Swedish election ugnspannkaka


A rainy Sunday in Accra, and we are back from watching “Crazy Rich Asians”, very enjoyable. Dinner is a Swedish classic: Ugnspannkaka med potatis och fläsk, an oven pancake with potato and salted pork (or bacon). This is in honour of the Swedish elections today (though the far-right surge is depressing). Classic Swedish peasant food, like a crustless quiche. Often just a pancake batter with bacon, but grated raw potato is very nice in it too. Here, I had planned to add in some frozen leek, as I am excavating long-frozen freezer items, but when I opened the box it was frozen chopped celery, so in that went instead. This is adapted from an ICA recipe, Ugnspannkaka med potatis och fläsk, which I downsized to fit my Pyrex dish.

Swedish election ugnspannkaka: oven pancake with potato and bacon

200 ml plain flour
2/3 tsp sugar
2/3 tsp salt
400 ml milk
2 eggs
2 medium potatoes, peeled and grated  (raw)
a cup of chopped celery and 1/4 onion (not traditional)
200 grammes of bacon, chopped and fried separately
1 tsp butter to grease the dish with
Optional: 3 tbs of grated smoked cheese  (not traditional, I just had some in the fridge)

To serve: lingonsylt, lingonberry jam

Heat oven to 225. Grease a 20×20 cm pyrex dish with butter  (if you do have a 20×30 cm dish, use the original Swedish proportions). Mix flour with salt and sugar. Add half the milk, whisk in eggs until smooth, then add rest of milk. Peel and grate the potatoes, mix into batter. Fry the bacon. Add the batter with the celery and onion  (those are not traditional but I am emptying out fridge and freezer before a trip).

Bake in middle of oven 35-40 minutes or so, until golden and set. Rest five minutes before serving. Serve with lingonberry jam on the side.


Tomorrow Kofi Annan’s remains arrives from Geneva. The state funeral of the former Secretary-General of the UN is in Accra on Thursday this week. Workers have been sprucing up the roads (see the newly painted white road edge). The public viewings start Tuesday

kofi annan poster


Cherry pancakes


Back in Accra, counting down to holidays. It’s a nice cool Sunday and I have been doing some DIY, fastening the TV to brackets and hoping they hold. There are pillows strategically placed on the floor in case of sudden bracket failure… No need for much groceries as I leave again in ten days, though the thought of yet another overnight flight is not appealing. I had a small box of fresh cherries, brought from Rome, and had plans for a clafoutis today before they go moldy. However, a flatmate is roasting a chicken and it is resting in the oven while she is at yoga (as it is not quite done), so a tortilla-style cherry pancake was the solution. This was breakfast today, and will be dessert in my lunchbox the next few days.

Cherry pancakes (2 large ones)

2 medium eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
1 pinch salt
1 tsp baking powder

1 cup pitted cherries
2 tsp brown sugar
2 tsp butter

Mix all ingredients for batter and let it stand for 10-15 minutes. I was hungry and did not wait, which made these a little rubbery. Next time, patience!

Tip half the cherries in a hot skillet with a teaspoon of butter and a teaspoon of sugar. Gently fry them for a few minutes, then pour half the batter over. Once the pancake is set and hopefully slightly golden, slide it on to a dinner plate. Quickly invert the plate and slide it back into the skillet. This was quite a robust pancake, easy to do. Cook until you think it is cooked through. Then repeat with the other cherries and remaining batter.


Note: Not so pretty, and I had no icing sugar to tastefully dust over it, but tasty. These cherries are very sweet, otherwise you might want to add a bit of sugar in the batter. A little vanilla sugar or almond paste might be nice with these.

As usual I came back from Rome with well-packed suitcases: for friends, biscotti, parmesan, stroopwaffels. For me: ant traps, muesli, running shoes, olive oil, capers, migraine medications. Availability of items has gotten much better in Accra, by all means, but quality and cost of imported goods can be an issue. Now I’ll be looking for some nice Ghanaian products to take back on holiday: local chocolate, plaintain chips (Sankofa ones are very nice), and dried mango.


Making munker (æbleskiver)

IMG_20180331_205645.jpgMore exciting cooking projects: making munker! These are Norwegian pancake puffs, though you might know them as æbleskiver, the Danish name. The cast iron pan was a birthday present from my mother, and it travelled Norway-London-Accra-Rome the last couple months. Realizing that Rome has better cooking conditions that sweat-dripping Accra, I took the pan back for Easter and tried it out at a friend’s house.  Often made with buttermilk or kefir and baking soda, but these were made with milk and yeast.


Everything measured out and ready to go: this only needs 30 minutes to rise, so I assembled it on arrival at our friend’s house. Just whisk this together, cover bowl with tea towel and enjoy your dinner. I found this recipe on the always enjoyable Recipe Reminiscing: Maiden Draason’s Apple Slices (monks)

Munker (pancake puffs, with milk and yeast)

25 grammes fresh yeast (or 12.5 grammes dry)
250 ml milk
1 tbs sugar
60 grammes of soft butter
4 eggs
zest of 1/2 lemon (I skipped this, as I had none)
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
300 ml plain white flour

Extra butter for frying
Jam or icing sugar to serve: we used crema di pistachio, which was gorgeous


After half an hour, the batter was bubbly and frothy.  I heated the cast iron pan (9 holes) on the gas burner, brished the holes lightly with butter and spooned in about 2/3 hoe worth of batter. Very exciting! I did have several helpers. Here we are, turning them 3/4 with wooden skewers so the batter runs out to complete the sphere of pancake. We tried, we erred, we improved. We ate them all.


Not quite spherical, but better: serve warm with jam and enjoy! These were very light and more-ish, and the batter made 3-4 rounds worth. Definitely to be explored with the sour milk variations, which would be tangier. The pan should also work well for takoyaki (octopus balls), which will be tried.