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My goodness this was hard work, it basically like opening a new shop and I have learnt so much along the way. I even designed and made a favicon (check me out). The red colour is the classic Swedish red houses and we like to keep it easy and personal. So go on have a little look and perhaps order something or why not share it with a friends.
As you know the shop is full of wonderful Scandi and Nordic designs and sadly not everything is up on the webshop yet, but fear not, I will continue to add designs daily and also please do follow us on our social media channels where I will continue to show latest products once they arrive.
This blog will slowly move over to our new webshop blog but not just yet. Step by step we are heading towards a new chapter in our business. Exciting times ahead!!
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! Girls are finally on summer holiday and I am super happy that I have now officially resigned as their teacher or at least gone on summer holiday as well.
Finally! It is finally time to reopen and it is with mixed feelings. It is not to just reopening and expect how it was back in March. Nope now it will be slightly differently but we will make it work.
Shop will be open part time, this is due to child care, well the lack of child care that is! It will only be me who will be in the shop while the wonderful staff will stay furloughed during the summer as there is more child care issues. However this may chance during the summer and we just have to go with the flow.
Part time mean three to four days a week, an evening a week and most likely during the weekend. Proper opening hours will be arranged this week.
Fantastic news are that our webshop will finally launch this week, any day now! And there will be a click and collect option so you can shop from home and nip in to the shop and collect your goodies. More info will follow and I will keep you posted!
Oh this beauty has many names (this is my free direct translation for you, I am sure it is not the real one). Mocha Squares, Chocolate squares but this Kärleksmums is my favourite name, Kärlek mean Love and mums is yummy so LOVEYUMMIES or as Stina says LOVEYUMYUMS, let’s go with Loveyumyums shall we ;).
It is such a lovey bake, super easy and swift. One of those I grew up with. Always a favourite at the party and yes it has a dash of coffee in it and yes I give it to my kids (go on, judge away…)
So as we seem to not eat all our bakes every week (I really miss sharing with my friends) I will half this recipe today and use a smaller tray. This is made in a large tray which is great for parties but as we are only four people I will try to make less of it! Can’t wait to bake this for a real FIKA FRIDAY in the shop.
Ingredients, please remember I use dl. So 1 dl is about 100 ml.
Chocolate cake base:
200 g butter
4 dl caster sugar
4 dl plain flour
1 dl cocoa powder (always go for a nice quality with little sugar in it)
2 tsp vanilla sugar (just use a dash of vanilla extract)
Coconut or sprinkles
Turn on oven at 200 degrees.
Melt the butter and let it cool, mix egg and sugar in to white and fluffy. Add the dry ingredients and sift over the egg and sugar mix. Add the milk and then the melted butter while stirring during the whole time (we do not like egg lumps). Once all mixed in to a nice even batter pour it in to the tray that is already covered in baking paper. In the oven for 20-25 min, It needs to be cooked but also moist so do not over bake it please. Once out let it cool a little while you prepare the topping.
Topping, melt the butter first in a pan and then add the rest of ingredients. Melt it all together, try to not let it boil. Once ready pour over the sponge and let it cool a little. Then sprinkle the sprinkles or coconut on top. We always had coconut and it is something special with it and the flavour is perfect, but colourful sprinkles defiantly makes me smile! However after our taste test I will say coconut! Go coconut!!!
On Saturday our youngest daughter turned seven. She is a true superstar and she makes us laugh everyday, but to have her birthday in the middle of the lockdown was a tricky challenge. More emotional than anything really! She is a proper “hugger” and she really missed hugging her friends. So we prepared a really nice birthday corner in the house and I do have a habit of buying gifts when I see them. I had picked up a guitar in a charity shop a couple of months back and a neighbour sold a guitar stand for a couple of pounds which has been a great gift as we all have started to play the guitar and downloaded a learning app. Once a week I go to the shop to check on it and to make sure it is ok (sadly this time there was a water leak at the back of the building and all the water coming down our backshop window, landlord is on it), and took the girls with me to let her chose a maileg soft toy which she love.
On her birthday we had a small zoom party which was extremely chaotic but it made her happy. Plus we baked her a birthday cake. A Swedish cake!
What is a Swedish birthday cake? Well they do come in all sizes and shapes but mainly it is a sponge cake cut in three layers with two fillings and wipped cream on the top. You can decorate it as you like but at Midsummer you really should have strawberries! The layers in the middle can be anything you like but I would use vanilla cream and jam. However I used to experiment a lot when I was younger and I think my favourite was a layer of chocolate mousse and one layer of vanilla cream and then the topping was melted chocolate. If you have cream as topping you can decorate with whatever you like, sweets or berries. I personally love the berries as it is already quite sweet cake and I like the freshness from the berries.
Ok lets crack on, here is the base recipe for the cake sponge. In Sweden you can buy ready made bases in the shop so a few years ago I started to research how to make the base as close to a cake sponge as possible and found this. It does not have butter or oil in it and is quite a dense but yet sweet base. Remember 1 dl is about 100 ml
Swedish Cake Base – Tårtbotten
3 dl caster sugar
1 dl hot water
3 dl plain flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla sugar (use vanilla extract)
Mix egg and sugar very fluffy, add in the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder and vanilla sugar). Once all mixed add the hot water, bit by bit slowly while stirring so you do not get egg lumps.
Pour in to a baking mould in any shape you like. Traditionally a round but I have heart and rainbow shapes and I have also made letters before so doubled the batter and used a larger tray and then cut out the letter, which left some waste but the family does not mind eating the end bits.
Once it is cool down slice in three layers, I use a bread knife but if you have the proper tools then use them.
And that is the base, it is a super simple base but very tasty.
Then you can fill it with whatever you like. I remember my mum using mashed bananas which is nice if you like banana, cream mixed with fresh berries or homemade jam (or indeed shop bought). Traditionally vanilla cream or custard is used but yes you guessed it, vanilla custard here in the UK is not the same, you kind of need the one you use in profiteroles and I found a recipe online which you use raw egg yolks in and it is super easy but it is more for a summer pie or a warm spice apple pie in the autumn.
Big sister decorated the cake as a surprise and Lovisa was super delighted!
Kladdkaka, it even has its own day in Sweden now. This is my go to recipe. A super swift and easy, the one I know the ingredients by heart. And the one you can mess around with and it will still taste amazing every time.
There are so many different versions how to make Kladdkaka, but this is my recipe. The secret to a good kladdkaka is not to beat the eggs. So do not use a electrical mixer. And it should be gooey in the middle, I never bake them longer than 15-20 minutes. These are perfect straight from the oven with whipped cream, ice cream or just straight from the baking tray with a spoon (yes I have done that). But they are equally good the day after as when they cool down they create a very nice sticky flavor in the middle and crisp outside. Mmm yummy!!
The story behind a kladdkaka is basically that someone was making a brownie and forgot to add baking powder! Some mistakes are indeed good mistakes!! However I am not sure that is true as I have heard a few other stories as well!
Right lets get on with it! Remember 1 dl is 100 ml!
Oven on at 175 degrees
100 g melted butter
3 dl sugar
1.5 dl plain flour
2.5 tsp vanilla sugar (use 1 tsp vanilla extract)
4 tbsp cacao powder (good quality, the darker and less sugar the better)
Then you can add nuts, sweets or like we did today some chopped bits of dark chocolate. At Christmas we add pepparkaks (gingerbread) spices (ginger, cardamon, cinnamon and gloves) and it is just heavenly!
Mix egg and sugar, let sit while you melt the butter. Then add flour, vanilla and cocoa powder, gently stir and last add butter. Pour in to baking mould and straight in the oven. Bake for about 15-20 min. It should be a bit wobbly in the middle but not raw looking. We made cupcakes today so I baked them for 8 minutes.
Well this treat will be at the shop for our first FIKA FRIDAY once we reopen again! Mmm it smells pretty good here. All week we have created Easter cards and letters to our local friends and we will go out for a little walk and deliver these. But first its FIKA time
So day 10! Well let us cheer up with a sunny picture from last year. Sunny outside ans sunny at Spektakulär!! Colour and happiness is part of our shop so we love it when all the wonderful designs come together so perfectly!
Oh dear! Already stopped writing, was supposed to write 30 days in a row!! To be perfectly honest with you I have not looked at my laptop or at any work since Saturday morning. I have lost a lot inspiration when it comes to the shop and am feeling a bit blue about it. However I just sat down to open my emails and I am amazed by all the lovely emails and also a couple of orders which is a great surprise. So I will go to the shop tomorrow, however I do everything I can not to go to the post office but am more than happy to post gift vouchers or deliver locally as we do not really spend anytime together.
So for the last few days we have been stuck indoors and I have organised a million thousand and six hama beads in to colours and it has taken me a lot of time. I just can not stop, it is supposed to be one of those relaxed satisfying things you do, but things like that stresses me out. My heart pounds so much faster and I tense up. Doing things that are supposed to be relaxing stresses me instead, like knitting, or paper cutting or painting. I just want it over with and I hate giving up. My plan is that we write Easter letter to friends and create Hama Bead chicks or Easter eggs and deliver while out walking but making one takes my kids hours and my patience has run out for today, so I decided to sit down with work instead and I am glad I did because I found all these fab messages and it really has cheered me up!
So how are you coping? We struggle a lot with the lack of outdoor space. Yes we can be in the shared garden but it is not just us using it. I am about to go for a long walk with Stina and Richard and Lovisa will go to the park to practise cycling. Last night I went out for my first ever Couch to 5K run…yup you guessed it! I was very glad when it was over and I felt I had run for days but in fact you only, very slowly, jog for eight minuets…really!!
So what am I supposed to blog about this week! Well Easter is coming up and as you know Swedish Ester is pretty full on. Used to be the third biggest holiday in Sweden and no not in a religious way. More about witches! So I will write you a little bit about traditions from home and what else, oh I do not know. Any special brand you like to see more about? Just give me a shout!
Enjoy the sun and your garden if you have one…am not jealous at all!
Right!! I have not worked out how to do the IGTV on Instagram (or perhaps I have not even looked at how). But here is a recipe from today’s bake. I have an old beaten up cookbook I brought with me from Sweden, it is falling apart but I did treat myself a few years ago when we sold Arne Jacobsen Design Letters designs. It is still in its plastic so maybe now is the time to try ALL the recipes and keep the best and add some new favourites.
What we made today, well I would not say they are Swedish at all, but the girls picked them and they are well tasty so here we go!
Today’s bake was Homemade Snickers!
Always choose good quality ingredients.
Here we used good palm free crunchy peanut butter.
Chocolate, well we are a mixed family, 2 like dark and one like white and one does not care.
When I bake I still use dl and l. But a simple guide is to think 1 dl is 100 ml.
7-8 dl cereal, you can use rice crisp or cornflakes or whatever you have at home
1 dl caster sugar
2 dl golden syrup
1 jar peanut butter (225g)
1 tsk vanilla sugar or alternatively 1 tsk vanilla extract
1 dl coconut
250 g chocolate of your choice
Mix sugar, peanut butter and golden syrup in a pan, heat up but avoid bringing to boil
Mix cereal, coconut and vanilla sugar in another bowl, if you like, smash the cereal so it does not have too big pieces but not too small either. Lagom is a good Swedish word to use here.
Add the warm mix with the cold and mix together. Use a tray, approx 20×30 cm size but if you like thicker bites then get a smaller tray. Flatten the mix in the tray.
Melt the chocolate using the the water bath method and spread on the top.
Let it cool down in the fridge before cutting in to squares (or whatever shape you like) and then ENJOY!!!
Keep in a sealed container in the fridge if any left!
Right not a Swedish recipe but a very very tasty one! I definitely do not need any dinner tonight!
Beautiful Wooden Moomin and Snorkmaiden by Finish LOVI.
Comics and lots of Moomin books!
We love the Moomins at Spektakulär!
When I grew up we only had a few TV channels and only one children’s program in the evening. I am not old but sometimes, like yesterday my sister told my daughter about a film she has on VHS and Stina went what is VHS? Well that was fun to explain! I guess today you do not need to buy CDs or DVDs or indeed books but I do anyway, not because I can access it easy on my phone but because I love holding a book and I like to treat myself with music I can play in my old car which only takes CDs. Anyway back to topic…
Moomin was one of the children programs on TV. And I grew up in Sweden so obviously they spoke Swedish Finish. Which was quite a strong accent to me then, however when I watched a modern Moomin here in the UK it felt all wrong. I missed the strong accent and calmness. I did remember Moomin being quite slow and boring! But then when I got older I started to read the stories and I fell in love with Moomins calm and kind nature and his family and friends. Some of the characters does freak me a little and I do know they can be quite scary.
So who are these Moomins? Here is a quick introduction to the main characters. I am sure most of you already know all about the Moomins so I guess this is for you who don’t and think maybe now is the time to find out more.
Moomintroll, aka Moomin. Always trying to be good and kind, making sure his friends are happy. He get excited about every little thing he finds while out exploring.
Moominpappa, a restless soul in his youth, travelled and explored. But now settled down with his family
Moominmamma, looks after them all calmly and wants everyone to be happy. Cooks amazing food and has the best handbag in the world filled with everything you might need at any time.
Little My, lives with the Moomins in the Moominhouse. I think the word mischievous was created after Little My. Love adventures, mess, catastrophes and would happily do something mean on purpose.
Sniff, also live with the Moomins. Is afraid of everything but yet want to take part in everything. His goal in life is to become rich but sadly never succeeds.
Snork Maiden, she like to think of herself as Moomin’s girlfriend. She is quite hard work, loves fashion but is happy and energetic.
Snufkin is Moomin’s absolute best friend. Carefree and lonesome. Comes and goes as he travels a lot. Own hardly anything except a harmonica.
Stinky, a selfish character who always plays jokes on the Moomin family.
Tove Jansson was an extraordinary writer and her imagination was just fantastic. I personally enjoy her love for nature, I have some of her other books here at home as well. The Art in Nature is in the pile by my bed ready to be read! I guess I have the time to do it now! Have you read it?
Customers often come in and go Moomin crazy! They need it all, everything we have and sometimes we have customers who has no clue and it turns out that in the UK, the Moomins was a trend some places but not everywhere. Once I had a mother in with her teenage daughter and the mum went “ohhhhhh the Moomins, I love the Moomins” and the daughter went, “who”…obviously I kicked her out of the shop!!! Well no, but her mum gave her such a shock horror look that I laughed out loud.
Moomins does belong with us at Spektakulär, but at the moment it is quite low in the shop which needs to be sorted once we can reopen again! We stock beautiful wooden characters by LOVI , tin mugs etc by MUURLA plus lots more. Oh I can not wait to get to the shop again and I can not wait to fill the shop up with Moomin and his family and friends!!
I hope you all have a good day, I have downloaded the couch to 5K app and think I will go out for the first session, however might be tomorrow instead. I am really putting this off as I am NOT a runner! I hate running, can walk miles after miles and happy to do hiits and bootcamps, but go for a run…no thank you! So this is probably a bit desperate! Will need to take the girls out for a walk, Stina went for a little cycle trip around the park last night but I don’t think Lovisa has been out for a few days. We have a garden which we share with three stairways and quite a few families, so have to make sure no one else is there before I send the girls out, so we could probably do with a walk around the area.
Tomorrow we will bake and I think we will bake something for FIKA FRIDAY (or indeed for the weekend). So let’s do a recipe or two. I do not think they are particularly Swedish treats but I did have them in my cookbook which I brought over from Sweden. The girls have picked two bakes so that is what we will do tomorrow!
I have heard our shop being called the candle shop, which was not my intention however if that is what you like to call us so be it. Because candles is something we do well, and we would happily fill the shelves with more candles. I have a plan that once we open a bigger shop (if everything goes to plan) we will make sure we have a wall for all the colours from Danish Ester & Erik. However I have lost track of how many colours they do now, think about 90 and then all the sizes and shapes!
We started slowly with candles, but when we saw these in a small interior shop in Sweden, we were both so impressed and thought yes!! We NEED these at Spektakulär! It was not a natural easy sell at first but now people travel to us to buy candles, especially at Christmas. Ester & Erik candles are so wonderful and we love them. Personally I adore these cone candles because you do not need a holder and you can create a beautiful display. Please remember these candles are made to be used, so please enjoy them or give them to a friend who enjoys some me time!
What does candles mean to me as a Swede? It is part of life, it is a natural as a cup of coffee! You light candles, a few tealights at dinner or indeed tall taper candles, and guess what, not just at a fancy dinner party but a homemade easy, quick dinner after work with the family. It is a way to just calm down and relax after a crazy busy day. You can light a few candles while watching a film, a scented candle if you prefer. Personally I am not a great fan of scented candles, can’t stand the scent of fake vanilla, it gives me a headache. However sometimes after the kids have been to the toilet one of those might be a good idea in the bathroom!
I have started to give candles to friends, instead of flowers, bring a bouquet of candles. Colourful and happy or why not some calm, soft colours that can bring a calm mood. However what I have noticed is how few of you actually have candle holders! So if you buy candles for a friend maybe invest in a nice candle holder too.
When I travelled to London in 2005 I packed up my flat and put it all in my dad’s basement thinking I will be back in three to six months. However we all know what happen. A few years ago dad said they were about to move house and needed me to clear my stuff. So I went down there and I cleared like crazy. I kept about a fifth of my belonging but what I did prioritise was obviously some of my old candle holders. My stuff are now in my mum’s basement instead (and I think she is less happy about it). My dream is to buy a house on the country here and a I would love to buy a summer house in Sweden. Basically just so I can unpack my belongings including my old candle holders. Or maybe so we can have or own place in Sweden , nah basically so I can unpack my candle holders. I think I need to buy a lottery ticket!
I hope you are all coping well! Our homeschooling is not going great today, but lots of pictures from snapfish just arrived and it is great to go though last year in pictures. Lots of happy memories and I guess it is time to create new happy ones which is a bit of a challenge but we can do it!