Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas cookies

Yesterday we had a lot of people home for our "Christmas tradition", which has been slightly modified from the past years. Instead of having a dinner, we enlarge the circle of friends in order to have a nice afternoon together.

We spent the Saturday preparing for the big event (afterall, we expected around 20 guests), buying some drinks, cookies and pastries and baking some stuff ourselves. We baked a saffron cake, which I like very much and some cookies. Differently from the past years, I decided to NOT bake the gingerbreads (pepparkakor) but go for something that according to Giallo Zafferano could be italian Christmas cookies.

To be perfectly honest, I believe the cookies can be prepared/eaten in whatever period of the year, but let's make them a Christmas thing, nevertheless.

Honey and Poppy seeds Cookies
Ingredients for around 40 cookies

  • 60gr of butter
  • 160gr of flour
  • 80gr of potato starch
  • half a bag of powed yeast (equivalent to 25gr of fresh yeast)
  • two spoons of grated lemon zest
  • 1 spoon of honey
  • 1 spoon of poppy seeds
  • 1 egg
  • 100 gr sugar
Mix the flour, the poppy seeds, the lemon zest and the starch in a bowl.
Mix the butter with the sugar until it will become a soft, spongy, cream (for doing this I have been using a kitchen aid). Add the egg and the honey to the cream and continue mixing until the cream becomes smooth. Finally, add the yeast.
After this step, I have taken the cream out from the kitchen aid and put it in a big bowl. I add the flour mix to the cream and start to mix everything again with a fork, this time. Once it has a decent consistency I start to use the hands so that everything becomes homogeneous and compact.
Turn on the oven to 180 degrees and put a bit of flour on a kitchen bench. Stretch the dough with a rolling pin to 1,5cm. Cut out the cookies of the shape you want - we actually did them a bit thinner than this.
Bake them for 13-15 minutes (if 1,5 cm high) and let them rest few minutes after taking them out of the oven.
A little twist to the recipe is to brush them with milk and dust them with a bit of sugar before baking them.

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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Italian weaning

We are in that time frame where we are teaching/learning to give the so-called "solid food" to our daughter. This is of course not an easy job per se' and we have been very lucky to get an infection just at the beginning of this magical adventure, making it almost impossible for a couple of weeks.

Here in Sweden, the figure of the pediatrician is mystical and rarely seen during the check-ups, we are instead followed by some nurses that, except for the medical aspects, they cover what the pediatrician does in other countries (e.g. Italy).

I am not very fond of this approach, but well, we have to live with it, so there is not so much one can do about it. Of course, one can be very lucky and get a very nice and professional nurse, as one could get a very lousy doctor.
Anyway, this was not supposed to be a post about the differences in the healthcare system for a, let's go back to the original subject.

In Italy, the doctor usually gives some precise indications about what the child should eat based on the background of the kid (if he was born early, the weight, other problems) and on the medical believes the doctor is following, because, of course, there are different studies proofing different things all the time.
Here instead, we got some pages of a book to read and some "oral guidelines" provided by the nurses. I read the pages of the book and I was very very uncomfortable with such scarce guidelines that do not take in consideration that every baby is different.

A lot of people also forget that our child is half italian. This means that she should get a good dose of Italian culture, and not just in form of music, literature and language (which I am trying to preserve despite living in another country) but also through our food and the highly famous mediterrean diet.
We have also discussed it at home and we have agreed in following the italian guidelines for weaning a child, since it is actually much more schematic and it gives the bases for the mediterrean diet.
In fact, it is our belief to think that babies should learn to eat food and tastes from the very beginning and we have noticed that this is true when we have met and it took a while to make Mattias understanding, for example, how a risotto should taste.

Decised, I have gone to one of the meeting with the nurses and declared I was going to follow this approach. I have got discouraged because "of course, kids grow up also in this country and I have heard strange things about other places traditions", however, I promptly translated the material I got from a friend of mine and send it over, just they could finally be quiet (and they didn't).
All the schema and the suggestions are based on plenty of experience. Different kind of food is inserted gradually in the diet based on the nutrition properties, how easy it is to digest, how likeable it is by the kid, and what kind of risks of allergies or intollerances it could determine.

For example, despite the nurse words about demonizing fruit for being too sweet and not allowing kids to eat anything else afterwards, we start giving some spoons of fruit before starting to substitute meals with "proper" food. This so that the kid can get used to use the spoon, swallow food and eat in a complete different way. Apples and pears have been the starting point for many kids, still, most of them have learnt to eat also other kind of food when it was the right time.

A key ingredient when we speak about the meal is olive oil. Since Isabella has stopped growing in weight for a reason or another, I have got recommended twice to use margarine with the excuse that "kids think olive oil has a too sharp taste", which I think is a ridiculous statement considering that all south of Europe base their weaning on olive oil (how do these kids eat, otherwise!?) and that doesn't consider my culture whatsoever. We want to teach our daughter to eat as an Italian, and why should she learn to eat a chemical product when we have the best fat nature has to offer available?

Let's not talk about the suggestion to give gruel to Isabella, typical Swedish invention, which is not that bad, if it was not that it seems like a very strange chemical mix (I will prefer to add some of our traditional cookies, which have never killed any italian nor our teeth to her milk for making it more appetizing) although I said I didn't want to, or others that have come suggesting us to give her porridge not once but twice per day when instead our diet is based on pasta?
I have realized why Italians do not get fat by eating pasta twice per day! Pasta, this evil evil ingredient in people food! And the reason is because we are used from the very beginning to eat it so often, because our metabolism is "taught" to deal with it from the start!
(and yes, there are statistics stating that italian kids are among the fattest in Europe, but that is because of the industrial-produced snacks, not surely for the "abuse" of pasta that is part of our everyday diet).

Have I said everything already? Well, no.
Of course, also Italian mothers, especially the ones that work, do not have the possibility to cook every single meal for their babies and when it is impossible, they use pre-made baby food, but at least 90% make by themselves the base for every meal, which is a vegetable broth.
But in most of the schemas written by the doctors, at the certain point one abandons the pre-made meat for switching to the fresh one...
And preparing food for Isabella is not taking more than 10 minutes every day, although there is a peak of time spent in the kithen for her once per week.

I prepare the vegetable broth, choosing different seasonal vegetables (that I can add to the collection, following the "holy" schema) once per week, I separate the vegetables from the broth for convenience, but I know many mothers do keep every together at a certain point. I pack everything in small containers and put everything in the fridge, so that I have a portion ready for every meal.

Broth and cream made with pumpkin, carrot, fennel, lattuce and celery  
I haven't yet started to give her fish, but I have recently started with meat and I bought fresh meat, grinded it finely and finally froze it in small portions ready to be taken, cooked (right now steam-cooked) and given to her.
The fruit is fresh - it doesn't require more than few minutes for being peeled and smashed in some way.
We want to make her taste "real" food, not something that I would not eat not even under threat.

I am probably being an extremist and being very unflexible in the "Swedish context" but, well, for us it is important to teach her to eat nice food, so, why not, if we have the patience and the will (and a bit of time, also) to do as we wish?

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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Candles production

Thanks to the massive amount of candles leftovers, that my friend Johanna gave me at the end of last winter, I have, once more, managed to start the production of candles, according to my rulebook (which, by the way, is the most popular post I've ever written).

Please, if you have candles leftovers, be very welcome to bring them over :)
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Thursday, November 10, 2011


Last Saturday we had the opportunity to organize a game event, by collecting a bunch of nerds and paying a board game.
This time we tried something new and the selected game was called Steam.
Trains and Germany and strategy. This is not the first time I see this combination in a board game.

The game mechanics were quite simple, after one round and a bit of concentration, it was possible to play quite smoothly, although, as we are tricky players, questions are often asked for testing the rules and the game-owner rules knowledge, of course.

Copyright Mattias Pettersson ©
We played the game following the newbie sets of game rules, and despite that, the game was quite exciting and it was not easy to predict who would win it (although, the player that was clearly leading won anyway).

The game is structured according to 7-8 rounds. During each turn a player needs to select an ability for that turn (for example, he will be the first player during next turn), then it will be time to build a railroad path, move the goods over the railroad, collect the money or get another loan.
What is quite fascinating is that there is a small economic system connected to the execution of each step. Usually, in a way or in another, one gets granted a certain amount of money. Here, instead, one has to take the risk of getting a loan and balance it up.

I am not surprised that there are several variants of the game (and the game itself is a variation of another game, Age of Steams, it seems) since the platform is quite simple and of course, the setting can variate from Germany to wherever.

I am looking forward to test the game with the advance rule set. Maybe instead of letting someone else win, I will show off my strategical skills? :-)

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Friday, November 4, 2011


Last year, I started to cultivate some things in our balcony. This year, we were with my parents in a plants shop, and I decided to try something new. My father suggested his passion: tomatoes. However, I thought that that requires too much work and in my balcony it would get too many insects/diseases/whatever. When I saw a small physalis plant, I got hooked into it: it luckily stated that it was "easy to handle" and that ended up in our purchase.

The plant turned out not that hard to handle as it promised. I planted it in my big vase in May and, since then, it has grown rapidly to become a real plant (we can't open the window anymore...).

I was expecting it to have flowers in the beginning of the summer and fruits around August/September. However, nothing happened until very late in August. When searching information about it, I read that the first year the plant doesn't produce any fruit. I was disappointed but then mentally prepared for this (and I didn't know that the plant should survive the winter) when I started to observe the first flowers. They are quite small and yellow and, unfortunately, being the plant not in the ideal environment, I lost many flowers on the go...
The Physalis requires surely sun, but not too much constant warmth. Or if it is warm, it wants also a lot of water. Many times, at the end of the day, it looked like it had been "cooked", but with a bit of water, the day after it looked very fine again. Without the sun, the leaves look pale and boring: right now, there is not so much sun anymore and, in fact, they are having a not so fancy appearance.

It needs to be planted in a big vase - if not directly on the ground (I am not sure it would be ok with the climate here, though), since the roots become quite impressive. Luckily, in the vase where I planted it I managed to squeeze just a little plant of chilly, so there has been, it seems, enough space for both of them.

It is now November and there are some "objects" that clearly look like potential fruits. I wonder if inside there there is really something, or it is just an illusion.Will we eat them for Christmas??? :)

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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Where to make a baby eat (or at least try to)...

Being Isabella around 6 months, we thought it was big time to buy her an high chair where she could sit and eat. Or at least, thinking of eating at least, since that is not the easiest step ever...(and different astral conjunctions haven't helped us at all, so far).

Here in Sweden, THE high chair is the Tripp Trapp - Stokke, which had almost seduced us as well. However, we resisted such expensive temptation, since we thought (clearly) that it was quite expensive (did I say already that it was expensive?) and it didn't have one of the most important features (in our little world): the brick. Yeah. We know that for a *little* sum you can get a plastic fancy tray to put on your table. But our table is too fancy for such a fancy item and we decided to save that little sum of money (not so little, if you think that that is just a piece of plastic).

We almost fell for Italian design. But we betrayed my motherland for the simple reason that the whole chair was a big, clumsy, piece of extremely-washable plastic. Probably practical, it could be also folded so it would take relatively less space. However, each of those chairs looked enormous and I was seeing already my agile husband tripping two hundred times on the extended legs.
Chicco, and its Polly 2 in 1 (Mattias had hard time to understand what was the 2 in 1 applied concept) was one of the possible candidates. However, it didn't convince me at all (and yes, it was me taking control over the operation).

Then. I decided to at least search for the high chair that my sister-in-law purchased. She said "it is like the Stokke, but with the brick". Thank God, despite being a mother and breastfeeding, I still have some glimmer of a working memory. The brand was Svan and incredibly enough, it is Swedish.
We look at the main chair, but I saw again Mattias stumbling around or me, lifting the chair up and moving it with the grace of an elephant, in order to make Isabella see her mother in her obsessive-compulsive cleaning mode.
However, exploring the website, we found the perfect chair for us: High Chair Colorline Anka, that is duck-shaped. Or at least, resembling a duck.

Having wonderful experiences of purchasing "blindly" from the internet, we really wanted to see real-life this chair. Unfortunately, it was not possible.
After some extra thinking (a couple of seconds), I decided that it was worthy a try. The chair was relatively cheap, the shipping cost included in the price, it was in wood as we wanted, washable as the obsessive-cleaning-freak behavior required and with the holy brick.

What can I say? The chair arrived, the package was lighter than I thought, once opened there was very little to mount (a strange Swedish product, if I may say so...) and it is very very compact. Isabella seems liking it very much and, even though it is not as fancy as the (in our opinion) overrated Tripp Trapp (yeah, it is overrated also when bought through Blocket and repainted!), it suits all our extremely peculiar wishes.
I am actually astonished that Swedish people are not up to a Swedish product and do prefer a Norwegian one?! What happened to the world???? :)

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Monday, October 24, 2011

Char cartouche

I must say that the Google translation of the name of this dish sounds incredibly fancy. I had no idea how to say this before today! Anyway, the dish consists simply of cooking a fish from the trout family, in the oven, sealed in aluminum foil. The specific fish here is what I would have called simply salmerino, in italian, and röding, in swedish.

The dish in itself doesn't require too much preparation, but is quite tasty and has a "built-int" nice presentation.
The trick consists in buying the right fish, that is, it has to be fresh enough or the result will be miserable.


  • a fish of the desired size, headless and cleaned
  • a bunch of rosemary
  • a bunch of fennel seeds
  • half a lemon
  • a spoon of olive oil
  • black pepper & salt

After cleaning and drying very well the fish, I put it on the aluminum foil. I cover it with the spoon of olive oil and I start to season it with fennel, rosemary, pepper and salt, putting them both in the inside of the fish as well as the outside.
I squeeze the lemon juice on the fish and I slice a couple of slices from the half-lemon. The slices can be put both on the fish and inside the fish, I think inside the fish gives more taste.

After the fish is properly seasoned, I close carefully the aluminum foil and I put it  in an oven pan, in the warm oven, previously heated to 180 degrees. I let it cook for 20 minutes, then I switch the oven settings to grill and let the fish grill for 10 more minutes.

Once the fish is ready I take it out of the oven and open the foil.
It is now time to clean the fish. Since it is cooked, it is quite easy to remove both the bones and the skin, although with this type of fish it is almost impossible to have it bone-free.
Once that is done, the fish is ready to serve!

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Sunday, September 25, 2011


It seems it has become more and more trendy in Sweden to propose restaurants with focus on meat. The latest entry is M.E.A.T., in Lund, which is supposedly a grill. Recently opened in the center of Lund, managed by owners who have already their hands in other restaurants in Lund, it is a quite interesting alternative in a almost static lundensis culinary offer. We have been there just for lunch, so I can't really judge the standard menu. What came in our eyes was that biggest part of one of the rooms is occupied by a big bar and I really can't understand what for. If the focus is food, why should there be such a big bar? And why reducing the space for more tables for a bar? Well, choices, I would say! We took two different dishes, I took an open sandwich with a lovely confit pork and some red cabbage. The dish was simply amazing and I just wanted to eat more. Pity, for that price, I think, there should have been two open sandwiches! In fact, I was quite hungry after that... Same same, but different (dish), for Mattias. He took the "today's special" which was quite good, but still, too little (just a bunch of potatoes?) food for too much price. Hungry as we were, we even tried the (again) overpriced desserts. A mini (but extremely mini) cupcake, whose base was extremely compact, although the flavor was very nice and the apple pie, which was very tasty, but very apple pie. A summary of the experience? Nice with a new place, nice with a steakhouse in Lund, however, totally overpriced even though the quality is good. Maybe there should be more balance? We should probably also try the dinner menu!
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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Chili peppers

It is now two years that I manage to cultivate a plant of chili peppers in our balcony. Last year it was supposed to be cayenne pepper, but it was not that strong. This year instead I have a variety that produces a smaller fruit, which turns after a while red and that eventually is a bit spicy.

I planted the little plant around May and it started to bloom in July. Already after few weeks, watering the plant regularly and exposing it to some sun and the warm temperature of our balcony, some fruits were popping out. If I count nowadays I can see around twenty chilies.

Last year the plant was affected by red mite. This year, I manage to not get the insect on this plant by spraying the leaves with some water.
That happens since there is not so much hair circulation in our balcony, due to the glass all around it.
I think we will manage to eat this harvest in reasonable time, by preserving the chilies in the fridge. However, it is a good strategy to dry them out. I have tried to do that in the past, but the environment here is simply too humid for that. A good technique is then to put them in the oven for 10 minutes at 180 degrees.

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Thursday, September 22, 2011


It is now a couple of years that every spring/summer there is a passiflora plant on our balcony. Unfortunately, though, for a reason or another, it dies.
Once, it died because when we were away during summer it didn't get enough water.
Another time, during the winter period, it got too much water, another time too little. Another time I don't know what happened.

The thing is, it is one of my favorite plants and when it is late summer it blooms wonderfully in our balcony! So, it has to survive the winter and come back the year after!

The plant is having a great summer/autumn in the balcony since it is exposed on south-west and that is the ideal place where it should be. It wants a lot of sun and I have placed it near the window, able to climb on the wall, and there, even though I close a bit the curtains, it can get a lot of sun.

During spring/summer, it needs a lot of water. I water it every day or every second day, depending on how warm it is in our balcony (which is closed by glass). When I see some yellow leaf starting to appear, it is sign that maybe I have been watering it too little. The terrain should be wet but not too much or the roots will rotten. When it is dry I just add plenty of water to the vase.

The typical way of blooming of the plant at its second or third occasion (autumn bloom)
So, what is the problem? When winter starts, the aerial part of the plant dries out slowly slowly. That is supposed to be ok. It is time then to prune the plant and let it rest for the winter, covering the roots so that they don't get too cold.
The plant can experience quite cold temperature: they survive, although they are tropical species, even around -10 degrees. I even managed to have it ok last November, when outside it was -20 and the glass of the balcony was protecting the plant.

I haven't yet managed to have the roots in good state at the beginning of the spring, so this is this year challenge: to have the plant surviving and coming back next year.
Will I manage? I welcome any suggestion!
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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Jam v2.0, rhubarb, raspberry and vanilla

This time I took the experiment #1 and substitute the blackberries with a bunch of raspberries (fresh ones).

The result? I think it became much sweeter than the one with blackberries, but still quite good. Probably a jam that is best in cakes and pies!

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Monday, September 12, 2011

A quick lunch at Lilla Thai

It was just after the end of the Malmö Festivalen, and we were in Malmö on a Saturday. I honestly do not remember what we were up to there, but we were hungry (impossible!) and we didn't know where to go and eat, since it was raining, as well.
We were aiming at another place, but it was closed, we saw Lilla Thai and we decided to try it out.

The place is tiny and it doesn't have extremely special decorations. I suppose it is more comfortable for take-away rather than eating there.
We took three dishes, among which a thai omelette and two woks.
I remember the omelette being ok, but it didn't scream "thai" and didn't have all those usual wonderful fresh tastes in it. The other two dishes were relatively ok, but again, no incredible taste, no fragrance and also, no big portions.
We ended up being a bit angry and a bit disappointed, especially considering the price! It is too expensive for the quality & the quantity.
It however served our purpose: a quick lunch, without too big expectations. Luckily, we know that if we want to eat a proper thai dish, Green Mango is always there (and often fully booked!)

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Friday, September 9, 2011

Wasn't Sweden supposed to be a kid-friendly place?

Often, when abroad (e.g. in Italy), we are questioned about how it is to have a kid, a baby, even better, in this Nordic country.
We are quite proud of saying that here things are quite relax, that we are supported in having a little baby, not only by the state in form of a quite flexible parental leave, but also by having a lot of "thinking" done for kids (just think about IKEA and their kids-friendly environment).
However, lately I am starting to raise my eyebrows and be astonished over some of this "kids-friendly" behaviour we have to experience.
And if I reflect about the matter a bit better, I realize that this is often just not the core of how things are.
Just a small example, kids are not always welcome to parties.
Weddings, for making an example? No way, they might disturb the peace&quiet of parents who want to enjoy themselves (without part of the family? what are you going to do that you can't do with your kids?).
Of course, one is not fully relax and has to keep an eye on the kid, but then it is up to the parents to decide if the kid is supposed to be there or not. Otherwise, which is this big disturbance?

Two weeks ago, I discovered that our daughter is not welcomed in church. Please, note that according to the gospel (just for putting the dots over the "i"), it is well stated that one should take good care of the little ones.
We were in church, Isabella was actually quite quiet (thanks to the pacifier and a lot of rocking) and there was another small baby whining a bit. After the mass was over, an old lady (hag) reached us to wonder if Isabella was crying. And when I stated that she did cry a little bit she ranted over the fact that I should have felt "compassion" for her and everyone else inside the church that had to stand the screaming kid for 50 minutes and that I should take my daughter out for a walk.
I wonder, if she was so disturbed, why didn't she take this famous walk? Isn't my right to be at the mass with my own kid? Isn't my kid supposed to be in church as well?
Of course, if she would have been screaming to death I would have been bringin' her out, but she was not (and she was not even the baby that she was referring too).
And what is the big problem if that baby was whining? Hasn't she had ever kids?

But the cherry on the pie happened yesterday.
According to some fancy dude, Socialstyrelsen (national board for health and welfare) decides with a law, if we are allowed to bring our daughter or not to a concert, hence if we are supposed to go out at all all together or if we need to find a babysitter every time we want to do some "adult" activity.
We bought tickets to one of the last The Ark concerts ever and we noticed that there was an age limit, stated to be 13 years old. Usually though, this is applicable for kids but not for infants: what I mean is, usually the infant doesn't take "space" and you can carry her/him around in places and that is not a problem.
We were happily (Isabella was indeed very joyful in her carrier) in queue when we reached the ticket office and the "dude" there with a sharp tone stated that we were not allowed to enter with the kid. We had a face as a question mark and he pointed out the note on the ticket.
Come on, for a 4 months old kid? Yes.
We stood out of the queue and I started to ask what could we do, if we could get our money back, if they could not make an exception, anything. The guy was as helpful as a piece of rock on a deserted beach.
He suggested us to go out and try to sell the tickets (yes, because the show was sold out and since this is London you can imagine people out begging somebody to sell tickets to them...right?).
Then, the "responsible" for the event (or the tickets, or god-knows-what) appeared and with a SHARP tone stated that BY LAW he was responsible to MAKE SURE no kids below 13 would go in and that otherwise he would have had to pay a substantial fine (and who cares, I wonder).

Thank God, we have good friends who had to stand-up hearing Isabella crying for one hour and half before I could let her be with them for going to the concert (Isabella was clearly disappointed she was not welcomed) and I really hope that those two guys will have hell of a life when/if they get kids.
This morning, I checked briefly on the internet & not and found out that:
1) I am the ultimate responsible for my kid. If I want to bring her to a concert, I just do it and if I do it without thinking about her hears, after all, it is just my issue (note, we had proper ears protections for her).
2) Socialstyrelsen should not dictate how many slices of bread I am supposed to eat during a day and it does NOT state if my kid is allowed in a concert or not.
3) Socialstyrelsen binds the event organizers to make sure that a certain dB level is used during the event. Below 13 years old, a certain level shall be used and they have to make sure such level is used.
4) Of course the ticket stated that there was an age limit, but it was up to THEM and not to the LAW to make an exception since it was the location putting such an age limit.
I hope it is clear what I am trying to say: there is a slight different "accent" to the matter, if we want to be really picky and they could and should have been a bit more flexible (or at least helpful and kinder).

Conclusion: despite this being a child-friendly country, we are not allowed to participate in religious or musical events (= we are not allowed to enjoy ourselves as we wish), hence, we are not surprised people alienate at home once they get kids.

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Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Despite us being "newbie" parents, it seems we manage to go around pretty much. There must be something wrong, for sure!

Nevertheless, this is about the restaurant we went to, to conclude our anniversary "celebration". Let's say that this time, we could feel that we had a baby, since Isabella was very tired but could not fall asleep hence she was crying and whining a bit too much. Despite her concert, we got the compliments of some old dude for "daring to go out with a baby, differently from the average Swede".

We googled a bit for places where to go, on our way back from Karlskrona and we decided to stop in Kristianstad. The place we chose is called (if you haven't understood it yet) Bar-B-Ko and it serves mainly grilled meat.
We thought the menu was very interesting and indeed, it was. It seems the place is also quite "popular" among other VIPs (except us, that is), since when visiting the newly-robbed toilet we could admire pictures of one of the members of The Cardigans visiting the place (and probably the toilet as well).

I took some short ribs and Mattias took lamb racks. Differently from usual, we chose just one dish and we did right since the portions were Arianna-Mattias' size and it was even more than enough.
When you pick up your main dish, you can decide how you want it accessorized. You could choose what kind of potatoes should follow and sauces as well, even the butter taste!
That was probably a tiny bit too much for our more mediterrean mouths (yes, also Mattias, nowadays), a bit too many sauces/butters7things with the meat, which was very well cooked, tender, juicy and tasty and didn't need anything more over!

The place was cosy and the personal nice, despite our constant whining baby, we ate in turns but we enjoyed the food very much.
You can see this from the expression in my face... clearly!

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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Lausanne (2): Pasta & Sfizi

As mentioned, the aim of our little trip to Lausanne was this restaurant. It is owned and managed by a friend of both my brother and my sister-in-law and our Lund-roman friends, N&J.
So, we have been hearing too much about this place to ignore it, considering how much freaks we are about food.

It was a Sunday and it was lunch. On Sunday there is a brunch offered, but be aware, it is not brunch as intended at least here in Lund! You simply could order from a quite assorted menu a different selection of plates, from antipasti, pasta, crepes, meat and also desserts.
During the rest of the week, it is possible to have there breakfast, lunch, tea in the afternoon and, of course, also dinner. Definitely ambitious and hopefully, not straining too much with the wide selection of dishes that it is possible to taste.
We could not of course resist to take this as a challenge and eat as much as we could (although, also with the conversion from franks to crowns we were going expensive).

Welcomed by this common friend, who also offered a baby-sitter service for our little vampire, we had a quite amazing 3-hours long brunch/lunch, sitting on their comfy terrace (pity, though for the view disturbed by some horrendous building), having the place, almost completely for ourselves (come on, who wants to eat at 16 in the afternoon ;D).

The kind of food is of course Italian, but with some twist. Tasteful and sophisticated, well presented, and a bit experimental as well.
Mattias tried a new version of a caprese sallad, let's say the consistency of it had been changed to be a mozzarella soup with a tomato jelly and basil ice cream.
I went un-ecological and took a tuna tartar with green apple and the most exotic salt I have ever seen: black salt from Hawaii. This was a fresh dish, liking both the sourness of the green apple and the freshness of the tuna.

Pasta was our next mission: Mattias took a carbonara, I took a classical dish from Salerno: pasta alla San Giovannara. Mine was indeed quite good, nice portion, nice flavour. Mattias was a bit disappointed instead from the carbonara, although good it was not top-notch.
A note: the pasta, as the bread, is home made and we could definitely appreciate that.

Our belly were already starting to scream for being rescued, but we were not merciful and we looked into each other eyes and decided to split something else. A mega burger, served with sliced fried potatoes, sallad was landing in front of us. The particularity of this dish was the meat: it was a big piece of fillet inside! Juicy, moist, a very nice hamburger with home made bread.
The chips were slightly soggy, but the taste was still good and eating this was definitely worthy it.

Do you think we could finish our tour here? No way!
And we end up everything with a grand-finale: something called "Mattanza nera", a selection of desserts: with chocolate as main theme. Chocolate aubergine (a typical dish from Salerno), profiteroles, a crostata al cioccolato and a tiramisu'.

As you can see, we are drooling, but we are also suffering since we had stuffed ourselves pretty much already!
My fav were the profiteroles and the crostata, I really loved it. Mattias enjoyed very much the fried aubergines, instead.

Conclusion: we have really a big stomach and the place was really worthy a trip there, but maybe next time we will limit ourselves to something smaller (especially for our wallet ;-D). We hope though that the personal will not drown into the amount of different meals and dishes that are served!
We warmly recommend you a visit to this superb restaurant, also because it has much more to offer than what I have just described here.
Start looking at their website: Pasta & Sfizi!
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Sunday, September 4, 2011

Losanna, or better, Lausanne

Let's go back in time! During our holidays we managed also to squeeze a visit to Lausanne. That happened while we were in the Alps, since from where we were, it was "close". Just two hours of road, a tunnel (Grant St Bernard) and a sticker on the car that hopefully somebody else would benefit for the next year...

We drove through the mountains and then the lake opened up in front of us, and there, in front, on the other side, there was our target. Our main target was to go to a restaurant there - I will talk about it in another moment - but we also decided to take the chance to take a visit to the town.
Pity it was Sunday, so the center was dead, hence, we went down to the lake and took a quick walk along it.

It was a short walk, but quite nice. We enjoyed the atmosphere and the funny sign in the underground parking: for women! Some parking spots were reserved for women...:-)
How could they make a statement that Switzerland is boring? They have at least some sort of sense of humor (here in Sweden, something like that would be crucified thanks to the feminist movement...)
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Saturday, September 3, 2011

Isabella's crib

Isabella has soon outgrown her carrycot; well, we are still using it, but just for talking walks, not for sleeping at home any longer.
It has been then necessary to investigate the cribs-sector and few requirements were floating in mind: it should be practical, possibly beautiful, with a drawer, moving sides and maybe wheels. Also, it should have two levels where to put the baby, so we could avoid killing our backs when trying to make Isabella sleep.

We went around and discarded the IKEA models pretty quickly: they didn't seem super "robust" and they were a bit too plain for our tastes, although some of the recent models, like HENSVIK, have a quite ok line.

There are also other options, of course, at IKEA, about 5 models more than this one, but no one could really convince us.

At XXXLutz we could actually look around for more choices, from a transformable Brio  to one that actually caught our attention, with a quite nice line.

I was though still not fully convinced, since I don't think the last one could have the mattress in two positions.
Trusting some of my Italian mamma-friends, I looked into what they had: a simple model from Pali. Actually, I had in mind some Foppapedretti models as well.
I contacted both companies to see if they have retailers up here, but why wondering...
They have of course web retailer (actually, FP were available to investigate the purchase directly from their site). Anyway, FP's prices are a bit higher while I could think of afford a Pali's crib and the expedition costs, without too many problems. Even, it would have been cheaper than buying the crib at XXXLutz!
We went for something very simple, although decorations  and fancy stuff were quite tempting. This model had simply all important characteristics that we were searching.
We finally ordered it and after two weeks the big package was at our door. Mounting it was not IKEA-simple, but not incredibly hard either. We eagerly went and buy mattress and head protection (Mattias decided to take something with Laban) and ta-da here there was the bed ready!
It is surely a bit "cluttered", it doesn't look as "perfect" as all those beds in the pictures of the catalogs, but we like it and we hope Isabella can like it too!
PS: W Italian quality :D
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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Are you crazy about Barbapapa'?

I am!!!
Here in Sweden it is very fashionable to have a lot of items Barbapapa' - style, and therefore, it is really easy to find a lot of accessories and not, for me or for Isabella (or we get them as present, of course).
It is possible to buy clothes both at H&M and Åhlens, for babies and kids, but at Åhlens it is also possible to find different items: sheets, toys, towels and even some object for the kitchen.

Every time I go in one of the two shops, I am very tempted to buy a lot of things, but luckily, I seldom do so (after all, we have already enough clothes, toys and items at home!)
My latest purchase is this funny pot-holder:

What there is not here in Sweden though is a set of furniture and accessories for babies with Barbapapa' theme. Luckily, Foppapedretti compensates for such loss!
There is everything that would make every (crazy) parent drool!
Just check here: Barbapapa' & Foppapedretti. From a light stroller, to a nursing table!
More than once, I was tempted to consider buying the Barbapapa' crib for Isabella, if the price would have not been prohibitive (add to that the expedition costs!).
Pity, though, is that Foppapedretti doesn't sell in Sweden...maybe it is time to evaluate a franchising option? Or at least, I should write a wish-list for Christmas for me and Isabella...

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