Monday, December 26, 2011

Saturday, December 24, 2011

"Your fake name is good enough for me"

I went back to Mariatorget to buy the light fixture.
We should have bought it weeks ago instead of using the xmas tree for light in the living room.
I wrong about the price, actually the fixture was about half the cost of what I remembered. This turned out to be lucky as I found a fixture for the bedroom as well.
All the snow has melted in time for Christmas- sad but true.
Snow on the ground really does lighten up winter.
Without all the glimmering white sparkles winter does feel like almost endless night.
Zok is happy that our names are finally on the door and down in the entry way listing.
Somehow the names on the doorway really brings me to mind that I am living in an apartment.
Inside a building.
Ten days until we leave for Tasmania.
2012 seems like it will be strange indeed.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Lussekatter Jul Recipe Swedish Saffron Buns

Lussekatter is traditional for all Swedish Christmas gatherings. Lussekatter can be found everywhere, and people eat a lot of them because they only eat them at Christmastime.
Even 7-11 and the Stockholm version of 7-11 (Pressbryån) have them.
Last week I had my first one ever, thanks to a new friend, Kelly and I liked them so much I begged Zok to make more.

Zok combined a recipe we had from Rosendals Trädgårdscafe, and Kellys' which she kindly sent to us.

Rosendals as you might know if one of my favorite places in Stockholm.

Basically Lussekatter is a saffron bun in a cute shape with just the two raisins.

We had some friends over for Glögg, sugar cookies, and Lussekatter.
I think now, that baking Lussekatter is good luck, because as the first batch came out of the oven snow started to fall!

160 grams Butter (unsalted)
2 cups of full fat milk
50 grams of yeast
.5 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup of sugar
1 gram of saffron (some say a little more, I thought this was plenty)
1 egg
6 cups of flour
1 egg for glossing the tops

Melt butter in a pan
Add Saffron
slowly add milk and heat to 37 C- keeping the constant warm temperature
Take out a small amount of the liquid to then crumble in the yeast to dissolve the yeast.
Then transfer the rest of the melted mixture, dissolved yeast mixture, and the rest of the ingredients.
Zok took his mixing bowl from his electric mixer and used that bowl to first dissolve the yeast.
Then he added in the melted saffron and butter from the stove pan.
Then the salt and sugar which he mixed a bit with a rubber spatula before turning on the mixer.
He used the dough hook attachment and the mixer set on low adding in a half cup of flour at a time.
Mix until smooth and elastic dough then he removed the bowl and covered the dough which took about thirty minutes to fully rise.
He then floured his baking board and kneaded the dough a bit by hand, cutting and making the s-curl shapes which he covered again and let rise another fifteen-to twenty minutes.
Add raisins.
Pre-heat oven to 180c, lightly beat the last egg and brush on rolls.
Bake about 5-10 minutes.

Zok said the Lussekatter was easy to make, just remember you need time to let the dough rise.
Serve warm with mulled wine or glögg and invite nice friends.

Saturday, December 17, 2011


Here in Stockholm there is a charity shop chain called Myrona.
We have been to a few, some are better than others- each seems to buy certain items. I found almost all of my Christmas items at the one in Sundbyberg- I got our tree stand for 10 kr. (We are holding at about 6.5 kr to 1 AU dollar) Tax is included in the prices in Sweden as they are in Australia.
I got old fashioned Christmas ornaments, with the frosted glitter for about 1 kr. each.
What we haven't been able to find or decide on is furniture. We gave in and bought a folding table and folding chairs from IKEA. We have two outdoor areas that will need furniture, so when we find a better solution for the kitchen, then we will just switch out the furniture.
Our last trip out to Sundbyberg ended in no finds at all, and I was thinking we had just run out of luck. But then we heard about a Myrona we had not been to yet.
The store was HUGE.
We found so many bits of pottery, material, plates and glasses that we couldn't give proper attention to the furniture.
We found more Höganäs
and I found a couple of Xmas textiles for less than $1 AU each, as well as material I think I will make into curtains for the bedrooms for about $8.
I want the light fixture for the living room, only it is pricey. Less than a new one but expensive for second hand. But as 'the dude' would say "it will really pull the room together man". Also my idea of what is expensive might be skewed as when we left Myrona with almost more than we could carry, and I said "What have we done? We gone spending crazy!" and Zok replied, "Baby, we just spent $43 dollars Australian...".

Rain, rain, and more rain I am positive the snow will come as I fly back to Tasmania.

Monday, December 12, 2011


I have only seen a few xmas tree lots which are a favorite of mine as I am reminded about them each time I watch an American movie like 'Charlie Brown's Christmas' or 'A Christmas Story'. There are live trees for sale all over the city though, and more seem to appear each day.
Zok was a bit hesitant about getting one home, but as you see not only do people find taking them home by subway normal, every seller has a machine that quickly wraps the trees up nice and tidy!
Of course my huge collection of ornaments is in Tasmania. But I find that I am happy with what I have come up with. Monte and Roberto bought me fabulous ornaments, a platypus and a hedgehog, two of my favorite animals.
Zok and I also picked up a couple ornaments in Budapest.
I am still making a paper ring chain for the tree as soon as I find the time.

I also studded an orange with cloves, although I doubt it will be dried by Christmas day, but already the smell is really nice, and I have it stashed in the headboard cupboard of our new bed.

Sadly, the sprinkling of snow you see here in our courtyard is the most we have had so far. I am being tortured by the stories of how much snow there was last year at this time.
I am keeping a positive outlook and appreciating the lights and early dark days.
Next on my list is more Christmas crafts and trying to make eggnog, but the warm kind as this year I'll be drinking eggnog while it is cold, not out on my lawn in the sunshine.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Lights to stave off winter

Tomorrow is a big day because we are going to pick up a couch.
So far sitting on the floor has been our one option.
There are thirty stairs from the front door of the building up to our apartment door.
When your shopping list is as basic as 'condiments', toilet paper, step ladder, trash bin there are a lot of trips to various stores and up and down the aforementioned stairs.
We did have boxes to move but that mostly consisted of all of Zok's paperwork from the last twelve years of tours in Sweden.
Oh, and many, many bags of apparently very important free clothing that has never been worn...
The apartment is way too white.
Zok was very happy to find out that there are like seven chopping boards built into the kitchen.
I plan on fixing that as soon as I know what our furniture that we haven't found to buy yet looks like.
I don't think or I don't remember ever living in an actual apartment before.
At least never in a large building. Mostly I kept to guest houses, or bungalows where my front door opened to the outside world. I came close when I first moved to Seattle, I lived in a small brick place with six apartments.
But this place is large, we have maybe 8-10 per section and maybe 20 sections? I am just getting used to all the differences. However, the design of our building is a half circle, and our apartment has great windows, a small enclosed front porch and a large terrace on the other side.
I am happy.
I am also very tired.

In Sweden 'Jul' or Christmas starts about the 30th of November.
All at once almost every window has lights in it, mostly paper stars of various sizes and colors and sort of punctured with designs so the light streams through in patterns of shadows and light.
I choose a copper star. There is also a wooden traditional light fixture with about seven small lights-painted in a Swedish folk style. We have one in Tasmania that gets very little use as the seasons are reversed. When darkness falls by 3:30 p.m. lights seem much more of a necessity.
Also almost every apartment complex has a live tree with white lights adorning the branches.

Meanwhile Team Sweden is playing in the Blood and Thunder Roller Derby World Cup and I have been getting up at odd hours to try and watch them play live, streamed online.