Guest Article: Swedish Candles
Swedish Candles: A Unique Way to Cook
My friends were at a country show where they saw these things called Swedish Candles. Basically a self-contained bonfire. Knowing how much I like cooking outside they kindly bought one for us as well as one for themselves.
A Swedish Candle is basically an upright seasoned log with cuts down its length to within a few centimeters of the bottom. Indeed if you have a chainsaw it would be relatively easy to make one for yourself. The cut logs seem to have many names including, Canadian Candle, Swedish Flame, Swedish Fire Torches, and Swedish Fire Logs.
They also come in a variety of sizes and different woods. If you are buying one to cook on, I would look for hardwood that comes from sustainable woodland and it needs to be about 50cm tall with a 25cm diameter. The smaller ones would be good enough for marshmallows or maybe sausages, but not much more.
How is it to Cook On?
These things are amazing! It comes with a small bag of kindling which you arrange on top of the log. Making sure the top of the log is level, light the kindling and within 5 minutes you will have a log smoldering away. The log burns from the inside out and should generally burn for a few hours unless it is particularly windy or the log is very dry.
Once the fire has caught you can cook in a skillet or cast iron pot on top of the log for the first hour or more. As the fire burns, you then have the perfect smoldering heat for skewered meat or veg and toasted marshmallows.
First the Starters
I thought it would be fitting to invite our friends round for a meal cooked on the log they had bought us. I cooked some Sardines on skewers in the ground beside the log and they worked really well.
TopTip 1: Tie the Sardines loosely on to the skewer with wire, as once they are cooked they will literally fall off the skewer. The wire should be not be galvanised. I use 1mm diameter wire.
The sardines were served on toast with confit garlic and fire roasted tomatoes that had been hung over the log. I didn’t get any pictures of the finished article as by this stage I was running around like a lunatic to make the most of the log.
Onto the Main
The main idea was to cook a paella, but the log was burning a lot quicker than I had anticipated, probably due to it being windy. I managed to fry off the onions and green peppers before having to transfer to the barbecue as the log had become unstable.
Top Tip 2: I actually had a grass fire, which wasn’t dramatic, but at the same time I feel I should urge a measure of caution. You should at least put some sand down to put the log on and place some stones around to form a rough fire pit. The sand will also help you to level the log.
A lot of garden centres will have these. The smaller logs are more for light and decorative purposes, for lining a path or the edge of your garden. If you are buying one to cook on, you want to be sure you are buying a hardwood log such as Ash, Beech or Oak. If your local garden centre doesn’t sell them, then anywhere that sells seasoned logs will be able to do one for you.
Guest Article by Tim Donald (@Silverbackgrill)
Many thanks to Tim for contributing this article. This was something I had never seen before and looked a really fun way to cook. You should follow Tim on Twitter or Instagram as he consistently cooks some great looking food.