Stockholm: Scandi perfection (day 2)

Hello everyone and thanks for checking back in with me. It’s been a while since I wrote about my Nordic adventure and today we continue in Stockholm, Sweden. Most of this post is dedicated to delicious foods we consumed and shopping our way through Gamla Stan,
Norrmalm and Östermalm. However, we did spend a good portion of the day visiting the Royal Palace and the Swedish History Museum, but I will write a separate post to share with you some of the marvels we found.


Södermalm: Breakfast

Its always great to start you day with a big healthy breakfast, especially if your up early. I found the perfect cafe in Södermalm that offers a wholesome breakfast and some great coffee. Pom & Flora is trendy little cafe, which offers wholesome breakfast bowls, fancy toast, fresh baked breads ith eggs and more, gluten free breads and a selection of coffees, juices and smoothies. They have two locations, so if your not in
Södermalm, you can also visit their other location in Vasastan.

For Octavia and I, we ordered the Seasonal fruit with whipped coconut cream and Steel cut oats cooked with oat milk and cardamom, stewed rubhard, nuts and cottage cheese. Marco had the Grilled Croissant with cheese & ham. We also ordered some cappuccino with oats milk. Everything was really fresh and delicious and the service was relatively quick.


Gamla Stan: sites and lunch

Next we headed to the Gamla Stan, which is the old town of Stockholm and one of the best-preserved medieval cities in Europe. Here you can find the Royal Palace, some of the best restaurants and cafes, museums and little bouquets between the narrow streets.

First we headed to the Royal Palace (Kungliga slotten), which is one of the largest palaces in Europe and is still the offical residence of the King of Sweden. It contains five splendid museums that you could easily spend all day exploring. Since I took so many photos I will write a special post just for the palace and the museums that we visited. The photots below are just of the Palace exterior, views from within and the Parade Square (Outer Courtyard). It was here that we caught the end of the changing of the guards.


Afterwards we wondered through the streets of Gamla Stan and did some window shopping before stopping for lunch. I just loved the hussle and bussle of the streets. The main streets are Västerlånggatan and Österlånggatan. Perhaps one of the most famous symbols of the city is the building in Stortorget, a small public square. Some other interesting stops are the momument to St George and the Dragon and the extremely narrow Prästgatan (The Priest Street). Unfortunately I got to this narrow street just as a whole lot of tourist arrived to gawk and walk down it. We decided we were too hungry to go down that rabbit hole.


There are so many amazing place to lunch in Gamla Stan. I was considering Resturang Tradition, which offers high quality classic Swedish food and some of the best meatballs in the city (also lactose free!). However, since we were on a budget we went for another exciting but less expensive option. Strömmingsvagnen is a food truck offering traditional Swedish fried herring. This sounded delicious to me, but Marco wasn’t convinced until he tried it. Octavia and I shared the Nystekt Strömming med Hemlegat Potatismos (Fried herring with mash potatoes) with the choice of pickled cucumber, creme fraiche salad and lingonberry. Marco went for the safest option, the Herring Burger. It was all so delicious! The herring wasn’t greasy at all and tasted fresh, without the fishy flavour. The mash potato was creamy to perfection and the salads and jam fresh. The burger was also amazing, as the fillings really brought the best out of the herring. For a cheap lunch, I can’t recommend it enough, even if your not a fish lover. Afterwards Marco and Octavia got some Icecream from the Hell Dog Food Truck and which they both highly recommend.


Norrmalm to Östermalm

After lunch we had to go back through Gamla Stan to make our way to the Swedish Historical Museum to see the Viking exhibition. So we walked from the south west of Gamla Stan across the bridge into Norrmalm and along the Lilla Värtan river towards the museum. It was a long walk on a really hot day. You may be wondering why we didn’t take public transport. Well, the day before we did get a day pass and we barely used. So today we decided to walk, which we did. It only took about 30 minutes, but it felt longer because of the heat. It was still nice to walk along the Nybroviken, which is a small bay, which separates Norrmalm and Östermalm.
Östermalm is a beautiful beautiful and afflutent part of Stockhom, where you can find plenty of shopping, beauitiful architecture and museums.

After visiting the museum, Marco and Octavia went back to the apartment to have a rest before dinner. I didn’t want to sit around the appartment, so instead I went shopping. I walked back from Östermalm to Norrmalm. I window shopped my way from Nybrogatan to Birger Jarlsgatan to Biblioteksgatan. I even found an Eataly, which I didn’t know about in Stockholm. The one and only Eataly that I’ve been to was in New York, which I loved. If I had more time I would have loved to come back to dine there.

It was so hot out and I was getting really thirsty, so I stopped into Joe and the Juice. This is a Danish juice bar, that has since spread across Europe, America, Asia and Australia. This is my first time visiting one of their bars, but I do remember trying to find one in Sentosa, Singapore. They offer fresh juices, smoothies, coffee, as well as plenty of savoury and sweet options for lunch or afternoon tea. I ordered the Prince of Green fresh juice, which was sweet, earthy and very refreshing. I would have got something else, but I had to have dinner soon. Not long after this I had to make the dreaded walk back through Gamla Stan to meet my family back at the apartment for dinner.


Södermalm: Dinner

For dinner I already had a place in mind, which was near the apartment in Södermalm. Krogen Soldaten Svejk is an Eastern European Restaurant which offers hearty dishes at an affordable price. They have good reviews and we saw plenty of customers on arrival, which is aways a good sign.

I ordered Vepřová du chef Jurajda (roasted loin of pork with sauerkraut and dumplings). Marco ordered the Schnitzel Feldkurat Katz filled with ham and cheese, with fried potatoes. For Octavia we orderer the Cheese and Sausage Plate. The food was exactly what we were hoping for, it was well cooked, hearty and so delicious. The only disappointment was the Cheese and Sausage plate, since we didn’t know that it would be processed cold meat. However, we probably should of asked a few more questions. It was still good, but nice exactly a kids meal. Octavia didn’t mind tucking in to our dishes anyway and we had an extra side dish.

To finish the night off we head to a local grocery store and bought some Swedish Icecreams. Their grocery stores full of interesting foods and plenty of dairy free and other healthy alternatives. You can probably guess which ones was mine.


Since this post has mainly been able food I will share with you some of the other places I would have loved to have tried. Unforunately this was our last full day in Stockholm, so I wasn’t able to try them this time.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everybody! I hope you had or having an amazing time celebrating the end of 2018 and a new start to new year. I am actually really excited about the upcoming year. So many exciting things are going to happen and so many possibilities.

I don’t intend starting the new year with any resolutions. But this year is hopefully going to be fresh start for my health. Once I am feeling 100% I intend to grow my family by one more, followed by my dream Disney wedding in Hawaii. So there is lots to look forward to and prepare for.

This year for this blog I’m hoping to continue to write about travel and colouring. I will also focus more on food and tell you about my new found passion for genealogy.

Before I completely move into the new year, I thought I would take a look back over the last year.


Live

So this year I did quite a bit of spontaneous travel. We visited Singapore and Nordic Europe. I am still in the process of writing about my trip through Sweden and Finland. We saw so muchand I have been a bit lazy in getting it all written up. If you planning I trip to either of these place do check out my posts to see some of the amazing places that you can visit and eat.


Eat

I didn’t post that many recipes this year, but these are the ones that made it onto the blog. As you can see its mostly pasta, since thats a big part of our diet. You can find all these recipes and more in my Recipe Index. Probably my favourite recipes for this year were the:


Colour

Adult colouring still remains a big part of my life. I find it to be a great creative outlet and I don’t see myself giving it up any time soon. I know its not trending so much for regular folks, but the colouring community is still alive and well. This year I review quite a few book reviews, including:

I also did a few of themed colouring projects:

Here are a few of my favourites from this year:

All the best for your new year and I look forward to bring you more travel adventures, delicious eats and colouring inspriation this year!

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone! Some of you may be celebrating Christmas or Christmas Eve today. In Australia it’s Christmas Day, so I will be spending the day with family.

During this past month I haven’t been able to post anything on this blog, do Christmas shopping and prepare for today, as I have been very unwell. After initially getting a virus, I recovered, then my daughter got it and she recovered. However, then I got a mutated version which lead to a viral and bacterial infection. So I have been bedridden most of this week. However, today I am feeling well enough to be around people and enjoy one of my favourite days of the year.

Christmas Presents

Unfortunately for my family they won’t be getting any presents from me today. I normally start doing my Christmas shopping in November but I was a bit late to start this year and then I wasn’t able to do any. I guess I’m also not feeling as materialistic this year. In saying that Santa and Marco did leave me some presents. I got a these gorgeous two dresses from Baby Lemonade. The cookbook, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking, by Samin Nosrat. I am so excited about this book after watching her series, Salt Fat Acid Heat on Netflix. As for colouring books I finally got Johanna Basford’s new book World of Flowers and Emelie Lidehall Oberg’s Fairy Tales Colouring Book. I am a big fan of both these ladies work, so I knew eventually they would be joining my collection.

Christmas Colouring

Over this past month I planned to do as much Christmas colouring as I could. I didn’t do as much as I would like to since I wasn’t feeling up it, but I did about nine pages in a few books. Today I will just share a couple page, since the rest are from Johanna’s Christmas. I will do a book review and flip through, to showcase that book in the next few days.

The very first picture I did for Christmas colouring this year is from one of my recent books that I had yet to start. This Christmas Angel is from
Creative Haven Beautiful Angels Coloring Book, by Marjorie Sarnat. I coloured her with Prismacolour and used white gel pen for some of the details and cover some of the black lines. The paper in this book is quite good, but it was a little challenging to blend too much with Prismacolor. I also find most of the pictures are quite busy, so I tried to just reuse the same colors. I am not too sure about the flowers and the pink, but I prefered not to use red. Overall I’m quite happy because the original sketch is quite flat so I think I bought a little dimension to it.

The next picture is from ESCAPE Collage Art by Marty Nobles. This is my second picture in this book and the perfect Christmas image. The paper in this book is a little different. It is thick but its closer to a old children’s colouring book. I do find that soft Prismacolor pencils work well, which is what I used. I just found it challenging when layering for animal fur. It took me a while to do this one as well, as I wanted the right colors that would be harmonious and more old fashioned rather then bright and modern. My background is a bit strange, but I had to give it a little texture. The snow dots where actually already drawn in the picture, so I just used a white gell pen to bring them out. I don’t mind this picture so much now its done. What I reallly like about this book is that you can focus on different sections, which don’t take too long to complete.

Marco’s Birthday Feast

The last thing that I will share with you today was Marco’s birthday dinner, which was a week before Christmas. If you remember last year I made him the Feast of Seven Kingdoms. Well I didn’t go that overboard this year. Octavia had just gotten better and I was on day one of my second bout of illness. I took a couple of short cuts, but I tried to make everything from scatch. We didn’t have a huge amount of guest, so there was plenty for food for that night a couple days of leftover.

So when they arrived to served this platter, which included Proscuitto di Parma, Organic Nitrate Free Legham, gerkins and Rice Croquettes. These croquettes are my Nonna’s specality, which she makes at every family event. I finally tried my hand at making them. I also made a couple gluten free for my nephew. According to Marco mine were really good, but not as good as Nonna’s since she fries hers a bit longer.

For the dinner I served homemade Papardelle with a Traditional Bolgnese sauce. I used this recipe from Food Nouveau and it was pretty good. The traditional ragu uses butter and milk, white wine and much less tomatoes. I cooked it for three hours and it was just so full of flavour. I think the secret is really pushing the meat to carmelise. Since I’m not in the habit of using milk I did use lactose free, hoping that it wouldn’t affect anyones allergies. I also made homemade Gnocchi with pesto and topped with Pecorino Romano. I normally make my own pesto but I used a good quality organic brand to save time. I also made Baked Tuna Canneloni, which had Fontina cheese in the bechemel and filling. Everyone was surprised to really enjoy this one. I also made a green salad and sauted kale with raisens (forgot the pine nuts). For bread, since Serbian’s need their bread I made Focaccia. My sister and brother in-law actually have their own Pizza restaurant, so I was able to use their dough to save time. I added lots of EVO to the dough and a salt brine and let is rise a couple of times. I should have probably split the dough in two, so that it would be more crispy and not as high. Nobody cared, they actually really liked it and there was really not much left at the end of the night.

Lastly for the birthday cake, I purchased this as an impulse buy from a the French bakery, Jocelyn’s Provisions. It was a small Chocolate Sour Cream Cake Small Round, topped with white cholate ganache and sprinkled with
candied violets.  It was extremely rich, but really delicious.

If you made it this far down let me know what you did for Christmas? Any special art projects, cooking or eating endeavours?

Baked Eggs with Mediterranean Hash

It’s been a while since I have posted any recipes. I haven’t been as passionate about cooking recently, while I’ve been juggle uni, a testy toddler and constant onslaught of the flu. Cooking has been more a chore of late, but I’m hoping that now I’m on holidays I can experiment with some new recipes. I’m really excited to make some homemade pasta after watching the new docuseries, Salt Fat Acid Heat. If you have Netflix you must check it out and have your passion for food renewed.

So this recipe is just a quick lunch I prepared for myself and my partner, while our daughter was having some Nonna time. I was inspired by Spinach and Potatoes Baked with Eggs from Scandinavian Comfort Food. Since I was missing some of the key ingredients, I italianized it with what I had on hand. I also got to try out my new Lodge caste iron skillet, which I bought as an non-toxic alternative. It was a great to cook with and easy to clean.. Well easy for Marco to clean, since I’m the cook.

This dish can serve two hungry people or three, if you add another egg. I served it with a fresh green salad coated with my new favourite ingredient, Cobrum Estate Lemon Infused EVO. I also used this oil in the hash to infuse it with a fresh lemon flavour. If you watch the first episode of Salt, Fat Acid Heat, you will get why I’m a bit obsessed with EVO right now.

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Norwegian Road Trip Day 2 : Balestrand (part 4)

Our last big stop on our 2nd day of our road trip was Balestrand. This was probably the one I was most excited about. We arrived it was quite late, so we did a little bit of wandering around. My daughter had also become very unruly, so we ended up spending a couple hours before retiring for the day at our apartment in Førde. I did really like Balestrand and happy we trekked this far to explore this small town.

The village of Balestrand is in the Balestrand municipality, in the Sogn og fjordane region. It is located on the northern shore of the Sognefjorden and the mouth of Esefjorden. This town has been a major tourist stop since the 1800s. It is also known as the Art village and has inspired many artists from England and Germany. These travellers have also influenced much of the architecture.

Some points of interest include Sognefjord Aquarium (Sognefjord Akvarium and Gallery Munken), Golden house Gallery (Det gylne hus), Kviknes Hotel (Private collection of art mainly from the national-romantic period), King Bele Statue and Balestrand Viking Barrows, St Olaf’s Angelican Church and the Norwegian Museum of Travel and Tourism (Norsk Reiselivsmuseum).

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Norwegian Road Trip Day 2 : Vikøyri (part 3)

After stopping at Undredal we made our way to the town of Vikøyri. This stop wasn’t originally in the itinerary as we had intentions of crossing the fjord to Balestrand. However we were starving, so this was a convenient stop to make to have a break and try some Viking cheese.

First a bit about our major stop. Vikøyri is the central town for the municipality of Vik, in the Sogn og fjordane region. This old coastal settlement is situated midpoint on the Sognefjorden and the mouth of the Vikja river, which is the best salmon river in the region. Some of the points of interest include the Tine cheese factory (see below), the Hopperstad Stave ChurchHove Stone Churchold shore dweller siteMoahaugane Burial Mounds, the Kristianhus Båt- og Motormuseum.

 

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Norwegian Road Trip Day 1: Viking Village (part 2)

Last I left you we had just seen some amazing Norwegian Waterfalls on the way to Gudvangen. Why were we headed to this small village in Aurland, Sogn og Fjordane? To visit the Viking Village of course!

The Viking Village is nestled between the  Kjelfossen (one of the tallest waterfalls in Norway, 755 metres) and the spectacular Nærøyfjord. During the Viking period, Gudvangen was an important place for trade and it’s name translates to a ‘place of the gods’. So this is a fitting location to step back in time and experience the Viking way of life.

Before we visited the Viking Village,  we took some photos on the Nærøyfjord. It is the most majestic fjord. The water is so clear and catches the shades of green from the mountains that dominate the landscape.

 

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Norwegian Road Trip Day 1: Waterfalls (part 1)

Today I will bring you along on our road trip in Norway. If you have been following along you know that last we were last in Bergen. We only had three days to fit in as many stops as we could and make it back to Bergen to fly out. Most guides from Bergen recommend driving out to Flåm and driving same direction back. I thought it would be better to do a round trip, so that we would see more. I couldn’t find a guide that recommend a round route, so we kinda made our own and booked our accommodations to correspond with our stops.

The map below shows the general direction with some of the major stops. This route is totally doable in 3 days, even with a screaming toddler in the car. Some of these stretches are a bit long, which is because the mountainous terrain and the fjords that take longer to navigate. Many of the water crossings require a river ferry, which can take time and do require a fee. However this gave us unforgettable scenic views and made the drive definitely more interesting as the landscape was constantly changing. FIY, we paid about $80 AUD in toll for these 3 days and there aren’t many signs for speed limits, despite the speeding camera.

Roadtrip Norway.jpg

 

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Oslo: botanic gardens & the Bergensbanen rail (day 3)

Our last day in Oslo was just really a half day since we had to travel to Bergen in the afternoon. I hate travelling during the day since it feels like such a waste, but with a kid it does make it easier. I tried to fit in a some shopping in Bogstadveien and a visit to the University Botanic Gardens before our epic train ride to Bergen on the Bergensbanen rail! If you would like to see the amazing landscapes I captured on our journey, scroll down towards the end of this post.

 

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Oslo: Cultural and heritage sites (day 2)

On our second day in Oslo we had a big day jam packed full of free cultural and heritage sites. There’s actually quite a lot you can do for free in Oslo, which you can enjoy all year round. Some of the highlights of day two include the Royal Palace and tranquil Slottsparken, the amazing art work at the City Hall, the historic Akershus Fortress, and the marvellous Opera House. I originally planned to also fit in the Free East Side Walking Tour (currently not on offer) in the afternoon, but I don’t think we could have possibly done it. My legs were still swollen from the flight and Octavia made it clear she was not going to be content to sit and be quiet. All in all I think we did pretty well and we also ate pretty well too.

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Oslo: Norwegian metropolis (day 1)

Our first stop on our Nordic Adventure began in Oslo, Norway. This metropolitan city is the largest city and capital of Norway. It is known as a cosmopolitan hub for its architecture, arts scene, museums, great restaurants and fashion. We spent a couple of days in Oslo and it’s a city I could see myself living or revisiting.

Oslo has so many amazing museums, sites and public parks. With only a couple of days and a toddler in toe, we had to be picky to what we could see and do. Another consideration we had is that Norway has such a strong currency, making this the most expensive country we have ever visited. On the plus side, the public transport is really accessible and pretty cheap and can be purchased from 7/11. We decided against buying the Oslo pass, for this reason and also because we would not been able to see everything on offer in such a short time frame. However, we did get to see quiet a bit, so this destination needs at least 3 posts. Some of the highlights in this post includes breakfast pastries at BackstubeFrogner ParkVigeland Park, Karl Johans GateGrünerløkka and dinner at Mathallen Food Hall.

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6# Life Update: home again, birthday and transit eats

I officially returned to Australia at the end of June after three weeks of travelling in Nordic Europe. It’s taken me a little bit to get over the jet lag since I was living in the lands of the midnight sun, with an 8 hour difference to my home timezone. I was only averaging about 4-5 hours sleep which is normal for me when I travel, since I am always on such a high. However, after having a child, my sleep isn’t as important as someone else, so I am not able to bounce back as quickly and get cankles from the aeroplane. The joys of age and responsibility. So anyway I am finally feeling like myself again the past couple of days.

 

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