Back in 2012; before weddings, babies, and dare I say it life changing holidays to Nordic countries, I stored shoes and blankets in my kitchen cupboards, let alone knew how to create a delicious meal for my future husband and I.
Yet when Rachel Khoo’s “The Little Paris Kitchen” hit our TV screens that spring, like many aspiring cooks around the world I was totally transfixed. Not just because of the romantic setting, beautiful apartment or ‘give it a go’ recipes, but by the unique Rachel herself.
Since then I’d like to say I’ve learnt a lot, not just in the culinary stakes. So when I heard that her latest book was based around her new life in Sweden I just had to get in touch to find out more.
Here’s what Rachel had to tell me:
How did your 6th cookbook and Swedish adventure begin?
Cookbooks for me are a personal journey almost like a culinary diary of different moments in my life.
The Little Swedish Kitchen came about as I had been living in Sweden for a couple of years (I married a Swedish man) and wanted to write about my experience of discovering a new cuisine, culture and language.
What was it about Sweden out of all the Nordic countries that inspired you?
Sweden is a beautiful country and hugely inspirational. However for now it is my home, so I’m not like your standard tourist visiting.
Going about learning the cultures, the language and simply the everyday traditions were essential to me integrating and feeling at home. I’ve lived in many countries (England, Germany, Austria, France and now Sweden) and have learnt from experience that the easiest way to become at ease in a new unfamiliar country is through the food.
Swedish food is known for its simple flavours, what are your key ingredients for the perfect dish?
Fresh, good quality in season ingredients. But you could say that about any dish. I always tell people the better quality the ingredients, the less work you have to do to them.
In the book you take readers through the Swedish year, what was your personal highlight?
Probably as a foreigner, a crayfish party.
Crayfish season is at the end of August/beginning of September. It involves fishing for them, cooking and brining them, serving them with a Västerbottenpie (typical Swedish cheese pie) and drinking lots of snaps and singing Swedish songs.
You also get to wear silly paper hats. It’s so much fun and a great way to celebrate the end of the Summer.
How do you add a touch of Swedish ‘lagom’ to your everyday?
It can be quite hard especially as I run several businesses (I don’t’ just write cookbooks) and have a toddler to care for.
So taking a moment for myself every day is something I really try to do. Whether it’s getting to an exercise class, meditating, listening to a podcast or reading for ten minutes. Or it can be as simple as sitting on a bench and enjoying a cup of coffee.
Thank you so much to Rachel Khoo for chatting to me. The Little Swedish Kitchen is on sale now, priced £20.00.
Exciting news! Rachel has very kindly offered Nordic Notes subscribers 3 free recipes from the book. Sign up to my newsletter now to be sent details direct to your inbox.
All images courtesy of Rachel Khoo and Penguin Random House UK.