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ScandiKitchen: Christmas – Bronte Aurell

August 7, 2018

The book contains all your traditional bakes – as well as plenty of new takes on old favourites – mince pie buns and meatball stuffed turkey, to name a few. 

A fab read as well as an incredible resource for anyone wanting to add some Scandi elements to their Christmas celebration. 

ScandiKitchen: Summer – Bronte Aurell

February 5, 2018

Recipes span from aquavit bloody Mary to rye & banana bread with cinnamon butter, green crispbread pizza and summer celebration cakes. Also included are sheer indulgent cinnamon bun french toast and celebration cakes that burst with summery produce – plus new takes on old favourites such as Beef a La Lindstrom Burgers. 

North: How To Live Scandinavian – Bronte Aurell

August 8, 2017

Like her viking ancestors before her, Brontë Aurell left Denmark to explore the world beyond home shores and in her travels has come to understand the fascination with her kinfolk, as well as seeing the idiosyncrasies of the Scandinavian lifestyle that locals take for granted.  

Whether you want your apartment to look like it belongs in Copenhagen, to workout like a Norwegian or to make cinnamon buns like a Swede, this is the ultimate insider’s guide to the countries of the north. Full of inspiration and ideas, how-tos and recipes to help you experience the very best of Scandinavian design, philosophy, cookery and culture. With a signature wit and a keen eye for detail, travel alongside Brontë through fjords and mountains, farmlands and cities to better understand these three nations and what makes each one so unique. 

So get outdoors, learn the life lesson that there’s no such thing as bad weather (only bad clothing) and you may discover your inner Scandi sooner than you think.

ScandiKitchen: Fika & Hygge by Bronte Aurell

August 19, 2016

Fika and hygge are two Scandinavian words gaining more and more popularity – and we understand why. The Swedish concept of fika (fee-kah) means taking a little break from the daily grind to sit down, connect with someone and perhaps have a cup of coffee and something sweet. Hygge is a Norwegian word embraced by the Danes, and the concept of Hygge is usually associated with the latter – in Norway it is often called ‘kos’. Hygge, in essence, is a feeling of safety and contentness. Candles, your favourite people, a cup of tea or coffee or a piece of homemade cake can all enhance the feeling. This book is a collection of recipes from across Scandinavia, all beautifully illustrated and divided into chapters – Biscuits and Cookes, Tray and No Bakes, Everyday Fika, Little Fancy Cakes, Celebration Cakes and Bread and Batters. Something for every baker, and every occasion.

The ScandiKitchen Cookbook by Bronte Aurell

August 5, 2015

Our very own cookbook: The ScandiKitchen Cookbook. With more than 75 recipes this book covers all our favourite Scandi recipes – from breakfast to supper and everything in between. Learn how to make your own Swedish meatballs, soft and fluffy cinnamon buns, healthy and hearty salads, our Scandi Christmas favourites and tons more.

How to give your apartment the ‘Copenhagen’ look

October 6, 2017

 

How to give your apartment the ‘Copenhagen’ look

When you first go to Copenhagen and you visit someone’s apartment, you usually end up in awe … ‘Are they interior designers?’ you ask yourself. ‘What style!’ you exclaim, tearing up your insides as you try to forget about your own bedsit hovel with magnolia coloured walls. Then you visit someone else, and you think ‘Oh, this place looks quite like Søren and Sofie’s’. Third time around, you know: there is a ‘style’. It’s a thing.

Ten ways to make your apartment instantly look ‘Copenhagen’ fab:

1. Rip up all carpets and sand your floors. Then paint them white.

2. Paint all your walls white. Yes, all of them, white. If there is a shade of white called ‘Scandinavian white’ or ‘Ringsted white’ or ‘Vesterbro white’, go for that, it’s probably whiter and better with even more white added, so go for that.

3. Paint all your skirting boards and doors white.

4. Remove all curtains and traces of curtains, because you no longer need them. If you can’t live without window coverings, add some (white or neutral) stylish blinds, but make sure that, when they are rolled up, you can’t see them.
 It must look like you have no curtains. Curtains are bad.

5. Get one colourful statement chair, ideally by a designer from Denmark. Anything with the word Jacobsen or Wegner is good. It will cost the same as a remote village, but it will be worth it because it’s just so beautiful and perfect. Buy a woolly sheepskin from a remote farm in Sweden and add this to said statement chair.

6. Have one normal chair next to your sofa where you add a stack of books or magazines with pictures of bearded men. Leave them there, in an ordered unordered fashion.

7. Put just one green plant in the window.

8. Your sofa must be a tasteful colour or stick to black. It must also be simple – none of this ‘all the way to the floor’ business. Legs – and nothing underneath. People must be able to see you have nothing stored under there and that your stylish white floors are also stylish and white under the sofa. Thou shalt not add too many cushions.

9. Add all or some of the following: one rug (can be colourful), one or two designer posters of designer things (drawings of chairs or statues). One standing lamp (tasteful, sleek). The coffee table must be in front of the sofa and it must have thin legs. Two candle holders (the metal kind, from Illums Bolighus) OR one Lassen candle holder, one Lyngby Vase and one Kähler vase. The bookshelf is allowed to be from IKEA, but must be ‘Is it really from IKEA or not?’

10. Hide your TV in a sleek hideaway “I never watch it anyway” place, or even better, don’t have one.

This is an extract from Bronte’s book Nørth – How to live Scandinavian, now all in all good bookshops – and also available in our shop and online. Photo by Anna Jacobsen.

Little Scandinavian lessons: Lagom

January 30, 2019

Little Scandinavian lessons: Lagom

People talk a lot about the word ‘Lagom’ – but what does it actually mean?

Lagom is the most important Swedish word you will ever learn. Used every day, multiple times, by Swedes the world over, it goes deep into the soul of every Swede. It’s part of being quintessentially Swedish.

The word lagom is said to derive from the folk etymology in a phrase used in Viking times: “laget om” – meaning ‘around to the group – allegedly used to describe just how much mead or soup one should drink when passing the bowl around in the group. This etymology is commonly accepted to be right, although some parallels are made with the Law of Jante and the common set of rules about how much one should have of something – again, things go back to the greater good for the whole group. You would take a lagom sip of the bowl, thus allowing everyone to have a ‘sufficient amount for them’ – and everyone to be satisfied. Fairness and balance.

The word itself means ‘just right’. It also means ‘just enough’, ‘sufficient’, ‘the correct amount’ (In Finnish, the word is sopiva; in Norwegian and Danish, the word tilpasselig is the most fitting, although is not used it in exactly the same way or as often – but the meaning of lagom is still engrained in every person across the Nordics). It means ‘not too much, not too little’ and also means ‘fair share’. This single little word, Lagom, denotes all of those meanings, simply depending on the context in which you use it.

There is an old saying in Sweden: lagom är bäst (‘lagom is best’), which really sums up how Swedes think and act in everyday life:
– How big a slice of cake would you like? Lagom.
– How are you? Lagom.
– The weather is lagom.
– You drink a lagom amount of wine.
– The dress is lagom.
– You have one cinnamon bun, not two. Lagom.

Lagom is positive as well as sometimes negative, it’s also the middle of the road and the average of everything. It is as it should be. It does the job, but it’s not too much, not too little.

To understand lagom, you first need to first understand the Scandinavians – in particular, Swedish cultural psyche, which is one of consensus and equality for all. Swedes don’t overdo anything, there are no over-the-top buildings, no flashy show-offs. Everything is middle of the road, fair and just the right amount. It works, just right.

People often wonder why, with the amount of cake we eat in Scandinavia and the number of sweets consumed, are we not all as big as houses. It’s because, well, lagom. Most Scandinavians won’t have two buns with their fika break, only one. One of those big bags of to-share crisps may be opened alone, but you won’t eat it all in one sitting. There will be mayonnaise on the open sandwiches, but it’s on one slice of rye bread, making it all very lagom and balanced. ‘Super-size’ in fast-food restaurants isn’t really that popular – it just isn’t lagom. We eat sweets on Saturdays – when we pig out completely. But we don’t eat them Sun-Thu, because, well, lagom.

It’s impossible to define the word lagom as a specific amount because it varies so much between people. How much cake is it appropriate to eat? How hot is lagom when it comes to your coffee? It’s a feeling, it’s something engrained in the culture and psyche of the people that is almost impossible to learn. But the amazing thing is: if a Swede asks you how much milk you want in your coffee – and you say “lagom”, they will know exactly what you mean.

How do you define Lagom in your every day? Does balance matter that much?

This post is a part extract, part re-write from Bronte Aurell’s book North, published by Aurum Books, available in all good bookshops. Photograph “lagom’ by Anna Jacobsen (North, Aurum) 2017.

Get the book here https://amzn.to/2sYz9ZW

Recipe: Scandi Christmas – Creamed rice puddings

December 5, 2018

Risengrød / Risgrynsgrøt

At Christmas, rice pudding (we actually call it ‘rice porridge’) is a big deal all over Scandinavia. We eat warm, unsweetened rice pudding with cinnamon, sugar and a knob of butter the night before Christmas, usually, and on Christmas Eve we serve the pudding cold with a few delicious additions.
Scandinavians always make rice pudding on the hob/stovetop, never in the oven, and we don’t sweeten it because the toppings are sweet. This recipe makes enough for rice pudding for 23rd December - as well as dessert on Christmas Eve. If you only want to serve one of the two dishes, reduce the recipe by half.
It’s said that Scandinavian Christmas elves love rice pudding, so we always leave out a bowl for them as a thank-you for taking care of the house, farm and animals throughout the year. If you forget to do this, they will play tricks on you in the coming year (ever wondered why you can never find the remote control?)
Servings: 4 people + 4 next day for dessert
Author: Bronte Aurell

Ingredients

  • 400 g pudding rice
  • 2 litres whole milk
  • 1 vanilla pod/bean
  • salt
  • sugar
  • vanilla extract
  • butter to serve
  • cinnamon sugar to serve

Instructions

  • In a heavy-based saucepan, add the rice and 600 ml/21/2 cups water and bring to the boil for a good few minutes, then add all the milk and the vanilla pod/bean. Bring to the boil for around 5 minutes, stirring constantly to avoid the rice sticking to the bottom of the saucepan. Turn the heat down to low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the rice is cooked through but not overcooked (around 25–35 minutes – do check). It’s important to keep a close eye on the pan as it can burn or boil over.
  • Once cooked, add a little salt to taste (never add the salt until the rice has cooked through). You can add a little sugar if you prefer a sweeter pudding or a few drops of vanilla extract.
  • The pudding may still be a little liquid when the rice is cooked.
  • Don’t worry as the milk will soak into the rice as it cools if using with the dessert. If you are keeping half of the rice pudding for the dessert and eating the other half immediately, reserve half in the fridge for the dessert and simply boil the rest with no lid for a little while longer until the rice pudding is thicker. Remove the vanilla pod/ bean once cooked and discard.
  • Serve the hot rice pudding in bowls topped with a knob of butter in the middle and a generous amount of cinnamon sugar sprinkled over (mix one part ground cinnamon with three parts granulated or caster/ superfine sugar).
  • Tip: If you are trying to reduce the fat in your food, you can use skimmed milk instead. The result is less creamy, but still delicious.

Risalamande/Ris à la malta/Riskrem - CHRISTMAS CREAMED RICE PUDDING

‘A loved child has many names’ is a Scandinavian saying that is apt for this dish – Danes adopted a French name meaning ‘almond rice’, while it seems Swedes misunderstood Danish pronunciation and called it ‘Maltese rice’. Norwegians rightly just call it ‘rice cream’.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Danish
Servings: 4 people
Author: Bronte Aurell

Ingredients

  • 50 g blanched almonds
  • 250 ml whipping cream or heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla sugar
  • ½ quantity of rice pudding chilled, see above

For Apelsinsås – Swedish Orange Sauce

  • 2-3 tbsp orange juice
  • 75 g sugar
  • 2 oranges peeled, pith and pips removed

For Rød saus – Norwegian red sauce

  • 250 g frozen berries (raspberries or strawberries are good)
  • 50-100 g sugar to taste
  • freshly squeezed lemon juice (optional_

For Kirsebærsovs – Danish Cherry sauce

  • 1 tbsp corn flour or arrowroot
  • 2 x 300 g cans of black or morello cherries in syrup
  • 1 tsp orange juice
  • 2 tbsp rum

Instructions

  • Roughly chop the almonds, except for one which must be kept whole.
  • Whip the cream with the sugar and vanilla until thick, then gently fold it into the chilled rice pudding. If the rice pudding is too cold and hard to fold, leave it out at room temperature for a while. Add the almonds, including the reserved whole one, and pour into your serving dish. Pop it back in the fridge until ready to serve with one of the sauces below.
  • Some people prefer a very creamy version, and some less so – you can vary the quantity of cream accordingly. The rice is served cold, while the sauce is usually hot.
  • The person who finds the whole almond wins a price, usually a marzipan piggy or a box of chocolate pralines.

The different toppings:

    Apelsinsås – Swedish Orange Sauce

    • When making the creamed rice pudding, add 2–3 tablespoons orange juice to the whipped cream before folding into the rice.
    • In a pan, bring the sugar and 100 ml/7 tablespoons water to the boil until the sugar is dissolved and slightly thickened, then take off the heat. Slice the oranges 5-mm/ 1/4 –in. thick, add to the warm sugar syrup. Add a few slices to top the ris à la malta.

    Rød saus – Norwegian red sauce

    • Place the frozen berries in a pan with 100 ml/7 tablespoons water and sugar to taste. Bring to the boil, then simmer to let the berries break up. Whizz it with a stick blender until smooth. If it needs a little something, add a few drops of lemon juice before serving with the riskrem.

    Kirsebærsovs – Danish Cherry sauce

    • Mix the cornflour/cornstarch with a small amount of syrup to make a paste. Bring the cherries and 250 ml/1 cup syrup to the boil in a pan, add the paste and stir. Boil for 1 minute to thicken, then take off the heat and add the orange juice and rum. Sweeten with sugar, if needed. Serve hot over cold risalamandes.

    Notes

    Recipe from ScandiKitchen Christmas by Bronte Aurell, published by Ryland Peters and Small. Photography by Pete Cassidy. RRP £16.99
      Fynbo Kirsebærsauce – Cherry Sauce 500g
      £3.59 £1.80
      Torsleff Vaniljesukker – Vanilla Sugar 100g
      £3.19
      Toro Risengrøt Snarkokt – Rice Porridge 148g
      £2.99
      Felix Risgröt – Rice Porridge 500g (Risengrød ferdiglavet)
      £2.09
      Geisha Grøtris – Porridge Rice 800g
      £4.09

    Lucia Saffron Buns (lussebullar)

    November 23, 2018

    Lucia buns (Saffron buns / Lussekatter)

    Every year on 13th December, the Nordic people celebrate the day of St Lucia, the festival of light. On this day, originally the longest night of the year according to the Pagans, we rise early to bring in the light and break the spell of the darkness.
    Processions of people singing walk, wearing long white robes tied with red sashes, through towns, holding candles and singing in the light. At the front, a Lucia bride – traditionally usually a girl but nowadays it can be both boys and girls – lead the way wearing a crown with real candles.
    In Sweden and Norway, saffron flavoured wheat buns are often eaten on this day (in some places in Denmark, too). These buns have many names, the mopst common being Lussebullar (Lucia buns) or saffransbullar (saffron buns) or Lussekatter (Lucia cats – referring to the curled up shape of the buns, like a sleeping cat). We also enjoy these buns at our famous Glögg parties throughout the days of Advent. If you like saffron, you will really enjoy these – they are delicious alongside a hot cup of mulled wine.
    Prep Time1 hr 30 mins
    Cook Time12 mins
    Total Time1 hr 42 mins
    Servings: 30
    Author: Bronte Aurell

    Ingredients

    • 50 g fresh yeast or
    • 25 g dried active yeast
    • 1 g saffron powder (if using strands, grind and soak in the milk beforehand)
    • 400 ml whole milk
    • 150 g caster sugar
    • 200 ml plain skyr quark or greek yoghurt, room temperature
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1 egg
    • 175 g butter soft and room temperature
    • 800 g plain bread flour
    • handful of raisins
    • beaten egg for brushing
    • 3-4 large baking sheets greased and lined with baking parchment

    Instructions

    • If using fresh yeast, add the yeast and milk to a mixer with a dough hook attached. Mix until the yeast has dissolved, then add the saffron powder. If using active dried yeast pour milk into a bowl, sprinkle in the yeast and whisk together with a spoonful of the sugar. Cover with clingfilm and leave in a warm place for about 15 minutes to activate and become frothy and bubbly. Add the saffron powder.
    • Pour into a stand mixer with a dough hook attached. Add the sugar and mix together for a minute or so, then add skyr, quark or Greek yogurt, salt and egg, and mix well.
    • Gradually add the softened butter in pieces and begin to add the flour gradually while mixing, making sure to incorporate the lumps of butter. You’ll need around 800 g or so of flour, but the exact amount depends on how the dough feels. Keep mixing until you have a dough that is still sticky, but doesn’t stick to your finger too much when you poke it. Too much flour makes the buns dry – and saffron is extremely drying, so do watch it.
    • If you’re using an electric mixer, knead for about 5 minutes or knead by hand for 10 minutes. Leave the dough to rise in a warm place until it has doubled in size (about 30–40 minutes in a bowl covered with clingfilm).
    • Turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Cut the dough into 30 equal-sized pieces. Roll each piece in your hand into a long cylinder strip, then transfer to the baking sheets and mould into an ‘S’ shape (see picture). Add a single raisin to the centre of the point where the ‘S’ shape curves (two raisins for each bun). Leave to rise again for 25 minutes.
    • Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) Gas 6.
    • Brush gently with egg and bake them in the preheated oven for 10–12 minutes. The buns should have a slight tinge of brown on top but not be dark. Leave to cool under a damp tea towel (this prevents them from becoming dry).
    • If you don’t eat them all in one go, freeze immediately as they go stale quickly.

    Notes

    This recipe is taken from Bronte Aurell’s new book ScandiKitchen Christmas (RPS, £16.99). Photo by Peter Cassidy.
      Blossa Vinglögg 10% – Mulled Wine 750 ml
      Rated 5.00 out of 5
      £12.29 £6.40
      Nygårda Julmust – Christmas Soft Drink 1.5 litre
      Rated 5.00 out of 5
      £3.19
      Kockens Saffran – Saffron 0.5g
      £4.09
      Kungsornen Vetemjol Finaste Kärn – Wheat Flour 2kg
      £2.59

     

    How NOT to Hygge

    October 25, 2018

    How NOT to hygge

    Note: Post written by Bronte Aurell. She also writes books about food. Her website is here.

    It has been two years of listening to people not from Scandinavia tell us what Hygge is – and what it is not.

    This time of year, the media once again start to try and sell us new blankets / underpants / fluffy socks – and we just always feel the slight urge to set the record straight. It just doesn’t quite feel… right.

    Bear with us while we get a few things Hygge off our chest, okay?

    1. Hygge means ‘To appreciate the moment you are in while you are in it’. That’s it, really.

    2. It’s pronounced Who-Guh. It never, ever rhymes with Jiggy.

    Just for the record, none of these are right: Don’t learn from this. Also, definitely don’t learn from this.

    This is the correct way to say it: Learn from this.

    3. The word is not just Danish; it comes from Norwegian too. Swedes will understand what you mean if you say it, but they use ‘mysigt’. In Norway, they also use Koselig.

    4. Hygge has NEVER been marketed in Scandinavia. We don’t have hygge candles, hygge underpants, hygge blankets. It’s a word; a feeling. Part of our culture and being. Never has anyone tried to make it a thing-to-buy.

    5. A Dane will use the word Hygge maybe 10-20 times in one day. He might say ‘The office feels hyggeligt this morning’ or ‘Shall we go back and have a hyggelig dinner later’?

    6. Nobody Scandinavian ever purchased a pair of socks with the intention of going home to hygge snuggling up next to a nice designer lamp.

    Also, just for the record: We use scented candles in the bathroom. Not often in other rooms 💩

    7. Hygge is not a winter thing. It has NO season. It’s all year round. You can hygge in a tent, on a boat, on a plane, in a church, in a hut, in your kitchen, in your bed… Alone or together. Hygge is all about being in the moment.

    8. Uhygge means scary. Literally, it means un-hygge. This works in both Swedish, Danish and Norwegian. A horror movie is u-hyggelig. Scary, horror and terrifying is un-hygge.

    9. Food helps hygge come alive. Especially chocolate and wine. It’s very rare people evoke real hygge with a low calorie salad. Celery is uhyggeligt.

    10. You can hygge with someone or alone. The room can be hygge-ligt. The room can never be hygge, only hyggeligt. Hygge is a verb. You can’t use it when describing a room. You can go home TO hygge – you can’t go home and BE hygge. 

    11.The purest state of hygge is called raw hygge. Råhygge. It’s when hygge is so pure you almost can’t take it – pure, raw hygge. No, you can’t make a candle out of it; leave it alone.

    Photo: Dog experiencing råhygge. We think, anyway. He looks like it.

    12. Scandinavians find it most peculiar when people try to make hygge into something it’s not. Most, we find it odd that people are chasing something that can only be found when you stop running.

    13. You don’t need to spend ANY money to hygge. It’s free. Just switch off your phone, sit down with people you quite like. Share some food or snacks, talk, breathe and forget about time. Done.

    The pub is actually a good place to start. Just saying.

    Use the word with love and togetherness – because thats what it’s all about.

    We hope this was a little bit helpful.

    Have a hyggelig day x

    Ps – while we don’t sell smelly candles or hygge socks, we do stock the UK’s biggest selection of Scandinavian foods – and we deliver all over the UK and rest of the EU.

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