Stockholm’s best semla?

During my early days of eating (eg. when I was a kid in one of Stockholm’s Northern suburbs) I did not really like the semla. The semla (one semla, several semlor) is a Swedish pastry, consisting of a soft, sweet pillowy bun that is filled with (hopefully) fresh whipped cream and almond paste. When I was younger, I found it too rich and without anything to really contrast the extremely sweet taste.

In my later years I’ve started to appreciate the semla however, and this season’s been my most semla-intense so far, with several semlor downed even before tomorrow, the 28th of February. As you may, or may not know, February 28th this year is Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, which also is semmeldagen or National semla day, in Sweden. This year I have found the wienersemla and it has brought my semi-new found love of semlor to a new level. Below are a few delicious one I’ve had lately.

The secret semla

Above is a hemla, which is short for hemlig semla, meaning ‘secret’ semla. The reason why it’s secret is, because the filling; whipped cream and almond paste, is hidden inside the bun. This one is from Wienercaféet.

The Danish pastry semla, Wienersemlan

Wienersemlan. My new favourite pastry, with a croissant-y or Danish pastry:ish bun (Wienersemla is from wienerbröd which is Swedish for Danish pastry) filled with whipped cream and almond paste. This one is bought from Magnus Johanssons Bageri. It is similar to a semla, and according to many not a real semla. So delicious though that it in my mind beats the traditional one (sorry traditional semla-lovers).

Semmelwrappen

Mention also to Tössebageriet’s delicious semla wrap, or semmelwrap as we call it. The traditional semmel bun has been smashed into a flat, semmel bun-flavoured wrap, which, like a semla, is filled with whipped cream and almond paste. Very delicious too.

What about normal semlor?

If you want to have a traditional proper semla however, the picture at the top of this post is from a breakfast dessert tasting of semlor the other day. The right one is a traditional one and was really delicious too. It’s like the wienersemla bought at Magnus Johanssons Bageri in Hammarby Sjöstad.

Update: A great traditional semla (pic above) can also be found at Älvsjö Konditori, just outside central Stockholm. The semla is one of the better I’ve had.

Sunday waffle fika at Älskade Traditioner

Just got back to the Sunday couch after a sugar-rushy fika at retroish café Älskade Traditioner on Södermalm in Stockholm.

Älskade traditioner translates to “beloved traditions” in Swedish, and serves for instance savoury as well as sweet waffles, cakes, semlor, Swedish classics such as meatballs, Bullens pilsnerkorv (sausages) and herring. The place is located on trendy Södermalm and was packed with a Sunday fika crowd. The service was friendly but sort of chaotic with my waffle arriving a few minutes after being ordered, while my fika companion’s waffle arrived together with my latte 15-20 minutes later, after we asked the staff where it had gone. The waffles were delicious and prices decent fortunately.

Savoury club sandwich waffle with chicken, bacon and extra avocado.

Nutella waffle with whipped cream, strawberry ice cream and fresh strawberries. Reminded me of the ‘pancake cakes’ I had as a child.

Banana split waffle. Also very good.

Price and website

While not exactly inexpensive at 95 kronor for a nutella waffle, prices are still pretty good considering the area as well as quality. A tasty latte was 40 kronor.

They do not have a website, but their Facebook page has some info about location etc.

Dough – how to make the perfect homemade pizza

Pizza. One of my, and many others’ favourite dishes. I am probably never as happy as when a pizza meal is approaching. A couple of years back we decided that we wanted to be able to make as good pizzas as from pizzerias or pizza restaurants.

We started with the tomato sauce, and then the toppings, before we realized it mainly depended on the dough to get that pizzeria quality homemade pizza. After probably five years of making homemade pizzas we were getting somewhere. Here is what we found out:

My 5 tips for making great pizza at home in summary:

Use a pizza or baking stone

Use good quality flour

A very hot oven

Put the pizza high in the oven, close to oven’s heaters

Watch the pizza all the time

Use a baking stone or a pizza stone

One of the tricks is using a pizza/baking stone. We bought our at Urban Deli in Stockholm, but I think you can get it in most places around the world. It’s basically a portable stone that you put in your oven to more or less mimick the effects of cooking a pizza in a masonry oven. Importantly, you will cook the dough from below to get that perfect crust.

Use a good recipe and good quality flour

We use this recipe, from the nowadays legendary hipster pizzeria Roberta’s in Brooklyn, New York. Tipo 00 flour can be a bit hard to find, but really adds to the texture, flavour and end result in my mind. In Stockholm we buy tipo 00 flour at Cajsa Warg on Södermalm.

What you need (approximately three medium sized pizzas or two large)

153 grams Tipo 00 flour (1 cup plus 1 tablespoon)

153 grams all-purpose flour (1 cup plus 1 tablespoon and 2 teaspoons)

8 grams fine sea salt or regular salt (1 teaspoon)

2 grams active dry yeast (3/4 teaspoon)

4 grams extra-virgin olive oil (1 teaspoon)

Tomato sauce

A kilo of peeled fresh good quality tomatoes (make a cut in the skin and cook in boiling water for a minute to lose the peels) or a can of a good brand crushed tomatoes

5-6 cloves of finely chopped garlic

Olive oil

Salt & oregano

1. Heat olive oil in a cooking pot. Add garlic and fry until soft. Be careful not to colour.

2. Add tomatoes, cook for 30 minutes. Add water if needed. Season with salt and oregano.

How to make the pizzas

1. Combine flours and salt in a large mixing bowl.

2. Stir together 200 grams (a little less than 1 cup) lukewarm tap water, the yeast and the olive oil in a small mixing bowl. Then pour it into the flour mixture. Knead with your hands until well combined, about 3 minutes, then let the mixture rest for 15 minutes.

3. Knead the rested dough for 3 minutes. Cut into 2 or 3 equal pieces and shape each into a ball. Place on a heavily floured surface, cover with dampened cloth, and let rest and rise for at least 1 hour, but preferably 3 to 4 hours at room temperature or for 8 to 24 hours in the refrigerator. (If you refrigerate the dough, remove it from the fridge 30 to 45 minutes before you begin to shape it for pizza.)

4. To make the pizzas, place each dough ball on a heavily floured surface and use your fingers to stretch it, then your hands to shape it into rounds or squares. You can also use a rolling pin.

How to cook the pizzas

I put my pizza stone on maximum heat in my oven for about three hours so the stone is really hot. Follow instructions for your particular stone and oven though. Take care here to not do something risky, I would not want you to burn down your house. We have our pizza stone on a regular oven tray for easy handling. The idea though, is to get both stone and oven as hot as possible to minimize the pizza cooking time. We set our oven on 275 degrees fan-heat and grill. You need to watch the pizza all the time because they cook and hence burn fast. Set an alarm if you tend to forget stuff like me. 🙂

1. When the stone is ready. Put on a pizza, smother with tomato sauce, add your toppings such as mozzarella, salami, prosciutto, vegetables or whatever you fancy.

2. Put the pizza stone as high up in your oven as (safely) possible. I use the grill/broiler to get maximum blast from above meanwhile the pizza stone does the same from below. Again, important to watch the pizza as it bakes in about 2-4 minutes and burn very fast. Remove the pizza when it starts to get deep golden spots on the edges.

3. Serve immediately, and don’t forget to put the pizza stone back in the oven if you’re making another pizza. Red wine is very recommended, or a cold beer for that matter.

Homemade panang gai recipe (Thai red curry chicken)

A weekday favourite of mine is this version of a spicy delicious Thai panang curry. When we’ve been to Thailand, this is usually my number one choice for dinner, and after several attempts, I’ve finally succeded in making a somewhat authentic-tasting version.

What you need (approximately for four persons)

500 grams of chicken thighs

About 1 dl of peanuts (unsalted if possible)

Half jar of Thai red curry paste

One can of coconut milk

1 red chilli pepper

2 cloves of garlic

2-3 tablespoons Thai fish sauce

1 Lime

5 kaffir lime leaves

1 teaspoon white sugar (can be excluded)

To serve

Fresh coriander

Steamed jasmine rice

How to cook

1. Trim the chicken thighs of excess fat, sinews or bones, if any. Finely chop red chilli and garlic. Mix peanuts and red curry paste until smooth.

2. Take the hard part from the coconut milk can, that is the coconut fat, and add to a frying pan. Save the remaining coconut water for later. If the coconut milk is mixed already, then skip this and next step.

3. Fry the coconut fat in a pan on high heat until it splits and releases coconut oil. (If you had no coconut fat, start at this step with heating cooking oil. Fry the curry paste- peanut mix in the oil). After 30 seconds or so, add the chicken, chopped garlic and chilli, and fry for about another minute or two.

4. Lower the heat and add the coconut water remaining in the coconut milk can. If the coconut milk was already mixed, then add all of it to the pan. Add lime juice, sugar, fish sauce and lime leaves (don’t forget to count them before adding them).

5. Let the curry reduce for 5-10 minutes. Taste and add some extra fish sauce, lime juice or sugar if needed. Finally, remove the lime leaves (I hope you did not lose count of them 😉).

6. Serve! Top the curry with fresh coriander, and serve with steamed rice on the side.

Dinner at Bistrot Paul Bert in Paris



When I started researching after booking our Paris tickets, I thought of what I really wanted to eat while there. The first thing that came to mind was steak frites. From my early years, we often had steak with béarnaise sauce and some kind of potato sidedish for weekend dinners cooked by my mum. I learned to whip up my own béarnaise sauce somewhere around the age of 11, and since then, I have no idea how many times we’ve had steak, fries and béarnaise sauce. I think it is quite safe to say that it is one of my all time favourite dishes. So simple, yet so refined and so, so tasty.

When I googled “Paris’ best steak frites”, a name kept on coming up in my search feed: Bistrot Paul Bert. The Bistro seemed to be exactly what I wanted. It was decently priced, not snobby, but not too casual either. It felt like the essence of Paris to me. Steak, frites, wine, and rustic charm. We made a booking two weeks in advance and was given a table at 19:30 (when the restaurant opens) on Saturday evening. Since we underestimated the Paris Saturday rush hour, we arrived in our Uber about half an hour late to friendly welcoming staff.


Bistrot Paul Bert has a fixed menu with three dishes priced €42 a person. They also had a couple of off the menu specials written on a board. No dishes seems to be permanently fixed on the menu, as we had wanted to try their steak tartare, but it was unavailable during our visit. Anyway, we did a bit of mix and match and opted to start with a shared starter of “roasted French scallops with Kari Gosse butter”. This was really delicious as well as really simple. Sweet, succulent roasted scallops with great melted butter mixed with the seafood juices from the scallops. We mopped up the butter with bread and basically just mmmm:ed our way through the starter.

I’ve read about Paul Bert’s steak au poivre, or their steak frites with peppercorn-cognac sauce. Fortunately it was on the menu as a special in the shape of above medium rare beef fillet, excellent pommes frites and the best damn peppercorn sauce I’ve ever licked of a plate. Well I did not actually do that, since the frites were soggy enough (in a good way, they were crispy too) to use as vessels to transport the sauce to my mouth with. The steak was perfectly cooked and very tasty as well. But the sauce was the real star of this dish.


My partner’s flank steak with fried shallots and pommes frites. Also delicious. But not served with any sauce but the beef juices.

Almost as online-raved-about as the great steak frites were Bistrot Paul Bert’s Paris Brest. The Paris Brest is a classic French pastry, which basically is a choux pastry filled with a hazelnut praline-flavoured cream filling. Very rich, very delicious.

What I actually liked even more than the Paris Brest was the incredibly good Grand Marnier-flavoured soufflé. It had crispy edges, fluffy content and a delicious flavour of vanilla, and of orange from the Grand Marnier.

Our dinner at Bistrot Paul Bert was great. The place was buzzing, the food was fantastic, the service friendly and the wine potent. It was all I wanted from a Saturday dinner in Paris, and the best steak au poivre I’ve ever had. Very recommended!

Price €€+
We paid €120 for two, with a shared starter, two mains, two desserts, water and a bottle of red wine.

Website
I used my hotel to make a reservation since my French is non-existent. I however called to let them know we were late and they spoke good English. They do not seem to have a website, but they do have a Facebook page.

Chez Minnà Corsican restaurant in Paris

Since we were arriving Paris quite late, in fact we both worked until Friday afternoon and then took the Arlanda Express airport train before boarding a SAS flight for Paris, we opted for dinner at a restaurant close to our hotel. Fortunately most of the restaurants around our hotel, Hotel L’Echiquier Opéra Paris MGallery by Sofitel, seemed great, so we chose one of the closest; Chez Minnà, a Corsican restaurant.

We arrived at Chez Minnà around 9 pm and I was happy the restaurant was pretty much exactly how I always has been imagening a busy Paris bistro on a Friday afternoon. It was busy, loud (in a good way) and the staff was friendly and efficient in a relaxed way. After realising we did not speak French, they also presented us with an English menu, which we had not expected. The interior was cozy – you’re quite close to the next table. Not that close, though.

The food, then. First, we tried their croquettes. Stuffed with Corsican cheese and ham. The crispy croquettes were served on a bed of mixed leaves with a dash of a tasty vinaigrette and some standard cherry tomatoes. It was tasty and had nice texture.

For main we had the tagliata. Tagliata is sliced steak on a bed of salad, a dish I usually relate to Italy. In this Corsican version, the steak and salad was complemented by fried sliced potatoes and a pesto-y sauce made with Corsican cheese. Rustic and delicious. We had both dishes with a tasty Corsican red wine, that I unfortunately have forgotten the name of.

All in all, Chez Minnà provided an authentic Parisian experience with nice interior, good service and prices, and of course, most importantly: good food.

Price and website

We paid €70 for two with a shared starter, two mains, four glasses of wine and a large bottle of sparkling water.

Website (in French)

Bonjour, Paris!


Last weekend we visited a place I should’ve visited a long time ago. By some reason, the closest I’ve been to the City of Lights is seeing the Eiffel Tower from a plane, when transiting at Charles De Gaulle airport. But now it was time, at last, for Paris! Since we’re as usual saving up on our vacation days, we left straight from work Friday, and got back home late Sunday, so it’s possible to do a weekend in Paris (at least from Stockholm) without using any of your precious days off. I though I’d share a couple of pictures from our short weekend visit.

Since we are silver level members of Accor’s Le Club programme we were treated to a complimentary drink in our hotel’s, Hotel L’Echiquier Opéra Paris MGallery by Sofitel, 1920s style “Le 38 Bar Lounge“. We were very delighted to find out that champagne was one of the possible selections, and we ordered a glass each of  Veuve Clicquot to start the party.

Our hotel had a very nice breakfast, that was served in the same room as the bar was in during night time. The spread was great, and what I had hoped for would be included on a Parisian breakfast buffet. There were numerous French cheeses, charcuterie, great bread (very important), decent scrambled eggs, bacon, fried mushrooms, fancy French butter in little paper wrappings and nice juice and coffee. Definitely my kind of breakfast. Très bien!


Since we only had one full day in Paris we had pre-booked Louvre tickets through Viator to save some time. I think the price was a Euro or two more a person than buying a ticket at the actual museum, but using this method, we could walk straight in (after the security check) instead of course queing to the ticket booth in the museum.


A famous lady in the Louvre.
After the Louvre, we walked to the small island on where the Notre-Dame de Paris is located.


The Eiffel Tower, or in French: Tour de Eiffel, opened in 1890 and a symbol for Paris and France. It was quite a walk from Notre Dame to the Eiffel Tower. But we walked mainly along the Seine and enjoyed the views and the walk despite there was actually snowing. So much for my idea of “meeting Spring in Paris” when I booked the tickets last fall. This shot is taken from Trocadero, where you get a nice elevated position for a good picture of the Eiffel Tower and views over Paris in general.

After the Eiffel Tower, we walked to the next sight, the Arc de Triomphe and the fancy boulevard Champs-Élysées. At this points our feet hurt and the step-tracker showed roughly 30000 steps or 20 kilometers. It was time to use the Paris Metro. We bought one single ride ticket each (€1.90 in 2017) and navigated our way back to our hotel.


Feet resting-champagne on our hotel room’s Parisian balcony.


Day two we sort of cheated and took an Uber X (worked really well in Paris by the way) to the Sacré-Cœur where we were treated to grey but great views over the city. Again, a great place to snap some pictures over Paris. We were told the area was a little bit rough, but we walked down through Montmartre towards the more central parts and thought it felt very safe.


Our walk ended at “Paris’ answer to Harrod’s”: the Galeries Lafayette department store. Here we found Angelina where we had an okay but honestly a bit dissapointing steak tartare with pommes frites and salad. The tartare was served quite cold, and felt a little bit soggy and almost wet. I might be wrong but I think I noticed a hint of ketchup in the flavour. I was not impressed, but on the other hand my travel companion liked the tartare.

One for the road. A final cocktail at the hotel bar before our transfer back to the airport and reality of another work week.

Lillördag at Burger and lobster Stockholm

One of the best lillördag aka Tiny Saturday (which is in fact Wednesday) activities in Stockholm in my mind is to combine restaurant Pocket by Pontus’ champagne Wednesday with lobster dinner at adjoining (you can actually walk between them indoors) Burger and Lobster Stockholm.

On Wednesdays Pocket by Pontus lower their price for a full sized bottle of Henriot champagne from 650 kronor to 450 kronor (priced 400 kronor at Systembolaget, the Swedish liquor monopoly). That means you fork out an extra 50 sek or kronor for an ice-bucket, table service and champagne glasses. That is in my mind quite great, and it is also very convenient for an office ‘after work’.

Yesterday we started off with dinner at Burger and Lobster. I had the always-delicious lobster roll. The fried ‘signature brioche bread’ is really tasty and stuffed to the brim with succulent delicious lobster meat and Japanese kewpie mayo. Included sides are tasty fries and a side salad to add some freshness to the otherwise incredibly rich meal. My last visit they also included a delicious lemony butter sauce, but that seems to have been removed.

For dessert, as mentioned above, we walked the 30 or so steps to Pocket by Pontus and shared a few bottles of Henriot.

Price $$$

The lobster roll is sort of on the pricier side costing 295 sek. On the other hand it is lobster, it’s really delicious and you probably won’t need any starter or dessert. The champagne at Pocket is priced at 450 sek a bottle during the Wednesday champagne-onsdag.

Burger and Lobster Stockholm’s website (With menu)

Weekend eating

This weekend has been a really lazy one. And a lot about eating, of course. On Friday I had a favourite of mine, a double homemade cheeseburger with Reypenaer cheese. It was pretty similar to my best ever burger I made last year, but this time with burger dressing (click here for recipe) instead of truffle mayo. As per usual I had the burger with fries and a cold Lagunitas beer. Why change a winning concept? 🙂

Next up was another one of my favourites: Italian night. First above board of deliciousness. There was finnochiona (fennel) salami, pata negra salami from Gran Canaria, mozzarella cheese, coppa (cured pork shoulder), black pepper pecorino cheese, sourdough bread, olive oil and a lonely tomato for some vitamins. This was washed down with Rotari, which is a very nice Italian bubbly for those of you who haven’t tried.

Could it be my favourite dish in the entire world? Yes it might actually be. Carbonara, a dish I’ve always loved, but now even love a little bit more since our semi-recent Rome visit where I tried a proper Roman version for the first time. My sort of authentic recipe of a Roman style carbonara can be found here. Just skip the truffle if you want it cheaper, or Rome-ier.

Speaking of Rome, in a couple of days, I’m off to Paris, a city I’ve never visited despite changing planes there lots of times and visiting many other cities in the world the last 10 or so years. Anyway, if you have any Paris recommendations, please let me know in the comments or on Twitter or Instagram.

Merci!