Happy Swedish Cream Bun Day

“Huh, because I’m happy

Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof

Because I’m happy

Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth”

Happy Semla Day! Fettisdagen 2020!

Hope you all ate your fair share of yummy Semlor yesterday! We sure did in this family. Goodness me, I stuffed my face! (As one should. It is the tradition after all. Okay… maybe not

tradition but it certainly is expected.

Even Buddy (the Dog) was tempted by my little Mini – Semlor.

Mini Semla and Buddy the Dog

Honestly, SO darn cute. They were the kids’ favourites.

It’s the first time in 20 years that I’ve made my own Semlor. God only knows why. They were so easy to make!!

Semlor is part of the Swedish DNA. There are a few things I miss from “home”. Like, things that feel essentially Swedish in a way.

Generally food related but isn’t that always the way?

Anyway, Semlor is definitely one of those things…

Semlor are sweet cardamom buns traditionally filled with an Almond Paste and custard filling. But you can fill them with jam or chocolate or anything you like really. I’ll post a few variations in my next blog post.

Semlor - Swedish Cream Buns

Love, Jess ❤️

Krabbelurer – American/Swedish Style Blueberry Pancakes

Hello February!

We’ve got four weddings and two BIG birthday celebrations this year. Phew!

If you know me well, you’ll know I love a party! I love planing one as well as attending a party.

But the thing is – THE dress I’ve found requires a little bit of gym time so I’ve been busy going to dance classes and planning healthy (-ish) meals for the family.

Now, alongside party planning and attending, I’m sure you’ll also know I LOVE baking, so obviously this clashes at times!

So we try and keep treats times to weekends and Mondays only, because, well Mondays.

These sweet, light and fluffy American / Swedish style Blueberry pancakes are just heavenly. (Also knows as Krabbelurer in Swedish)

A definite family favourite and a fantastic lunchbox addition too!

Check out the recipe below:

Krabbelurer – Swedish / American Style Pancakes

135g plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

2 tbsp caster sugar

130ml milk

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 tsp Vanilla sugar or extract

2 tbsp melted butter (allowed to cool slightly) plus extra for cooking

Enjoy ❤️

Love, Jess

The Dress…
Continue reading “Krabbelurer – American/Swedish Style Blueberry Pancakes”

Swedish Sockerkaka

First week back and boy do we feel it.

I’ve overslept twice for starters. Tuesday, when my parents were flying back to Sweden and I was meant to wake them up (!) and then on again on Wednesday. (Luckily I got the kids to school in time!). I wrapped that up nicely with falling asleep at 8pm whilst putting the toddler back to sleep last night!!

We’re all tired though I think and it’s January. We’re allowed to be a bit out of sorts. It’s grey and slow and a bit eurgh right?

I’ve been doing a lot of “freezer cooking” this week – stews, tarts, pies – that sort of thing. But obviously missed my baking so decided to bring out the easiest (and tastiest) recipe there is.

I made a delicious Swedish Sockerkaka. It’s basically a Vanilla Sponge cake made in a pretty Bundt mould.

It’s one of the first things I ever made on my own. (yeah okay, bar chokladbollar, but they don’t require cooking so don’t really count!)

* A note about the Crumb mix though…

Like a said – it’s essentially a vanilla sponge cake. However; it’s all about the crumb. A lot of the taste and consistency lie in the crumb. If you have access to a Scandinavian shop I really recommend you get a Wasa Breadcrumb mix. It’s got a bit more ”umph” and flavour – it’s really worth it. (It’s a mixture of wheat and rye bread crumbs)

Ingredients:

• 3 eggs

• 3 dl caster sugar

• 3 1/2 dl plain flour

• 2 tsk baking powder

• 1 1/2 dl milk

• 50 g softened butter

How to:

Preheat the oven to 175°C (350°F, gas 4, fan 155°C).

⁃ Thoroughly grease a 2 litre or 24 cm sockerkaka mould and sprinkle with *Wasa breadcrumbs

⁃ Beat the eggs and sugars with an electric whisk until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

⁃ Sieve the flour and baking powder into a bowl and then carefully fold into the mixture.

⁃ Melt the butter and then add the milk. Bring to a boil and then add to the mixture, beating on the lowest setting until evenly mixed

⁃ Pour the mixture into the mould and then bake at the bottom of the oven for 35-40 minutes, until the top is golden and the mixture begins to pull away from the mould.

Sockerkaka

Enjoy!

Love, Jess ❤️

Pretzel Turtle Treats

Happy New Year!

I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to getting back to normality. (Whatever that may be!)

I’ve loved spending some quality time with my family and friends, but I kind of want the every day hustle and bustle back now. (I’m not looking forward to the school run though, that’s another beast altogether).

Speaking of Beasts, we’ve been watching Dracula on BBC one. We’re loving it so far, the first episode was a tad too gruesome for my liking (I’m a massive scaredy-cat to be fair), but all in all very enjoyable. Sister Agatha completely steals the show! Next and last episode tonight.

Anyway, the holidays are very much about food and sweet things in this house. One of my favourite Christmas treats are these Pretzels turtles. I first saw Pioneer woman making these a few years back and they are ever so delicious and super easy to make! Here’s how you make them:

• 24 whole Mini-pretzels

• 24 whole Individually Wrapped Toffees or caramels (either works!)

• Good Quality Milk Chocolate, Melted

• 24 whole Pecan Halves

Preheat oven to 160 degrees.

Place the pecan halves in a single layer on a baking sheet or a silicone baking mat. Arrange the pretzels neatly on the pan, then top each pretzel with a caramel/toffee.

Place the pan into the oven for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the caramels are softened (but definitely not melting.) Remove the pan from the oven.

Gently press a pecan half onto each caramel, just enough for the caramel to fill the pretzel. Set them aside to cool completely.

Meanwhile, melt the chocolate. When the pretzel/caramels are cooled, remove them from the baking sheet. Spoon small dollops (1 1/2 teaspoon helpings) of chocolate all over the baking mat, then lightly drop each pretzel onto the middle of each dollop, making sure they’re centered.

Allow them to cool completely before serving.

Enjoy!

Love, Jess

❤️

Black Forest Gâteau Trifle

Every year I say to myself “this year will be different. I’ll be ready with all my Christmas prep far in advance and it will all be a breeze.”

Yes… But that just isn’t possible with three kids, cake sales, PTA stuff, teacher’s gifts, Christmas baking, cooking, parties, work and everything in between. For me anyway!

But I do love Christmas. And I love Christmas food! But it can get stressful, particularly if you’re catering for a big family and friends. So I’m always on the lookout for recipes that are super yummy but also quick and easy.

So this is where the Black Forest Gâteau Trifle comes in to play.

Last year a good friend of mine introduced me to this recipe, hands down the best trifle ever. It’s rich, sumptuous and above else, so easy to make.

The original recipe is by the Hairy Bikers! I have made this making my own custard, but honestly, using good quality shop bought quality custard works just as well!

Recipe:

For the chocolate custard

• 100g dark chocolate, broken into pieces

• 300ml whole milk

• 300ml double cream

• 1 vanilla pod, split

• 6 egg yolks

• 100g caster sugar

• 2 tbsp cocoa powder

• 1 tbsp cornflour

For the trifle

• 500g chocolate cake or brownies

• 50g black cherry or Morello cherry jam

• 100g kirsch or cherry brandy

• 300g pitted black cherries

• 200g amaretti biscuits

• 500ml double cream

• Chocolate curls, to decorate

Option 1:

1. First make the custard as this will need to chill before you make up the trifle. Melt the chocolate – either in the microwave or very carefully in a bain marie (a heatproof bowl placed over a pan of simmering water). Leave to cool.

2. Put the milk and cream into a saucepan with the vanilla pod and bring to just-below boiling point. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse until cooled slightly.

3. Put the egg yolks, caster sugar, cocoa powder and cornflour into a bowl and whisk, preferably with electric beaters, until the mixture is very well aerated, pale and stiff enough so that it keeps shape when you trail the beaters through it.

4. Pour the slightly cooled milk and cream mixture over the eggs, mixing as you go, then stir in the melted chocolate. Mix thoroughly, then rinse out the saucepan and return the custard to it. Cook, stirring constantly until the custard thickens – this can take anything between 10 and 20 minutes depending on how high you dare have the heat. Do not have it on too low a heat as it will not thicken, but make sure you do not let the mixture boil and keep stirring.

5. When the custard has thickened to the point of thick double cream, transfer to a jug and cover with clingfilm to stop a skin from forming. When cool, transfer to the fridge – the custard will continue to thicken while it chills.

Option 2:

1. Gently heat your shop bought custard with the melted chocolate and let it rest.

2. To make the trifle, cut the brownies or chocolate cake into fairly thin slices and spread with the jam. Sandwich together and arrange in the bottom of a large trifle bowl. Pour over the kirsch or cherry brandy, then sprinkle over the cherries.

3. Put a layer of the amaretti biscuits over the cherries, then pour over the custard in a thick, even layer. If you have time, place in the fridge until almost ready to serve, again covered in cling film.

4. Whisk the double cream in a bowl until it forms soft peaks, then smooth this over the custard. Decorate with chocolate curls.

Enjoy!

Jess ❤️

Atlantica Holiday Village Greece – Part 2

“Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer”

We’ve all been reminiscing about the beautiful island of Rhodes, Greece and our amazing two weeks of holiday.  Can we go back already?!

Our second week pretty much continued in the same vein as the first.  Swimming and playing in the pool, eating gorgeous food and venturing out for adventures in the evenings. We visited *George’s shop (*when you know, you know) and bought some more bars of olive soap.  We managed to defeat the mosquitos thanks to the super duper mosquito repellent machine, we visited Kolymbia town a couple of times, went to the beach…

Ready for Stage Academy

Maggie did her second round of Stage Academy and loved it even more than the first time.  We were so proud of her! Jackson loved Football academy and made lots of new friends. He grew really confident which was amazing to see.

Both Jackson and Maggie did swim academy and made steady progress.  It was action packed!

The creche was fantastic and the staff were so kind and attentive. They were incredible. And by that I mean – they were incredible, the best Holiday Village staff I’ve ever encountered. Now, I can’t say Alfie loved the Creche, but he got used to it, loved the arty corner and even made friends.

Of all the “academies” the swim academy is probably a clear stand out for me. The kids really improved so quickly and so, if you can, go for the one on ones – worth every penny.

We love the whole Holiday Village concept; it really suits our children and makes for a relaxing (-ish) holiday . So what is a “Holiday Village“?

Well, in short – it’s holidays that put the kids in focus without compromising on any of the other stuff.  (Food, location, rooms, staff etc).  The HV concept is offered by First Choice (TUI).  Everything is aimed for families, putting the children first by running kids clubs aimed at all ages – from babies up to 15 year olds and activities every day.  A HV hotel typically offer the following:

Activities & Academies 

  • Football academy
  • Stage Academy
  • Swim Academy
  • Aerial Adventures
  • Water Slides

Evening Shows 

  • Professional performances by staff trained in Musical Theatre
  • Magic shows
  • Dance shows

Kids Clubs

  • These are run by credited staff and are amazing! We’ve been to a three HV hotels and staff have consistently been fantastic.  They put the kids in focus and are caring and professional
  • Different themes several times a day!  The kids do things like arts and crafts, face painting, building rafts/dens, go exploring etc.
  • There is also a day and evening creche.  Take ALL MY MONEY.

 

Maggie’s Swimacademy lesson

This hotel is fantastic but obviously the stand out feature is the swim up rooms. To not having to get up in the middle of the night to reserve a sun bed is everything.  It’s like your own little slice of heaven – a private sun terrace with sun beds but with the added luxury of not having to cook, not having to entertain, unlimited access to drinks, ice cream, snacks and activities.  Need I say more?

Our beautiful swimup room

The one obvious drawback is the price.  Going in the school holidays with three children was pricey and as many people have pointed out, you could go further afield for that sort of money.

Each to their own. For us it was worth every penny and we’d return in a heartbeat.

This hotel will be a hard one to beat in terms of awesomeness.

Love, Jess

❤️

Gingerbread cookies + summer? Oh yes!

End of summer. School is a week away and you’re running out of ideas.

You’ve done the puzzles, you’ve done the Lego, watched all the Hey Duggee and Gumball episodes, the trampoline is apparently boooooooring and well, something has to be done to keep the kids entertained.

So. Today the kids and I made gingerbread cookies. Yes. In August.

I know it’s traditionally made at Christmas time but hear me out:

A) they’re super easy to make

B) you get to decorate them – twice! (Shape making first, icing once cooked).

C) It’s ALL AGES FRIENDLY. Now that is something I will get behind. There aren’t a lot of activities out there that caters for ages toddler – ten year old.

D) They’re tasty! Who doesn’t like gingerbread?!

E) They’re so easy to make! (Okay, so I said this already but it deserves a repeat mention)

The recipe I use is a Swedish one. I really, really like the spice mix – so tasty, and it’s “familiar”, homely.

The cookies also do well rolled out thin and baked high and fast!

~Recipe~

Ingredients:

• 2 1/2 dl light brown sugar

• 3/4 dl *”ljus sirap” or golden syrup

• 3/4 dl water

• 150 g margarine

• 1 tbsp cinnamon

• 1 tbsp ginger

• 1 tsp clove

• about 6 dl flour (360g) (+ extra for the roll out )

• 1 1/2 tsp bicarbonate

This is what you do…

Mix the brown sugar, golden syrup and water in a pot and bring to the boil.

Take off the heat and add the margarine. Allow it to melt and add the spices.

Let it all cool without stirring.

Once cooled, add the bicarbonate and flour.

Wrap in cling film and let it cool at least 8 hours, preferably overnight.

Heat your oven to 175°C.

Work your dough until it’s smooth and shiny. Don’t be shy with the extra flour but make sure you don’t add too much or they’ll up super dry and crumbly.

Roll out thin and use your cutters to creative fun shapes!

Place on a baking tray covered with

The cookies bake really quickly, about 6-8 minutes.

Can be kept in a airtight container or frozen.

Top Tip:

I always make extra dough and freeze for that emergency rainy day activity!

Love, Jess ❤️

* You can find ljus sirap (and mörk sirap) on the Ocado website or in Scandinavian specialist shops. However, Golden syrup works well here too.