It was with difficulty that I woke up the next morning to first partake of the hotel breakfast and then walk with Jeanne to see Malmo’s farmers market. If you do like markets, this small farmers market is worth the trek (but do check that website for dates).
Everything of the season is sold there as well as some very interesting and unique products – I marvelled at squash pickles and raspberry ketchup. I couldn’t resist picking up a jar of elderflower jelly which we’re very much enjoying on crackers at home. I would have loved to buy some of the raw ingredients to cook at home but after this brief introduction to Swedish seasonal produce, we would have the next best thing and learn how to cook with some of them. We met up again with Denise and Jeanne’s husband Nick and walked through Slottsparken to Peter Skogström‘s Mat & Vin Slottsparken (formerly Mat & Vin på Stolpaberga), located right in the centre of the park. You might remember that Peter was the chef who came to visit London for the Swedish Blind Date and I’d had the chance to sample his food. I was pretty excited about this opportunity to learn from him and also happy to see Peter again.
Nothing could prepare us for how beautiful the inside of this initially unremarkable building was.
Ikea could learn a few things from this place! Look at those gorgeous tiles in the kitchen! The place is used for cooking classes, catering and private events but it is open to the public about once a month with themed dinners.
And it was in this beautiful kitchen that we were to have a cooking class and we would be cooking our three course lunch.
All the ingredients with which we’d be cooking were laid out on the counter and they were like a show and tell of what was best of the season in Sweden. Lingonberries. Chanterelles. Venison…from deer that Peter had hunted himself! It promised to be a great class.
Peter handed out recipe sheets and then divided us up into teams before letting us loose in his gorgeous kitchen. Jeanne and her husband Nick would be making the starter of trout and the vanilla ice cream for dessert. While I didn’t see much of how they prepared certain parts of the dishes (we were preoccupied with cooking our own parts!), we watched with great interest as the trout was smoked.
Denise and I were going to make the venison main course and the souffles. There was a lot of preparation for the beets and searing of the venison and then, of course, the souffles. Denise set to caramelising the sugar and the lingonberries while I got the egg whites beating and prepared the ramekins. After combining the two parts, we piped the mixture into the buttered and sugared ramekins and tidied up the rims, a little tip from Peter to makes sure nothing would get in the way of our souffles rising. I enjoyed the way Peter taught the class – he had judged that we were somewhat capable in the kitchen and so let us get on with it but give us valuable tips here and there as he watched and helped us work. If there was something we didn’t know how to do, he would demonstrate it and then toss us into the deep end to try!
When every component had been prepared, it was set aside for plating – it was great seeing the results of our efforts collect on the counter.
We also received a quick masterclass on plating, with Peter first showing us how he arranged the starter. A slick of puree, toppings that reflected the ingredients in the puree, and finally the fish.
And here was our starter – the Warm salad of Swedish trout, cauliflower, almond and dill. Oh, the trout was beautiful – just barely cooked through and still slightly translucent in the middle and yet flaking ever so gently. The cauliflower puree was extremely moreish and the nuts and dill were fabulous with it and the fish.
We then had a chance to plate up our own main courses. Here’s my go at my Spicy venison steak served with beetroots and chanterelles. The venison just melted in the mouth and was possibly the best venison I’ve ever had. And its slight gaminess went well with the mushrooms and sweet beetroot (surprise, surprise, it wasn’t too bad for this usual detester of beetroot!). Well, of course I’d say it was good as I helped to prepare it!
After our main courses, Peter slipped our souffles in the oven and we watched, with great relief, while they rose majestically. Our souffles were quickly plated alongside a scoop of vanilla ice cream and there we had our dessert, Souffle of caramelised lingonberries with vanilla ice cream for dessert. It was excellent - enough said.
While he didn’t join us for lunch (he was also preparing other food for a wedding to be held there that night), Peter did join us for coffee and answered all our questions. Of particular interest to me was what other fruit could be used for those gorgeous souffles – Peter suggested raspberries, blueberries, apples, cloudberries. It sounds like almost anything can be used as it would all be first cooked down with the sugar. And maybe the best piece of information we learned that afternoon – those adorable glass ramekins we used? Ikea tealight holders priced at 4 for £1.
It was a wonderful experience and I did learn quite a bit, from souffle tips to onion slicing for particular applications. And smoking fish! I need to find a proper covered pan to try that at home (risking filling my kitchen and living room with smoke). Thank you so much, Peter, for the fantastic class and lunch. Alas, though I wished to stay and learn more, I could not as I was being picked up for my next food experience…
You can join a cooking course with Peter too as well as book a seat at their organised dinners – all the events are on the Mat & Vin website (in Swedish but the Google translation is very good). More accessible is Peter’s restaurant Restaurang P2 in Dockplatsen 26 in Malmo.