Ways to work the snow like a Scandi

February 28, 2018 | Leave a comment


Ways to work the snow like a Scandi

We know: Londoners “just don’t know how to deal with snow because it never snows here”. You do say this, every single year*

Yes, before you check, there are delays on all lines and buses and it’s going to be a tough one. You can do this: You’re tough and you’ve got this. It’s just snow.

Here are a few pointers to deal with the Beast From the East today:

Walk like a penguin

This is sound advice in icy conditions as well as snow: Keep your body slightly leaned forward with the arms out to the side and shuffle along to minimise the risk of falling.

Layer your clothes

Ever been skiing? Same principle. Yes, we know it doesn’t look as fancy as normal, but it will keep you warm. Base layer, second layer an then another one. With air in between, not tight clothing. Two pairs of long johns are not always good – rather one pair of Long Johns and some loose pants then your top layer.

Also, every Norwegian knows that anyone who wears jeans in the snow is a tourist. Going outside? Chance of you getting even slightly wet? Don’t wear jeans; they take too long to dry.

For the love of Ullr, be practical today: wear a proper coat. And a hat. And gloves. And a scarf.

Bring snacks

Again, Norwegians always have a Kvikklunsj Chocolate bar and an orange in their back pack. Did we mention to use backpacks today? Don’t bring a heavy handbag, you need your arms free to walk like a penguin.

Why learn from the Norwegians? Who won all the gold these past few weeks?!

Be The One Who Made it

Remember: Those who make it to work are probably tougher people than those who don’t. With Arctic ancestry and everything.

Once you have braved bus 18 and standing like herring in a barrel for 45 minutes, you will be The One Who Made it. You will be the saviour, the hero.

Don’t eat yellow snow


Don’t wear heels of any sort.

Do you need to ask? Also, no roller blading. Bicycles are a bad today unless the roads have been cleared.

The Car

How to fix your car from snow and ice 101: Use a flat tool, like a credit card, CD cover (does anyone have these still, really?) – whatever you do, do not use boiling water to clear the ice. Oh yes, we’ve seen it being done and we were not impressed.

UK cars don’t have winter tyres.

So don’t presume they do. Drive as if you’re balancing an egg on a spoon at all times. Because, well, you are.

Salting your drive way.

By 9 am, all Scandinavian drive ways will have been shovelled. We are efficient that way and we like order. Please note it is not enough just to empty a packet of Maldon Sea Salt Flakes onto the snow – it does not a clear drive way make.

Yep, we’ve seen this happen. It was in West London. A full packet of Maldon, onto the snow.

The schools are closed

Yes, we know you have your darlings for a full 10 hours now, no let up – but remember this may be one of the best days of their lives so man up and be the coolest Memory Maker that you can be. Go make a sledge out of a bin bag or a plastic lid and get down that hill.

The best thing about snow is… Hygge

When you get back inside, rosy cheeks and cold armpits, pop the hot chocolate on, turn up the heating and copy up in front of something warm. If you don’t have a fire place, your portable heather works, too. It’s time for hygge.

And don’t worry, it will be gone by Friday. Enjoy it.

Most importantly, avoid people like us. Because we’re likely to reply like this:


*Please note we say Londoners. Because to be fair, Northerners can probably deal with it. we’re playing it safe.


How to spot a Scandinavian in the wild

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.

The look

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

Queue behaviour

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.

The Décor

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.

The bathroom

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.
The Swede will have an old tube of Kalles Kaviar and some crispbread.
The Norwegian will have some brown cheese and some Mills.

All of them will have a bar of Marabou/Freia and some salty liquorice in the cupboard for emergencies.

Comfort food

Spaghetti with ketchup? Bingo. Other comfort foods include hotdogs with a lot of toppings, open sandwiches of all kinds and fish balls.

At work

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.

Leaving work

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.

Friday Evening

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.

In bed

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. 

15 shades of Semlor

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 iloveherring@scandikitchen.co.uk. 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.

4. Kanelbullesemla

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.

Recipe: Our Favourite Carrot Cake

February 2, 2018 | 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

Things you wanted to know about Semlor but were afraid to ask

February 1, 2018 | Leave a comment


Things you wanted to know about Semlor but were afraid to ask

Okay, maybe you’re not quite afraid to ask, but it’s more interesting than ‘Stuff you might know about semlor but let us just tell you in case you don’t”.

Here at ScandiKitchen, we’re always being asked about what these buns are, and why Swedes are so crazy about them. Here’s a handy 101 so you can impress your pals while you try to eat one.

What is a semlor?

First of all, it’s a semla. One semla, two semlor, and so on.

A semla is a cardamom bun made with yeast (yes, like a sweet bread roll, but nicer than you’re thinking right now). It’s served stuffed with very soft marzipan, a ton of whipped cream and a bit of icing sugar.

Yes, Swedish people love them. But so do Norwegians, Danes and Finns. In Norway and Finland, they serve them with jam instead of marzipan, which is also good. In Denmark, they use a slightly different pastry – mainly because Danes always need to be different. In Danish and Norwegian, a semla is called a fastelavnsbolle (two fastelavnsboller, etc.). In Finland, it’s known as a hyppytääaanaaanaaä. Or something like that. Maybe.*

Danish example:

But when?

A semla is a seasonal bun, served around Shrove Tuesday (we call it Fat Tuesday) and then sort of pushing towards Easter a bit. And then they’re gone. These days, most places start in January and end before Easter. One of our Swedish friends found two semlor in a plastic tub on sale in a supermarket on 26th December, so you could say they’re a bit like a Cadbury’s Creme Egg in terms of the fury generated if they’re seen on sale too soon. Some people get really worked up about it.

Scandinavians love rules and regulations for things, so Semlor have a season and can only be served during that time. In Sweden, it actually even used to be illegal to serve a semla outside of the accepted period. Here’s a genuine newspaper article from 1952 where the police were called to deal with some out-of- time semlor.

What’s the big deal?

Besides the threat of bun-jail? A semla is cream and marzipan in a bun, so it’s delicious. It’s quite heavy and makes you feel all ouuuuahhhh inside, as if you’ve just shoved two fingers up at your diet. So it’s an excellent way to celebrate the end of January.

How do you eat one?

There are FOUR ways. Four. Your basic method is to lick the lid and use it to scoop the cream, then eat the bun.

When you feel more confident, eat the lid first then stuff your face and get cream on your nose and in your left nostril.

If you want a traditional old-style Swedish experience, place your semla in a bowl of hot milk and eat it using a spoon. (Seriously.)

Your fourth method is the most important one: shove it in your face. Inhale it.

How popular are they?

Around 20m (yes, million) are sold in Sweden each year. This doesn’t quite add up with the other statistic (see sweden.se for more) that the average Swede consumes five semlor from a bakery each year, because that would mean 45m buns per year, plus the homemade ones. Millions of buns. Billions of calories.

On Shrove Tuesday (called Fettisdag in Sweden, which literally means ‘Mardi Gras’ or Fat Tuesday to us), six million semlor are sold in Sweden alone.

Are they dangerous?

Why would a cream bun be dangerous? Well, it turns out that a semla is Scandinavia’s sort-of answer to Japanese fugu fish. A former king of Sweden did die after eating too many semlor. King Adolf Fredrik decided to follow a banquet of lobster and champagne with 14 semlor in 1771. Cause of death: indigestion.

Can I make them at home?

Of course you can. Here’s a great recipe. And that also means you can eat 3 of them in one sitting and nobody will know, only you may need to wear pants with stretchy waist band for a while if you over do it. Also, you can make them in October and you won’t go to jail.

I can’t be bothered to bake today, can I get them at ScandiKitchen?

Yes, and we’ll never judge you because this isn’t the Great British Bake Off. We’re selling them every day until Good Friday. But not later, because we’ll get a warning from the Bun Police. Find us here 

Did anyone ever make a big huge semla?

Someone in Sweden baked a 160kg semla in 2001, fact fiend.

Does Boris Johnson like semlor?

Yes, we think so. This may be photo-shopped, or it may not. Who knows. And frankly, who cares? Look, it’s Bun Boris.

Are there any famous people called Semla?

Yes, Semla Hayak, Semla Blair and Semla Norén. Måns Semlalöv. Many people love the Semlas. Sorry, Semlor.

Can semla-eating be sexy?

Yes. Also, if you bring your loved one semlor, they will love you even more. It’s a little known fact. Try it.

Can I get other varieties?

Yes, it’s actually becoming a Swedish sport to come up with different varieties. Last year, someone even made a semla-flavour water. And semla flavoured beer. And Nacho Semlor.

Here at ScandiKitchen, we created 15 different kinds last year – read all about them here.

Keep an eye on our social media for when they’ll be on sale.

ScandiKitchen’s 2018 Pride Semla. We were proud of that one.

*Okay, we may have made that bit up about Finland.

Recipe: Norwegian Fastelavnsboller – Berry Cream Buns

| Leave a comment

Norwegian Fastelavnsboller – Berry Cream Buns

Fastelavnsboller is the Norwegian version of Semlor - using jam in place of the marzipan filling which is more commonly seen in Sweden. The term semlor is often used to describe Scandinavian cream buns – but this is not completely accurate. Semlor is the word most commonly used in Sweden and parts of Finland, and usually refers to a sweet yeasted bun filled with marzipan and cream. In the other Nordic countries, they have different buns. So marzipan haters, rejoice! This one is for you. Every bit as indulgent, and even easier to make. The same bun, with a lovely lightly sweetened whipped cream with a touch of vanilla and your favourite Nordic berry jam.
Course: Baking
Cuisine: Norwegian
Keyword: buns, lent
Servings: 12
Author: Bronte Aurell


Bun dough:

  • 25 g fresh yeast or 13g of dried yeast*
  • 250 ml whole milk heated to 36–37°C (97–98°F)
  • 80 g butter melted and cooled slightly
  • 40 g caster sugar
  • 300-400 g white strong flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 egg lightly beaten


Whipped cream:

  • 300 ml whipping cream
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 0.5 tsp vanilla sugar or extract (optional)


  • *If using fresh yeast, add it to the finger-warm milk and mix until dissolved. Then pour it into the bowl of a food mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment.
    If using dried yeast, sprinkle the yeast granules into the finger-warm milk and whisk together. Cover with cling film and leave in a warm place for about 15 minutes to activate and become frothy and bubbly. Pour into the bowl of a food mixer with a dough hook and stir in the melted butter. Add the sugar and stir again. Add half of the flour as well as the salt, baking powder and ground cardamom. Add half the beaten egg (reserve the other half for brushing before baking).
  • Mix well until all the ingredients are incorporated and then start to add more of the flour, bit by bit, until you have a dough that is only a little bit sticky. Take care not to add too much flour. Knead the dough for at least 5 minutes in the mixer. Cover the bowl with a dish towel or cling film and leave to rise in a warm (not hot) place until it has doubled in size – about 30–40 minutes.
  • Turn the dough out to a floured surface. Knead again for a few minutes, adding more flour if needed. You want a firmer but not dry dough. Cut the dough into 12 equal-sized pieces. Place, evenly spaced, on a baking sheet. Leave to rise for 25–30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) Gas 6.
  • Brush each bun with the beaten egg and bake for 8–10 minutes or until baked through – keep an eye on them as they can burn quickly. Remove from oven and cover the buns with a lightly damp dish towel immediately – this will prevent them from forming a crust.
    When they have cooled completely, cut a ‘lid’ off the buns – about 1.5 cm/1⁄2 in. from the top. Add about 2 tsp jam on the bottom half (or to taste).
  • Whip the cream with the sugar and vanilla (if using) until stiff, then use a piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle to pipe cream on all the buns (a spoon will do too). Put the ‘lids’ back on and dust lightly with icing sugar before serving.
  • Psst - eat the lid first to avoid the cream filling going everywhere as you bite into it.

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