Moreish Crayfish Skagen or Skagenröra - a Nordic Bank Holiday lunch


Crayfish Skagen or Skagenröra

If you don't like dill, you'd better stay clear of my house when I'm in a Nordic summer cooking mood. There is dill in everything, including the drinks and dessert and possibly my hair. Definitely in my teeth.

I have been working very hard in the new job for the past 2 weeks, so an extra day off and a chance to cook for a friend was just the ticket. The shock of hard work has been exacerbated by the most amazing couple of months prior to the start. I have been on what is officially called a gardening or garden leave, which is basically just paid leave with no obligation to work.

You get one of these by:

a. taking a new job with a competitor company
b. being "open and honest" about reasons that made you resign
c. helpfully sharing your views about the leadership of the company
d. just generally being a bit of a pain in the ass
e. combination of any of the above (the more you manage to combine the quicker the exit)

Or like a friend from work put it:

Husband was bemused and amused in equal measure and kept telling people: "Wife got sacked."

But it is the best kind of holiday, full pay for the entire notice period which in my case was a luxurious 3 months. You have no responsibilities other than committing to not entering your place of work or starting in a new job. Can you imagine, someone pays you for not working! I can thoroughly recommend it. These opportunities are somewhat difficult to orchestrate, but worth the trouble.

It's total relaxation. You can't stress about your old job because you have resigned and you can't stress about the new job because you haven't started yet and don't really know what to stress about. In a way I suppose this is how retirement will feel, but just with added joint pain and a more depressing end point.

Some people always say that they can't just be, can't not do something, and go around ironing every ironable object in the house, clearing cupboards, weeding and cleaning like maniacs. I'm not like that. My accomplishments during my gardening leave were:

  • Cupboards cleared - 0 
  • Epidodes of Downton Abbey watched - 43
  • Episodes of Pride and Prejudice watched - 6 + the film
  • Episodes of Mystery Diners and Jamie at home watched - Countless
  • Prosecco breakfasts - 2 (a shockingly low number)
  • Gardens gardened - 1 (by Izabela the gardener)
  • Long lost friends reconnected with - 1
  • Delicious meals cooked for husband - very many
  • Naps - > 30
  • Neighbours' cats fed daily - 2
  • Holidays within a holiday - 2 
  • Purgings of negative energy from previous job by burning sage in bedroom - 1 
  • Flummoxed husbands - 1
But all good things come to an end and I have now gracefully (kicking and screaming) re-entered the working life. 

So to celebrate the little window of freedom and the summer that is here I cooked a very Finnish menu of lovely seafood and lots of dill. Funnily enough I miss my homeland a lot more during the summer than winter (the winters are a bit gruelling in case you didn't know, that might have something to do with it).

And also we did just win the Ice-Hockey world championships, which is a big deal. It's a proper mans game, a bit like rugby in terms of the number of teeth left in the players' mouths, but on skates. Anyway, that was a big thing and any patriotic Finn would now be swimming in a fountain in the 7 degree Helsinki, because that is what we do when we are very happy apparently. I chose not to this time, much as I love my homeland, but instead I decided to honour my Finnishness with this menu:

  • Crayfish Skagen in cups
  • Finn-Crisp and smoked salmon rolls
  • Lemon and dill hummus
  • Smokerbag salmon
  • Dill and vinegar cucumbers
  • New potato salad
  • Strawberry and goat cheese salad
  • Blueberry tart and custard
Crayfish Skagen -Skagenröra

Crayfish Skagen or Skagenröra

Crayfish Skagen or Skagenröra

Feel free to use the full fat versions of mayonnaise and creme fraiche, but it is really delicious with the lower fat options also.

200g crayfish tails
1/4 cup low fat mayonnaise
1/4 cup low fat creme fraiche
1 bunch of dill chopped
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Lemon pepper
2 tsp salmon roe and some dill for garnish

Mix all the ingredients and serve as a starter on toast or rye bread, or as I did in little crispy cups decorated with  some fish eggs and fresh dill. The classic way is to fry slices of toast in butter and serve the Skagenrora on top.

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