Author Archives: Martina

How To: Celebrate 17th May

May 14, 2018 | Leave a comment

How to celebrate 17th May - Norway Day

17th of May is a special day. Also known as ‘Norway Day’ it is the day the Norwegian constitution was signed – and thanks to Norway’s history of being ruled by big brothers Sweden and Denmark, the celebrations for this important step towards autonomy has been celebrated greatly since*. Anyone who has been to Norway for the day can attest to this – there are great big parades, double digit repetitions of the national anthem, so much flag waving you would get tennis elbow if you’re not careful and naturally a champagne breakfast to kick it all off. It is also a national holiday – lovely!

 

For some reason it is not recognised as such elsewhere so the celebrations tend to be slightly dulled – but that doesn’t mean you can’t drape yourself in red white and blue or wear your bunad to work (it just means most people will have no clue why you are dressed so peculiarly).

 

So, dear Nordmenn – Norwegians – abroad, this is for you.  A little how to celebrate if you’re stuck far away from the land of brown cheese and tall blonde people.

 

Host your own:

Breakfast or brunch. On the day the traditional choice – but we don’t think anyone would mind if you move it to, say, the nearest Saturday so you can take your time and not rush off to work (or feel guilty for being late).

The traditional brunch is for many a big buffet table of everything nice – scrambled eggs, smoked salmon, charcuterie (Norwegian fenalår being the prime choice), fresh fruit and veggies, cheeses, a cake, strawberries, fruit juice and champagne. For example. Both fenalår, cheeses and salmon are things we supply – so do pop by or get your order in online in time for brunch (last orders for next day delivery is 1pm – choose next day delivery at checkout).

Join the official celebrations:

In London? Join us in Southwark Park where the official celebration kicks off around 10am when we start serving our brunch platter. Fresh bread rolls, scrambled egg, salmon, cheeses, ham, freshly cut strawberries and a glass of bubbly or orange juice – a lovely start to the day which will continue with a parade, speeches and entertainment (just like in Norway). There will also be a bar serving drinks, coffee and cake, hot dogs and treats, ice cream and other goodies available during the day. All Norwegian, of course!

The brunch is pre-booking only – tickets can be found here.

Head to our café for hot dogs, solo, waffles & Bløtekake:

Our café is open as usual from 8am to 7pm and will be focusing a little extra on Norwegians in addition to our regular offering of lots of freshly made open sandwiches, salads, cakes and drinks –

  • We’ll be serving hot dogs in lompe (potato ‘wraps’ – if you know you know)
  • Krone-Is strawberry (imported specially!)
  • Waffles with brown cheese
  • Lots of Solo
  • Bløtekake
  • Free coffee to anyone wearing their bunad (better get polishing those silver brooches!).

Expect A-ha in the background and a lot of ‘Gratulerer med dagen’ – we look forward to seeing you.

*For the most part – there were a few exceptions, e.g. during the German occupation in the second world war, when waving of the Norwegian flag was forbidden

Recipe: Bløtekake – Norwegian Celebration Cake

May 10, 2018 | Leave a comment

Recipe: Bløtekake - Norwegian Celebration Cake

‘Bløtekake’ (also ‘Bløtkake’) literally means soft cake – and is Norway’s version of a Victoria sponge. The difference is that a Bløtekake is lighter – as it is traditionally made with a fat free sponge, ie. a type of Genoise sponge.

Layered with seasonal berries or fruit and whipped cream it is a traditional celebration cake in Norway – enjoyed for any occasion from birthdays to weddings, anniversaries and leaving parties. Easy to tweak to your preferences and great to look at. Ticks all the boxes in our book! You can use any sponge cake recipe you like – this is the one Martina’s Norwegian mormor (maternal grandmother) has been using forever. The mix of regular flour and potato flour makes for an extra tender crumb.

You will need for the cake:

  • 4 eggs
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 60g flour
  • 60g potato flour (we use this one)
  • 1 ts baking powder

For the filling / assembly:

  • 50-100ml milk or orange juice
  • 300 ml whipping cream
  • 1 heaped teaspoon vanilla sugar (like this one)
  • 400g fresh berries and fruit of your choice (use whatever is in season – a mix of strawberries and raspberries is good, and some like sliced fresh banana in the middle, too)
  • Optional: 100ml of your favourite jam

Method:
Whisk eggs and sugar until pale, light and fluffy – we recommend a hand mixer for this – 5-10 minutes. Mix your flours and baking powder and sift into the egg mixture, then fold carefully to combine. Try not to lose the volume you got from the frantic whisking.

Pour into a well buttered cake mould with loose base covered in baking parchment.
Bake at 190-200 degrees for 30 minutes until cooked through. Leave to cool for 10 minuted before removing the mould. Let cool completely before using.

Assembly:
Slice your cake into two or three layers using a long serrated knife (or whatever works for you – just be careful to do it evenly all the way through). Splash each layer with a few tablespoonfuls of milk or orange juice to keep them moist and lovely.

Whip your cream with the vanilla sugar until soft peaks form – then, using manual labour, whip it for another 10-20 seconds until stiff enough to hold its shape. It is easy to overdo it with a mixer so we like using doing it by hand to finish. Rinse and prepare your fruit / berries and have ready in a bowl.

Place your bottom layer on your serving platter / cake stand and place strips of parchment paper all the way around, covering the plate. With a spatula, spread 1/4 of the whipped cream evenly across the cake (1/3 if only two layers). If using jam, dollop this evenly across the cream. Spread 1/3 of your fruit/berries over the top in an even layer. Repeat with the next layer, if your cake is 3 layers. If only two layers, proceed to the next step.

Place your final layer on top of the cream/jam/berry and try to align it neatly so it is not leaning that way or the other. Cover the top of the cake with the rest of the cream – covering the sides if you like. Arrange the remaining fresh fruit / berries across the top any way you like. Any extra ones can be dotted around the serving plate. When you have finished with the cream and berries, carefully remove the parchment paper to reveal the clean plate.

Best eaten immediately.

13 Useful Scandinavian Insults

April 27, 2018 | Leave a comment

13 brilliant Scandinavian insults

Feeling a bit annoyed, need to let some steam off? How about you do so with these rather wonderful Scandinavian insults – many of which are under used thanks to the influx of English – but they sound oh so lovely. These are just a handful from a loooong list, we had to stop somewhere. Give it a go and tell us if there are any of these you use, or any we have missed – like the wonderful ‘Suppegjøk’ (Norwegian) . Lit. Soup cuckoo – Someone ditsy and silly. ‘You’ve lost your wallet AGAIN? You soup cuckoo!’

    1. Klossmajor (Danish, Norwegian) – Lit. Brick major – Someone super clumsy.
      klossmajor
    2. Juksemaker pipelort (Norwegian) – Lit. Cheat maker pipe poo – Someone who cheats. The second half usually only added on by children.
    3. Snuskhummer (Swedish) – Lit. dirty lobster – used about dirty (old?) men staring at girls.
      snuskhummer
    4. Snoronga (Swedish, has Danish and Norwegian equivalents) – Lit. Snot child – someone snotty and spoilt; a brat.
      Snoronga
    5. Klaptorsk (Danish) – Lit. Clapping cod – Someone doing something very stupid; much like a cod attempting to clap .
      Klaptorsk
    6. Vatnisse (Danish, Norwegian) – Lit. cotton gnome – someone silly (with cottonwool for brains, perhaps). EDIT: also used about person that never stands up for anything or anyone, but always gives in (thank you Fredd!)
    7. Narhat (Danish) – Lit. Fool’s hat – someone so stupid they’re not even worthy being called a fool, just the fool’s hat.
      Narhat
    8. Skitstövel (Swedish) – Lit. Shit boot – someone full of shit.
      Skitstovel
    9. Kronidiot (Norwegian) – Lit. Crown idiot – As stupid as you can get. The leader of the idiots.
      kronidiot
    10. Korkad (Swedish) – Lit. Corked – Someone stupid.
      korkad
    11. Bytting (Norwegian) – Lit. Swapee (ie. Being swapped) – someone so stupid or evil you think they have been swapped for someone from the underworld.
      bytting
    12. Dumbom (Swedish) – Lit. Stupid barrier – Barriers are, in general, stupid because they are blocking the way, right? So a stupid-barrier is an insult you do not want thrown after you.
      dumbom barrier
    13. Mehe (Norwegian) – Lit. from Medhenger, meaning ‘with-hanger’ – someone who just follows and can’t think for themselves.Followers Mehe

 

 

You Know it is 17th May When…

April 18, 2018 | Leave a comment

    • You skip out of bed at 6 to be at a Champagne breakfast at 7.

 

    • You happily (well..) prance around in a heavy wool dress and your least comfortable shoes. And since it was a gift when you were 15, chances are it is a little tight around the middle, too.

       

    • You read several articles on how to dress for the big day – all in red white and blue, of course. Otherwise people may think you don’t take it seriously.

 

    • You plan a menu around the same colour scheme. Yep, very festive!

      picture via matprat.no

       

    • You happily iron shirts and polish silver for the entire family, and curse silently that you didn’t do this sooner.

 

    • You spend half a day either walking in or watching a parade whilst singing ‘Ja Vi Elsker’, then refuel on hotdogs, ice cream and more bubbles. Congrats!
      17mai parade norway

 

7 Things You Didn’t Know About … Eurovision

April 12, 2018 | Leave a comment

 

7 facts about Eurovision

  1. Eurovision was set up as a way to unite people. I 1956, we were all to unite through song in Switzerland – and 7 countries took part. This year 42 countries will be competing (Russia is back after last year’s absence) – looking to unite through sequins and glitz, animal costumes and wind machines.
    Eurovision 1956
  2. When ABBA won in 1974 with Waterloo, the UK gave them ‘nul points’. Oh ho ho.
    abba smiles
  3. In 1969, there were 4 winners – that was before the tie-rule was introduced, so, United Kingdom, Spain, the Netherlands and France all won. Nice, right?
    Eurovision 1969 winners
  4. In 1958, France won, but the one everyone remembers is Italy, with a song that you definitely know. Yes, you do. https://youtu.be/Z-DVi0ugelc
    Domenico Modugno Al Festival di Sanremo, nel 1959 (La presse)

    (La presse)

     

  5. Sweden has won Eurovision 6 times, Denmark and Norway have won 3 times, Norway has won twice and Finland just once. Iceland has never won.
    scandinavians rule eurovision
  6. In 2016, 204 million people watched Eurovision. Yes, that is more viewers than even Eastenders. Last year it was ‘only’ 184 million. But still more than Eastenders.
    eastenders angry with eurovisison
  7. Youngest ever winner was Sandra Kim. She was 13 when she won in 1986. She had a good mullet.
    sandra kim 1986
    The oldest person ever to enter was 95, so no – it is not too late!

Everyone Deserves a Proper Breakfast

April 5, 2018 | Leave a comment

A bowl for a bowl with Magic Breakfast

It is a very sad fact that 1 in 3 children in England go to school without breakfast. And another sad fact, that for 1 in 4 children, their school lunch is the only cooked meal they eat in a day.

For four years now, we have been working with the charity Magic Breakfast to help change these numbers.

Magic Breakfast works with schools in deprived areas to ensure that children who need it the most will get breakfast before going to school. They provide porridge, bagels, toast and cereal – and the kids can then start their learning with full tummies. Because how can you learn anything when your tummy rumbles?

 

So how can you help?

Paradoxically, by having breakfast. For each bowl of porridge we sell, one is donated by Magic Breakfast to a child who might otherwise go without. So that’s breakfast for you, and for a child in need. It means you can start your day well and make sure someone else’s day starts well, too.

Think porridge is boring? Well, you haven’t had it properly then. We make ours with a mix of oat and rye and serve it topped with your choice of the following (or plain, if you prefer a more humble start to your day);

  • Apple, cinnamon and vanilla with rye crunch and A-fil (Swedish natural yoghurt)
  • Blueberry compote, coconut granola and banana (the granola is homemade and may be our new favourite thing)
  • Cherry sauce and toasted almonds (think of it as Ris a’la Mande in breakfast form. Oh yes)
  • Fresh stirred lingonberries, orange blossom and pumpkin seeds (sweet, tart and crunchy)

Next time you pop by, come for breakfast. Every little helps – and every bowl means one less child has to go to school hungry.

Thank you for your support in this – make sure to head over to Magic Breakfast if you want to learn more.

 

Magic Breakfast

Salty Liquorice – Our Top Ten

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Liquorice – Our Top Ten

Liquorice – licorice – lakrids – lakrits – lakris; as we say in Scandinavia – dear child bears many names. It doesn’t really work in English, but the point is – we love liquorice.

Scandinavians’ love for salty liquorice is unparalleled. The stronger and saltier the better! As many of the better things in life – it takes a little practice to get used to. But once you’ve got the taste for salty liquorice there’s no going back.

A little bit of background info on Liquorice – liquorice, or licorice, comes from the liquorice root. It is basically a vegetable and counts towards your 10 a day. OK, not really (although if ketchup does..) – but it has in fact been hailed for its medicinal powers for centuries. Commercial liquorice is pretty far removed from its virtuous medicinal roots, but nevertheless worth knowing so you can console yourself if you overdo it on the black stuff. And did you know – pure liquorice is an astonishing 20 times sweeter than sugar? Now you do.

A reminder from our previous post about liquorice; when talking about salty liquorice what we usually refer to is Salmiakki. The word Salmiakki is a Finnish word. We prefer using that because the actual word is Ammonium Chloride, which doesn’t sound so nice. Ammonium Chloride is a powder that tastes salty, but isn’t the same salt as you sprinkle on your eggs in the morning. It’s this stuff that gives some of our liquorice the distinct edge – a salty/hot/spicy completely unique taste. But let’s just call it Salmiakki, shall we? Or saltlakrids, if you want to be specific about it.

Enough talk – let’s have some liquorice! Here are our top 10 liquorices in no particular order – we love them all.

Tyrkisk Peber

Probably the most famous Nordic liquorice, the recognisable blue bag with flames comes from Finnish Fazer. These babies are boilt liquorice sweets with a seriously salty powdery centre. Addictive to the point where you’ll need to restrain yourself to keep your mouth intact. Strong stuff. Aside from eating (too many) as they are, they are delicious to crush up and use in baked goods or a bottle of vodka – leave for a week or so for a delicious salty liquorice vodka. Great for shotting (famous last words).

Fazer Tyrkisk Peber bag web

Djungelvrål

Another classic –djungelvrål means jungle scream and the name is indicative of the saltiness of these little mongrels. Tiny and extremely salty these are delectable hits of intense Salmiakki – and once you get past the outer Salmiakki layer, the liquorice mellows into a sweeter, chewy hit. Don’t eat too many or you’ll end up with a sore mouth.Malaco Djungelvral 80gPiratos

A Danish classic, we are not quite sure why these are called Piratos (pirates) – perhaps because the sea is salt and dark? Erm we don’t know – let’s move on. Salty, chewy coin-shaped liquorice sweets that are less aggressive than the two above. They have been around for 40 years(!) and are still one of the most popular liquorice sweets out there.

Haribo Piratos 80gFranske Saltpastiller

‘French Salt Pastilles’ – these are dainty and pretty on the outside (perhaps that is why they are French? We don’t know). The cute exterior gives way to a lovely and slightly salty liquorice centre – this is a good beginner’s salty liquorice.

Franskesaltpastiller
Lakrids by Johan Bulow

Danish gourmet liquorice made in small batches in their Copenhagen workshop. A truly premium product that comes in many varieties, both sweet and salty, with chocolate or without, and a range of limited editions depending on season. A great gift and an indulgent treat!

Salta Fiskar

Also known as Salta Sill; salty liquorice fish. Another classic and best seller, salty fish are a welcome addition in any liquorice lover’s pick’n’mix selection. Another good beginner’s choice – it is salty and strong without being too intense. Also they look nice.
Salty Liquorice Fish

Black Saltlakrids

Salty liquorice milk chocolate, oh my.. This is one for true lakriphiles (did we just make up a word?). The salty liquorice pairs beautifully with the smooth, sweet milk chocolate, and the result is a seriously addictive treat. May take a few bites to get used to, but the combination sweet, salty, creamy and crunchy liquorice and chocolate is truly irresistible. If you like salty liquorice, that is.
Marabou Saltakrits Ltd Edition 180g 1

Skolekridt

Chalks! Every child’s favourite sweet, because it is perfect to play with. Great for fooling grown-ups with.. Just tell them they are actual chalks and you’ll get to keep the bag all to yourself. Past the innocent white exterior is a sweet, mildly salt chewy inside that is a genuine crowdpleaser. Our Rebekka loves these. LOVES them.

Skkolekridt / lakrifun

 

IFA

Tiny salty liquorice sweets in a handy box. Marketed as essential for a good singing voice. We haven’t noticed any improvements despite eating lots so we’re not sure this claim holds up – but delicious they are. Perfectly balanced between sweet and salty; a great introduction to salty liquorice. We like to keep a box handy in case of liquorice emergencies. Or, you know, for singing voice emergencies.
IFA saltpastiller 34g 1

Skipper Pipes

Pipes. Made of sweet, delicious liquorice. Under EU-review – these might be banned because of their resemblance to actual tobacco containing pipes. Awww EU, don’t be a kill-joy – these are just pure, liquoricey fun (actually, in light of Brexit, maybe we get to keep these after all, and become a liquorice pipe-haven?). Either way – we know, you shouldn’t play with your food – but to pop one of these in your mouth and pretend to be smoking a pipe? Go on, we know you want to…
Malaco Skipper's Pipes 8-pack 1

That is it – but far from all – to browse our extensive range of liquorice, visit our online shop here or come visit our central London shop (find us here).

Shop liquorice online
Visit our London café (contact details)

7 Random Facts About Aquavit

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7 things you never knew about Aquavit

  1. The name Aquavit comes from the Latin Aqua vitae – the water of life. This is the same origin as the French Eau de vie and Gaelic “Uisqhe beatha” (the latter of which has been anglified to Whiskey).
  2. Aquavit can in principle be made from any neutral spirit which is then flavoured with herbs or spices – most commonly caraway and dill, but coriander, fennel, anisseed and citrus peel is also common.
  3. In Norway potato is the most common base – whereas in Denmark and Sweden they often use grains.
  4. The minimum strength allowed is 37.5%.
  5. Whilst aquavit today is a largely Scandinavian thing, the origins point towards the Netherlands, where they have been making Jenever since the 1500s. Also from a grain base spirit, but flavoured with juniper berries (so it is also often referred to as Dutch gin).
  6. The term ‘Taffel’ aquavit is used to denote a clear aquavit – these are not matured. A yellowish, golden or light rown colour indicates usually that it has been aged in oak casks (Norway), or that it is a more mature aqauvit – though small amounts of caramel colour is allowed and often used to give a consistent colour across batches.
  7. The oldest reference to Aquavit is found in a letter from 1531, from the, Eske Bille, the Danish lord of Bergenshus castle, to Olav Engelbrektsson, the last Roman Catholic archbishop of Norway – accopmanying a parcel “some water which is called Aqua vitae and (…) helps for all his illness that a man can have internally”.

Aaaah, now who fancies some?

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