Sunday, December 12, 2010
Sometimes, I wonder if the allen key was invented solely for the use of Ikea, so ubiquitous a tool it has become in assembling their range of furniture. Ikea, king and master of the flatpack, as you all probably know is based in Sweden and have continued on the ancient Viking tradition of conquering the world, with container ships serving as modern day longboats, sailing to every corner of the globe.
We are regulars at the Richmond store, not so much these days for the furniture or homewares but for our fix of meatballs in cream sauce with mashed potato and lingonberry sauce which seems to have garnered something of a cult following if the queues of people are anything to go by, or from the mentions of other bloggers.
You can also buy the meatballs and all the fixings to prepare in the comfort of your own home from the Ikea pantry, which is well worth a visit in its own right for the range of classic foodstuffs from Sweden, things like dilled crayfish and elderflower syrup for instance. Not forgetting the crispbreads either.
It was on one of our foraging trips that we came across the Ikea's Real Swedish Food Book, which, as luck would have it, contained the recipe for meatballs in cream sauce. Now, as good as the restaurant version is, anything home cooked has got to be better, if not a little more trouble.
Here's what Robert Jakubek, Ikea's Chef de Cuisine and product range manager has to say about them.
"Meatballs have to be just the right size - not too big and not too small - and served with a real cream sauce. Not much pepper in the sauce, but plenty in the meatballs themselves. I never tire of them.
One good thing about meatballs is their many uses. Warm, cold, in baguettes, in ordinary sandwiches, perhaps with salted gherkins. Perfect with apple chutney, with a little chilli and moussaka. Or with an ordinary potatoes au gratin.
But the real classic, of course, is meatballs with boiled potatoes, cream sauce and lingonberry jam. An unbeatable combination!"
One thing we noticed right away is how those crafty Swedes stretched out the meat with the addition of boiled potato which also lightens up the texture, making them very moorish. Real Swedish comfort food.
Meatballs with Cream Sauce - adapted from Ikea's Real Swedish Food Book
1 small onion, diced
2 white potatoes, boiled and left to go cold
250g minced beef
250g minced pork
100ml each cream & water combined
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
salt, fresh ground pepper & ground allspice
Fry the onion in 25g butter until just golden. Mash the potatoes and mix in the onion, minced beef & pork, the egg, cream & water, breadcrumbs and season to taste with salt, fresh ground pepper and a pinch of ground allspice. Mix well with your hands, it should be fairly moist.
Shape the mixture into meatballs either with floured hands or a couple of spoons dipped into water, placing them on a floured board as you go. Melt the remaining butter in a frying pan with a little oil and gently brown the meatballs until all are cooked. Serve with cream sauce, mashed potato and lingonberry jam or cranberry sauce.
200ml beef stock or water
100ml double cream
salt and fresh ground pepper
optional - a teaspoon cornflour slaked in a little water
Pour the beef stock or water into the frying pan in which you cooked the meatballs and deglaze. Strain the juices into a small pot, add the cream, a dash of soy sauce and season with salt & fresh ground pepper and bring to a simmer. If it seems a little thin, add the cornflour slaked in water and bring back to the simmer until thickened.