Culinary Anthropologist


  1. St Lucia saffron buns

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    Lovely sweet buns with a beautiful yellow colour.  According to tradition in Sweden and Denmark they’re served on St Lucia day, the 13th of December (also my birthday, so doubly auspicious and suited to baking with expensive saffron).  

    They are normally S-shaped and decorated with a few small raisins or currants.  Serve warm with plenty of cold salted butter or, as we do in our Nordic cooking classes, with sweet and salty hazelnut butter!

    Here is a fun explanation of St Lucia!

    Recipe from Mia Kristensen of CPH Good Food, with whom I collaborate for New Nordic cuisine classes and dinners.


  2. Sephardi orange & almond cake


    This recipe is adapted from Claudia Roden.  This cake has north African and Spanish roots.  According to Claudia, citrus cultivation and trade was particularly associated with Sephardi Jews around the Mediterranean, and there are any number of orange cake recipes in Sephardi culture.

    smbloodorange0001.jpgThis cake is remarkable for its total lack of both butter and flour.  You could use five or so clementines or tangerines instead of the oranges.

    Don’t worry if the cake sinks as it cools, or in fact turns out looking rather boring.  Trust me it is delicious, especially if served as a pudding with freshly sliced blood oranges and whipped cream.


  3. Malt cookies

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    Crispy cookies with a beautiful dark color and a great malty, almost coffee or chocolate-like flavour.  For Christmas you could add flavorings such as 1 tsp cinnamon or mixed spices and ½ tsp grated orange zest – not New Nordic, but very tasty!

    For a dessert, try layering crumbled cookies with toasted chopped nuts, whipped cream or yoghurt and fruit compote to make a trifle.  Malt cookies go well with cherries, hazelnuts and a small sprinkling of licorice powder.

    smNordicXmas2012Anna0027.jpgRecipe from Mia Kristensen of CPH Good Food.


  4. Rhubarb and yoghurt cake


    This cake is so easy – you can throw it together in ten minutes.  It always goes down really well when we make it in cooking classes.  Rhubarb, orange and yoghurt make a delicious combination.  But you could omit the orange flower water, or substitute rose water, or just use vanilla.  Enjoy the cake warm or cold, at tea time or for dessert.  It pairs beautifully with a dollop of creamy yoghurt.  The recipe is adapted from one by Leanne Kitchen.



  5. Baklava


    The best baklava in Turkey comes from the southeast, notably the town of Gaziantep, which is surrounded by pistachio groves and known for its master baklava makers.  Traditionally it would be made with yufka, which is a super-fine dough rather like filo, and baked in a round dish called a tepsi in a wood-fired oven.  There are all kinds of different baklava shapes – layered, rolled, twisted and coiled – and it can of course be made with different nuts – walnuts, pistachios and hazelnuts being most common.  For added flavour use honey instead of some or all of the sugar.



  6. Flaky pastry

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    This basic flaky pastry recipe can be used for all kinds of sweet and savoury dishes – quiches, tarts, pies and galettes of all kinds.  It should bake until golden brown, break into buttery flakes and taste delicious. 

    smtomatogalette0006.jpgThe pastry will keep in the fridge wrapped in clingfilm overnight, or in the freezer for several months. 

    Once you’ve made it a few times you’ll realise it can be done quickly and easily and tastes so much better than store-bought.  Use good unsalted butter and plain (all purpose) white flour. 


  7. Polish doughnuts (pączki)

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    I hardly ever use recipes from the internet, least of all from unknown food bloggers (of whom there seem to be a few million).  Usually I spend hours, days even, researching the thing I want to make in various books and then come up with a hybrid recipe that, for me, takes the best of each.  But these Polish doughnuts are an exception.  With barely a thought (OK, I did check in a few books, very quickly) I followed this recipe from the For the Body and Soul blog pretty much exactly and it worked so well I’ve barely tweaked it.  So thank you Karolcia (from Poland, studying in Canada).

    smpolishdoughnuts0002.jpgMy aim was to recreate the light, puffy, too-easy-to-eat doughnuts we’d had at Cukiernia Samanta – a fantastic bakery in Zakopane, Poland where they make literally millions of doughnuts, especially in time for Fat Thursday (at the start of Lent) when all of Poland goes doughnut crazy.  We begged for their recipe, but it is a closely guarded family secret.  After many hours of mixing, kneading, resting, shaping and frying this beautiful enriched dough, I succeeded.  My note to self for next time is to let the dough rise (more slowly) in the fridge as it would be easier to roll and shape when cold.


  8. French macarons

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    This recipe comes from my friend and colleague Jennifer Altman – currently pastry chef at Bay Wolf restaurant in Oakland, California – who recently came to London to give a series of fantastic baking masterclasses with me. We made these macarons at the Cookies Masterclass and they turned out beautifully.  Don’t miss out the drying step before you bake as it’s essential for creating the macarons’ distinctive ‘feet’.



  9. Cardamom cookies


    When I made these little biscuits for my third Secret Kitchen they were gobbled up greedily, despite the preceding four course dinner.  I based the recipe on one from Tartine, our favourite café in San Francisco.  (And everyone else’s, judging by the ‘line’ running down the sidewalk every Saturday morning.)  You can create your own recipe by substituting different nuts and spices, as you like.