Friday, November 29, 2013

Christmas Market in Gamla Stan & Julbord at Mårten Trotzig...

The days are getting shorter and colder, catching the t-bana, you'll noticed lots of red noses and snifflings around...  Damn! The dreaded winter is fast approaching!

It's nearly December and the sky are noticeably darker at around 2 - 2.30pm and I have to start layering my clothing and still manage to fall sick, this is definitely a great time to huddle indoors and enjoy a sip or two of glögg (spiced mulled wine).. Non alcoholic for me of course!

To continue with the Swedish tradition which I'm beginning to enjoy yearly (the other one is of course Midsummer), we got a group of friends (14 of us all) and headed towards Mårten Trotzig for some julbord.  This is my 2nd time having julbord here...  Not surprisingly, I forgot to take pictures of actual people..  Whoops!

What is Julbord?  It is a Swedish smörgåsbord, which is basically the traditional Christmas feast here in Sweden.  In my humble opinion though, Swedish food is pretty.. hmmm.. boring!  Salty but very boring.  They have the same type of food for every big festival.. e.g. Christmas, Midsummer..  Always consisting of potatoes, herrings, meatballs etc etc...  Although there's some slight addition of mulled wine, cold meat etc..  But hey, in keeping with tradition and experience it, you have to try their julbord..  ;)

Mårten Trotzig
Vasterlanggatan 79 
Gamla Stan
(Julbord here runs from 23 November - 22 December)
Lunch session starts at 12pm - 360kr each + glögg
Dinner 1st session starts at 16:00 (only for 2 hours) - 430kr each + glögg
Dinner 2nd session starts at 19:00 (you could stay till they close up) - 430kr each + glögg

They have great varieties of food such as:

*  Herrings - lots of different flavourings
*  Fish - different ways of cooking fish.  Smoked, poached, cured etc etc
*  Cold cuts - Christmas ham, roast beef, roast turkey, lamb, reindeer, reindeer sausages, moose salami, pork feet, different lots of pates etc etc
*  Salad with different types of dressings
*  Hot dishes - meatballs, sausages, ribs, green peas, mushroom omelet etc etc
*  Cheese & crackers
*  Dessert & Sweets - chocolate cake, fruit salad, mint chocolate, toffee, rice pudding, candy canes, different types of dried fruits and nuts and sauce etc..
But first... since we were in Gamla Stan, we decided to check out the Christmas market!  Go check them out if you happen to be in Gamla Stan

Lots of Swedish goodies for sale
The hubby photobombing!
We managed to buy a few jars of sylt (jam) to take home to Oz 
You get to taste them too.. yum yum!
My little poser!  This was also the first night of the market, hence there were very few people around ;)
After that, we went and met up with 10 other people for julbord...

Your welcoming drink - a little hot mulled wine with raisins and one almond.  It's hot and sooo yummy but I only managed a sip or two from mine .. ;(  Only 1 per person unfortunately!
Awaiting our other friends to turn up
Pretty cozy surrounding
My first serving.. Lots of cold cut meat (elk, boars etc), even a little sausage, a meatball with other types of hot food and cold salad.  I like to live dangerously!  I only managed 2 serves of food before moving towards dessert 
The food were downstairs and it's FREEEEZING cold in this room!  But lots of food here 
All the food were screaming 'Pick me! Pick me!'
Last but not least, my selection of sweets!  Chocolate mint, toffee, dried figs, jellies, heartshaped gingerbread biscuits, chocolate cake with cream!  
 The night was lovely with lots of giggling and gossiping with the girls and we were the last group to leave the restaurant.  The service were surprisingly good, as all they did were clearing plates and take our drink orders ;)

But definitely give this place a try!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Yay! Fika time! This time it's cinnamon rolls with vanilla glaze! ;)

This week has been... well... uneventful for me.  2 days in a row, I've been wandering around the apartment in my PJs.. I hate not working, it drives me crazy.  I'm so glad I've found a few expats girlfriends or to be honest, I would have gone from being moody to crazily insane!  Is that why S loves working overseas?  To get away from that moping, moody bitch at home.. Whoops!

Anyhow, in keeping with the favourite past time of the Swedes, I love having fikas.  It's a great way to meet new and old friends between sweet and savoury nibbles and copious amount of tea and coffee.  It also gives me a chance to actually experiment with recipes I find interesting.

This time around, I decided to try my hands on some cinnamon rolls as I bought a couple pack of yeast and as I've never used yeast before, I thought this will be a great time for me to experiment!

Living in Sweden, cinnamon rolls are a part of life here.. I see them and smell them everywhere.. especially late at night coming out from the t-bana, you'll smell freshly baked cinnamon rolls.. It really makes my mouth water!


Funnily enough I remembered to take some pictures (half way) while making them!..  Be impressed with my one hand picture taking ;)

Anyhow, here it is, although it's not very sweet.  Depending on how you like your rolls, either add more sugar or less... but I try not to have my stuff too overly sweet:


Cinnamon Rolls

*  4.5 cups of all purpose flour (plus 1/2 cup extra)
*  2 cups of milk
*  100g of butter (non salted)
*  1/2 cup of sugar
*  1 packet of dry yeast
*  1 tsp of baking powder (heaping)
*  1 tsp of baking soda (barely full)
*  1 tsp of salt
*  50g of melted butter
*  1/2 cup of sugar
*  Loads of cinnamon

Vanilla Glaze

*  1.5 cups of icing sugar, sifted
*  1/2 tsp of salt
*  3 TSP of butter, melted
*  3 TSP of milk
*  1 tsp of vanilla extract

Sprinkling a packet of yeast into the sugar, butter and milk mixture which I've heated on medium heat and moved away (before the boiling stage) to sit in a corner to cool to warm temperature..  Let the yeast work its magic for around 1 minute

Add 4.5 cups of flour and stir mixture together.  Cover up with a clean kitchen cloth and let sit in a relatively warm corner for 1 hour

(L) This is bakpulver which is baking powder, and (R) bikarbonat which is baking soda.  They are not the same thing and you'll need these in your list of ingredients =)

After 1 hour, Voila!!  It's like magic!!  Rise rise rise!!!

Then add 1/2 cup of flour, 1 heaping tsp of baking powder and barely 1 tsp of baking soda

Mix them together!  Then, you'll need to cover the dough and put into the fridge until you need it.  (up to 3 days)

I transferred mine into a mixing bowl, covered it and left it in the fridge till the next day

The next morning...

Sprinkle your kitchen top with lots of flour and then grab half of your dough and shaped it in a rectangle shape with your fingers.  Then use your rolling pin and roll the dough as thinly as you can

Sprinkle generously with melted butter.  Pour it all over the dough and with your fingers, spread the butter so it covers the whole surface

Sprinkle sugar on top all over

Then, sprinkle the cinnamon generously over the spread.  Notice how my dough is in a nice rectangle shape?  Well, I cheated, I cut the excess with a knife and put it back with the rest of the dough mixture ;)

Roll it tightly from top to bottom

Pinch the ends together, so it wouldn't spread open when you cut it!

Then start cutting them.. I cut mine about 2cm wide.  Look how dirty my bench top is!

My 1st batch..  They look soo tiny!  Unfortunately I didn't have any bigger foiled pans and had to use such a small little one =(

My 2nd batch.. With the remainder of dough, do the same as before..  This batch is a lot wider, height wise, thankfully!

Roll them.. Yum!  Definitely a lot fatter =)  Yay!

2nd batch is a lot fatter in appearance..  Cover with kitchen cloth and let sit for about 1/2 hour

Meanwhile, switch on your oven and set it to 175 degrees celsius in temperature...

Put them in the oven for 18 - 20 mins.  You want them nice and brown but not too burnt

Meanwhile, make the vanilla glaze by sifting the icing sugar and salt.  In another bowl, whisk the butter, milk and vanilla essence and stir into sugar until mixture is smooth.  Adjust to the consistency you want...  if it's too thick, add more milk or if it's too runny, add more icing sugar

Voila!!  Out of the oven!  They have risen beaaaaautifooooooolly!  The heavenly smell in the apartment is soooooooooo comforting!  The one at the top right was waaay too packed but unfortunately I've run out of foiled pans =(  Next time I'll have perhaps 5 rolls in each.

Can't resist a closer look..  Oh be still my beating heart!

Drizzle the glaze on top.. generously!  All over the cracks!

Bring them to the fika and enjoy!


1.  In a medium sized saucepan and on medium heat, heat up 2 cups of milk, 100g of butter and the 1/2 cup of sugar until before it boils.  Remove from heat and let sit until it cools down to warm temperature.

2.  Sprinkle a packet of yeast and let sit for 1 minute.

3.  Add 4.5 cups of flour and stir mixture together.  Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let sit for 1 hour in a relatively warm area.

4.  After 1 hour, your mixture would have risen.  Remove kitchen cloth and add in 1/2 cup of flour, 1 heaping tsp of baking powder and less than 1 tsp of baking soda.  Mix them, cover up and leave in the fridge until you need it.  You could leave it in the fridge for a maximum 3 days.  Make sure you leave it in the fridge for at least an hour before using as it's a lot easier to handle when it's cold

5.  Set oven to 175 degrees Celsius.  Take half the dough mixture and spread onto your kitchen bench.  Knead with your fingers and shape it into a rectangle.  Roll up and down with your rolling pin until dough is quite thin.  Dough should spread width and length wise as you roll

6.  Pour butter generously over the dough and rub butter all over, so every inch is covered.

7.  Sprinkle sugar all over.  Use more if needed.

8.  Sprinkle cinnamon generously all over

9.  Roll dough from farthest from you.  Using your fingers, roll it slowly and tightly towards you.  Pinch end together and flip it so the end is faced down.

10.  Cut roll about 2cm wide.  I got about 37 little rolls. Make sure you use a cutting  board underneath so you don't accidentally cut your bench top!

11.  Rub butter into disposable foiled pans.  Place rolls into pans, careful not to overcrowd as they will expand.. (as I found out!)

12.  Repeat step 5 - 11 with the rest of your dough mixture.

13.  Put into oven for 18 - 20 minutes.  Make sure it's nice and brown but make sure it it not too overly brown.  

14.  Meanwhile, make the vanilla glaze by sifting the icing sugar and salt.  In another bowl, whisk the butter, milk and vanilla essence and stir into the sugar mixture.  Mix until it forms a smooth paste.  Adjust consistency if you need.  If it's too runny, add more sugar or if it's too thick, add more milk.  Leave at room temperature.  Before using, whisk again to get a smooth consistency.

15.  Once rolls are done, remove from oven and straightaway, pour glaze all over the rolls, through cracks and what not.  The rolls will soak it all the moisture and flavour.

16.  Enjoy!!!

They are lovely to eat when still warm, so make sure you warm it up before eating!  I took a box to my friend's place for fika, gave a box away and freeze the 3rd box for when I have my next fika.. Hopefully in a few weeks ;)

Until next time!!


Monday, November 18, 2013

Grab some cute Japanese sweets for tea at Minamoto Kitchoan, London

If you love Japanese confectionary, this is a great place to wander into.  They have a few branches in some of the big cities such as: - Tokyo, NY, SFO, Singapore, Shanghai and of course London.  Here in London, it's just located a few steps away from Fortnum & Mason.  I was quite happy to discover this cute little gem.  Great for sampling by buying home or just having them for tea there.

From the outside it looks promising enough, showcasing cute little samples in boxes.  Perfect for souvenirs or as gifts.

Minamoto Kitchen
TEL 44-207-437-3135

Here, they serve 'Wagashi' which is a Japanese sweet filled with natural goodness.  Filled with goodness such as red bean, glutinous rice, powdered rice, sesame, fruits etc.. They go well with hot green tea.  Great chewy texture, this is a lovely healthy snack, although sometimes it can be too sweet for some, hence the hot green tea goes well with it.  Me?  I have a sweet tooth, so, this is just great!

To be honest, I'm not very educated, as they have always been called mochi to me, but you learn different things every day =)

If you do happen to be here, seriously, do sample them in the shop as for each item you bought, they'll serve it to you with a lovely rich hot green tea, which is so well worth it.  There is very limited place for sitting down though.. Perhaps for about 8 people in the corner.  It was also a bit hard communicating with the serving girls as they could barely speak English ;(

I had the rice cake which is covered by soybean and filled with red bean paste, £1.90 while my friend had the rice cake with a whole chestnut and red bean paste inside, £2.20 and with free Japanese green tea each, it was definitely well worth it!  We were like, YAY!  Cheap afternoon tea ;)

Mine was absolutely delicious and I tried buying some back to Stockholm but was advised they were fresh and need to be eaten within a couple of days....  Unfortunately I still had 1 week left in London... Ahh well.. Next time!  Maybe I could freeze them =)

Checking out the window display
Some exciting sweets on display...

We each picked one and got a complimentary tea each =)  Love the powdery texture on mine.. nom nom

Until next time,
Minamoto Kitchoan on Urbanspoon

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Easy Peasy Banana Apple Bread (?) Recipe

OK, Martha Stewart I'm not.  I hardly bake anything and if I do, they are usually the biggest disaster ever.

Funnily enough, I started baking more and definitely cook more once I began my life here in Sweden.  I believe lots of people in the same boat do that too...  Admittedly, most of the expats ladies I've met admitted to it ;)

Anyhow, here's what I got up to this week with leftover frozen bananas in my freezer.  Just keep in mind that ripe bananas are goddamn sweet, so if you want to use more bananas, personally I would cut down on the sugar..  Just my thought.. I know some people love them extra sweet.

Firstly, I'm not much of a fan of bananas, but put them in cakes, I'm in heaven!  So, when I do buy bananas, they do end up in the freezer so I could bake banana cakes.  Anyhow since I've got a few apples left over from all the apple tarts and cakes I've been making for the last few weeks, I decided to use them too.

Trials and errors, I like to live life at the edge.  I don't mind experimenting on friends and since I end up doing so much fikas here, this is a good time to try them on friends and foes (uh hum) alike ;)

I was looking to make bread as I've decided to use my new loaf pan which I got off Amazon when I was in London a couple of weeks ago, so I thought... Why not banana bread? and why not banana apple bread?

This one turned out pretty delicious but unfortunately looks nothing like bread..

Nice and crunchy on the outside...
But seriously, why is it so low!!  Please ignore all the bottles in the background.  They were not part of the process ;)
Kinda looks like bread from the top
But omg.. why is it so thin! haha
At least it was moist and yummy!  A small piece will be satisfactory enough..
So, here's my list of ingredients:

-  1 2/3 cups of all purpose flour
-  1 tsp baking powder (Unfortunately it did not rise much, perhaps 2 tsp??)
-  1/4 tsp of ground cinnamon
-  1/4 tsp of ground all spice (It's nearly Christmas OK?)
-  1/2 tsp of salt
-  1 tsp of vanilla essence
-  2 ripe mashed bananas (Use more if you want them really banana-ey... is there such a word??  If you are using frozen bananas, leave them to thaw first before using them..  They'll be all gooey by then)
-  2 apples chopped into mini chunks
-  3/4 cups of sugar 
-  1 egg
-  50g butter

Cinnamon Topping (for the extra crunch!)
-  1/4 cup of brown sugar
-  2 tsp of ground cinnamon
-  1 TSP all purpose flour
-  1 TSP of butter

*  Set oven to 175 degree celsius with fan and lightly grease your loaf pan with butter
*  Beat banana, sugar and butter until light and fluffy in another bowl
*  Sift flour, baking powder, cinnamon, all spice and salt into another bowl
*  Add flour mixture into the first bowl
*  Stir until combine, then add chopped apples and vanilla essence and combine
*  Pour batter into your loaf pan.  I usually bang the pan a few times to make sure mixture is distributed evenly

Last but not least, combine your cinnamon topping with your fingers and sprinkle them evenly all over the top of your mixture.

Put in oven and let bake for 50 mins to an hour.  Use a little toothpick and insert into the bread, make sure it comes out dry.. That means, it's ready!

Don't forget to invite me for tea!

Happy Baking!


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Would you like a milkshake with your pancake?! Pop over to Old Dutch! ;)

Since I'm on a roll with putting up food blog, here's another one from my trip to London last month.

I was meeting up with my 18 year old niece for lunch and suggested she pick a place for lunch but I wasn't sure what to make of it when she got all excited about this pancake place......  I forgot 18 year olds taste buds are totally different to people my age ;)

Anyhow, apparently there's a few of them around and she picked this one at Kensington.  Since she's a regular, she suggested perhaps having the savoury pancakes and a milkshake and since I was running so late, I did not have time to take too long to pick and choose and ended up ordering a vegetarian dish, the asparagus pancake and an oreo milkshake!  *rubs hands with glee*

My Old Dutch Pancake House - Kensington

16 Kensington Church Street 
LondonUK W8 4
 The service was really quick and within minutes, the pancakes were sitting in front of us...

O.M.G... They were huge!!  For a moment I thought I have accidentally ordered a pizza instead

I've totally forgotten that 18 year olds can eat so much and soooo quick!!!  She had the crispy bacon & spinach £9.25.  Isn't she sweet?  This is Jessica, who reminds me so much of my cousin when she was this age.  My cousin is now a mother of 2 and her daughters are about Jessica's age!
Asparagus pancake with spinach, black olives, red onion, mushrooms and cheese (£8.95) and finish that with a glass of oreo milkshake (£3.95)
Look how quickly she finished hers, while I was struggling!!!
Eventually I finished mine... like 15 minutes after her...
Delicious and quite decent priced....  Great for young appetites and taste buds.. but I'm definitely way past that stage.  I believe the days when I could eat as much as I could without suffering any consequences are definitely over!

Happy Pancake Eating!


My Old Dutch - Kensington on Urbanspoon