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24 September 2014

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A Bellyful of Barden...
Nigel Barden
Yes folks, he's got the ears for the job...

More tasty London titbits and tales from our food critic
Nigel Barden...

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Welcome to a bellyful of Barden - which is contentedly digesting a host of Norwegian cod and shrimps, cleverly crafted by Steve Munkley, head chef at the Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington High Street...

As ever, BBC London's users and listeners surpassed themselves by ringing us on the Vanessa show with a host of brilliant Scandinavian-related stories. Some involving grub, some vodka and others, some great love matches.

As a child I spent a lot of family holidays in Scandinavia, travelling around in a Dormobile, a cross between an ice-cream van and a surfer's chillin' vehicle.

So as a snotty-nosed northern youngster, I happily wrestled with Gravadlax (salmon cured with dill, salt, pepper & sugar), pickled cucumber (sliced very thinly with more dill), salmon roe, meat balls and even corn on the cob.

cloudberry sauce

Colin emailed in with his own version of Gravadlax, using pink grapefruit juice, olive oil, dill, pink peppercorns and rock salt.

Salmon fillets
The starting point for home-produced Gravadlax

He basically smears this lot on thinly sliced salmon fillets (wild ideally), before wrapping them in cling film, plating them up and banging them into the fridge, stacked on top of each other, for 24 hrs. Serve with Melba toast (70's throwback time here Colin, with your curling Melba's).

Stuart in Slough is married to a Norwegian/Korean wife, and his Norwegian nephew eats lots of Lutefisk, which reminded Barry in Sydenham of an odd taste in the mouth and a retching feeling in the stomach!

He was trying to win over some Norwegian clients for a big deal and, in an expensive Oslo restaurant, they chose the Lutefisk, a cod-based dish, after a starter of smoked elk's tongue with cloudberry sauce.

Cloudberry is a cousin of the raspberry and although too tart to eat raw, it makes brilliant jam, pickles, sauces and liqueurs. Sadly he picked up the bill, but not the contract.

animal skins

Marla, an American living in Islington, will never forget the vodka-fuelled crayfish party in Finland, which went on for days.

Kathy in Basingstoke's mum is Swedish, and any prospective boyfriends of hers had to pass the sill test, which involved downing a slice of raw herring!

Can you believe hot steamed prawns eaten on the docks?

Gale and Ian from Ashted told us they were married in the Ice Hotel in Sweden and braved the freezing conditions to spend their wedding night... wrapped in animal skins on a bed carved from ice.

But Steve Munkley's favourite story belonged to Stuart in Uxbridge who, as a 14-year-old went on a Scandinavian school trip and remembers eating hot steamed prawns on the docks, rather like British kids eat chips!

The Bardenmeister

for local eats and recommendations:
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for more food news and features:
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