Monthly Archives: October 2014

Are you wearing clean underpants?

October 30, 2014 | 1 Comment


Read on, even if you did put clean undies on this morning: This is important.

Every year, for a few weeks, we collect money at ScandiKitchen café to buy a whole load of underpants.  You see, as the nights get longer and colder, the homeless on the streets of London have an even tougher time than normal.  While people are good at donating coats and scarves, trousers and jumpers, nobody ever donates underpants and socks.  For good reasons too, mind you, but that doesn’t make the need for these items any less.  We all need clean pants and socks. While we may smile and joke about the need for underpants, the fact remains: if you’re down and out, trying your hardest just to get through the night, feeling warm and comfortable all the way through suddenly means that much more.

Helle is a lovely Danish lady, living in West London. Every autumn she changes her name to The Pants Lady and starts asking people to send her socks and underpants. She does this tirelessly for months.  The main shelter she works with is the The Shelter Project Hounslow for men (registered charity) (but excess pants and socks are distributed throughout other shelters in the capital, too).

Here’s a message from Helle:

‘This will be the 4th season of The Shelter Project Hounslow (TSPH). We always receive plenty of 2nd hand clothing but never – for good reason – any underpants or socks. And homeless men need that too, so last year I started collecting via friends, on Facebook, via Scandivian Kitchen (where staff gave up their tip jar to collect pounds for pants). I wasn’t quite sure how men I don’t know would react to a crazy lady handing them pants and socks at the shelter though… These are proud, clever men from a range of backgrounds and cultures who for various reasons have ended up on the street. And here I was – with my bulging bags of smalls – a change of pants, while they try to change their lives.

The men would arrive at the shelter for the night and once settled in and warmed up, I’d drag one or 2 aside and hand them pants. Discreetly, quietly… Fast forward a couple of winter shelter weeks: The guys would arrive, sometimes with a new homeless guest in tow. Once the new guest was settled in, they’d drag him over to me saying: “You’ve got to meet PantsLady – she’ll sort you out.” And so literally hundreds of pairs of pants were handed out over 4 months. Each time, I’d often have to explain that there was no charge for pants. They were free, new, clean and donated by strangers. It’s “only pants and socks” – it’s never going to change anyone’s life, but it broke an often down cast atmosphere of hopelessness, loneliness and homelessness for these guys. It made a difference and it’ll make a difference again this year. It’s only pants and socks, but everyone deserves a clean pair.’

We’ll be collecting for underpants at the café from Monday onwards for a few weeks.  We call it ‘A pound for pants’ because we can get a pair of pants for a quid (in some shops). Pop your change in the box by the till – the staff give up their tips for these two weeks and we (ScandiKitchen) match pound for pound what is put into the box.

You can also mail or delivery your (new, wrapped) underpants to us and we’ll make sure they get to the Shelter (post pants to ScandiKitchen Underpants Appeal, 61 Great Titchfield Street, London W1W 7PP). If you have any questions for Helle the Pants Lady, you can contact her on this email: PantsLady@virginmedia.com

Thank you for supporting this cause

Bye for now

The Kitchen People



Recipe: Halloween Meringue Ghosts

October 29, 2014 | Leave a comment

Halloween Meringue Ghosts

Delicious little meringue treats - perfect for Halloween. Can also be used as cake toppers. Warning: Moorish - you may eat the lot in a day (but if not, they keep well for a few days at room temperature)
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time1 hr 30 mins
Total Time1 hr 35 mins
Course: Baking
Cuisine: Scary
Servings: 5 10
Author: Bronte Aurell


  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 140 g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla sugar
  • 2 squares of dark chocolate


  • In a clean bowl, add the egg whites and start whisking (really, you should use a mixer for this or you will be whisking for a very long time. Handy if you want very large muscly arms, though).
  • When the egg white turns foamy, add the cream of tartar and whisk on high speed. When soft peaks start to appear, begin to add the sugar - little by little. Add the vanilla sugar also.
  • Whisk on high speed until you have a very firm mixture. You will know it is done when you can no longer feel the sugar in the mixture (taste a little - if its really grainy, it's not done yet).
  • Turn the oven onto 150 degrees and prepare a flat baking tray with baking parchment.
  • Add the mixture to a piping bag and cut a 1 1/2 cm hole at the end. Pipe out little 5-6 cm tall 'ghosts' - try to keep them as straight as possible or they may tilt in the oven during cooking. You will get around 20-25 ghosts from this mixture.
  • Put the ghosts in the oven and immediately turn oven down to 100 degrees. Leave to bake for 1 1/2 hours - after which you turn off the oven and leave the ghosts to cool down in the oven.
  • When the ghosts are completely cooled, melt the chocolate and using a little piping or plastic bag, pipe eyes and mouth on your little creations.

15 ways you know you’re a real Swedish ex-pat

October 22, 2014 | 1 Comment

1.    All other Swedes are your best friends when you meet them out on the town. Even that weird guy with the Viking tattoo who sings ‘Du Gamla Du Fria’ really slowly, with his eyes closed.


2.    You go on and on and on about how A-MA-ZING Sweden is but don’t really know how to reply when people ask you why you left.

3.      You take three inter-connecting city buses AND a train on a Saturday afternoon just to get to Ikea so you can eat meatballs and sit in a sofa named after your home town.

4.  Fridays at 4 pm you start humming ‘Fredagsmys’ in the office and start thinking of dill chips.


5.     You shake your head at everybody else’s snow problems. It’s just not like home. They just don’t understand ‘real’ snow.


6.   You argue with your partner whether to watch Kalle Anka on Christmas eve Swedish time or local time (even though it’s on DVD and you’ve seen it every Christmas since 1982)


7.   You correct other people’s pronunciation of IKEA. It’s just not right. Eee-kay-ah. Yes, really.

8.   You get real tears in your eyes when you see the first Julmust of the year.


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9.   You finally accept that Korv Stroganof is not the original version of Stroganof.

10.   You have a Spotify playlist entitled ‘Heja Sverige’.

11.  You suddenly realise you no longer know the name of your Prime Minister as you’ve been out of Sweden longer than you ever lived there.

12.   You happily label any non-Swede a coward for not eating fermented herring – despite there being no chance in hell you’ll ever eat it yourself.

13.   You are no longer surprised when Non-Swedes tell you they don’t actually use a cheese slicer.


14.    Severe liquorice withdrawal symptoms, resulting in hour long trips across cities just to get hold of some ‘really good stuff


15.   And when you go back home to Sweden, things seem sort of just… different.


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17 Little ways to annoy a Scandinavian person

October 16, 2014 | 49 Comments

So, if you happen to work next to one of us and we have irritated you by borrowing your stapler one too many times, here are little ways you can get back at us.

1. Claim that Sweden, Norway and Denmark is all the same


Scandinavia is Denmark, Sweden and Norway. That’s it. Different countries, different languages, different cultures with some similarities. Finland is sometimes included, but officially, it’s not really Scandinavia.

And no, it’s not because we are small countries, either – you can fit the UK into Scandinavia about five times. So why do you still insist on telling us we’re all the same?

2. When you don’t remove your shoes before entering our house


Because we don’t like dirt being dragged all over the house. Except when there’s a party (although, please ask first and never wear heels on our nice wooden floors).

When you go to a Scandinavian house, expect to remove your shoes in the hallway. It will happen, unless we’re feeling too polite to mention it (unlikely: we’re quite direct, if you hadn’t noticed).

3. What? You don’t like COFFEE?


We drink more coffee than anyone else in the whole world. More than the Italians, more than the French… More than anyone. By quite a massive stretch, too.

We drink tons of it. Strong, delicious filter coffee. And we don’t understand why you can only have one cup a day when our veins are constantly pumping like a bad Basshunter tune. In short, we’re wired from morning to night.

4. Insist Danes are Dutch


Far, far away. Not even neighbours.

5. …and Swedes are Swiss

(wait, Switzerland is next to Norway, right?)


Switzerland is Central Europe. They speak 5 languages, none of which are even close to Swedish. Nothing to do with ABBA or Volvo or blondes.

6. Enter into a discussion with us about mixer taps versus single taps.


We will win that discussion. Even if you fight it, we will win it – passionately. There is no way you can win an argument with about the benefit of single taps. We invented Ikea, we are the kings of common sense design.

And don’t start on the carpet in the bathroom…

7. Tell a Norwegian that KitKats are better than KvikkLunsj


This is such an important point, even though it only really affects Norway. KitKats are so not even close to Kvikklunsj. Don’t compare them, don’t tell us KitKats are superior. Don’t go there.

8. Insist that Eurovision is crap, when we know that it clearly is one of the highlights of the year – alongside Christmas and Midsummer.

TO GO WITH AFP PHOTO "Entertainment-Swed

Without Eurovision, you’d have no songs to dance to at the office party. No Dancing Queen, no Mamma Mia, no Money Money Money. Don’t knock it: We gave cheese to you guys. Be grateful.

9. Do you have polar bears in Oslo?

nyhavnsicebear copy

Yes, of course we do. And also roaming the streets of Copenhagen. Some of us keep them as pets, next to our penguins.

10. When you sing the Swedish Chef song from Muppets.

Just don’t.

Say ‘bork, bork, bork’ and we die a little bit inside.

11. Well, you don’t LOOK Swedish/Norwegian/Danish…


I don’t? And you don’t look Welsh, either.

12. “You’re Swedish? I used to have a Danish girlfriend once…”

Wonderful. Read point one.

13. Schedule conference calls at 11 a.m. (our lunchtime)

We have lunch between 11 am and midday, if you let us. We just do.

Try not to interfere with our weirdness about breaks. This also includes trying to interfere with our need for coffee breaks (fika breaks) at least twice a day: One must make time for cake & coffee breaks.

14. Ask us ‘How are you’ and don’t wait for our answer.

Because, trust us, we WILL answer. In great detail and we don’t understand how to read your polite British nods of evil as we explain about our dodgy knee.

You don’t want to know about out knee? Don’t ask us, we won’t mind. It will remove a lot of social awkwardness for us if we just skip  the ‘how are you’ bit.

15. Be late. We hate lateness. Be on time, every time.


16. You’re cold? But you’re Scandinavian!

Yes, and we feel cold. Just like you. Our veins are not made of ice, they are filled with hot Basshunter coffee, remember?

17. Scandinavian? Do you eat herring, like, all the time?

Every day, all the time, breakfast, lunch and dinner.

(Just kidding: we only eat herring for lunch).

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Recipe: Romkugler (rum flavour chocolate treats)

October 14, 2014 | Leave a comment

Romkugler (rum flavour chocolate treats)

A true ‘waste not want not’ treat. Every Danish bakery has loads of cakes that are, like these Romkugler or rum balls, basically made from leftover pastries. It makes a lot of sense or bakers to and ways to use their leftovers in really delicious ways. It is best to avoid using leftovers containing raisins or strong flavours, as these will come through in the end result. Use a cinnamon swirl or two, some sponge cake and maybe some chocolate cake or a muffin. It’s a good idea to freeze leftovers as you have them – and once you have enough, make a batch of ‘rum balls’ (Romkugler) for afternoon fika.
Course: Fika, Treats
Cuisine: Scandinavian
Author: Bronte Aurell


  • 500 g leftover Danish pastries and/or cake – ideally mixture of both
  • 2-3 tbsp raspberry jam
  • 100 g icing sugar add less if your cakes are a really sweet variety
  • 100 g softened butter
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2-3 tsp rum extract or essence I use quite a concentrated one – you may need to add a bit more, as you want it to have a good punchy flavour
  • A handful of oats (optional)
  • Dark or light chocolate vermicelli strands to decorate if you’re making the balls
  • OR 300g White Marzipan or icing if making the ghosts.


  • Roughly tear any Danish pastries into bite-sized pieces and crumble up any cakes you are using. In a stand mixer using the paddle attachment or in a food processor, blend the shredded and crumbled pastries and cakes with the rest of the ingredients (apart from the oats and the chocolate vermicelli) until evenly mixed.
  • Taste the mixture – it may need more cocoa powder, rum extract
 or even icing/confectioners’ sugar. Because this is made with leftovers, the taste will vary a lot. If you feel it needs more texture you can add
a handful of oats.
  • Chill the mixture in the refrigerator for about an hour to firm up.
  • Roll into balls a bit larger than the size of a golf ball and roll in the chocolate vermicelli strands to evenly coat. Chill again in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve.
  • If making little ghosts, roll out your icing/marzipan with icing sugar, then cut rounds out that will cover the balls. Shape gentle upwards to create taller ghosts – and then add eyes with icing or stick out using a toothpick.
  • Rum treats will keep well for 2–3 days wrapped in cling film/plastic wrap and stored in the refrigerator.


Base recipe is available in our book Fika & Hygge, published by RPS, photography by Pete Cassidy (the main one, not the ghosts photo, we did that in the cafe so don't pin that on him: he's really amazing and we're not very good at photos)

Your great cinnamon buns

October 8, 2014 | Leave a comment

Thank you to all of you who sent in great photos for our bun week.

We’re so very impressed by the home baking skills of you guys.

Here’s a selection of the pictures we received.

If you fancy having a go at baking buns at home, try this recipe.




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Great Scandinavian idioms

October 7, 2014 | 68 Comments

Great Scandinavian idioms is something we’ve been meaning to write about for ages. Thank you to all those who shared their favourite idiom on Facebook the other day – we laughed so hard we cried at some of these.

We also realised we frequently use some of the expressions and idioms when we’re speaking English in the shop – and no wonder people look at us as if we’re a bit weird when we say things like ‘no cows on the ice’.

Enjoy the list.

The Kitchen People


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‘Låtsas som att det regnar’ (Pretend that it’s raining) (Swedish)

Meaning: To act normally, so as not to attract any attention


Finns det hjärterum så finns det stjärterum (If there’s room in heart there’s room for the arse) (Swedish)

Meaning: Everybody can fit in here)


Skägget i brevlådan – Caught with your beard in the mailbox (Swedish)

Meaning: “To be caught with your pants down.”


Näytän sulle, mistä kana pissii  – Let me show you where a chicken pees from (Finnish)

Meaning ‘Let me show you how it’s done’.


At træde i spinaten –  “to step in the spinach” (Danish)

Meaning: To make a mistake


Jeg er kold i røven – I’m cold in the ass (Danish)

Meaning: I don’t care


Dra dit pepperen gror – Go where the pepper grows (Swedish)

Meaning: Go to hell.


Även små grytor har öron – even small saucepans have ears (Swedish)

Meaning: the kids might hear

Det ligger en hund begraven här” –  there is a dog buried here (Swedish)

Meaning: there’s something fishy going on.



Det blæser en halv pelican – Its blowing half a pelican (Danish)

Meaning: It’s really windy


Født bak en brunost –  born behind a brown cheese (Norwegian)

Meaning: the person is a bit slow


Hej hopp i blåbärsskogen! – Hello jump in the blueberry forest!

Meaning: A cheerful expression to be used when you are a bit surprised (Swedish)


Han har taget billeten – he has taken the ticket (Danish)

Meaning: He’s dead


Oma lehmä ojassa – Own cow in the ditch  (Finnish).

Meaning: Someone has an ulterior selfish motive behind an action


Nu har du skitit i det blå skåpet: Now you have shit in the blue cupboard (Swedish)

Meaning: When you really have made a fool out of yourself.


Att lägga lök på laxen – To put onion on the salmon (Swedish)

Meaning: To make things even worse…


Bæsje på leggen – poop on your calf (Norwegian)

Meaning: Make a mistake


Inte för allt smör i hela Småland – Not for all the butter in Småland (SW)

Meaning: Not for all the tea in China.


Å svelge noen kameler  – To swallow some camels (Norwegian)

Meaning: to give in


Ligeved og næsten slår ingen mand af hasten – almost and close doesn’t knock a man off his horse (Danish)

Meaning: Close, but no cigar


å være midt i smørøyet – To be in the middle of the butter melting in the porridge (Norwegian)

Meaning:  to be in a very favourable place or situation


kiertää kuin kissa kuumaa puuroa – To pace around hot porridge like a cat (Finnish)

Meaning: To beat about the bush


Under isen – meaning “Under the ice” (Swedish)
Meaning: feeling a bit depressed


At hoppe på limpinden – to jump on the Prittstick (Danish)

Meaning: To take the bait


Ingen fara på taket – no danger on the roof (Swedish)

Meaning: No worries


Han tog benene på nakken. He took his legs on the back of his neck (Danish)

Meaning: He hurried


Der er ingen ko på isen – There are no cows on the ice (Swedish, Danish)

Meaning: Nothing to worry about


Han har stillet træskoene – “He took off his clogs” (Danish).

Meaning: “He died”.


Du er helt ude og cycle – You’re completely out cycling (Danish)

Meaning: You’re completely wrong


Dra dit pepperen gror –  Go where the pepper grows (Swedish)

Meaning: Go to hell!


Du har virkeligt skudt papegøjen – you’ve really shot the parrot (Danish) Meaning:  You’ve been lucky


Ingenting att hänga i julgranen – Nothing to hang on the Christmas tree (Swedish)

Meaning: Not special enough


Han har roterende fis i kasketten –  He’s  got rotating crap in his cap (Danish)

Meaning: He’s not quite all there


Er det hestens fødselsdag? – Is it the horse’s birthday? (Danish)

Meaning: The rye bread is too thick on my open sandwich


Sånt är livet när kjolen är randig – That’s life when the skirt is striped (Swedish)

Meaning: Such is life


Jeg aner ugler I mosen – I suspect there are owls in the moss (Danish)

Something fishy going on


At være oppe på lakridserne – to be up on the liquorices (Danish)

Meaning to be very attentive or busy



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Recipe: Bronte’s lovely carrot cake

October 5, 2014 | Leave a comment

Bronte's Lovely Carrot Cake

This is the carrot cake we serve in the cafe - it is the result of a cake challenge from a guy (Jonas) who is not a big cake eater (we know). The challenge? Make the best carrot cake ever. This is the result. Maybe not better than your mamma's - but pretty good, if we may say so ourselves. Gently spiced, with crunch from the pinenuts and tons of flavour and moisture from the carrots plus a lush layer of tangy cream cheese topping - and very easy to make. Go on, give it a go.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Cake
Servings: 8 +
Author: Bronte Aurell


  • 4 eggs
  • 200 g caster sugar
  • 200 g dark brown sugar
  • 400 ml sunflower oil
  • 400 g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp mixed spice
  • 400 g grated carrots
  • 100 g pine nuts


  • 250 g cream cheese
  • juice and zest from a whole lime
  • 75 g icing sugar


  • Turn the oven on 170 degrees Celsius.
  • Whisk the sugar and egg until light and airy, gradually adding the sunflower oil.
  • Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl and fold into the egg mixture. Fold in the carrots and the pinenuts.
  • Pour into a large tin (about 25x35cm) and bake for about 30-35 minutes or until done (when a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean). Leave to cool.
  • To make the topping, whisk all the ingredients well and spread over the cooled cake. Add some grated carrots and lime zest to decorate.


Photo credit: Peter Cassidy for Ryland Peters & Small

Recipe: Kale, rye grain, broccoli & apple salad

October 2, 2014 | Leave a comment

Kale, broccoli & apple salad

Course: Salad
Cuisine: Scandinavian
Keyword: broccoli, kale, rye grains
Author: Bronte Aurell


  • 150 g rye grains dry weight
  • 200 g tenderstem broccoli
  • 1 red apple
  • 100 g kale
  • 50 g toasted hazelnuts
  • dash of lemon juice
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper


Starting one day in advance

  • Soak the rye grains (or whole wheat, spelt or barley if preferred) overnight in double the amount of water. 

  • The next day, drain and rinse the grains. Place in a large pot with a good pinch of salt and cook for approx. 25 mins (from boiling), or until tender. Drain and allow to cool completely (cooked grains keeps for a few days in the fridge and can be made ahead).

For the salad

  • Boil the broccoli for 3-4 minutes. Drain and leave to cool down in cold water.
  • Pick kale off the stem and slice. Massage gently using your hands in a bowl with a bit of lemon juice and oil until dark green and soft – this takes a few minutes.
  • Toast the hazelnuts in the oven for about 5 minutes and set aside.
  • Chop the apples into small bite sized pieces and toss them in lemon juice to prevent them discolouring.
  • Mix all ingredients together in a mixing bowl and season, serve immediately.


If you want to cook rye grain on the day without soaking, increase boiling time (it will take around 35 minutes). If you can't get hold of rye grains (you can buy them at ours and online from health shops, too) you can substitute with spelt grain or barley. Amend the cooking time if using different grains as these may need shorter boiling.

Meet some good friends of ours… Lisa’s at Portobello

| Leave a comment


Aside from running our lovely little café and shop in Central London, we have a rather fancy snazzy warehouse out in Park Royal (It’s called ‘StockHome’). From there, we operate the web-shop and also our Wholesale Department.

When Jonas and Bronte started ScandiKitchen it was because they really wanted to help spread the word – and love – about Scandinavian food in the UK. Part of this message we now spread by supplying other establishments (cafes, shops, restaurants and more) with goodies. We help out a big bunch of amazing places –and we really love that part of our business.

One such place is the wonderful Lisa’s Restaurant in Portobello, London. Lovely Lisa and her team work tirelessly to serve Swedish food all day and evening – and they do so with huge smiles, great music – and really wonderful food.

If you’re ever in West London and fancy a bit of Swedish food, you should stop by. The welcome is warm and the food is great. In the weekend evenings there’s usually some live music and high spirits. And aquavit. Lots of aquavit.

Lisa’s Portobello
305 Portobello Rd, London W10 5TD

If you want to talk to us about wholesale and import of Scandinavian foods, pop over here: Take me to the Wholesale Department

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