February 28, 2018 | Leave a comment
Ways to work the snow like a Scandi
February 28, 2018 | Leave a comment
Ways to work the snow like a Scandi
February 15, 2018 | Leave a comment
How to spot a Scandinavian in the wild
A calm creature at heart, the Scandinavian often blend in perfectly in the surroundings, adapting to local customs with ease. But with this guide, you too can learn to spot one in the wild.
Often classed as a cliché and urban myth – but of course there are some factors that can be indicative of a Scandinavian:
Wearing all black, including a massive oversized scarf, hair in messy bun on top of head (or guys may be sporting a beard worthy of 2010 Hackney Central) – Danish
Trousers worn just that little too tight, with pointy shoes and slicked back hair (the male species) or white converse shoes (or similar flats) and rather hair straightened middle parting hair (females) – Swedish
All-weather practical jacket in bright colours, a practical back pack (containing one orange and a Kvikklunsj chocolate bar) – Norwegian
Scandinavians are not great at small talk, so if you spot one in a queue you can often confirm sighting if they keep a minimum of 1,5 metres away from you and look the other way. Spot 5-6 people standing with distance between then, you may have spotted a flock – especially rare in the wild.
In shops, Swedes especially can often be found looking for ticket machines (those that were popular in UK supermarkets deli counters in the 80’s).
Upon entry to any house
The Scandinavian will remove his or her shoes and leave them in the hallway, without being asked.
In their homes
Apartment with white walls, white floors, white skirting boards and white bed linen and all white kitchen with black counter top? You’ve likely spotted one. There may be some grey tones, too. No curtains? It’s a Dane. Overall, expect no carpets anywhere and a whole host of very practical storage solutions.
All will have an animal skin of some sort draped over a well designed chair. Reindeer, sheep or kitten.
Just joking about the kitten. But did you know a kitten is called a Killing in Danish? A Killing in Swedish means baby goat. See? You learn stuff every day.
Ps if you are planning to get a reindeer skin for a chair: don’t. They shed hairs, like ALL the time, forever. They are not good on chairs or floors, only on walls. You’ve been warned.
No sinks will have two separate taps and the bath has likely been exchanged for a practical walk-in shower for two. The toilet will have water-saving flush on it. It will all be white. You may experience very crappy toilet paper (“it’s better for the environment”).
In the fridge
The Dane will have an old tube of remoulade dressing and some rye bread.
All of them will have a bar of Marabou/Freia and some salty liquorice in the cupboard for emergencies.
Spaghetti with ketchup? Bingo. Other comfort foods include hotdogs with a lot of toppings, open sandwiches of all kinds and fish balls.
The Scandinavian will be at work early because back home, he will start before 8 am. By 9:30 it is time for a coffee break where he will place his mouth under the spout of the office espresso machine and press ‘double shot’ several times (Repeat at 2 pm for afternoon fika).
You can spot him because by 11:30, it is lunch time and he starts to feel it. Packed lunch, with mellemlagningspapir (middle layer paper). Norwegians and Danes are especially fond of packed lunches with sweaty cheese and soggy cucumber. The Swedes, being more sophisticated, can be harder to spot as they happily blend in the hot-lunch crowd.
If you spot someone in your office who is always out the door at 16:31, he or she may be Scandinavian. It is perfectly natural to do this back home, as anyone who stays late is often considered to be a negative influence in the work place. Also known as a ‘morakker’ (you don’t want to be THAT guy).
Drawing by Jenny K Blake/Ikke sant.
A Scandinavian will automatically reach for a share bag of crisps on a Friday night. There is probably also a bowl of holiday flavoured dip on the side. Holiday is a flavour in Scandinavia where you can get many things flavoured like your last holiday (?!)
Someone who eats half a kilo of pick’n’mix on a Saturday without a hint of shame? Yes, a Scandinavian. It’s called Lördagsgodis and it is always allowed on Saturdays. No other days, though. He or she will have a light dinner, because, well, Lagom.
How are you?
You can single one out quickly simply by saying ‘how are you’? A Scandinavian – Danes especially – will tell you EXACTLY how they are feeling. With all the details. Avoid this test if in a hurry.
Swedes can be easy to spot as they have a habit of announcing to the world when they need to pee. Board meeting, family dinner – it matters not – I NEED TO PEE.
Wondering if someone is Scandi whilst you are at a brunch? Simply go up and cut the cheese in a weird angle. Most Scandinavians will follow behind you and ‘correct’ your cheese slicing crime, often in silence, using the appropriate tool. This is the Scandi contribution to the World Order.
A million candles
The sun goes down and you wonder if the person you are with is a Scandi. Do they walk around turning on many little lamps in the room? (Approximately 7 lamps per 12m2) How many candles? Scandinavians thrive in a cosy atmosphere and will always attempt to create hygge and mys in the dark.
Scented candles? Be vary of a possible imposter as Scandinavians don’t often use scented candles.
If he or she has two single duvets on the bed instead of a large double, you’ve got yourself a Scandinavian. It’s just nicer that way.
Any other things that make Scandinavians stand out? Pop your thoughts in the comments below!
Read more about Scandinavia and Scandinavians in Bronte Aurell’s book NORTH – available here.
February 8, 2018 | Leave a comment
15 shades of Semlor
So, we decided that seeing as Sweden keeps coming up with new fancy versions of Semlor, we needed to have a go, too.
The traditional Semla bun (Semla is singular, semlor is plural) is a cardamom yeast bun, filled with marzipan, whipped cream and dusted with icing sugar. Traditonally eaten around Lent – especially on Fat Tuesday (you may know it as Shrove Tuesday) – Semlor are the most delicious thing ever invented. We start serving them in January and we stop around Easter. Here is our best recipe – Classic Semlor.
It used to be illegal to serve Semlor outside of season. Swedes LOVE seasons. Crayfish season is August, Eurovision season is May and Semlor is around February (depending on when Lent and Easter falls). Only bake and eat these in season.
So, every year, bakeries in Sweden compete to come up with NEW Semlor. Even though, to be fair, people really just mostly prefer the original one – but once you have eaten 4 or 5 of those, a bit of variety is good. So, we decided to come up with some different ones, too. All of our semlor have cardamom flavour and keep to the main traditional flavour notes. Some we have been inspired by via other bakeries in Sweden – and some are our own creations.
We’d love to see what YOU can do – have you got an idea for a hybrid semla? We want to see a photo and hear all about it! Send us your suggestion before Fat Tuesday and you will be in with a chance of winning is big gift basket from our shop full of treats. Send your entry to firstname.lastname@example.org. Usual rules apply.
1. Pride Semla
This is our favourite from our testing day. It was pretty hard to make, seeing as we had to colour the dough, then roll it and then twist it and make sure it baked properly. We kept the filling original, but added glitter to the whipped cream (although you can’t really see it in the photo). We like to claim this one as ours, as we have not seen anyone else make #PrideSemlor. So there.
2. Lemon Curd Semla
We added lemon zest to the dough and lemon zest to the marzipan filling. Then a dollop of lovely lemon curd and whipped cream. Oh yes. Hail the Lemon Semla.
3. Saffron & Lingonberry Semla
This is almost a classic combo all over Sweden. Add saffron to the dough and it goes super yellow. Add the usual marzipan filling, but also add some lingonberries to the whipped cream. The tartness is wonderful against the sweet saffron flavour and marzipan.
We haven’t seen these before, but we’re pretty certain we’re not the first to make these! Delicious, totally over the top, too. A cinnamon bun, split in two, filled with marzipan and whipped cream. D-licious.
5. Pepperkakor Semlor
We added ginger biscuit spice to the dough (very nice), spice to the marzipan filling too – and vanilla cream and topped with a few Pepperkakor ginger thins. Not bad at all.
6. Lamington Semla.
If you’re going to be Aussie about it, it has to be Lamington. We covered the bun in chocolate, we rolled it in coconut. We added a bit of jam under the marzipan filling and filled it with cream. We saw one like this on the internet a while back but we can’t find it so we can’t tell you who did it first.
7. Mozart Semla
A Mozart Treat in Sweden is marzipan with pistachio, nougat and chocolate. Oh lord, this one is delicious: We added chocolate to the whipped cream. We added nougat above the marzipan. We added chopped, toasted pistachios. Mozart would have liked this.
8. Cloudberry Semla
Actually, this is for the Norwegians. In Norway, people love mixing cloudberries with whipped cream – it is called Multekrem. So, this is what we did: This baby is stuffed with marzipan and Multekrem. Oh yes, it’s good. Thumbs up from here.
9. Semla Wrap
We didn’t come up with this one. A bakery called Tossebageriet did, a few years back. It is a semla dough, but made as a wrap – and the marzipan and cream is inside. Not bad, although it is a faff making loads of the round wraps. Looks very different, though, which is great.
10. Profiterole Semla
We changed the dough to a choux dough – and added ground cardamom. We them opened it up and filled it with marzipan and whipped cream and topped with a dark chocolate icing. Bronte ate this and wanted more. It’s a yes from us. Profiterole Semlor for the win.
11. Princess Semla
This was the craze of 2017. It was everywhere. We made hundreds of these at the café. They are amazing – but it IS a lot of marzipan. Marzipan inside, marzipan outside. Cream and a little rose. The cutest semla of them all.
12. Nutella Semla
We added chocolate pieces and cocoa to the bun. We added chocolate to the marzipan and then added nutella on top of that. Then we melted nutella and whipped it into the cream. Did we mention that there is a lot of chocolate in this one? Choc choc choc semla.
13. Salted Caramel Semla
Seriously, we are aware the photo is a bit rubbish. We were trying to make sure there was enough salted caramel in this one. There is, we can testify to this. Salted caramel inside, outside and in the cream. We love salted caramel. It works.
14. Nacho Semla
This is the craze of 2018 in Sweden. We were not convinced, to be honest. Who wants Semlor chips? Actually, we made this and it’s pretty good. You can sit and eat a semla on the bus like this. In the cinema. In the office. It’s a snack-semla and we quite like it. Yeah, it’s a faff to make the chips (roll out, bake until almost done, use a pizza cutter to make the chips, back in the oven to dry a bit). But not bad at all.
15. The original.
We love this one. The one we hold close to our hearts: Big bun, lots of marzipan, cream and a dusting of icing sugar. Who could ask for more?
Don’t forget to send us your ideas. Maybe you have ideas for a hybrid of a British cake with a semla? Hot Cross Semla, maybe… or Bakewell Tart Semla. Sticky toffee Pudding semla? We look forward to hearing from you.
February 2, 2018 | Leave a comment
February 1, 2018 | Leave a comment
Things you wanted to know about Semlor but were afraid to ask