Design Letters

Hej!

Design Letters Note Books
Hej! Personal notebooks!

What is going on, how is it June already? I really struggle to keep up! I can not believe our oldest daughter is almost about to finish P2. Time to get my notebook out and get more organised. I am a proper notebook person, love stationery and could easily spend a fortune on notebooks, pens, colouring pens or just nice things related to stationery! And I am a bit hooked with bullet journals at the moment!

Every time we are in Sweden I see Design Letters everywhere! Especially the children’s tableware which is just stunning! Then at a recent trade fair they had a stand and I just wanted to buy it all!!! It was hard to leave that stand!

So of course we are now super delighted to introduce Design Letters to our Spektakulär shop! We have started with the gorgeous personalised notebooks, action, brainstorm, sketch books and travel journal! Pencils and colouring crayons. I love all of them but somehow I just can not chose between C or my Swedish nickname L for Lotta. Maybe I should get them both or maybe the action book (aarggghhh decisions). But my absolute favourite collection is the baking/cooking collection. The recipe book and the DL (decilitre) measurements, they are just stunning! Since I use DL when I bake I would love these so much and it does help that they are so stylish as well. On my birthday list!

Design Letters - Cooking/Baking collection
Time to get baking

Design Letters creates amazing designs using the iconic Danish architect and designer Arne Jacobsen‘s hand-drawn typography from 1937. Everything from pencils to children’s plates and cups. We are so pleased with the response so far and are really hoping to add more of Design Letters to both the shops.

If you are looking for a nice gift then may I suggest the personalised notebook?!

Father's day
Gift Ideas
Design Letters
Time to get organised

Have a wonderful and stylish week :)

Charlotte x

 

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LAKRIDS

Ohhhhhhh you got to try these!

I am not a hard core liquorice fan, I do enjoy it I mean I am Swedish after all (it runs in my veins) but when I am home in Sweden it is not what I need to fill my suitcase with (no then I fill it with chocolate and bread). So when I came across Danish Johan Bulow liquorice I did not have massive expectations but wow. You know when you put something in your mouth and it is just a pure pleasure experience, like a smell or flavour from childhood and you get all warm and happy inside. That is what happen to me! Zuzanna’s friend once said Johan Bulow is the king of liquorice, she is not wrong! Even Richard who is not that keen on liquorice enjoyed Lakrids (unless he is just pretending to keep me happy).

You just have to try it for yourself! I have a couple of favourites, first  I am a coffee drinker and I tried the Dark chocolate and Coffee covered liquorice, oh hello that one I enjoyed a lot! But also the freshness of the White and Passion Fruit chocolate covered is stunning! However the Pink LOVE, gosh taste bud heaven and it is totally true what says on the box “With these flavour-packed mouthfuls, you get to experience a broad variety of taste sensations. First the intriguing taste of raspberry, followed by the intensity of dark chocolate, and then – just when you thought the ride was over – the tickling heat of Habanero chilli liquorice swirls around your taste buds” my mouth just exploded in flavours, wow!

They have four chocolate covered flavours which seems to be main flavours

  • A. Chocolate Covered Soft Liquorice (Belgian Milk Chocolate)
  • B. White Chocolate and Passion Fruit Covered Sweet Liquorice
  • C. Dark and Coffee Chocolate Covered Sweet Liquorice
  • D. Roasted Almond Coated in Belgian Milk Chocolate and Raw Liquorice Powder
A
A. Chocolate Covered Soft Liquorice
B
B. White Chocolate and Passion Fruit Covered Sweet Liquorice
10653275_10152654616050358_3261021309378710829_n
C. Dark Chocolate and Coffee Coated Soft Liquorice
D
D. Almonds Covered with Chocolate and Raw Liquorice Powder

 

As well as the pure liquorice sweets (no covers)

  • 1. Sweet Liquorice: the one and only sweet liquorice you will ever need
  • 2. Salty Liquorice: this is the true love for any Salty Liquorice fans out there
  • 3. Red Liquorice: their answer to the american version, I would say it is better
  • 4. Habanero Chilli Liquorice: the spicy one (sadly not in stock just yet)
  • 5. Salty Chilli Cranberry Liquorice: created after request by the public (sadly not in stock just yet) 

As you are aware I do enjoy baking but I have never tried baking with liquorice. Seen recipes for years but since it is not as common as finding good quality liquorice here in the UK as back home I have just not done it. But now is the time for me to give it a go since we also stock the Raw Liquorice Powder .

Raw
Raw Liquorice Powder

On Lakrids website are some pretty amazing recipes. Think I should give these chocolate chip and liquorice a go, but the ice cream and oh wow even some brown bread with liquorice…oh my baking fingers are starting to itch!

recipes-dark-chokolate-chip-liquorice-cookies-lakrids-by-johan-bulow.jpg
Dark Chocolate Chip Liquorice Cookies

Have I tempted you yet?

How about these lovely ones. Lakrids seem to introduce a few limited edition flavours now and then, for example I was given the Salty Caramel Chocolate covered liquorice for Christmas, that went rather quickly. For Easter they have a Mint edition (I thought I ordered it but must have missed it, sorry). Last summer was a Elderflower, oh I hope they will bring that one back.

Let me introduce you to the LOVE flavours. Two outstanding and simply lovely flavours that is good for all year around. Does not need to be for Valentine’s. We all need love now and then, so why not treat your mum this Mother’s Day or instead of an Easter Egg from the supermarket. new house gift, get well soon, the little extra to a wedding gift oh you name it. We all need love and for some it is an easy way to say it with chocolate so why not with chocolate and liquorice?!

Love Pink: Raspberry and Dark Chocolate covering a hot Chilli Liquorice (taste bud heaven)

Love Cerise: Blackcurrant infused White Chocolate covering soft Liquorice (very fresh and pleasant taste, perfect with a cup of tea)

LOVE Raspberry
Raspberry and dark Chocolate covered Chilli Liquorice
LOVE balckcurrent
Blackcurrant and White Chocolate covering Soft Liquorice

I am not sure how I will be able to stay away from these. Selling things you love to eat is really hard. You just like to take another one and another one…so addictive! Self discipline Charlotte!!! On the other hand, I would not sell anything I did not love!

Enjoy!

Charlotte x

Semla (Classic Swedish Bun)

Right Christmas is over and it is almost Shrove Tuesday. Here in the UK it is also Pancake day but at home it is all about SEMLA. Seven Tuesdays before Easter but in Sweden you can sadly find a semla in a local bakery or cafe just after Christmas. You can eat them just as they are or in a “hetvägg” which is not my favourite. You basically make it all soft and gooey in warm milk (NO THANK YOU). I am not a massive fan of semla (gosh I can not believe I just said that), I mean I like them but one or five is enough during this time a year and I do not need them every day which is I admit a bit un-Swedish because the right thing to do is to eat a Semla a day from Shrove Tuesday until Easter! In my home town Alingsås, (Alingsås is also known as the one and only Cafe town, every second shop is a cafe) there is a competition who makes the best. The bun needs to be fluffy, perfect filling of almond paste and then the cream needs to be perfectly whipped, and for goodness sake make sure there is plenty of cream. Oh gosh the locals are hard critics and I think everyone turns in to a little bit of a Semla expert! You should see some of the comments they make in the local newspaper (eye-rolling).

Anyway here in Edinburgh is a little group of Swedish mums (and dads), most of us have a other half who is non-Swedish and this group was created to meet up and sing Swedish songs with our bilingual children. Now these days it is more about us grown-ups gossiping while the kids trash someone’s home. Our turn today and look at me I have baked Semlor and here is a recipe for you!

semla
Image: icakuriren

I like to say thank you to M who also made the bun big style and brought with her as well as L who made wonderful classic chocolate balls. I made mini Semla (no photo before gone). They turned out perfectly fine, I find the mini ones a better size really. Not too much and if still room just have another one (ten is too many).

Here is a recipe for you of the MINISEMLOR. I hope you will make it and please do enjoy it with a cuppa, or like us coffee.

Ingredients: Makes about 40 Mini Semlor

1 dl = 100 ml

BUN:

  • 50 gram butter (as always good quality and salted)
  • 2.5 dl milk (always go for full fat)
  • 25 gram fresh yeast (I get mine from Sainsbury’s, ask in the bakery)
  • 0.75 dl caster sugar
  • 1 tsp grounded cardamom
  • 1 egg
  • 8-9 dl plain flour (480-540 grams)

1 egg (as eggwash before baking in oven)

FILLING:

  • 200 grams almond paste (see below how to make your own unless you just been to Sweden and bought some)
  • 1 dl milk or cream
  • 3 dl whipping cream
  • if you like cognac or some sort of liquor (mix it with the cream)
  • icing sugar as dusting

HOW TO:

  1. Melt butter in pan, add milk and heat to 37 degress (finger warm). Make sure not to hot then the yeast dies, if too cold it takes a bit longer before proving.
  2. Crumb up the fresh yeast in one large bowl, add milk butter mix and make sure the yeast dissolves.
  3. Add the grounded cardamon, sugar, egg and most of the plain flour.
  4. Work the dough hard until it feels light and ready (like bread)
  5. Let prove for 30 min (make sure no draft)
  6. Work the dough and make about 40 even round balls. They are small so don’t panic.
  7. Put on a baking paper covered tray.
  8. Let prove again for 30 min (do not cheat)
  9. Heat up oven while the dough is proving to 250 degress.
  10. Bake the buns in the middle of the oven for about 5-7 min, make sure they have a nice colour
  11. Let cool
  12. Cut a lid in each bun and take out some of the inner bun to use for the almond paste filling.
  13. Almond paste mix, grate almond paste, dash of milk or cream (the 1 dl) and the bun inners, create a nice smooth mix and put back inside bun
  14. Whisk whipping cream and put on top of paste.
  15. Lid on top and add some icing sugar on if you like
  16. ENJOY

 

How to make Almond Paste

  • 250 grams un-blanched almonds
  • 2.5 dl caster sugar

Part boil and peel the almonds, grind to fine powder in blender, add the sugar and mix for 5-7 min until nice smooth and warm paste.

You know this might sound hard work but it really is not. Not worse than making bread or bake anything really. It is just the proving that might take a bit of time. Why not give it a go and impress your friends and if you have a Swedish friend well this will be a massive and grateful surprise and I bet you they will be delighted. Everyone likes a Semla!

Have fun

Charlotte x

 

Cinnamon Buns

Oh it is getting closer… a great day is upon us! Cinnamon Bun Day or as we say in Sweden: Kanelbullens dag! 4th October is the day and yes of course this weekend we will bake at home. Here are some facts by The Local that might be worth knowing.

Cinnamon Bun making

Buns are super tasty and should be eaten warm (just out of the oven kind of fresh) and with a glass of cold full fat milk!

So if you have never made them, well what’s stopping you? Why not give them a go this weekend. There are million of recipes out there, I personally prefer them super sticky and sweet with a hint of cardamom. Some people struggle to find fresh yeast (I have baked with dry yeast once…did not like it) however most local shops if they have a bakery will be able to sell you fresh yeast. My local Sainsbury’s do, I just head to the bakery smile and say please and 50g cost me about 20p. Well worth the money.

So here is a the basic standard recipe you can find on the packet of plain flour in Sweden. Now in Sweden we use dl which is decilitre. Apparently according to google 1 dl is 100 ml (well is that not convenient).

For about 40 buns

150 g soft butter (use real butter)

5 dl milk (use full fat)

50 g fresh yeast

1 dl caster sugar

0.5 tsp salt (I personally use salted butter and leave this out)

2 tsp ground cardamon (optional)

800 g plain flour

Filling:

150 g soft butter (honestly I think we are talking at least a packet 250 g when we bake)

1 dl caster sugar (come on, these are just guidelines)

2 tsbp ground cinnamon (well a little bit more does not hurt)

1 beaten egg for glazing at the very end

Right so this is how you do it.

  1. First warm the milk to 37 degrees Celsius (finger warm) too hot the yeast will die, too cold it will not prove as it should
  2. Crumb the yeast in to a large bowl, pour the warm milk on top and stir, let the yeast dissolve. Add small lumps of butter, sugar and cardamom.
  3. Add flour but save about 1 dl while working the dough on a baking table later (ok I had never sifted anything in my life before I move to the UK so you do not have to do that at all).
  4. Work the dough hard for 5 min in a machine or 10 min by hand, until it feel right (hmm, it needs to be airy yet firm)
  5. Let it prove, covered of course and out of draft for about 30 min. So make this dough then do your school run or enjoy a coffee or whatever you like.
  6. Work the dough on a baking table easy for a few minutes, divide it in to 4 parts. Use a rolling pin and make a rectangle shape. Not too thin but definitely not too fat. Thinner rather than fatter.
  7. Butter the rectangle (do not be shy). Mix the sugar and the cinnamon and spread over (so this is how it looked like at our home last time with did it)
  8. Roll them up as you roll up a swiss roll and cut in to 10 pieces . Put them either in large paper cases or on a tray covered in baking paper. Cover with towel and let prove for approx 40 min (do not cheat on the prove time).
  9. Oven on 225 – 250 degrees (I have no idea gas, but google tells me gas mark 8)
  10. Beat the egg and glaze the bun, we put a very typical sugar on top called pearl sugar and no I can not find it here. I buy it when I am home in Sweden, it will be fine without!
  11. Buns in the middle of the oven for about 5 – 10 min.
  12. Cool on a wire rack
  13. Enjoy, eat about 20 and either share or freeze the rest (always good to have a spare at home for some fika time)

Now you can use what ever filling you like, nutella, marzipan, jam…go for it!

If you leave them for a couple of days and they go a bit dry, pop them in the oven for a few min with a little lump of butter on top. And I like to defrost them in the oven with a little lump of butter. Mum had this trick back in the day before she stopped eating sugar. She took a couple out of the freezer and then put them on top of the coffee maker while brewing the coffee and a lovely smell of coffee and cinnamon spread in the house (we all have our tricks).

Now you better eat a bun this weekend! If you have an big blue shop nearby they have some “fake” buns (as my friend called them) in their food bit. They taste fine, never as good as homemade but I would not turn them down. And of course if you are local to Edinburgh you have Peter’s Yard, they are a bit here and there now in town. Lovely lovely bakes and the coffee is rather good too. Enjoy!

Charlotte x

Friday evening

Ah lovely sunset over Edinburgh! Edinburgh have amazing sunsets and I can sit in our dining room and just stare out the window, it is like the sky is on fire.

Sunset from our dining room window
Sunset from our dining room window

We have had a busy day today, Zuzanna received a delivery from Cult Design with lovley new pattern designs for our Change tealight holder range. And lots and lots of Father’s will be quite happy on Sunday with some pretty amazing gifts. Don’t forget we still have our great offer on until Sunday. 15 % off selected items.

Richard has been working late today and just arrived home so the girls and I have baked and baked and played and climbed the sofa up and down, great fun when you are 14 months, and of course watched a film while it rained outside this morning.

I am not a great cook, I can cook but just not very inspirational or exotic. Mainly all I have in mind is that it needs to go quick, do everyone get enough vegetables, do they actually eat it and so on. So obviously we got a few winners and when I do try new things…well there have been a few disasters. However lately I started to follow a couple of blogs from Sweden and one blog is absolutely great! Jennys Matblogg, a girl my own age, living in a house that I consider a dream home and in a very lovely part of Sweden (no I am not jealous at all). I feel so inspired and I have tried a few new things. Check out her blog, yes yes I know it is in Swedish but hey there is google and just let me know and I shall do my best to translate. I am glad that if I actually follow the recipe as I should it turns out pretty good and I have had the comment “mmmm yummy” from my picky three and half year old which is very positive.

I grew up in a home where we ate what was served and I eat everything (NOT Marmite) and I was quite determine to never raise picky children…damn, did not turn out that way! Stina is not a great eater…she is a snacker and if I make dinner into a picnic then she will eat it. But fruit and vegetables are a struggle so we try new things all the time. She helps me while cooking, grating, chopping, stirring but refuse to try eating it, we do sticker charts and everything but she is just not having it. But lately she has gotten better and we try to encourage to at least try and she is now eating a few more vegetables. I wonder if it helps that I am more interested in cooking and maybe introducing more different kind of foods. Anyway today we have baked a little for next weekend when we are off to a Midsummer party, the freezer is quite full. I made a carrot cake, a long time since I did that which is a shame because it is very simple, guess I just been lazy thinking that grating carrots is a bit boring but seriously it takes no time what so ever especially when you have two girls that entertaining you at the same time and make you smile. And after the girls were asleep I made this beauty!

Blueberry pie
Blueberry pie

It will come with us tomorrow (Richard is working overtime tomorrow as well) to Glasgow. I am looking forward to relax, Stina will be so happy to spend the day with her cousin and I think Lovisa will be looked after by aunty, uncle and grandparents so I guess I can eat cakes and relax! Sounds like a good day to me!

Enjoy your evening

Charlotte x

 

Swedish Birthday Cream Cake

So here it is, as requested! This is the recipe I use when I bake our Swedish Birthday Cream Cakes. Of course there are lots and lots of other options but I normally stick to this recipe for the base since it is so easy and taste just like I remember my birthday cakes did when I grew up.

Delicious!
Delicious!

This base you can use for any kind of cake. Does not have to be for a round cake, can be any kind of shape or size. Basically more classic I guess with the round ones. I am not sure if Stina will have one of these for her birthday in the Autumn…maybe if I make it pink and shape it into a princess…hmmm I don’t think I shall put too much energy into that thought just yet!

To make a base you need:

  • 3 eggs
  • 3 dl caster sugar
  • 1 dl water (I use hot boiled water something my grandmother told me once that I should do)
  • 3 dl flour
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla sugar (something I buy at home but can easily just use a little vanilla extract or normal sugar mixed with a vanilla pod)

Beat eggs and sugar until light and fluffy, then add the water little by little while whisking to make sure you don’t get scrambled eggs. Then add the dry ingredients swiftly and pour into a cake base approx 24 cm.

Pop in the oven at 175°C for about 30 min.

Then let it cool down and prepare to cut in three layers.

First layer I normally make a vanilla custard, I have been lazy and bought special powder back home. But before I did that I used a light custard with a vanilla taste which was a little bit heavy but had the right flavor. It needs to be a vanilla cream but a bit heavier but honestly feel free to use whatever you like in the your cake.

First layer...vanilla custard
First layer…vanilla custard

Middle layer can be whatever you like, I normally use a nice jam. I am a raspberry jam kind of person but apricot or strawberry is lovely too. Mashed banana or just fresh berries is nice too. Oh lots of options!

Second layer...raspberry jam
Second layer…raspberry jam

Top layer is whipped cream which nicely hides all my mistakes. And then topping, whatever you like. I like the ones with berries since the cake is so sweet and heavy it is nice with fresh berries but the rest of my family likes sweeties. So smarties, chocolate buttons or what you have at home. I guess for midsummer it is all about strawberries so anything else than strawberries is illegal!

One made by the 3.5 year old and one by me.
One made by the 3.5 year old and one by me.

Before I moved to the UK I used to bake a lot and I thought I was pretty good at it too, I guess I was more experimental and really enjoyed it. However now these days, time and oh my goodness just looking at the cakes makes me put on weight so sadly I am not baking as much. But when I do Stina helps me and I think it is more about a little us time than how perfect my bakes are.

I used to do one alternative to this cake which was soooooo tasty but made you feel a little bit sick! Vanilla custard layer and a chocolate mousse layer and then on top instead of cream I melted chocolate and topped it with raspberries! My younger sister Cecilia is known for making amazing cakes and she is always asked to bake for some other family members special days. Hopefully I can get her to bake me something this summer when we are home or for my special day!

Charlotte x