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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