Photographer Claes Grundsten has published more than 30 books about trekking, hiking and Scandinavian nature. This awardwinning beauty was published in 2009 by Max Ström and features the national parks of Sweden. Available in a large format and a compact (cheaper) gift edition in Swedish and English. IMAGE: PRODUCT IMAGE WWF.SE
Mette Ditmer has designed soap dispenserYin Yang that turns your regular refill soap into foam. Is this what will make our five year old wash his hands without the neverending parental nagging? If so, it's worth its weight in gold. IMAGE: PRODUCT IMAGE TING.NO
It's a wet winter. This rain coat from Garda of Sweden looks nothing like a hiker's outfit and is perfect for city pedestrians who want to stay dry on their way to work. Available from Inreda.com among others. IMAGE: INREDA.COM
We've finalized the menu for the holidays, stocked the kitchen, fridge and freezer, and we are going over the ingredients over and over and over again, because stores close tomorrow night and don't open again until Friday...
IMAGE: PERSPEKTIVET MUSEUM
The philatelic bureau of Sweden released their Christmas stamps a few weeks ago (above) featuring woodland creatures celebrating christmas. Rather sweet. I do miss the grainy relief texture of stamps, but agree that the sticker versions ease the process of addressing and stamping hundreds of christmas cards every year.
What a brilliant shortcut for those gifts you'll be making and baking for neighbours, friends, teachers and everyone else. These tart pans measure 15 cm across and made from light cardboard, they are perfect for petite pies, buns, cakes, and look fantastic in a clear plastic bag and tied up with ribbon or string. Theselooked great as well when I checked them out at the store.
These sweethearts remind me of myself as a young girl. I had a pink nightgown with that kind of neckline and bangs and barrettes, just like her! Which is why these are being removed from my wish list and upgraded to the must-have list. Available at the museum shop at Nationalmuseum.
That christmas countdown is a fun reminder during the year, but right now I feel as if it's a race against time. Santa's not the only one making a list and I just realized mine runs four pages long. Do any of you know some unemployed elves by any chance?
IMAGE: By Pearson Scott Foresman [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
I can't help it. The 13th of December in Norway doesn't come close to Lucia day in Sweden. I suppose the next best thing is seeing the broadcast on SVT Play here (available worldwide for another 30 days). The next next best thing is to press play. IMAGE: LUCIA IN GUSTAV VASA KYRKA, Ola Ericson/imagebank.sweden.se
Call me crazy, but the new packaging for Annas Pepparkakor is enough to make me buy a box! Paired with a bottle of great glögg, almonds and raisins, this is a great hostess gift when abroad in December.
PS. Theirfactory outlet is located in Tyresö. IMAGE: PRESS IMAGE ANNAS PEPPARKAKOR
Mom: Remember the Nobel museum we visited in Stockholm? Son: The one with images on the floor and old things from hospitals and experiments? Mom: That's the one. The man who named that museum also gave money, millions, to people who came up with great experiments and inventions. To celebrate those experiments the king give them a gold medal and then they have a fancy dinner and dance in a golden room. Son: GOLDEN room!? Mom: Let me show you. (Shows the photo above) Son: Oh. What a boring party.
Those who feel differently can read more, or view it heretonight.
"Äntligen!" was the annual exclamation from Gert Fylking at the announcement of the Nobel Prize in Literature. I feel the same way about these sophisticated bottles of julmust. Apotekarnes Årsmust and Nygårda Julmust Vintage Oak IMAGES: PRODUCT IMAGES CARLSBERG & SPENDRUPS
Yesterday the air was thick with gray rainfog and snow. Standing outside the house, I looked down towards the airport and the only thing I saw was three blinking lights going back and forth back and forth. Clearing snow is a neverending job on that landning strip. IMAGE: Malmström, Axel (1872–1945) (Stockholmskällan) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
A small beauty tip for those missing the sun as much as I do. You couldn't exactly describe me as tanned. My summer tan is sort of your winter pale, and the polar night takes me beyond pale into... transparent? Face Stockholm to the rescue with its great range of foundations for pale Scandinavian skin tones.
PS: Their products are a great souvenir for those hard to shop for teens that have outgrown Pippi Longstocking gifts. IMAGE: PRESS IMAGE FACE STOCKHOLM
Aside from flavourful hard cheeses I miss Swedish mustard. If my kitchen was large enough to house the traditional bowl and ball, I'd love to make mustard myself. Or punish disobedient teenagers by making them perform this ardous task. Until then, I'll take the shortcut a.k.a a blender.
Mittens are a great gift in the bleak midwinter. A new take on the traditional Lovikkamitten for those of us unable to knit ourselves: Sigridfrom Heart of Lovikka. IMAGE: PRODUCT IMAGE HEART OF LOVIKKA WEBSHOP
The elements are against us. Every time we open a window to let in fresh air, a flower dies. In the hallway I've resorted to fake flowers (gasp!) and despite its old-lady-resputation it looks great. So I have a new botanical strategy: Let'sfake it 'til we make it.
Trine Hahnemann is a household name in Denmark as a self taught food entrepreneur with a passion for Danish cooking. She has a number of Danish cookbooks under her belt, several successful catering ventures, and appears in TV and magazines on a regular basis. This is Hahnemann's collection of recipes for December celebrations, the time of year when she takes four weeks (!) off work to decorate the house and entertain family and friends.
Disregard the publisher's misleading blurb claiming this is your guide to a Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish and Danish Christmas (it's absolutely not), and a decorated holiday home (unless my book is missing a chapter). This book is no such thing. Instead, it is a great introduction to Nordic christmas flavours since many ingredients and some dishes are common to the whole Nordic region.
The recipes are mainly modern takes on traditional dishes or ingredients, such as kale bruschetta and orange pickled herring. Sometimes its the addition of a single flavour that upgrades a simple dish, such as the grated horseradish in the dressing for the root vegetable salad.
A closer reading of the recipes drew me in. I look forward to exchanging hot dogs for lamb stew cooked over open fire (see photo below) on a winter outing. Pairing brussel sprouts with chili and clementines sounds daring and fantastic. Exchanging the cured salmon for cured cod may also be a stroke of sheer brilliance.
The true test lies in whether this book can guide us to duplicate her results and so far the cookie and glögg recipes I've tried were easy to follow and delivered good flavours. It does seem as though the author assumes some familiarity with Nordic ingredients since the level of detail in the instructions is inconsistent, and at times lacking. Unless the kitchen is your gaming zone, you'll find yourself googling for explanations on how to roll a log of rolled pork belly, truss a goose, or how to handle raw fish when curing and salting salmon and cod.
Sea buckthorn vinegar, pickled herring, and liver paté may not suit the innocent novice palate nor children, but the brunch recipes featuring baked spinach omelette, kale, root vegetables, salmon and sweet rice pancakes are less intimidating.
Scandinavian Christmas is a great source of inspiration for "Scandinavians" wanting to update their winter menu. It's also a great gift to a "foodie" with a curious palate, who wants a modern take on Danish Christmas flavours without unnecessary elaborations on tradition. Lars Ranek's photography is wonderfully moody with a great dose of atmosphere and decidedly Danish styling. If only the publisher would have dared to present it as a unique peak into Trina's personal Danish holiday recipe box, instead of placing it in a broader Scandinavian lifestyle context, this book would have found its audience amongst international foodies with greater ease.
THISIS the best recipe for Lussebullar! Tjohooo!
(800 gr of flour made mine waaaay sticky so I added about 1,5 dl of flour and then some while shaping the dough.) IMAGE: LUCIA 1943, PUBLIC DOMAIN VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
One of the first entries on this blog was about wanting to find a better way to serve glögg. But the Rosendahl thermos jug didn't look as good IRL. So our glögg still ends up a sweet sticky mess with big ladles and tiny cups. Apparently Eva Solo felt the same way. Mulled wine decanter, available at Scandinavian Design Center among others. IMAGE: PRODUCT IMAGE, SCANDINAVIAN DESIGN CENTER WEBSHOP
I can't believe it. I finally located the embroidered christmas ornaments that I made, ehem, 5 years ago. I never pieced them together and lost them in the move here. Or so I thought. Found them a month ago, and did a little happy dance. Men säg den lycka som varar. I have no idea where I put them after that. Sigh.
Three years ago we decided it was time to drop the parent's advent calendar from our list of traditions in an attempt to simplify the season. But rules are made to be broken. This year my husband needed a reason to smile every morning in December, and I must say, it's more fun when those 24 gifts hanging on the doorhandle are a total surprise! I opted for our usual brown paper version.
Those of you looking for inspiration can have a look at this board on Pinterest with more than 200 ideas to spark your creativity.
HRH Queen Silvia of Sweden founded the World Childhood Foundation 1999 and in celebration of their 15 years they are releasing a more exclusive version of their colourful childhood bracelet. Available in 20 colour combinations and a larger leather version for men. The perfect gift in many ways.
One of the few things from Sweden I miss is hard cheese. These new releases from Kvibille have been cured for 18 months and will be on my wish list of contraband* gifts for christmas.I'm already dreaming about what I'll pair them with...mulled cider... cloudberries... fig marmalade...
(*That was a joke, it's perfectly legal to bring these cheeses across the Scandinavian borders).