ELLE Eats: Nordic Style

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by ELLE food bloggers Laura Jackson & Alice Levine

This week we've mostly been rooting around in skips, covered in dust. That probably requires some explanation...

It's been all about the supperclub this week...fortnight...month actually. We started holding them in an amazing converted shoe factory, (one half of J&L happens to call it home), about a year and half ago. About sixteen people squeezed around our big bench - tucking into a selection of home cooked treats. That, we could just about handle. This time, with near on 70 people, it was a bit of a shock to the system.

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That was the reality that faced us on Friday night as we opened the doors to our five-course Nordic Feast (a collaboration with fellow supperclubber Foodypants). 

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Guests enjoyed a smorgasbord comprising beetroot, dill and Reyka Vodka cured salmon, with pickles and oat bread to start. That's where the skip diving came in - salvaged wood formed our rustic serving platters (after a lot of sanding and many side-eyes from the neighbours).

Another highlight was the slow cooked pig cheeks in ale, a perfect winter warmer wherever you are in the world.

But nothing quite heats you up like a good stiff drink. Luckily Icelandic's first vodka distillery, Reyka, not only provided the perfect curing liquor for our salmon, but made some delicious martinis and vodka tonics - to get our guests well and truly pickled. Below is the recipe to make your own tonic water, a real wow for any cocktail parties, or a lovely homemade gift if you're invited somewhere for dinner. We infused ours with liquorice to go with our theme, but can't wait to try foraging for dandelion and making the perfect syrup to go with cucumber gin.

Cocktail Tonic Water

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Tonic Recipe

500g Caster sugar

700ml water
3 Tbsp Cinchona bark (Available from Amazon)

6 Tbsp Powdered citric acid,

3 stalks of lemongrass

Zest and juice of 3 limes

1 star Anise

3 pieces of liquorice bark

Do It

In a medium saucepan, bring the sugar and water to a boil until the sugar dissolves, then turn the heat down to low.

Add the cinchona bark, powdered citric acid, lemongrass, limes, liquorice and star anise, stir well and simmer for about 25 minutes, until the powders are dissolved and the syrup is thin and runny.

Remove from heat and let cool. Strain out the large chunks through a colander, then filter through cheesecloth or coffee filters to refine.

Funnel the syrup into sterilized glass bottles or Jars, cover tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to several weeks. We waited 72 hours for the syrup to mature.

Add 8 tablespoons (this will vary on your desired taste of tonic) to a empty litre bottle and fill with water. You can serve the tonic still or fizzy, we carbonated ours through a water carbonator (or soda stream)

For our Jackson&Levine’ vodka tonic we added Reyka vodka with ice and a slice of grapefruit – delicious!

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