March 27, 2015 |
WIN a signed copy of Wolf Winter by Cecilia Ekback
Cecilia Ekback’s book Wolf Winter has been getting a lot of press since it was published – and rightly so: It’s a beautiful novel.
Buy the book here
Swedish Lapland, 1717. Maija, her husband Paavo and her daughters Frederika and Dorotea arrive from their native Finland, hoping to forget the traumas of their past and put down new roots in this harsh but beautiful land. Above them looms Blackåsen, a mountain whose foreboding presence looms over the valley and whose dark history seems to haunt the lives of those who live in its shadow.
While herding the family’s goats on the mountain, Frederika happens upon the mutilated body of one of their neighbors, Eriksson. The death is dismissed as a wolf attack, but Maija feels certain that the wounds could only have been inflicted by another man. Compelled to investigate despite her neighbors’ strange disinterest in the death and the fate of Eriksson’s widow, Maija is drawn into the dark history of tragedies and betrayals that have taken place on Blackåsen. Young Frederika finds herself pulled towards the mountain as well, feeling something none of the adults around her seem to notice.
Cecilia was a customer of ours for many years before she moved to Canada – and we’re are immensely proud of her achievements with her first book. She has given us a signed copy of her book to give away to one of you guys.
If you want to be in with a chance of winning, just answer this easy question:
Which if these is not a town in Sweden:
Answer by email to email@example.com before Tuesday 1st April at noon. Winner will be picked at random from correct entries and notified by email. Usual rules apply. No cheating.
March 19, 2015 |
Next week, we’re doing Buns and coffee at the cafe. You’ll need one of these vouchers. Yes, you can use your smart phone.
March 18, 2015 |
Also known as: Quirky traits of the Scandinavian people.
We asked on Facebook and Twitter for your help on this. Thanks to everybody who came up with some awesome suggestions:
The slicing of cheese
It’s a thing. A big thing (especially in Sweden). Do not cut the end of the cheese if it’s a triangle, always use a cheese slicer (never a knife, sacré bleu!) – and if you make a ski-slope (i.e cutting too much of one side without correcting it) you risk being outlawed.
Using the right cheese slicer
What, you didn’t think there were rules for this? Of course there are rules. This is Scandinavia. The metal cheese slicer is for harder cheeses, such as Cheddar and Västerbotten. The plastic slicer is for cheese that are slightly softer, like Havarti (aka Åseda Gräddost), Herrgårdsost, Grevé – and some brown cheeses, too. And the cheese slicer with a wire on is for Danish cheeses such as Riberhus and Gamle Ole.
Look, we know its sounds complicated, but if you use the wrong one, your cheese will be cut wrong. See ‘The slicing of cheese’.
Speaking as you breathe in
Sometimes we say things while breathing in. Like ‘ja’. Try it, you will find it most peculiar. A point to note, however, is that it is usually done when you agree on something – affirming the point by breathing in and saying ’ja’ at the same time. The further North, the less sound is needed More here
Friday night is for tacos.
Nobody is sure when it happened, but we only eat tacos on Fridays. Don’t ask, just do.
Sweets are for Saturdays
It’s called Saturday Sweets. It’s also a thing. If you have them on Friday, then only in the evening and they its called CozyFriday. But on Saturdays, it’s Lørdagsslik or Lördagsgodis.
Our obsession with coffee breaks
You will find very few Scandi work places that don’t have the fika/kaffepause at 11am and again in the afternoon (before we leave work at 16.30, because that’s also a thing – and nobody stays late). Usually with some sort of cake. The only acceptable drink is super-strength filter coffee – so strong that it hurts your nostrils and makes all the caffeine receptors in your brain think you’re back clubbing in a field in 1993.
I’m off on holiday in week 29…
We don’t count months, we count weeks. Nobody else does, which makes for interesting conversations. First week of January is week 1 – and so it goes. Forget months and days, it is all about weeks in Scandinavia. Easter is in week 14 this year. Now you know. We have no idea when that is, either.
Cheese & jam
It’s most certainly a thing. Toast, cheese and jam. Any kind. Even marmalade. Just embrace it. Cheddar and Strawberry jam is a thing.
Salty, strong liquorice
Most Nordic people embrace salty liquorice. The stronger and saltier, the better. We just do not understand that you don’t like it. How can you not? It’s strong, makes your mouth feel like its on fire and gives you a tummy ache when you over do it. We start training our children when they are young so we are sure they develop a taste for it. For Scandi ex-pats, it’s a rite of passage to make sure their overseas-born children develop the taste too (we see them at the cafe, tempting little Ingrid with salty liquorice lollipops).
The top ones are Tyrkisk Peber, Djungelvrål, and chocolate with salty liquorice centres.
Eurovision is huge. Huge. Especially in Sweden, where they have six regional heats just to find a representative winner. Even those who say they never watch it probably still do in secret. Eating tacos and Saturday sweets.
Our home style
The first time you walk into a Danish apartment, you will think the owner is an interior decorator. Second time, you wonder if the owner of the first and second flat know each other. Third time, you realise every single apartment looks the same. White walls, white doors, Arne Jacobsen dining chairs, an Eames chair in the corner with a casually thrown sheepskin, Eva Solo or Blue Flute crockery. We all have the same cutlery and, curiously, we seem to leave the stickers on them.
In Sweden, it’s the same except it’s a lot more IKEA mixed with stuff from our country cottages by the lake.
We really do eat a lot of meatballs
But the Swedish ones are not the same as the Danish ones, and the Norwegian ones are different too. Don’t confuse things. Learn the difference or get found out.
We have rules for the Smörgåsbord
There is a strict set of rules about when you eat herring and what bread you use for prawns and salmon. And at what point you start singing and cheering with aquavit. Eat open sandwiches with your hands and be forever excluded. No, we don’t write down the rules: You just need to know them.
Look me in the eye…
When you cheer with Scandi folk, it is very impolite not to look everybody around the table in the eye before you take a sip. Skål!
How you butter your bread.
Crispbreads usually have a bubbly side and a flat side. The flat side is for every day, the bubbly side is for Sundays. Some people disagree, so there are no hard rules, for once. Rye bread that has too much butter is called ‘tandsmør’ – literally, tooth butter. Meaning the indent of your teeth can be seen.
The queuing system
In most shops – especially in Sweden – there are little ticket machines. Brits may remember these from supermarket deli counters in the 80s before they disappeared. Take a number as you enter and wait your turn. You never ever cheat. We like orderly queues, but are not very good at them, so this helps us. At bus stops there are no ticket machines, so it is your job to remember at what point you turned up. This is stressful. You know the other people will remember, so don’t mess it up.
The Scandi look
So, you want to look like one of us? Then you need to decide which one of us you want to look like. You see all us Scandis as the same, but we have very clear differences between us (as illustrated here by the brilliant Jenny Blake).
A general rule of thumb:
Danish: If you own anything not black, get rid of it. You’ll probably never need it again. Buy oversized scarves, dye your hair very blond and wear it in a messy bun if a girl – or bed-head style if you’re a guy. Viking Beard optional.
More info about looking like a Dane here from this blog.
Swedish: Very blond hair. If you’re a guy, we recommend the ‘Stockholm Stureplan Brats’ look. Maybe. Well, try it and see if it fits you. Otherwise, just grow a beard and speak with a funny accent. If you’re a girl, get yourself some skinny white jeans and white converse all stars.
Norway: Beard. Definitely eat brown cheese, have a backpack stuffed with Kvikklunsj and oranges. Buy a sheep. Bring it with you to places*.
*(Okay, the sheep comment was added by a disgruntled Swede who has since been punished and sent on a long vacation to Finland. Norwegians don’t really have pet sheep).
But no matter who you choose to style yourself on, don’t forget to get a Fjällräven backpack.
Now, go forth and be a bit more genuinely Scandi.
If you like reading random bits about Scandinavia, sign up for our (sometimes slightly amusing) newsletter on our homepage (down at the bottom to the left) www.scandikitchen.co.uk
Love, The Kitchen People
March 12, 2015 |
Fancy a treat this Easter? Then how about entering the competition for a filled egg from ScandiKitchen. No, not the small kind, the nice big beautiful kind. The kind stuffed with amazing pick and mix from our cafe (over half a kilos worth of sweets and treats).
We’re giving away one egg this week – to be in with a chance of winning, simply answer this super easy question:
Which of these is not a town in Norway?
Answer by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org before noon on Tuesday 17th March 2015.
Usual rules apply: no cheating, no non sense, no change of prize, only one winner, all rigths reserved to amend competition at any time. Winner selected at random from correct entries.
Recipe: Blueberry porridge
Ever thought about cooking your berries into your porridge? Some mornings, we just yearn for porridge with a difference. This porridge was one we tested last week and it may well make its way onto the menu in the future.
Change the toppings as you see fit - we love banana and blueberry, so we went for that, but you can do this with raspberry, too. As for the seed and nuts, hazelnuts go well - and we also made it with chia seeds, as some of us are really into chia and all the benefits that go with those.
It's a super lovely porridge - do give it a try. We added a drizzle of honey, too.
Prep Time1 min
Cook Time6 mins
Total Time7 mins
Servings: 2 servings
- 125 g blueberries
- 1 cup oats
- 2 cups water
- pinch of salt
- 1 banana
- remaining blueberries
- chopped almonds
In a saucepan, add the oats, half of the blueberries and the water and salt. Bring to the boil and simmer for 4-5 minutes. Once the berries have cooked through, mash them gently with a fork to let the juice out to colour the porridge.
Serve piping hot in a bowl, top with 1/2 banana per portion, the remaining blueberries as well as a small handful of chopped almonds and linseeds. We added a drizzle of honey, too.
By the way, if you happen to pass by the cafe for your morning porridge, we support a great charity called Magic Breakfast that provides breakfasts for young kids at schools in the UK. One in three children in the UK go to school hungry – and how can you learn on an empty tummy? So, Magic Breakfast go in and help out where the need is greatest. ScandiKitchen donates one whole breakfast for a child EVERY time you buy a porridge at our place. So, suddenly, your porridge is double good for you. And someone else, too.
Read more about our project here