It is the time of the year when everything lights up with tiny sparkly lamps and nostalgic songs are being heard everywhere you go. Yes, it is Christmas time! One of the must-do things in Gothenburg is to visit Stora Saluhallen which is the food market in the centre of the city. The easiest way to get there is by public transport to the Kungsportsplatsen bus/tram stop. Bus 50,52,18 and tram 4,5,7,10 go to this stop.
Everything is so festive inside, but not too much! Because everything needs to be ‘lagom’ – as what the Swedes would say. There were Christmas specials in every shop. From smoked spiced beef to Christmas pig-shaped chocolate (yes, they have pig-shaped chocolate as part of the Christmas culture in Sweden). From spiced Christmas tea to delicious Christmas cakes with red berries on top. And of course, because it is Sweden, there is also Christmas coffee. I went to do my Christmas shopping as I wanted to make one of my family’s specialities: beef steak with creamy cheesy mushroom sauce. Other than that, I also planned to bake one of the best Christmas cookies in Indonesia that have been popular since the Dutch colonialism. Even the name is still Dutch: Kaastengels.
Here are some pictures from the market.
The market is so beautiful and cozy. Based on the history that I read from their website, Stora Saluhallen finished the construction in 1889. That makes it 130 years old this year! Wow!
As an architect, I am always blown away by how beautiful the structure is. Talking about spatial qualities, I suspected that there are also some thoughts behind each food stall where the design and the setting make it easy for shy Swedish people to talk to each other while maintaining personal space and safety at the same time (haha, at least that’s based on my analysis). Inside the market, there are some dining spots as well in addition to shops. I had lunch and fika couple of times there and I loved each and every experience I had. I felt like people at the market are so friendly and kind, they are always smiling and selling every home-made stuff with care. It is, at least, one of the many reasons I love going there: to have home-made authentic Swedish food and the freshest high-quality food items. My favourite shops there are Kåges Hörna, Brogyllen bakery, and S.O. Larssons butchery. I wrote about Kåges Hörna in my older blog.
Okay coming back to my Christmas story. After talking to strangers at the market and shopped what I needed, I walked home and ready to whip up some delicious food for Christmas eve. I didn’t take a picture of the steak and cream sauce because (I am sorry) I was so hungry and it was so delicious, I finished everything super quickly. But! I would like to share with you some pictures and the recipe of the cheese cookies that I made: Kaastengels! It was also super delicious especially as I used Västerbottenost – which is a very fragrant type of Swedish cheese with tangy flavour. While cookies usually are sweet, this one is a bit unique because it is cheesy, crumbly, salty with a slight tang to it.
I hope that you enjoy reading my blog and happy Christmas! If you try my recipe below, please send me a picture through Instagram: (at)titisrk.
Kaastengels: Cheesy Christmas Cookies Recipe
100 gr plain flour
150 gr margarine, room temperature cut into small cubes
100 gr grated mature cheese (I used 50 gr mild edam and 50 gr västerbottenost). You can use other types of cheese as long as it is not too soft and has a medium saltiness.
One pinch of salt
One egg yolk for the dough
One egg yolk for eggwash
30gr of grated mature cheese for topping
1. Mix plain flour with salt and margarine with your hands. It will be crumbly and dry, but it is okay, keep going.
2. Add grated cheese into the mixture and mix with your hands. Then, add one egg yolk. You can mix it by hands or a spatula.
3. The dough should be a little humid but not mushy and wet. If it is too mushy, add one tablespoon of flour at a time until it is not too mushy.
4. Mix well until everything is combined, and then rest the dough for a few minutes while you prepare the pan and the oven.
5. Pre-heat the oven with 150 deg. Celcius setting (top and bottom heat).
6. Prepare a flat oven pan, cover with baking sheet/baking paper.
7. With clean hands, sprinkle a bit of flour on your working counter. Take a handful of the dough and roll into about 1.5 cm diameter cylinder. It will be like a snake dough 😀
8. With a clean, dry knife, cut the long dough into 3 cm wide pieces. Put the pieces onto the pan and give about 3 centimetres spaces between each piece. Repeat this process until the dough becomes small pieces.
9. Whisk lightly one egg yolk in a small bowl. Brush the egg yolk onto the cookie pieces.
10. Top with grated cheese and then bake for 25-30 minutes until the colour is golden.
11. Take it out and wait until cool before storing it in an air-tight container.
12. Enjoy with warm tea or coffee 😊