Waking up with something hard and pointy poking into my back is a fairly frequent occurrence. And, NO it’s not what you’re thinking, you saucy minxes. Unless of course you’re thinking of a Viking helmet. And by Viking helmet, I actually mean a Viking helmet… oh, and a three foot long sword. Both attached to a small boy with urgent news that can’t possibly wait until morning.
“Mama, I’m a magic Viking!”
“But, it’s the middle of the night!” I growled.
“Yeah I know, that’s the magic part!”
Right. Welcome to my 3am.
Given his passion for eating you’d be forgiving for thinking that Raffles would dream of being a chef or food critic when he grows up but no, he wants to be a ninja… but that’s only because there isn’t a great deal of work around for Vikings.
Raffles obsession with all things Viking has been a constant in our lives since he could speak. This is not a child who can be accused of being fickle. Or particularly sane.
He’s had a Viking themed birthday party – at which he requested pickled herring and mackerel for party food (we instead convinced him that we’d managed to procure dragon-flavoured sausages for a BBQ), has attended both child care and kindergarten as a Viking…
Complete with his own pet dragon.
And it isn’t unusual to find him parading around the streets of our fairly conservative suburb in full Viking regalia. So it’s no surprise that my little plunderer has dragged me to see Vikings – Beyond the legend, at the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney FOUR times – in costume.
Granted the exhibition is fantastic – think amazing artifacts, interactive exhibits, a wet play area, hilarious shows and a longship to clamber over.
In fact, I highly recommend you take your own little marauders to see it before it closes in early February but, when he begged for yet another visit, I had to politely decline and instead compromised with a little Viking action by way of his stomach at Danish restaurant Akvavit.
While the gorgeous friend who invited us to try the Danish delights at this relatively new restaurant didn’t blink at lunching with a four foot Viking – given she’s already quite familiar with his eccentricities – the lovely folk at Akvavit did seem a tad surprised, though amused, by the pint-size Viking Invasion.
Once again we skipped the pickled herring but instead of “dragon sausage” we noshed on Leverpostej, a rustic liver pate with sliced beetroot and cured on thick slices of rye.
Frikadeller, Danish meatballs served up with pickled red cabbage.
And a big plate of Æbleskiver (Danish donuts) which my little Berserker went, well, berserk for.
So much so that Raffles put in a request for some more home-style Viking food, which is a tad tricky given I don’t know any actual Vikings for reference.
So, on a sunny Sydney “Thorsday” we went fully Viking with a Scandinavian feast complete with traditional Viking soundtrack… ABBA!
Who am I kidding? As if we’d do that to our eardrums! The Hives and Millencolin are a little more up our Scandinavian alley so it was to a pumping punk rock soundtrack that my little meatball maker and I – given we didn’t have any wild boar or reindeer on hand – whipped up a sensational platter of Swedish style meatballs in our “Fläckig”IKEA bowls.
Then, after scoffing the lot, we recreated the Battle of Svolder under our clothesline. And by recreated I mean flailed about like loons with plastic battleaxes, a bucket or two of water, swords and completely inauthentic horned helmets, just like the one used to prod me awake in the middle of the night.
And Raffles first request after a bloody clothesline victory that saw him definitively conquer the rest of the Eats World clan? Another visit to Vikings – Beyond the legend. Sigh. See you on SundayNational Maritime Museum.
Swedish Style Meatballs
250g pork mince
250 g beef mince
½ small onion, grated
1 tbsp finely chopped dill, plus extra to serve
85g fresh breadcrumbs
Pinch of all spice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1/3 cup of lemon juice
200ml beef stock
1 tbsp plain flour
3-4 tbsp cranberry sauce.
- Place pork, beef, onion, egg, milk, breadcrumbs and chopped dill in a bowl with a pinch of all spice, pepper and salt and mix well.
- With wet hands shape mixture into small balls.
- Cover balls a little olive oil and place on a tray. Cover with cling film and refrigerate for about a half an hour to firm up.
- Heat the remaining oil and butter in a fry pan over a medium heat then cook meatballs in batches until golden (about 10-15 minutes).
- Set meatballs aside then add lemon juice, stock, cream and flour to pan and bring to boil.
- Add a couple of tbsp of cranberry sauce to sweeten (to taste) plus a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Return meatballs to pan and simmer for a few minutes until they’re coated with the sauce.
- Serve with potatoes, rice or bread and a little extra cranberry on the side.