No trifling matter*

img_0536I’ve made dessert. Again. But it’s a variation on a theme; most desserts I make are based of fruit(or berries), whipped cream and then it’s a toss-up between meringue or spongecake i.e I either make a variation on Eton mess or some kind of trifle.

For someone who is in equal amounts uninterested in desserts and very interested in creating harmonizing combinations of flavour a trifle is a great canvas. It can be composed with existing “materials”,so no baking required, and really the sky is the limit. Which means that my trifles will surely upset some people who are very conservative(and insist on custard having to be one of the layers; I say not always).I never use jello in a trifle but prefer curds and jams; as pointed out I don’t always use custard it happens.In fact BBC4’s Food program had a great episode about it that you can find here.

I made the chocolate and apricot thing a few weeks ago, there is a legendary one with white chocolate,lemoncurd, cream and raspberries which I’ve lost the recipe for.

In this case there is sponge at the base, a generous helping of the curd I made with bitter oranges, loads of whipped cream and topped of with some strawberries. I sliced a few and put in between on of the layers of curd and cream too. In the style of Alice B.Toklas I’m not gonna offer much in way of measurements; you really can’t go wrong and experimenting is a way to learn.

In this case I made them in individual bowls which isn’t optimal; they really gain from being made in big bowls where several layers fits. Another thing to remember is time; it really must sit for at least 6 hours but preferably over night to get all nice and soggy. If you want it to look nice when serving you can put some of the cream aside, and top it with a last layer of fluffy whipped cream and some berries at the last minute.

Now if you excuse me I must go eat the leftovers of this and have coffee. And try to finish some books.


*sorry; pun too good not to use.



Weekend and what I’m (not) reading right now

img_0550It’s been a hectic week and I haven’t had neither time nor peace of mind to read. I’m also in a situation  having to start certain books as they need to be returned to the library, but I don’t want to carry heavy books around(I’ve been dragging around enough stuff as it is).

A poem for every night of the year is obviously not something that needs to be finished soon; I do plan to stick to it throughout the year and not jump ahead. It will turn up in many stacks of books to come.

The memoirs of Hadrian by Marguerite Yourcenar is a re-read; it’s a wonderfully written, a profound contemplation about life,power and love; a novel as a biography of the roman emperor Hadrian. I will try to keep my rereads to a minimum this year, but I couldn’t resist this one when I was reminded of it. The Roman empire is one of those things that I return to again and again: I have SPQR by Mary Beard on my desk and I so want to read Augustus by John Williams.

I’m having a hard time with David Foster Wallace; some of the essays in this book are great, but others are about things that I know very little(or care for) and not even Wallace inspired writing can keep my attention. Might just mark DFW as DNF.

The Lonely City by Olivia Laing is the book I’m enjoying most of these; her writings on loneliness from the perspective of art,literature and Laing’s own experiences feels like a palate cleanser from curated imagery in my FB-feed and in lifestyle magazines. It’s an in-depth look at certain artist and their works but connected to a bigger picture. Full review when I’m done.

Wicked is another one that I don’t know if I will finish; the idea is great, a retelling of the wizard of Oz from the perspective of the witch of the west, but Maguire hasn’t gotten all the pieces together in my opinion.


Big on “bigarade”

img_0265I’m lucky to have a friend who gives me,instead of flowers, exciting ingredients when visiting. Last time I got saffron and a few Seville oranges, also known as bitter oranges or marmelade oranges. In swedish we call them  “pomeranser”, the french call them “bigarade”.

I was familiar  with the dried peels of the fruit; it is used to give several christmas drinks and dishes a full-bodied citrus flavour.  I thought about making marmalade but truth be told I prefer a sweet marmalade, which is odd because I love a hint of bitterness in almost anything else.

I looked around online for more info and it turns out they have a very limited season  which made them feel very precious.  One tip I found was to save the zest;first I peeled them and let the zest dry in an cooling oven(I had made a pie).

Through a suggestion on Instagram I searched for recipes for curd and ended up making this one by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. I trust him with things like this, and rightly so. Why everyone doesn’t write out the exact amount of liquid you need for this is beyond me; writing “three bitter oranges” leaves a lot of room for interpretation (one of mine yielded a lot of juice, one none at all(sadly)).

The result is delicious; I’ve only had it on toast so far and will probably eat all of it before I get around to trying anything else. It should be noted that this only last 3-4 weeks in the fridge time is of the essence.

This immersion in citrus, making the curd made the flat smell amazing, got me thinking about perfume. Welcome to my mind people!

But really; my brain was primed. Through a comment on Goodreads I was reminded of “The memoirs of Hadrian” by Marguerite Yourcenar. I’ve read it before and I loved it. I also remember hearing the story of how this book inspired Annick Goutal to make “Eau d’Hadrian”; a very citrusy and lovely perfume that I’ve only had the chance to smell once, in passing. I went looking for both book and perfume but while the library had a copy for me to read it turns out that Annick Goutal is no longer sold anywhere in Stockholm. So much for that.

But I do want a new perfume in “the fresh category”; they are lovely in summer but also a necessity some days in winter as they can be “sunshine in a bottle”. My “Grand Néroli” from Atelier Cologne serves that exact purpose, in addition to being a nice take on the kind of scent that works in an office environment. My bottle is almost empty and with very few exceptions (like two exceptions ever) I don’t buy the same perfume twice, same kind of scent yes, but not the exact one. Not that I’ve had that much perfume or anything.

So what is out there ? I had a sniff around town and there is a lot stuff smelling like cleaning products. Going out looking for a perfume is wrought with danger; for me it can easily be overwhelming even though I love it, and I just abandon the whole thing. Any way:  the top contender right now is “Bigarade concentrée” from Frederic Malle, created by Jean-Claued Ellena.  It’s got a very warm base and then the citrus top notes just makes it a lovely thing to have on the skin this time of year. In fact it’s the only contender right now.

I went home and did a little research to save myself some time and agony(and spare staff at perfume counters my ambivalence. I just managed to make a choice of glasses, I really shouldn’t put myself through this right now and instead use what I have).

Things to read:

-Bois de jasmine wrote about citrus scents in the Financial times; find it here.

-I haven’t totally given up on  “Eau d’Hadrian”: this post makes me want to at least smell it again before deciding (I remember thinking it was too “spicy” for me?).


How to time-travel for dummies

I love a proper shop. I don’t frequent them as often as I would like to, but a few really are worth the effort.



If you live in Stockholm and love cocktails this is a must; they have all the herbs and spices that one need to make vermouth,quinine-syrup and bitters. Also they are great on all things for bakers(candied lilacs etc. ) and have the best saffron and green cardamom in town. A selection of their products are sold in other shops but really it’s worth visiting the shop to get the experience of them getting things from big tins and wrapping it in brown bags. It’s like a time capsule. More information here.

2.Sibyllans kaffe&Tehandel;


This place has smartened up their profile of late but they still have one of the best breakfast tea blends around, The Sir Williams-blend, in addition to a very cool interior(check the ceiling) and a lot is like it has been since 1916 when they opened. More information here.

3.Tea center of Stockholm;img_0296

Located at Södermalm(close to Slussen) this is a bit outside my usual tracks but worth it. So many nice teas, great staff and again; lovely vintage interior. They are famous for their “Södermalmsblandning” which is a floral black tea and very nice one. More info here.

An easy way to get the best of “yesteryear” without having to worry that consequences will have a huge impact on your future. Or you know it will; you will have stuffed the cupboards with coffee,tea and spices. But that was always the plan, this is just making the most of it.


Time for a toddy


For someone who used to have a cocktailblog I have certainly lost all my cocktail photographing skills. I converted to the faith that is called “flatlay” but drinks really don’t look good that way, they are spilled all over the table instead.

Point is that even though Christmas is is the rear view mirror we are still in the middle of winter and have a need for warm drinks, just not “glögg” which doesn’t really taste at all as good this side of December. Toddies is good option on a cold and windy day.

As they contain whisked raw eggs they are to be enjoyed with caution if you live in parts of the world where salmonella is a problem. They are also quite rich, like a liquid dessert, so beware. Some recipes state that the egg white and the yolk should be divided but I find that it makes more work for no reason. Tastes just as good if all done at once.


I make mine with smokey single malt whiskey but blended whiskey or dark rum is fine if you don’t like it. I personally really enjoy the contrast with the smokiness and the richness of it, with the freshness of the orange element.

Hot toddy; makes 2 drinks

1 egg

2 tablespoons of caster sugar(1+1)

1 dl water

0,5 dl freshly squeezed orange juice

6 cl of whiskey or rum

for serving; sturdy glasses that can handle heat

  1. In a pan bring the water,the orange juice and 1 tablespoon of sugar to the boil and then take it off the heat. The sugar should melt but it usually doesn’t take more than that.
  2. Whisk the egg in a bowl, slowly adding the sugar. Keep whisking until you have a firm “fluff”.
  3. Pour the whiskey/rum into the “syrup”,stir and the divide into the two glasses.
  4. Divided the foam/fluff equally between the two glasses.
  5. Enjoy! Responsibly of course!



Spring has sprung?( and pics of interiors are hung)

Before I came down with a cold I ticked of one of the boxes on the Stockholm social and cultural calendar: The Liljevalchs Spring Salon.

Liljevalchs is a Stockholm museum, nowadays run by the city itself, located at Djurgården. However as it is being renovated the show has used other venues; this year for the weeks of the salon they are located in a building that will be renovated soon. Last year it was the same thing but a different venue for the pop-up; that part I find rather endearing. It started when the Museum of Modern art was renovated a few years ago and they popped up a bit here and there meanwhile; they made the most of it and other museums have followed suit with some very interesting results.

The spring Salon is not a a curated artshow with a focus as such: anyone can, for a fee, submit an art work and if selected they will be on display and for sale at the Salon. This has been the case since 1921 although obviously the jury has changed, as has the scope of it.

According to Liljevalchs about 2500 people submitted works and different variations of painting(oil,watercolor etc.) is the biggest category of art. One can assume that it’s partly because of the everlasting popularity of paintings and because they are easily to submit and chances are high they get chosen(easy to hang on the walls if you know what I’m saying).

I guess I could write blog post about the jury alone, but they are undoubtedly well versed in the art of commercial success. The reson why I keep going back is because what ends up on those walls is a lackmus test of where we are as a society and where we are heading, if I want to phrase it pretentiously(which I do, of course. Like hello! Have we met?)

And let me tell me what it has come to. Someone used photos from real estate listings as motifs and painted them. Yes,I know, I had the same reaction. Even done ironically it’s pretty f**king sad. And then we haven’t even talked about the “the listings esthetic”. We are heading towards the apocalypse and people want to live in places that look like hell froze over. Scandinavian minimalism done without finess looks like a doctor’s waiting room, I’m very sorry but it’s true. And I realize that in part that’s just homestyling, it’s supposed to be a neutral space, but it does in fact look the same on Instagram and in a lot shelter mags. This is how we live now.


I was walking around the two floors that make up this years salon and it left me with a sense of emptiness. So many paintings were interiors void of people it scared me. But maybe that’s ,not the message really , but rather the aggregated subtext. The world right now is seen as threatening place and “bricks and mortar” have become very important(when in fact around the globe we are more secure and better off  in many ways then we have ever been). Am I reading too much into the whole thing when I say that paintings with closed doors and lacking people is a symbol of the cold shoulder and people’s un-interest in the refugee crisis? Probably. But I’ll just let that line stay in the post anyways.

In conclusion; I was bored out of my mind. There were a few things that sparkled but in general the Salon this year was bland and about as arty as the pages of an IKEA catalogue albeit less colorful. Always interesting to see but not necessarily an art lovers delight. Luckily Marina Abramovic is heading for these shores so I might just be provoked in a good way soon.


Seven things to do on a Sunday.


Where I live the church bells are heard on Sunday morning calling the congregation to gather. I don’t go as I’m not religious. However I have for a long time tried to embrace Sunday as the day of rest, and try to slow down a bit. A few suggestions on how;

1.Read pretty much every article in the Financial Times weekend; I rarely manage all of it during Saturday and Sunday to be honest: I’m usually not done until Wednesday. It’s an old joke in my circle of friends that I get most of my information from UK Vogue,Financial Times Weekend and the swedish news show”Landet runt”( which brings together  news stories from local TV-station and shows them to a national audience). It’s often said that “the devil is in the details”; I would say also the sign of the times and possibly the future. I’m still not over the fact that they went from broadsheet to tabloid format but as long as David Tang is “Agony uncle” I’ll allow it(because obviously my opinion on these matters are of importance to FT).

2. Drink way too much tea;  Really it’s the best way to enjoy tea. Splurge on good quality loose leaf earl grey and the Sunday afternoon is saved.

3.Catch up with your correspondence; always a good thing. If writing letters is too much then postcards maybe? It’s the thought that counts.

4. Jigsaw puzzles;  In fact I don’t have one, or haven’t laid one in ages but very much feeling the urge. I assume they will be trendy again very soon. I imagine that some clever chap has made a jigsaw puzzle with Banksy art on it to appeal to young and hip people. Damien Hirst has probably started to market his own with his artworks as he has always been very clever and forward in that department.

5. Card games; I mentioned a few posts ago that I had laid out a game of Solitaire. Super fun. As I have stayed at home with a cold for a few days(hence no post yesterday) I’ve gotten into it. When I have a cold my eyes swell up and I can’t read properly, not to mention the sneezing and coughing as a constant interruption. Cards however? The worst thing that can happen is that I sneeze and the cards fly everywhere I guess but I’ve been spared that. If you have someone to play with then by all means do!

6. Keep the playlist to strictly jazz and/or bossanova; No easier way to escape the thoughts of tomorrow, and the mundaneness of a Sunday afternoon, then a soundtrack that just oozes of elegance and yesteryear. Timelessness is what you should aim for.

7. Cook or bake something, very slowly; It really is mixing business with pleasure to slow cook a Bolognese or roast a chicken on a Sunday. You can start in good time, enjoy the process and will have leftovers(hopefully) to last you a few days.