Saturday, July 24, 2010

Outdoor furniture

As part of the process of making our balcony looking better, we thought of getting rid of the "old" plastic table and chairs we have to get a bigger wooden table, so we can have lunches/dinners there and also sit there with friends. 
So far, we haven't used that much our balcony and we think it is also due to how it looked like before. 
Already now, it looks better, but the plastic table is too small for eating and it is quite unstable.

So we started our hunt for outdoor furniture, considering that this is a sale period and hence, we hit the best prices on the market.

  • Plantagen was our first stop. Since we are searching for "organic" material we avoided for sure the plastic items. We also have a brownish floor so we have excluded anything in white (maybe it would fit some extra-white-trendy house of these days). We looked at Nydala. Extremely interesting was to notice that the price between the shop in Lund and Malmö differed of at least 2000kr for the same piece of furniture.

    The model in the picture below is not what we looked at: it had straighter legs, but the chairs and the surface of the table is the same. I was not so fond of the chairs because I think they are too much space taking and our area is quite limited and I don't want it to get it too crowded. The table in itself was quite ok and what I liked the most was that most of the wooden furniture was FSC (you don't know what FSC is? Check here, it is really important for the environment!)
  • Jysk was the second attempt. We looked at the website and it seemed to have a quite decent collection, so we checked it out. I also liked the fact that the furniture was labelled FSC as well. However, once there we were a bit disappointed. We didn't see such big offer of furniture (we could have asked of course) but we were not impressed by anything in special and everything seemed a bit plain and a bit unstable.  What had initially caught my eye was Vermont. I liked the line of the chairs, not too big, seemed comfortable enough. However the table was just too boring 

  • At Miljögården I was totally hooked upon these amazing chairs! 
    So comfortable to sit in them since you can swing when sitting there and the wood was so fantastic. Also the table was really beautiful! It looks like the Grythyttan chairs are classical swedish outdoor chairs and we could find them at our golf club 's restaurant.  But the prices was just up to the roof and we were really indecisive if buying those or not (it costed 16000kr). We decided to not buy neither the chairs nor the table, since the outdoor furniture is nothing we use so frequently to justify such a cost...(plus, it was not clear if the wood was FSC or not)
  • Bauhaus was discarded from the start since it seemed they had about the same things as Plantagen.
  • Mio was discarded too, since we didn't see anything that we liked from the homepage.
  • We finally ended up at Ilva and we looked at a table we really really liked (Luka).Luka We liked the shape being a bit original and it was not too big and not too small. The downside note of all of this were the chairs! From the pictures the chairs looked alright, but we were disappointed once there because they are in some plastic material and we wanted something more "organic". But the discount here was amazing! About 4100kr of discount! Comparing to our "fav" (the Grythyttan one) the price difference made the difference!
Since we didn't have time to go to Ilva again, we checked the website and we saw they have a webshop. 
We were not having any doubts about the table
LukaIt has a bit of elliptic shape and I think that is what makes the table really nice. 

But now there was the chairs matter and we decided to go for them anyway. 
LukaThey are available also in black and white and I thought black could have been a cool color. But when thinking twice, when it is warm, black will be really "hot" and we will probably buy some pillow that will break the monotony of the brown, instead. I like the line of the chairs, they are also quite comfortable to sit on, I would have just preferred some more natural material.

The webshop was just great. They will do home delivery and we could see that it was going to be scheduled in the period during which we are away. Hence, as soon as the order was made (extremely smoothly, by the way - I was all e-shopping would be so nice!) I sent them an email asking if it was possible to have the delivery done once we would have been back. After few hours I got a reply and that was possible. Great service!!! I really recommend it!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Oat cookies

We are still on the food subject - how surprising.
This time it is about some cookies I have made. Actually I was quite suspicious when I made them because they looked really strange and I had to keep them in the oven 3 times as much as what the recipe indicated.

I took some butter and sugar, mixed them and then I added some oat, flour and some raisins that I have been making boiling for a short amount of time and cut them roughly with a knife.
 About a quarter in the oven at 180 degrees and that was about it.
At the end, they turned out to be quite good. Surprisingly!


Saturday, July 17, 2010

Peas & ricotta

It seems this blog is turning out more to be about food than anything else. I think it is just a coincidence that lately I have tried a lot of new recipes and that some of them turned out to be pretty nice.
This time I have tried to do this recipe instead, and the result was pretty good.
I think the recipe is not that complicated, not time taking.
I followed it quite close by cooking in a bit of onion the peas, then I have added in a bowl them with the ricotta and I mixed them. Once they had a decent consistency I added the parmigiano, some bread crumbles, three yolks and a bit of salt. I mixed everything up, made some balls out of it, drown them in the egg white, rolled them in some more crumble bread and fried them.
Tada! This was the result!

Friday, July 16, 2010


I had seen many friends on Facebook posting all sort of items about Twilight, but I really couldn't understand what it was. I didn't know if it was a TV serie, a movie or what. I then got explained that it was a serie of books, for the teenager audience, a vampire story and that some movie had been made.
It got all quiet about it, on Facebook at least, but then some other friend of mine mentioned it when she came and visit and she said she could not take her eyes off the books. I was then all of a sudden curious and I made the interest clear, so much that one day, during the spring, I got all four books delivered at home (borrowed, that is :-D).

I started to read it, even though I had something I had just starting read, and I was not so enthusiast of the book. The emotions and the feelings of the characters were really nicely described, but the story was a bit too much "sweet and with happy ending" so much that it seemed dull.
I can say that also New Moon was leaving me with a bittersweet feeling since the evolution of the story seemed quite predictable and again, what I appreciated the most of the book was the way the feelings of Bella were described. It felt so real! I could easily say: "yes, in this and that occasion I have felt the same too!".
I got a bit bored with Eclipse, since once again the plot seemed not so realistic, but well, I was not expecting anything more.
At the same time I started to watch the movies and I was in disbelief over their popularity because, well, I don't know, I didn't get so especially amused by them. I think the actress that is Bella on the screen especially could have picked up with a better choice and the only thing I had appreciated of the movies were the special effects on the second one. I haven't yet watched Eclipse, even though the posters of the movie have been booming all around town for a while. I guess soon it is time to watch it on the small screen.
Finally, I started to read the fourth book, Breaking Dawn and, even though I found the story quite...weird and totally surrealistic, I got hooked on it and wanted to read more and more. It is just as absurd as it can get, however, I found it better written than the other three and surely more interesting, maybe because all the pieces of the puzzle finally fit together and there is some fancy idea from the writer that made the story not anymore so dull.
I was not so happy on the final though, a bit too much happy and joyful, of course, it was a nice ending and not too trivial (as in Harry Potter), but well, I guess happy ending are not really my thing!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A sockerlåda

Earlier this year I had decided to try to fix our balcony (which is a bit like a veranda, since it is surrounded by windows) and make it look nicer and maybe cultivate something. Not that the weather here is the best to do that, but you know, maybe one can take advantage of the few warm days and the "greenhouse" effect of the glass.

Pity though, we haven't had the time to fix it before. We got the windows cleaned, we finished some cleaning off and we oiled the floor. Look at the result!
We had some furniture on the balcony, mainly some trash container (recycling is hard job) and we decided to move that downstairs (but we haven't yet found a proper place to recycle everything...).

 We will most likely sell the old furniture (in plastic) and we will buy some nice table where we can have dinner with our friends. But for the moment, since it is already too late for the planting season, I prioritized the flower section and went and bought a bunch of plants to have on the balcony.
I don't know how much I went back and forth at the shop because I was unsure on what to buy...

At the end I bought a couple of dalie and pelagonie (in italian, gerani) with some big vases. Then I thought of having a mini collection of plants that we could get something from this summer...and so I bought a plant of lavanda, coriander, a chili, onion chive and finally, I thought of adding to this collection our rosemary.
I had some idea in mind to put all this in some wooden box, but I could not find anything at the flower shop.
I surfed a bit on the internet  until I found the concept of "sockerlåda", a box for containing sugar.

It took a while to eventually manage to put hands on one of them since it seems they are really popular!!! With it, I bought also another box, that will not be used for the moment (a makaronilåda, a box for maccheroni!!)
The sockerlåda comes from the ´50s and was used by some sugar factory in Småland (if I remember right).

In the meanwhile, that I was hunting down the sockerlåda I was having some concern for the plants to plant there. The pelagonia and the dalia instead had the chance to start to enjoy some sun and warmth in our vases.

It doesn't seem like they are suffering our company too much :) Hope they will survive the summer though, since in the balcony it can become quite warm during the day.
We are really proud of our sockerlåda result! We hope that the cats will not confuse it for a litterbox ;) We put some plastic for protecting the wood, since we thought it would have been a pity to get wasted such a nice box. And the wood seems really nice too!
For each plant, altough I know perfectly what I have planted, I have added small "labels" in different languages (at the end, ours is an international family) but I am not super happy of my handwriting and the final result since it was not that easy to write on the sticks.

I am looking forward to see some chili growing there. Hope it will happen and that the plants will survive for a while more!!


Saturday, July 10, 2010


When I was little I was not so fond of aubergines. Don't know really why, since now it is something I really like.
Somebody said to me once that both aubergine and squashes, when cooked, they don't taste anything and it is like eating nothing special. How wrong that is!!!!

And since I enjoy aubergines, I found this really nice tasty recipe, requiring also some cheese.
That cheese (scamorza) clearly doesn't exist here in Sweden, so I tried to find something similar and although not smoked, I was happy with gräddost.

I think the recipe looked a bit simpler and faster than reality. As often ;-)
However, it was tasting amazing!
We peeled the aubergines, chomped them in cubes and let them boiled them a bit in salty water. Then I passed it in a mixer so it became like a cream. I added two eggs (but I think one would have been enough, since it turned out to be too liquid), added parmigiano, a lot of parsley, some old bread crumbs and mixed it all together.
I clearly then had problems when I was about to make the aubergine-balls, since there was no way on the planet that that could be made as a firm thingy. I tried to add more breadcrumbs, but it didn't help too much, so I quite resigned on the consistency of the final result.

It was then quite add to add the cheese inside, but more and less I managed, I fried them and when they were wamr and nice, the cheese was melted and the taste was just great!
Somewhat I tried to roll them also in the breadcrumbs, not an easy thing either!
Real pity though that I didn't manage to get the right shape nor solidity of the aubergine-balls (as the matter of fact, they look far away from the pictures in the original recipe...)
Maybe next time it will be better?


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Vendel at Ales Stenar

On Saturday, since it was a really fabulous warm day, we decided to go at eat at a place that we have spotted when going with some friends to the place, Ales Stenar.
Ales Stenar is a place nearby Ystad where there is located a megalitical monument. There are a lot of hypotheses around why it is place there and what is its scope, but for the moment the stones, an elliptical shaped formation, stay there peaceful on the top of a cliff, surrounded by many cows.
We skipped going to Ales Stenar itself, since we have been there already twice, we were a bit late and it was incredibly windy (and too cold as soon as the sun went behind the cliff).
Anyway, we landed at Vendel at Ales Stenar, and we chose to eat at the grill. The location is quite nice, in the harbor of Kåseberga, with just behind the famous cliff (and some cows) and in front, the sea. However, it is extremely windy and we were dressed thinking it would have been warmer. Luckily they had some blankets to borrow us...
We picked up the menu that provided to taste a bit of everything and to eat as much as one could and we surely did!
We got some nice bread with some nice dressing while waiting for the first dish, a tomato soup, that despite the fact that it was a bit too salty, was really refreshing and tasty. 
We then dive into several meat dishes and a salmon dish, everything grilled. It was really good! Altough we had to wait a lot to get the food (almost an hour...).
Among our favorites we had a honey baked lamb leg, a pig belly rosemary flavored and finally some nice chicken. All the meat was served with new potatoes and a nice and simple sallad with a senap based dressing.
We really appreciated the food, especially because it seems they are making an effort to try to fetch ecological products as well as ingredients produced locally.
We took also dessert and we were quite happy with it as well. 
We have really enjoyed our evening there, even though we had to wait a lot for getting fed, but considering the price we thought that it was worthy and we think it would be nice to go there again. Of course, knowing now that we will die of cold if not dressed properly or going there for lunch, instead :-)


Monday, July 5, 2010

Weekend Brunch

Since we have the tendency to wake up a bit late and take it really easy, standing in front of the computer maybe a bit too long before getting started, we have started to develop the concept of brunch. In this way we also save some time, since we avoid to prepare food twice (we would have then lunch not too later on...).

Mattias is usually the one preparing the food. We might eat some leftovers from the day before, as well as the standard breakfast enriched by classical more steady breakfast items. Well, I mention this because usually our breakfast is quite quick: mine is a sweet thing, juice and maybe a tea; Mattias' has musli with milk but otherwise is also juice and maybe tea.

Last saturday Mattias did something really nice, similar to something he had previously done. First we add to our breakfast some scrumble egg (maybe with some old cheese that needs to be finished) and some nice bacon (we found a really nice brand that doesn't "fake" the smoke taste). We had also some blueberries that we bought quite cheap together with some other nice fruit and finally, his final touch: some nice fried tomatoes with a little bit of parmigiano on top. Really really tasty!!!

And i forgot! There was also some nice kind of flat brad, with some caviar and philadelphia cheese, rolled and cut which you can see in the top left corner of the picture(s).
I am looking forward to the next brunch :)


Friday, July 2, 2010

Chicken sticks

Yet again I have taken inspiration from my fav recipes website Giallo Zafferano (available unfortunately just in italian).
This was quite a success, but it became a bit time taking. I have also realized that the base recipe is actually just something that can be applied with bigger slices of chicken and not necessarily small pieces (which is the time taking part when frying).

The recipe is this! The ingredients needed for the chicken itself are (of course the chicken), eggs, flour, breadcrumbs, parsley, black pepper and parmigiano. I honestly didn't take the amount indicated in the recipe because I used the amount I saw that it was needed.
For the breadcrumbs I always recommend homemade one. It is quite easy to have and it is also an excellent way to avoid throwing away a lot of leftover bread: I let it dry and then I grind it and the result is really good. I usually keep in the fridge for storing and it lasts quite long.

The chicken (I never buy frozen chicken!!!) was cut in tiny slices and passed first in the flour, then in the egg and finally in the mixture of breadcrumbs, parsley, black pepper and parmigiano.
In the recipe there was also grinded almonds used, but I decided to skip them for simplification and also because I am not really super fond of almonds.
The sauce preparation was quite easy (and I simplified it a bit respect to the recipe one as well): i took a portion of mayonnese, one of senap and one of honey and mix it alltogether. It was really nice!

Finally, I made fry everything in some oil. I usually use quite cheap oil for frying since, although olive oil gives the best taste in my opinion, here in Sweden it is precious like gold :)
I let the chicken become golden on both sides and that was a quite quick operation.
For me, the heaviest part of them all was to take all those tiny pieces of chicken and roll them in the different ingredients. I got quite fed up after a while :-)

The end results was extremely tasty! A little bit of salt could have been added on top, but I skipped it and Mattias didn't complain :-)

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