I’m Working on a Book

Just want to let you know I’m working on my first book which is a collaboration with Anna Brones who invited me into the project about two years ago. It will be an illustrated cookbook, with stories and recipes inspired by both our Swedish roots. The book is scheduled to be published by Ten Speed Press in the Autumn 2014.

So lately both of us have been working extra hard in our separate kitchens (Anna in Paris & Portland and me in Brooklyn & at the countryside of South Sweden) developing recipes, licking pots, sniffing, making notes, sweating and burning our fingers. I’m of course super excited and it’s a great pleasure to be working on this specific book project together with Anna.

I’m also busy with other great project. For example I just finished the drawings for the book The Culinary Cyclist and illustrations for the Public Art project, Overlay by Walczak & Heiss, which is in process to be installed at the new14th street corridor in Denver. There are many many other things on my table, but most of them are too early to announce. I will keep you posted.



Guest post: Xuxos & Churros

My next guest here on kokblog is my brother Oskar Kindvall. Oskar is probably one of the biggest gottegris (directly translated to ‘sweet tooth pig’) I know. As long as I can remember he has been very specific with sweet (and savory) things he likes and desire. For birthdays and Christmas he wished for marzipan and olives while I was dreaming of a new barbie doll or drawing equipment (yes that was a passion already then).

Oskar was born in Valencia when my parents lived in Cullera, a small town by the east coast of Spain. This must obviously have had a great impact on his interest in Spanish treats (see below). During a journey we made together in the late 80’s, I remember him carefully mapping out where the best flan was made. He of course returned later to the very best. He also makes excellent paella all year around in his garden. A skill he learned from our mother and father.

From an early age Oskar also developed a huge interest in nature and especially small creatures such as frogs, beetles and later on birds, grasshoppers, bats and butterflies. Like his passion for sweet treats, this interest never stopped. Today he works as an IT Developer, researcher and environmental analysts at ArtDatabanken, Uppsala, Sweden. I’m not surprised that he has become an associate professor of ecology as for me he was a professor long before he reached university.

Xuxos & Churros
by Oskar Kindvall

When traveling in Mediterranean parts of Europe I have adopted a peculiar obsession for fried pastries. My favorites among these delicious pieces of edible art are the donut like creations called Xuxos. These can be found in north eastern Spain and Southernmost parts of France. When made by experienced hands according to the tradition at local bakeries, there is almost nothing that can stop my appetite for them, except for one more of them. The really good ones are quite big, stuffed with tasty vanilla cream, extraordinary greasy and full of sticky sugar all over which make them both a little bit hard to handle and extremely calorie rich. Usually you are quite full after one of them which is so frustrating.

For obvious reasons I have tried to make my own xuxos. However, even if my attempts have been really tasty most of the time, I still have not revealed the secret the experienced traditional bakers possess. I realize that it is time to make a visit behind the scenes of the bakery next time. Especially since the handmade Xuxos have become increasingly hard to find nowadays. In most areas where I used to find good Xuxos almost everywhere in the early 80’s, it seems that they have been totally outcompeted by machine made copies with no magic. It appears to me that the negative trend has been worse in France while really good xuxos still can be found around Barcelona.

Someday I hope to meet someone who can show me how real xuxos should be made. Meanwhile I enjoy baking another fried pastry, called Churros, which is much easier to bake without much experience. Churros can be found almost everywhere in Spain and southern France and very often you can watch the whole baking procedure while waiting for your order. Besides, there are a lot of recipes on the internet. No secrets, not much magic but still very tasty! Most churrerias serve the newly baked churros on a plate together with sugar and chocolate. Personally, I recommend eating them with whipped cream, strawberry jam and a little sugar on top. However, this combination I have never seen at the Spanish churrerias. As a consequence you have to make them yourself to really enjoy their potential.

Jansson’s Temptation

Introduction to the Swedish Classic: Jansson’s Frestelse
by Anna Brones

Translating Janssons frestelse is always a funny thing. It doesn’t quite have the same ring to it in English. But if anything, this dish sticks true to it’s name: tempted you will be.

Commonly part of the Swedish Christmas table it’s a classic dish that also makes its way onto the menu at Easter. In true Swedish fashion, the gratin-style potato dish is full of cream and butter; there’s no better way to eat potatoes. A traditional dish that’s sure to tempt everyone at the table.

Jansson’s Temptation
serves about 4

8 big potatoes
1-2 yellow onions
about 20 Swedish cured sprats*
1 ¼ cream or half and half
salt (but just if necessary the sprats can be very salty)
handful bread crumbs

Peel the potatoes and cut them in thin strips. Slice the onion thinly. Saute the onion in a little butter until they soften. Layer the potatoes and the onions in a baking dish. Open the tins of anchovies and poor the juice over the potatoes. If you want the anchovies in smaller pieces cut them into halves and divide them over the potatoes. Pour half of the cream over. Sprinkle some bread crumbs and divide small lumps of butter over the dish. Bake in the oven at 440°F (200°C) for about 45 min. Just before it’s finished baking, poor over the rest of the cream.
In Sweden they serve it with beer or milk!

* In Sweden they call this fish type of cured fish ansjovis but its not real anchovies (which is called sardeller in Swedish). I, Johanna have cooked Jansson’s with anchovies without knowing it wasn’t correct. Its tasty and flavor full BUT but doesn’t get the correct flavor. We really recommend to get get hold of some Swedish cured sprats. IKEA sells them as skarpsill at IKEA.
(the recipe was adapted by Johanna Kindvall from the Swedish cook book Vår KokBok)

This article was originally published on Foodie underground on 29 March 2013

So who is this guy Jansson? Some say the dish got its name from the opera singer Pelle Janzon who happen to be a great gourmand.


A Recipe Diagram for Yellow Beet Salad

A couple of weeks ago David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl at Green Kitchen Stories asked me to illustrate a recipe for them. As I always enjoy visiting their site the answer was easy. The recipe is a beautiful Yellow Beet Salad with green lentils, sheep cheese, pea sprouts and apricots. The salad has a simple mustard dressing flavored with poppy seeds. I’m already in love with the combination of beets, lentils and sheep cheese. But with the addition of pea shoots, apricots and poppy seeds this dish becomes much richer in flavor and texture. Very inspiring! Read the whole article and get the recipe here.

David and Luise lives in Stockholm, Sweden together with their daughter Elsa. This Spring (in April) their first book, The Green Kitchen will be released in both UK, Australia and US. In the US the book will have the name Vegetarian Every Day. The recipes in the book (and the recipes on their website) are all creations of their own everyday vegetarian cooking.

Some of my favorites from their sites are their Lemon & Coconut Bars and this Spinach Kale Soup with Tahini Dressed Chickpeas.


A Semla for Fat Tuesday

It’s Fat Tuesday (12 February 2013) and Scandinavians celebrating this day by eating Semlor (Fastlagsbullar or Fettisbullar). This semi-sweet cardamom rich bun is filled with almond paste and heavy whipped cream. My Finish grandfather used to eat this bun soaked in hot milk, which is still a common way to enjoy this bun. However my absolute favorite way, is to use the hat of the bun to scoop a mixture of cream and almond paste into my mouth, before biting into the rest of it’s loveliness. Happy Fat Tuesday everyone!

Recipe by Anna Brones
Recipe by Ibán Yarza
Article about Semlor at Foodie Underground.