Tiger

Last month, I had an appointment in Cambridge and decided to head to a shop I loved in Copenhagen which has recently hit our shores – Tiger!

If you aren’t aware of Tiger, it is, well, a little hard to explain. There isn’t really a British shop which can be compared directly with these shops. They sell stationery, homewares, greeting cards, cleaning products, toys, sweets, arts and craft supplies, Danish juice, candles… in quirky designs and at clear, affordable prices. Of course this shop was a breath of fresh air on travels in Scandinavia (where you are braced for everything to be expensive) and it was a lot of fun to browse around in Cambridge too.

A few of my finds:

Jolly whale bathroom hooks

Hooks in the shape of whales in blue, pink and green for £1 each

Every kitchen needs a carrot sharpener:Carrot sharpener, a giant orange sharpener for your vegetables

Want to send secret messages to your spy friends? For only £1 you can get a handy UV secret message pen:Spy pen, pen with UV light, £1 each

There was also some stylish stationery:Bluen and white polka dot notebooks with orange and green spines in a variety of sizes

We enjoyed shopping in Tiger so much we went round twice in case we missed anything! There was a huge array of products in store at really reasonable prices. It’s a great place to go for some gifts or interesting home decor and many products have a Nordic edge and sense of humour to the design. The Danish packaging also adds to the ‘looking round a supermarket when on holiday’ vibes, and it’s fun to recognise a few words too after many years of Nordic culture-watching and Swedish lessons. Can’t wait to pop in and see what they have next time I’m in the area!

Do you live near a Tiger store? Have you been in and found some interesting products?

Tiger online: http://www.tigerstores.co.uk/

More Scandi stores in the UK: https://nordicinfluence.wordpress.com/nordic-directory/

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How to bake the perfect cinnamon buns

The Guardian has been making Scandi treats this week and searching for the perfect cinnamon bun recipe: http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2014/may/22/how-to-bake-perfect-cinnamon-buns

I haven’t tried this version yet – but it is a little different from how I would bake a batch. I have never, ever, had good results with fast action yeast sachets (what am I doing wrong?!) and I would make rather smaller buns – one cake of seven seems a slightly US take on these, they must be huge! Have you tried this ‘perfect’ recipe?

My favourite recipe is the one in Sju Sorters Sommarkakor by Cecilia Vikhblad (the Swedish Mary Berry, she even judges the Swedish version of Bake Off).

Image

But if I want to read a recipe in English I use the one by the awesome Scandinavian Kitchen:  http://scandikitchen.typepad.com/scandikitchen/2011/05/by-popular-demand-swedish-cinnamon-buns-recipe-kanelbullar.html  I have always had success with these recipes and made lovely soft kanelbullar. Scandinavian Kitchen also sells all the ingredients you could need to create your bullar.

If you are a little too far from London to do your Scandinavian grocery shopping there, do not fear as you can buy/improvise almost everything:

– Ground cardamom for the dough – yes it is a little difficult to find. As well as grinding some cardamom pods with your pestle and mortar/ rolling pin and chopping board/ blender/ hammer and chisel, you can also buy ready ground cardamom at some health food shops or international groceries (I found it on a local market stall which sold vegan products, herbs and spices, and it was only about 65p!).

– Pearl sugar – you could just swap out this (for me, essential) topping for regular sugar (or miss it out altogether I suppose) but I’ve found a handful of crushed up sugar pearls http://www.sainsburys.co.uk/shop/gb/groceries/decorations/sainsburys-cake-decorations–white-sugar-pearls-80g looks the part and they add a satisfying crunch. Apparently jam sugar can also work.

– Fresh yeast – available at most local bakeries, it can also be found in the in-store bakeries at Sainsbury’s and Tesco. As mentioned before, I just can’t get fast-action to work!

Do you have any tips on Scandinavian baking at home? Or tips for the perfect kanelbullar?


Marbles mugs at John Lewis

John Lewis Marbles monochromatic mugs

These mugs caught my eye when I was in John Lewis recently. I like the monochrome, simple designs and that they can be mixed and matched to make a cool, matching but not too ‘matchy matchy’ set of mugs for when visitors pop round for some fika.

The ‘Marbles’ design range reminds me of some Marimekko fabric designs and would certainly complement any you have in your Nordic-inspired kitchens.

Marimekko fabrics

Pictured fabric: Räsymatto, Vatruska, Kivet.

Available at various stockists, around £40/metre:

http://www.nordesign.co.uk/shop/Fabric/Marimekko_fabric

http://www.scandinaviandesigncenter.com/Products/gbp1/Scandinavian_Fabrics/Marimekko+fabrics

 

Marbles mugs, £5 each at John Lewis (L-R)

http://www.johnlewis.com/house-by-john-lewis-marbles-chains-mug/p711492

http://www.johnlewis.com/house-by-john-lewis-marbles-mug/p711486

http://www.johnlewis.com/house-by-john-lewis-marbles-stitch-mug/p711490


Mammon

Mammon theory board

Norwegian mystery/finance/journalism thriller Mammon begins tonight at 9pm on More 4.

From the Channel 4 website:

An intricate and compelling thriller about greed and the murky underbelly of finance, politics and journalism, Mammon follows six days in the life of uncompromising journalist Peter Verås who uncovers evidence of financial fraud involving Norway’s elite.

I have never watched any Norwegian drama before so I’m curious how it will compare to its Swedish and Danish cousins.

Read more at the Channel 4 website: http://www.channel4.com/programmes/mammon

Will you be watching?


Scandinavian Specialities at Lidl

From tomorrow, Lidl are selling a variety of Scandinavian specialities, including knäckebröd, köttbullar and sill (crisp bread, meatballs and pickled herring). The selection includes Swedish almond torte, Norwegian cheese and Finnish mustard. Danish pork scratchings are on the menu, too  (though I didn’t realise they were a Danish speciality..?) And liquorice lovers are in luck as there a couple of strong Nordic varieties on offer.

Will you be rushing out to Lidl tomorrow? On my list are cinnamon buns, crisp breads and maybe some biscuits. What will you be picking up?

See the full selection of Scandinavian treats here: http://www.lidl.co.uk/cps/rde/SID-6EEBA499-E85B3532/www_lidl_uk/hs.xsl/5235.htm


The Luxo L-1

Luxo L1 task lamp

A visit to the Design museum this week has solved a mystery I have been trying to work out for ages – who makes these awesome clamp-on task lamps!

The design is based on the spring technology in the British Anglepoise lamps, which was licensed to US and Norwegian firms in the 1930s. The L-1 was designed by the Norwegian Jac Jacobsen and is made by Luxo. There is a website dedicated to it here: http://sites.glamox.com/designicon/

The Luxo L-1 is available to purchase at http://www.luxoonline.co.uk/images/imagecache/large_L1-main.jpg .

If you find other suppliers or other amazing Scandinavian lighting solutions, let me know in the comments.


Scandinavian Film and Television on coursera

Ingmar Bergman with camera. He will be studied on the course, of course.

If you are interested in a more scholarly approach to Scandinavian Film and TV, Coursera is offering a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) from the University of Copenhagen that you might like to have a look at:

Scandinavian Film and Television

According to the course description:

In many ways Scandinavian film and television is a global cultural brand, connected with and exporting some of the cultural and social values connected to a liberal and progressive welfare society. This course deals with the social, institutional and cultural background of film and television in Scandinavia and in a broader European and global context.

I am going to do my best to have explore the materials available and look at some of the video lectures and course notes. I also hope to find some new to me Scandi Film and TV as there is a broad topic range over the ten weeks.

Week 9 is Scandinavian Television After 2000 so if you only want to read about Nordic Noir, you’ll have to wait until then.

Are you taking part in the course? Anything you have learned and would like to share? Or any amazing Scandinavian films or series you’ve discovered thanks to it?