...because you thought Sweden was Switzerland!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Food journal number 43: Potato-cheese pie at our crayfish party

Meet Jeline, my intelligent and well-rounded friend from the Philippines. She writes poems, speaks fluent French, practices yoga, sings in a choir, and I dare say, is one of the best philosophy students I know. She wrote her master's thesis in philosophy in just four months and got an excellent score for a thesis defense that blew the panel away. She gives everyone the impression that she just breezes through hard intellectual work (even though, like all of us, she really is no stranger to sleepless nights). Actually, she's so multi-talented that I wouldn't be surprised if she told me she knew how to play the accordion while standing on her head and balancing teacups on her toes. And right now, she's here in Sweden to study an MA in Applied Ethics, the same master's program I studied in 2005-2006.

I invited her over last night for a crayfish party. “I'll be part of your blog! It's like being on TV!”, she said. Here she is challenging Marcus' crayfish to a claw fight. These particular crayfish were peaceful creatures, however. They didn't want to fight and begged to be eaten instead.

A crayfish party is a traditional Swedish get-together at the end of summer, usually at the end of August. It coincides with the crayfish-fishing season in Sweden, even though nowadays it's possible to get frozen crayfish caught in China and other places year-round. August nights are supposedly warm enough for the crayfish party to take place outdoors (it is argued that those who complain about the cold can warm themselves by drinking more schnapps), but we had our small gathering indoors in the dorm's common kitchen, and considering our budget and the time of the week, there was no schnapps to be had.

There was, however, three whole kilos of crayfish which we just about finished off by the end of the long dinner. Major, major yum. If you haven't already read them, you can read my previous years' entries on crayfish here and here. I must say though, there's nothing like actually eating them and experiencing the thumb-ache that follows from peeling dozens of crayfish.

I also made a potato pie – my first ever pie with my first ever pie crust – and it turned out well despite all my worries. You see, I used a cake spring-form instead of a pie form, and some the egg-milk mixture began to leak out the bottom before and during baking. Fortunately, enough of the mixture stayed in the pie – or as Jeline called it, the quiche – for it to be a success. The secret to the taste is probably the cheese. The recipe calls for aged cheese, and for this I used nothing less than Svecia, or Swede cheese. Bet you didn't know it really existed, because neither did I despite having this blog address! The pie goes really well with seafood, which, as you can guess, is the main course in a crayfish party. The remaining pie was today's lunch topped with the little leftover crayfish.

Potato and Cheese Pie (Potatis- och ostpaj)
Recipe taken from ICA.se

3 deciliters (1.26 cups) flour
100 g butter
3 T cold water

Half a kilo potatoes, peeled and boiled until cooked (about 4 big potatoes)
2 deciliters (1.26 cups) aged cheese, e.g. Parmesan, Cheddar, Grevé, Herrgård, Präst, Svecia or French hard cheeses, grated
1.5 deciliters chopped dill
3 eggs
3 deciliters (1.26 cups) milk
1 t salt
a dash of pepper

1. First, prepare the crust. With your fingers, mix the flour with the cut cold butter in a bowl until they resemble fine bread crumbs, then add the cold water and knead everything into a dough. Keep cool in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.

2. After 30 minutes, roll out the dough (I just used my fingers because I don't have a rolling pin) and lay it out in a 24cm round pie form, forming walls for the pie. Bake in the middle of the oven for 12-15 minutes at 200 degrees C. My baked crust rose a bit in the center, but this was fixed as soon as I put in the filling in step 3:

3. Fill the crust with the potatoes that have been cut into slices, then sprinkle the dill and cheese over it.

4. Whisk the eggs, milk, salt and pepper together and pour the mixture over the pie filling. Bake for another 30-35 minutes on 200 degrees C. I initially baked mine on 33 minutes, but I saw that the egg-milk mixture had not completely set yet and were rising to the top so I put it on again for another minute, which seemed to do the trick. The yummy melting cheese smell will fill your kitchen (For my part, it also filled with burnt milk smell from the mixture that was leaking in the oven).


For dessert, we had Filipino treats that Jeline had brought along, which were dried mangoes (“our best export!”) and piyaya, a very thin pastry from the Visayas region that contains softened muscovado sugar and sesame seeds. Double yum. No, make that triple yum. If I ever get to visit the Philippines soon, I would definitely fill my suitcase with these goodies.


Blogger aka Cheryl said...

when you get back here, you need to host a dinner party and invite me. :D these look super yummy!

5:07 AM

Blogger aka Cheryl said...

when you get back, you need to host a dinner party and invite me. :D these look super yummy!

5:08 AM

Blogger aka Cheryl said...

bwahahaha. may approval mo pa pala dito before my comment gets posted! kala ko nagloko lang yung system or something.

5:09 AM

Blogger Ahoy! said...

Yeah. A few entries ago there was a person who thought my blog was a personals meet-someone-from-Sweden site (duh!), so I had to enable comment-moderation before he irritates me again. :-P

If I host the dinner, you take care of dessert! Heheh! Sige na, kahit dried mangoes lang :-)

6:26 AM

Blogger M said...

hello to jelineeeeeeee :)

3:17 AM

Blogger Ahoy! said...

Hi Ate Maan!

Sayang I didn't see your comment before I left the house this morning. We had lunch together today and she's flying to Norway tomorrow (back here in November). But I can text her :-) Hi to the dep people!

6:50 PM

Blogger aka Cheryl said...

sure! simple lang pala ang dessert na gusto mo eh :D

5:39 AM

Blogger enilejna said...

hi ate maan! Wow I'm a Swedecheese celebriteee :)

10:16 AM


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