Vibrant winter recipes from my recent workshop

Creamy carrot and orange soup :: Sonja Dahlgren/Dagmar's Kitchen
Creamy carrot and orange soup with spicy chickpeas and sautéed tuscan kale

Last Saturday I had the honor to meet eight lovely foodies/photographers when I hosted a workshop on the theme Vibrant winter food and food photography during winter. I had so much fun with Ulrica, Virginia, Agnes, Linda, Andrea, Veronika, Jenny och Moa – and I was so busy assisting and helping out the entire day, which resulted in zero photos taken by me from the actual workshop. But as my students used their cameras more frequently I’m hoping there will be some photographic evidence from the workshop on their blogs eventually.

Raw beet salad with honey vinaigrette, hazelnuts and feta cheese :: Sonja Dahlgren/Dagmar's Kitchen
Raw beet salad with honey vinaigrette, hazelnuts and feta cheese

I opened the workshop by talking about camera gear, available light and how to best use it during winter and lastly a demonstration on how I typically create my food photographs. To illustrate this I created the raw beet salad above step by step from slicing the beets to finished photo. After that the turn had come to the participants to style and photograph the salad, then the carrot soup and lastly the baked apples. In between each course we sat down to enjoy it and then quickly onto the next…

Baked apples with vanilla and cardamom scented almond stuffing :: Sonja Dahlgren/Dagmar's Kitchen
Baked apples with vanilla and cardamom scented almond stuffing

At the moment I have no more group workshops planned, but I also offer one-on one classes in the same manner on weekdays – so don’t hesitate to contact me if you’re interested in booking a date.

The three course menu is vegetarian, gluten free, sugar free and dairy free (if you omit the feta cheese) and you’ll find the recipes below. Enjoy!

Printable recipes

Raw beet salad with honey vinaigrette, hazelnuts and feta cheese

serves 4

4 beets, yellow and chioggia beets look fantastic together
fresh oregano
a handful pan toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped
50 g feta cheese, crumbled
sea salt and black pepper

Honey vinaigrette
2 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp honey
5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 small garlic clove, grated
pinch of sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

1) In a small bowl whisk together vinegar and honey for the vinaigrette. Add olive oil and whisk until combined. Add grated garlic, salt and pepper and set aside until ready to use.
2) Rinse and scrub the beets thoroughly. Thinly slice them (preferably with a mandolin) and arrange them on individual plates. Top with the vinaigrette, feta cheese, hazelnuts and oregano. Sprinkle with a little sea salt and some ground pepper to finish it off.

Raw beet salad with honey vinaigrette, hazelnuts and feta cheese :: Sonja Dahlgren/Dagmar's Kitchen

Creamy carrot and orange soup with spicy chickpeas and sautéed tuscan kale

serves 4 as a main or 8 as a starter

8 medium sized carrots
1/2 medium sized fennel bulb
3 tomatoes, halved
2 yellow onions
3 garlic gloves
a handful of fresh thyme
1/2 tsp sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 orange, juice from

3-4 cups vegetable stock
1/2 orange, juice from
1/4 cup creamy coconut milk or any “cream” of your choice
sea salt + freshly ground black pepper to taste

1) Preheat the oven to 200° C (400° F). Rinse, peel and then chop all the vegetables and onions roughly. Arrange them on baking paper on a baking tray with fresh thyme and sprinkle with olive oil, salt, pepper and fresh orange juice. Roast in the oven for 25 minutes in order to release as much flavor as possible.
2) In a large pot heat the vegetable stock and then add the roasted veg straight from the oven. Bring to a boil, cover the pot and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the orange juice and cream and simmer for 5 more minutes.
3) Puree the soup in a blender and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve topped with the spicy chickpeas and sautéed kale.

Spicy chickpeas
1 can (400g) cooked chickpeas, well drained
1 tbsp olive oil
a pinch of sea salt
1/4 tsp paprika powder
cayenne pepper according to taste

1) Heat the olive oil in a skillet and add the chickpeas. Toss them in the oil on medium high heat for 1-2 minutes. Add salt and spices and toss until well covered. Set aside until ready to use.

Sautéed Tuscan kale
8-10 kale leaves (I used Tuscan kale but any variety will do)
1-2 tbsp olive oil or coconut oil
pinch of sea salt + freshly ground black pepper

1) Remove and discard any tough stems from the kale and finely shred the remaining leaves.
2) In a skillet heat the olive oil and add the kale. Sautée for 1-2 minutes on medium high heat until slightly wilted – stir occasionally. Add salt and black pepper to taste and remove from the heat.

Creamy carrot and orange soup :: Sonja Dahlgren/Dagmar's Kitchen

Baked apples with vanilla and cardamom scented almond stuffing

stuffing enough for 8-10 apples

8 small tart eating apples (e.g. Cox Orange)

2/3 cup almonds (100g)
1/2 cup (100 g) dates (about 6 medjool or 12 regular), pitted
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground vanilla
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
2 tbsp almond butter (make your own or use ready made)
2 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil
coconut sugar and/or agave syrup to sprinkle

1) Preheat the oven to 175° C (350° F). Cut the tops of the apples and remove the cores with a corer or knife.
2) Make the stuffing by putting all ingredients in a food processor and whiz until well blended. Use this mixture to stuff the holes left in the apples by their cores.
3) Place on a baking tray and sprinkle with a pinch of coconut sugar and/or a little agave syrup. Bake for 25-30 minutes. When the apples are soft to the touch, they are ready. Serve lukewarm with whipped cream.

Baked apples with vanilla and cardamom scented almond stuffing :: Sonja Dahlgren/Dagmar's KitchenBaked apples with vanilla and cardamom scented almond stuffing :: Sonja Dahlgren/Dagmar's Kitchen

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Take a “shellfie” and get a chance to win a crayfish safari :: Ta en “shellfie” och tävla om en kräftsafari

Jerusalem artichoke soup with steamed blue mussels :: Sonja Dahlgren/Dagmar's Kitchen
Jerusalem artichoke soup with steamed blue mussels

Hello! I’m writing this post in collaboration with Västsvenska Turistrådet (Tourism council of West Sweden). The tourism council wants more people to be able to experience the beautiful Bohuslän and its wonderful shellfish supply. And that’s why they currently run a contest with a chance to win a crayfish safari including food and two hotel nights – one in Gothenburg and one in Fjällbacka (valued to 6 400 sek ≈ 600 €).

In Bohuslän you’ll find a variety of shellfish such as oysters, lobster, crayfish, shrimps and mussels. And there are so many delicious things to cook with shellfish… Try this recipe for Jerusalem artichoke (sun choke) soup with steamed blue mussels for example – a fantastic seasonal combo during autumn and winter!

Find the recipe in English here
Du hittar receptet på svenska här

Join the contest by taking a “shellfie” – a selfie with your favourite shellfish and then upload the image to Facebook or Instagram. Tag your image #saltalivet.

I have been asked to nominate best photo of the week so let your imagination run wild and you might be the lucky one!

Below you’ll find the instructions in both English and Swedish. The contest will close on October 31st.

Wishing you all the best of luck!

Så här tävlar du:

1. Ta en shellfie!

2. Ladda upp bilden på vår Facebooksida (Bohuslän) eller på ditt Instagramkonto genom att tagga bilden med #saltalivet. För att tävla måste du ha ett Facebook- och/eller ett öppet Instagramkonto.

3. Tio bilder går till final varav fem utifrån antal röster/gilla och Instagramhjärtan som bilden får, så var med och påverka! Resterande fem bilder utses av en enväldig jury från Västsvenska Turistrådet.

4. Juryn utser vinnaren bland de tio finalbidragen.

Follow these steps to join the contest:

1) Take a shellfie!

2) Upload the image to Bohuslän on Facebook or on your personal Instagram account (your account must be set to “public”) by tagging the image #saltalivet.

3) Ten images will be nominated to the final and the winner will be chosen by a jury at the Tourism council.

In collaboration with Västsvenska Turistrådet and Bohuslä

Girl with mussels in her hands :: Sonja Dahlgren/Dagmar's Kitchen

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Creative Q&A with ceramicist Kajsa Cramér + a giveaway

Creative Q&A with ceramicist Kajsa Cramér :: Sonja Dahlgren/Dagmar's Kitchen

As some of you might remember I started a new series here on the blog a while ago. It is called ‘Creative Q&A’ and I decided to focus on ceramicists that make beautiful every day use objects and tableware. Ceramicists whose objects I admire and that you see in use often here on the blog.

Last time we were invited to peep into the little cabin of Elin Lannsjö where she often comes to work and where I got to photograph her and her ceramics.

Today you’ll get to meet Kajsa Cramér – a lovely person and ceramicist based out of Billdal, a bit south from Gothenburg on the west coast of Sweden.

Creative Q&A with ceramicist Kajsa Cramér :: Sonja Dahlgren/Dagmar's Kitchen

Kajsa creates unique, clean and amazingly beautiful objects with a timeless, simple yet elegant scandinavian touch.

She works mostly with white porcelain clay (kaolin) and she says she loves its clean and almost transparent look after burning. That’s also why she doesn’t use much color in her work. She wants the clay to play the main role and to really ‘shine’.

Kajsa was kind enough to answer a few questions – and to let me have a look inside her little studio where she makes most of her ceramics.

Creative Q&A with ceramicist Kajsa Cramér :: Sonja Dahlgren/Dagmar's Kitchen

Kajsa Cramér
Billdal (Gothenburg), Sweden

How long have you been making ceramics for?
I have been doing ceramics as a hobby for about 15 years, and four years ago I decided to make it my profession. Along with my former job as an interior stylist I took several different courses, and in 2006 I started my education focusing solely on ceramics at Löftadalens Folkhögskola. That was when I started dreaming about making ceramics my profession. I never returned to my former job after we had our third child in 2009, and from then on I have been following my dream.

What was it that made you realize ceramics was something you wanted to spend your days doing?
I’ve always had creative jobs such as florist, stylist, interior stylist etc. I was drawn to ceramics because of the challenge it brings… and there is so much to try in terms of clay. I knew I would never get bored working with clay. Working with clay also allows me to combine my former creative experiences with clay as I create vases, candle holders and tableware for decorative use.

I work mainly with porcelain clay which is the whitest of clays and actually rather difficult to work with. But what I love about it is that it feels modern, poetic and matches the interior design style that I love. I actually fell in love with porcelain clay the very first time I tried, although all of my teachers (except one!) tried to discourage me from using it…

At the moment ceramics is my thing, but I’ll probably try other ways of expressing myself creatively in the future. But I’ll never let go completely of clay.

Creative Q&A with ceramicist Kajsa Cramér :: Sonja Dahlgren/Dagmar's Kitchen

Is there anything in particular that inspires you in your creative process?
The clay in itself is my biggest inspiration. I love all of its states – wet, bone-dry, burned and finished. And I try to show off all of its states in my objects, which is why I love to combine shiny and matte finishes and that’s also why I hardly use any color in my glazes.

Nature also inspires me a lot (Have you heard that one before? she says and laughs.) As I walk my dog in the woods and near the ocean I study shapes, shades and surfaces and the changes in nature with the seasons.

But of course I’m also inspired by interior magazines, blogs, shops and travels. Inspiration can also be found in a simple sheet of paper, a painting, a photograph or a wall color. I guess I’m always on the lookout and inspiration is a complex thing that you cannot always explain.

Creative Q&A with ceramicist Kajsa Cramér :: Sonja Dahlgren/Dagmar's Kitchen

Your dishes and platters are a perfect canvas for food presentation but also for display of other items in the home or to create beautiful stills around the house. Do you have a certain use in mind when you create a new piece?
When I create something new I have a basic idea of what I want to do. But my philosophy is also that it is up to the owner of my objects what to use it for. A lantern can be used as a vase, a bowl or as a pot for a plant. The mug becomes a bowl, the espresso cup turns into a candle holder etc.

I simply want the design of my objects to inspire the owner’s creativity.

Creative Q&A with ceramicist Kajsa Cramér :: Sonja Dahlgren/Dagmar's Kitchen

Do you have a personal ‘darling piece’ among your work?
At the moment I am very fond of my new tableware ‘Black’. I love that the clay is unfinished and matte in combination with an edge dipped in glaze. I really like it when the clay and its natural state is shown off without the disturbance of painted patterns.

I also love the candle holder and I use it for almost anything – pot, vase, pen holder etc. But I love it the most when used as a candle holder. When lit it becomes almost transparent and the throw lines become clearly visible. I also love that the outside is matte while the inside is shiny, which reflects the light beautifully. It shows that it has been made by hand. Perfectly imperfect.

* And lastly – a giveaway! *
Kajsa has also been kind enough to share a small object of hers for a giveaway with one lucky reader. It is named ‘Straight small bloom’ (pictured below).

Isn’t it just too cute? Personally I would use it for anything from flowers to pencils and toothbrushes…

If you would like to win, simply leave a comment below. The giveaway will close on Sunday, October 26th. And please make sure to leave your name and contact email so I can get in touch with you. And you are welcome to join in regardless of where you live in the world!

Straight small bloom by Kajsa Cramér :: Sonja Dahlgren/Dagmar's Kitchen

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Färgglad vintermat + fota under den mörka årstiden :: Matfoto & matstyling – workshop i Göteborg 25/10 2014 :: A food photography & food styling workshop

A food photography & food styling workshop in Gothenburg 25/10 2014 :: Sonja Dahlgren/Dagmar's Kitchen

I am so excited to finally announce this workshop that I have been working on for a while. So many of you readers have emailed and asked whether there will be an autumn workshop and now it’s here. This will be my only group workshop this autumn and I hope to see some of you there! It will be held in Swedish – hence the info below in Swedish. But please don’t hesitate to contact me should you be interested in participating anyway.

Det känns superkul att äntligen kunna öppna anmälan för den här workshopen som jag jobbat på ett tag. Många är ni som har mejlat och frågat om det blir någon workshop i höst och nu är den här! Det här blir min enda workshop i höst så skynda dig att boka om du är sugen på en workshop fylld av färgglad höst- & vintermat + massor av tips och tricks för att fota mat och stilleben under den mörka årstiden utan studioljus.

Jag hoppas du kan komma!

Purple kale :: Sonja Dahlgren/Dagmar's Kitchen

Workshopen är slutsåld!

Plats & Tid
Workshopen kommer att hållas i GöteborgTandkullegatan 40, Västra Frölunda – den 25/10 klockan 10-16. Du tar dig enkelt hit med spårvagn nummer 11 eller med bil.

Pris: 2 900 sek (inkl. moms) – fika, trerätters lunch och kursmaterial ingår.

Vi kommer bland annat att gå igenom
• Hur man skapar kreativa, enkla, tilltalande och vackra maträtter och stilleben av säsongens råvaror
• Naturligt ljus – hur använder man det på bästa sätt? Fokus på att fota under det mörka halvåret.
• Tips och tricks kring styling av matbilder – komposition, färg och textur m.m.
• Kamerainställningar, vinklar, utrustning m.m.
• Kort genomgång av efterbehandling (Lightroom, Photoshop)

Workshopen riktar sig till dig som har ett stort intresse för mat och att fotografera den. Du vill utvecklas i att använda naturligt (befintligt) ljus och rekvisita för att på ett enkelt sätt kunna fota mat hemma. Egen kamera (helst SLR) samt baskunskaper om den krävs för att kunna hänga med i tempot. Du behöver alltså förstå hur ISO, bländare och slutare fungerar och påverkar varandra.

Gör så här för att anmäla dig
Mejla din anmälan till eller ring på +46(0)705 505 501. Ange ditt fullständiga namn samt postadress och telefonnummer.

Max antal deltagare är åtta personer.

Villkor för anmälan
En anmälningsavgift om 50% av den totala kursavgiften tas ut vid anmälningstillfället (faktura 10 dagar). Anmälningsavgiften är ej återbetalningsbar – men den kan (om du skulle återta din anmälan) fortfarande användas som delbetalning vid ett senare kurstillfälle (gruppworkshop eller “one-on one”).

Resterande belopp skall vara inbetalt senast 5 dagar innan kurstillfället. Detta belopp återbetalas endast vid sjukdom (läkarintyg). För avbokning (som ej beror på sjukdom) mindre än tre veckor före kursstart debiteras halva kursavgiften. För avbokning (som ej beror på sjukdom) mindre än en vecka före kursstart debiteras hela kursavgiften.

Om Dagmar’s Kitchen (Sonja Dahlgren) av någon anledning skulle bli tvungen att ställa in workshopen (allvarlig sjukdom, familjeangelägenhet etc.) återbetalas hela det redan inbetalade beloppet inklusive anmälningsavgiften.

Vid färre än fem anmälda förbehåller Dagmar’s Kitchen sig rätten att ställa in workshopen och återbetalar i så fall hela det redan inbetalade beloppet inklusive anmälningsavgiften.

Varmt välkommen med din anmälan!

Gluten free beet tart :: Sonja Dahlgren/Dagmar's Kitchen

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Super scrumptious raw brownies + heavenly homemade almond butter

Super scrumptious raw brownies :: Sonja Dahlgren/Dagmar's Kitchen

I was going to write something about how summer’s drawing to a close. The warm Indian summer days we’ve enjoyed lately and about all the beautiful ripe produce that is available right now.

The wonderful smell from the apples in our garden, the huge juicy blackberries on our breakfast yoghurt and so on…

But I can’t seem to find the right words and I haven’t really been able to enjoy late summer harvest to the fullest this year. My days have been too busy with jobs and deadlines. So to even get this blog post done (like I promised on Instagram the other day) I’m just going to give you the recipe for now. And hopefully be back soon to write and share recipes about those other things.

You see, late summer and early autumn is my favourite time of the year.

Super scrumptious raw brownies :: Sonja Dahlgren/Dagmar's Kitchen

This recipe has absolutely nothing to do with late summer, autumn, blackberries or apples (unless you put them on your brownies). But it is the best good-for-you brownie I have ever had.

You see, this is not just a brownie. They are great as a cheer-me-up in the afternoon by the computer, on the way home from work or even post workout. Not to mention as a dessert when you have friends over for dinner. Rich, dense and filled with good-for-you energy and nutrition. You wouldn’t even believe it when I say they are healthy – unless you haven’t already read the ingredient list?

And the best part is: they only take 10 minutes to make.


Super scrumptious raw brownies :: Sonja Dahlgren/Dagmar's Kitchen

Printable recipe

Super scrumptious (almost) raw brownies

makes 12-24 depending on size

100 g raw almonds (soaked overnight)
1 cup (200 g) dates (about 12 medjool or 24 regular), pitted
2/3 cup (50 g) raw cacao powder
1 tbsp raw carob powder
1/2 tsp powdered vanilla (or 1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1-2 tbsp almond butter (recipe below, or buy readymade)
1 tbsp virgin coconut oil

2 tbsp hemp seeds
2 tbsp cocoa nibs

50 g pecans, roughly chopped

1) Cover the almonds with lukewarm water, add 1 tsp sea salt and leave to soak overnight (or between 12-14 hours). Strain well and wipe off any excess water carefully using a clean tea towel.
2) Put almonds, dates, cacao powder, carob, vanilla, sea salt, almond butter and coconut oil in a food processor and whiz until well blended. The dough will whiz around like a ball towards the end. Add hemp seeds and cocoa nibs and whiz a little more until just blended – you’ll want to keep some of the crunchiness here!
3) Line a 20cm square baking tin with parchment paper and turn the dough into it. Press with your fingers until you have an even layer. Add the roughly chopped pecans by loosely pressing them down into the dough.
4) Cover with cling film and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before cutting up.
5) Cut them in small squares if using for snacks/energy and cut them a little bigger if serving as a dessert. Powder with raw cacao before serving.

A NOTE ON NUTS/ALMONDS: Raw nuts are a fantastic healthy snack, loaded with protein, healthy fats, fibre and important minerals like zinc, magnesium and calcium. However, raw nuts (and almonds) contain phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors that can reduce the body’s ability to absorb certain nutrients properly. Soaking (and/or roasting) increases the nutrient value of all a nuts, seeds and almonds along with breaking down the phytic acid and help enhance their digestibility. Which is why I always try to soak or roast nuts and almonds before using. Soaking the almonds in this recipe also makes the brownies deliciously moist and super rich.

ANOTHER NOTE: I also added all sorts of other goodness here – some for maximum taste (like carob and almond butter) and some for that extra crunch (hemp seeds and cocoa nibs). You could certainly make these brownies more basic by omitting some of the ingredients, but you would miss out on that extra taste sensation if you do. Almond butter is not raw if made using roasted almonds, but you could omit it if you’d like to make your brownies completely raw.

Recipe for my homemade almond butter below.

Heavenly homemade almond butter :: Sonja Dahlgren/Dagmar's Kitchen

Homemade vanilla and cardamom almond butter

makes about 1 cup

2 cups raw almonds (preferably organic)
pinch of pink himalayan salt (other good quality salt will do too)
3/4 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp powdered vanilla (or 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out)

1) Toast the almonds in a dry frying pan on medium heat until the almonds are golden brown and smell fragrant – watch carefully not to burn them. Remove from the pan and let the almonds cool for a few minutes.
2) Once the almonds are cool enough to handle, tumble them into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until you’ve got a fine almond meal.
3) Run the motor for about a minute. Stop, remove the lid and scrape the almonds down the sides and off the bottom of the processor bowl. Repeat until the almonds start to release their oil and become buttery and spreadable. Be patient – this can take 10-15 minutes! No need to add oil – just be patient.
4) Add salt, cardamom and vanilla towards the end. You could omit the spices but I promise you – they make this almond butter heavenly!
5) Taste and add more salt if necessary. Scrape the almond butter into a jar and refrigerate. Keeps for 2-3 weeks in the fridge.

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