I hope you’ve all had a lovely Christmas! I certainly did. It’s been wonderful spending quality time with my family, enjoying lots of nice food (obviously!) and catch up with a few friends. I have been home for a week and a half but it’s just whizzed past and now it’s almost time to ring in a new year. How are you getting on with the prep? I did the food shop yesterday and will prep as much as I can tomorrow before picking up my boyfriend from the airport. It’s the first time since before the pandemic we’re able to celebrate together with friends here so there will be a lot of cheers!
Thank you so much for reading my blog and supporting my little corner of the internet. I wish you all a really cracking 2023!
“Dig where you stand” is a popular saying in Sweden, and that’s how I’m trying to get back into the groove of writing on here after my very much unplanned (and rather long) hiatus.
So I thought I would start by looking back at my two weeks in Sweden. Show you what I got up to, and more importantly, ate!
My first supper in Sweden was a simple one, but I had craved proper (smoked) Swedish sausages for a long time, so sausages with buns and mamma’s homemade mash was perfect!
Christmas 2020, when I was in Sweden for a month (first isolating then staying with my parents) my parents and I ate so much we tried to dial it down this time, with some regular food in between the celebration dinners. And we felt much better for it! Case in point: homemade Jerusalem artichoke soup with crispy prosciutto crumbs and mamma’s homemade bread.
But we also indulged in the foods we love, like bleak roe toast and prawns! And pudding!
Our tree this year was probably the best we’ve ever had! So tall and handsome (and a lot bigger than our little London tree!).
I introduced my mamma to mince pies as I made them for the first time (on request) for our mini Christmas party in London. It’s not something I love, but this recipe with frangipane is excellent and they’re fun to make. I made them both regular size (here) and canapé sized for the party.
We had our traditional Christmas food on the 23rd, which we in Sweden call Lillejul (it translates to little Christmas) and it’s a day we’ve always celebrated in some ways. We usually see friends for glögg and when I was little we celebrated the 23rd with the same family friends every year and us children got to open a few presents (that we gave each other) early! It was really special. But these days we eat the traditional Christmas food (our favourites) that evening and have more a more festive dinner on Christmas Eve. It just suits us better.
We actually had a white Christmas this year! (Not a common thing in southern Sweden at all). It was really beautiful actually. This is the view from my bedroom and I just love it.
We opened our stockings (we only do it for fun, it’s not actually a Swedish tradition) before we had eggs, herring and other Christmassy things for lunch.
In the evening we had some nibbles and pink champagne to start off the evening.
Our Christmas Eve table!
This year we celebrated Christmas with fillet of beef, Hasselbacks potatoes (they’re Swedish you know) and homemade bearnaise sauce and for a little Christmas touch, brussels sprouts with butter and bacon.
Our pudding was very traditional, ris a’la Malta, which is basically a rice porridge (a bit looser than a rice pudding) served cold and with lots of lightly whipped cream mixed in. It’s delicious but SO heavy, I can only manage a small bowl.
Christmas Day was gorgeous so we drove to the beach for a lovely walk.
And by the time we came back home the sun was setting and the views were beautiful.
I made very decadent hot cocoas for pappa and I when we got back. With milk, real chocolate, whipped cream a plenty and marshmallows. So yummy!
We had turbot for dinner, cooked whole in the oven, with potatoes, the most delicious sauce, peas and mange tout.
One of the days after Christmas we used the leftovers to make Danish smørrebrød. It’s basically an open-faced sandwich with a small piece of bread and a lot of toppings (so you can eat more than one). It was so yummy and a genius idea as Christmas leftovers are always a bit tricky to use up (at least for us).
I had a lot of lovely family time but also met up with some friends. Sadly not as many as I had planned due to illnesses (Covid and others) but I was grateful for the ones I got to see. I had a few lovely walks (and fika) in the woods with friends, and I can’t believe I haven’t done that before. It’s so lovely to walk and talk (I always struggle to exercise when I’m home as most of my time is spent socialising and eating with friends and family), get fresh air, look at the scenery and such an easy way to see a friend. No need to book anything, dress up etc. Hope to do this more even post-pandemic!
The first week of January actually started in December. That Monday we had a lie-in and after a bit of NYE prep we went to see some friends for dinner.
We had a lovely time playing with the children, eating lots of good food and catching up with the adults. To start we had charcuteries and nibbles in the kitchen while the chef prepared our main course.
Which was pizza! With lots of cheese and mushrooms. Delicious!
And for pudding we had the most luxurious saffron ice cream with crunchy oats on top. Yum!
Next day was New Year’s Eve and I spent the day with my best friend and my god daughter playing and chatting (but also working so didn’t get as much quality time as I would have liked) while the boys were out playing golf. Once they were back we opened up the champagne and gathered around the kitchen island eating canapés and chatting while I occasionally stirred a pot prepping the rest of our dinner.
We had three nibbles, quite substantial as we started early and had dinner late, to accommodate a little lady’s bed time. The girolle toasts were requested by all and will probably be a firm NYE nibble from now on, but we also had the fried rice paper with salmon and mini rosti with bleak roe. So yummy!
The starter was of course lobster, but prepared a bit differently so will post the recipe later.
The main course was also classic with fillet of beef, mushroom and cognac sauce, pommes Anna, broccoli and charred spring onions. Really nice, if I may say so myself!
The pudding was a new version of baked Alaska, with dulce de leche ice cream inside. Recipe to come!
The next morning we had a lie-in and then I cooked us all poached eggs with pancetta, basically forcing our favourite couple onto our hosts, but they loved it (as we thought they would).
When we got back home we unpacked (I basically brought half of mum’s kitchen with me), settled in for a film and hang out with my parents. Then we had some bubbles and Jamon Iberico by the fire before dinner.
Which was pizza! It’s basically tradition to eat pizza on New Year’s Day but I prefer to make my own instead of buying it. I made four different ones and we were so full afterwards we postponed pudding until an hour or so later.
The following day we hosted a dinner party, and mum and I both cooked making it so easy. I had prepared the crostini we had with some bubbly when our guests arrived. We had the Finnish-Russian mushroom spread and the Öjeby toast – both delicious!
Mamma made the main course, we had wild duck with all the trimmings, which was delicious as usual but I forgot to take any pictures of it. I did photograph the crème brûlée I made for pudding though. We served some saucy raspberries with it. Love this pudding so much!
The next day it was time for my boyfriend to go back to London so we made the most of the day; going for a walk in the woods, playing with the cats and had a late lunch with my parents. Mamma had made her famous (they are seriously the best!!) meatballs and we ate so much it was nice we had a drive ahead of us to digest the food.
When I got back we had some leftover pizza for supper while watching our favourite Swedish game show!
On the Saturday I had a full day with just my parents. We went to the cinema and saw A Piece of My Heart which was actually quite sweet. And quite good!
Then we had alll the seafood for dinner. Oysters au gratin, smoked salmon, langoustines, smoked prawns, homemade mayo, garlic bread. All delicious!
My last day in Sweden I hang out with my parents, packed my bags and just tried to get stuff done. Then we had roast chicken for dinner, before going to the airport. Two weeks just flew by! But I have all the memories.
The Sunday before Christmas my best friend and I have each other the greatest gift; time. Almost a whole day together to just talk, laugh and hang out together. And eat of course. Because without food neither of us are particularly nice to be around.
Too busy in the lead up to Christmas we hadn’t made a firm plan for where to eat, so when we walked past Johan P and saw that they a) were open on a Sunday (insert dance emoji) and b) were serving brunch, we thought it was meant to be.
We settled in at our table and ordered some champagne to celebrate being together. Cheers, bestie!
And then we started on the seafood. It was a lovely spread of fresh prawns, langoustines, king crab legs, prawns and crayfish in mayonnaise, sauces, herring, seafood paté, boiled eggs, hot and cold smoked salmon, cheese and bread.
We sat there eating, chatting and drinking for hours and were so full of the cold stuff we didn’t have room for the warm fish and chips that was also included in the brunch.
Everything was really nice and we loved to sample a bit of this and a bit of that as chatting away. We ordered more wine and the staff let us take our time.
We took a little break to enjoy the wine and digest all the seafood and so enjoyed having a whole day together!
It soon got dark and we were still there, having a jolly good time. And after our little breather we thoroughly enjoyed the pudding: a light as air deconstructed cheesecake.
It was the perfect ending to our perfect day. Thanks, bestie!
The last week in December was quite a sociable one! I was home in Sweden trying to relax a bit, celebrate Christmas and catchup up with friends.
The day before Christmas Eve is our “mini Christmas” at home. We decorated the tree, wrapped the last gifts and had Christmas food for dinner. But first a G&T and some crisps by the fire.
For dinner we had a small selection of traditional Christmas dishes, basically our favourites. Meatballs, cooked ham, rye bread, Jansson’s temptation and “brown” (caramelised) cabbage.
Look at our pretty tree!
On Christmas Eve we had leftovers for lunch (and herring for my parents).
But in the evening we prefer more regular dinner party food (but still with a nod towards tradition). Christmas food is so heavy once is enough for us.
Our starter was my homemade beetroot cured salmon with prawns, dill cream cheese and a honey mustard sauce on butter-fried bread. Delicious!
Followed by slow cooked venison tjälknöl (cooked from frozen) with dauphinoise potatoes, red wine sauce and cooked vegetables.
For pudding we had both a cheeseboard and traditional rice pudding with lightly whipped cream folded in and berry sauce.
And after that we had fruits and sweets. This day is all about eating…
On Christmas Day we wanted something lighter and I assembled a little bruschetta bar with charcuterie, cured salmon, venison from the night before, cheeses and spreads.
Boxing Day was a social day with fika at one set of friends, completely with homemade saffron buns, gingerbread and games with the kids.
That was followed by dinner at another set of friends. We had prawns, eggs, quiches, salad and more.
And ice cream for pudding! My friends are really spoiling me!
The next day I hung out with my parents and in the evening we had leftovers. But first of course a G&T.
Cured salmon toast with homemade mayonnaise.
Venison, dauphinoise potatoes, red wine sauce and cooked vegetables.
On the Saturday I met some friends for fika at Slättarps Gård (how pretty?!)…
…and in the evening I had dinner with friends. Once again being spoilt!
Sunday was spent at home with my parents and we had pork fillet with potato wedges and homemade bearnaise sauce for dinner. Afterwards I went food shopping for new year’s eve and picked up the boy from the airport. Can’t believe how quickly a week went past!
The third week in December was also a busy one. December is usually a crazy month, even though I try my best to prevent that from happening, I never seem to succeed.
Monday I went down to The New Forest for work (train lunch above) and when I got back to London in the evening I hit the shops for some last Christmas shopping. Thank god the shops are open in the evenings!
The next day I worked from home and prepped for our party the next day. In the evening we went to a lovely drinks party and when we got back I continued the prepping.
Wednesday night was our party and it was so much fun!! I didn’t take a single picture of people but snapped some of the food.
The next day I worked from home again and we had leftovers for both lunch and dinner.
In the evening a friend helped us eat the leftovers as he couldn’t make the party and the three of us had a lovely evening drinking champagne and stuffing ourselves.
Friday night I flew home to Sweden and back home we had tea and sandwiches in the middle of the night.
The next day I unpacked, wrapped Christmas gifts (which I love to do) and spent time with my parents.
In the evening we made boeuf bourguignon and it was so nice to be home and have dinner with mamma and pappa.
The next day I spent time with my best friend Emma and we had a lovely brunch with allll the seafood and even champagne. So lovely to be reunited again!
We had such a lovely day just hanging out and it was the perfect ending to a fairly hectic week.
As you might have learnt from this blog, us Swedes LOVE seafood. I ate prawns every single Friday night through my childhood and I still love them. Like a lot.
So every chance I get to eat nice (cold water) prawns I take. Like when I was at home in Sweden in the summer and my parents suggested we try out the local café in Smyge (the most southern point in the country!) because their prawn sandwiches are talked about a lot and meant to be really good!
So on my boyfriend’s last day visiting we had lunch there, in their cosy little garden a stone’s throw from the sea.
They offer prawn sandwiches in three different sizes and we all decided on medium as that looked pretty big to us. And what we received was the perfect specimens of a Swedish prawn sandwich. It had soft white bread that’s still sturdy enough to not go soggy, lettuce, a nice amount of mayonnaise and sliced boiled eggs and a small mountain of Atlantic prawns peeled by hand. And of course lemon, dill and tomato and cucumber slices as decoration.
So nice, and extremely filling! We only had a hot dog each for supper as we were too full to have something resembling a proper dinner. Great place! Highly recommend. Especially when you can sit outside in the garden. Inside is quite rustic, but I can see it being cosy too.
Café Smyge, Smyge strandväg 4F, 231 78 Smygehamn, Sweden
I usually bang on about how great Swedish summers are to my London friends, and although that is completely true, we of course have some less glorious days too.
When the sky is dark and the clouds are brooding and you know the thunder and lightning are not far away. But the summer lover that I am, I refused to really believe the weather forecast and still met up with my childhood friend Henrik and his two children on the beach. Mainly because we didn’t really know what else to do!
We managed a half an hour or so of playing in the sea and sand until the raindrops started to fall, in a rapid succession, so we packed our things and sprinted to the nearest place for shelter. Luckily the nearest place was a brand new (new for this year!) restaurant that were just about to start serving lunch. Perfect timing!
So we installed ourselves at a table upstairs and had a lovely lunch as the storm continued outside.
I had the weekly pasta which this particular week was tortellini with smoked salmon in a creamy sauce. It was nice-ish but nothing spectacular and I must admit I was a little disappointed and got a serious case of food envy when I saw Henrik’s Wallenbergare (basically a large meatball made with veal mince) with potato purée and lingonberries.
He confirmed it was really good, and I know what to order next time. As we finished our lunch the storm had passed and the sun came out, so we did get that glorious sunny day after all. So we went for a walk and in search of ice cream!
Apart from being a good place to shelter from thunder storms I could see myself sitting on the deck here drinking rosé and overlooking the beach on a balmy summer’s evening. Let’s make a plan for that next year!
Strandtugg, Östersjövägen 79, 236 36 Höllviken, Sweden
The second week in Sweden by dear boyfriend came to visit. So on the Monday morning on my way to pick him up from the train from Copenhagen airport I stopped at Ikea to buy a few things. It was almost empty and a breeze to shop (i.e. the opposite of the Ikea shopping experience in the UK!).
After I had picked him up we drove into central Malmö and went for a nice walk in the sunshine to the west harbour, and afterwards we had lunch at Saluhallen, the foodhall. We shared a huge burger and a crab ravioli and neither of us could decide on what we wanted.
In the evening we had dinner with my parents. Starting with bubbly and parmesan biscuits, then barbecued chicken (so yummy!) with slaw, crispy potatoes and tzatsiki.
For pudding mamma had made crema catalana which we enjoyed with berries.
The following day we had some friends coming for fika, and so to avoid a sugar overload we started with a savoury quiche and salad and then had a lovely apple and blueberry cake with vanilla and blueberry ice cream to finish. We played a bit with the children in the garden and had a lovely time catching up!
In the evening we bought pizzas and had a very chilled night in watching a Swedish sing-along show (!) and a good documentary.
The following day we had a morning swim in the sea and then started prepping for our little dinner party that evening.
As a starter we had melon and prosciutto as well as a caprese salad and for the main course we had shrimp rolls, skin-on oven fries and a nice salad. For pudding I had made lemon posset that I served with whipped cream, apricots from the garden and blueberries. Such a lovely evening!
Thursday my boyfriend played golf with my best friend’s husband and his dad most of the day so I met up with a childhood friend in the morning.
We played on the beach with his children until suddenly a rain storm drew in, so we took refuge at a nearby restaurant that was just opening for lunch. As we had finished eating the dark clouds disappeared and we could go outside for a nice walk in the sun and an ice cream. After I had said goodbye to them I quickly went to the supermarket and stocked up for dinner that evening and then met up with my best friend Emma for a glass of wine while I was prepping dinner and we waited for the golfers to come back.
To make it easier with my goddaughter’s bed time we had our started – the much loved bruschetta bar – before she went to bed, and the rest of the dinner after.
So while my friends put her to bed I finished cooking the pasta carbonara with girolles and for pudding we had a lovely frozen daim cheesecake. It was one of those lovely evenings where you forget about time and just sit there chatting, laughing and sipping wine until you suddenly realise it’s late and we should all go to bed.
We stayed over so the next morning I got to play with my goddaughter some more before we went back to the summer house. As it was my boyfriend’s last day in Sweden we made the most of the afternoon with a little outing to Smygehuk (the southernmost point in Sweden) where we had delicious (and huge!) prawn sandwiches, then went for a little walk and finished off with an ice cream before we went back home to pack.
After I had dropped him off at the train to the airport I had a very simple supper with my parents; grilled hotdogs! We were still full from the prawn sandwiches so didn’t want a full-on dinner so sausages were perfect!
On the Saturday I did some sunbathing before we went home to our other house to pick a few things up and get a few things done. In the evening my parents and I had a little mini crayfish party, as we all love seafood and especially crayfish at this time of year. First we had a girolle toast, then the Swedish crayfish with bread and cheese and aquavit!
The next day (my last in Sweden, sob…) mamma and I went to a flea market where I bought some bouillon bowls and plates (I’m such a crockery addict!).
Then I packed my bags while mamma and pappa organised fika for my best friend and her family, so I could see them one last time before I left. We had Danish open-faced sandwiches with prawns and brussels pate respectively and a chewy toffee cake with lightly whipped cream afterwards. It was a short fika but lovely seeing my friends and god daughter once more.
The journey back to London was easy, so I hung out in the lounge a bit before my flight, enjoying a light supper of smoked salmon and potato salad before I boarded, already missing Sweden. Thank you for two lovely weeks! ❤️
The last week in July I was on holiday in Sweden. On the Monday morning I flew to Copenhagen where mamma and pappa waited for me with (quite literally) open arms and brought me and my heavy bags to our summer house.
We started with fika. Mamma’s homemade bread rolls, Swedish cheese and the best prawn mayonnaise ever. And a Swedish ice cream to finish.
After I unpacked mamma and I went down to the beach to check it out and soon after it was time for fika number two, with cinnamon buns this time.
In the evening we packed a little basket with champagne flutes, a cold bottle of Champagne and some crisps and went down to the beach and enjoyed it on the sand dunes. It was just so wonderful and in that moment I definitely felt like I was on holiday!
When the bottle was empty we went back up to the house and had shrimp rolls with skin-on oven fries for dinner and for strawberries and cream for pudding. It felt so lovely being back home!
The next day I had about 30 minutes in the sun before I needed to get ready for an afternoon with friends. My best friend and her family were hosting and we had such a nice time relaxing in the garden and eating barbecued burgers and Nutella semifreddo.
On the Wednesday we had our annual family meet up with a few cousins and aunt. It was so nice to catch up, eat lovely food and enjoy each other’s company.
In the evening I introduced my parents to the bruschetta bar and as expected it was a great success!
The next day it rained a lot so I couldn’t sunbathe as I had planned. Instead mamma, pappa and I went on a little road trip to Österlen.
We stopped at a few beaches, had ice cream, stopped at a harbour, went to a few shops and finished our day with pizzas at Kronovalls Slott. Such a lovely day!
On the Friday the weather was lovely again and I had lunch with friends at my favourite café in Höllviken, Märtas, eating my usual prawn sandwich.
Afterwards we went for a walk, had an ice cream and walked some more.
Then it was time for a dinner party at my friends’ house. There were a group of us and plenty of children so we had a drink outside by the swings while the children were playing before we sat down for dinner. Such a lovely day and evening catching up with dear friends!
The weather was lovely on Saturday too, which was perfect four a trip to Copenhagen with Maria and Daniel. I love our little tradition so much! We don’t really plan ahead (because in Copenhagen you don’t need to!) but still manage to eat great food, experience new things and we have a jolly good time doing it all!
This time we had lunch at 108, then more lunch at Torvehallerne, ate ice cream and finished it all off with a late dinner at Bæst, which we loved last year! In between meals we explored the city and did some shopping. A perfect day!