It’s funny, growing up in one country but ending up living in another. For me it either feels like I belong in both Sweden and England or, on a bad day, like I belong nowhere. One thing that is true is that whenever I’m in one country I always miss the other country quite severely. When I’m in Sweden I miss how crowded England feel in comparison, I miss hearing people speak English and I even miss the big, also crowded supermarkets with a million different things to buy (Cadbury chocolate for example… Tut tut, I should have better tastes than that but I don’t). My feelings of loss is more subtle when I’m in England and it take longer for them to grow strong but they are there nevertheless. They express themselves mainly by making me extremely proud that I’m Swedish. I will make comments such as “The doors in Sweden are so much better than the English ones; they swing out away from you, rather than towards you. Safer in case of a fire!” or “Swedish trains are much better. So much faster.”, little things that doesn’t really matter at all, but that feels oh so important to comment on.
Every now and then when the feelings of loss are getting too strong I do something Swedish. I bake rågsiktskakor or perhaps listen to Kent even though I prefer other bands. The other week, I decided to order a couple of old, rusty and very Scandinavian cast iron pans of eBay, after spending a very long time trying to find somewhere that sold them. One of them is a Scandinavian style waffle iron and the other one is a “rånjärn” or more commonly known by the Norwegian name krumkake iron. I felt lucky, managing to find something that’s so rare in the U.K. However, when it was only one day before I planned to use them and it came to cleaning off the rust and the ground in dirt as well as seasoning them I felt less lucky. Spending hours scrubbing away with steel wool, muscles getting sore and nails chipping and then getting much of the kitchen dirty from rubbing them with oil and salt and lastly heating them on the hob with oil in to season them was quite tiring (not to mention cleaning up).
We wanted to make some waffles, seeing as we missed the waffle day this year (and the last seven or so years). I did some research and decided on a recipe that looked good. It was quite tricky to use the cast iron pan; you have to remember to turn it every now and then and there was a spot that wasn’t seasoned correctly so the waffles got a little bit stuck at that particular place. We had to experiment with heat settings of the stove as well as time to cook the waffles but we got there in the end. As I was standing there, working like an animal, I felt very Swedish and very admiring of all the Swedish women (and men) that in the past cooked with these heavy cast iron pots and pans every single day.
This recipe makes six waffles. It might not sound like a lot (Keith seemed to think they were like pancakes and thought he could eat four!) but one waffle with a generous topping of whipped cream and jam is normally how much one person eats (although, they are easy to eat so many people eat more and I can’t blame them). As mentioned, best served with whipped cream and jam. Cloudberry jam is very traditional but if you don’t have any then strawberry jam is what I always had when I was small and what I still truthfully prefer. When I was small I used to have whipped cream, ice cream and a few different types of jam on top and I’d often eat at least three waffles… I could eat a lot for being so small! If you have a cast iron pan you’ll have to experiment with heat and time because all stoves are different. And remember to whisk the batter slightly between each waffle or the flour will sink to the bottom! And lastly: I’m not sure how this recipe fares in the more common Belgian waffle iron, so better use a Scandinavian style iron.
50 g/1.8 oz butter
50 g/1.8 oz whipping cream (not whipped!)
180 g/6.4 oz plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
400 g/14.1 oz milk
Melt the butter and let it cool down while you prepare the rest of the batter. Mix the flour, salt and baking powder in a bowl. Pour in half the milk and whisk until no lumps remain. Add the rest of the milk, the melted butter and the cream and whisk again until the batter is uniform. Heat your pan and grease it with some butter and pour in 80-100 ml of batter. On our stove on a medium heat it took about 2 minutes on each side. Repeat until no batter remains and serve immediately.