Month: July 2016

Flowery Friday

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Today, Saturday 25 June 2016, is a bank holiday in Sweden, just like every Saturday after the summer solstice on the 21st. Yesterday we celebrated “Midsommar” with our Swedish friends; it’s the second biggest celebration in Sweden after Christmas! The same thing happens in each village, everyone meets at 3pm at the maypole for the celebrations. It’s a big cross decorated with flowers and decked out with two circles on each side. But before you go to the party you have to get ready. You can wear a spring or summer outfit, but it has to be countrified! Pale colours, light fabrics… just don’t forget the flowers! In the morning the women go out to collect wildflowers and make crowns with the bouquets. Elsa found a few flowers along the roadside and, thanks to the patience and kindness of Eva (pronounced iiiva), she learnt to make her own crown. Eva has pedagogical experience as she has been a schoolteacher for over 40 years. For the last few of those she has taught Swedish to immigrant …

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Oulala from Fjällbacka

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Fjallbacka is a charming coastal village nestled between the cliffs and the sea. Walking along the port bordered by colourful houses is lovely. In fact, Ingrid Bergman chose to live here. She took sailing lessons here so that she could go out to sea and navigate between the dozens of islands and islets that are dotted across the horizon in Fjallbacka. Just like Ingrid Bergman, Ulla (pronounced “oula” like “oulala” she tells us) also prefers admiring the village from the sea. We met Ulla outside the library in the village, and after chatting to her she invited us aboard her little boat for a trip along the bay. Despite the wind and rain, we couldn’t turn down the opportunity. Here we are on Ulla’s boat admiring the village with its houses and cliffs. To warm back up after this delightful but damp experience, Ulla invited us to her house for a cup of tea. So we followed her! With a pot of tea and some rosemary biscuits we met her husband Sven. Ulla is a …

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Island sausage

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Susanne welcomed us to Fanø island with open arms. Originally from an island further east of Denmark, she settled on Fanø 12 years ago and is a community nurse for this island district. As we entered through her garden gate, she asked that we close it securely behind us because the deer adore her plants and other edible delights. Today, Susanne will teach us how to cook a typical Danish dish and dessert. Kold kartoffel salat & pølser Translation: sausages and cold potato salad Ingredients – 1 onion, løg – 800 g new potatoes, små kartoffel – 250 g crème fraîche – 100 ml liquid yoghurt – chives, chopped, purløg – sunflower oil, solsikke olie – butcher’s choice sausages, slagter pølser Recipe Instructions – Boil the potatoes in advance and allow them to cool and harden – Finely grate the onion – Cut potatoes into thin strips – Mix the crème fraîche, yoghurt, and chives. Then add the potatoes and mix carefully. Season as needed. – In a hot frying pan, brown the sausages in a neutral …

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The blower of Fano

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You never know what you’ll find on Fanø island. On Nordby’s main road, a pretty house with coloured windows hides at the back of a small courtyard. This is where glass blower Charlotte La Cour lives and works. Despite what her name might suggest, Charlotte is definitely Danish and only speaks a little French learned during her travels. She has been a glass blower for 20 years, 16 of which have been on Fanø. The first things you see when entering her boutique/workshop are the large glass-making furnaces. The largest and hottest is 1130° and stays lit around the clock because it takes an entire week to bring it up to the right temperature. She only turns it off when she goes on holiday. She gets her glass from the United States in small, ice cube-sized blocks. She melts these in the large furnace and the molten glass turns honey-coloured. Ronja, her daughter and assistant, uses a large rod to collect a bubble of melted glass that Charlotte kneads and forms into the desired shape. …

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