Gather around the table
An interview with Norwegian food blogger and cookbook author Trine Sandberg
Christy Olsen Field
Taste of Norway Editor
Trines Matblogg (Trine’s Food Blog) is always near the top of every Google search I do for Norwegian recipes. And it’s easy to see why: clean design, gorgeous photography, and easy-to-follow recipes for every meal and occasion.
Trine Sandberg is the voice of Trines Matblogg. She has published four cookbooks (her latest, Trines Hverdagsmat, makes its debut this month) and is nationally recognized as Norway’s top food blogger.
Raised in Trondheim, Sandberg now lives in Lørenskog, just outside of Oslo. She worked as a lawyer but left her position as a senior adviser at the Utdanningsdirektoratet (Directorate of Education) to become a full-time food writer in October 2015.
Among other accolades, Sandberg is a current nominee for the Ingrid Espelid Hovigs matkulturpris (Ingrid Espelid Hovig’s food culture prize), which recognizes an individual who promotes healthy eating and food culture with an emphasis on Norwegian cuisine. Other recipients of this prize include Andreas Viestad, Arne Brimi, Harald Osa, and Wenche Andersen. The winner will be announced on November 13.
As a long-time admirer of Trines Matblogg, I was thrilled to interview Sandberg to learn more about her journey to becoming Norway’s most popular food blogger and cookbook writer.
Christy Olsen Field: When did you get into food blogging, and why?
Trine Sandberg: I started my food blog in 2007. It was mostly to keep track of my recipes and to share them with family, friends, and my daughter, who had just moved out of town for her studies. Previously, I had kept all my recipes in a binder, which eventually became too full and hard to use.
COF: What are your favorite dishes to make for everyday cooking? How about special occasions?
TS: For everyday cooking, I like to make simple and healthy fish dishes, like a soup or a vegetarian dish. On the weekend, or for special occasions, I like to make dishes with wild game, such as reindeer roast with root vegetables. I also like to make casseroles or stews that cook for several hours.
COF: What is the most popular recipe on your site?
TS: Kanelsnurrer (cinnamon buns) is one of the most popular recipes on my blog, which you can find here: www.trinesmatblogg.no/recipe/kanelsnurrer. [Please note that the recipe is in Norwegian.] The secret for these pillowy soft buns is that you use just a bit of yeast and cold liquid, and you knead in the butter at the end.
COF: What is the most popular typisk norsk recipe on your site?
TS: Fiskesuppe (fish soup) is the most popular Norwegian recipe. It’s fast, simple, and very good! You can find the recipe here (in Norwegian): trinesmatblogg.no/recipe/verdens-beste-fiskesuppe-versjon-2-0.
COF: What other food writing have you done?
TS: In addition to my blog, I have also published three cookbooks: Trines mat, Trines mat 2, and Trine inviterer. My fourth cookbook, Trines hverdagsmat, comes out this month. I have been Norway’s best-selling cookbook author since 2013, and my first book, Trines mat, has been No. 6 on the most sold books in Norway list for the last 10 years. I’ve also had regular columns in weekly magazines, and written for newspapers and other publications in Norway.
COF: Can you tell me about some food and drink trends that you see in Norway right now?
TS: There is a strong focus on food that is from Norway, locally produced, and organic food. There is also increasing attention on reducing meat consumption and eating more meals that are meat-free.
COF: Anything else you want the readers of The Norwegian American to know?
TS: On my blog and in my books, I focus on matglede: the joy of food. I emphasize the value of gathering around the table with others—and even making food together, if possible. My recipes are easy to follow, and most of the ingredients can be purchased in most places in Norway.
Takk så mye to Trine Sandberg for the interview!
World’s Best Fish Soup, version 2 — Verdens beste fiskesuppe versjon 2
From Trine Sandberg’s blog, www.trinesmatblogg.no. Adapted slightly for American measurements.
Editor’s note: Trine Sandberg notes that this is the most popular typisk norsk (typically Norwegian) recipe on her blog, and she includes several variations. My favorite thing about this dish is that it comes together quickly enough for a weeknight supper but special enough for company. It’s a light and creamy fish soup with fall root vegetables, perfect to tuck into on an autumn evening. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 8 tbsps. unsalted butter
(one stick), divided
- 1 ¼ cup white wine
- 1 carrot, thinly sliced
- 1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
- 1 small celery root, thinly sliced
- 1 small leek, halved and sliced into thin half-moons
- 3 cups fish stock
- 1 lb. assorted fish of your choice, such as cod, salmon, rockfish, whatever is freshest
- 8 oz. raw shrimp, cleaned and tails removed
- ½ cup whipping cream
- A handful of mixed fresh herbs, such as basil, parsley, and green onions
Before you turn on the stove, cut your vegetables and fish. This dish comes together quickly, and it pays off to be prepared.
1. In a 5-quart pot, sauté the onion in 2 tbsps. butter over medium heat for about 5 minutes. We aren’t looking for caramelization here, just to get the onions soft and translucent. If you want more heat in the final dish, you can add a minced garlic clove or a little chopped fresh red chili. Pour in the white wine, and let simmer until the wine is almost gone.
2. Add the vegetables and fish stock, bring to a boil, and then reduce to simmer. Let cook until the vegetables are almost tender.
3. Meanwhile, heat up the cream in a small saucepan to a slight simmer. Add the remaining butter and stir until melted.
4. Add the fish pieces and cream-butter mixture to the stock, and let simmer until the fish is cooked through, about 3-4 minutes. Taste for seasoning, and add salt and pepper as needed. Garnish with fresh herbs.
5. Serve with a good loaf of freshly baked bread and a glass of white wine.
Christy Olsen Field became the Taste of Norway Editor in April 2019. An enthusiastic home cook and baker, she lives north of Seattle with her husband and two young sons. She is a grantwriter for small nonprofits in the Seattle area. Write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article originally appeared in the October 18, 2019, issue of The Norwegian American.