Tag Archives: Norway

Packed Lunch – Scandi Style

September 7, 2017 | Leave a comment

 

Packed Lunch – Scandi Style

Packed lunch comes in many shapes and forms, but one that holds a special place in our Viking hearts is the packed lunch. In Norway especially is this a thing, mostly made up of a few slices of bread – homemade or bread rolls if you’re lucky – with whichever topping your sleep deprived parent managed to dig out of the fridge that morning. Finished with a scribble on the parchment paper that it is all wrapped in – ‘love you lots, MUM’. It never fails to both make your heart smile and your ears go red as you try to quickly unwrap your food and hide the evidence that your mamma loves you and is not afraid to tell your cool friends.

Norsk matpakke

Oh yes, the humble ‘brødskiva’ (also just ‘skive/skiva’: lit. – bread slice – used about any open sandwich) is deeply engrained in Norwegian culture and almost everyone will have fond – and not-so-fond – memories of these. Each sandwich topped with a special, bread slice sized piece of parchment paper (sold in the supermarket, called ‘inbetween paper’ – mellomleggspapir).

Feeling inspired to make your own packed lunch? We thought so. So here follows, our top tips for avoiding sog and 10 classic combos.

Generally for all;

  • A thin layer of butter or mayonnaise will protect the bread from soaking up the moisture of your topping – and will mean other sauces, such as mustard, will not disappear into the bread.
  • Something fresh and crunchy is always a good idea, but remember that vegetables are best packed separately and added when you eat – except lettuce which transports quite well.
  • Separate your sandwiches. Cut pieces of parchment paper to layer between your open sandwiches so they don’t stick together or you get your flavours mixed up (nothing worse than a bit of jam stuck to the underside of your ham sandwich!).

10 Classic Packed Lunch Sandwiches

1. Ham and mustard. Optional extras: Sliced fresh cucumber, cheese.

2. Salami and mayonnaise. Optional extras: Sliced tomato.

3. Cheese and red pepper. We like nutty Jarlsberg or mildly spiced Nøkkelost for this; wrap your pepper in clingfilm separately and add when ready to eat.

4. Cheese with jam – a mature cheese with a sweet jam works. Trust us.

5. Liver pate and cress or pickles (pickles packed separately – cress is fine to pre-pack)

6. Meatballs and beetroot salad. Leftover meatballs (as if..) in slices with creamy beetroot salad –delicious.

7. Smoked salmon. With cream cheese if you’d like – we also really like it with mustard.

8. Brown cheese and raspberry jam. Sweet, yummy and a bit sticky.

9. Hardboiled egg and herring (note – this one works best with a top piece of bread, too). Slices of hardboiled egg with a few very well drained pieces of herring – e.g. mustard herring – on top. Delish!

10. Cheese in a tube. Bacon, ham or prawn cheese – choose your favourite. Nice with crunchy cucumber or red pepper to top.

Matpakke norsk packed lunch

A very sad example.

A few crunchy carrots, slices of raw swede or an apple on the side – you’re good to go. Check out or packed lunch shop here – for breads, condiments, hams, cheeses and more.

 

11 Facts About Beer in Scandinavia

August 3, 2017 | Leave a comment

11 Facts About Beer in Scandiland 

    1. In Sweden and Norway, you have to go to specialist shops to buy anything stronger than 4% (in Sweden, that’s 3.5%). In Norway, only an estimated 50% of the population live in a town or parish that has this specialist shop (aptly named the Wine Monopoly).
      Systembolaget Sweden Christmas
    2. In Norway, you cannot buy beer after 8pm Monday to Friday, or after 6pm Saturdays. Not at all on Sundays, any public holidays, and limited hours only on Christmas Eve, Pentecost Eve and New Year’s Eve. Basically, you Should learn to be very organized with your alcohol shopping in Norway – but at 7.57pm on a Wednesday, just before that Champions League match starts, you’re likely to find several stressed out people queuing in your local shop to get that 6-pack scanned before 8.
      Olsalg Norge
    3. In Norse mythology Ægir is credited as the beer-god – known for throwing frequent parties for the other gods, with copious amounts of strong beer for his guests.
    4. In 1857 there were 353 breweries in Norway – the population was only 1.5 million. Beer brewing was encouraged by the government (and failure to brew could be punished) – as drinking beer was considered better than drinking liquor.
      norsk ol norwegian beer
    5. Between 2002 and 2008, the number of breweries in Denmark grew from 19 to over 100 – a result of growing economy and popularity of craft and gourmet beers.

    6. Until Sweden joined the EU in 1995, beer with higher ABV than 5.6% was forbidden, and the government had to abolish their monopoly on wholesale meaning foreign beers were finally made available to thirsty Swedes.
      sweden eu sverige eu 1995
    7. Since the early 1970s, it has been illegal to advertise for alcohol in Norway.
      Norwegian beer advert
    8. Per capita Denmark is the biggest beer drinker in Scandinavia; consuming an average of 60.6 litres vs 52.7 and 51 litres, respectively. If we go Nordic, Finland towers over the others at 77.4 litres per capita. (The UK, for comparison, clocks in at 67.7 – Ireland at 97.5)

      European beer consumption Telegraph

      Photo: telegraph.co.uk

    9. Despite the Danes drinking more than Norwegians and Swedes, the latter two flock to their neighbour in the south to take advantage of the cheaper prices and overdo the drinking far more publicly than most Danes would.

      (Foto: BJARKE ØRSTED/SCANPIX NORDFOTO 2002)

    10. No random beer facts without this one – beer was illegal in Iceland until 1989.
      beer ban iceland celebrations
    11. After he won the Nobel Peace Prize, Dane Niels Bohr – famed for his contributions to understanding atomic structure and quantum theory – was gifted a house from brewery Carlsberg; next to the brewery, with a direct pipeline meaning Bohr had free beer on tap whenever he wanted.
      Niels Bohr Beer

Seven things about Nordic Midsummer

June 9, 2017 | 1 Comment

 

Seven things about Nordic Midsummer

The longest day of the year is very important to us Northern people. We have light! And not only that, we have so much of it we hardly see dark and we get to make up for all of those months of candle lit cosiness and snow.

We all celebrate the day slightly differently, so here are a few facts to get you started in the preparations.

Sweden treats Midsummer like it’s national day. Actually, Sweden’s national day is a few weeks earlier, but everybody celebrates Midsummer instead. It’s always celebrated on the closest Friday (this year, 23rd June) and it’s a public holiday.

In London, it’s celebrated on the Saturday because we need to not be at work when we do it.

St John’s Eve In Denmark and Norway, the evening is celebrated on the actual day (23rd June, no matter if it’s a Friday or not) and there, it’s called more St John’s Eve as well as Midsommer Aften.

Sweden and Finland celebrate with Midsummer poles. These are a bit like May Poles, except it’s not May and ours have a lot of fertility symbols associated with them. The Midsummer poles are covered in flowers and greenery. Everybody wears flower garlands in their hair and very summery clothes. Some people try the yellow/blue flag combo for clothes, but it is rarely a good look.

Danes burn witches on Midsummer eve. Much like the British burn Guy Forkes, the Danes like to burn witches on this evening and send them off to Blue Mountain in Germany to dance with the devil. All while the (usually stuffed hay effigy) witches are burning on the bonfire, Danes sing songs about how much they love Denmark (usually a lone guy on a guitar will lead the singing – he always sings with his eyes closed and is very serious).

It’s still all about food. For the Swedes, it is all about the day long picnic and being outside. Meatballs are featured and it is high season for Sandwich cakes, too. The Danes tend to celebrate in the evening with dinner at home, but spend the evening trying to bake stick bread on the embers of the bon fire (it never works).

What about the little frogs? The Swedes, at every given opportunity but none more so than Midsummer, will sing songs about little frogs with no ears and no tails, whilst jumping around the Midsummer pole. Old, young, everyone. It’s a thing and it looks odd – but it is super fun. Do join in.

Swedes pick seven wild flowers on Midsummer eve and put them under their pillow. They will dream of the person they will marry. Some don’t even wait that long, as the birth rate spikes in Sweden every year exactly nine months after Midsummer.

There are Midsummer events held all over the UK – both Danish, Swedish, Finnish and Norwegian. Local churches are a good place to start for information on where to go.

There is no big official London picnic (there never is – it’s all a bit spontaneous) but people tend to gather in patches in the different parks and just bring a picnic. Ask local Scandies for details or just wander around and look for the people with flowers in their hair. You’ll find them.

There is a massive official Midsummer Party in London in the evening of 24th June – arranged by London Swedes – it is at the Loft in Kilburn and you can buy tickets here

WIN an entire case of KvikkLunsj! (64 bars)

June 2, 2017 | Leave a comment

WIN a huge amount of Kvikk Lunsj

A few weeks ago, Kvikklunsj once again beat KitKat in the court case about KitKat trying to copyright the four-finger chocolate bar.

Kvikklunsj has been around for decades – and is the most favoured chocolate bar by all Norwegians in the world. And to be fair, most people who taste Kvikklunsj go to the other side soon after. It’s truly delicious.

Kvikklunsj (made by Freia Chocolates) is so iconic in Norway – no Norwegian will dream of going on a hike or skiing without one of these in his pocket. And an orange. You must always bring an orange, too (balance and all that).

Anyway, you can read ALL about the day when The Guardian did a taste test between Kvikklunsj and Kitkat here.

We’ve decided to give away a whole, full box of Kvikklunsj. That is a LOT of Kvikklunsj – more than a month’s worth if you eat one every day. In fact, it’s 64 bars of chocolates – times four fingers. That’s a LOT. This could also be used as a treat for a class of school children on a trip. It could keep your colleagues in the office SO happy and brighten up their afternoon. Or maybe you just want to have a Kvikklunsj party? Or just keep them ALL to yourself?

To enter, tell us how you would share your box of Kvikklunsj. Or not. And why.

We will simply pick a winner from the pile of good answers.

Send your entry to: Iloveherring@scandikitchen.co.uk before Monday 5th June at midday.

Rules: We can only have one winner – who will be picked by random of all entries where people have told us what they intend to do with their box of Kvikklunsj. We reserve the right to talk on social media about some of these suggestions. One winner only. No alternative. UK only. No cash alternative. One entry per person. Our decision is final. If you eat them all on your own, sorry, but you might need to buy some pants with elasticated waistbands – not our fault.

Verdens Beste Kake (World’s best Cake)

May 11, 2017 | Leave a comment

World’s Best Cake?

Norway has lots of great cakes – but we think that Verden’s Bedste really is one of the best ones. Perfect for Norway Day on 17th May.

Calling something the ‘world’s best cake’ is quite a statement, but not something taken lightly by the Norwegians. This cake contains the most delicious whipped cream, sponge, pastry cream and meringue – it’s everything you could ever want wrapped up together in one bite. This cake is so seriously good that it is often labelled the national cake of Norway. It is also known as Kvæfjord cake. Kvæfjord is a municipality in Tromsø in northern Norway, an absolutely stunning place with picture-perfect rolling green hills, rocky fells and deep blue fjords . To eat this cake in that setting: it doesn’t get better than that, at least not in our mind.

Recipe taken from ScandiKitchen: Fika & Hygge by Bronte Aurell (Ryland Peters & Small, £16.99) Photography by the amazing Peter Cassidy.

Ingredients

  • 150 g butter
  • 130 g caster sugar
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 150 g plain flour or cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla sugar OR extract OR use the seeds from 1 vanilla pod
  • 100 ml whole milk

FILLING:

  • 150 ml whipping cream
  • 1/2 portion of Pastry Cream (you can use ‘Kagecreme’ – powder stirred with milk – ready in 5 mins – or make your own).

MERINGUE TOPPING:

  • 5 egg whites
  • A pinch of cream of tartar
  • 250 g caster sugar
  • 75 g flaked almonds

a 35 x 25-cm/14 x 93/ 4-inch rectangular cake pan, greased and lined with baking parchment

SERVES 8–10

Method

Preheat the oven to 160°C (325°F) Gas 3.

In a stand mixer (or using a hand-held electric whisk) cream together the butter and sugar until pale and light. Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating to ensure everything is well incorporated. Sift in the plain or cake flour, baking powder and vanilla and fold in. Lastly, add the whole milk and fold again until fully combined. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan and spread out evenly and set aside aside for a moment.

Next make the meringue topping. Using a completely clean bowl, whisk the egg whites with the cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Add the sugar very slowly, bit by bit, beating on high speed until stiff peaks form (about 5 minutes). Spread the meringue mixture on top of the cake mixture. Scatter the flaked almonds on top.

Bake in the preheated oven for 35–40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean and the meringue is firm. Leave to cool for a few minutes in the pan then turn out carefully, so the meringue is still on top. Leave to cool completely.

Whip the cream until stiff and fold together with the pastry cream.

To assemble, cut the cake into two halves. On one half, spread the pastry cream mixture, then carefully layer the other half on top. Leave to set in the refrigerator for an hour before serving. The meringue will stay mallowy and the base soft.

Buy the book here.

7 Random Things About 17th May – Norway Day

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7 Random Facts About 17th May – Norway Day

  1. Norway day – the 17th of May – is celebrated as it was the day Norway got its constitution, back in 1814.
    Norwegian Constitution 17 May

  2. It is the busiest day of the year for Norway’s king – a whole day of waving is intense.

  3. 17th May is the final day of ‘russetid’ – graduation time for students. 3 weeks of solid partying, all culminating on the morning of 17th May. 

  4. 17th of May is the day Norwegians eat the most ice cream (if it is sunny) – up to 10 times the average amount for a sunny spring day.
    iskrem norway day
  5. During WW2 it was forbidden to parade for 17th of May. It was also forbidden to wear the Norwegian flag’s colours on one’s clothes – contributing to its importance as a symbol of Norway’s freedom ever since.
    17 mai tog
  6. Marching bands are an important part of the parades – and marching band is the second most popular past time among Norwegian children (surpassed only by football).
    Korps marching band
  7. It is a national holiday, but since the 18th is not, the celebrations start early – Champagne breakfast at 7am is common, so you have time to eat and drink in time to watch the main parade starting around 10am (varies regionally).
    17 mai frokost

  8.  And an extra one – remember to say congratulations to every Norwegian you see.

7 Nordic ways to talk about hangovers

April 28, 2017 | Leave a comment

Seven Nordic ways to talk about hangovers

‘Bagstiv’ is a Danish word for when you wake up the next morning, still drunk. Literally: Backwards drunk – in Sweden and Norway, its Bakfull and bakrus.

2. A drunk Dane might say he has a “Stick in ear” (en kæp i øret)

3. The Finnish word for hangover is “Krapula” 

4. The Old Norse Viking word for hangover was ‘kveis’, meaning “uneasiness after debauchery” 

5. In Denmark, if you drink a beer on a hang over, it is known as a Reperationsbajer – literally, a ‘repair beer’

6. In Danish, hangovers are known as Tømremænd  – literally, carpenters.

7. “Fylleangst” pronounced (foola angst) means “drunk anxiety” in Norway and is the unsettling feeling one has the day after drinking when you can’t remember what you did, how you acted or who may have seen you do it!

7 strong Scandinavian names for your new baby

April 20, 2017 | Leave a comment

 

7 strong Scandinavian names for your new baby

Here are a selection of 7 strong Scandi names you could name your new baby. Or not.

Love
The Swedish boy’s name – actually the Swedish version of Louis. It’s pronounced more like lo-vey than love.

Bent / Bendt
Boy’s name – meaning ‘Blessed’.

Odd
How about naming him Odd? Or maybe Even? Both are strong Norwegian names. In Norway, there are 22 people named Odd-Even as a first name. Take your kid to the Casino. (name is also used in Sweden).

Gunn

A good old Norwegian name for your daughter?

Jerker

For a boy, maybe? It’s the old Swedish version of Erik. No, not Jerk for short.

Björn / Bjørn

Maybe the best of the bunch, especially if you like ABBA. It means ‘bear’.

Fanny.

A strong Swedish girl’s name and still popular today.

Any more suggestions? Pop a comment below.

7 Scandi Ways To Screw Up

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7 Scandi sayings for when things are not going well.

  1. If a Dane has his ass in the surface of the water (Røven i vandskorpen), it means things are not going well.

roven i vandskorpen dog

 

2. In Sweden, if you have made a real fool of yourself, people will tell you that ‘you have taken a shit in the blue cupboard’ (Nu har du skitit i det blå skåpet)

 

3. If you make a fool of yourself in Norway they might tell you that you “shat on your leg” (Nå har du bæsjet på leggen).

 

4. In Iceland, if someone says ‘peeing in your shoes will only keep you warm for a short while’ (“Það er skammgóður vermir að pissa í skó sinn”) they mean to tell you short term fixes don’t work.

 

5. If a Dane says you can both blow and have flour in your mouth, he means to say you can’t have your cake and eat it, too. (Man kan ikke både blæse og have mel i munden).

 

6. In Norway people might say you stomped in the piano if you mess up – ‘trampe i klaveret’.

trampe i klaveret mess up

 

7. If a Dane says ‘hot potato’ he could mean simply a hot potato – or he might also be referring to a tricky situation.

hot potato danish

Scandinavian Easter: 7 random things you didn’t know

April 10, 2017 | Leave a comment

7 random facts about Scandinavian Easter

  1. The Swedish kids dress up as little Easter Witches on Easter Sunday and go door to door, asking for sweets and treats.
  2. Norwegians are obsessed with reading who-dunnit-crime novels at Easter – sales triple all over Norway in the run up to the holidays. Norwegians like to go to their hytter (cabins) for Easter – and there, they read crime novels when they are not skiing. So obsessed are they there are even little crime stories printed on milk cartons over Easter so they never have to stop reading.

    paskekrim melkekartong norwegian Easter milk carton
  3. Scandinavian Easter Egg traditions are people buying an empty cardboard shell and filling it with their favourite sweets, rather than just a huge chocolate egg. We like a mix of everything – sweet, sour, salty, liquorice, chocolate, marshmallow.

    Easter eggs
  4. The Easter lunch is usually a huge Smorgasbord (with various regional variations and names). There will be pickled herring, every sandwich topping your mother and grandmother combined can think of, and many ways with egg!

    Picture: TT via dn.se

     

  5. Easter in Scandinavia is called Påsk (Sweden), Påske (Denmark, Norway). An Easter egg is known as a Påskägg / påskeæg / påskeegg – and is gifted on Easter morning. We also like decorating with little chickens – usually slightly deformed with a leg out their head or an eye on their bum. They are, of course, called ‘påsk-kycklinger’ / ‘påskekyllinger’ – Easter chickens.
    Easter egg chicken decorations
  6. You’ll see many places with decorated twigs – feathers and other types of decorations, depending on area. This is a Påskris – Easter Twigs – to signify Christ’s suffering – originally used to lash out at people as a tease – and in some areas, get people out of bed on Good Friday morning. Nowadays, used mainly as decorations.
  7. Easter is the absolute last time you will see Semlor anywhere in Sweden. Most of these Lent buns are already gone at this time of the year, but Easter time sees the last of bakeries stopping them, signalising the end of the season. No more semlor until next year.
    skarsgaard semlor
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