birthday bonanza

I have had a bit of a break over the past few weeks. Partly because I’ve felt a bit bored and demotivated with cooking for just myself, partly because I’ve had some things going on around me, and partly because I just haven’t felt like writing. I guess with a steady readership of two (you know who you are!) I can take that luxury without upsetting people.

But now I’m back and so with a bang. I have written up a new meal plan for the coming two weeks (and the plan is to keep deciding what to eat two weeks at a time) with five new recipes in it so far and I technically have five recipes for you in this post. That’s right, five. And one of them has three variations to it.

The company I work for offers each employee a complete health check once every three years. Because it’s my first year with the company, I was offered one this year. They did a blood test which checked all your blood levels, iron, glucose, the health of your liver, etc. etc. and then there was a follow-up with a doctor where you got to check your weight, BMI, muscle and fat (percentage), lung capacity and ‘age’, eye sight, hearing, EKG and more. It was really interesting and I was happy with most of my results. The doctor said I was very healthy and I had a higher muscle mass percentage than the average woman (who apparently lies within a range of 24-30%) but I would like to improve my fat mass. And that brings me back to food – so now I’m going to renew my efforts of making good, and preferably healthy, meals as well as trying to keep myself accountable through keeping track of what I eat. I might, however, try not to make 2-4 portions rather than 4-8 so that I don’t grow bored of what I’m eating – especially if it doesn’t turn out the way I thought it would.

But before we get to all that we need to look back at what was my birthday dinner party a little over a week ago. S and I had invited my oldest friend and her boyfriend over for dinner and they are such foodies. I was terrified lol! Definitely had some major performance anxiety going on.

Anyway, I knew I wanted to make a main in the slow cooker, because it saves time and space. I also knew I wanted something warming and wintery, and preferably a slow-cooked piece of meat, and as I was googling ‘slow cooker dinner party recipes’ something popped into my mind: beef/ox cheeks. I found a recipe for slow cooker beef cheeks in red wine and decided to pair it with a garlic mash potato recipe I had seen before but never tried.  Dessert was already decided – I definitely knew I wanted to make something with Nigella Lawson’s salted caramel sauce and I decided that something was going to be scooping the sauce into the middle of a chocolate fondant and hope for the best. (Not really though – I did two practice runs beforehand.)

Then there was only the starter left. I had looked at maybe making some pick and mix bruschetta style bites, but then S came and said why don’t we make gravlax? We decided on doing three versions; traditional dill, the beetroot and gin one from Christmas, and a citrus one he found online.  Both the starter and the dessert also worked in well with my ‘do-as-little-as-possible- while-they’re-here’ approach, since the salmon needed to be cured for three days and would be ready to slice upon their arrival, and the chocolate fondants could be made and kept in the fridge for up to 24 hours before baking. All I would really need to do once they were here was slice some salmon and bread, make mash potatoes, and put the fondants in the oven.

So from the top down, here are the recipes (including the beetroot gravlax – slightly modified). Unfortunately for the blog I didn’t take any pictures since it was a party after all, so you’ll have to make do with pictures of the leftovers in the case of the starter and main and the trial run for the dessert!


Traditional gravlax

350g fresh salmon

50 ml salt

50 ml sugar

50 ml chopped dill

a splash of water

Beetroot and gin

350g fresh salmon

50 ml salt

50 ml sugar

3 tbsp gin

1 medium beetroot

Citrus fruits

350g fresh salmon

50 ml salt

50 ml sugar

1 orange (zest only)

1 lemon (zest only)

1 lime (zest only)

a splash of water


Place the salmon in a plastic bag.

Mix salt and sugar and rub onto the fish.

Sprinkle a few drops of water (or gin in the beetroot and gin version) over the mix, then add the condiments for your chosen version (i.e. dill or beetroot or the citrus zest mix).

Put the fish in a plate or tray of some sort, skin-side up, and leave in the fridge for three days, turning once a day.


Slow cooked ox cheeks in red wine (6 servings)

3 tbsp olive oil

1.2kg beef/ox cheeks

1 onion

1 carrot

4 garlic cloves

1.5 tsp dried thyme

4 dried bay leaves

1 cup beef stock

1 bottle (750 ml) red wine

3 tsp salt

black pepper

carrots

mushrooms

pearl onions


If necessary, cut off any large bits of fatty membrane. Season the cheeks with 1 tsp salt and some pepper.

Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large pan and sear the cheeks. (I don’t usually sear my meat for the slow cooker, but this time I did, since it was a ‘fancier’ recipe.) Set aside on a plate and cover with foil.

Turn down the heat and add 1 tbsp oil. Sauté the onions, carrots and minced garlic for about 3 minutes, or until the onion has become translucent.

Add the onion mix to the slow cooker and place the meat on top.

Return the pan to the heat and pour in 500 ml wine. Leave to simmer for a minute, then pour into the slow cooker, including all the brown bits stuck to the bottom.

Add stock, thyme, bay leaves, 2 tsp salt, and some black pepper to the slow cooker, then cook for 6-8 hours.

When the cooking is finished, remove the cheeks from the slow cooker and discard the bay leaves.

Blend the sauce with a handheld mixer until smooth and add the remaining wine. Pour it all into a saucepan and leave to simmer for about 10 minutes, or until it has reduced enough for your liking. You can also add some cornstarch mixed with water as a thickening agent if you would like to.

At this stage, as I knew I was returning the meat and sauce to the slow cooker to keep warm, I also added some mushrooms, carrots and pearl onions.

You can also make this as a non-slow cooker recipe and the instructions for that can be found in the original recipe.


Garlic mashed potatoes (4-6 servings)

800g potatoes

250 ml cream

3 garlic cloves

85g parmesan


Cook the potatoes until soft.

Mince the garlic and add to a saucepan with just a touch of butter. Brown for a few seconds, then add cream and bring to simmer. Set aside.

Drain the potatoes then mash them and add the garlic cream and the parmesan, stirring to combine.

Season with salt and white pepper to taste.


Salted caramel sauce (6 servings)

50g butter

50g white sugar

50g brown sugar

50g syrup

125 ml cream

1 tsp sea salt


Melt butter, sugars and syrup in a heavy-based pan. Let simmer for about 3 minutes, stirring every now and then.

Add cream and salt and stir to mix. Remove from heat and leave to cool.


Chocolate fondant (4-6 servings)

100g dark chocolate (I used half 55% and half 70%)

100g butter

100g sugar

100g flour

2 eggs and 2 egg yolks

butter

cocoa powder


Brush your moulds with melted butter and place in the fridge to cool. Once cooled, repeat, then dust with cocoa powder. Set aside.

Divide chocolate and butter into small pieces and place in a water bath (a bowl on top of a simmering pot of water – but not touching the water). Stir until completely melted. Set aside to cool.

Whisk eggs, egg yolks and sugar to a thick, fluffy, white-ish mix. Fold in the flour, then the melted chocolate – one third at the time.

Pour the batter into the moulds.

If you do not want to make caramel filled ones, fill to about three quarters. Leave in the fridge for at least 10 minutes before baking.

If you do want to make caramel filled ones, fill to just under half, then place something in the middle to make a hole. I used egg cups wrapped in cling film, which was a bit sticky. Leave to cool for 10 minutes, then remove your objects and fill the hole with caramel sauce. Cover with more fondant mix (which has been kept outside the fridge) and make sure it goes all the way to the edge, not just covering the top. Leave to cool for another 10 minutes – at least.

Bake for 10-12 minutes at 200 degrees Celsius.


Notes:

The citrus salmon was quite sweet. I think halving the orange zest and upping the lemon and lime zest would be better.

Also, last time I made gravlax I used the 1:0.5 ratio where you have half the amount of salt to sugar. I thought that was too sweet, so this time I did 1:1.

I cooked my ox cheeks for 6 hours on low, because I knew they would be keeping warm, and as such ‘after-cooking’, for another 2 hours. If you’re going to eat yours at once, you might want to cook them for 7-8 hours instead.

For the mash, make sure the cream is really heated or the mash will get cold. I would also recommend seasoning it with salt and pepper.

For my dessert I made two batches of salted caramel sauce – one that I made the day before and left in the fridge overnight to solidify a bit and one that I made just before our guests came and left out in a sauce jug to cool. If you’re using the sauce as an actual sauce (i.e. not as a filling) I would recommend not putting it in the fridge, as I felt that it went too solid to pour properly then.


Definitely a good birthday dinner.

/t

Advertisements

slow cooker mexican shredded beef burritos

When I worked in London we didn’t have a lot of nice lunch places around the office. Most often that meant having just a ready meal or sandwich from a local supermarket or something from the office restaurant (which was always a, shall we say, interesting experience…). But sometimes when the weather was nice and I didn’t feel stressed I would walk over to Embankment and treat myself. Some days that meant getting a Katsu curry at Wasabi, other days it meant getting a fully loaded Mexican Burrito from Wrap It Up!. The burritos were so good – huge and filled with shredded beef or chicken, rice, black beans, salad, cheese, guacamole and sour cream. Freshly wrapped up in foil, with the cheese melting with every step, I’d carry it back to the office and tuck in.

Lately I’ve felt a bit been-there-done-that with many of the slow cooker recipes I’ve been looking at since pretty much all I’ve had this autumn and winter have been soups and stews. I also had a real craving for Mexican (or European Mexican shall we say) food, and being in London over the weekend made me remember the cheesy, spicy burritos I sometimes had for lunch. So I went looking for slow cooker beef burrito recipes online and came about this Mexican shredded beef recipe. Often the pulled pork/shredded beef/chili recipes require lots of different ingredients that I don’t have or can’t that easily get hold of – especially since they’re often American. This required some spices I didn’t have at home but that I knew I could get at my local supermarket, so I decided to give it a go.

I don’t think it’s very often when you try and remake something you’ve had when eating out that the result exceeds your expectations, but this time it really did. It was exactly what I was craving and it really did feel like I was eating one of those Wrap It Up! burritos. I first had it for lunch, reheated in the microwave, with guacamole and when I bit into that first bite with the melted cheese and the spicy beef I knew I had found something good.

I should warn you though that this recipe makes a lot of beef ! And I mean a lot. Especially when you add rice, sweetcorn and beans like I did. I used 4 portions of rice, 200g sweetcorn and 380g (one box) ready to serve black beans. This mix is very beef-heavy, so if you want a more equal mix between your beef and the rest I would probably recommend using the same amount of rice, sweetcorn and black beans, but halving the beef (or cooking all of it but using half for something else). Unless you’re cooking for an army, in which case feel free to double the rice, sweetcorn and beans.

I would also recommend actually letting the sauce reduce down for at least 10-15 minutes, as it says in the original recipe. I didn’t have time to do that since I was doing the last bits in the morning before going to work, so mine only simmered for about 5 minutes. This unfortunately meant that the flavour of the sauce wasn’t as intense and there was way too much of it since burritos can’t be too liquid – or the tortilla will just become sloppy. Apart from that the result really was fantastic.


2017-02-21-14.21.57.jpg.jpg

Ingredients (many portions)

Spice Mix

1.5 tbsp chipotle powder

1 tbsp smoked paprika

1 tbsp oregano

1 tsp All Spice

1 tsp coriander powder

2 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp salt

black pepper

Beef

1 – 2 tbsp olive oil

1.5kg beef brisket

5 garlic cloves

1 onion

0.75 cup orange juice

2 tbsp lime juice

400g crushed tomatoes

500 ml beef stock

Burritos

4 portions long grained rice

200g sweetcorn

380g black beans (cooked/ready to serve)

grated cheese

soft tortillas

guacamole and/or sour cream


The original recipe recommends cutting the meat up into three similar-sized pieces, but I chose to keep mine in one large piece, since I’ve learnt my slow cooker seems to make the meat drier than some others.

Combine all the spices for the spice mix in a bowl, then sprinkle a few teaspoons over the beef and pat it in.

Heat the oil in a pan and brown the meat on high heat. Remove the meat from the pan and add to the slow cooker.

Fry the garlic and onion on medium heat until soft.

Add the orange juice and lime juice to the pan, then add the remaining spice mix.

Pour the contents into the slow cooker together with the chopped tomatoes and beef stock. Your beef should be mostly covered, but if it’s not – add water until it is.

Cook on low for 6-10 hours – the bigger the piece(s) of meat the longer the cooking time.

Remove the beef from the slow cooker and shred it with two forks. Set aside.

Pour the sauce into a pot. Simmer on the hob until thickened enough for your liking (at least 10-15 minutes), then pour as much as you like over the beef (though not all!).

To make my burritos:

Measure out four portions of long grained rice and cook according to the instructions.

Drain the black beans and rinse thoroughly.

Mix the rice, sweetcorn and beans into the beef.

Put a good-sized dollop of burrito filling in the middle of a tortilla. Top with as much cheese as you feel like, then fold it and wrap it up in foil.

Serve with guacamole and/or sour cream.


This is one meal I’ve made that I won’t grow tired of having both for lunch and for dinner several days in a row.

/t

2017

Happy New Year everyone! (Ok, maybe that’s a bit optimistic in terms of readership of this blog – but still.)

I’ve had a nice Christmas and New Year’s, but sadly still snow-less. I made some great food for Christmas (banging my own drum) and we had a quiet day with the obligatory Donald Duck and a few presents each. S and I then had three very quiet days on our own where we did nothing (I haven’t spent so much time in front of the TV in ages), then my mother-in-law came and then my brother-in-law, his girlfriend, and her son came. So it’s been a full house for the past four days and, to be honest, it’s going to be quite nice to come home tonight and not be surrounded by people. (Of course it would have been nicer if S was still here though.)

For New Year’s we did dinner in the flat and then went out on a hill behind our house to watch fireworks. It turned out to be a really good spot because you had a 360-view and there were fireworks in every direction. We then went back home and, because we’d all got up around 8 am due to a certain 6-yo, went to bed about 1 am. On New Year’s Day we went ice-skating in the city (because nothing in Sweden is open on NYD) and I thought it was a lot of fun. Haven’t been ice-skating in years and the more I do things I haven’t done since I left Sweden, the more I feel like I’m truly back again.

Today I’m back at work though, but Thursday is a half-day here and Friday a bank holiday, so I’m flying over to London on Thursday afternoon – meaning this work week isn’t really a week at all. I feel like I’m getting quite a bad cold though, my nose is all blocked up, my sinuses are sore, my throat is sore in the mornings, and I have a headache at the moment. Hopefully 90 minutes in a 38 degree room with 60% humidity this evening (hot yoga) should clear me up somewhat.

Since I’m going away this weekend I don’t know if I’ll have the time to type up some of my Christmas and NYE recipes for you, but I’ll do my best! Otherwise something will come up next week.

/t

it’s beginning to look a lot like christmas

I cannot believe that it’s Christmas on Saturday! I know it sounds like such a cliché, but this year has really gone by so fast. I feel like it was only a few weeks ago I moved back to Stockholm, not almost nine months. 2016 is almost over and I don’t even feel like it ever really began.

 I guess part of the reason why the year feels like it’s gone by so fast is because since April the weeks have only been the transport route to the weekends, when I get to see S. I haven’t been doing much during the weeks (mainly work and gym) so leaving home just before 8 am and returning around 8-9 pm 2-4 days a week kind of turns it all into a blur.

 But now I’m looking forward to a few days off. S is coming here on Friday and then we’ve got all the days between Christmas and New Year’s off. We’ll be doing Christmas at home (so for the next few days I’ll be really busy with food prep for Saturday) and for NYE his family is coming over – so I’ll be cooking a NYE feast.

 I’m planning on doing a lot of good stuff for Christmas and NYE, so there should be some good recipes coming up here in the New Year. For Christmas there’s going to be gravad lax (Swedish cured salmon), Christmas ham, meatballs, mini sausages, potatoes, cheese and bread, English rice pudding, as well as gingerbread, saffron buns, knäck (Swedish almond toffee), Rocky Road, and maybe some other chocolates. I won’t make everything myself though, but the ones I do I’ll post about. For NYE I’m thinking some sort of beef wrapped in Parma ham served with a potato gratin of sorts and then a take on Eton mess for dessert. Pleasing the in-laws in the food department isn’t always easy, but a nice piece of meat with potatoes and an English dessert should do it!

 What’s really disappointing though is that it’s not looking like we’re going to get a white Christmas. The snow chaos in the beginning of November was getting my hopes up for a white Christmas, but after the initial chaos and some one-day followers, the temperature has steadily risen above freezing and none of the (sporadic) snow has stuck. Today is due to be 8 degrees and Saturday 5 degrees. So not looking hopeful there.

 I’m still excited about my first Christmas really being at home again though. No feeling like you have to cram so much in because it’s the longest consecutive period you’ll be home all year. Not sleeping on a blow-up mattress in my mum’s living room/kitchen. Not living out of a suitcase. And being able to decorate our home the way we want. Having our own Christmas tree, advent stars and advent candlesticks in the windows, and the four advent candles present in many a Swedish home at this time of year.

 I’ve always liked Christmas. Going down to my grandparents’ (though we’re not doing that this Christmas Eve), sticking to the tradition and always having the same food and watching Donald Duck, year after year, even though we’re all adults now. I think I must have got the whole Christmas gene in my family because my brother couldn’t really care less (he’s been working on Christmas Eve the past few years – great overtime pay) and for my mum it’s been kind of a case where the older we get the less traditional she is. She definitely used to go all out when we were little, even when we were teenagers, but when we started getting older and more independent she started scaling it down. S doesn’t really feel the same way about Christmas as I do either, so three out of five years we’ve spent Christmas at my grandparents’. (The first year together we spent Christmas apart – had only been together about two months – one year my mum and brother came over to London, and last year we stayed in London because he wasn’t allowed to fly.) This year we wanted to be at home though, seeing as it’s the first time we have our own place, so we’ll go down and see my family in the days after Christmas instead.

Which means I have to cook. I’m looking forward to it though. I’m going to make my own gravlax (not very difficult, just time consuming) and I’m going to make a Christmas ham for the first time, using my brand new slow cooker I got as a Christmas present from the MIL. (I got it early because it had to be delivered to my house.) The ham needs to boil for 9 hours in the slow cooker and then go in the oven for about 15-20 minutes, so I’m planning on boiling it overnight. Then I’m also attempting to make an English rice pudding rather than the traditional Swedish risgrynsgröt (rice porridge) on S’s request. Though I think they’re very similar – the rice pudding is thicker due to being made with cream instead of milk and baked instead of boiled – he doesn’t like the Swedish version very much, so I promised I’d give it a try. Can’t be that difficult, can it.

It’ll only be a small gathering and we’ll end up having leftovers for weeks, but I’m really looking forward to it. To use the favourite word of the Swedish nation, I think it will be cozy.

/t

december

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

Well, at least it’s December now! It drives me nuts when Christmas decorations start popping up in shops, shopping centres, and on the streets in October. One of the Swedish radio stations has started a practice where they only play Christmas music until Boxing Day and this year they began on11th November!

In Sweden we observe Advent (I don’t really want to say celebrate because we don’t technically do much). So the four Sundays before Christmas, Swedish people will light candles, drink glögg (mulled wine), eat gingerbread and saffron buns, toffee and chocolate, and just bide our time until Christmas. We put up electric candle sticks and stars in our windows, and have Advent candles that we light on the Sunday, the first candle on the first of Advent, the first and second on the second, and so on. Often someone you know will have a glögg party on one of the Advent Sundays. This year Christmas Eve (which is when we celebrate) is on a Saturday, which means that the first of Advent was quite early, at the end of November, this year.

This weekend is the second of Advent and we’re having friends over from the UK. Because S has never been to a julbord (other than Christmas lunch at my family’s) we’re going down to a picturesque town outside of Stockholm tomorrow to enjoy one. It’ll be my first in over eight years as well. It’s also my office Christmas party tonight, so I’m feeling very much like Christmas is drawing nearer. On Wednesday I made lussebullar (saffron buns) and gingerbread for the weekend, and I’ll share the saffron bun recipe with you when I have a chance to write a longer post and pick out what pictures to use!
/t

hasselbackspotatis (with bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin)

I think most people have that one staple party food they like to make when they have friends coming over for dinner. You know the one that you have tried and tested, that looks impressive but isn’t actually that difficult to make? For me it’s hasselbackspotatis.

Hasselback potatoes are a kind of Swedish baked/roast potato that was invented in the 1950’s by a chef student or principal (the story differs) at Hasselbacken, a Stockholm hotel and restaurant. It was established as a restaurant in the mid-1700’s (under a different name), served as a cookery school between 1947 and 1969, and in 1992 it opened up as a hotel and restaurant after eight years of building and renovations.

The background story is (supposedly) that the baked potato was just starting to become popular, and that either a student or the principal of the cookery school thought that slicing the potato up would make it easier to cook because it would be quicker. And the rest is history as they say.

Screenshot_2016-11-11-22-00-09 (2).png
Hasselback potatoes with venison steak, asparagus and red wine sauce I made for NYE

Hasselback potatoes are now really popular, especially in the US it seems, and even Nigella has a recipe for them. They look impressive, taste great, and have so many possible variations you can try out. But once you’ve learnt how to slice them thinly without slicing through them, they’re not very difficult to make.

Traditionally you are supposed to use ‘normal’ potatoes, but I prefer smaller and oval ones, such as mandelpotatis (almond potatoes) or aspergespotatis (Ratte potatoes). If you’re in the UK, Charlotte potatoes are good too. I find the smaller ones cook quicker and are easier to slice.

The general tip when cutting Hasselback potatoes is to place the potato in a wooden spoon. I have actually never tried this, but I’m sure it works. The general thought is that this will prevent the knife from slicing all the way through.

Because I like smaller potatoes with a soft skin, I also prefer keeping the skin on – and this is how most of the recipes I’ve seen do it as well. I keep my potatoes plain (just butter, oil, and some salt, pepper, and rosemary if I have it at hand), but many recipes say to put breadcrumbs on top. I’ve also seen American recipes that stuff them with garlic, cheese, and/or bacon, and I have to admit I’m quite tempted to try the cheese and bacon ones. But with a nice bit of meat and a good red wine sauce I think plain is the way to go.


20161104_182553-2Ingredients

500g potatoes

butter

oil

salt

pepper

rosemary

280g bacon

600g pork tenderloin


Start by slicing your potatoes, leaving a bit (around 5 mm or maybe ¼ of an inch) at the base so they don’t fall apart. You want the slices to be spaced evenly at about 2-3mm apart, but when you first try to make them you might want to try a bit wider at first – to practice.

Once they’re all sliced, melt some butter and oil in the tray that you’re going to bake them in. How much is really up to you, but the estimate for 500g of potatoes I would say is 30g butter and 3 tbsp oil. Place the potatoes cut side down and shake around for a bit, so that the butter and oil seeps into the cuts. Turn them all onto the uncut side and if any of them look dry, spoon some of the butter and oil over them. Salt and pepper, and why not add some fresh herbs.

Bake in the oven at 225 degrees Celcius for 20 min. Then remove from the oven and spoon the butter and oil mix over the cut side of the potatoes again. If you want to add breadcrumbs or cheese or something – this would be the time to do it. Return to the oven and bake for a further 20 minutes.

Because I was making bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin with my potatoes, I cooked them first and set aside. The pork needs to cook at 175 degrees Celsius, but to get that crispy texture of the potatoes I wanted them in at 225 degrees Celsius.

To make the pork, place the bacon on a cutting board and then the tenderloin on top. Wrap it up and tie with cooking string (no Bridget Jones accidents here!).

Sear the bacon in a frying pan before you pop it in the oven – to make it crispier. Then cook at 175 degrees Celsius for 30 minutes and leave to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Because we were having guests and I didn’t want to be cooking all the time, I have to admit to using a ready-made red wine sauce. It was really tasty though, so I don’t regret it!

/t

all hallows’ day – the swedish version

In Sweden we have never really been that into all this Halloween stuff until it became popular because of American culture.

However, we have been celebrating All Hallows’ Day since the 700’s. In Sweden there’s a difference between All Saints’ Day and All Hallows’ Day. All Saints’ Day is always on 1st November, but All Hallows’ Day is since the 50’s the Saturday that falls between 31st October and 6th November.

When Sweden became protestant, All Saints’ Day was supposed to ‘disappear’ since saints were a Catholic thing. So in 1772 it was removed as a public holiday. In 1953 we caused a split between All Saints’ Day and All Hallows’ Day by making All Hallows’ Day a fluctuating date and reinstated it as a public holiday. So we have All Hallows’ Eve (31st October), All Saints’ Day (1st November) and All Hallows’ Day (varying).

20161105_204712

20161105_204511

20161105_205000

Since about the 1800’s, Swedish people have been lighting candles at graves on All Hallows’ Day – particularly children’s graves. This was already commonplace in Sweden, but had usually been done on Christmas Eve. The practice grew, and after the Second World War it became even more so as it was picked up by Catholic European countries.

It still remains a tradition among Swedish people today, and Skogskyrkogården (the Stockholm cemetery that’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site) say they have around 70,000 visitors on that weekend.

20161105_205944

Seeing as I had S and one of his friends from London over for the weekend, I decided to ask if they wanted to go to Skogskyrkogården. This mass-lighting of candles at All Hallows’ Day is not something that’s really done in the UK, so I thought it would be a nice experience and something very Swedish to tell people in London about.

20161105_210056

20161105_210202

Greta Garbo is buried at Skogskyrkogården, and a lot of fans had been there to light candles.

As we were walking around the cemetery it started snowing, and it hasn’t really stopped since. There’s an old farmers’ tale that says that “if the sun doesn’t shine long enough for you to saddle a horse on 1st November, it’ll be a cold winter”. I hope they’re right.

/t