July 1, 2019 | Leave a comment
How to hotdog (the Scandinavian way)
July 1, 2019 | Leave a comment
How to hotdog (the Scandinavian way)
June 24, 2019 | Leave a comment
June 11, 2019 | Leave a comment
It’s often described as Sweden’s guilty secret: in all the Nordic Diet, healthy eating and green good-for-you flurry, we also have The Sandwich Cake.
We’re unsure of the exact origins, but suspect it may have come over from the States in the early sixties when housewives made similar ‘cakes’ for their cocktail parties. Someone must have brought it back to Scandinavia, and voila, it took hold and never went away. In all our obsession with rye bread and crisp bread, using soft white sandwich bread was – and is – seen as a huge treat. So, the Smörgåstårta became synonymous with birthdays and big celebrations and times to indulge.
If you google Smörgåstårta, you will see a variation of monstrosities. Eighties creations that would make any Sundsval housewife from 1984 weep with pride. Still today, this is what they look like – some with seafood, some with ham, cheese, pate, tuna and anything else you can think of. Smothered in mayonnaise and then decorated with twirly bits of cucumber and the odd radish rose.
In recent years, many have tried to make the Sandwich Cake look a bit more current – but it is hard: You don’t want to play too much with tradition, but also, you don’t want to start bringing back hair scrunchies, Miami Vice and Melanie Griffith. It’s a fine balance.
Since our Bronte showed off one of our sandwich Cakes on Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch last year, we had a lots of request for the recipe. So, here goes: There is no recipe. You make it up as you go along. But, to please you all, here is the recipe for the one we showed on the TV show. Just remember: You can make it any way you like – any shape, any size – just adapt the recipe to fit your party.
A few things to note and adhere to:
– White bread works well. You can also use wholemeal, but hey, why go wholemeal with a mayo cake? Rye bread does not work well.
– Butter the bread still, it will create a barrier and avoid it all going too soggy
– make the base the day before, then decorate on the day.
– Keep the layers tasty – although some people put both ham and prawns in one, it doesn’t taste nice. Keep it classic – we love seafood salad with salmon, for example, and egg.
– Make it on the tray you plan to serve it on – don’t try to move it once done.
– Plan to serve other things along side it – or else it gets too heavy. It’s a nice addition to a buffet with some salads and other bits.
June 9, 2019 | Leave a comment
June 6, 2019 | Leave a comment
You think you can be Swedish? We’ll give you a helping hand. Here’s the ScandiKitchen guide to basic Swedishness.
Everything is balance. Not too much, not too little: just right. Don’t be flashy, but don’t be too frugal either. From now on, you like semi-skimmed milk. Not too fatty, not too lean. From the car you drive, to the house you live in to the clothes you wear; everything from now on is comfortable shade of lagom.
Sweden is the BEST
When someone non-Swedish says anything about anything, just reply: “In Sweden, we have that, except ours is better”.
Your friend: “Oh, taste these lovely British chocolates that I just bought”.
You: :We have the same sort in Sweden, too, except our chocolate is lingonberry/liquorice/dill flavoured. And better. Also, have you SEEN our nature? Better.”
Perfect your cheese slicing
If you make a ski slope on your cheese, you will never be Swedish. Always use the correct slicer and always keep your massive block of cheese level. Also, only buy blocks of cheese that are the size of your own head.
Remove those shoes
Every time you enter someone’s house, remove your shoes. Also when you enter your own house. Tell your guests to remove their shoes, too. Nobody is wearing shoes indoors from now on.
A lot of coffee. Go for the strong filter that keeps you going like an old Volvo. Whenever you think you’ve had enough coffee, just add one more cup. The more coffee, the Swedish’er. No milk (what are you, Danish?!)
Breakfast like a Swede
It’s a ritual: Bread (ideally, the crispy stuff), add boiled egg, creamed cod roe. Top up with a lot of coffee. Drink a glass of milk. More coffee.
Sweden is closed
July is now when you holiday. All of it. Sweden is closed.
At least twice a day, stop what you are doing and go get another coffee. Sit down. Eat a bun. Talk to others who are doing the same. This is now something you do twice a day for the rest of your life. It’s called Fika. It’s a noun and a verb, so you can meet for a fika or you can fika with someone. You can even fika-date.
All the beautiful buns
Seeing as you’re now eating two buns a day, you need to make your own. Most Swedes bake buns at home. If you ever add any kind of icing on top of cinnamon buns, go back to Swedish School: you just lost the game.
Live like a Swede
Paint everything white (walls, doors, floors… everything). This is your canvas on which to express yourself. Add a few block colours, maybe some Billy bookcases or tastefully selected IKEA key pieces with names such as DalaBördiGurdiHolm or something (laugh at the fact that all things you step on in IKEA have Danish names). Add some cushions with tasteful Swedish patterns. Add candles everywhere, then add some more candles.
Eat like a Swede
Meatballs with mash and gravy is too stereotypical. Instead, the real Swedish the national dish: Kottbullar & Snabb Makroner.
SnabbMakroner is basically quick-cook pasta. Because real Swedes refuse to wait 8 minutes for pasta to cook, so they invented one that cooks in 3 (See point no 2). Add Köttbullar meatballs, squirt Felix Ketchup all over the plate and award yourself another 5 Swedish points.
Eat in the dark
Swedes know that eating in the dark is good. As darkness falls, light 20-30 candles and turn off all electric light (keep heating at 24 degrees, which is natural indoor Swedish temperature). This is to be referred to as ‘mysigt’, or ‘really cosy’. At any time where darkness falls, do this, especially when eating, even if you can’t see your quick cook pasta with ketchup.
Schedule your washing time.
It’s a Swedish thing, tvättstugatid, or ‘booked washing machine time’ – because if you live in an apartment in Sweden, you have shared laundry room. Feel more Swedish by doing this at home in England: just write a post-it note and stick it to your washing machine. Put all your clothes in a blue ikea bag, go to the machine at your allotted time and loudly sigh when you find your flatmate has rudely taken the machine because you pre-booked it. 3 points to you.
From now on, every time you need to leave your home, you need to check the titthål (door spy hole) first, in case there are neighbours outside. Neighbours mean small talk and you no longer wish to engage in this. Consider going to work at 5:00 and returning after 20:00.
Have a lot of days for things
Days when you can eat more cinnamon buns? No problem: 4th October. A day in spring when you have permission to stuff yourself silly with whipped cream buns? Yes, it’s Fat Tuesday. There are also a month for crayfish, days for chocolate cake and much more. Fill the calendar.
Announce pee-pee intentions
It’s a thing. At a board meeting? Stand up and confidently announce: “Jag måste kissa” (I need to pee), then leave the room and do not look the least bit embarrassed. You’ve just earned 5 Swedish points, my friend.
It’s Friday night. Your friends are going out. You’re not, because you’re doing
Cosy Friday (except now you call it Fredagsmys). This involves opening a large bag of dill crisps and making some dip mix, then you dip every crisp before eating. Don’t forget to do all this in darkness.
For extra Swedish points, start every Friday evening by eating Old el Paso tacos. Only ever do this on Fridays; tacos are only for Fridays.
It’s Saturday. From now on, you only eat sweets on Saturdays and you refer to it as Lördagsgodis: Saturday sweets (by definition, you then can’t eat it on other days). Stay in and watch things like På Spåret, which is the best game show on Swedish TV (except for Melodifestivalen). Don’t forget to tell everybody you hate Eurovision, but watch it anyway.
Anytime anyone says anything about football, realise you can’t really compete, but just add at the end of every sentence:
“We once had this guy called Zlatan. We didn’t even need a full team to win, we just used to send him”.
At any other given opportunity, explain the off side rule for handball or ice hockey into conversation.
Keep fit like a Swede
Two buns a day isn’t going to be guilt free, so take up any or all of the following:
Skiing, cross country skiing, walking, hill walking, stick walking, Nordic walking, stick Nordic walking, dog walking, walking Nordic dogs with sticks… Or anything that requires you to go outside and get rosy cheeks and fresh air. During these outdoor pursuits, do not engage in conversation with strangers, other than a quick ‘hej’’ grunt. Always make sure you wear a mössa, a woolly hat.
How to Queue
At bus stops, ensure at least 1 ½ safety metres between you and the closest stranger to you. Do not make conversation (not even about the weather). Ask your local shop to re-install the ticket queuing machines that went out of fashion here in 1987 – because Swedes need these so they don’t have to stand in line (see issue with bus stop queuing and safety metres). See point 2, if in doubt of this particular practice.
Congratulations: you are now a bit more Swedish.
June 5, 2019 | Leave a comment
Meet up space: London Pride 2019
May 10, 2019 | Leave a comment
Every year, we make a Eurovision Bingo card for you to play along on the big day (18th May).
We watch the clips, listen to the songs and make our best guess about what may come up on the night.
You can follow our live tweeting on Twitter (@scanditwitchen). (If we go quiet, it simply means we’ve overdone the Pina Colada. But we’ll try to help call out the Bingos as they happen).
Want printed cards? We will be giving them out in the cafe from Tuesday-Saturday this coming week – pop by and grab yours. We’re just six min walk from Oxford Circus in London (61 Great Titchfield St, London W1W 7PP)
Every summer, we import a selection of our favourite ice creams from Scandinavia.
You can get these at the cafe, whilst stock last (arriving Tuesday 14th May 2019 – although the Piggelin is coming a week later).
Our ultimate favourite? It has to be the salty liquorice ‘Salmiakki’ one – what’s not to love? Well, okay, if you like salty liquorice, that is.
May 3, 2019 | Leave a comment
As all Norwegians know: everyone else just wishes they were Norwegian. (Yes, even you, Swedes and Danes. You know you want to, deep down).
So, here is a handy guide on how and what to do if you want to be more like the Norwegians.
1 Own at least one Norwegian flag. Ideally, have a drawer full of flags. In fact, the more flags you own, the more Norwegian you are. Stick little flags in all your food, too.
2 Norwegians are born with skis already on their feet. Uncomfortable for the mothers, but useful once they learn to stand up and navigate down snow covered mountains. If you can’t ski, don’t move to Norway.
3 Own at least one hi-tech brightly coloured jacket to protect you from the elements. Wear this jacket every day, in any weather. Norwegians refer to such jackets as “All Weather Jackets” (allværsjakke). These are extremely practical, if a little bright. Yes, people on the moon can also see you.
4 When having a conversation, about anything, make sure to say ‘ikke sant’ a lot. It’s a bit like English speakers using ‘right’. Depending on your intonation, ‘ikke sant’ can mean a range of different things, including but not limited to:
(illustration: Jenny K Blake)
5 Say Yes in English (but spell it jess).
6 Say ‘Ja’ (yes) on the inhale.
7 Never, ever, admit to a Swede being better than a Norwegian at anything. ANYTHING. Especially not skiing. Sweden will never be better than Norway at anything (apart from the price of everything -but of that you shall never speak openly).
(Footnote: Denmark will never be better than Norway at anything. Apart from its easy availability of booze, which you can talk about).
8. If you live close to the Swedish border, drive across the border on meat-safari (fleskesafari). This is because everything is cheaper in Sweden, especially meat. Also known as a Harry-Tur (Harry trip).
9 You will realise there is a sausage for every occasion. It’s called Pølse. Travelling by train? Have a pølse. In the airport? Have a pølse. Watching the footy? Have a pølse. Celebrating the day Norway got its own constitution? Pølse.
Depending on your mood, you can either have it in a hotdog bun (novice) or be really Norwegian and stick it in a potato pancake called Lompe.
10 If a Swede beats a Norwegian at skiing it is always because of ‘Smørekrise’ (the way the skis are prepped, depending on conditions). It has nothing to do with the athletes themselves – only the faulty way in which the skis were prepared. Probably by a Swede.
11 Extra proud Norwegians own a National Costume. It’s called a Bunad. It’s made from wool and it’s itchy and heavy. It will keep you warm should it snow on National Day.
Usually given to people when they’re around 13-14 years old, these cost thousands of £ and for this reason, you would be better off not changing your size for the decades, until you can afford a new one.
12 Own at least one practical rucksack – and use it every day. It goes very well with your All Weather Jacket (see point 3).
13 If someone asks you how you are, you must be honest – and in great detail. Having a rubbish time? Elaborate on this – and do not under any circumstances try to make it less awkward.
14 Always bring a matpakke (packed lunch) when you leave the house. These little open sandwiches must be separated by little greaseproof pieces of paper that makes the cheese extra sweaty after a few hours in your backpack. Adventurous toppings need not apply: sweaty cheese, salami, maybe a bit of pate with one slice of cucumber (soggy).
The special piece of paper even has a name: middle-layering-paper.
15 Wear cool jumpers. Perfect for occasions such as being in temperatures of -20, Eurovision, fishing and crossing the border to acquire meat. Caution: Itchy.
16 In autumn, winter, summer and Easter time, never ever go hiking without a Kvikklunsj chocolate bar in your bag. You must also bring one whole orange.
17 Avoid looking directly at your fellow citizens in all urban areas. That includes pavements, public transport and inside shops. Always keep a safe distance of at least 1 metre at bus stops.
If a stranger smiles at you on the street (or other urban areas) assume they are drunk or crazy. Look away immediately and do not engage.
18 When out on a hike, remember to say Hei hei to everyone. Just briefly, but this is when rule no. 17 does not apply.
19 Eat tacos every Friday. Yes, every Friday. The tex mex stuff in boxes you mix with real meat and then you do TacoFredag. Add cucumber, that essential Mexican ingredient.
20 As a Norwegian, you know the only true pizza is a Grandiosa frozen pizza. Love.
21 Go to your cabin – Dra på hytta – every weekend. Sure, you’ll spend 4 hours in your car each way to get there, but go, you must. If you don’t have a cabin near a fjord, go to your garden shed. Use motivating sentences such as ‘Ut på tur, aldri sur’ (literally: ‘out on a hike, never angry’).
22. Eat boiled sheep’s head, dried lamb sticks or cod preserved in lye.
And fermented trout – that you should also be down with.
23 Eat brunost. Enthuse about brunost. Live the brown cheese life.
Brown cheese. It’s the food of the gods, the cheese of the people. It’s made from goat’s milk and it looks like Plastacine and tastes of caramel. You put it on waffles. What’s not to love?
24. Eat waffles, loads of waffles. These must be made in a special heart-shaped waffle maker. Ensure that in your fridge you have ready-to-waffle mixture in a jug (at all times).
Top waffles with brown goat’s cheese or jam with sour cream. Or all three things, why not? Even more Norwegian-ness right there.
25 As soon as the sun comes out, run outside and smile yourself silly. Have utepils. Do not, under any circumstances, stay inside on a sunny day.
26 Utepils is any beer that is drunk, sitting outside – literally ‘outside-beer’. From now on, your life revolves around the possibility of Utepils.
27 .Every summer, you must travel to Syden and get a sunburn.
Syden means ‘the south’ – and means anywhere south of your home town (but usually excludes Scandinavia).
28 Drink a lot of coffee. And milk. A glass of milk with every meal for extra Norwegian-ness.
29 Always say Takk for maten (thanks for the food) after food, or mamma will be most upset. Every meal, every time.
30 Celebrate Norway’s national day on 17th May. No exceptions, no matter where you are in the world.
You are proud of Norway. The 17th May is the most important day of the year, better than Christmas, birthday and Eurovision put together. The Norwegian Constitution Day is a day celebrated by all Norwegians and Norgesvenner.
Get up, eat Norwegian food, wear a bunad (see above), sing songs about how much you love Norway. Wave flags around a lot. Ice cream. Waffles (see above). Brown cheese (see above). Repeat. Follow with alcohol (possibly purchased in Sweden). Forget how you got home, but wake up loving Norway even more than you did before.
Happy 17th May.