The Loaded Trunk was founded by Jonna Robison, an interior designer with a deep curiosity and passion for traveling the world, connecting with artisans in different cultures and sourcing unique and beautiful objets d’art. Published seasonally, the magazine features a curated collection of travel, lifestyle, nature, art and design inspiration for a life well lived.
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Swedish Strawberry Cake
Upon waking up on Friday morning, the sunlight shone in horizontal patterns across the descending field flanking the porch. Partridges made momentary appearances as they flitted to and fro between patches of trees. Upon waking up on Friday one thing was very apparent: Today was the perfect day for a Midsommar celebration… A Swedish Midsommar feast to remember!
On this special day each year in Sweden, Midsommar is celebrated by gathering flowers and greenery, dancing around a maypole with a plethora of music and traditional folksongs, and… naturally… all paired with an abundant feast of foods that bring to life the excitement of summertime.
A few years back we spent Midsommar making a traditional Swedish Strawberry Cake.
This year, we put our creative juices to work and made a few adjustments to our classic Swedish Midsommar dessert: Strawberry Pavlovas. But these weren’t any ordinary pavlovas. We added a key secret ingredient to make them pop: Vinegar strawberries (see full recipe below).
As the day began, we started our own preparations for our feast.
My mom and grammy walked out to the fields around our cottage and spent the morning gathering armfuls of wildflowers to fill jars and vases to display on the table. Because we are under the very strong belief that one can never truly have enough flowers, they also headed across the hill to visit the neighbors and their blooming lavender garden to collect a few bunches.
We drove to a local strawberry farm and picked up a large flat of the season’s best! All ripe and ready to go for tonight’s dessert.
With a paintbrush and a few watercolor paints, I created the menu for tonight’s feast, one for each place setting.
1 large bunch arugula
1 small head radicchio
1/2 cup pine nuts
1 bunch parsley
1/2 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp honey
In a skillet over low heat, toast pine nuts. Stir consistently until they turn aromatic and a light golden brown color. Immediately remove from heat and let sit to cool. Set aside.
In a large bowl combine olive oil, lemon juice, honey, salt and pepper, whisking until well combined. Finely chop the parsley and whisk into the dressing.
Add toasted pine nuts. Finally, add arugula and radicchio, tossing until well combined.
3 lbs small red potatoes
Bundle dill, roughly chopped
Bundle parsley, roughly chopped
Spring onions, sliced
1 bunch radish, thinly sliced
Pickled red onions, if desired
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp whole grain Dijon mustard
On medium heat, boil the potatoes in a pot of water. Once a fork goes cleanly through a potato, drain the water from the pot and set aside potatoes to cool. Once cool to the touch, cut each potato into halves or quarters (bite size) and set aside.
In a large bowl whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, white wine vinegar, salt and pepper until combined. Toss in cooled potatoes, herbs, spring onions and radishes, mixing well.
Add arugula and gently toss to coat with dressing and herbs. Here is where you can put your own spin on them by taste-testing and adding any additional herbs or spices. Serve with pickled onions for topping, if desired.
1 large whole chicken
1 yellow onion
1 garlic bulb
1 bunch rosemary, finely chopped
1 bunch thyme, finely chopped
1/2 cup (1 stick) or butter (softened)
1 Tbsp honey
Preheat oven to 425°F
Prepare the chicken by removing the giblets and patting dry with towels.
Quarter the yellow onion, slice the orange and lemon and cut the entire garlic bulb in half. Do your best to stuff as much as you can into the chicken (don’t worry if you can’t fit everything).
With a fork blend together herbs, butter, honey, salt and pepper and add the cut herbs. Blend until creamy and easily spreadable. With your hands, massage the butter mixture into every nook and cranny of the outside of the bird. Tie the legs together which kitchen string and tuck the wings in. Place chicken on roasting rack and set into oven to cook for 1-1/2 hours.
(Makes 12 individual pavlovas)
No Swedish Midsommar is complete without a strawberry dessert. Wanting to celebrate this delicious berry at the peak of ripeness, I made a twist on the pavlova, using a homemade strawberry vinegar.
4 egg whites (room temperature)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/3 tsp cornstarch
Set oven to 250°F.
Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Add vanilla, sugar and cornstarch and continue to beat until shiny, stiff peaks .
On a baking tray, spoon meringues into 12 separate rounds, shaping as you would like them to look once baked (shape a hollow into the center to hold the cream when assembling). Place into heated oven and bake for 45 minutes-1 hour or until meringues are solid to the touch. Turn the oven off and keep the pan in the oven as it cools down.
3 cups fresh strawberries
1 cup white wine vinegar
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp grated lemon zest
Prepare strawberries by slicing 2 cups of them and placing in a quart size glass jar until they fill to the brim (no need to force them or squish them down; there should be space in between them).
In a small pot over medium low heat, combine the water, vinegar and sugar and stir until sugar dissolves. Add the lemon zest. Bring to a boil. Take off heat and pour liquid into the jar over strawberries. Let completely cool before placing in refrigerator, where it should stay for 2+ hours to marinate before using.
Slice the remaining 1 cup of strawberries and set aside for assembly.
1 pint heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 powdered sugar (can be omitted or adjusted based off sweetness preference)
When ready to serve, whip cream with vanilla and powdered sugar, if desired.
Top the meringues with the whipped cream, fresh strawberries and then, finally, top with a few vinegar strawberries and a drizzle of the vinegar. I like to sprinkle sliced mint leaves every now and then for a pop of color (and flavor!) but it’s completely optional.
A Swedish Midsommar Feast to Remember — Story and recipes created by Sophie Robison.
June 29, 2022
The Loaded Trunk is a travel and lifestyle magazine founded by Jonna Robison, an interior designer with a deep curiosity and passion for traveling the world, connecting with artisans in different cultures and sourcing unique and beautiful objets d’art. Published seasonally, the magazine features a curated collection of travel, lifestyle, nature, art and design inspiration for a life well lived.
[…] is strawberry season in Oregon. After making Strawberry Pavlovas we were in the mood for more reasons to celebrate the local berry harvest. I picked up a flat of […]