Move over mulled wine - Sweden via Hay on Wye

A couple of weeks back, pottering round the secondhand bookshops of Hay on Wye and perusing the cookery section, I came across a book on Swedish cooking. Titled, literally, "Swedish Cooking". Without drifting too much into stereotypes, I am partial to a Swedish meatball as much as the next flatpack enthusiast and can even stomach herring and given it was only a quid, worth a punt. 

Open sandwiches, Jansen's temptation and blueberry soup aside, the most interesting bit of book were the pieces of paper tucked in the back of the cover. Some of these additional bonus recipes were a little sketchy - "Mushroom sauce. Cook mushrooms, add cream. Season." But one, scribbled on the back of the agenda for the November 1984 meeting of the Oxford Anglo Scandinavian Society, was a bit more intriguing. 

Glogg. I have no idea where the umlaut is on this keyboard but there should be one there.  A Swedish variation on mulled wine with the spice of cardamom and cloves, extra punch from brandy, and the rather unusual addition of raisins and flaked almonds. I put my hand up to adapting the recipe slightly: no aquavit, so brandy instead; a few pieces of lemon peel rather than one continuous strand (just try to peel a lemon in one and work out why); and toasted almonds, because surely that can only be a good thing. The other slight alteration was with the amounts of sugar. The amounts in the recipe seemed a little on the sweet side and, given I was using brown sugar and tend to like to be able to taste alcohol rather than unremitting syrupy-sweetness, I went for two thirds of the quantities. 

And the result? Pretty darn good actually. All the Christmassy flavour of mulled wine and an extra warming kick from the brandy. The biggest surprise were the almonds and raisins. While I was cynical about extra bits floating in my drink - you wouldn't tip your peanuts into your pint now? - they were pretty darn good. Toasty, crunchy and delicious. Do it. Just don't try and attempt any flatpack afterwards.



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