Monday, 18 July 2011
Meet the author of the Nordic Bakery Cookbook
Launched in 2007, the Nordic Bakery is a calm haven in the heart of London's bustling West End. Offering sweet and savoury bakes in the Nordic tradition, the bakery aims to serve uncomplicated food in simple, stylish surroundings. Here, Miisa Mink, writer of the bakery's first cookbook, the Nordic Bakery Cookbook, talks to us about what makes Nordic food so special.
1) What attracted you to the Nordic Bakery?
When I left the global advertising group TBWA where I run their design business I did not know exactly what I wanted to do next. I only had two words in my mind: beautiful and silent. One day I walked into the Nordic Bakery on Golden Square and I knew I had found what I was looking for. The place had just opened over a year ago.
2) How did you first become interested in food and baking? Do you have any childhood food memories that inspired you?
I come from a very ‘foodie’ family. We never had any ready or take out meals when I was growing up and my parents bake most bread at home. My dad even has his own mill and he makes his own flour fresh from wheat kernels he buys straight from a farm.
I learned to bake at very early age and I even used to bake my own birthday cake using my grandmother’s recipe. You can find it in the book, it’s very easy so even a young girl can do it.
3) What is your ideal menu for a summer afternoon lunch?
I just love the parsnip and sesame flat breads. Today I made them with carrots instead, which works equally well. So there would be some of those fresh from the oven served with fresh home-made hummus or nice cheese and salad from seasonal vegetables and strawberries. And naturally, a blueberry pie for dessert. In fact, I’m on holiday in Finland now and I just spent the morning picking blueberries in the forest and I’m going to bake a pie later today!
4) Nordic food is very popular at the moment. Why do you think that is?
I think the simplicity and use of natural ingredients is really appealing right now. People want to know what they are eating, and the whole purity aspect of food is at the forefront of Nordic cuisine.
5) The Nordic Bakery in London is a haven of calm in the city and reflects the pared back Scandinavian style. Do you think there is a link between Scandinavian design and food?
Absolutely. Both are a reflection of the Nordic values and mentality. They are honest, uncomplicated and close to nature.
6) Do you have any tips for someone who is new to Nordic cooking?
Most recipes in the book are really simple. However, a good bread recipe for a beginner is the Archipelago bread. It is really easy to make as you just mix all ingredients together, leave it for 2 hours and then bake it in the oven. And it makes a really tasty artisan type of bread. I make it at least once a week as it is so practical.
Another recipe that gets you a lot of points in the dinner party – but is dead easy to make – is Gravad lax. Just get a very nice fresh salmon fillet from your fishmonger, sprinkle over some coarse sea salt, sugar and dill. Wrap it in parchment paper and leave in a fridge overnight. You can find both recipes in the book.
7) Are the ingredients in the book readily available?
You can get most ingredients such as rye flour and quark from most supermarkets such as Waitrose. Ocado stocks all ingredients except barley flour for which you will have to make a trip to an organic food store or Whole Foods.
8) What’s next for the Nordic Bakery?
We have a lot of exciting new things coming up. We just opened our second store last October in Marylebone (London) and the third store is coming soon. We are also developing our own packed goods range and just launched Dark Rye Chips, which is a really fantastic new and healthy snacking product.
Nordic Bakery Cookbook by Miisa Mink, photography by Peter Cassidy, published by Ryland Peters & Small