Across Sweden and Norway – and sometimes in Denmark – saffron is used as a Christmas spice. For most, saffron is a spice for savoury, but we always tend to use it for sweet. To us, the scent of saffron often reminds us that Christmas is coming.To make Scandinavian waffles, you need a waffle iron. We use the heart shaped one – but you can, of course, use any that you like, although the yield will change.If you can’t be bothered making the clementine syrup of almond cream, you can just use normal whipped cream instead.
2smallclementinesfinely peeled, or similar and slice.
Turn on the waffle iron to heat up.
Mix all the ingredients together to a smooth batter.
Brush the waffle iron with a little bit of butter then add a ladle full of batter. Leave to cook until golden brown and crispy, remove and serve immediately.
For the almond cream
It’s a bit of a faff to make but it tastes really nice.
Using a whisk, whisk almonds and sugars with the custard. Add extract if you feel it needs a punchier taste. Whisk until smooth then add cream and whisk until spoonable. Add vanilla to taste.
For the sugar clementines
Finely peel 2 small clementines (or similar) and slice.
In a saucepan, add 100ml water and 100ml (not grams) sugar and bring to fast boil. When the sugar has melted completely and has started to form a syrup, take of the heat and add the clementines (it can take quite a while on full heat to get to syrup stage)
Serve waffles immediately out of waffle iron with a dollop of cream and the clementine.
We Nordics know a thing or two about living in darkness, you know. Here’s a handy guide to how to get through it.
The Scandinavian winter is harsh on outsiders. Think snow, ice, more snow, storms, then utter darkness… From around October until March, things are pretty bleak, even in the southern Denmark. Some may think it is tough to be all the way up in the icy north, but actually, at times, the sleet and constant grey of Copenhagen aren’t much fun either. With everything smothered in some sort of permanent dark hue, Scandinavians have had to find ways to cope. Winter is long when it lasts five months, no matter what angle you look at it.
Step one is accepting there will be no daylight to speak of. Because even when it is not actually dark, it’s just grey and sleety. Is sleety even a word? It should be. In some place, it sleets and rains horizontally (looking at you, Gothenburg) which can be depressing. But snow itself is not so bad, because snow reflects – and it lights up the sky a bit. The real downer is the sleet and rain.
Knowing in advance it will be dark means you can prevent the winter sadness setting in. The symptoms are fatigue, lethargy, depression and not wanting to do anything, least of all to be with other people. Accept it – and make a plan to surf those winter waves instead of trying to stop them.
There is always safety in numbers – so huddle up like penguins. Make plans to occupy the dark evenings with your other penguins and don’t be all alone. Make plans to do stuff – even if it’s just for an hour after work. Do Yoga, join a brass band or paint still life. Anything. We’re all in this together and it’s fine to discuss the weather for about an hour a da: it really helps.
Plan your weekends around long walks, hikes and – if there’s no ice – maybe some good bike rides. Go for snow runs or just runs in the forest or around the lakes. Play sports. Move your body. Walk to work, even if it’s dark. Take a walk in your lunch break. Make sure you don’t stop going to the gym or your brass band practice – all of these things help release good feelings in your body and brain and will carry you through the dark times. A good, brisk walk will energise you beyond belief if you are feeling down – and it will kick winter-sadness right in the nuts. Scandinavians spend a lot of time outdoors all year round, especially in the winter. Why do you think we’re so good at skiing? *
*note: This does not apply to Danes. They are (generally) rubbish at skiing. Possibly due to a lack of 1) mountains and 2) proper snow.
Follow the sun
Make sure you get enough exposure to sunlight. Use your weekend daylight hours – don’t waste them – and make sure you take a lunch break during the week and get outside, eve for 15 minutes while its light. Don’t neglect this.
Hygge and cosy up
At home, add candles. And lots of small lamps everywhere to create that all-important atmosphere of hygge. Create your space with stuff that makes you happy. You can practise your tuba here, if you want to. Or watch re-runs of The Bridge, spend time with the family, eat hearty food and be nice to your self by going to bed early once in a while.
Eat good stuff
When feeling low it’s natural to reach for the crisps. If you are Scandinavian, you will know that crisps are only allowed on Friday evenings and sweets are for Saturdays, so try to eat well the other days of the week. As there is not much in terms of fresh local produce around, stick to the good staples and lots of smoked and pickled fish and veg. The mantra: “Carrots will help me see in the dark” might work for you on a whole different level.
If the clocks changing marks the start of the winter, let Christmas be the first milestone you look towards. It’s impossible not to be drawn into the excitement of it all – the candles, the hygge, the niceness of everything. After Christmas, look towards the Lent season, full of cream cakes. Then it’s Easter and you can look forward to the last skiing of the year. And so we’re all done and it’s almost Midsummer. See? It wasn’t that bad, was it?
You only need a little light to break the darkness
The darkness becomes almost magical when the streetlights are on all the time and all the houses have lights outside and in the windows 24/7. Towns flicker in lights all day and all night. Don’t be scared of the dark, because after dark comes light. And in darkness, all light burns that much brighter and stronger. Scandinavian winter is a gentle giant that will carry you through, if you let it – and allow you to reconnect with the other penguins in your life. Embrace it – accept it – and make the best of it.
Who are we kidding? If you truly hate it, nothing is going to help on this front. You will forever be someone who looks like this when offers a delicious salmiakki treat.
Why do Scandinavians love salty liquorice so much?
It’s not actual salt, you know. It’s liquorice and salty notes – together. None of that sweet liquorice stuff.
Back in the really olden days, a strong salty flavour was added to medicine in Finland. Some people developed a liking to it so they started making it into sweets. On top of this, we Viking stock have a natural love of salt – a lot of our foods for centuries have been preserved in salt through the long winters.
Is it really actual salt in the liquorice, then?
Nope, it’s called Ammonium Chloride. The Finns call is Salmiakki, which sounds entirely more palatable (and marketable) than Ammonium Chloride.
Is it bad for me?
Well, depends who you ask. In the EU and many other countries, the concentration of Ammonium Chloride we put in our sweets is simply not allowed in foods. The Nordic countries have a special permission to add what we like. Maybe the EU were scared of some sorted of Salmiexitif they didn’t allow us our Salmiakki and our Snus. Never try to separate a Scandinavian from his liquorice.
Who should not eat Salmiakki?
It can make your blood pressure spike, so people with high blood pressure should definitely stay off it. Also not advised for pregnant ladies or small kids (although, try telling that to Nordic kids…)
Does it have any health benefits?
Liquorice root is said to reduce gastric inflammation and even help reduce stress. In terms of other benefits, if you eat a lot of super salty liquorice, Scandinavian people think you are really cool (Maybe).
Is it strong like Chilli? Spicy?
No, not at all. Liquorice is sort of the 6th flavour sense: it’s unlike anything else.
How do you learn to eat it?
Nordic kids start young. Most, by the time they are teenagers, can handle the super strong stuff.
If you’re an adult and absolutely want to like it, start with mild ones and keep eating a few pieces a day. Eventually (months?), you’ll find your taste for it. Then there will be no going back.
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.
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.
Cafe Hygge: Join Live & Bronte for an evening of festive treats 30th October 2018
Join us for an evening of mingling and festive tastings. This happens on 30th October 2018 at our cafe in central London. the event is free, but you must sing up before so we can manage the numbers.
Live Sørdal, the café manager at ScandiKitchen and Bronte Aurell, owner and author, will be around all evening to chit chat and serve up lots of lovely tasters of Scandi products (including Christmas products). There will be glögg for everyone – including tasting of the annual Blossa glögg with Limoncello flavour.
Bronte is around to help with recipe questions, Scandi food questions and questions about all things Scandi Christmas. We will of course have all her books, too (including the new ScandiKitchen Christmas Book).
Jams and pickles
On top of this, there is a 10% discount on any retail purchases on the night (excludes alcohol)
There will be wine and beer to purchase on the night.
Read on, even if you did put clean undies on this morning: This is important.
Every year, for a month, we collect money at ScandiKitchen café to buy a whole load of underpants.
You see, as the nights get longer and colder, the homeless on the streets of London have an even tougher time than normal. While people are good at donating coats and scarves, trousers and jumpers, nobody ever donates underpants and socks. For good reasons too, mind you, but that doesn’t make the need for these items any less. We all need clean pants and socks. While we may smile and joke about the need for underpants, the fact remains: if you’re down and out, trying your hardest just to get through the night, feeling warm and comfortable all the way through suddenly means that much more.
Helle is a lovely Danish lady, living in West London. Every autumn she changes her name to “The Pants Lady” and starts asking people to send her (new) socks and (new) underpants. She does this tirelessly for months. The main shelter she works with is the The Shelter Project Hounslow for men (registered charity) (but excess pants and socks are distributed throughout other shelters in the capital, too).
Here’s a message from Helle:
‘This will be the 7th season of The Shelter Project Hounslow (TSPH). We always receive plenty of 2nd hand clothing but never – for good reason – any underpants or socks. And homeless men need that too, so some years ago I started collecting via friends, on Facebook, via Scandinavian Kitchen (where staff gave up their tip jar to collect pounds for pants). I wasn’t quite sure how men I don’t know would react to a crazy lady handing them pants and socks at the shelter though… These are proud, clever men from a range of backgrounds and cultures who for various reasons have ended up on the street. And here I was – with my bulging bags of smalls – a change of pants, while they try to change their lives.
The men would arrive at the shelter for the night and once settled in and warmed up, I’d drag one or 2 aside and hand them pants. Discreetly, quietly… Fast forward a couple of winter shelter weeks: The guys would arrive, sometimes with a new homeless guest in tow. Once the new guest was settled in, they’d drag him over to me saying: “You’ve got to meet PantsLady – she’ll sort you out.” And so literally hundreds of pairs of pants were handed out over 4 months. Each time, I’d often have to explain that there was no charge for pants. They were free, new, clean and donated by strangers. It’s “only pants and socks” – it’s never going to change anyone’s life, but it broke an often down cast atmosphere of hopelessness, loneliness and homelessness for these guys. It made a difference and it’ll make a difference again this year. It’s only pants and socks, but everyone deserves a clean pair.’
We’ll be collecting for underpants at the café from Monday onwards for a month. We call it ‘A pound for pants’ because we can get a pair of pants for a quid (in some shops). Pop your change in the box by the till – the staff give up their tips and we (ScandiKitchen) match pound for pound what is put into the box.
You can also mail or deliver your (new, wrapped) underpants to us and we’ll make sure they get to the Shelter
Post [NEW only] underpants to:
ScandiKitchen Underpants Appeal,
61 Great Titchfield Street,
London W1W 7PP.
If you have any questions for Helle the Pants Lady, you can contact her on this email: PantsLady@virginmedia.com.
Thank you for supporting this cause
Bye for now
The Kitchen People
Ps please don’t send us used pants. Only new ones. Thank you.
Okay, so, after a long time, we finally wrote the Finnish one (Find the Danish, Swedish and Norwegian ones here).
Actually, our Nanja wrote it and she is very Finnish… so blame her if it’s all wrong. You’ll find her in the store down the road, queuing for free buckets.
Add your own ‘How to be more Finnish’ in comments below.
Mind the personal space. Finns like to keep a good 2 metre gap between them and the next person. Try and get closer, you may quickly notice Finns back away. Respect the space. Kiitos!
Do not talk to strangers. While the general rule in Finland is to avoid human interaction entirely where possible, this especially applies to actual strangers. Never sit next to a stranger on a bus as this might result to having to speak to them (A Finn will probably miss his stop on purpose just to avoid the conversation).
Do not make eye contact. If you have to talk to a stranger, at least make sure not to make eye contact. Look down at your shoes when speaking to someone. If you are particularly extroverted, you may look at the other person’s shoes when speaking to them.
Remember that Finns are better than Swedes at everything. Especially ice hockey (Blame the Russians for everything else)
Take your shoes off when entering a house. Every Finnish home has a special little room to leave your shoes in and you will not be let in the house if you leave your shoes on.
Drink a lot of coffee, more than any other person on this planet. Drink the most. You need all the caffeine to avoid people. Drink it without milk and sugar. Shake your head at people who take milk in their coffee.
Give up phrases such as please and thank you. Instead of saying ‘Could I have the butter, please’ you can just go with ‘butter’.
Pick and mix is for Saturdays. Go to the old school DVD rental places to buy it as they have the best selection (even if they no longer have any DVDs and it feels a bit sad. Still, pick’n’mix)!
Always be punctual. Finns are never, ever late. Never. EVER.
Listen to heavy metal music. Even if you’re like, 6 years old. There is a heavy metal band for every age group in Finland.
Please note this is a Swede trying to imitate a Finnish drunk person. It is not at all funny (by the way, Sweden is rubbish at Ice hockey).
Only drink alcohol if you intend to get drunk. Why else would you do it?
Get passionate about free buckets. Occasionally big Finnish companies might offer free buckets with purchases – and during occasions like this you can spot big queues outside the stores. Finns really love free buckets. It’s a thing in Finland. Buckets. Free buckets.
Zero degrees outside is acceptable t-shirt weather. After all, the Finnish summer only lasts for a day, so every opportunity wasted it a possible summer gone.
Have a sauna at least once a week. In the sauna that is already built in to your own house, social club or the local Burger King. You must be naked in a sauna and observe Sauna rules at all times. Sauna is sacred time.
Have sisu. Finns have a lot of sisu and it’s defined as being a mix of bravery, stubbornness, determination and resilience. Sisu means get up and stop whining when you have been beaten to the ground. Get up, stop whining and GET IT DONE.
Only with good sisu will you actually survive a winter in Finland.
Always use a cheese slicer. Never, ever a knife. NEVER.
Partake in sports such as Swamp Soccer, Wife Carrying, Ant Nest Sitting competitions and more. All in a day of fun for Finns (note: always beat Sweden, no matter what sport).
Treat everyone as an equal. Even the Finnish president has to clear his driveway of snow by himself.
The Nordic Law of Jante applies to Finns too. Never accepts compliments and do not be visibly proud of your achievements. Fit in with the group and do not challenge it.
Get extremely overly excited when Finland is mentioned internationally, for any reason, especially positive ones.
Only cross the road when the light is green – even if there’s no cars around. Nobody jay-walks.
Make all foreigners try really salty liquorice. Because this is where the fun in life can really be found.
Technically a little challenging the first few times you make these, but well worth the effort, these little pancake balls are super delicious and fun to make.Danes love eating Æbleskiver on Sundays in advent and all through December - this recipe is from Bronte Aurell's cookbook 'Fika & Hygge' (Alternatively, we stock ready made ones in the cafe during Christmas season, so pop by and grab a bag or two).You can vary your pancake balls as you see fit - we've made them with saffron, chocolate sauce, savoury (Noma famously used to make one with a little fish sticking out of them)... But these are the most traditional version.
You need: an 'æbleskive' panJapanese takoyaki pan. If you use a frying pan, they will look like mini pancakes instead. You can get basic pans on Amazon.
Mix together the egg yolks, buttermilk, double cream and vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, sift together all the dry ingredients including the cardamom.
In another clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff using a handheld electric whisk on high speed.
Add the egg and cream mixture to the dry ingredients, then carefully fold in the beaten egg whites and lemon zest. Leave to rest for 30 minutes in the refrigerator before using.
Place the pan over high heat to warm through and add a little melted butter to the pan to stop the pancakes from sticking. If you are using an æbleskive pan, carefully add enough batter to each hole so that it reaches about 0.25 cm from the top. If you are using a normal frying pan, add spoonfuls of batter as you would if making normal small pancakes. Leave to cook for a few minutes until the edges become firm then, using a fork or knitting needle (knitting needle is easier!), gently turn the pancakes over to cook on the other side. If you have filled the holes too much, this can be tricky – you’ll get the hang of it after a few.
Once browned on both sides (3–4 minutes per batch), keep the cooked æbleskiver warm in the oven until you have finished frying.
Serve dusted with icing sugar and a little pot of raspberry jam for dipping.
To celebrate the launch of our new ScandiKitchen Christmas Cookbook (out October 2018), we’re giving a way the full set of our Cookbooks: ‘The ScandiKitchen’, ‘Fika & Hygge’, ‘Summer’ and ‘Christmas’.
Our four cookbooks, all published by Ryland, Peter and Small, cover traditional Mamma-cooking from all over Scandinavia. With the full set of cookbooks, you’ll be able to whip up anything from open sandwiches, rye bread, meatballs, Danish pastries, cinnamon buns in many varieties, semlor, salads and much more.
A winner will be picked from all the correct entries where the e-mail address is also signed up to our mailing list (if you’re already on there, no need to re-subscribe).
Terms: One winner, one prize, no alternative prize (one of each book, no changes), UK addresses only (although we can ship to EU countries, but winner pays the difference in postage to a UK address by arrangement). No cash value. We reserve the right to end competition at any time. Winner picked at random. Judges decision is final. Winner must be on our mailing list and have answered the question correctly. By signing up to our mailing list you agree to receive communication from ScandiKitchen Ltd. Your address will never be shared with third parties. Usual other terms also apply. Phew, that was a lot! Really, just don’t cheat; nobody likes a cheater.
At Christmas time we get really, really busy. Our Bronte especially, as she often ends up in the café, writing down festive recipes for homesick people on pieces of till roll. It is that time of year when people want to know just how Mamma used to make the rice pudding and how Granddad used to cook the Christmas ham.
So, Bronte decided that her 6th book should be a book about Christmas. It also happens to be her favourite time of the year. A book takes quite some time to write, which sneakily meant that Bronte’s Christmas last year started in November and ended in mid February. By this time, her kids were going bananas due to all the festive music and tinsel still present in her little kitchen in Queens Park: “I needed the inspiration” she reasoned. Really, she just loves Christmas and relished being able to drag it out.
What’s in the book? It is split into different sections:
It is always hard to make decisions on what to include, so Bronte decided to take the lead of all the wonderful people who follow us on social media and asked what recipes they most often have to go look for – as well as how often she gets asked for specific recipes in the café.
Here’s a sneak peak of the introduction (click on the image to get a readable version):