Scandi tip #16: The Moomin Shop

Did you ever read about Moomin by Finnish Tove Jansson when you were little? I certainly did and I still find the Moomin family very cute. We watched the cartoon on telly as kids as well, and I think the characters are just adorable. Especilly Little My who is angry all the time.

A little while ago a new shop opened in the Covent Garden Market, full of adorable Moomin merchandise. I can’t wait to check it out. For more info, see what Time Out has to say.

Scandi tip #15: A Scandinavian Easter

Another month to go and then it is Easter. Apart from a lamb roast I don’t think England and Sweden have much in common when it comes to food for Easter.

Just like every other holiday we eat herring. Usually with boiled, oftened coloured eggs, dark rye bread, strong hard cheeses and some smoked or cured salmon. I usually make a matjes cheesecake, and Janssons temptation (potato and anchovies bake) is common too. This food is usually consumed on Easter Eve, the Saturday, and the roast lamb is more common on Easter Day (the SUnday).

A very popular Easter cake is the Oscar II cake, named after a Swedish king. The reason it is so popular during Easter is probably because of its yellow colour and nothing else.

Note: The image is from here.

Scandi tip #14: Nordic Bar

If you want to experience Scandinavian themed drinks and some Nordic kitsch, I have just the place for you – Nordic Bar.

My friend Nick introduced me to this place when I was new in town, and it is a quite fun place with lots of kitschy decorations and a stuffed reindeer on the wall. The bar feels a little bit shabby, but the Scandinavian themed cocktails make up for it. They have lots of flavoured vodkas and even snaps in stock, and you can even have a mini smorgasbord here.

Image courtesy of http://www.nordicbar.com/

 

Scandi tip #13: Iittala

Although I am true to my Swedish roots, when it comes to design and especially kitchen design, I look to Finland.

There is one company in particular – Iittala – that has so many pretty yet functional things for the kitchen, I don’t know where to start.

When I grew up, what constitutes Iittala now was three different companies; Arabia for china services, Iittala was glassware and Hackman pots, pans, knives etc. There are even more companies owned by the Iittala group but they have kept there own brandnames, where as Arabia, Iittala and Hackman all merged intoIittala.

The most famous design by Iittala are wavy bowls and vases designed by Alvar Aalto, one of the most famous Finnish (and Scandinavian) designers.

If you want to buy Iittala product there are a few good webistes, and also John Lewis and other department stores has some of the range.

http://www.skandium.com/search_results.asp?keywords=iittala

http://royaldesign.co.uk/Iittala.aspx

Scandi tip #11: Marylebone

My friend Jenny, who has recently moved to West London, texted me a few days ago to ask if I knew there was a Nordic bakery near Marylebone. I must confess I haven’t been to the Nordic Bakery, I always tend to go to the Scandinavian Kitchen, but I can vouch for plenty of baked goods courtesy of the former, as my friend Anna shops there a lot.

Marylebone is the Swedish area in London, this is where you find the church and the pub. It is also home to the design shop Skandium, which I have mentioned before, and lots of other non-Scandinavian shops like the Conran shop and Divertimenti, as well as lots of nice restaurants, pubs and cafés.

Note: the picture is courtesy of this page.

Scandi tip #10: Semla

Picture from Wikipedia.

At this time of year, there is only one pastry on people’s minds in Sweden and Scandinavia, the semla.

It is a regular wheat bun (almost like a brioche), made from a similar recipe to cinnamon buns. You then cut off the lid and fill it with whipped cream and marzipan, put the lid back on and add copious amounts on icing sugar to the buns.

When I was a child I only made homemade ones, as the bought ones, even from a nice bakery, tend to have a very gooey marzipan and I like the sweet almondy set one.

Some people but the semla in a bowl of hot milk called hetvägg (hot wall) and eat the soggy thing with a spoon, but I find that all wrong to be honest.

Anyway, the story behind these semlor has to do with Lent, and these used to eaten on only one day; Shrove Tuesday, before Lent started. Now they are available from bakeries from the beginning of January until a week or so after Shrove Tuesday, which this year is on the 21st February.

If you want to try this delicacy, you are bound to find them at Nordic Bakery, Scandinavian Kitchen and maybe also at Fika, in London. Or why not make your own?