Ode to Tea Scones

Ode to Tea Scones

Lately, I’ve had a craving for tea scones. I suppose it has something to do with that wacky weather we’ve had in Stockholm. One day freezing cold, the next day spring-like. It makes me want comfort food. And sometimes the only thing that will do is a plate of scones with cream cheese or whipped cream (since it’s not very easy to find clotted cream in Stockholm) and strawberry preserves. Last week I baked twelve scones. They were quick to whip together and were so fluffy and yummy-crummy. And now I want to bake more.

Not my scones, but don't they look yummy? (Photo credit: BBC Food)

Not my scones, but don’t they look yummy? (Photo credit: BBC Food)

Now, tea scones don’t taste much different from the buttermilk biscuits my grandmother used to make. And probably they’re the same thing, just with different names on either side of the pond. The first time I had scones was in London. In fact it was during my very first trip to London. The hubster and I went to Fortnum & Mason’s to pick up marmalade and tea (we were addicted to them even though we were pretty broke back then) , and then we saw their café and we knew we had to try their scones. So we splurged and had afternoon tea. It was wonderful. We were both in heaven. We didn’t really care about the sandwiches…we only wanted scones. And we gobbled them down with plenty of clotted cream (sheer bliss!) and strawberry jam.

And soon they became our obsession.

We tried to make our own. Sometimes they came out perfectly…other times, not so great. I experimented with them–baking them with dried cranberries or saffron or blueberries. They didn’t really do it for me. Eventually we realised we were over-complicating the recipe and found a very simple one that always delivered great results. You see, I’ve come to the realisation that I don’t need fancy scones. I don’t need them with white chocolate or orange zest or whatever other things some people like in their scones. I am a bit of a traditionalist. I just want plain ol’ scones with lots of cream and jam.

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Still not mine, but doesn’t it make you hungry? Mmm….scones! (Photo credit: unknown)

Now that I am talking about scones, I am craving them again. I think I will have to bake another tray. A girl needs scones. Especially when she is trying to finish her novel. 😉

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Why dress like a Parisian when I can dress like me? Five wardrobe items I love!

Why dress like a Parisian when I can dress like me? Five wardrobe items I love!

I am a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl. Always have been, probably always will be. But there is this part of me that wishes I could be more put-together. You know–like all those stylish Scandinavian girls I see everyday or those über-effortlessly chic French girls we hear about all the time. Every now and then I tell myself that I will do as they do: stop eating carbs, do Bikram yoga and get manis/pedis every week. And then I laugh and have another glass of wine or a pastry and don’t bother spending time putting together outfits.

Photo credit: thestore.com

So chic…and yet…it would require far too much planning and too few carbs. Photo credit: thestore.com

My closet is overflowing with clothing bought on a whim and yet very few items actually speak to me or scream, “Wear me!” And I end up back in my t-shirt and jeans. Or my sweater and jeans–depending on the season.

But I do know there are five items that I wear fairly often and that I love. So I may never be as chic as a Parisian or as on-trend as so many of these Stockholm girls, but I can feel comfortable in my own skin and really that is what is most important.

Girlfriend jeans from H&M+.

Girlfriend jeans from H&M+. Photo credit: hm.com.

My favourite jeans

I may love my skinny jeans, but sometimes what I want are a pair of slim-cut jeans that don’t feel super-tight. These girlfriend jeans from H&M+ fit perfectly without having too low of a rise or squeezing my thighs like sausage casing. I love these jeans. I love them so much that I bought four pairs that I rotate. I am going to buy one more pair just in case.

My only complaint is that H&M seems to think we only want black jeans. I would love to have these in indigo and stonewash…and why not white for summer?

I can’t be the only woman who loves these jeans. I think I will send H&M another email suggesting more shades…:)

Sooner or later they will listen to me, right?

 

I love stripes! Striped boatneck sweater from H&M+. Photo credit: hm.com.

I love stripes! Striped boatneck sweater from H&M+. Photo credit: hm.com.

A stripey, boatneck sweater

I love stripes. I own far too many pairs of striped socks. I also love boatneck sweaters. Well, I love sweaters. Period. And this one, another gem from H&M+, has been a staple of my autumn/winter wardrobe. I usually wear my favourite white t-shirt under it. This sweater looks great with jeans, leggings, joggers, you name it.

I wear it at least once or twice a week. My colleagues must wonder if I don’t own any other sweaters…but this is one of my favourites. I will cry the day it goes to sweater heaven. It’s just so cozy and so easy to wear. And I like easy. I hate clothing that feels overly fussy or that is more trouble than it’s worth to wear. If it requires I wear Spanx just to look good in it, then it isn’t in my closet. And this sweater just looks good. No Spanx needed.

 

A new type of hightop sneaker

Soft 7 hightop sneakers from Ecco. So comfy!  Photo credit: ECCO.com.

Soft 7 hightop sneakers from Ecco. So comfy! Photo credit: ECCO.com.

A few years ago, I tore a ligament in my left foot. Even though it’s healed, it has affected which sort of shoes I can wear nowadays. High heels are no longer part of my shoedrobe (even though I still drool over them) and shoes that are too flat can also be a bit annoying. So as much as I love my Converses (and who doesn’t love Chucks???), these  Soft 7 high tops from ECCO are more comfortable and I like the look of them.

It took a day or two to break them in, but now they are like butter.

 

A vee-neck t-shirt? Yup! Photo credit: hm.com.

A vee-neck t-shirt? Yup! Photo credit: hm.com.

Vee-neck t-shirts are never wrong

I already told you I was a t-shirt kind of girl and I own this t-shirt in grey, white, black and rose. Whenever H&M+ offers it in a new shade, I buy it. Why? Because it doesn’t cling and it looks great and I can wear it under my favourite sweaters or as it is.

I think they used to make it in a long sleeve model, but now it’s only available as a short sleeve tee, which is fine. I wish they’d make it in olive green or red…that would make my day. Maybe another email hinting at more shades?

Hey…isn’t the customer always right? 😉 And–admit it–that t-shirt would look great in red.

 

Striped socks! Another obsession! Photo credit: happysocks.com.

Striped socks! Another obsession! Photo credit: happysocks.com.

You can never have too many pairs of socks

Did I mention I have a thing about stripes? I love striped socks. I probably own too many pairs of striped socks, but I don’t care. They’re my thing. And socks are important. They should be soft. They should not glide down under your heel–which is annoying. They should not get holes in them the very first day you wear them. They should just…work.

I don’t really care which brand of socks I wear–as long as they are comfortable. When I am in the US, I stock up on socks since I can often find striped socks there in a multitude of colors. In Sweden, I am usually limited to black-and-white…unless I turn to Happy Socks or Bleuforêt.

 

So simple! I don’t even have to waste any time worrying about if this matches that or if it makes my ass look big (it’s big anyway, so who cares?) or whatever. I get dressed, I go. I’m comfortable. I feel like me and I can focus on other things–like which books I should get for my Kindle or if I should write another story about the delectable Mads. So much more important than pretending to be a French girl. I’ve already started clearing out my closet and donating all the clothes I don’t really like to charity.

Someone else will get more use out of them. I will stick to my staples.

Dark days in Sweden…and trying to be thankful

Dark days in Sweden…and trying to be thankful

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Sweden’s deputy prime minister and prime minister announcing Sweden can no longer handle the stream of asylum seekers.

Yesterday was a sad day in Sweden. Our prime minister, Stefan Löfven, announced that we could no longer handle the number of refugees who’ve come seeking asylum. As the announcement was made, our deputy prime minister was in tears. On the other side of the political spectrum, the far-right party, Sveriges Demokraterna (who are not very democratic, considering its connection with neo-Nazis) celebrated the news as though they were celebrating New Year’s Eve.

I shouldn’t be surprised. They have no love for anyone who is not Swedish–and by Swedish, they don’t simply mean Swedish citizenship. If you are not white, if you cannot prove you are an über-Swede, then they have no use for you. They claim they don’t hate immigrants, but all they do is demonise immigrants and claim we are the root of all Sweden’s evils.

Today is a day when I should be thankful. And, in many ways, I am. I have a roof over my head. I have a job. I am loved. I don’t have to worry about where I will sleep at night. Everyday when I am on my way to work, I pass by homeless people selling Situation Stockholm, EU migrants from Romania who are trying to find work or get money to send home… Stockholm keeps rolling. People keep streaming into department stores buying things they don’t really need, stressing over Christmas presents or whether their smart phone is the smartest of them all. Some give their time and energy to help charities. Others devote their spare time to how they look or who they know. And me? I write. It gets me through the dark winter months.

But right now, I find myself thinking about the people who need help and wonder why I am so lucky.

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Refugees arriving in Sweden at Hyllie station. Photo credit: www.telegraph.co.uk

The stream of people fleeing war, searching for a safe haven, are not the enemy. People like the men and women in Sveriges Demokraterna or the people who cheer on Donald Trump would have us think that the asylum seekers are terrorists or that they want to take everything from us. I refuse to believe they want to take anything from us. I am sure there are people who think I am naive.

The Donald Trumps of the world would say I am part of the problem because I empathize.

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My colleague, Åsa, who is one of the selfless volunteers helping refugees arriving in Europe.

But I know that–if I were in the same shoes as the asylum seekers, if I were fleeing war, I would want to come to a country like Sweden or Denmark or Germany or…*anywhere* where I could feel safe and hope that I could find shelter.

So I keep telling myself that–in spite of what the politicians say–there are still good people in this world who will keep doing everything they can to help–people like my friend and colleague Åsa Swee who volunteers her time at Stockholms Stadsmission and who’s gone to Greece and helped refugees arriving on European shores. I am thankful that people like her are shining a light even on these dark days. I am glad there are people like her who never give up hope and who keep doing what they can to help others–even when the darkness of far-right anti-immigrant rhetoric threatens all the places that should be safe havens.

I know we cannot help everyone, but we can at least try.

 

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Spooky Tunes for Halloween

Spooky Tunes for Halloween

Screen Shot 2015-10-27 at 16.23.49I love Halloween! Love spooky ghost stories and things that go bump in the night, love watching Jack Nicholson go bonkers in the Shining. I couldn’t wait to go to the supermarket (weren’t many pumpkin patches in West Philly) and pick out a pumpkin so I could make a jack o’ lantern. And I’d make Halloween decorations to hang in the windows and on the front door. I think my parents were amused by my Frankenstein and Dracula ornaments. They’d usually leave them up until it was time to start decorating for Christmas. I would tell my little brother scary stories or try to convince him that Michael Meyers from the Halloween films lived in the boiler room in our basement–I think he actually believed me one year. He certainly avoided going downstairs for a few weeks.

In the days leading up to Halloween were when I’d buy crazy tapes with spooky sounds and Halloween-themed songs. Kitschy, I know…but I was a kid and this sort of thing was allowed. 🙂 I still get a kick out of some of those goofy songs like “Monster Mash”.

Nowadays, my Halloween music taste runs more toward Bauhaus’ “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” or “Burning from the Inside”.

I also like singing along to the Ramones’ “Pet Semetary”, Warren Zevon’s “Werewolves in London” or the Specials’ “Ghost Town”.

 

I’m looking forward to Halloween this year. I think I’ll have a binge-watch of the Walking Dead. And there will definitely be a ton of Bauhaus playing as I hand out candy to the neighborhood kids.

What will you be listening to for Halloween?

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Counting the Days Until Sleepy Hollow Returns

Counting the Days Until Sleepy Hollow Returns

Screen Shot 2015-09-27 at 07.55.21I admit it–I am a Sleepyhead…errr….a Sleepy Hollow fan. Not the Tim Burton film starring Johnny Depp and Christina Ricci (though it did entertain me)–I mean the TV show starring the always awesome Nicole Beharie and yummy-scrummy Tom Mison. For the uninitiated, Sleepy Hollow is about what happens when Ichabod Crane suddenly finds himself in modern-day Sleepy Hollow and must continue his fight against the Headless Horseman (and other forces of evil) with Abbie Mills, a police detective whose past intertwines with Ichabod’s.

I’ve been a Sleepyhead since Day One. I loved the thrills and chills (and there were plenty of them). I had to wait a while to see it on Swedish TV– and blasted TV 3 Sverige kept changing the day and time and then eventually the channel it was even broadcast on. But I persevered because I loved the chemistry between Mison and Beharie and the plot was so much fun. I loved to hate Katie Winter as Katrina and I totally shipped #Ichabbie.

Then Season Two came and it seemed like the show runner was intentionally pissing off all of us viewers. Ichabod was behaving like a pod person, suddenly he and Abbie were barely on screen together and it was all about Katrina–who was the MOST BORING character on the show. While she hogged up airtime strutting around in skinny jeans, boots and a corset and talking in a ridiculously breathy voice, the ratings tanked and the only people who were happy were the ones who thought Ichabod and Katrina were meant to be.  They killed off one of our favourite characters, Frank Irving (played by the always wonderful Orlando Jones), introduced a completely useless character called Nick Hawley (played by Matt Barr) and turned Abbie’s sister Jennie (played by Lyndie Greenwood) into the Third Wheel who does nothing very useful for an entire season. The rest of us were grumpy and bored. I’ve got my theories about why it happened (even in this day and age–despite shows like Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder essentially paving the way, some networks will shy away from interracial relationships because they are afraid of offending people–and Ichabod is in love with Abbie, we Ichabbies know this. Ichabod has even admitted it through his words and his actions). In the meantime, the original show runner jumped ship and left for another show and the network decreed that Sleepy Hollow would return to its roots–the core relationship between Ichabod and Abbie and more episodic storytelling. For a while we all cheered.

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Season Three starts on Thursday, 1 October,  in the US. Since TV 3 Sverige no longer airs Sleepy Hollow, I will have to use Hulu to watch it and will be a week behind seeing the season premiere. Over the summer we heard the new show runner was introducing a new former flame for Ichabod (Betsy Ross, who will be played by Twilight’s Nikki Reed) and that Pandora (to be played by Shannyn Sossamon) is also joining as a recurring character. Now those of us who ship Ichabbie were happy for a while…and then we found out they’re introducing Lance Gross to play a character called FBI agent Daniel Reynolds, Abbie’s former flame from her Quantico days. So…we’ve gone from focusing on the core relationship between Ichabod and Abbie to bringing in former flames? Well, I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

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So am I happy that Sleepy Hollow is returning? You betcha! I just want the spirit of the first season to return. And I hope the showrunner won’t be a wuss when it comes to allowing whatever feelings Ichabod and Abbie have for one another to be shown. Well, all a girl can do is wait. 🙂

I’ll be watching. Will you?

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Summer moved on…or how a-ha pretty much summed up Swedish summer

After two weeks of sticky summer heat in New York and Philadelphia, I’m back in Stockholm–where it’s already beginning to look and feel like autumn. Yes, you heard me correctly–it’s beginning to look and feel like autumn…and it’s only the first week of August. The sunlight is already paler than it was a few weeks ago (when we had it, since it was raining nearly every day). The air is noticeably cooler. The foliage on some of the trees dotting the hillside behind my apartment building is already beginning to turn from green to red. Summer just feels like it eluded Sweden. And now it’s already moving on.

And that reminds me of two songs by a-ha. Yes, those cute Norwegian guys who brought us everyone’s favourite 80s song, “Take on Me”. They made a lot of other really great songs too, but the only one most Americans remember is “Take on Me” — probably because of its catchy tune and iconic video.

But right now, there are two songs by A-ha that pretty much sum up what this summer has been like in Sweden: “The Sun Always Shines on TV” and “Summer Moved On”.  Admittedly, we’ve had a few good days of sunshine but they were few and far between. Here’s to hoping that next summer is better.

 

 

 

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Can *anything* replace Hannibal for me…?

Can *anything* replace Hannibal for me…?

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I’m not really sure how I became a fannibal. Back in the old days, if you’d asked me about Silence of the Lambs, I would have told you I thought it was a great film and that I loved the pairing of Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins. Is it a film I watch whenever it’s on TV? No, well..I won’t watch the entire movie because it doesn’t captivate me the way it used to. When it was first released, I saw it on the big screen and I remember thinking Anthony Hopkins was awesome as Hannibal Lecter. I thought no one else could do that role justice.

I was wrong.

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Danish actor, Mads Mikkelsen

Enter Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen. Now, I’ve been living in Scandinavia for twenty years, so I was used to seeing him on TV and in films. Usually he outshone the actors he shared the screen with, but I wasn’t a rabid Mads Mikkelsen fan. I thought he was a good actor. I thought he picked smart roles to play. I never pictured him as Hannibal Lecter. When he took his first Hollywood role (which I think was as Tristan in the dreadful Clive Owen vehicle, King Arthur), I worried he’d be typecast. He’s not conventional looking. He doesn’t look like your typical leading man. So even if he goes over well as the romantic lead in Scandinavian films, his intensity and his quirky looks aren’t going to win over the housewife in Tupelo or the college girls in Cleveland who want someone like young Brad Pitt to scream over. Mads Mikkelsen broods….he exudes that Scandinavian stillness that most Americans find incredibly uncomfortable–and he’s amazing at playing characters who are not always likeable but who have charisma, which is probably why he’s been typecast as the villain in US films such as Casino Royale and Clash of the Titans).

I think it’s that Scandinavian stillness and his ease at playing morally questionable characters (let’s face it, he’s played a long string of very flawed characters) that made him the ideal actor to play Hannibal Lecter. I will admit, I was skeptical initially. I couldn’t envision him in the role. Before the show even aired, I remember telling a friend that Mikkelsen could never step into Anthony’s Hopkins shoes.

Yes, I know…I was wrong.

From the first episode, I was hooked. I love how creeped out I get while watching it–yet I can no longer sit through most horror films. The episodes are beautifully shot–even the most gruesome images are like these works of art–his suits are impeccable, the entire cast is amazing and the scripts are so intelligent, so clever. Perhaps that’s why NBC couldn’t handle Hannibal? It’s just too clever and intelligent… I mean, other shows that have as huge of a fan base as Hannibal stick around, even with lousy ratings. And Hannibal‘s ratings weren’t dismal. The critics loved Hannibal–it was the thinking man (or woman’s) type of show.

I guess that is the crux of the problem.

Screen Shot 2015-07-02 at 06.33.02My former homeland celebrates ignorance and mediocrity these days. Shows like Hannibal don’t connect with people who would drool over Real Housewives of Atlanta or whatever other reality hell is now currently America’s favourite show.

So now I sit here wondering…what can possibly fill the void left by Hannibal once Season Three ends? I already watch Gotham. I never miss an episode of Game of Thrones. Maybe I will start binge-watching the reboot of Battlestar Galactica again. It’s filled many a dull evening.

But I don’t think anything will sustain me quite like Hannibal…it truly did feed my fear. I hope Bryan Fuller succeeds in finding a new home for the show. Until then, I have seasons 1 and 2 on DVD (yes, I still watch DVDs on my Blu-Ray player) so I can at least binge-watch those if the summer rains return to Stockholm.

But Hannibal will be like the one who got away. Or the bad boy who stalked off into the sunset…though in a perfectly cut suit and probably looking for something (or someone) to pair with fava beans and Chianti or Sangiovese.

Just a taste of Maybe Forever – the Maybe… series

Just a taste of Maybe Forever – the Maybe… series

 

Maybe Forever 200 x 300

Maybe Forever – Book 3 in the Maybe… Series by Kim Golden

Purchase links

Kindle: http://bit.ly/KindleMaybeForever

Nook: http://bit.ly/NookMaybeForever

Kobo: http://bit.ly/KoboMaybeForever

iBooks: http://bit.ly/iBooksMaybeForever

 

Excerpt from Maybe Forever
At some point I remember we lost our way. We could not remember which street would lead us back to our bed and breakfast. It was late and we’d had far too much chianti classico with our bistecca fiorentina. We ducked down alleys and side streets, looking for the entrance to the house but never finding it and that early spring night…when the air was so warm it felt like summer, though the Florentines were still bundled in down jackets… Mads gathered me in his arms in a deserted side street and kissed me so long and hard my knees buckled. I remember telling him how I wanted him to be the last man I ever made love to… and the smile that spread across his lips—so quick, so intense—made me fall even harder. His hands slid along my hips, gathering the folds of my skirt and spreading my legs with his thigh… I managed to stop him before we went too far… but I was so far gone, every fiber of me was attuned to this longing and wanted nothing more than for him to push me against a wall and lock my legs around him so he could take me… but I stopped him and laughed as I straightened my skirt and led him down one twisting street after another until we finally managed to find our little inn.
That night, we hung the “Do Not Disturb” sign on our door and we made love until our bodies were sore and too sensitive… and still we wanted more. I remember how we tried to be quiet whenever someone passed our room. I’d bite my lip and try to hold in the brazen longing, Mads buried his face in my neck as his fingers dug into my hips and held me still. The brass bed squeaked and groaned with each thrust… and all I knew was that my body screamed out to be touched and stroked and penetrated. His hair was longer then, and I remember how I raked my fingers through those red-gold strands and gripped him and we kept our eyes locked on one another… I came so hard, and a few minutes later so did he…and when afterwards I twined my arms around him and he was murmuring to me in Danish that being inside of me was like coming home, I had this sensation that something monumental had just happened… I wasn’t sure what, but I remembered how my body felt so attuned to Mads’s and how I almost felt like I could read his thoughts. My body was singing, I love you, I love every inch of you, I love you…and his body responded in kind.
Will love tear them apart...?

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Isn’t it time you visited Copenhagen?

Isn’t it time you visited Copenhagen?

Nyhavn in Copenhagen

Nyhavn in Copenhagen

One of my favourite places to go when I need a change of scenery is Copenhagen. Just an hour’s flight  away from Stockholm, it’s the perfect destination for a weekend trip–no layovers necessary. Of course, I’ve got a long-standing love affair with Copenhagen. It all started back in the summer of 1996, when I visited the city for the very first time. By then, I’d been living in Stockholm, Sweden–itself a beautiful city–for exactly a year. I loved Stockholm, but sometimes its pristine orderliness drove me insane. Things were almost too perfect. Copenhagen has a little of the same vibe, but it a more laidback way. Stockholm never really lets you see her with her hair down. Copenhagen doesn’t mind if you see her with smudged eyeliner and bedhead.

 

Yummy smørrebrød from Aamans. Photo credit: aamans.dk

Yummy smørrebrød from Aamans. Photo credit: aamans.dk

Craft beer and smørrebrød–yum!

So you’re probably wondering why you should visit Copenhagen, aside from the fact that it’s a beautiful city on the water full of beautiful people? Well, the beer and the food, of course. Copenhagen is home Carlsberg (probably the best beer in the world–or at least, that’s what they–meaning Carlsberg–say) and the world’s best open-faced sandwiches, which the Danes call smørrebrød.

For smørrebrød, there are tons of options, but many locals swear by Aamans. And while I am not a local, I can say I’ve enjoyed every smørrebrød I’ve ever had there. I love their blue cheese smørrebrød with plum gel, hazelnut creme, roasted hazelnuts and cress. I’m also a big fan of their herring sandwich and their braised pork breast sandwich. Just thinking about it is making me hungry.

Now, I know I mentioned Carlsberg, but when I am in Copenhagen, it’s not my beer of choice. No trip to Copenhagen is complete without stopping in either Nørrebro Brygghus on Ryesgade and trying the latest brews on tap or dipping into Mikkeller & Friends on Stefansgade and sampling their brews. I’m especially partial to their dark beers.

Now if you are more a pastry type, there are plenty of bakeries and cafés to duck into. For a classic Copenhagen experience, head over to Conditoriet La Glace, just off Strøget, and try the Karen von Blixen cake,  but get there early–it fills up quickly at the weekend.

The Little Mermaid. Photo credit: visitcopenhagen.com

The Little Mermaid. Photo credit: visitcopenhagen.com

More than just the Little Mermaid

Most tourists go to Copenhagen to see the Little Mermaid (or Lille Havsfrue as the Danes call her), but I’d suggest walking around the city and discovering it like a local. Most Danes seem pretty ambivalent about the Little Mermaid–they don’t really get all the fuss around her–I think the tourists streaming to the harbor to get a look at her is more amusing to them than anything else. I usually like going to Ny Carlsbergs Glyptoteket–an amazing collection of art and a fantastic café there, the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebæk or the Copenhagen Jazz Festival in July. And you can always check out the local music scene at Kind of Blue on Ravnsborgsgade, where you’ll hear everything from spoken word to indie rock to jazz. If you’re traveling with kids, they usually go crazy for Tivoli Gardens amusement park. Ask your hotel if they can arrange discounted tickets as it can be pretty expensive, but you can also order your tickets online

Go mad at Madklubben

A lot of people will swear to you that you need to book a table at NOMA or some other expensive restaurant while you’re in Copenhagen. I think you should save your money for shopping (yes, there is amazing shopping there) and then eat at Madklubben Bistro-de-Luxe. The concept is great–delicious food that won’t kill your budget–and the service level is top-notch. The menu is seasonal and features local produce.  I’ve eaten here a few times and never been disappointed. It’s also quite nice that waitstaff are insanely attractive.

A place to lay your head

Screen Shot 2015-04-29 at 22.09.48If you’re like me and you like great location, comfortable beds, and good breakfast when you stay at a hotel, then follow my lead. My husband and I love staying at the Hotel Kong Arthur on Nørre Søgade. According to Tord, their lobby bar serves the best gin and tonics in the world. I am partial to their very comfortable spa room and the inner courtyard, which is a great place to have a drink or relax during the summer. In fact, I came up with the idea for my novel, Maybe Baby, while enjoying a summer drink in the courtyard. It’s in a great location–just a short walk from Norreport Station, which means you can get back and forth Kastrup Airport very easily with either the long-distance trains or the subway. It’s also near Torvehallerne, a fantastic food hall that is a great dining option if you want a light lunch and a bit of people-watching. If the Kong Arthur is fully booked, try their sister hotel, Ibsens Hotel. Both hotels share the inner courtyard, and there are three restaurants nearby (Sticks ‘n’ Sushi, Pintxos for yummy tapas or La Rocca for Italian cuisine). I’ve tried all three–they are popular with locals and tourists alike and I really enjoyed the meals I had there.

The perfect place to relax on a summer evening.

The perfect place to relax on a summer evening.

 

So now that you’ve got a few pointers, what are you waiting for? Isn’t it time you booked your trip to Copenhagen and found your own favourite spots?

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Jamie Oliver has helped me reach pie nirvana!

Jamie Oliver has helped me reach pie nirvana!

When I was a kid, all my mother had to do was say “pot pie” and I was absolutely ecstatic. I loved pot pies—chicken, beef, lamb, fish—if it was a pot pie, then I wanted it. Especially on chilly days when the warming goodness of a pot pie was like a slice of heaven in my belly. My mother only made pot pies during the autumn and the winter. Once spring came—even if it was still cold, pot pie season was over.

Now that I am an adult, I can eat pot pies whenever I want (and I do). But it took a while to find just the right recipe. The one my mom used, which was from an old Betty Crocker cookbook, was good, but it wasn’t perfect. Sometimes the filling felt too heavy and my attempts at finding the right blend of herbs didn’t always work.

Jamie Oliver, the man with the near-perfect pie.

Jamie Oliver, the man with the near-perfect pie.

Then one winter evening, I happened to be flipping through the channels and stumbled upon Jamie Oliver’s Christmas preparation program. The episode in question just happened to feature suggestions on what to do with leftover turkey. Which was perfect! We’d just celebrated Thanksgiving and we had two kilos of leftover turkey meat in our freezer. And what did he suggest?

Jamie's turkey & sweet leek pie. Photo credit: jamieoliver.com

Jamie’s turkey & sweet leek pie. Photo credit: jamieoliver.com

A pot pie!

Oh my heart soared. Turkey and sweet leek pie…I memorised everything!  His recipe called for leeks, which I also had at home. It also called for crème fraîche, which I didn’t have but I figured I could pick up the next day.

While I was at the grocery store, I decided to change the recipe a bit. I couldn’t find chestnuts, so I decided to leave them out. It’s not easy to find chestnuts here in Sweden–people don’t really seem to know what to do with them so stores only carry them for a very short period of time. And I thought adding bacon felt a little like overkill–I know, how could I say this? I love bacon! But it just didn’t feel like it would add much, so I skipped it. Instead, I added white wine, wild mushrooms and chopped kale to the pie filling. Tord made the pie crust and added sage and grated parmesan cheese to the dough.

We popped the pie in the oven and waited anxiously for it to finally be done. The pie needed around 40-45 minutes to get the perfect golden crust. And when it was ready….oh…that pie was wonderful.

My heavenly pie! Photo credit: Me!

My heavenly pie! Photo credit: Me!

I think I’ll be making this pie no matter the weather (well, maybe not during the summer–all I want to do then is barbecue chicken and beef). But I tell you–this pie is truly heavenly. And if you want to make your own version of it–just take Jamie’s recipe and–at the same time as you sauté the leeks–sauté the veggies you love and then add the turkey or chicken. Once you do that, add the white wine…don’t skip that step. So follow, Jamie’s recipe and tweak it  with your favourite little tidbits. You will reach pie nirvana too. 🙂