The most important ingredients for creative cooking – love & curiosity!

15 June 2022 | By Stephanie Verstift

Tips and inspiration to prepare a radiating vegetarian Midsummer buffet!

Prepare a beautiful and delicious Midsummer Buffet

To me, a beautiful meal holds a balance between adventure and little surprises on the one hand, while being comforting and harmonious on the other hand. When you eat it, it makes you excited and curious, but it also feels like a warm blanket.

So how to bring this curiosity and care into making a great buffet? Here are a few tips!

  • I love working with flavor groups.
    In different parts of the world, certain flavors have been combined for centuries because they are soooooo good together. These classic combinations are really fun to play with. You find three example groups in the illustration, to get an idea. Including of course a Nordic flavor group, to stay in the spirit of midsummer.
  • Create a twist!
    Instead of making a traditional meal within the flavor groups, you can take the same ingredients and make something quite different instead! You can use different techniques or be inspired by different types of meals from other places in the world. For example, instead of baked potato, you could make a creamy potato soup topped with chips made from the peels and combined with glazed leeks and fresh herbs. Or a Swedish panzanella: with grilled plums, rye bread, hazelnut and fennel, instead of the Italian panzanella with ciabatta, tomato, paprika and cucumber.
  • Align the different recipes.
    For dinners with different courses or a larger buffet, it can be very helpful to use a flavor group as a red thread through the different meals. This way, you can make sure that all dishes are friends and logically fit together. You can also keep in mind the nutrition pyramid we talked about in the first blog post.
  • Care and love for the little details.
    Think of who you are cooking for, what kind of occasion it is, maybe even the weather.
  • Make recipes in your head!
    When I see all those yummy ingredients listed, I love to imagine different ways I could use and combine them: What recipes could I make with this? What can I add (or take away) to make sure it’s nutritionally complete? (Proteins? Healthy fats? Fresh ingredients?). And: What can I add to make this even more celebrating? (Wooohooo! Bring in those nuts, seeds, berries, fresh herbs, spices, fruits and edible flowers!)

Photo: Elaine Lilje

Get a bit adventurous in the kitchen

Alright! I hope this gave you lots of ‘food for thought’ and starting points for creating a beautiful Midsummer buffet! And as a final inspiration, here are some thought experiments that give a little twist to the traditional Midsummer Table:

  • Tomato Strawberry gazpacho (cold soup) topped with tarragon and homemade seed "knäcke".
  • Oven baked smashed potatoes and apples with a gremolata of chervil, chives and capers.
  • Whole grilled radishes and spring onions with fresh salad and maybe even some wild picked leaves and flowers (like dandelion, kirskål, ängssyra, gökärt)
  • Fried and pickled tofu with apple cider vinegar, mustard seeds and dill flowers.
  • Pickled eggplant in creamy mustard sauce with dill, spring onion and rye bread.
  • Beetroot carpaccio with thick yogurt and a pesto of roasted walnut, garlic and parsley.

Don't miss this month's recipe: Panzanella with fennel, orange & plums.
Wish you all a beautiful month and a joyful Midsummer!

Warm greetings,

Mundekullas Gröna Kök: Want to buy the book?

Mundekullas Gröna Kök won the Gourmand Cookbook Awards 2021 for Best Vegetarian Cookbook in Sweden and Best Hotel Cookbook in the World. The book features more than 70 vegan and vegetarian recipes and has 10 chapters on playing with flavors and textures, how to design and plant-based meal or buffet, the love for cooking farm-to-table. Buy the book here!

You can follow Stephanie’s kitchen adventures on Instagram: @stephanie.verstift

More from Stephanies blog series at Yogobe

Next recipe and blog post will be published in July. 

A couple of meditations after the Midsummer Buffet

30 min

Meditate with

Meditation and restorative relaxation with Eleonora Ramsby Herrera.
15 min

Meditate with

Yoga nidra: A guided audio session of deep relaxation to help calm you down.

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Photo: Elaine Lilje

Mundekulla retreat center

Mundekulla is an ecological course and retreat center in the Småland countryside. At Mundekulla, people meet for courses, conferences and festivals, focusing on personal development, mindfulness, creativity, nature and of course beautiful nutritious food! Since its start over 20 years ago, the center has been built on sustainable principles. With traditional building methods and green energy, as well as with a focus on social justice and promoting various peace projects. The whole idea with Mundekulla is to create and co-create learning, art, music, community and health. The best thing is all the wonderful, meaningful encounters with other people. That's the core.

Find out more at:

Stephanie Verstift

Stephanie har älskat att laga mat ända sedan hon kunde börja hålla i en sked och har en bred erfarenhet av matlagning, grönsaksodling och catering.

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