It’s the time of year when you become one of two types of people – those who carry on their lives without a care in the world, and those who shut themselves away from society, shunning usual pleasures of Facebook and Reddit and madly turning off carelessly left on radios and TVs with their elbows while blocking their ears with their fingers and singing “lalala I can’t hear you!” lest they inadvertently find out who won Eurovision before the big (delayed) reveal on SBS.
Our hosts this year are Sweden, presumably receiving Paid Eurovision Leave from their satisfying work-life balanced day jobs to bring us the magic that comes but once a year.
When I was living in Sweden, our corridor held a Homeland Food dinner, where we all contributed a dish from our home countries. One of our resident Swedes explained that she was going to make us a smörgåstårta, which got me excited as it sounded like smörgåsbord and I am a pig. But then I got confused – I may not have developed much past the most useful of phrases “the boy and the girl are in the car” with my Swedish lessons, but I was pretty sure that smörgåstårta meant sandwich cake.
Oh yes, it does.
And not in a ‘cream sandwiched between layers of sponge’ kind of way, but in a ‘smoked salmon and cream cheese pass me the gelatin I think we’re back in the 70s’ kind of way.
So, last year when we were invited to a friends’ annual celebration of awkward banter by ESL speakers, I thought it was time to return to my roots (of 6 months) and bust out a cake of sandwich.
You would be forgiven for thinking a wheat and carb avoider such as myself would be foolish for making anything sandwichified, but this was a great dish to make using pure flax (linseed) bread. I simply made my usual flax bread with round cake tins to get the right shape, and the remainder of the ingredients were all wheat-free and pretty low-carb.
As I was making the smörgåstårta, I made careful notes and diagrams with which to share my recipe with you. However, given that since that time and now I’ve managed to complete a PhD thesis, I seem to have lost my carefully written notes in a fit of procrastination cleaning and thus have nothing specific to share. Vaguely speaking, the lower inner layer is an egg salad of chopped egg, herbs, lettuce and mayo, while the top inner layer is some cream cheese with dill and lemon, and smoked salmon. The ‘icing’ is a mixture of cream cheese and something else – possibly yoghurt – and the decorations are hopefully obvious in nature.
The density and high fat content of the flax bread means that a slice of this smörgåstårta makes for a very filling meal, which is just as well given how long it takes for each voting country to have the comic timing of their overly rehearsed jokes be ruined by slight time delays when conversing with the host country.
Happy Eurovision to you all, and if you tell me who the winner is before I’m falling asleep on my friends’ couch tomorrow night, may collective noun of vikings descend upon you.