Summer is around the corner - we can feel it in the heavy, humid breeze blowing through our Brooklyn studio, and in our constant cravings for the cooling mint iced tea from our local coffee shop! Sure, sooner rather than later, we'll have our summer fridays and beach weekends to look forward to, but during those mid-summer weeks we'll need a little pick-me-up at the end of the workday.
The other day, we were flipping through Lotta's "Handmade Living" (the great thing about getting to write so many books over the years is that we can reference them later!) and the traditional mead caught our eyes. Fizzy, lemony and refreshing, a cool glass of mead is the perfect, slightly boozy, anecdote to a scorching summer afternoon - and it's easily made right in your own kitchen… or, in our case, studio! We made the simple recipe on Monday, gave the mixture some time to ferment, and today it was ready to sample!
As we glanced around the office for the perfect cup in which to serve our mead, we remembered that our lovely Lotta Jansdotter Crash Candles had just burned out. The glass vessels are so pretty that we decided to do a little scrubbing and use them for our office picnic! It's always so wonderful to find a way to give our favorite products a second life!
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We hope you'll give this recipe a shot and let us know what you think!
Lotta's Mead (Mjöd) from "Handmade Living" (Page 86)
Makes six 750-ml bottles+ 17 cups (4.25 liters) water + 3/4 cup (185 grams) packed dark brown sugar + 3/4 cup (185 grams) granulated sugar, plus 6 teaspoons + zest and juice of 2 lemons + 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast + 18 raisinsIn a large stockpot, bring the water to a boil. Stir in the brown sugar, the 3/4 cup granulated sugar, the lemon zest and lemon juice. Remove from the heat and let cool to warm, 105° Fto 115° F / 40°C - 46°C. Stir in the yeast until dissolved. Let stand, uncovered, at room temperature for at least 12 hours.

Put 1 teaspoon granulated sugar and 3 raisins into each of six wine bottles. Strain ladles of the mead through a funnel into the bottles. Cap tightly with corks or bottle stoppers. Place in a cool, dark place for 1 to 2 days, until the raisins have risen to the surface. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.






I love cardamom so, so much! I simply have it in me, that love of cardamom, thanks to growing up in Sweden where they use the spice in all kinds of baked goods, all the time.

On Thursday I had a visit to my studio from design director Paul. Paul told me a while back that he had never eaten "anything cardamom" ... especially not a cake! I figured I really needed to do something about that as he was clearly missing out. So I baked Paul a cardamom cake for our meeting.

And now you can make it too!



My Cardamom Cake


You need:


3 eggs 2 1/2 dl (1 cup) white sugar 1 dl (1/2 cup) milk 50 grams (half a stick) melted butter 2 teaspoons baking powder 3.5 dl (1 1/2 cups) white flour 1 tablespoon ground cardamom a few pinches of salt This is what you do: 1. Beat the eggs and sugar until REALLY fluffy.

2. Add milk and melted butter. Mix well.

3. Mix the cardamom and baking powder with the flour. Slowly fold this into the batter - do not over stir!

4. Oh yes, you need to butter a baking dish of your liking, and cover the dish with fine breadcrumbs … then you can pour the mixture into the pan.

5. It is now ready to bake for about 30 minutes, in the middle of your oven at 175 degrees C (350 F).

On a whim, and rather last minute, I decided that I wanted to add apples to this cake so I peeled 2 apples, cut them into thin wedges and pan-fried them with about 3 tablespoons of butter and 3 tablespoons of white sugar. I let them cook for a couple of minutes until they got a little soft then I poured that sticky, sweet and tasty mess on top of my batter! Then I baked it at the same temperature and for the same time as above. BLOG_2013_2-8-3


This cake is so yummy, perfectly paired with a glass of milk! ... And yes, Paul loved it!

Have a great weekend! "hej svejs"




A freshly backed treat from Lotta's book, Handmade Living.

When I first started working with Lotta in 2006, I asked so many questions about Scandinavia. My only experience of the region was with some Danes I worked for in Scotland--who were amazing chefs and introduced me to the world of gastronomy (along with rapid weight gain!). But of course, I knew it wasn’t quite the same, so I was excited to find out from Lotta more about her heritage.

Of the many wonders, I am absolutely enamored by fika. Fika, for those of you who don’t know, is essentially a coffee break, with food. It can be pastries of some sort or, in our case lately, cinnamon buns. I don’t know what it is about fika that I love so much...isn't it surely the same as the Australian morning tea I grew up with? But, there is something different to it, something more leisurely and habitual. The fact that it is somewhat of a social institution in Sweden fascinates me. I love things like that, and often wish I lived somewhere where a siesta was taken, especially after a leisurely fika!

Lotta and I have been splitting a cinnamon bun almost daily for the last few weeks from Four & Twenty Blackbirds. They are our neighbors, which is great luck because their pies and pastries are amazing. I thoroughly recommend a visit if you can get to Brooklyn. And if not, Lotta has her own Cinnamon Buns recipe that she is happy to share with everyone. It is from her book, Handmade Living, and I thoroughly recommend them from experience also. Enjoy your fika everyone! —Nerissa


Cinnamon Buns recipe Handmade Living


Cinnamon Buns recipe Handmade LivingCinnamon Buns recipe Handmade Living





2 1/8 cups milk 1/2 cup butter 3 (0.6 ounce) cakes compressed fresh yeast 8 ounces quark or sour cream (I used natural yogurt) 2 (0.5 gram) packets powdered saffron 2/3 cup sugar 1/2 teaspoon salt 7 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1 cup raisins (optional) 1 egg, beaten



- Heat the milk and butter in a small saucepan until the butter has melted and the temperature has reached 100 degrees F (38 degrees C). Crumble the yeast into a bowl, then pour in the warm milk. Stir well until the yeast dissolves. - Stir in the quark, saffron, sugar, salt, and 7 cups of the flour. Mix the dough in the bowl until it becomes shiny and silky, adding more flour as needed until it begins to come away from the sides of the bowl. Cover, and let rise for 40 minutes. - Prepare 2 or 3 baking sheets by covering each with a sheet of parchment paper. Lightly flour a work surface, punch down the dough, then divide into 35 pieces. Roll each piece into a rope, 5 to 6 inches long. With the rope lying flat on the work surface, roll each end towards the center, in opposite directions, creating a curled S-shape. Place the buns on the prepared baking sheets, and garnish with raisins if desired. Cover with a towel, and allow to rise for an additional 30 minutes while you preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). - Gently brush each bun with beaten egg, then bake in the oven until puffed and golden, 5 to 10 minutes.




August and I met up with Paulina, my sweetest niece, for a fika at "Bagarstugan" last week. Bagarstugan is a lovely cafe and lunch place, probably my favorite cafe' on Åland. I have spent many hours in this place through the years; eating, sketching and more eating. The baked goods here are amazing, handcrafted and made with lot's of love.



I really liked this candelabra that is made out of stringed dried rönnbär berries and dried wheat. Now is that a masterpiece in patience or what ? there a way to lend that idea and make something a tad bit more simple? -Have to think about that one a bit.



I decided to eat a "Fettisdagsbulle", and it was so incredible, did not disappoint. A sweet simple bun, with flavors of fresh cardemom, filled with almond paste and a ton of whipped cream. How can this not be good? This is a very seasonal pastry, made right before easter, the last festive food before Lent, well that is the old tradition, now we just eat them because they are so darn delicious. They are also called "semla" or "fastlagsbulle". We find many names for those we love I guess. And now you can make them too. Please find recipe below. Have a great weekend!