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Engelsk och Svensk Mat.

I managed to hardly see anyone last week somehow, and towards the end of the week I got quite homesick as a result. Need to work on the whole making-sure-I-socialise-thing.

What’s that got to do with English and Swedish food, you may ask. Quite a lot actually, would be the answer! Food can have a lot of emotional weight attached to it, and when I’m homesick, I usually end up craving sausages. That might sound odd to some people, but when I was little there was a phase when sausages were one of the very few foods I would eat. Makes sense I’d go back to the same food as a comfort food.

English-style sausages are almost impossible to get in Sweden. Almost all sausages are pre-cooked or are chorizo-type ones, and often sausages are made with very finely ground meat so they have almost the same texture inside as hot dogs. Even in Saluhallen it’s impossible to find the wonderful strings of uncooked sausages waiting to be grilled or fried, waiting to give off the delicious aroma and that awesome squeal and bang that only sausages can make – they’re all the dried, cured or pre-cooked varieties, which is such a shame. Don’t get me wrong, I like Swedish sausages. There are lots of varieties here, and Falukorv is absolutely delicious. It’s one of my favourite things to eat here, and it tastes very similar to Polony sausage. But it’s just not the same.

However, yesterday Emil managed to find the Holy Grail in ICA Focus: CUMBERLAND SAUSAGES!!! He bought me some incredibly expensive ones and then we proceeded to have Sausages, mashed potato and onion gravy for tea. It was heaven. They were really good sausages too! The texture was like the nice butchers’ ones that can somehow never be replicated properly by supermarket sausages. They were quite honestly amazing. Can’t buy them often, because at roughly £8 for a pack of 4 jumbo-sized sausages they’re pretty pricey, even if they are wonderful quality.

Anyhow, there are a few other things I’m missing, albeit less seriously:


1) Ribena

Whilst there are other drinks over here similar, it’s hard to get the bottles of concentrate so I can have hot ribena when I don’t want tea but want something warm to drink. What is Ribena? I hear a few non-brits ask? It’s a blackcurrant-based fruit drink that *everyone* drinks as a kid. Very sweet, but very nice. Real blackcurrants too.

Skips Crisps

2) Skips

Skips are prawn cocktail flavoured maize snacks. They’re also one of the foods kids always eat, and are one of my favourite types of crisp.  They melt on your tongue when you eat them. No one seems to have heard of them here, and the English shop doesn’t ( to my memory) even stock them.

Aaaah! Bisto!

3) Bisto Gravy

Whilst I’ve managed to make myself a substitute gravy which is almost as good, nothing beats bisto.


PG Tips!

4) PG Tips tea.

In two months , I’ve drunk roughly 240 cups of tea here. How do I know? My box of tea is almost empty. I drink an insane amount of tea, and a £4-on-offer-box of PG Tips would cost me about £13 here. Yeah. Not good.

Fruit Pastilles

5)Rowntrees Fruit Pastilles.

I know Rowntrees are evil because they’re owned by Nestlé now, but nevertheless, I love their sweets. Particularly the lime fruit pastilles. Those are my favourites.




And now, to a friend’s for lunch, a visit to slottskogen and gaming!


(Edited to add tags and photos)



Ooops, I forgot to post for the last week. Sorry about that – it’s been hectic.

So Thursday last week was Cage Aux Folles, which I loved, and Friday consisted of being curled up in a ball relaxing a bit for the first part of the day. We went shopping at ICA and I got really dizzy and felt sick, but I managed to get out to the benches in the entrance before I actually collapsed or anything, which was good. It happens occasionally (bizarrely enough, it happens most at supermarkets). I went home and had something to drink and eat, then went over to Hayley’s to watch Game of Thrones, which was really good. I came in about halfway through Season 1, but as I’ve seen it all and read it all before, that was no problem. I brought Påskmust with me, which is actually the same thing as julmust but it is in a yellow bottle instead of a red one.

Whilst we were there, I was invited to going in a World Of Darkness game she’s running. More on that later. I ended up staying out until past midnight and walking home (due to really stupid tram-timings) but it was lovely out and a really welcome walk actually.

Saturday was another Angbåtsfika (Steamboat fika – Literally, coffee and cake on a steamboat near Roda Sten) with the Steampunks, That was a lot of fun as always, and lots of silly conversations occurred. Emelie and I talked about meeting up for coffee at some point this week, but thus far it hasn’t happened as chaos has quite seriously reigned over everything. Sofia decided to play with my hair and ended up plaiting it into a herringbone-braid, which was cool.

Sunday was busy. I met Martin and a new friend, John at the station for fika and a chat. We ended up talking about all sorts of things to do with writing and teaching. It was incredibly interesting, and we chatted for ages. He mentioned that he might know of some teaching work coming up and told me he’d get back to me. Afterwards we had a committee meeting for the Steampunk Society, in which we were discussing all sorts of things (mostly to do with the party, admittedly). It was great to have everyone over, and at one point I ended up in a serious giggle-fit. Joakim (our treasurer) has, as a result, now been renamed Petyr, (you had to be there) and we organised another meeting for Tuesday to go over merchandise ideas.

Monday was, as always, Viking time. We had Henrik again, and we were studying viking expansion east. He made a quip about Ukraine, relevant because of the viking involvement in development in the area. Again, you had to be there. Monday also happened to be mine and the Emil’s 2 year anniversary. When I returned home from my lecture, there were flowers, a card and a box of chocolates on the table. The flowers are beautiful, the chocolates delicious, and the card so *cute*! I went out for a quick walk up to SF Bokhandeln and other places in search of something cool for the Emil, but found myself empty-handed. Such is life. Why is he so hard to buy for?!

Tuesday morning was the Merchandise meeting. We came up with loads of cool ideas ( including various uses for Dry Ice) and seriously, the party is going to be brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. Everyone should come. Seriously. I spent a considerable amount of the meeting playing with Nina’s Cat, who is the most adorable creature in existence, even if he does seem to think that feet are toys to attack and backs are climbing walls, and my tea is his to drink. I went straight from the meeting to University, for my Colonialism lecture. I confess, I didn’t do the reading, but that’s mostly because his summaries are so good. I’ll do it eventually, but it just didn’t seem worth it at the time. Tuesday was Fat Tuesday too, so they had semla at the cafe, but I didn’t get any. In the evening Emil took me out for our anniversary meal at River Café in Eriksberg. We took the ferry over – I love the ferry. It was a really lovely restaurant – very posh, but absolutely fantastic. It’s right on the pier by the ferry landing, with a stunning view out over the river. Neither of us fancied any starters, but we both had Grilled Entrecôte with red wine sauce for main. Seriously, it was delicious. Really tender, succulent and beyond belief. I loved it! Again, none of the deserts particularly caught our eye, but we had coffee after. The view was stunning, the atmosphere wonderful, and our waiter so incredibly charming. Genuinely really enjoyed our meal.

Wednesday was slightly quieter. The morning was spent trying to sort out some of my uni stuff and doing a little gaming, but after that i received a text regarding a contact I should speak to about some work. Thus, the afternoon was spent applying for jobs, after which I ate and went over to hayley’s to finish watching Season 1 Game of Thrones and to do some work on my character for the game. I’m going to be playing a character who was previously an NPC. She’s really rather awesome and I’m very happy with her.

Thursday started with Laundry and housework, continued with our group project, and ended with a very long skype call or three. Someone stole my usual slot for laundry the last few weeks which means I’ve had to slot in where there’s space. I’m really annoyed that they’ve taken that slot, because it worked for me so well. Now, the difficulty is that I’m never sure when I’ll get to do laundry, and seeing as there are three machine- loads on average per week, that’s irritating. It’s also irritating because I like my routines. Without them I get stressed. I’ve had that slot since September. I like that slot. Now I don’t have a regular slot anymore, and it’s frustrating. That might sound really anal, but when you don’t have much of a structure to your day due to not-having-a-job, any structure you do have becomes important. Anyhow, the group project meeting was good. Still no word from the fifth guy in our group, so i think we’re just doing what we can until we know what’s become of him. We have a bit of direction, which is also good, and we know vaguely what we’re looking at. I’ve got a few books out and shall be doing a bit of light reading on the subject today. After the lecture Hayle came over and printed a few things off and she met Emil, which was cool. When she had left I ended up going for a walk around Gothenburg and finding the Stora Teatern cache (finally – it’s only taken me months!) The evening was spent on skype doing further character work with Hayley on my character. Seriously, love this character so much. I ended up writing eight pages of notes during the skype call on all the backstory and things I need to know about her. I’ve got more notes scattered on my desk from random scribblings as I started sorting out my points, skills, rotes etc.  She’s awesome.

Today’s jobs consist of uni work, a visit to SF Bokhandeln because I need and want dice and possibly a few other shineys, and maybe a bit of grocery shopping. I don’t know what we’re eating tonight because Emils going to be home ( originally I was going to have my egg fried rice, maybe not now.) Next week is currently looking really boring an empty, so hopefully I’ll get some work done then.


We have full fat milk at the moment  because of the baking I was doing today, and I’m used to semi skimmed or skimmed milk. For some strange reason full fat milk now tastes like UHT milk to me if I drink it in tea.

That is, it tastes genuinely awful. It’s nice on it’s own, but in tea? Somehow it just tastes wrong. I suppose it’s good really but it’s very odd.

Strangely enough though, in Sweden, Full fat milk is in a red carton, semi skimmed is green and skimmed is blue. This I find really confusing as it’s the opposite way around in the UK, where red-top is skimmed, green-top is semi, and blue-top is full fat ( we also have gold top, which is Jersey milk and is even creamier). There’s also the carton thing, which i find really odd too: Swedish milk comes in cartons, whereas in the UK it comes either in glass or plastic bottles.

And as a result of this observation on my part, I now have a song stuck in my head:



Dansa och Megaloppis

Yesterday was quite a busy day. As I mentioned already, we went bowling in Gamlestaden and had semla there too. However, that wasn’t the half of it.

After we returned home we had a few minutes of peace before chaos reigned again as both Emil and I got ready to go out (although the going out was to two different places!) Emil had a ticket to go and see Mnozil Brass play in a nearby town, and was going with his band friends. Just before he left they all found out that due to a plane strike in Frankfurt the band was running three hours late, but nevertheless, they went and really enjoyed it, arriving home at around 2am.

I, on the other hand, was going out dancing. Nina had promised that they’d show me how to dance ‘Bugg‘ which is, as i gather, a bit like a swedish variation of the jitterbug, and apparently there was a dancing night at a local casino. So, I dressed up in my favourite blue (slightly rockabilly but not entirely) dress, and dolled up with make-up, before heading over to Nina and Niklas’s  flat for a bite to eat and a board game with them and one of their other friends. We played Suburbia (I think that was the name), which was pretty fun, and were randomly attacked by Nina’s amazing flying kitten ( whose favourite games seem to be chasing my red-painted fingernails and pretending to be a parrot).

Soon it was time to go and we headed into town to Casino Cosmopol, not too far from Nordstan. It is, as suggested, a casino (one of only a few in the country). We paid entry (30kr) and then headed in. The band wasn’t that good to just stand and listen to, but it was great for dancing to, and Niklas is a very good dancer and great at teaching (and was also very patient when I screwed things up!). Within a few minutes I was dizzily twirling across the dancefloor. It was brilliant fun! Nina and I took turns dancing with Niklas as Joakim didn’t feel like joining in. In between Joakim and I were people watching, which is also a lot of fun. We were there from about 10 until 1.15 – a good sign of how good it was! I felt it was brilliant value as well – 30kr for entry, including wardrobe and free water on the side. In all, that made it cheaper than the nights out I would go on in the UK.

Niklas and I spent a while nattering after we got outside which was also very nice, and I then took the tram home. As I arrived at my home stop, I got of the tram and realise what a nice evening it was. For a few minutes I considered going for a bit of a walk. At this point, it dawned on me just how much safer it feels in Sweden than the UK at night: In the UK going for a walk on my own at 1.30AM would be unthinkable anywhere I’ve previously lived. Even in Cornwall it’d be unwise. In Sweden, not only did I come home on my own on public transport at 1.30AM, but it would be quite unlikely that I would have any problems if I went for a walk at that time – even on a friday night/saturday morning! I must admit, it’s really nice and quite freeing to feel able to do that. It’s a shame things aren’t so good in the UK. In Reading I rarely would go out of the house past 9pm on my own, and when I did I’d often either have comments thrown at me or feel unsafe. It’s very strange to see the difference.

In the end I decided to go straight home as I was thirsty. I stayed up until Emil got back, and he super-excitedly told me all about the concert, which he loved, and the fact that they had done thriller.

Today we went to Svenska Massan (which is just around the corner from us) for a massive flea market. Imagine a flea market the size of MCM Expo, for my UK friends, and I kid you not, that was the size of this one. We met up with Nina and Niklas again to go to this, and whilst we were inside we saw another friend – Sara.  I bought a set of sugar tongs for 20kr, and a few bits of netting with which to make some new petticoats. It was really good and I got some great bargains.

Since I got back I’ve been baking. Emil has a concert tomorrow and they’re going to have free Fika in the break and so he volunteered my baking talents towards this. As such, my kitchen is currently full of the aroma of Lemon Drizzle cake and Blueberry muffins. Both have come out in quantities slightly larger than I expected, but tests by the chief taste-tester (read: Emil) suggest that they’ve worked well. I’m actually very tempted to cook some more, as my sister linked a recipe for 7 calorie brownies earlier and I’m itching to try making them.


Yep – it’s that time again: time for another of my posts on strange Swedish foods. Today’s food is Semla.

Semla are buns full of whipped cream which are particularly eaten in the run-up to lent. Fat Tuesday ( Shrove Tuesday) is Semla Day. Yep, that’s right – instead of Pancakes they eat Semla on Shrove Tuesday*. However, they’re pretty much available everywhere from January onwards.

(*Just a note here for my Swedish friends: In the UK Shrove Tuesday is often known as Pancake Day – because, funnily enough we eat pancakes then. The traditional accompaniment to pancakes is lemon juice and caster sugar. A note to my English friends: in Sweden Pancakes usually come with Jam and cream. Whipped cream.)

The wonderful Miss Overkill (commonly known as Hanna) sent me a link via facebook which gave me a free Semla from Cederleufs & Svenheimers Bageri out in Gamlestaden. As such, after a nice bit of bowling this afternoon at Strike, Emil and I went to claim it so I could taste my first ever Semla. As he’s allergic to almonds, we had a vanilla one.


Now, it’s vaguely common knowledge that I’m not a huge fan of whipped cream due to incidents long ago (ask if you wish – it’s an interesting tale). Unfortunately, Semla tastes mostly of slightly sweet bread and a LOT of whipped cream. It’s not really offensive, but it’s a bit too creamy for my tastes. As such, I gave Emil the remainder of my one. Without the cream they’re – well… just slightly sweet, slightly Cardamom-flavoured rolls.

In conclusion – I can understand why people love them, but I’ll stick with my Lussekatter and Kanelbullar over Semla any day.