December 27, 2006

Happy belated Christmas

Today´s Swedish word: helg. Means holiday like Christmas, Easter etc. but also like in weekend

Oooops, unexpected hiatus there but blogger refused to work on the computer at my parents´ house. I have had a wonderful, calm Christmas with my parents, sister and brother and various cats and cows, as usual. We go for a very calm Christmas in my family, it is just us for Christmas lunch (and my mother´s food really is the best) and in the evening my aunts with families and my grandmother comes for coffee and my mother´s cakes and cookies (which also are the best by the way). In late evening we go to church, like almost everyone else in the little village. I am not very religious, but singing the old hymns and listening to the Bible verses on Christmas is really special for me.

On Christmas day my man and my sister´s fiancé arrived and we have spent the days since almost constantly eating our way through the fridge. Now I am back in our flat and our kitchen and am looking forward to being off work for another 12 days which will give me more than enough time to make up for my lack of posting these past weeks, for example about wonderful salads and green cabbage frittatas and the huge pile of Italian delicacies I got from my sister and brother for Christmas...

December 18, 2006

Christmas BBM

Today´s Swedish word: paket. Means parcel, or package.

Finally it is getting colder here so I just enjoyed a large cup of warm apple juice spiced up with some of the contents in my wonderful BBM package which arrived a couple of days ago. The kind sender is Libbycookie over at Curiosity Cabinet, located in Los Angeles. Funnily enough my own BBM package ended up in California...

Anyway, this round´s theme is Holiday and Libby kindly provided me with my very own Christmas stocking with my name on it filled with various goodies:
  • A beautiful box of spices for mulled wine or cider, tried today and it was superb with a hint of citrus, anise, cinnamon and lots of other things
  • Chocolate coins and peppermint bark, went down well here...
  • A bag of holiday-shaped pasta
  • A bag of "Peppermint Patty Candy Cane Cocoa" which I will enjoy after a long day in the snow (when it finally comes)
  • A cute set of small cookie cutters - this was really a hit since I like baking with and for children!
  • Last but not least a nice card telling me all about her family´s traditions and the recipe for Pecan Crescents which her family makes every year. I also got a paper house to decorate according to my own taste with stickers.

Now let´s see what Santa puts in my fluffy stocking on Sunday! Until then I can enjoy all these gifts from yet another friendly swapping partner. As I have said before - BBM is addictive!

Thank you so so much for all this Libby, and thank you Stephanie of Dispensing Happiness who is our secret Santa organiser this time! You can read her round-up here... And sorry about the somewhat blurry picture...

Fresh Christmas yeast

Today´s Swedish word: jäst Means yeast. The Swedish word gäst, which is pronounced exactly the same - like yes with a t in the end - means guest. Isn´t that neat? You use jäst when you expect gäster (guests).

I found these on the shelf when I shopped for some Christmas baking, fresh yeast in holiday packing. This is for sweet baking, with "extra power" but I have learned from several articles, experts etc. that it is really not necessary to use a special yeast for sweet things. I can understand that, I have never had problems with plain yeast during the long dark years before the sweet yeast introduction.
Despite my knowledge I couldn´t resist buying these because of the merry feeling they give me. God Jul means Merry Christmas, and there are tiny little lussekatts on them too. Cute!

Here fresh yeast really is widely available so I was surprised at first when I read food blogs and realised that in quite a few countries it is rather hard to get hold of, and people think it is hard to use it (on the other hand we don´t have a very good bakery tradition here so if you want good bread without paying a fortune then you will have to get baking yourself). Anyway. I use it for most of my baking (though I always keep a few bags of dried yeast in my baking cabinet, for back-up).

As it turned out I haven´t used them - I almost did yesterday for making lussekatter for my sister-in-law who just had a baby (yay! We have a new little boy in our lives!) but then we were out of saffron and out of time so instead she got these delicious muffins which are much more fast to make, and I had all ingredients in the house. You can read about lussekatter here instead...

Finally, the Menu for hope III campaign is still running, until december 22nd, and you still have the opportunity to buy raffle tickets for winning my wonderful Swedish candy collection with prize code EU20, or something else. I have bought three tickets myself today and can assure you it is very easy, safe, and above all it feels good to spend money on something that really matters this time of year when you just shop shop shop ´til you drop.

December 15, 2006

Win Swedish candy!

Today´s Swedish word: godis. Means candy, or sweets.

Sweets are of course good for you but these sweets are also good for others, if you donate some money to get raffle tickets to win it!
I am talking about Menu for hope III, an event among foodbloggers around the world to raise money for UN World Food Programme. The idea is quite simply that we donate different food related prizes and people buy raffle tickets for $10 each and specify which prize is most wanted. Read all about it and see all prizes here, or here for the European prizes, and donate here. My prize code is EU20.

And now I will tell you all about my donated prize, to tempt you into donating some of your hard-earned money for a good cause.
The lucky winner gets ten different very Swedish sweets which I have found are very much appreciated when I send them in BBM parcels and such like. There is of course Daim, our famous chocolate-covered crunchy caramel bar with almonds, the wonderful taste of it makes you speechless for quite some time (the teeth gets stuck, but it is worth it). Then there is a bag of chewy "cars"with fruit flavours, crunchy coloured chocolate "non Stops", a bar of my favourite Marabou chocolate with orange crunch, wonderful Kexchoklad (thin wafers and chocolate, a real classic), old fashioned violet tablets and of course our famous salty licorice (one bag, one small box). Oooh, and I throw in some "tyres" for the "cars" as well.

We all spend a lot of money this time of year which is totally OK, but this time of year is also suitable for thinking of and caring for not-so-fortunate people.
What are you waiting for? Everyone loves sweets, come on! Or find another pize you like. The donations has already beaten last year´s result of $17 000, let´s make it much much more!

December 12, 2006

Menu for Hope - a first note...

Just a quick posting today, our computer at home broke down yesterday and I don´t want to blog too much from work...

Let me just announce that I have donated a prize for Menu For Hope III, a selection of Swedish candy. For more instructions on how to buy tickets visit David Lebovitz, the European host for the event. Scroll down to see my prize (code EU20). You can also check out the main information page at Chez Pim to learn more and see ALL prizes. There are lots of generous people out there!

I will get back and write about all this properly when the computer at home feels well again. Until then check out all the different prizes and donate, donate, donate! The money goes to United Nations World Food Programme.

December 07, 2006

... and counting

Today`s Swedish word: raket. Means rocket.

This time of year the main topic in Swedish media usually is the Nobel Prize ceremony which takes place on Sunday. Well, not this year. In less than 24 hours, if the weather permits, we will have The First Swede In Space and that is almost the only thing you read about in the papers. (Well, there are also some articles about the popular docu-soap "Farmer seeks wife" which already has resulted in one wedding.)

Our Swedish astronaut is called Christer Fuglesang and he has waited 14 years for this - good luck Christer! I hope you will be back in time for Christmas, safe and sound and well-traveled. And here he is in full gear, photo credit Nasa, which also provides us with this special page about the expedition. By the way, I read somewhere that a really famous American chef is in charge of the astronauts´ food during the trip. Cannot remember her name and is really curious about it all so I will have to go googling a little... Or can anyone enlighten us all?

And me? Well, I am allowed to travel a little as well. Tomorrow I am off to Lund, a lovely university town in the very south of Sweden where I spent four happy years studying and where I also learned how to cook for myself. I will meet old friends, perhabs go to Copenhagen and on Sunday I will make gingerbread, pepparkakor before I go home again! See you all next week.

December 06, 2006

Salty chocolate

Today´s Swedish word: chokladkaka. Means chocolate bar.

Just a quick note about a new favourite, found at the Stockholm food fair a couple of weeks ago. Salty chocolate! I have tasted some things with the sweet and salty combination before, but this is the best so far. We were walking around, Anne and me, sampling different foods, trying mandolines, shopping Tupperware, nagging coffee machine vendors to give us free espresso. And so we found the chocolate. Five or six different kinds of chocolate - with chili, coffee beans, pink peppercorns, ginger... All very delicious, but this was the one we both really fell for. Dark, dark chocolate with rather large sea salt crystals. The brand is C. Henriet but I am sure there are plenty of other brands too. Just try it, it is so good!

December 04, 2006

In the beginning was Chaos

Today´s Swedish word: röra. Means mess.

I have told you before about my friend M´s dissertation party and here is a short note - recipes to come but I am still in need of some extra sleep...
This is how our kitchen looked this Thursday morning when I was in full party-preparing frenzy. From the left: tapenade in my food processor, I made eight times the normal batch and fiddled for an hour peeling garlic cloves (you see a mountain of garlic peel to the far right), counting sardelles and scooping capers. Luckily I had cored the olives the night before! But when you have everything prepared it is easy to whizz it together.
And then we have fresh cheese in the making in the cloth thingy hanging over the pot in the sink, and dishes dishes dishes... But everything went very well except my second batch of fresh cheese didn´t drain properly so no horse radish cheese on the buffet this time, just chives... I also made red pesto and bread.
Anyway, the dissertation went very well and actually I understood quite a lot of it (except when M and the opponent spent 30 minutes scribbling chemical reactions on the whiteboard). She has done successful research on a certain step in the process for creating artificial photosynthesis and has hence contributed to solving the world´s energy problems. Bravo! Above all she is a great person and a dear friend and I am so glad I could be a part of her great day. And evening. And night. Yaaawn.

December 03, 2006

Dear Santa

Today´s Swedish word: gryta. Means casserole/pot

Dear Santa,

Please bring me a very, very large bowl this year, so I won´t have to use my second largest pot (the largest was occupied by the fresh cheese - more on that another day) for raising the dough next time I am baking beetroot bread for 50 people. To the right you see my up til now largest bowl, with rye/wheat/sunflower seeds bread for 50 people. I need one slightly larger for future projects.

I have been a very good girl this year.

Love, Clivia