Frida’s Oma is here for the week, which means that there’s another set of hands to carry parcels, cook good food, and clap along with Frida. I have taken great advantage of this situation by doing things like buying grapefruit instead of my usual kumquats (have I mentioned the stairs to the flat lately?), stashing a paperback book in the diaper bag just in case I get a minute to read, and going to the bathroom without a squirmy toddler on my lap. All was well and good until I remembered that Christmas season is nigh upon us, and that the local fancy foods warehouse is but a few blocks away.

So we went, in the pouring rain and whipping wind, to stock up on another kilo of cocoa powder and to buy a few kilos of salt for a salt-baked fish. 90 Euro later, I was watching Oma and Frida disappear up the steps to the apartment and trying to figure out how I was going to carry 6 pounds of salt, a kilo of cocoa powder, a huge jar of peanut butter, and 12 pounds of best-quality white and dark chocolate up the stairs. The answer? Cuddle the chocolate like it’s a baby, and go quickly so that your investment doesn’t melt on the way up.

Once we were safely home, I started to look up recipes for white chocolate so that I could justify the purchase to Tobias, who is still wondering what happened to the last kilo of cocoa powder, and found that most recipes call for between 8 and 10 ounces of white chocolate. I’ll let you know our favorite of the 14 recipes I now have ingredients for. (And am open to suggestions!) This story has already taken an unfortunate turn – I am amassing such a list of white chocolate ideas that I now use shorthand for the key ingredient: W.C. Sounds delicious, no?

In only somewhat different news, I highly recommend making wine-poached apples. The recipe I used called for star anise, cinnamon sticks, and cloves, and the leftover syrup was fantastic in yoghurt – it tasted like spiced apples in a way that the commercially prepared ‘spiced apple’ yogurt just doesn’t.

Oh and hey, if you’re wondering about the yoghurt vs. yogurt thing, it’s simple: the added H is included for health-affirming plain yoghurt; the pudding-adjacent presweetened variety is H-less. (Again, Betsy totally sticks it to The Man, this time by making up her own spelling rules. Power to the People! Yeah! or Yea! You decide!)

Here’s the thing I want to talk about today, though. Smörgåstårta! A savory cake made of rye bread, smoked salmon, shrimp, cucumbers, mustard sauce, etc., frosted with a combination of sour cream and mayo, and decorated with all of the little radish flowers, carrot curls, shrimp stars, and parsley bouquets my little heart desires! I went a little bit bat shit crazy at the seafood store today, and am planning to go even crazier at the sour cream store tomorrow. I am making the cake for a baby shower (because lightly smoked seafood in a non-traditional, what’s-in-there-again? presentation is surely a safe bet for any pregnant woman,) and am freaking thrilled by the prospect. I’m planning to make a couple of Smörgåstårta cupcakes, too, for an attendee who doesn’t eat shrimp. I need to go start reigning myself in before I decide that the grapes in the fridge need to be used, that they need to be used in a chicken salad, and that the chicken salad needs to be a 4th layer of what is sure to be a structurally suspect production to begin with.

I’ll report back, hopefully with pictures, but there are a couple of disclaimers before I begin:

  • I’ll be baking the bread for the cake in two springform pans
  • The pans are not the same circumference, but they’re not that different either
  • I’m planning to make my own mayo, but without raw eggs (disaster likelihood: 1 in 3)
  • Nearly all of the recipes I’ve seen for Smörgåstårta are in Danish
  • I’m fueled by a combination of Google Images and large handfuls of white chocolate from a 3.5-kilo bag.


p.s. if you’re wondering what to get me for Xmas, a toothbrush is a pretty safe bet.


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