Monday, June 29, 2015

Almedalen - Sweden's power week

grey politicians head to Almedalen
If you have any interest in Swedish politics you'll no doubt hear about Almedalen, a place the last week of June, where politicians and power brokers meet and mingle.  Held on Visby it crams political conferences into 8 short days, the perfect way for the political mavens to maximize their July vacations. The events are free and should be easy to get into but as there are about 20,000 attendees on a small island that's not really the case.  There are about 3000 events on this program this year Luckily they have the days figured out a little to help with planning giving one day to each party.  For more information about the issues discussed at Almedalen check out this link.

Here's the timetable for 2015
Sunday June 28th - Centerpartiet (Centre Party)
Monday June 29th - Socialdemokraterna (Social Democrats)
Tuesday June 30th - Kristdemokraterna (Christian Democrats)
Wednesday July 1st - Sverigedemokraterna (Sweden Democrats)
Thursday July 2nd - Miljöpartiet (Green Party)
Friday July 3rd - Moderaterna (Moderate Party)
Saturday July 4th - Vänsterpartiet (Left Party)
Sunday July 5th - Folkpartiet (Liberal Party)

Friday, June 26, 2015

Summer with Ernst

Love this guy!! Ernst Kirchsteiger is back on TV this summer in Sweden fixing up another house. Can't wait to see what he does with this one, it will knock your socks off without a doubt.  He's like the male Martha Stewart but more "gosig" (cozy).  In this video, he is making a garden bench.  I wish you could understand the words he uses to describe this project.  He's like a "carpenter bard" for example talking about in this video how it's helpful sometimes to make something small and "extremely constructive".  Huh?  At any rate -- love his patter and style -- it makes for some nice interior design drool and ideas. Here Sköna Hem (a Swedish interior decorating magazine) took some of his quotes and added fun pictures to them.
Like this one, above, that say "I get a little warm in my heart (or care about) when I sit in front of such an old house." Well, he probably didn't mean this house!  Here's another fun one that handsome hubby would probably appreciate: "You have to see the pillows as an orchestra."  Ha, ha!!
For more fun pictures from Sköna Hem check out this link. Ernst is on Swedish TV4. 
Follow this for a clip of him meeting the new carpenters for 2015's summer house: Nymansgården på Björskogsnäs near Hällefors in the middle of Sweden, .

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Summer in Sweden

I am longing for summer in Sweden - it's just so nice and pleasant there.  Here's a bunch of photos from summers past to help illustrate what I mean.  Summer in Sweden means to me ---
Beautiful fields, fresh air, and gorgeous views all around
The beaches, clear and lovely
Big boats
little boats too (on Malmö canal)
Sillamackor (fresh fish sandwiches)
Shopping for clogs and more
Music at night
Flowers in your hair
Lots of walks
Penny candy
Breakfast outdoors
Playgrounds where the kids can go nuts
Friends and fika (explanation here)
Family love
Plus long, long days full of fun before the sun goes down late at night.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Lax (salmon) Pudding

Looking for a good recipe for left-over salmon?  Try lax (salmon) pudding.  It's really easy to make especially if you have left-over potatoes as well.  Here's the recipe.  You don't have to use "gravlax" which is lox, you could use other cooked salmon, although it does give a nice flavor.  And for those of you who like Scandinavian cooking, turns out that Martha does too.  Check out Ms. Stewart's impressive collection of recipes here: Spiselig måltid! Yum.



  • 3 pounds medium russet potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon coarse salt
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped, and stalks reserved
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, divided, plus more for dish
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 1/4 pound gravlax (sliced 1/8 inch thick)
  • Freshly ground white pepper, for sprinkling
  • 6 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream


  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt


  1. Casserole: Place potatoes in a large pot, and cover with 2 inches water. Add salt and dill stalks. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until you can just pierce potatoes with a fork, 7 to 10 minutes. Pour off water, and discard dill stalks. Place paper towel across top of pot (not directly on potatoes), and let potatoes steam and cool 1 hour.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Peel potatoes, and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a saute pan, and saute onion until softened, about 10 minutes.
  3. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Layer potatoes and gravlax, beginning and ending with potatoes, sprinkling each layer with chopped dill, sauteed onion, and pepper.
  4. Whisk together eggs, half-and-half, and cream; season with pepper. Pour egg mixture over potatoes and gravlax, and dot with remaining 3 tablespoons butter. Bake until golden on top and bubbling around the edges, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  5. Dill butter: Meanwhile, mix all ingredients together, and roll into a log.
  6. Let casserole cool slightly, 5 to 10 minutes, and serve warm with dill butter.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Midsummer Madness

Phew, the party is over and it was a great one!  It was so fun to celebrate with Swedish friends and American family.  We had eleven kids over ranging in ages from 1 to 13 and some crazy fun Swedish moms who made the party happen by bringing food, and beverages to share.  Of course we danced around the midsummer pole too.  Ironically it was the most Swedish child of them all (Arvid at age 3 fresh off the plane from Sweden) who didn't know about the traditional dance.  We had to show him the ropes! "Små grodorna" (small frogs) is the best song for the little ones and we threw ourselves into showing him how to do it.  (Luckily no-one threw out their back doing it. Ha, Ha!)  The food was great too.  Check out this beautiful cake one of the guests brought.  Lucky us we have some leftover to share with dad on his day.  Happy Father's Day to all you Americans out there!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Glad Midsommar!!

Image result for midsommarafton

Glad Midsommar!!  Here's how to make your flower crown for the festivities!  I hope you have a Happy Midsummer's Eve!  Real Swedish folk music for your enjoyment here: and a pic to match.  :)

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Märta Måås-Fjetterström

This is the kind of name people associate with Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings but no, it was the real name of a real textile artist in Sweden (1917 - 1941).  Her rug studio is still in Båstad and I had the pleasure of visiting it a couple of years ago.  Märta produced rugs in over 700 styles in flatweave, floss and "rya" (hooked rugs).  The techniques are stunning and make for a Scandinavian statement.  The closest I ever got to buying Swedish rugs is at a flea market (loppmarknad) with my family where I snagged a couple of rag rugs that we still use and enjoy.  Here's my dad showing off the rugs!

There are a few of Märta Måås-Fjetterström rugs are shown on this link (textile and terrain) and you'll see that there's a breadth of design that makes them interesting and lovely. Cost is prohibitive for me personally but well worth it if you want a beautiful rug that will last. Used rugs can be found online at auctions but even so a rug like this one can go for quite a lot.  It sold for $23,000 at Bukowski's.
Her name as artisan, leader and textile artist lives on in Scandinavia but not so much in the States. Maybe "The Apartement", the chic Copenhagen design store can change that? Check out this latest piece on their website: "Tulpanen" or tulips by MMF.  Pretty isn't it?