Q

Our favourite Nordic idioms

February 7, 2019 | Leave a comment

Quite a few years ago we wrote a list of our favourite sayings and idioms. It was very popular and since then, we have added a lot to the list, so we thought we’d share it.

If you’re here because you miss your Nordic roots (or know someone who does)? Check out our big selection of Cure for Homesickness hampers or browse our best selling sweets for your next fix of Fazer liquorice, Freia chocolate or Marabou munchies?

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Enjoy!

Feel free to comment below of any extras we have forgotten….


  • That’s life when the skirt is striped (Sånt är livet när kjolen är randig). (Swedish) Meaning: Such is life.
  • If a Swede says “something landed between two chairs” he means that something has been forgotten and nobody is taking responsibility for it.
  • The Finns don’t “get diarrhoea”… they “have poop flying out of their bums like flocks of sparrows” (paska lentää kuin varpusparvi).
  • If a Dane says “Taking the bus is the sausage of dearth” (“Det er dødens pølse at tage bussen”) he simply means it’s boring or annoying. “Sausage of death” is everything trivial.
  • If there’s room in heart there’s room for the arse (Finns det hjärterum så finns det stjärterum) (Swedish saying) Meaning: Everybody can fit in here).
  • If someone is caught with your beard in the mailbox (Skägget i brevlådan) (Danish, Norwegian, Swedish) Meaning: “To be caught with your pants down.”

  • If someone ‘slides in on a prawn sandwich’ in Sweden (“Glida in på en räkmacka”) it means someone who didn’t have to work to get where they are in life.
  • In Finland, if someone is “like a bear shot in the ass” (kuin perseeseen ammuttu karhu), it means they are cranky.
  • In Iceland, they don’t say “I’ll get my revenge”, instead they’ll say ‘I’ll find you at the beach’ (Ég mun finna þig í fjöru).
  • Made a fool of yourself? In Norway, you say that you “shat on your leg” (Nå har du bæsjet på leggen).

  • I suspect there are owls in the bog (Jeg aner ugler I mosen) (a versatile saying used in Danish, Swedish and Norwegian). Meaning: Something fishy is going on.
  • In Denmark, if something is really expensive, you can say ‘it costs the white bits out of the eyes’ (det koster det hvide ud af øjnene).
  • If a Dane tells you he is ‘angry in the garbage’ (gal i skralden) he means to tell you he is furious.
  • If a Swede tells you to go to the forest, he is telling you to get lost (Dra åt skogen).
  • If a Dane makes a mental note of something, he ‘writes it behind the ear’ (at skrive noget bag øret).
  • If you’re sitting in meeting with some Danes and one of them says that everything has gone to goat (gå I ged), they are merely trying to explain that it fell through (or failed), as in “that project went to goat”.

  • If a Swede says he is going to ‘throw a goat’s eye at it’, it means he’ll have a quick glance at something (att kasta ett getöga).
  • Some people in Norway mighty say you have ‘pooped in the drawer’ if you have been caught out in a difficult situation (Å bæsje i skuffen).
  • In Sweden, if a person looks like he’s sold all the butter and lost all the money (Ha sålt smöret och tappat pengarna), it means he looks both sad and guilty at the same time.
  • If a Finn tells you that you are “shooting flies with a cannon” he simply means to tell you that you are overcomplicating things, putting a lot of effort into achieving something impossible (ampua tykillä kärpäsiä).
  • If an Icelandic accuses you of Jumping onto your own nose (Að stökkva upp á nef sér), they mean to tell you that you get angry and worked up too quickly.
  • If a Finn tells you ‘Let me show you where the chicken pees from’ (Näytän sulle, mistä kana pissii) he simply means “Let me show you how it’s done”.

  • A Danes might say he feels like an egg yolk (‘Jeg har det som blommen i et æg‘) which and he means that he feels comfort and fulfilment.
  • In Finland, instead of saying “And that’s that”, you say “And because… onion” (Ja sillä sipuli).
  • Swedish saying: “What is hidden in snow, is revealed at thaw” (Det som göms i snö, kommer fram vid tö). Meaning, things will be revealed, secrets will out.
  • A Dane might say “one more time for prince Knud” (en gang til for prins Knud) – this refers to the former king’s (Frederik IX) brother, who was known to need an explanation more than once.
  • If a Dane says he has his ass in the surface of the water (Røven i vandskorpen), it means things are not going that well.
  • The Finns don’t say something “fits well”… they say it “fits like a fist in the eye” (sopii kuin nyrkki silmään).
  • If a Dane tells you that you are ‘pouring water out of your ears’ (at hælde vand ud af ørerne), he means to tell you that you’re talking rubbish, of stuff of no importance, or just moaning a lot.
  • In Iceland, if someone tells you they are off to play chess with the pope (Að tefla við páfann) they are telling your they need to go for a number 2.

  • The Finns don’t say something “disappeared without trace”… they say it “vanished like a fart in Sahara” (kadota kuin pieru Saharaan).
  • If you see an Icelandic baby that is super cute and adorable, you can try telling the mother that you think her off spring is “just such a butthole” (rassgat). In Icelandic, this means you are praising the baby’s adorableness.
  • If a Dane tells you that you’re laughing like a torn pair of clogs, he means you are laughing out loud (grine som en flækket træsko).
  • In Finland if someone says: “The forest answers in the same way one shouts at it” (Niin metsä vastaa kuin sinne huudetaan), he means ‘what goes around, comes around’. The proverb refers to the echo from the treeline.
  • A Swede is not “dressed to the nines”… he is “dressed up to his teeth.” (Klädd up till tänderna).

  • In Finland, if someone isn’t quite that clever, a Finn might say “He doesn’t have all Moomin trolls in the valley” (Hänellä ei ole kaikki muumit laaksossa). Okay, its trolls, but Moomins sounds better.
  • If a Dane tells you he doesn’t have a red prawn (ikke en rød reje) it means he is skint.
  • “To step in the spinach” (At træde i spinaten) (Danish, Norwegian (although in Norway it’s salad instead of spinach!) Meaning: To make a mistake.
  • If a Swede thinks you are stupid he might say you “don’t have all the hens at home.” (Att ha alla hönsen hemma).
  • It’s blowing half a pelican (Det blæser en halv pelican) (Danish) Meaning: It’s really windy.
  • To be born behind a brown cheese (Født bak en brunost) (Norwegian) – Meaning: the person is a bit slow.
  • In Denmark, when someone hurries up, he ‘takes his legs on the back of his neck’ (Han tager benene på nakken’.

  • If a Dane is ‘pulling cod fish to the shore’ (at trække torsk I land) it means he is snoring VERY loudly.
  • In Swedish, you don’t say ‘Speak of the devil’, instead you say “Speak of the troll and he appears on the porch” (När man talar om trollen så står de i farstun).
  • If a Swede says “Now shame walks on dry land” (Nu går skam på torra land’ ) it means immorality has taken over and you cant do anything to stop it.
  • If a Dane tells you that you are earthing-up potatoes (hyppe kartofter), it means you are pushing your own agenda too much.
  • In Iceland, they don’t say “I’ll get my revenge”, instead they’ll say ‘I’ll find you at the beach’ (Ég mun finna þig í fjöru)
  • Pretend that it’s raining (‘Låtsas som att det regnar’) (Swedish) – Meaning: To act normally, so as not to attract any attention.
  • Let me show you where a chicken pees from (Näytän sulle, mistä kana pissii) (Finnish) Meaning: ‘Let me show you how it’s done’.
  • In Scandinavia, we don’t have a bone to pick with people – instead, we have a hen to pluck with you (Jeg har en høne å plukke med deg / I have a hen to pluck with you).

  • If a Dane is ‘standing like herring in a barrel’, it means he’s feeling a bit squashed (Stå som sild i en tønde).
  • In Norway and Denmark, if you make cabbage of something (å gjøre kål på), it means you are ending something, even maybe destroying it. For example: “We made cabbage of all those leftovers in the fridge” or even “She made cabbage out of him.
  • I’m cold in the ass (Jeg er kold i røven) (Danish) – Meaning: I don’t care.
  • Go where the pepper grows (Dra dit pepparn gror) (Swedish) Meaning: Go to hell.
  • In Finland, you don’t dip your toe to test the water. Instead, you test the ice with a stick (kokeilla kepillä jäätä).
  • If a Norwegian ‘has blood on his teeth’ (Å få blod på tannen) it means he’s inspired to do something.
  • Even small saucepans have ears (Även små grytor har öron) (Swedish, Danish) Meaning: the kids might hear.
  • There is a dog buried here (Det ligger en hund begraven här)(Swedish, Danish, Norwegian) Meaning: there’s something fishy going on.
  • If a Finnish person tell you it’s “like the snow of last winter”, he means it’s “like water under the bridge” (Menneen talven lumia).
  • A Swede doesn’t “beat around the bush”… he “walks like the cat around hot porridge.” (Gå som katten kring het gröt).
  • Hello jump in the blueberry forest! (Hej hopp i blåbärsskogen!) (Swedish) Meaning: A cheerful expression to be used when you are a bit surprised.
  • In Norway, if you float using your own body fat (flyte på flesket), it means you rely on own experience or resources. As in “You can float on your own body fat now, you really know this project”.
  • If a Dane is laying his head in water (at lægge hovedet i blød) it means he’ll think something over really hard.
  • If someone is arrogant and full of oneself, in Norwegian you can say “he’s high on the pear” (‘Høy på pæren’) – as in ‘Stop being so high on the pear, now..’
  • Your own cow is in the ditch ( Oma lehmä ojassa) (Finnish). – Meaning: Someone has an ulterior selfish motive behind an action.
  • A Danes doesn’t kill two birds with one stone; instead he ‘kills two flies with one swat’.

  • In Sweden, there is a classic idiom: “Everyone knows the monkey, but the monkey knows no-one.” (alla känner apan, apan känner ingen). It sort of means don’t think you’re popular just because you’re known to others. That everybody notices the one who sticks out, but he knows nobody.
  • To put onion on the salmon (Att lägga lök på laxen) (Swedish)- Meaning: To make things even worse…
  • To poop on your calf (Bæsje på leggen) (Norwegian) – Meaning: Make a mistake.
  • In Iceland, instead of saying ‘Let’s go’ or ‘Carry on’, people will say “On with the butter!” (Áfram með smjörið).
  • If something in Danish goes completely wrong, Danes will say ‘it has gone completely to fish” (gå helt i fisk).

  • Now you have shat in the blue cupboard! (Nu har du skitit i det blå skåpet) (Swedish) – Meaning: When you really have made a fool out of yourself.
  • Not for all the butter in Småland (Inte för allt smör i hela Småland) (Sweden) -Meaning: Equivalent to the English expression: “Not for all the tea in China”.
  • To swallow some camels (Å svelge noen kameler) (Norwegian) – Meaning: to give in.
  • Almost and close to doesn’t knock a man off his horse (Ligeved og næsten slår ingen mand af hæsten)(Danish) – Equivalent to the English saying: “Close, but no cigar”.
  • To be in the middle of the butter eye [melting in the porridge] (Å være midt i smørøyet) (Norwegian, Danish) Meaning: to be in a very favourable place or situation.
  • To pace around hot porridge like a cat (kiertää kuin kissa kuumaa puuroa) (Finnish) – Meaning: To beat about the bush.
  • To be under the ice (Under isen) (Swedish) – Meaning: feeling a bit depressed.
  • To jump on the gluestick (at hoppe på limpinden (Danish) – Meaning: To take the bait.
  • No danger on the roof (Ingen fara på taket) (Swedish) Meaning: No worries.
  • He took his legs on the back of his neck (Han tog benene på nakken) (Danish) – Meaning: He hurried up.

  • There are no cows on the ice (Der er ingen ko på isen) (Swedish, Danish, Norwegian) – Meaning: Nothing to worry about. The full saying is “No cow on the ice when the back half is on the ground”.
  • In Norway, if someone ‘smiles in the beard’ it means they are chuckling quietly about past events (Å smile i skjegget).
  • If a Scandinavian tells you that someone has ‘a good nasal bone’, they are merely trying to say that the person is strong and determined (at have ben i næsen).
  • If an Icelandic tells you that it “isn’t enough to fill a Cat’s nostril”, it means it is very small. (Ekki upp í nös á ketti).
  • If a Norwegian tells you that he is speaking directly from the liver, he simply means to tell you he’s telling the truth. As in “I’m telling you, straight from the liver, I love you!” (Å snake rett fra leveren).
  • In Danish, if you ‘pass the monkey on’ (at sende aben videre) it means you’re passing on a problem to someone else.
  • If an Icelandic or Danish person tells you ‘that something is the raisin at the end of the sausage (Það er rúsínan í pylsuendanum/rosinen i pølsenden), it means there is an unexpected good surprise at the end of something.
  • If a Swede says ‘Pretend it’s raining’ he simply means act normally, so as not to attract any attention (Låtsas som att det regnar).
  • In Sweden, if someone tells you that “Now the boiled pork is fried” (Nu är det kokta fläsket stekt), what they are really saying is ‘now things are really, really bad’.
  • If an Icelandic person tells you that peeing in your shoes will only keep you warm for a short while, he simply means to tell you short term solutions don’t often work (Það er skammgóður vermir að pissa í skó sinn). Idioms rock, don’t you think?

  • A Swede doesn’t seek revenge – instead, he “gives back for old cheese.” (Ge tillbaka för gammal ost).
  • A Norwegian won’t say ‘upping the game’ instead he’ll say ‘the buns have changed’ (Nå blir det andre boller).
  • In Iceland, they don’t say they will sleep on it or think it over, instead they say they’ll put their head to soak in water (Að leggja höfuðið í bleyti).
  • In Finland, you don’t have a finger in every pie – instead, you have a ‘spoon in every bowl of soup’ (Lusikka joka sopassa).
  • You’re completely out cycling (Du er helt ude og cycle) (Danish) – Meaning: You’re completely wrong.
  • Go where the pepper grows (Dra dit pepparn gror) (Swedish) – Meaning: Go to hell!
  • If a Scandinavian says you need to “have ice in your stomach” (is i magen), it simply means you need to play it cool, be in control.

  • If a Dane or Norwegian tells you that ‘the toilet’s on fire’ it means the shits about to hit the fan big time (Lokummet brænder).
  • You’ve really shot the parrot (Du har virkeligt skudt papegøjen) (Danish) – Meaning: You’ve been lucky.
  • He’s got rotating farts in his cap (Han har roterende fis i kasketten) (Danish) – Meaning: He’s not quite all there.
  • A Swede doesn’t tell someone to “take a hike”… he tells someone to “throw themselves in the wall.” (Släng dig i väggen).
  • If a Dane says he isn’t quite orange free (Ikke helt appelsinfri), he means to tell you that he is not completely sober.

  • Is it the horse’s birthday? Er det hestens fødselsdag? (Danish) Meaning: the rye bread is too thick for my open sandwich.
  • To be up on the liquorices (at være oppe på lakridserne) (Danish) – Meaning: to be very attentive or busy.
  • If a Dane says you can both ‘blow and have flour in your mouth’, he means to say you can’t have your cake and eat it, too. (Man kan ikke både blæse og have mel i munden).
  • Nothing to hang on the Christmas tree (Ingenting att hänga i julgranen) (Swedish) Meaning: not special enough.

Phew! Did we forget any? Comments below, please.

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False friends

February 5, 2019 | Leave a comment

English words that mean something else in Scandinavian languages

These words are often called ‘false friends’ – words that are the same but mean something else in another language. It can be confusing, for sure. These often happen when two words look or sound similar in different dialects or languages. For example, we once had someone apply for a Barista job here who listed their previous job as ‘Vicar’. Now, we know that a Vikar in Scandinavia means a substitute worker – there are many Vikar Teachers at schools, for example.

We’ve got some great sounding foods too: what about a selection of Plopp chocolate bars? A Skum Banana or a bar of Firklover chocolate (say it out load with a bit of tempo…), and of course everyone’s favourite Salty Spunk and Fruity Spunk.

Do you have any more words to add to the list? Comment below, please.

Fart

The most famous farts of them all. We have fartbump, fartshump, and fart-hinders. We also have fart-plans (time tables) and we have “I FART” in the lifts in Denmark (this simply means ‘in motion’).

Slags

It means ‘kinds’. We have many slags of salty liquorice in our shop. It can also mean a ‘hit’ of something – you can have a slag at something in Danish.

Slut

This means The End. As in, “They lived happily ever after. Slut”. If you set your iPhone to a Scandinavian language, it will call you a slut every time you end a phone call.

In Swedish, the end of the Sales in the shops is called SLUT REA – and the same thing in Danish is SLUT SPURT. Here is a link to our big range of Scandi goodies on sale .

The end of the bus route is the SLUT STATION.

Smoking

Invited to a fancy ball? Scandinavians will be wearing “a smoking”. Which means dinner jacket.

Mall

To Swedes, a template. To you, a place to go shopping.

Gift

In Scandinavia, gift means poison. It also means ‘to be married’. Yup, same spelling and pronunciation and everything.

Skid

In Swedish, Skid means ski. The same word in Danish can mean shit, so Danes often fnigger when they see signs in Sweden for the Skidskola – the Shit-School.

Glass

In Swedish, glass is ice cream.

Gem

Not a shining diamond, but a paperclip!

Chef

A chef is a boss. Whereas a chef in the kitchen is a Kock. So, Kock in the kitchen, chef in the office.

Tvätt

In Swedish, Tvätt means washing. So, you can many slags of tvätt in Sweden.

Kiss

In Sweden, when you go for a pee, you kiss. Actually, it’s kissa, to be entirely accurate. Kiss is pee.

Bra

Bra is good, in Swedish. It has nothing to do with a bra for the boobs.

Bae

In Danish, Bae (bæ) is a kiddie word for poop. So, when you put a picture on instagram of your new boyfriend and you write ‘my bae’ underneath, we find it quite amusing.

Barn

A child. Yes, a child, not a barn full of hay.

Prick

A prick/prik is a dot. Simply, just a dot. As in “The curtains has many pricks on it”

Fag

This means ‘subject’ or even trade. In Danish, its Fag, in Swedish often fack, which in itself is funny, too. A directory for tradespeople is called a book of fagfolk.

A worker’s union in Denmark is a Fagunion or Fagforening.

Grind

I English, this is to grind things – coffee beans, for example. In Swedish, grind is a gate.

Gymnasium

You may often hear Scandinavians say they went to the Gymnasium for 3 years. Well, this simply means high school.

Hug

Oddly, this has no roots with hygge, but merely means To Chop. As in chopping wood (hugge brænde)

Island

To us, Island means Iceland. An island to us in an Ø (or Ö).

Offer

In English, you offer something to someone. In Scandinavia, it means ‘victim’.

Puss

Ah, yes, puss means kiss. But remember, kiss means pee. Best get these right, eh?

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    Leksands Brungraddat – Brown Baked Crispbread 830g
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    Marabou Mjolkchoklad Daim – Milk Chocolate With Daim 200g
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    Spunk Saltlakrids – Salty Liquorice Pastilles 23g
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Little Scandinavian lessons: Lagom

January 30, 2019 | Leave a comment

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

How to make friends with a Scandinavian

January 25, 2019 | Leave a comment

How to make friends with a Scandinavian

Swedes, Danes and Norwegians have been voted the most difficult people to make friends with. IN THE WORLD! How did that happen? We’re so full of love!

We’d like to confirm there is some truth in this – although it only applies to Scandinavians back in the old country. Once we leave Scandinavia, we become extremely friendly, like Labradors.

It IS hard to settle in Scandinavia – so we asked around our friends on social media how best to do it if you’re in a situation where you need to try and befriend us. Below are some of the most helpful answers.

Embrace the bluntness.

We’re so terribly blunt. Just embrace it fully. It is in our nature and you can’t change us. You need to make the actual effort and you may even need to be honest and tell us what you’re trying to do. We work best on very frank information exchanges and pretty much fail at de-coding the usual pleasantries.

Forget getting to know people in bars. 

If you MUST talk to us on a night out we suggest any random club at 4 am where we’re drunk enough to talk to strangers (although this may backfire as we might not remember you, sorry). Scandinavians have very big walls that often only come down with the use of Mr Absolut.

It’s at home it happens. 

Always accept an invite to someone’s house – this is where you will find the real friendship openings. See point 1: if you get an invite, we mean it. It’s not a pleasantry or empty offer – accept it. Dinner parties at people’s houses is where it’s at.

Learn the language. 

Look, you won’t meet Scandinavians at the language school, but making an effort to speak our language, in the long run, helps a lot. If you understand what we’re saying, it saves people having to translate everything at the dinner party (translating constantly is a novelty that will wear off for us). You’ll find that as soon as you learn the language and make an effort, most people will reply in English anyway (to be nice, actually, and show we appreciate your efforts).

No, it is not cool to be the foreigner who’s lived in Scandinavia for 6 years who hasn’t made an effort to learn it. You may think it is great that you got away with not having to learn to roll your R’s– but we think it’s rude.

Play handball. 

Or another sport we like playing a lot. Football works across nations, too, for both men and women. Or join a club, like Gubbetrim or clubs named Frisk & Svettis… Find us in our habitats and comfort zones, not your own.

Treat it like you’re chatting someone up.

We’re naturally guarded and we don’t talk to strangers easily – most of us have the same mates from when we were younger. This does not mean we don’t WANT to meet new people – we just don’t NEED to. That said, if you make the first move, unless you act like a total weirdo, we will probably engage in a chat, so plan your exchanges with us.

Except at bus stops, because nobody is allowed to talk to anyone at the bus stop. Keep a safe one metre distance from all other people at all times. See helpful illustration.

Ask for help (especially in Denmark).

Danes has a weird habit of not offering to help. This seems to be a social code that just… is. On the flip side, if you ASK for help, a Dane will most likely lend you his last 100 kroner. He is just unlikely to offer the help, because in Denmark, if you need help, you just ask – everyone knows that. Once you ask for help, you have an opportunity to chat and meet someone new. We don’t mean asking someone in Føtex where to find the frozen peas, but actually asking people you meet to help you with either settling in or indeed where to meet people.

It might be easier past May…

It’s so dark and cold. We are hibernating. Try again once the days are longer – it’s like we wake up and want to socialise again. Not kidding: We do hibernate. Midsummer is a great time to meet Swedes, for example. And Norway Day in Norway. Light and long days = more inclined to go out.

Hygge with us.

Do stuff with us that matters. It’s all about dinner party at Björn’s house, about joining in on the weekend hikes and trips. Just say YES to any invite, even if you know you’ll look like the klutz on skis: It’s okay, it’s only really the Norwegians who can ski, the rest just pretend.

Okay, the DANES pretend. Rubbish skiiers.

Be patient. Very patient.

It takes time. We take time. A long time, sometimes. We may be slow growers, but we are solid. Once you’re in, you’re in and you’ll wonder why you ever found it hard. Once you crack one, you’re half way there. The rest will follow.

See you in a few years. Good luck with that.

What are your own experiences on making friends with Scandinavians both in the Nordics and abroad? Comments below, please.

Recipe: Scandi Christmas – Creamed rice puddings

December 5, 2018 | Leave a comment

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
      Torsleff Vaniljesukker – Vanilla Sugar 100g
      £3.19
      Fynbo Kirsebærsauce – Cherry Sauce 500g
      £3.59
      Toro Risengrøt Snarkokt – Rice Porridge 148g
      £2.99
      Felix Risgröt – Rice Porridge 500g (Risengrød ferdiglavet)
      £2.09
      Geisha Grøtris – Porridge Rice 800g
      £4.09

    WIN this massive box of treats

    November 29, 2018 | Leave a comment

    Literally the best competition ever. Wanna win this favourite Christmas box of ours worth over £80? Yes, delivered to your door before the big day. Enter by answering this question:

    What are the names of the members of ABBA?
    a) Anni-Frid, Berit, Björn, Anton
    b) Agneta, Benny, Björn, Anni-Frid
    c) Anders, Björn, Bent, Agneta

    Answer to iloveherring@scandikitchen.co.uk before 11th December.

    Competition terms:
    One winner will be selected at random from all correct entries. UK addresses only for delivery. No alternative prize, one entry per email. By sending us an email with the answer you also agree for us to add your name to our mailing list (if it’s not on there already). We reserve the right to substitute items if needed. We may publish the first and last name of the winner on our website. Not open to employees of ScandiKitchen, they already have access to too many sweets anyway. No cheating. Usual competition rules apply. Questions? Ask us. Yes, the deadline is 11th December at midnight. The prize will be shipped a few days after this date.

      Smash – Choc Covered Corn Snacks 100g
      £2.99
      O’Boy Chokladdryck Big Pack – Instant Chocolate Milk 700g
      £5.09
      Marabou Mjolkchoklad Daim – Milk Chocolate With Daim 200g
      £3.29

    Recipe: Saffron Log with almond cream (Saffransrulltårta)

    | Leave a comment

    Saffron Log with almond cream (Saffransrulltårta)

    In Scandinavia, saffron plays at big role at Christmas time – especially in Sweden where saffron buns are served throughout December for Sundays in Advent and other gatherings. We usually use saffron for sweet things, not savoury. From buns to biscuits, lots of things are beautifully bright yellow and with a fragrant bite.
    You can vary the fillings in this ‘rulltårta’ as you prefer – lots of berries go really well with saffron – raspberries, blueberries, lingonberries and fruit such as pears go really well. You can even omit the cream and just add jam (bilberry jam is ideal for this).
    Course: Baking
    Cuisine: Swedish
    Keyword: almonds, saffron
    Author: Bronte Aurell

    Ingredients

    For the cake:

    • 75 g butter
    • 0.5 g ground saffron you can grind your own in pestle & mortar or buy pre-ground
    • 4 medium eggs
    • 130 g caster sugar plus extra for dusting
    • ½ tsp vanilla extract
    • 130 g plain flour

    Almond filling

    • 100 g ground almonds
    • 50 g icing sugar
    • 50 g caster sugar
    • 1 tsp almond extract
    • 4-5 tbsp custard
    • 200 ml double cream
    • ½ tsp vanilla sugar or vanilla extract
    • icing sugar for dusting
    • flaked almonds to decorate
    • Optional: one ripe pear peeled and chopped in to small pieces.

    Instructions

    • Preheat the oven to 200˚C, gas mark 6.
    • Line a baking tray and draw an approx. 30cm x 25cm rectangle with a pencil on the baking parchment, then turn it over (alternatively, line a swiss roll tray of the same size). Melt the butter in a small pan and set aside to cool slightly. Add the saffron to infuse.
    • In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk the eggs and sugar for 6-8 minutes, until tripled in volume, thick and leaving a trail for three seconds. There is no other raising agent in this recipe so this stage is super important – and any knocking of the batter will cause the roll not to rise.
    • Very carefully, pour the melted saffron butter down the side of the mixing bowl, add the vanilla and fold them into the sugar and egg mixture until just combined. Sift over the flour and, using a figure-of-eight motion, carefully fold it in until fully incorporated. Take your time here; if you knock out the air, your cake base will be flat.
    • Pour the cake mixture onto the baking paper – it should be thick enough to hold its shape – allow it to go about 1cm outside the traced edge. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until soft and springy to touch (baking time can vary by oven)
    • Meanwhile, lay a damp tea towel on the counter with a sheet of baking parchment on top. Dust all over with caster sugar.
    • When the cake comes from the oven, cut the edges to the lines drawn on the paper then carefully turn it over onto the caster sugar and remove the backing paper. Roll the warm cake carefully using the damp tea towel – this will help the cake retain its shape. Leave wrapped until completely cool.

    To make the filling

    • Mix the ground almonds, caster and icing sugars with a tbsp of water and extract into a paste, then add the custard. In a separate bowl, whip the cream stiff with the vanilla. Fold the two together, carefully.
    • Unroll the cooled cake. Spread the filling layer across the base. Scatter over the chopped ripe pear pieces, if using. Roll the cake back up carefully, wrap in the baking parchment and chill for a few hours before serving. Dust with icing sugar and decorate with flaked almonds.
      Torsleff Vaniljesukker – Vanilla Sugar 100g
      £3.19
      Kockens Saffran – Saffron 0.5g
      £4.09
      Odense Mandelmassa – Almond Paste 50% Almonds 200g
      £3.89

    Why Scandies rule Christmas

    November 27, 2018 | Leave a comment

     

    We have fluffy picture post card snow.

    Real, fluffy, cold snow.

    Our countryside looks like this

    Do you need more?

    Santa is one of us

    …even if the Danes say he lives on Greenland, but they are probably just confused. The rest think he lives in Lapland. Or in Finland. Or both. Regardless of all of that: He’s with us.

    We get to celebrate a day earlier than everybody else.

    Our Christmas is 24th December in the evening. Some say this stems from Viking times when we believed a new day started as the sun went down – meaning at sun down on Christmas eve, we can celebrate. While everybody else has to wait until morning.

     

    Santa actually visits us, for real. None of these empty ‘He’ll turn up while you’re asleep’ promises: We wait on Christmas Eve and he turns up at the house late afternoon to hand out presents.

    Okay, sometimes he’s had too much glögg, sometimes he looks like your Uncle Peter. Sometimes both. But he’s there, at your house. He’s real.

    We have Christmas elves.

    Actually, our elves are there all year round, but we listen to them mostly at Christmas time.

    Little mini elves with red Christmas hats – Lady elves, male elves, baby elves… They live in our houses and barns year round – and we put food out for them at Christmas time, because if we don’t, every idiot knows they’ll hide the remote control for the rest of the year or un-pair all your socks. Always respect the Tomte Nisser (as they are called).

    Our Christmas is Nordic Noir

    Grýla is the keeper of the ultimate naughty list in Iceland. She is a giantess who comes down from her mountain at Christmastime to eat misbehaving children. Her pet, the Christmas Cat, tags along and eats anyone who didn’t get new clothes for Christmas.

    (image: Sorry, we can’t credit this one as there was none where we found it. Scary, though)

    We have Julebryg.

    Delicious, amazing Christmas beer from Denmark. The fourth best selling beer in Denmark – despite only being on the market 10 weeks of the year. It’s a thing. Try it.

    This year, at ScandiKitchen we have our own beer. Even better.

    We have Glögg

    Red noses, red cheeks…

    No, not mulled wine. We don’t add drabs of left over stuff to our glögg, nor do we add half a litre of orange juice. Just NO. We carefully blend spices, sugar and red wine… heat it up and add secret yuletide cheer to every pot.

    Why is Glögg so much better than mulled wine? Cardamom, dried Seville orange peel, cinnamon, cloves, ginger are the scents of a truly Scandinavian Christmas.

    Get a recipe here.

    Iceland has 13 different Santas.

    Not content with just one, Iceland has 13 Santas, each one a Santa for a different reason and cause. Skyr Santa, Sausage Santa, Door slamming Santa – and many more.

    We avoid the dry Turkey

    Lucky us, we escape the turkey. Instead we have succulent roast pork… Or delicious sweet ham with mustard. Or dried lamb racks. Or fish preserved in lye. Eh, yeah, lye, the stuff you make bombs with. Okay, that one is an acquired taste. Still, pretty cool, huh? We have bomb-fish.

    We claim the original Father Christmas

    Norse god Odin had long white hair and a beard and a wide brimmed hat. He used to walk door to door at winter feast time, putting presents in the shoes of kids at night. He rode an eight-legged horse… Coincidence?

    Christmas Goat

    The word for Santa in Finnish is Joulupukki – literally, Christmas Goat. Let’s not go into the history of the sacrifice. Why a goat? Likely to do with Thor.

    In Gävle, Sweden, they have a massive straw goat every year. Someone usually torches it before the big day. A tradition, really.

    Little piggies everywhere

    During the Yule season (before the Christians popped by and moved it a week and told us all about the wise men and Bethlehem) we used to sacrifice a pig. So, we have pigs around us every Christmas: Especially delicious are the little pigs made of marzipan. Without these, nobody can win the prize in the almond game.

    You can win a prize

    We hide an almond in the Christmas rice pudding dessert. Find the almond and get the pig and status of Marzipan Pig Winner. It’s a prestigious title.

    A real tree

    Real, like, from the real forest. We don’t do plastic.

    No tinsel. 

    Clean lines – of silver, gold and red. We don’t do flimsy tinsel. No garish plastic, either. Keep it stylish, neat and Scandi. Twigs are good; earthy and real. If you’re Danish, add LOADS of Danish flags. Loads. MORE.

    Potato is a punishment

    If you misbehave in Iceland, you risk waking up at Christmas to find an old potato in your shoe.

    90th Birthday party

    Okay, this is New Year for most (except Norwegians who watch it in 23rd Dec), but it’s as important as everything else.

    It’s a 10 minute sketch from decades ago. We like to watch it again every single year. The same sketch; the same exact one. We always laugh in the appropriate spots. It’s shown the same time every year. Okay, this is a bit odd? EVERY YEAR. Same procedure as last year, James.

    Donald Duck & Cinderella

    We also like to watch the same old seventies Donald Duck show, every year. At 3 pm on Christmas Eve in Sweden (times vary in other countries). Everybody in Sweden, the same time, every single household, stop to watch the show. More than half the population.

    In Norway, they also watch a film called ‘3 nuts for Cinderella’ (yes, really) which is a really old 1980’s Czech TV movie about Cinderella and her, eh, three magic nuts. It’d dubbed and it’s awful, but we don’t mess with tradition.

    Tree dancing

    We hold hands and dance around the real Christmas tree. Together. The tree has real candles on it and someone usually singes their hair a bit. It all adds to the smell of Christmas.

    Lucia

    13th December each year, we have the day of St Lucia, the festival of light. Boys and girls dress in white long robes and form processions in every town, bearing candles. This is the darkest night – and the darkest morning, broken by the bearing of candle light to fend off the darkness and dark spirits. We drink glögg, a young person is the town’s Lucia Bride and everybody knows it’s Christmas again. Cue fuzzy feelings. Maybe tears.

    Ginger biscuits.

    We own those. They are ours. We rule at ginger biscuits, houses and everything cinnamon. Can’t touch this.

    Saffron buns.

    Swedes go nuts for anything with saffron, especially saffron buns. But other products containing saffron sell out too. Chocolate with saffron, other pastries with saffron. Toffee with saffron, Cake with saffron. Everything saffron in Sweden. You can probably get saffron shampoo, too.

    Æbleskiver

    Little apple pancakes with no apples in them. So, like, pancake-balls. Dipped in sugar and jam. Danes go nuts for these. As made famous this year on GBBO.

    Above two photos from our books – photos by Pete Cassisy.

    Julmust

    The Swedish Christmas soft drink. Outsells coke in Sweden every year. Coca Cola hates that Swedes loves it so much. Nobody outside Sweden understands the obsession with Julmust.

    Julebrus

    See above, but replace Sweden with Norway. Norway’s Christmas soda. It’s a Norwegian thing.

    We read books

    In Iceland there is a tradition of giving books on Christmas Eve and going to bed with a new book. This season of new books in store is called Jolabokaflod, or “Christmas Book Flood,” and the majority of books in Iceland are sold between September and December in preparation for Christmas giving.

    Christmas lasts a long time after Christmas.

    We don’t put up our decorations until December. We don’t overdo it in the shops. We don’t put up the tree until we need it. And we don’t take it down on the 26th, either. We keep the tree until well into January.

    Fra alle os til alle jer: God (for)Jul

    The Kitchen People x

    Lucia Saffron Buns (lussebullar)

    November 23, 2018 | Leave a comment

    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
      Kockens Saffran – Saffron 0.5g
      £4.09
      Kungsornen Vetemjol Finaste Kärn – Wheat Flour 2kg
      £2.59

     

    Scandinavian Christmas Market 2018

    November 16, 2018 | Leave a comment

    Scandinavian Christmas Markets in UK 2018

    There are lots of great Scandi markets and stalls across the UK in December.

     

    Here’s a quick guide to some of the big ones (if you’d like us to list yours, please email us).

    Norwegian & Finnish Churches – all next weekend in Rotherhithe with big Scandi Market (we will be there too).

    Swedish Church 22, 24, 25th Nov in Marylebone.

    Danish KFUK 24-25th Nov in Hampstead.

    Danish Church in Hull 23/24th Nov.

    Liverpool Nordic Church 24/11.

    Norwegian Bazaar in Glasgow is Saturday 17th November.

     

    All are great causes and supporting life for Nordic people in the UK – do go along and support. All the fairs welcome everyone with open arms.

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