What is Fika? You would probably never guess and would have to look the word up!
I have recently received a wonderful book called “Fika”, and it is actually a cookbook! This is my first review of any cookbook, and it is exciting for me!
This book attracted my attention because I read straight from the first page that this book is about the art of the Swedish Coffee break! Now, if you are familiar with IKEA, you probably know that it is a Swedish company, and they have to die for food in their store. Unfortunately, all I pretty much know about Sweden is IKEA, so I thought about IKEA immediately.
When we used to go to IKEA in the past, it wasn’t about the furniture that we went for. It was often the cinnamon buns, and then the meatballs, and the lingonberry jam, and the almond pie, and the smoked salmon appetizers. Last time we went to IKEA more than a year ago, and I certainly loaded our blue bag with frozen Swedish fish, jams, cookies, and even drinks.
Some may think that IKEA is only a furniture store with inexpensive versatile items for young families, but in our family we really go there for the food experience as well. When we used to live in Montreal, we got literally hooked on those cinnamon buns, and then one year something happened, and the buns were no longer sold hot off the press, but started to be sold in packs, cold, and tasteless, and we stopped going to IKEA right about that time. If we ever did go, we would usually just grab the jam and the meatballs in the small food store right at the exit, and leave.
IKEA really for the first time educated me about Swedish cuisine. I know that in Sweden baked goods often contain very familiar to me ingredients, like almonds, almond paste, nuts of all kinds, cinnamon, and wild berries. I haven’t really gathered the coffee love at IKEA. I may have had coffee there, but it wasn’t memorable. But I did feel the love to baked goods that go oh so well with that coffee.
Now, what does IKEA really have to do with this book? Well, everything. I looked through the book a few times now, and I can see that the lovely flavors and recipes that I noticed about Swedish culture certainly made their way to Fika by Anna Brones and Johanna Kindvall. Both of those ladies are actually from Sweden, and they have written a wonderful book that gives a glimpse of this Nordic culture of Sweden that is so proud of their great traditions of baking.
I really loved this book as it helps to understand what Swedish culture is really about. There are great recipes in the book that will make you salivate or drop everything and bake until you come up with a suitable accompaniment for your regular cup of coffee.
This weekend we have been baking two recipes. One was from this book, and we picked a more or less complicated recipe of a Hazelnut Meringue Torte. We wanted to make something festive, and we happened to have all of the ingredients necessary for this recipe. We exchanged hazelnuts for walnuts, as that is what we had on hand. My daughter who is 9 made the recipe almost completely by herself. She read the instructions and was able to follow along very well without much of my help. All I helped her was spread the meringue in the pan evenly, and place the second layer of the baked cake on the first layer neatly. I think the instructions were great since she was able to get it all done.
This book does not have photographs, instead they are using hand drawn pictures, and it adds a lot of old-fashioned charm to the book. I usually love colorful pictures, but the illustrations in this book are so nice, that it doesn’t need any photos. I know that we will cherish this book for years, and will adopt lots of recipes into our baking repertoire. The style of recipes is very much what I like to eat and bake, like almond cake, nutmeg slices, and, of course, those cinnamon buns! We will have to find a special occasion for these, and we will reminisce about those days 8 to 9 years ago when we used to go to IKEA to furnish our apartment, and warm up in the car after a long shopping day with hot cinnamon buns!
Here are some pictures from the day of baking.
By now we have already eaten the torte that my daughter made, and this is the only recipe we have tried. The torte was delicious, it looked great, was easy to make even for a 9 year old, and the recipe seems pretty simple, and doable in a busy household. Hope to enjoy many more recipes from this lovely book!
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.
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