as some crusty bread.


Comforting potato and leek soup

Since I’ve been struck with the season’s first cold, I’ve perked myself up with soup. When I was living with eight other students in Birmingham, I used to get the biggest pan in our house, loads of leek and some leftover potatoes and try make enough of this soup to last me a week. But since there were eight of us, and because this soup is so moorish, all was usually gone by the end of the day. Preparing a weekly radio show with my friend Ella, we used to get too impatient to heat up the leftovers and just eat it cold and thick in mugs (admittedly, that could have to do with the amount of wine being involved with weekly radio planning, but I’d rather blame the deliciousness of the soup).

You need:

  • 2-4 leeks, depending on size. If possible, get whole ones that aren’t trimmed because the green part of the leeks is perfectly tasty and its more economical using all of them.
  • 2 large potatoes (The leek gives most of the flavour for this soup, and even if the nutmeg helps bringing out the best of the potato flavours, think of it as a thickening agent rather than main component. If in doubt, always add more leek than potato)
  • 2 cubes of veal stock (this can be exchanged for vegetarian to make the soup a veggie dish, or chicken if you’re struggling to find veal. But veal is ace.)
  • 1 tub of creme fraiche (to taste, one half is also enough)
  • Cumin seeds
  • Nutmeg
  • Worcestershire sauce (or Henderson’s Relish, which is what I always used in Brum)
  • Salt
  • Chili flakes
  • Cheese-grilled bread (optional)
  • Butter

Trim your leeks by cutting off any shabby-lookig bits on the tops, slicing them lengthwise and rinsing in cold water. Then slice them thinly all the way up to the dark green bits. Fry in a large, wide bottomed pan in a generous chunk of butter on medium heat whilst you peel and roughly chop your potatoes. Put your kettle on and boil about 1 litre of water. Add the potatoes into the softened leeks, stir an let fry for a minute or so. Then add your boiling water and the crushed stock cubes. Let simmer under a lid for about 20 minutes, until the potatoes has softened entirely and can be crushed easily with a potato masher. An english-style potato masher is best tool for this, as it gives you a rougher texture than a blender.

Once you’ve crushed away for a minute or so, add the creme fraiche and start seasoning (whilst still on a low heat). Add a few chili flakes, a few generous splashes of Worcestershire sauce, a few sprinklings of ground nutmeg and some cumin seeds. Also add some salt if the stock hasn’t done that job for you. Take the soup off to cool a bit whilst you put your bread under the grill (if you sprinkle the cheese with paprika it starts grilling quicker and looks nicer). Enjoy.


Lunchbox extravaganza pt. 5: cheddar, cream cheese and celery sandwich

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This week I’ve been skint and busy, so less time for cooking than normal. But such sad weeks can be saved by simple yet delicious lunchbox stuff like this saviour-sandwich. This humble creation is a admittedly not as healthy, thick and filling as the first lunchbox extravaganza sandwich, but the ingredients that go with it – cheddar, cream cheese, celery and newly milled pepper – get married in your mouth (as the Swedish saying goes). In other words, it is surprising how good this tastes. The combination is actually stolen from M&S, but I suppose theirs is a cheap bestseller for a reason. The cost of making it at home is difficult to calculate. It is very cheap. Making 10 of them would probably cost £5,50.
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This one is a quickie and you don’t need to prepare anything in advance.
You need:
  • Cream cheese
  • Strong cheddar (and preferably one of these to slice it with)
  • Generous amounts of newly milled pepper
  • Very thinly sliced celery
  • Crispy lettuce
  • Thick slices of bread (nice granary from the bakery section of your local supermarket, or an actual bakery, is the nicest, but granary slice works perfectly fine too)
  • Optional: you can go crazy and add all kinds of salad. I tend to make it when i’ve got nothing else at home, but I’m sure fresh spinach and crushed walnuts would sneak in very easily.

Slice up your bread, spread on a layer of cream cheese on each side and mill lots of pepper on both sides too (it’s important to get the pepper in at this point as it flavours are drawn out in the cream cheese a little, especially if it will be sitting in your bag for lunch, and that tastes very nice). Add a generous layer of celery on one side, put your cheese on top and finish off with crunchy salad. Since there aren’t many ingredients for this one, the key is to think generously for all of them. Press together, slice up to a door stop (or whatever shape you prefer) and pack up in your lunchbox. Easy as that. Enjoy!


Grape, halloumi and pomegranate salad

It’s basically summer in London! So me and Miss Salted Cod had a stroll around Ridley Road market (bit more info about that market in the middle of this post if you fancy going) and enjoyed the sunshine bashing down on Hackney’s back alleys. The result of our little shop is this delicious salad Read the rest of this entry »


Potato, Beet’s Leaves and Poached Egg Salad

This recipe came out of necessity..I had just bought loads of beetroot and being a poor student felt bad about discarding the leaves…So I went online and found out you can just use them as you would use spinach. I had some salad potatoes that were starting to sprout and one egg left in my fridge so I decided to experiment with these three ingredients. It turned out amazing!

You will need (for one person):

  • 5-6 small salad potatoes
  • 2 handfuls of beet leaves
  • 1 egg
  • 1 shallot or half a red onion (finely chopped).
  • 1 clove of garlic (finely chopped).
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Coriander or Parsley

1. Start by cooking the potatoes with the chopped garlic. I cooked mine in a cast iron pan but you can roast them in the oven too, whatever is easiest.

2. When the potatoes are almost cooked heat a frying pan with some olive oil and fry the shallots.

3. When they start browning add the beets’ leaves and cook until they become soft (add a little bit of water if needed).

4. Take the potatoes and the beets’ leaves from the heat and put them in a salad bowl with some olive oil, some salt and pepper and some fresh herbs (I used coriander, but parsley would work great too). You can also add some balsamic vinegar or some lemon juice if you like.

5. Poach the egg. The easiest way to do this is to boil some water, add a tablespoon of vinegar to it (helps the whites stay together) and slide it from a bowl into simmering water. Take it out after three minutes, taking care not to break the yolk.

6. Serve the salad into a bowl or plate, add the egg on top. Break the egg and enjoy!


Wintery (5-a-day) dhal

This is delicious, hearty and full of stuff that’s really good for you. I bet it has your 5 a day so I will call it 5 a day dhal. (For those of you not living in the UK, 5 a day is a government initiative trying to make Brits eat 5 pieces of fruit and vegetables every day). It is basically a lentil stew with carrots, potato and spinach (but I also count onion as a vegetable so together with the lentils it makes for 5 different vegetables), spiced with garam masala and cinnamon. It is very cheap. Probably £1 per serving, if even that. This is good to make in a large batch on sunday and keep eating for dinner throughout the week if you’re having a busy week ahead. Since it has lots of carrots (vitamin C), chili (anti-viral), garlic (just generally good) and ginger (anti-cold) it is a also a secret weapon during the cold season to keep the immune system boosted.
For two large portions, you need:
  • 1 potato (if you use a King edward variety they will become really soft and gooey, which I like, but if you prefer consistency then get something firmer)
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 deciliters red lentils
  • Fresh spinach
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely, chopped
  • 1 cm ginger, finely chopped
  • Garam masala. I use a Swedish variety which until recently was the only thing named “curry” you could get in Sweden. (Saying you fancy a curry to a Swede might have the same effect as if you asked for some nutmeg to eat.) A good thing about Swedish curry, however, is that it is a sweet, mild and nutty variant of garam masala with plenty of turmeric, and it is delicious.
  • 1 litre stock (I have a massive thing for veal stock at the moment, which has a very delicate and soft flavour. This ruins the dish for vegetarians, but you can of course make this with veggie or mushroom stock)
  • Chili flakes
  • Cinnamon
  • Salt

Start by frying the onion in a bit of oil, then peel and chop the garlic and ginger and add into the oinons together with the garam masala to fry for a few minutes. Rinse the lentils and add them to the pan together with the stock and chili. Peel the carrots and potato, and chop in rough bits. Add these to the boiling lentils in the pan, and bring the heat down for it to simmer for 20 minutes or until the lentils have softened and the potatoes and carrots gone the right consistency. Taste with salt and cinnamon, and stir in the fresh spinach so that it folds and softens.

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The result is a yellow mix between a soup and a stew, not too dissimilar to Innocent’s Indian daal pot (but at 15% of the price). Serve on its own, or together with some cheese grilled bread.