Laufabrauð

One of my favourite Christmas traditions in Iceland is

FOOD.

And not any food. It’s called laufabrauð a.k.a. “leaf bread”, a piece of deep-fried heaven. Before I start rambling about how perfect this dish is, let me tell you shortly about the history of the laufabrauð-tradition.10846774_998927930122718_2141940336_n

It was first mentioned around 1730, and originates from North Iceland. Making laufabrauð is a popular tradition nowadays in the whole country. Families get together to knead, cut and fry all day and the result is this beautifully decorated crunchy leaf-bread.

If someone feels adventurous, you can try to make it at home, it’s not difficult at all (believe me, if I can make it, everyone can).

10863472_998927906789387_493633115_nAll you need is:

1 kg wheat flour 30 g sugar 1 tbsp baking powder 1 tbsp salt 600 ml milk, scalded 1 tbsp butter

Some oil to fry, and a pot for frying.

Mix together the dry ingredients. Heat the milk to boiling point and melt the butter in it. Pour it into the dry ingredients and mix well. Knead into a ball of dense dough. Roll into sausage shapes and store under a slightly damp cloth, otherwise it dries out quickly. Cut or pinch off portions and flatten with a rolling pin. These breads are traditionally very thin – a good way to tell if the dough is thin enough is to check if you can read the headings of a newspaper through it. Cut into circular cakes, using a medium-sized plate as a guide to ensure even size. Decorate by cutting out patterns (it’s called leaf-bread because of the leaf-shaped patterns that are cut into it but feel free to unleash your artistic freedom). Heat the oil in a deep, wide pot. Prick the cakes with a fork to avoid blistering, and drop into the oil, one at a time, taking care that they do not fold (and that you don’t burn yourself). The cakes will sink as you drop them into the oil. When they resurface,  turn them over. They are ready when they are golden in colour, it only takes a few seconds to fry each one. Remove them from the oil and put on a piece of kitchen paper to drain. It’s good to press a plate or something similar on top of the cake to ensure that it will be flat enough. Stack up and allow it to cool. When cool, stack in a cookie tin. Stored in a cool, dry place, leaf bread will keep for a long time, but who wouldn’t want to eat them right away?

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They are usually served at Christmas dinners with hangikjöt (smoked lamb) or some butter. But you can eat them however you like, They make an amazing snack if you’re bored with potato chips and feel like trying something new.

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Icelandic delicacies – not another sheep’s head post

When I mention Icelandic cuisine to my non-Icelandic friends, they immediately frown then start to rant about some rotten shark challenge video they’ve seen on YouTube. ‘And is that true they eat <insert any gross fermented dish>?’

This is when I clear my throat and give a profound speech about my experiences with Icelandic food, that don’t only include sheep’s head, rotten shark, or pickled ram’s testicles. In fact, after spending years in the Land of Ice, I have never seen any Icelanders casually walking up to the fridge for some fermented shark bites. Being a moderately adventurous person, I appreciate delish bites and also like to try new things, be it Doritos flavoured ice cream or an exotic fruit that I haven’t heard of before, but there’s a line that shall not be crossed (and that line for me is somewhere around lyfrapylsa).

So please let me tell you about…

A FOODIE’S EXPERIENCES WITH ICELANDIC FOOD – A LIST UNCOVERING THE TASTY BITES:

1. Skyr – I can’t express my undying love for this dairy product that is something between cheese and yogurt and comes in a variety of  flavours – vanilla, banana, baked apples, berries, mango, strawberry, just to mention a few. You can even make your own healthy snack of plain, unflavoured skyr, brown sugar and some berries. Every time I taste skyr, my tastebuds burst into an ode thanking the person who accidentally left milk somewhere for too long. Someone said that cheese was milk’s leap towards immortality, but I think skyr is.

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2. Kleina – doughnut a’la Iceland. This fried pastry exists in all the Scandinavian countries, as well as in northern Germany under the names of: klenät, klena, klejne, kleina, kleyna, and fattigmann. It’s not too difficult to make at home, but you can buy them anywhere. In packs. Big packs. Which means you really need to make an effort not to eat them by yourself as “afternoon snack”. Your heart will be very grateful for that.

3. Flatkaka – Icelandic flat bread. You can eat it with any kind of paté or just some salted butter. Doesn’t look very mouthwatering but the taste makes up for it.

4. Sugar-coated potatoes – yes, it is what it is: small potatoes floating in caramel sauce. First you are suspicious about them. Then you smell them – not bad. Then you taste them. And you feel conflicted, because they’re actually quite tasty, especially when served with ham and some sweet corn. Yummy!

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5. Grjónagautur – when it’s cold and windy and rainy outside and you need something sweet and warm and comforting, there is one thing you can do: cook rice in milk, and serve it with some more milk and cinnamon-sugar. The adventurous ones can have some lyfrapylsa or slátur with it, but for me these are out of the question.

6. Hardfiskur – dried fish usually eaten in small bites with some butter on top. You might not want to kiss anyone after eating it, and your fridge will smell for weeks, but it’s definitely worth trying.

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7. Everything lakkris (or liquorice) – I hated it. I fought against it for so long. But on one occasion, when I bought a bag of nammi for a movie-night I realized too late that everything I had contained lakkris so I had no other choice but eating them. And for my biggest surprise, they weren’t as bad as I thought they would be.

8. Icelandic pancakes – these are just like any European pancakes or crépes. In Iceland, they’re traditionally served with cinnamon-sugar or some jam and an enormous dose of whipped cream. Even just thinking of them makes my mouth water.10814129_985077321507779_143593534_n

9. Kokteilsósa – a.k.a. the “pink sauce”. Mix some ketchup, mayonnaise and sour cream with salt and pepper – voilá. One of the Icelandic culinary claim to fame, so it was exceptionally painful when someone pointed out that the sauce might have already existed before the Icelandic version was made. But it doesn’t change the fact that it is pretty awsome if you eat it with french fires, sandwiches, salads, cakes, dip candy in them or whatever you like.

10. Kjötsúpa – Icelandic meat soup made of sheep, barley, veggies and magic. There is a kjötsúpa wagon in Reykjavik, find it, and buy some soup, you won’t regret it.

+1 Kókómjólk – chocolate milk! Although it’s not technically a food, we decided to put this on the list. Because it’s perfect.

India in da hauz

Let’s talk about food as it is the second most important thing after coffee.

Last Wednesday we were disgustingly lazy to cook dinner, so we decided to have some Indian food and honestly, that was a delicious idea (intense back-patting for us)! The only thing I don’t like about the Icelandic food-business is that there’s no such thing as HOME DELIVERY. There should be. For the sake of all the lazy people out there, there should be.

via: fb

We tried Hraðlestin at Hverfisgata and we got a ‘chicken-naan bread-aloo zera (what ever that is)-basmati rice-yoghurt’  chili goodness. It was spicy, but not the omg-my-throat-is-on-fire-give-me-water spicy.

That was just simply yummyyy!

Go there and give it a try sometime.