Lingonberry/ Cranberry Slice – Tantalizing Tuesday

Well known in Scandinavia, the lingonberry is related to the cranberry, bilberry and blueberry. Berries are a great addition to one’s diet. Why? Because they contain powerful antioxidants  and provide many health benefits when we eat them. And why not enjoy them in a delicious dessert slice. This slice can be served hot or cold.

Tantalizing Tuesdays

More information on the health benefits is given below but here is the Scandinavian recipe:

Lingonberry  / Cranberry  Slice

 

Base:

4 1/2 dl (almost 2 cups) Plain white flour
1/2 dl (2/3 cup) Sugar
1 tablespoon Baking powder
150 g(5 ounces, almost 2/3 cup)
Unsalted butter
1 Egg
2 dl (3/4 cup) Lingonberry  or cranberry jam/ plum filling/ or your favourite preserves

Streusel topping:
1 1/2 dl (2/3 cup) Oatmeal
3 tablespoons Butter
1 dl (1/2 cup) Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla sugar (1/2 teaspoon extract)

Pre – heat the oven to 200 degrees C (400 degrees F).
Combine flour, sugar, and baking powder then cut in the butter.
Add the egg and mix well. Spread into a greased 20×30 (8×12″) pan.
Spread the preserves quite thickly over the batter.
Bake 25-30 minutes, until golden.

Cool in the pan and slice while still warm.
Enjoy served warm or cold. Yumm!!!!

 

Animal studies have shown how the lingonberry can lower inflammatory molecules, block oxidants from destroying tissue, and also help the body replace important antioxidants, like glutathione, which is a master antioxidant in our body. Lingonberry has also been shown to increase red blood cell and liver enzymes needed for antioxidant protection. We need antioxidants to protect vessels and nerve tissue, and also to help decrease the damage from inflammation. Proanthocyanidin extracts from lingonberries were also found to be effective against the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus, which can cause a wide variety of infections.

[Credit: http://www.doctoroz.com/article/superfruit-lingonberry%5D

Something nutritious and delicious to Ponder About

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Enjoy Scandinavia without the long flight!

A while ago, I was invited to write a post about Scandinavian books and have reproduced some sections and updated others here:

Have you ever dreamt of visiting Scandinavia: the lands that gave us Ikea, Santa Claus, and Hans Christian Andersen? Perhaps you have thought of getting close and personal with a Viking in the fjords of Norway, or the unique landscape of Iceland, but have found neither the time nor the funds?

You can still experience the arctic world without leaving the comfort of your own home through the literary works of Scandinavians. Gaining popularity here not just because they write good crime mysteries, but also because they focus more on story and descriptive plot, giving the reader an impression of, “being there.”

So select your destination and read on:

Denmark

Visit the fairy tale land of Denmark through the eyes of writer Elsebeth Egholm, an excellent crime fiction writer, (Title: Next of Kin), set in the author’s hometown of Århus. Or you could get a feeling for Greenland and snow with Peter Høeg’s thriller “Smilla’s Feeling for Snow”, or even watch the 1997 movie version of the same name, starring Julia Ormond. But if historical fiction is more your thing, Per Olov Enquist will transport you to the Danish royal court of King Christian VII of Denmark and the 1700’s – the time of ‘enlightenment,’ with a tale of romance, lust, treachery and intrigue.

Sweden

A short train ride from Copenhagen, takes one to Sweden, across the Bridge over the Oresund, which is a central theme on the TV series, “The Bridge” (available on DVD). The first season was so popular a second one is set to come. Most people are familiar with Henning Mankell’s ‘Wallander’ books and film, but there are many other Swedish authors whose writings bring Sweden into your own home. Camilla Lackberg is an author who writes about Fjallbacka, a small town on the Swedish Bohuslan coast, with journalist turned home-maker Erica Falck, helping out her policeman husband solve puzzling murder mysteries such as The Ice Princess, which is first in the series.

No one can dispute Stieg Larson’s, ‘Millenium Trilogy’ has brought Swedish crime fiction to Hollywood, and the world, but not everyone likes crime fiction, even if it is Scandinavian. ‘Hanna’s daughters,’ (a story of three generations of woman and their journeys through life’s stages), together with  ‘Inge and Mira’, and ‘Simon and the Oaks’, are three fiction novels of human drama, peppered with a little history, and a central theme of  “friendship,” which the author believes, is more important than family.

Karin Altvegen’s describes marginal life in Sweden’s suburban fringes, in the psychological thriller, ‘Shame” whilst John Ajvide Lindqvist’s “Let the right one in”- is a horror fiction story about vampires, but don’t let that put you off. I would never read a story on vampires, yet this one is a more intimate account of childhood bullying than vampires themselves and, furthermore, was made into a successful movie, then remade by Hollywood. Very atmospheric and highly recommended!

Finally, Lars Kepler is selling out in bookstores as his atypical but brilliant Finnish detective solves even the most brutal and complicated crimes in a most unusual way. I would suggest The Hynoptist and The Fire Witness.

Hungry? Time for a coffee break? Enhance the full Scandinavian experience with an authentic Norwegian Waffle with Swedish Cloudberry Jam and cream?   Recipe found here

Norway

Waffles are delicious while reading works by Norwegian writers: Jo Nesbø with the infamous Harry Hole, Karin Fossum, whose character exist on the fringes of society, or Anne Holt, former Norwegian Justice Minister turned crime writer, with her detective Hanne Wilhelmsen series.Recently, I read “Finse 1222”, set at one of the highest points along the Oslo-Bergen train line, wherein Holt’s descriptions of a winter snowstorm are so real, that when you read it, you will be shovelling snow in your dreams. Again, if you prefer something that does not have dead bodies, I recommend Per Pettersen, (To Siberia, Out Stealing Horses) or Jostein Gaarder (Sophie’s World – a Fiction story that introduces you to philosophy in a fascinating way).

Iceland

Finally, your Scandinavian tour is complete when you get a taste for Icelandic landscapes and culture in Arnaldur Indridason’s police procedurals: Jar City, Arctic Chill, and Hypothermia. (my favourite detective stories), or a depiction of Icelandic rural life, is found in Halldor Laxness’, “Iceland’s Bell.”

Travel fiction of note:

Andrew Stevensen – Non- Fiction; “Summer light”; A Walk across Norway. Not a Scandinavian writer, but nevertheless a great travel account.

True North – Gavin Francis: Travels in the Arctic, following the travels of ancient Nordic explorers.

I recommend checking out Euro crime for seeking details of other Scandinavian authors and further listings of individual Scandinavian titles to ponder about. Bon Voyage!!

 

Something Scandinavian to Ponder About

30 Day Book Challenge – A Book You Wish You Could Live In

DAY 18. – Fishing in Utopia – Andrew Brown

I blame the sadness. It caught me completely off-guard. In my defense, I would claim that I had only recently returned from an exhilarating vacation in Scandinavia, and had almost made it through the mandatory 3 weeks of post-holiday, emotional doldrums, that consistently ‘kneecap’ me on my return to the sunburnt land in which I live, when I borrowed this part-travelogue/ part-memoir, at my local library.

I will admit, of course, borrowing the book was a way to to feed my addiction: this inner longing for a land I had just left, (and would not see again for an indefinite period, or at least until my savings account rose significantly). If I can’t be in Sweden, (or Denmark or Norway ), I fathomed, I can, at least, immerse myself in a book about the place. After all,  a trip in your imagination is a trip, after all. (And at least I won’t have to contend with jet lag).  And so, it was with this mindset that I read Andrew Brown’s book based in Sweden, titled, “Fishing in Utopia.”

The Author is a storyteller and journalist who skillfully weaves a story spanning 30 odd years of his life, first as an English ex-pat married to a Swede living in Sweden in the 70’s, and then later again later in life, both through the lens of a recreational fisherman and the lure of ‘Pike’.

Through his fishing expeditions, Brown encapsulates well that special atmosphere that is the Scandinavian summer, with the long hours of daylight where people languish in a idyllic red timber cottage in the countryside, fringed with crystalline lake waters and air so fresh you would think it is pure oxygen, and where, according to Brown, “everything floats in a quality of light like mercury” or the water “glitters like pollen.” [Reading this, certainly didn’t actively cure my ‘Scandinavian withdrawal’ at all and I began to wish I lived in this book!] To Brown, ‘fishing is a form of inquiry. The patient, watchful wonder of the fisherman seems to me the root of all science’.

Brown goes further than mere descriptive and romantic accounts of Swedish life. He delves deeper into what he sees as the ‘psyche’ of the Swedes themselves, who less than three generations ago, were mere subsistence farmers, conformist, religious, yet fundamentally conservative. Was Sweden in the 70’s really that different with its egalitarian welfare state where poverty and crime was nonexistent and the Prime Minister lived an ordinary life? Judge for yourself:

… its language is shaped by the cold, so that one spends as little time as possible with one’s tongue exposed. How even on wide, open roads its motorists keep to 55 mph. How to be expelled from the consensus there is ‘like being thrown out of a space station’. http://www.spectator.co.uk/books/1736216/the-end-of-eden/

Brown maintains the Swedish individual was less important than the nation as a ‘whole’ : “It was the life of a battery salmon: packed into a crowd in the middle of a boundless stretch of water by a cage of netting that you could not see at all. It appeared to be part of the sea.”

But life changes with the passage of time, as did Brown’s marriage, and Sweden and its people; so that when he returns in 2006, he laments the disappearance of the traditional, uncomplicated Sweden (where Swedish lapland supermarkets stock reindeer blood and industries were owned by the state) and the Sweden he thought he knew had been transformed into a multicultural ‘cafe’ society, now a common phenomena throughout Europe.  Gone is the the socialist welfare state and like many large cities, crime rates and unemployment has risen. This Sweden is seeminlgy more open, and every village, even those villages too small to support a local grocery store has, Andrew claims, ” a Kurdish family running a pizza restaurant.

So is this so bad?

I had mocked Sweden for failing to live up to its own ideals, but I had always supposed these were ideals that everyone shared. I had not considered the possibility that some people could want a less equal society.” Even with this statement, I still get the distinct impression Brown has a soft spot for Sweden. After all, his son is there and therefore like me, also a small piece of his heart.

To know Sweden and live there in the 70’s, sounds awfully much like Utopia to me. Yet, while I wait for the development of the time machine that will take me back to the 70’s, I must be content living in my imagination, through this book, and the egalitarian and romantic Utopia those words created in my mind.

Something I often ponder about.

DAY 19. – A favourite author.

 

Learning Danish – Fornøjelse Pleasure

Pleasure –  Fornøjelseaarhus

from the verb fornøje : to please or delight or gratify

Fornøjelig –amusing, delightful, pleasant

Fornøjelse – pleasure, delight, diversion, amusement.

betale fornøjelse: (to) foot the bill

finne fornøjelse i: take pleasure/delight in

har fornøjelse af: deirive satisfaction from

Det er mig en stor fornøjelse at…   It gives me great pleasure to….

Ja, med fornøjelse: Yes, with pleasure. – in agreeing to do something

God fornøjelse! : Have a good time!

Fornøjelsesliv – entertainment, means of enterntainment

Fornøjelsestur – det er ingen fornøyelsestur : It is no picnic. (metaphorical picnic)

Så kom den næste, han var lystigmager, han var direktør for komedierne, maskeraderne og al den fornøjelse der kan findes på. Hans rejsegods var en stor tønde.

Then came the next, he was merry-maker, he was director of comedies, masked balls, and all the pleasure that can be found. [Source: H C Andersen, posted on http://vandreture.wordpress.com/]

Some Danish words to ponder about for those of us struggling to extend our danish vocabulary.

Scandinavian Festival 2013

Scandinavian festival“Newstead overrun with Vikings!”

 

But there was no raping nor pillaging this time and just as well:  10,000 + people were present in Austin Street. [The Scandinavian community is big here]

Now set to become an annual event, the second Scandinavian festival was in full swing on September 8th and all the Nordic clubs attended. It was wonderful to see not only the craft from the Icelandic community, but the Finnish club as well, (their donuts were to die for).

But the food did not end with Swedish meatballs and Danish pølse med remoulade ( Hot dogs with mustard sauce ). There was also icecream, pytt i panna (a kind of bubble and squeak), organic Breads and Danish pastries, as well as Norwegian waffles,Danish Christmas decorations, Norwegian handicrafts, (including my Rosemaling), stunning watercolours, from Norwegian artist Marianne Seldon, Vintage Danish furniture, historical group Saga Vikings displays and Ikea products.

Very very Scandinavian!

It was such a warm day, as days can be in this region, so one had to really use the imagination to believe you were in Scandinavia, but there were moments when many of us forgot the sub tropical conditions and reminisced about the homelands, or for others, discovered for the first time, the real delights of this ethnic region and its cultures.

 

Scandinavian festival

Just as well I was kept busy on the Norwegian craft group stall, else I would have gained several kilos in weight stuffing myself with good Nordic tucker! Pity I missed the smorgastørta, (it sold out early), and the entertainment: folk dancing, and the Scandi choir, but there is always next year. However, I managed to snavel some Copenhagen Ice- cream and Icelandic Kleiner (they are also Danish, but who wants to quibble) and not pressure the waistline too much! I should ponder about that.