Tag Archives: baking

the Chubby Fat Tuesday Bun – semlor recipe

Today is Fettisdagen. Let me decode that into National Day of the Semla. Now it´s all clear, right?

Semla is a sweet chubby wheat bun, cardamom laden, filled with golden almond paste and whipped cream. Originally semla was only eaten on Shrove Tuesday, as a last blissful treat before Lent. Today we know better and eat semlor (we need to go into plural here) all winter long. Fettisdagen has gone from being the only day to enjoy our precious pastry to the day you must enjoy at least one of them. Because as you all know we have fika (coffee break) at work. That means you are likely to down your first semla already by ten in the morning.

Semlor can be bought in every bakery, grocery store or gas station in Sweden. Sometimes you make your own, and as a Swedish expat you simply have to make your own (unless your expatriate adventure has taken you to the Nordic or Baltic countries) if you want to join the club.

If you make it past the photos below, find out how I make my Swedish fika treats; semlor recipe to follow.

stages of baking a semla

 

This year I found ready made buns (albeit a bit flat) in the store, made just for semlor. Link if you don´t. 🙂

  • Cut off the tops, scoop out the center of 8 buns, and put it in a food processor.
  • Add 125g of almonds and 1 dl confectioners’ sugar and GO!
  • Pour 1 dl heated milk into the mixture making it that special heavenly paste.
  • Fill up the holes abundantly with the almond indulgence and top up with whipped cream.
  • Put the lid back on and dust with confectioners’ sugar.

Voilà!

If you use Us cups, add some almonds and use half of a cup of confectioners’ sugar and milk.

Happy baking!

Who turned the light off? DIY for winter blues.

So we´re here; right in the middle of it. I´m talking about the cold and dark time of the year. Tiredness, low mood and not being as social as you usually are – not uncommon at all. Not surprising at all. Personally I feel  as if the days were shorter which of course gives less room for being social; it is not likely that I would say “hey, let´s meet up in the park after work “. The day is already over.

Luckily we have the tradition of fika in Sweden. Always works. Ask someone over for coffee and a chat. The smell of freshly baked (works with the cinnamon rolls from the gas station too) goodies is sure to lift your mood. Yes, I think cocooning is trending winter time.

Lack of daylight might contribute to a chemical imbalance in the brain, affecting us negatively; some more than others. There is even such a thing as winter depression – SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). Apparently it is not even heard of around the equatorial line. Go figure.

What can we do about it? GET DAYLIGHT. Preferably real, but there are also artificial lights. There are day light lamps, wake up lamps and even facilities with beaches, sun chairs and bright light.  I have to try that. Wonder if you can get a colorful cocktail with a straw too?

In Umeå, 600 km north of Stockholm, the energy company decided to treat bus commuters to some benevolent bright light. Bus stops were lit up by ultra-violet light therapy for a few weeks last fall. Bus drivers complained; they were blinded by the light … But all in all I´m sure it was a success, not at least PR wise.

Try to get some daylight every day, even if it´s overcast. If you can squeeze in at least the shortest of walks you will most probably benefit from it. If you can´t – open the curtains, position yourself by a window.  I did exactly this writing this text. May I suggest you drink some water too, avoiding headache. Just saying.

Turn the lights on; candle lights are nice for the soul and mind too, but won´t fill your need for light. Alternate!

It´s cold. Yes. Dress accordingly, go out and enjoy the weather and landscape on a nice day. Try ice skating, skiing or tobogganing. Or just fika in the snow; watching the others. Nothing beats hot cocoa and an energy bar. Don´t forget the lambskin to sit on. Or fake fur.

Go for light colors. You might not want to redecorate your home (admit it´s a good reason though ;)), but accessorize with pillows, blankets as well as curtains in pale, pastel shades, or whites.

Buy flowers, tulips are great and affordable – buy every week! Spring flowers like crocuses and snow drops look pretty on the windowsill and make me happy too. At least when I remember to water them.

Perhaps you could even consider dressing differently? Skip the black for a week; dare to try something new – lemon, pistachio, baby pink? These are not my colors at all, so I´ll go with beige. Again, accessories might do (half) the trick. People must have been happier in the 80´s right?

Needless to say, if you suffer deep from winter blues and are depressed you should contact your doctor/vårdcentral.