This blog started out as a cooking website: Jo's Icelandic Recipes. It had long since gone off line and been replaced by this blog. You will find recipes, Icelandic foodstuffs, food culture and history here.
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Today is Shrove Tuesday. This day is called Sprengidagur (Bursting Day) in Iceland. This is the last day before Lent, and during the time when Icelanders still observed the fast, it was the last day on which meat could be eaten until Easter. The origins of the Icelandic name for this day are uncertain, but today it is generally taken to mean "eating until you feel like you're bursting". Split pea soup and salted mutton has been the traditional meal for this day since the 19th century.
2 l water 500 g lamb meat or mutton, preferably salt cured, or salt pork if lamb/mutton is not available200 g yellow split peas 1 tsp salt500 g potatoes 1 onion500 g carrots and rutabagas 3-4 slices smoked bacon (optional) – I use a lot more
Soak the peas for time indicated on packaging. Bring water to the boil. Cut onion into chunks and add to the water with the meat and peas, and cook for about 1 hour. If you are using bacon, cook with the rest for the last 1/2 hour. Potatoes, rutabagas …
Mention lobster and the image conjured up in most people's minds tends to be of an American lobster. Looks yummy, doesn't it?
However, when Icelanders speak of lobster, they tend to mean leturhumar or langoustine (Nephrops norvegicus), a smaller cousin of the American lobster that is found in the north Atlantic ocean and parts of the Mediterranean. The westernmost part of its range is around Iceland and it is found as far north as northern Norway and as far south as Portugal. (Here is a distribution map).
Also known as Norway lobster, Dublin Bay prawn or scampi, it is a delicious crustacean with many fans. It can be used in many different kinds of dishes, but the most popular uses in Iceland are in soup and roasted, grilled or fried. Often the same langoustines will provide material for two dishes, with most of the flesh being fried/grilled/roasted and the shells being used to make soup stock. This is decidedly not a traditional food - Icelanders of old would at best have u…
Skyr produced by Arla has been available in several flavour varieties (including natural) in the UK since the middle of last year. How I managed to miss this, I don't know, because this kind of news usually makes headlines in the Icelandic media (we are that proud of our skyr). It's possible the news has been ignored here because the skyr in question is not produced in Iceland.
Iceland failed to acquire a protected designation of origin for skyr and therefore anyone can use the term, even if the product doesn't really conform to the traditional definition of skyr. I am in no way implying that this is what Arla has done, but it has been implied that certain other producers are making yogurt, thickening it with rennet and calling it skyr.
However, MS Iceland Dairies (Mjólkursamsalan in Icelandic), has now started producing skyr for export to the UK. It will, to begin with, be available in Waitrose supermarkets in and around London as of February 8. I'd be interested - …