A special Christmas surprise

I’m writing this on the first day of winter as defined by the astronomical calendar. In my heart, though, winter started early morning, on the second of November. That day, we walked through the old town; snow on the ground, snow twirling down, snow on the roofs. We were completely alone and really, I couldn’t not believe the beauty before my eyes. Today, a little ...

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Glad Lucia, a lussekatter history (and recipe)

Traditionally eaten for Santa Lucia on the thirteenth of December, lussekatter – also called lussebullar – have a nebulous history. One that’s laced with Christianity and paganism, German and viking heritage. In fact, even the origin of the Lucia celebrations is quite elusive. Lussi, an evil figure roamed the land along with her lussiferda, a horde of trolls and goblins. Lussinatta once coincided with the ...

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Swedish pepparkakor

This Swedish pepparkakor recipe isn’t one that comes with many traditions. It was in fact created on the very first weekend of advent earlier this month after days of formula research and calculations. We had just brought upstairs two cardboard boxes labelled hastily JUL 2015 [Christmas 2015] from our förråd [storage] and there were candles lighting our house to the most beautiful shade of gold; ...

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Glöggmys

We have stars glowing by our windows. And snow when we look over the roofs of Skellefteå. We have a batch of saffron, almond and orange biscotti in the oven. And one of pepparkaksdeg [gingerbread biscuit dough] in the making: there is cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and cloves infusing in water, along with butter too of course! And soon the dough will come together. We have ...

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Saffransbullar med mandelmassa

[Swedish saffron and almond buns] Sunrise: 9:33 AM Sunset: 1:28 PM Temperature: -11.8°C The Swedish saffron and almond buns you see here were made on the twenty-fourth of November. Perhaps, it was a Tuesday. Or a Monday. But I remember how we made the dough the night before. And topped it with marzipan butter in the morning, just as a trumpet in the distance started ...

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Julhyacinter

Sunrise: 9:22 AM Sunset: 1:33 PM Temperature: 0.1°C Over the next couple of weeks, days are going to get much shorter. This morning, after I went for a sunlit-walk around Nordanå, we potted the julhyacinter [Christmas hyacinths] that we got over the weekend. Now a few hours later, candles have been lit up. In the tree. On the table. By the windows. There is mjukt ...

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Vaniljfudge

Sunrise: 9:20 AM Sunset: 1:36 PM Temperature: – 1.9°C I made some fudge yesterday. Vanilla fudge, of the old-fashioned kind. And really, I have no idea what it even means – old-fashioned fudge – but I saw it somewhere and liked the sound of it. Old-fashioned. Perhaps, with more ingredients than your standard condensed milk recipe. Perhaps, it’s the cream and sugar. Or the way ...

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Honungssnittar

A story about honey biscuit-slices, Christmas nook and the first advent Sunday Sunrise: 8:57 AM Sunset: 1:51 PM Temperature: 2.9°C Things haven’t evolved much since the days of my childhood Christmases. The tree gets decorated early. Biscuits get baked. So does my mom’s pain d’épices. Some years, Aïda and I will attempt to make marrons glacés [candied chestnuts], which is never a success since most ...

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Lanthandeln

[The country store] Nordanå, Ernst Westerlunds allé, 931 22 Skellefteå Lanthandeln I wanted to do an advent calendar on the blog this year. To document my first Christmas in Sweden. Except that after planning the posts, drawing illustrations, and baking a few – of the many I had on my list – traditional Swedish biscuits, I realised that it actually went against everything I believed ...

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On fields of frost, counting to Christmas and a green smoothie

Stories from the recent past: I’ve finally developed my last two rolls of film, which had some pictures I took back in London! You can see two of them above. The first, taken in Chislehurst, when Kalle and I decided to take the train and stop at a random station. We ended up spending the day at a small pub there, cosying up by a ...

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