Ah, France. With a long-established reputation of being one of the world’s undisputed gastronomic champions, we couldn’t wait to meet our next guest, Etienne.
He met us at a local Hemköp, where we picked up all the necessary ingredients for a night of French feasting. First on the list was, without question, a bottle or two of classic French wines and cider- then some French snacking essentials (all the cheese), and last but not least, the components to make the night’s main dishes: galettes and crêpes.
After stepping into what could possibly be the coziest apartment in Södermalm (and maybe all of Stockholm), we were warmly greeted by Etienne’s lovely girlfriend Fanny (more on their love story later). Like true professionals, they already had the Édith Piaf of all French playlists softly serenading the room. We wasted no time getting into the spirit of the evening; with everyone holding a generous glass of red wine before we’d even unpacked the groceries. Whether this played a role in our improvising on the original recipes, we’re not sure. All we can say is that we might have improvised on some of the recommended ingredient amounts… the key takeaway here was that more butter does not (shockingly) always equal better, especially when dealing with a hot frying pan.
“When you guys have occasions where you eat traditional foods, it’s very generic…no, I mean generous!”
Learn from our mistakes and save the butter for croissants, and find out how to make and enjoy Etienne’s traditional galettes and crêpes below:
One of the great french classics that offers you great variety and endless possibilities. It is preferred to have a professional crepes-flipping chef at hand (preferably with a french accent), but if none are in your area that is also OK (I mean, we managed to pull it off). What is great about these dishes is that you can adapt the toppings to your own liking, whether that is a slab of meat or something a bit more vegetarian.
Pair with: a traditional French cider (the unsweetened kind)
Listen to: This magical playlist
Makes: 20 galettes
Time needed: approximately 1 hour
- 250gr of buckwheat flour
- 50gr flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg
- 25cl water
- 37.5cl milk
- Add the dry ingredients into a bowl and mix.
- Add the egg and half of the water, mixing it until the liquid gets absorbed (it will seem a bit lumpy at this stage… don’t panic, this is totally normal).
- Add in the rest of the water and whisk “energetically” (a direct quote from Etienne’s mom’s original recipe) for a few minutes, until the batter is smooth.
- Keep whisking and gradually add the milk in.
- Heat a small amount of butter (emphasis on SMALL, we can’t stress this enough, trust us) in a pan on medium-high heat
- Once the pan is hot, pour in the batter and tilt the pan to ensure the batter spreads to cover the whole pan.
- When the galette starts to turn golden brown (between 30 seconds to a minute), flip it. At this point you can add whatever you’d like to go on your galette.
- As we were making several, we made all the galettes first, and then placed them back in the pan individually to add the fillings.
We filled our galettes with
- 1 egg (add this first and turn up the heat enough to cook the egg before adding other things)
- Smoked ham
- Grated cheese
- Salt and pepper
- Fresh oregano
Once you’ve added the fillings, use a spatula to fold the edges of the galette to make a square (see picture for reference)
The great thing about these is that you can add whatever you want (yes, literally anything, this is a judgement free zone). For the second round of galettes (of course), we filled them with goat cheese and sun-dried tomatoes, which was equally delicious (and vegetarian for those who prefer that)
Makes 20 crepes
Time: Approximately 1 hour
- 250gr flour
- 1 tbsp buckwheat flour
- 100gr powdered sugar
- 100ml water
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp salt
- 8 g vanilla sugar (a small bag)
- 1 tbsp oil
- 500ml milk
- In a large bowl, mix sugar, buckwheat flour, oil, water, salt, vanilla sugar, and eggs
- While whisking “energetically”, gradually add the flour and half of the milk
- Keep whisking while adding in the rest of the milk.
From here on out, it’s free reign- the topping options are endless! We topped ours with flambéd Cointreau (we left this to Etienne… if you don’t have a Frenchman on hand and value your eyebrows, well… maybe skip this), vanilla ice cream and chopped almonds. Another (more friendly, less hazardous) classic is to top them with sugar and lemon juice. And, as always, Nutella is great on anything.
After too much wine and an even more alarming amount of butter, we started talking to Etienne about his reasons for coming to Stockholm and the general blandness of Swedish food. Read the full interview below:
Kryddhyllan: What’s your favourite food from home?
Etienne: Uh, I would say, well it’s not really food but I would say that it’s real bread.
Kryddhyllan: Just bread? What’s the bread called? Is there a specific kind?
Etienne: Like any kind of white bread that we can buy at the bakery (in France). Just fresh bread.
Kryddhyllan: Ah I see, baguette; so not the Swedish rye bread *laughs
Etienne: Exactly. Grilled fresh bread.
Kryddhyllan: Why is it your favourite food?
Etienne: I dunno, it’s such a big part of meals. Like you have it for breakfast, you have it for lunch, you have it for dinner, you have it as a mellanmål (editor’s note: = snack), you have it all the time. And it’s always fresh from the same day. So it’s something that you can’t really get when you’re abroad, ‘cause you can’t really have it as often. And it’s not as good abroad.
Kryddhyllan: That’s true. So what brought you to Sweden?
Kryddhyllan: Why did you choose to study here?
Etienne: Ah, so I was on exchange here a long time ago and really liked Stockholm-
Kryddhyllan: How come you chose Stockholm for exchange?
Etienne: Uh, that was a bit random- the hot chicks *laughs- but mostly just a random choice. But then when I started working in France, I didn’t really like what I was doing, so I decided to start studying again, and remembered that I had a really good time the first time I was studying in Stockholm and that I really liked the city. So I felt like I wanted to come back here.
Kryddhyllan: It was calling you back?
Etienne: Oh yes.
Kryddhyllan: That’s always a question people answer differently I feel. Okay, favourite new dishes since moving here?
Etienne: *long, long, long pause. Hmmm, the thing that comes to my mind right now, I can’t remember what it’s called… uhhh.
Fanny: I know what you should answer…
Kryddhyllan: Swedish tacos?
Etienne: No *laughs. Ah right, Skagen! Toast Skagen, that’s really good, especially because at Fanny’s dad’s restaurant, they make it. And they always have it at home and it’s so good. And you can eat it anytime, it’s so good.
Kryddhyllan: We’ll have to come to do a special guest visit to his restaurant (Norell&Nerman) in Skåne.
Kryddhyllan: So before coming here, what did you know about Swedish food?
Etienne: Oof… well in France they have this knäckebröd brand called Wasa, and so in France knäckebröd is called Wasa, and everyone thinks that that is the only thing people eat, that’s the only thing people know about Swedish food- I don’t even think French people know about köttbullar!
Etienne: Yeah, just the Wasa bread.
Kryddhyllan: *laughing, bread, that’s all they care about in France.
Etienne: They also know that Swedish people eat salmon.
Kryddhyllan: Bread and salmon, all you need. So, what is the best and worst thing about Swedish food?
Etienne: Uhh, the worst thing is probably the lack of variety.
Kryddhyllan: Starting with the worst *laughs
Fanny: Can you elaborate Étienne?
Etienne: Well it’s often the same thing. It’s always, very often potatoes, lingonberries, and some sauce.
Kryddhyllan: We don’t eat lingonberries THAT much?!
Etienne: Yeah! At the cafeteria every time we have strömming, we have lingon, or wallenbergare, we have lingon, or köttbullar, we have lingon.
Kryddhyllan: But it can’t be that you have it that often?
Etienne: That comes back at LEAST every week. These are hard facts.
Kryddhyllan: Alternative facts…
Etienne: And some sort of sauce.
Kryddhyllan: That is actually true, we do love sauce. Okay, so that was the worst thing, what’s the best thing?
Etienne: About Swedish food? *silence…
Etienne: There are so many things! When you guys have occasions when you eat traditional foods, it’s very generic…no, I mean generous!
Fanny: So another way of saying that we don’t have a lot of variety?
Kryddhyllan: Worst thing, not much variety; best thing, it’s so generic!
Fanny: You always know what you’re gonna get!
Etienne: When we have Midsmmer or Easter, it’s plenty of stuff! Now I’m contradicting myself, it’s a lot of different stuff actually.
Fanny: So on few occasions, there is plenty of different stuff.
Etienne: Yeah, it’s a bit of this, a bit of that. It’s very generous!
Kryddhyllan: A variety of food!
Etienne: I will ask you to rephrase that okay?!
Kryddhyllan: I mean, everything is recorded, we have this on record.
Etienne: Oh my god…
Kryddhyllan: Nailed it. We’ll paraphrase and make it work. Okay, next question-
Etienne: How many of these do you have?!
Kryddhyllan: We should have more best or worst! Like what’s the best thing about Swedish politics? It’s so bland, but it’s also great cause it’s so in the middle. No, I kid, we’re sticking to food themes. So, if had to pick one food that you would eat for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
Etienne: That’s a tricky one. Because then you have to decide, do I have to be a bit strategic and pick something with all the nutrients or…
Kryddhyllan: Go for the ones you enjoy.
Etienne: I think I’d go for pizza. That’s a bit healthy.
Kryddhyllan: You can also have arugula on pizza!
Etienne: Yeah, lots of different kinds
Kryddhyllan: Excellent, comes in a lot of varieties- your favourite!
Fanny: I can see the red thread in your thoughts Etienne.
Kryddhyllan: So what is your spice- if you just had to use one spice for the rest of your life?
Etienne: Can I use coriander? I love coriander.
Kryddhyllan: Yeah, of course!
Fanny: I was expecting something that wasn’t a spice- like lingonberries *laughs
Kryddhyllan: Coriander, great answer. I feel like either you love coriander or you hate coriander. Yeah, some people think it tastes like soap. It’s a thing.
Etienne: Yeah, there’s some things I love, but that I understand why people would not like, but I don’t get the thing with coriander- it’s so delicious! So fresh!
Kryddhyllan: What’s the best meal you’ve ever had?
Etienne: That’s a tricky one. The best meal I’ve ever had…I’m not sure, well the first time I went to a Michelin star restaurant is something I really remember. I think it was called Une Île, it was in my hometown of Angers. It was so- when you go to these types of restaurants, you realize how it’s all about good ingredients, it’s not about crazy mixes of flavours or super fancy presentations, it’s pretty simple stuff. They’re just really good at getting the flavour to… be there. Present in the food. So that was super delicious.
Kryddhyllan: Nice! That was all the questions- oh wait! One more question. What’s your favourite restaurant at the moment?
Etienne: I think it’s the one at Fotografiska. That one is pretty unique in Stockholm, in terms of what they serve and stuff.
Kryddhyllan: They have pretty good vegetarian stuff right?
Etienne: Yeah, you can also order meat and fish but I wouldn’t say it’s their core specialty.
Kryddhyllan: Perfect, thank you Etienne!
Fanny: Good job sweetie!