This year, the inhabitants of Tribble Towers did something we’d never done before: we went online and booked a holiday abroad, just the two of us. I’d been wanting to return to Sweden since our weekend on Ingarö last December, and so we decided to stay in the Slussen area of Stockholm.
At Skansen, 15th October 2017. Happy anniversary to us!
We were a bit shattered on our first night there, but we did stumble across a charming Italian restaurant by the name of Restaurant Papagallo, where we tried filet mignon (a first for me, and it was delicious). I would have taken a picture of the meal, but I ate it! The following day was spent with my friend Jimmy; that evening we all went looking for something to eat and found what turned out to be an absolute dive (the unisex toilet was in the basement opposite the kitchen, and someone had stolen the light bulb so I had to use my mobile phone light – and my nose – to find the “facilities” in the first place. Thank the gods I’d had brunch at Tully’s Coffe earlier that day).
The 15th was our official ten year anniversary, and so we’d decided not to meet up with anybody, and to spend the day visiting The Vasa Museum and Skansen Open Air Museum. We didn’t get to spend a lot of time with the Vasa last year and I wanted to learn more about her and her demise, and Dom wanted to find the Skansen wolverine (we were successful too).
That evening we had our dinner at the hotel restaurant to celebrate our finding each other all those years ago. It really isn’t often that I make an effort with my appearance (I’m really casual in my approach to clothing: if it’s comfortable and I can chuck it on effortlessly, it’s in my wardrobe) but I made an exception for this occasion:
Meanwhile, back home, Lisa was fixing to steal one of my baby tarantulas!
I have been quite unwell since returning home (I caught a cold on the plane), but it was a fun trip and one that I wouldn’t have missed for the world! Now that I’m on the road to recovery, pickling season has begun. I even have some fun new Swedish recipes to try over the Christmas period (because you knew I’d come home with at least one recipe book).
First of all, it was time to make my mother’s piccalilli, which looks nothing like the green sludge you tend to find on supermarket shelves. I will only use the freshest, best looking veg from the market (I don’t mind if it’s “wonky”, as misshapen veg often tastes better than “standard”) and we don’t chop it too finely. Since this batch is for my mother, it contains chillis too!
There’s even enough to give to friends! The large jar, of course, is for Mother Dearest. Now I need to get busy with confiturra, chutneys, spicy courgettes… this year I’ve brought a fermented pickle recipe back from Sweden, which I am trying out with the help of my dear friend Alex this weekend (I need to make some in advance so that it’s ready for her to take a jar home too). No doubt she will grab a pan or a colander and stick it on her head whilst yelling “EXTERMINATE!” at the same time, or try to steal my “Geronimo!” tea, or something. Shenanigans shall certainly abound, to be topped off with a takeaway or a meal out, and probably a favourite Doctor Who episode or three.
You’d probably noticed some red berries on my plate of meatballs (kottbüllar) further up. Those are lingonberries, and they actually taste nicer than cranberries (which I love). So, naturally, I went searching for and found a young lingonberry bush soon after returning home, which I potted up today.
I won’t get anything from this for a couple of years yet, but it will be worth the wait!
Illness notwithstanding, we really enjoyed our time in Sweden, and now it’s the time of year where I gear the kitchen towards preserving, pickling and baking. This November we might go out for my birthday, with friends (the fourth birthday I’ve had since refusing to die!) and – as we did last year – we are inviting close friends over for a Jul feast before the Christmas holiday has us heading to the supermarket for supplies. No goose this year: as delicious as it is, it almost killed our cooker (I can still sterilise jars in the oven, but we’ve not risked more than that so far).
Before I go, meet the star of Skansen, who melted both of our hearts: