Tag Archives: Sweden

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

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

| Leave a comment

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

Scandinavian Cheese: A Handy Guide

March 9, 2017 | Leave a comment

The Essential Guide to Scandi Cheese – Part 1

We first posted this no less than four years ago, and considering how much we love cheese it is due a re-visit – we consider it our duty to share the with you the wonders of Scandinavian cheese. Over the next two weeks we’ll introduce six of our favourite cheeses.

To kick off we will give you a brief introduction to the many faces of Scandinavian cheese – because let’s be frank – Scandinavian cheese doesn’t have a very sexy reputation (with names like ‘Old Ole and ‘Old Cheese’ we really don’t get why).

Many of us have memories of sitting in a field on a summer’s day eating crusty French bread and sharing a kilo of creamy Brie (also French). In fact, some of us would like nothing more than to spend most of our days doing just that, had it not been for the eventual need to be moved around by a pick-up truck.

Fewer people have such glorious thoughts when thinking about Scandinavian cheese – in fact, most people associate Scandinavian cheese with Eurovision. The exception is those – very few – of us who know just how many amazing cheeses actually come from our northern corner of the world.

Cheese has been made in Scandinavia since the days of old Harold Bluetooth, and the vikings reportedly had a diet rich in milk, butter and cheese – and it was thought to be a sexual stimulant.

Here’s a brief introduction to some of the more famous Scandinavian cheeses.

Gamalost Scandinavian Cheese

1. Gammelost (Old cheese)
A recipe dating back to the Viking times, ‘Old cheese’ needed very little help to mature. Most people say both taste and smell resembles something that has spent a few months inside a sweaty old sock. As you know, nothing pleases a true tyrophile more than a slice of stinky old sock. Admittedly, perhaps due to the taste, younger Norwegians are falling out of love with it, even if it is does have the nickname of Norwegian Viagra.

Danablu Scandinavian Cheese

2. Danablu (Danish Blue)
We had to include this as it is the most popular Danish export cheese and it is a darn fine cheese. Invented originally to emulate Roquefort, and quickly making its own mark on the cheese scene, Danablu has a sharp, salty note and is excellent served on just about any kind of bread. Swedes tend to love blue cheese on ginger biscuits (we say don’t argue with anyone who invented Billy bookcases, Volvos and the zipper) – and the rest of us agree. A match made in cheese-heaven.

Brown cheese - Scandinavian Cheese

3. Brunost (Brown cheese)
Comes in many different varieties: the two best known are the Gudbrandsdalen (cow and goat) and Ekte Gjeitost (pure goat); the latter is the connoisseur’s choice

Okay, so it’s an acquired taste, but, vasterbottenon average, Norwegians eat about 4 kilos each of this stuff a year so there must be something to it. It’s as Norwegian as trolls and fjords. It looks a bit like a block of plasticine, tastes a bit like caramel and is enjoyed on its own, on open sandwiches or with freshly baked waffles: all you need then is a patterned jumper and people will soon start calling you Håkon.

4. Rygeost (smoked cheese)
A very Danish invention that is never exported due to its very short shelf life. Unmatured, smoked cheese made from buttermilk and milk and turned in less than 24 hours, after which it is smoked very quickly over a mixture of straw and nettle and topped with caraway seeds. This cheese is simply amazing, light and divine eaten on a piece of rye bread. Resembles a firm ricotta in texture.

Vasterbottensost Scandinavian Cheese (1)

5. Västerbotten
If ABBA is the queen of cheese, Västerbotten is the king. A firm, kinda crumbly, aged Swedish cheese not unlike parmesan in smell but with immense flavour and character. This cheese is a welcome addition to any cheeseboard and is also a partner to any crayfish party. Can also be used to make the excellent Västerbotten pie.

hushallsost - scandinavian cheese

6. Hushållsost
A cheese that has a name that translates as “household cheese” sounds like it belongs on a value shelf in a corner shop in Hackney, but it is actually an excellent cheese. Mild, creamy and full of small holes, this cheese is usually a big hit with the younger generation. Hushållsost is one of six Swedish food products with a so-called TSG protection (only one other cheese, Svecia, also holds this distinction). Taste wise it is unoffensive and buttery – a good all-rounder.

Gamle Ole Scandinavian cheese (2)

7. Gamle Ole (Old Ole)
A sliceable mature Danish cheese, this baby stinks. Oh yes. Don’t touch it too much or your fingers will honk all day. The taste, however, is mellower and really lush. Also known in Denmark as Danbo 45, there are many varieties in the same vein: ‘Sorte Sara’ is another good version, popular in Norway.

Prastost Scandinavian cheese (1)

8. Prästost (Priest cheese)
Sweden’s most popular cheese. It was given its name because the farmers at the time it was invented could pay their church taxes in dairy products. Prästost comes in many varieties, from the mild to the mature and flavoured with anything from vodka to whisky.

Squeaky Cheese Scandianvian Cheese

9. Leipäjuusto (also known as “squeaky cheese”)
This is a fresh young cheese from Finland. The milk is curdled and set into a flat round shape, then baked. In the olden days it was dried for months and people put it on the fire to re-activate it. The name comes from the sound it makes when you bite into it. The taste is not unlike feta. Hugely popular – very difficult to export due to its fragile nature.

Prawn cheese - Scandinavian cheese

10. Rejeost (Prawn cheese)
For some reason, spreadable prawn cheese (ideally in a tube) is immensely popular across all of Scandinavia. Not really a great cheese from a connoisseur’s point of view, but surely any product that manages to combine cheese and prawns and make it taste good needs a mention. If cheese and prawn can be coupled in peaceful harmony, then there’s hope for world peace.

For all our cheeses, click here.

WIN a Mega Scandi Easter Egg

March 7, 2017 | Leave a comment

WIN a Mega Scandi Easter Egg

As we find ourselves in the deepest, lagom-est lent – we dream about all the sweets we’ll be eating once Easter is here (by Easter, we mean this Saturday.  We have to quality check the sweets well ahead of time, you know).

Scandis are big on Easter. It is a reason to get together, be merry, enjoy some outdoors – or indoors – activities, and gather round a big table filled to the brim with all things nice and decorated with little deformed bright yellow chickens. And of course, munch away on your well deserved Easter egg after lent.

Easter egg chicken decorations

We think our Easter eggs are pretty epic – and so we introduce our annual ‘win a massive Easter egg competition‘. Yay! That’s right, you can win a 23cm diameter Easter egg chock full of our favourite Easter sweets and treats.

Fancy winning? Simply answer the easy question below;

Which colour is usually associated with Easter?

A.) Bright green

B.) Pink

C.) Yellow

Send your answer by email to iloveherring@scandikitchen.co.uk before Tuesday 28th March 2017 at midday. One main winner, getting a big ScandiKitchen Easter egg, will be drawn from all correct entries.

The usual rules apply. UK residents only. No cheating. One main winner. No alternative prize and no cash alternative.

Semla Season 2017 – Everything You Need To Know

January 26, 2017 | Leave a comment

 

Semla Season 2017 – Everything You Need To Know

After Christmas we always feel determined to start a new and healthier life – less chocolate and more spinach, but only until we remember the next big occasion in the Scandi baking calendar; Semla season. Semla is the Swedish answer to pancake-day pancakes, but in our completely unbiased opinion; a million miles better and far too good to only eat once per year.

We started selling these chubby marzipan and cream filled buns of glory in the café a few weeks ago – and as we are now only 1 month away from the big day, it is time to kick off and remind each other what the Semla is all about. We have collated some essential reading (all the important semla-facts), our favourite recipes, and our very own semla product bundles if you want to give them a go at home without the hassle of seeking out the products you need. Ah, you’re welcome. Public semla-service is what we do.

– 12 Things You Need To Know About Semlor –

– Princess Semlor – The 2017 Luxury Semla – Recipe –

Princess Semla Recipe Image

Classic Semlor – Swedish Marzipan Cream Buns – Recipe

Classic Semlor Recipe


 

Fancy doing some baking? Try our kits to get started;

    Cinnamon Bun – Product Bundle
    £9.75
    - +

 

Now, promise you try one. Come say Hej and have a coffee and semla with us in our café or make your own, just don’t go without. They are too good to be missed.

Swedish Cheesecake – Ostkaka – Recipe

January 18, 2017 | Leave a comment

Swedish Cheesecake (Ostkaka)

If you’re looking for one of those sweet Americans style cheesecakes, forget it. This is the much less sweet Swedish version – ‘Ostkaka’ – which simply means cheesecake. It is a really old Swedish traditional favourite, first mentioned in the 16th century – it’s that old.

The original version requires you to go buy some rennet and make milk curds from scratch, but cottage cheese works well too, so that’s what I use in my version. Indeed, most people use cottage cheese nowadays except purists. I’d say this cheesecake is not dissimilar to the ones you get in Northern Spain, in the Basque Country – and, like the Spanish ones, work well with a glass of sweet sherry on the side. This recipe is naturally gluten free.

This cheesecake is served lukewarm, never cold and never hot. Most people enjoy it with a dollop of strawberry or cloudberry jam on top, although I prefer a quickly made compote and some fresh berries.

The recipe fits a standard brownie tray, approx 20 x 20 or similar, but you can use any sort of dish or even a spring form. Just don’t forget to line the dish.

Ostkaka with hallon (raspberries)
  • 3 eggs
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 400g natural cottage cheese
  • 100ml double cream
  • 50 g ground almond
  • 1 tsp vanilla sugar or vanilla bean paste
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp almond essence (optional)
  • 50g flaked almonds
  • Dusting of ground cardamom
For the topping:
  • 125g raspberries
  • 2tbsp sugar
  • Dash of water
How to:

Turn the oven to 160 degrees celsius fan (170 degrees normal).

Whisk the sugar and egg until light and fluffy. Add all the ingredients apart from the flaked almonds and cardamom and pour into your prepared tin.

Scatter the flaked almonds on top, then dust the tiny bit of ground cardamom (less than 1/2 tsp – it’s just for a bit of flavour).

Place in the oven and bake until set and slightly golden on top. This depends on your oven – but around 30-40 mins is a good guideline.

To make the topping: Place 100g raspberries in a saucepan, add the sugar and a dash of water and boil until the raspberries have broken down and it looks like a runny jam. Leave to cool. Use the remaining berries to decorate.

Kalles Kaviar – The Legend, The Myth, The Breakfast Topper

January 12, 2017 | Leave a comment

Kalles Kaviar – Everyday Hero #1

This is the first of six posts – each presenting one of our favourite everyday products. The things we eat again and again and that always provide a taste of home.

Open a random Swedish fridge and chances are you’ll find at least one blue and yellow tube of creamed cod roe with a smiley blonde on the pack. Creamed cod roe..may not sound very appetising, but its slightly salty, savoury mild taste makes it an excellent addition to your egg-sandwich – and this, indeed, is how most people enjoy it.

We have shared the recipe on this Swedish delicacy before – check it out here; Kalles Kaviar 3 Ways.

Kalles Kaviar Kaviar

What’s the fuss about you may ask? Well let us tell you how it all started (drumwhirl please)..
Kalles Kaviar was launched in Sweden in 1954, and is based on several hundred years old recipe from the Swedish west coast. Its iconic blue and yellow tube has changed little since then, and is a much-loved sight for a Swede in need of some TLC. No one is quite sure who to credit for the recipe, which was bought by Abba from a peddler for around 1000SEK – a small fortune in the 50s.

The mystery of Kalles remains to this day – not least to non-Swedes, who struggle to find anything lovable about this little bit of Sweden in a tube – well, maybe apart from Kalles’ smiley self.

Fancy some? Order some Kalles and some crispbread today and we’ll send it straight to you – your Swedish breakfast dreams will soon be answered.

    Abba Kalles Kaviar Original – Smoked Cod Roe 190g
    £3.29
    - +
    Leksands Brungraddat – Brown Baked Crispbread 830g
    £4.49
    - +

 

Payment types accepted
Secure Shopping with
Free shipping on orders over £60
£0.000 items