Sunday, October 4, 2015

Twist your buns

Here's a good looking recipe for the Swedish National Treasure, kanelbullar c/o Swedish Dreamish.  Thank you Anna for letting me share your recipe.  And check out how cool she twisted the buns.  OK, don't get your buns in a twist - it's not that hard! ;-)  And if it comes out wrong they still taste oh so good.  Yummy with a nice cup of coffee.  Enjoy!

Soft, fluffy, doughy - a delicious treat!
1 package dried yeast (2 ¼ teaspoon)
5 3/4 - 6 1/4 cups flour (14-15 dl)
1/2 tsp salt
150 g butter (softened)
2 cups and 4 tsp milk (5 dl)
1/2 cup Swedish syrup (1 dl)*
Blend dried yeast with flour (save a little for later when kneading the dough).
Melt butter in a pan, add milk and warm it to 104F (40 C), use a thermometer to get exactly right temperature.
Mix together flour, salt and syrup and add to the warm liquid.
Blend well, either by hand or by using a food processor to a shiny and smooth dough that doesn’t stick to the bowl, approximately 5 minutes.
Let the dough rise under towel for about approximately 30 min.
75 g soft butter
4 tbs sugar
1 tbs cinnamon
Put the dough on the table and knead it well with your hands before rolling it, add a little bit extra flour if the dough is sticky and knead to a soft, non sticky.
Divide the dough into two sections and roll out each into a rectangular shape of about 10 x 18 inches
(25 x 45 cm).
Spread butter and sprinkle sugar and cinnamon on each square, don't be afraid to sprinkle extra, more yummy!
Roll together from the long side and cut in 18-20 pieces.
Place each piece on the side that was cut into a paper cupcake wrapper and place on baking sheet. 
Repeat with the second square.
Cover and raise for 30 minutes.
Put the oven on 450F (225).
Pearl sugar**
Whisk together egg and brush the tops, sprinkle pearl sugar on top.
Bake in oven about 5-8 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on rack under towel.
* Anna says you can substitute 3/4 cup sugar and 1/4 maple syrup for the Swedish syrup or "sirap".
** A specialty sugar that is larger than usual - you could use turbinado or just skip this step.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

"We are the World" Swedish Style

Last night Swedish artists collected money for the refugees by putting on a 4-1/2 hour musical extravaganza called "Hela Sverige Skramlar".  40 million Swedish krones were collected!  That's 
4,755,648.00 US DOLLARS!  
Wowsers Swedes, you really outdid yourselves, congratulations!  That's just amazing and so heartfelt. I feel so proud to be Swedish right now.   Here's where Americans can help: UNHCR.  It's photos like this one that started the wheels turning.  Did you know that half of the 60 million people now in flight are children like the one pictured?  Post World War II more people are fleeing strife now than ever.
Pictures like the one above which I found on UNHCR's site have helped us really empathize with the refugees' plight.  Last night at "Hela Sverige Skramlar" Hans Rosling, Swedish academic and Gapminder founder,  said though that we really can't understand war.  His explanation of the tragedy of Syria was riveting - basically half of all Syrians have fled - about 80 million people have left their homes, 4 million have left the country, 300,000 (3%) of all Syrians have made their way to Europe and 80,000 have made it to Sweden, Welcome, he said.  
The numbers are enormous, basically the tip of the iceberg and the money just isn't there to help.
Hans Roslings speech (in Swedish)
Please listen to one of the artists that performed last night to help bring money for the refugees, Laleh, singing her hit "Some die young" acapella.  Again, wow!
So again, please consider helping, here again is the US information to donate to UNHCR.  
To pay by mail, please send checks or money orders to
1775 K Street NW Suite 580 Washington, DC 20006
To donate by phone class toll-free 1.855.808.6427

USA for UNHCR is a non-profit 501 (c) (3). All donations are tax-deductible.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Things Sweden Does Right

In Sweden health - both mental and physical - is taken seriously.  Here are some perks that MNN (Mother Nature Network) highlights in the above link.  This one is my favorite -

1. New parents are awarded great perks: Taking time off to have a baby? No problem. Sweden offers one of most generous parental leave programs in the world. New parents are entitled to 480 days of parental leave; of those, 60 days are reserved for the new dad.
little girl picking blueberries in woods in SwedenSwedes have permission to pick blueberries in the woods as a right of public access. (Photo: Måns Fornander/
And second for me if of course:
5. Vacations are big business: The average Swede get five weeks of paid vacation and works only 1,644 hours each year. That compares to an average of 1,776 hours annually in the 34 countries (including the U.S.) that belong to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Yet even with all that paid time off, Sweden still ranks sixth in the Global Competitiveness Index.

Read more:

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Stopping and shopping in Newport, RI

Hi!  As my post on shopping in Stockholm was so popular I thought I'd do another on shopping in one of my favorite New England coastal town, Newport RI.

Newport is the great mix of tourists and locals; everyone from sailors to heiresses to hairdressers; all intending to have a good time, with lots of beautiful service personnel and retail staff ready to help them do just that.  To say that there's a lot of stores is an understatement.  I took it as my personal mission to walk all of Thames, the main shopping street, and even I had to turn around after steeling myself with an iced latte to help me on the way back.

So much to choose from, and to be honest, lots of tchotchkes and t-shirts.  But never fear, I am here to help with my minimalist list of fun places to hit up for interesting Newport items!

1. Scrimshanders: 14 Bowen's Wharf, 401-849-5680, scrimshanders
Just like you wouldn't leave Venice without looking at the Venetian glass nor should you leave the Newport without seeing its scrimshaw.  A sketching on whalebone scrimshaw is a past art that is part of the New England heritage.  I thought that this store was interesting and stuffed to the gills!

2. Shore Soap - 302 Thames Street, 401-846-0305,
This is a handcrafted soap store with yummy smelling scents and great, affordable gifts for everyone on your list.  I especially liked Sea Goddess hard perfume and at only $10 for a little tub it would make a great stocking stuffer.

3. Style Newport, 305 Thames Street, 401.847.1470,
Jewelry with a distinctive nautical twist, here they use the nautical flags as an ingenious way to custom make your cuff links, rings, bracelets and more.  I thought it was unique, and as much as I like rope bracelets it was fun to see something new.

4. Lemon & Line, 421 Thames St, see website for more
The best of the rope bracelet stores with different styles of line, bracelet clasps and themes.  The service was gorgeous but nonchalant so I ended up not getting a rope belt that I had my eye on.  A mirror would be a definite improvement but otherwise the store was gorgeous and low key.
Time to eat!

There are many, many restaurants to whet your appetite but I recommend the classic Clarke Cooke House right on Bannister's Wharf.  One of the best known establishments it is the place to see and be seen, and the food is good if a little pricey.  If the pocketbook is light after all your shopping just head to the patio where they serve lighter fare, and sometimes even music like this delightful Dixie Land jazz band that was playing around town last weekend!  Of course if was the Newport International Boat Show so that may not happen all the time.  Into boats?  Me, not so much. Although I did take some great pictures of them, I wasn't into the $19.00 entrance fee and didn't really have the time to explore all that too!

I'm leaving you with one more suggestion in case you need new pants after all that good food, or a new outfit to hit the town. The quintessential shop for preppy must-haves that I found in my wanderings was this little place on Bowen's Wharf  called Chace n' Lulu.  Chace n' Lulu at 17 Bowen's Wharf (401-847-9151) will have everything that you need before hitting the Boom Boom Room.  (Like we did, but that's another story.) ;-)  And we enjoyed a great dinner before going out at Fluke which has delicious signature cocktails and a friendly staff that helps you feel right at home in Newport.  Pleasant shopping and Bon Apetit!
Fluke Wine Bar & Kitchen - 41 Bowen's Wharf, Newport RI

Monday, September 21, 2015

Heja Sverige! Some Swedish big shots 2015

Swede of the year - Max Martin - awarded by SVIV (Swedes Worldwide)
This music producer, and songwriter garnered Swede of the Year at a ceremony at the Grand Hotel in Stockholm this August.  Max Martin whose real name is Martin Sandberg has created music thats topped world charts for more than 20 years, and this year marks his 21st first-place hit on the US Billboard Charts.  Have you heard of Taylor Swift, Kelly Clarkson, Jessie J, Jennifer Lopez, Katy Perry?  Yeah he's written songs for them, and more.  Check it out here.

SWEA Woman of the year - Petra Wadström - 2015
Petra Wadström from Stockholm created "Solvatten" which gives developing countries access to clean water by warming and purifying polluted water using the help of the sun's ultraviolet rays.  It's cheap, easy to use and is designed for women to use on their own.  The jury said "Petra Wadström's outstanding creativity and philanthropic ingenuity makes her a shining example of a Swedish international woman."  Agreed!

Swedish stamp of the year - Ingrid Bergman
Ingrid Bergman (1915 - 1982) This renowned Swedish actress got another "stamp of approval" (as if three Academy Awards, two Emmy Awards, four Golden Globe Awards and the Tony Award for Best Actress weren't enough) by the American Postal Service this August.   For more "Jag är Ingrid" is the new documentary drama that will help you understand this talented woman better with the US premier planned for November.

All inspirational, these Swedes help us remember to go for our dreams and be true to ourselves.  You can do something as self-serving as acting and still change the world, or make hit songs and do good. It's all in the intent and the choosing to use your talents for good, not evil. Right  Batman?  ;-)  

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

New Scandinavian Cooking

Wow, not sure why I didn't know about this show other than I'm not much of a gourmand, and hardly ever watch PBS.  I feel so outted!  I hope that you will forgive me if I pass on the news (like 11 series into the making) of "New Scandinavian Cooking".  I am excited to watch this ASAP so please forgive me if I keep it brief.  :)  Salivating here...
The PBS listing for our neck of the woods is as follows below (on WGBH Create) but if you live somewhere else in the States just use this link to figure out your show times.  Honestly I didn't even know about WGBH Create but here's how to get there too using your cable provider - 
WGBH Create: Comcast 237, RCN 95, FiOS 874, Charter 115; digital 44.3

This should lead you to the Vimeo trailer for season 11:
Here's what they say:
In this season of New Scandinavian Cooking, hosts Andreas Viestad and Tina Nordström take viewers on a journey through Northern Europe, where they create tantalizing recipes and discover beautiful locations for adventurous outdoor cooking.
Inspired by their passion for food, Andreas and Tina combine modern and traditional ingredients with a generous amount of humor to serve up great tips on how to make delicious, Scandinavian food.

New Scandinavian Cooking Showtimes

Norwegian Versions of Classic RecipesFri. Sep 18 at 8:30 AMWGBH CREATE
Norwegian Versions of Classic RecipesFri. Sep 18 at 2:30 PMWGBH CREATE
A Journey to the NorthMon. Sep 21 at 8:30 AMWGBH CREATE
A Journey to the NorthMon. Sep 21 at 2:30 PMWGBH CREATE
Eat Like The VikingsFri. Sep 25 at 8:30 AMWGBH CREATE
Eat Like The VikingsFri. Sep 25 at 2:30 PMWGBH CREATE
Northern Sea PassageMon. Sep 28 at 8:30 AMWGBH CREATE
Northern Sea PassageMon. Sep 28 at 2:30 PMWGBH CREATE
Food for a Polar ExpeditionFri. Oct 2 at 8:30 AMWGBH CREATE
Food for a Polar ExpeditionFri. Oct 2 at 2:30 PMWGBH CREATE
A Whole SalmonMon. Oct 5 at 8:30 AMWGBH CREATE
A Whole SalmonMon. Oct 5 at 2:30 PMWGBH CREATE
Happy Holiday FoodFri. Oct 9 at 8:30 AMWGBH CREATE
Happy Holiday FoodFri. Oct 9 at 2:30 PMWGBH CREATE
Pale FishMon. Oct 12 at 8:30 AMWGBH CREATE
Pale FishMon. Oct 12 at 2:30 PMWGBH CREATE
A Traveller's BiteFri. Oct 16 at 8:30 AMWGBH CREATE
A Traveller's BiteFri. Oct 16 at 2:30 PMWGBH CREATE
Norwegian Versions of Classic RecipesMon. Oct 19 at 8:30 AMWGBH CREATE
Norwegian Versions of Classic RecipesMon. Oct 19 at 2:30 PMWGBH CREATE
A Journey to the NorthFri. Oct 23 at 8:30 AMWGBH CREATE
A Journey to the NorthFri. Oct 23 at 2:30 PMWGBH CREATE
Eat Like The VikingsMon. Oct 26 at 8:30 AMWGBH CREATE
Eat Like The VikingsMon. Oct 26 at 2:30 PMWGBH CREATE
Can't wait to watch it and try some of the recipes!
Cute picture from "New Scandinavian Cooking" - first up "Norwegian Versions of Classic Recipes"

Monday, September 14, 2015

Hire the Swede!

Looking for a good worker?  The Swedes have a good reputation for being punctual, innovative, cooperative, hard working and good listeners.  I found that someone had taken the attributes of a Swedish employee and made a fun webflow with all these reasons and more to hire her!
Susanne Axelsson
Susanne Axelsson did a great job!  I have no idea how it's done, but as you can tell my techy side just isn't at that level.  But check her site out,, and her CV too, and maybe you will want to "hire the Swede"! And by the way, this Swede is looking for work too.  Any ideas?  Something that you'd like to see more of on the blog?  I am open to ideas, and would greatly your appreciate comments.  Tack!
Illustration by Stina Wirsén.