Cupboard love


Tacos a top 10 weekend meal in Sweden!

Tacos a top 10 weekend meal in Sweden!

You never really know what goes on behind closed doors, especially if that door leads to the kitchen.

And sometimes I can’t help wondering just what the average Swede really eats for supper. As a Brit living in Sweden I’ve  mostly – but not always – enjoyed trying out Swedish food.  I love food, and can think of nothing nicer than idling hours away leafing through a cookery book.   But, despite that, and trying to be inventive, I always seem to end up cooking the same 10 dishes on some strange sort of rota system.

So you can imagine my surprise as I was busy preparing our Saturday night Tacos, when I discovered that I was far from alone in my choice of meal; it seems, in fact, that well over 840,000 other people in Sweden would also be tucking into Tacos over the weekend!

This is according to a recent survey that was featured in our local paper on Saturday.  So, if you’ve ever wondered, here are Sweden’s Top 10 Weekend Meals for 2014:-

  1. Beef with chips, 12.1%
  2. Chicken, 11.1%
  3. Tacos, 8,8%
  4. Pork fillet with side dishes, 8,1%
  5. Pizza, 6.8%
  6. Fish with side dishes, 6,4%
  7. Salmon, 4,4%
  8. Casserole, 4,1%
  9. Steak/entrecote with side dishes, 2,7%
  10. Hamburgers, 2.4%

As I tend to cook at least 6 of these meals on a regular basis, I begin to wonder if I am more Swedish from a culinary perspective than I realized?

Note to Selfie: Time to dust off my Delia Smith and Nigella Lawson cookery books!






Strike whilst the iron is hot!

Swedish waffles

Swedish waffles

Bring out the waffle irons and whack out the whisks! It’s National Waffle Day in Sweden.

Yes, the ever-inventive Swedes have yet another infernal ‘celebratory’ day. And today March 25th it’s the turn of the humble waffle. If you close your eyes and listen very carefully, you’ll hear the sizzle of hot butter across the nation as we all get our waffle irons primed and ready for action.

Waffles over here (OH) are typically heart-shaped. Though their great, great ancestors way back in time were much more rectangular. It really wasn’t until the Middle Ages that waffles started to look like, well, waffles. They were also cooked using irons – some of which were decorated with coats of arms which I guess was a nifty way of having a family selfie.

Personally, I think waffles are best eaten when someone else makes them. So, if you ever happen to be driving aimlessly around the Swedish countryside in the summer with nothing better to do, keep your eyes peeled for a ”Våffelstuga” –  a cafe that serves waffles; more often than not, they are family run and just open for the summer season, waiting for people like me just too lazy to make their own.

If you miss today’s waffle deadline, don’t panic! There are always another 364 days in the year.

Chocolate – a consuming passion?

So, I saw an article in a British paper the other day and I couldn’t stop laughing. And with a blog about Selfie and my love of chocolate, I just had to include this ridiculous bit of narcissistic self-indulgence.

Women are being encouraged by a British department store Harvey Nichols to create 3D chocolate ”Selfies”. They claim that, after countless pictures being taken from countless angles, a silicone mould being formed and filled with chocolate, and then cooled; your exact likeness will be captured in chocolate: for posterity – or until you’re eaten, or left forgotten on a shelf to ‘chocrot’, or covered in dust and then thrown away.

Quite obviously, this is more of a “Chocfie” than a Selfie (as you’re not able to take all those countless photos yourself) – let’s get our facts straight in this example of technical wonderment. But what amazes me most is that women are seriously having this done – as apparently they are. I nearly choked on my Chocolate Nut Granola; my mind running rampant with visions of unnecessary body parts being  3D-imaged in chocolate.

But the people having the BIGGEST laugh are Harvey Nichols, charging £99.00 for six solid chocolate mini busts (head and shoulders, not below!). Somehow I can’t but help feel the emphasis is on Concept rather Substance (=Gimmick)?

3D Chocfie

3D Chocfie

Note to Selfie: Chocolate makes the World go plump!

Flag up Sweden! (FuS)

So, it’s time again for my weekly challenge. Once a week, I’m going to #Flag up Sweden (Fus). I’m trying to find something that I like about Sweden, or at least find something positive to say about someone, something, or well really anything remotely associated with this tree-ridden country.

And this week, it’s the year 1926. Or rather something that happened on that momentous day in history; a day that heralded 3 events of varying importance in the making of Sweden.

FIRSTLY, Ingvar Kamprad the founder of the flat-packed, plywood emporium (otherwise known as IKEA) was born.

SECONDLY, Volvo PLC was formed.

THIRDLY and most significantly, a baker in the wooded highlands of this region was inspired.

This unsung Swedish hero, Ingvar Strid, created Budapest. Something that, despite its name, has absolutely nothing to do with countries or invasions. Although it could well be that Ingvar’s ancestors were involved in some dispute or other as ‘Strid’ is the Swedish word for battle or combat.

No, this has all to do with a pastry. Quite where Ingvar Strid got his inspiration from I do not know. But, out of the gloom of the late 1920’s, there emerged a king among cakes.

And what I do know is, if you love hazelnut chocolate meringue wrapped around oodles of cream and mandarins you’ve now got at least ONE very good reason for visiting Sweden.




As if to recognise its huge historical value, Budapest was last year given its own day.  And May 1st is now, amongst other things, National Budapest Day.

Little green jelly frogs

Green jelly frogs - Gröna Grodor

Green jelly frogs – Gröna Grodor

My first contact with the little green jelly frogs must be some 9 years ago now.  It was a totally unexpected encounter that took me completely by surprise.

There were about 20 of us there; parents gathered to watch our youngsters at their end of term sports do.  I imagined that bean bags and skipping ropes would be the order of the day.  Instead, the main feature was a large bag of small green amphibians: squishy, shiny frogs that all stuck together in a gooey mess.

And the aim was simple – to see who could spit the little green frogs the furthest.

Well, I know that camels spit when worried and snuff-taking Swedes can be a little bit ‘spitty’.  But, a spitting contest for kids?  I was hopping mad.

There was one youngster, there always is, who out-spat the others by a clear metre in all three spit-offs.  He was a master spitter if there ever was one.

Mastering all my restraint, and quietly fuming I retreated to my parked car.  And there I waited for my son – the Spitting Champion.  And what could I say to that dear little chap beaming with pride and a glowing green tongue?

Because we don’t spit in Britain, do we?

Flag up Sweden! (FuS)


Blogging should be about having fun, right?

So, I’ve decided to set myself a challenge.  No, not one of those awful virtuous attempts to learn something new or do a good deed.  No, this is a REAL challenge.  Once a week, I’m going to #Flag up Sweden (Fus).  I’m going to find something that I like about Sweden, or at least find something positive to say about someone, something, or well really anything remotely associated with this tree-ridden country.  For those of you who know me, you know that this won’t be an easy task.

But this week, it’s actually a piece of cake.  Well, not literally, though it does have something to do with food.   It jumped straight out of  the fridge at me.  Yes, it’s food in a tube!!  Well, not all food in a tube.  Just a very special, peculiarly Swedish food called Kalles Caviar.

Rather like Marmite, you either Love IT or Hate It.  Rather surprisingly, I Love It.  It comes in a garishly blue shiny tube, with a platinum blonde-haired boy grinning at you with a full set of ridiculously white teeth.  But, don’t be put off by the packaging!   Appearances can be deceptive.  For inside the tube there’s a delicious, creamed fish roe ‘paste’.   Just like toothpaste,  remove the lid and squeeeeeeeezzze – it’s that simple.  Admittedly, this does on first sight look a little bit like the contents of a baby’s nappy.  But, get over that hurdle then you’re home and dry!

Just get yourself a slab of hearty Lingon bread, some hard boiled egg and then squiqqle over Kalles to your heart’s delight.

Kalles in action

Kalles in action

Note to Selfie:  Remember to brush teeth!

It’s crunch time!



I couldn’t help wondering about the wonders of marketing.  Turn back the clock 10 years, and this would have been just another ordinary Friday.  And we’d all have been going about our day-to-day lives as usual.  Fast forward 10 years, and here I am waiting at the supermarket check-out with several very large bags of crisps, savoury cheese snacks and a sachet of Sour Cream and Red Onion dip mix.   I am about to participate in what has so effortlessly become a national,  Friday night ritual.  I’m about to hunker down in front of the box with family and an array of unhealthy, fatty snacks and dips – and all in the name of  Fredagsmys ( Cosy Friday).  Dress code, of course, being casual; slippers, tracksuits and onesies being items of choice.

It’s full marks to OLW (Sweden’s Snacks King) that this weekly event has slipped so easily into the Swedish culture.  It’s as much of a ritual as eating Semlor  To think that, through clever marketing, national TV ads and The Fredagsmys Song we all think it’s great to stay at home and, quite simply, hog out.   Now,  we all want to be part of the national Cosy Friday movement.

And,  just in case we might forget our weekly forage into snack heaven, OLW have installed a large, colourful Count Down Clock on their homepage, ticking off the hours, minutes and seconds to our next blow out.  For, that’s what it is.  Let’s face it.   Fredagsmys is nothing more than legitimised slobbing out in front of the telly!   Thanks to OLW, we all feel free to unashamedly tuck into as many packets of crisps and other snacks with a TOTALLY clear conscience.  Look at me, I feel no shame standing in line clutching on to calorific, junk food hell.  Why should I?  You see, I’m just part of the Communal Crunch.    I mean, how clever is that…

Let’s get fat together!

Semla - Sweden's famous cream bun

Semla – Sweden’s famous cream bun

Just how an innocuous cream bun has gained celebrity status here in Sweden baffles me.  Not only has the Semla got its own Facebook page (with over 28,000 fans), there are national tasting panels all too happy to pass judgement on looks, flavour and overall appeal. There’s one guy, ‘The Semla Man’, who valiantly has dedicated himself to trying out over 70 semlor (that’s semla x LOTS).  Eating his way through goodness knows how many carbs just for the benefit of the Swedish public.  It is after all only a bun stuffed with a bit of marzipan and a lot of cream.

Ironically it’s come such a long way from its humble beginnings.  Considering it was just a yeast bun that everyone gorged themselves on before Lent, it’s hard to understand why it’s now reached culinary Stardom!  A celebrity Z-lister.   So here’s to  ‘Fat Day’ (that’s Shrove Tuesday to you and me).

Will I be indulging?  Well yes, of course.  But I’d rather eat a chocolate eclair….

Notes from Selfie:

–  According to Arla ( Dairy King of Sweden) over 5 million semlor will be eaten today, March 4th.

–  Fat Day – Fettis Dag