Monday, 16 November 2009


Hej from Sweden (that means Hello for those who don't know).  Had a nice trip over, even though I was at the back of the plane, but all my transport connections ran fairly smoothly.  My girlfriend was there to meet me at the station and we've spent some nice days together as usual.
I've eaten Elk for the first time, which is rather tasty, both in minced form and some fried pieces from the shoulder.  I've also been joining my girlfriend's family in making some sort of flat bread, which is a tradition for them around this time of year.  I think I did OK, but don't think that I have a new career.
It's already snowed a couple of times this week, but it didn't last long on either occasion.  It was down to minus six but it's not too cold now.  Much more like english november weather.
Visited the Falun copper mine on Friday.  The pit is huge and you can walk all the way around the top of it.  It is from the rock here that the famous red paint gets its pigment.  Almost every house you encounter has its wood painted with it, apart from the corners of course, which are white.
Also saw Falun's museum, which has some exhibits relating to Selma Lagerlof (as mentioned in the previous post) because she lived there for a while.  They have a room which was reconstructed from her own, with tables, chairs and books.  You can also hear a recording of her speaking on the radio, and despite the fact that I couldn't understand a thing she was saying, she had a nice voice.
Travelled up to Arjang yesterday, and while my girlfriend has been painting in the studio, I sat beside her doing some writing.  I have to say that I found it easier to write while in a working environment.  You can't help but concentrate on what you are doing since everyone else is concentrating on their work.
I travel home again on Wednesday with some fresh ideas relating to my writing and extra enthusiasm.  I really want to get a lot of work done between now and christmas when I travel out here again.  Still, it will be a shame to travel home so soon.


  1. Snow! How fabulous! I'll have to make do with the Finnish Fayre which is held at the Finnish Church in Rotherhithe in the next week or so. I'm not doing my usual pre-Christmas trip to Copenhagen this year. But, to get in pre-festive mode, here's a Swedish recipe given to me by my Danish friend, Birgitte, who lives in Central Copenhagen (a stone's throw from Tivoli Gardens) for some Cardamom and almond cookies. Apparently the Swedes picked up their coffee-drinking habits from the Ottoman Turks who liked to flavour their coffee with cardamom.

    100g shelled almonds
    100g unsalted butter - softened until creamy
    100g caster sugar
    1 egg - separated
    125g plain flour
    12 cardamom pods- seeds only
    half a teaspooon milled pepper
    icing sugar - optional to scatter lightly when cookies are baked

    Set aside a dozen almonds and roughtly crush the rest, skin and all - blitz them in a processor or use a pestle and mortar, but don't them them oil. Beat the butter with the sugar until fluffy and lae. Beat in the egg-yolk. Toss the flour with the cardamom seeds, pepper and crushed almonds. Combine the flour and butter mixtures and beat with a wooden spoon until you have a smooth, softish dough - you may need a spponful or two of cold water. Or drop everything in the process or and pulse until it forms a soft ball. Roll out the dough-ball into a fat sausage about 5cm in diameter, wrap it up in clingfilm and set it in the fridge for half an hour to rest and firm. Meanwhile, drop the reserved almonds in boiling water, wait for a few minutes until the skins loosen, pop the nuts of of their skins, split them in half and reserve. Heat the oven to 180 degrees or Gas Mark 3. With a sharp knife dipped in hot water, slice the dough-roll into a dozen disks about as thick as your little finger. Transfer to a baking sheet - no need to butter - leaving each enough space to spread. Make a dip in the middle of each cookie, paint the dip with the remaining egg white and push in a half-almon. Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes till golden and crisp. Transfer the cookies gently to a cake rack - they'll crisp more as they cool. Store in an airtight tin. Dust with icing sugar or not, as you please. Enjoy with a coffee whilst watching the excellent vampire film 'Let the Right One In'!

  2. Thanks for the recipe! I hear there's a swedish xmas market in the swedish church near baker st this weekend. Oh and 'let the right one in' is fantastic...the book's also great!
    This may seem a weird question, but do I know you? Your profile is coming up as blocked.


  3. It's not a weird question to ask a weird person James.