24 November 2009

In the heart of Sweden

For those of you who don't know exactly where the Swedes keep their heart this photo might give you a hint:
Thats rigth; in 'Dalarna'!
(For more info on the Dalecarlian horse: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dalecarlian_horse)

Lisbeth visited the 'most Swedish' of Sweden in relation to her job and that even in the infamous village of Tällberg. Even if she didn't have much time to enjoy the lovely country side, she did have the best 'kanelbuller' (cinnamon rolls) yet, enjoyed the Dala hospitality, heard a fantastic performance by Dala singers, practised her understanding of the local dialect, and was generally inspired to visit again during summer where the view across the lake can be better appreciated.

21 November 2009

Throng on the balcony

When we put up the large fat ball last Sunday we were wondering how many weeks it would last.. during the week we had to adjust our expectations, as it was no longer just a Great Tit or two that paid us a visit from time to time: Thursday morning there were no less than ten House Sparrows on the balcony. And sure enough: by this Saturday morning fresh supplies were in demand.

19 November 2009


It is true that the Swedish autumn is cold and wet and grey and dark - one doesn't get to see the sun all that much even during the 7 1/2 hours it creeps above the horizon this particular time of the year.

But for now, Tue forgives Sweden all this and more.

But why?

We were about to leave Hötorgshallen when Lisbeth noticed that one of the greengrocers had the fruits pictured here. These are the so-called tomatillos that you have heard Tue lament not being able to get ever since leaving California. But here they are - in Hötorgshallen in Stockholm. In size and shape they are quite similar to green tomatoes (plus the recognisable papery husk). Although that's the right family, the plant is actually more closely related to the goose berry. And they are the proper ingredient for making Mexican salsa verde - we celebrated the finding by making green enchiladas with prawns and goat cheese.

That's why!

17 November 2009

Traffic on the balcony

After looking for them in vain for several weeks we finally found some fat balls at the supermarket. We put one up on the balcony and a few minutes later there was quite the traffic of Great Tits out there.

15 November 2009

Tube chanterelles

On Hötorget (in front of Hötorgshallen) there is often a market with fruits, vegetables and flowers. This time of year they are also selling mushrooms from the Swedish forests. They start out in the morning selling them at 20 SEK pr. hg (roughly 1 US$ pr. oz) but late in afternoon the price drops and the sales tactics get more aggressive if they still have a lot left. When we came by this Saturday afternoon we had thought about taking advantage of the lower prices, but the good man wasn't so easy to stop once he started stuffing a bag with tube chanterelles. Suddenly we had 100 SEK less in our pockets and were carrying a surprisingly heavy bag of mushrooms.

Home again we learned that the bag contained some 2.5 kg (5.5 lbs) of tube chanterelles (which means that the price was down to 4 SEK pr. hg (or some 20 cents pr. oz) half an hour before they had to be off the square). After spending some time rinsing away the pine needles and the moss we made ourselves a pot of mushroom risotto - and threw a bunch of bags with mushrooms in the freezer..

08 November 2009

Dry skiing

The weekend that we went from October to November, Bertil came to visit us with his two personal servants Martin and Caroline. We went for a walk in the brown landscape of autumnal Stockholm. We may be well into the Swedish fall, and it may already have been snowing a few times, but it isn't really weather for skiing yet. Fortunately there are ways to deal with this if the withdrawal symptoms are getting to be too much.

02 November 2009

Blowing leaves

By now Stockholm is well into autumn and there's a good deal of brown leaves on the ground. That sort of problem is apparently best dealt with by blowing the leaves around. Normally we see gardeners with a small device on their back and a hose - some sort of reversed vacuum cleaner. But in a larger park we saw the same tactics applied on a grander scheme.