Modeling a Heideggerian Valentine’s

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Anemone, roses, and two pinkfluffers on a carrot cake. St. Valentine’s Day 2017.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2017

For philosopher Martin Heidegger (1889-1976), human capacity to think cannot be the most central quality of being, since the very act of thinking is in itself but a reflection of what in essence is. For Heidegger, the human being is intrinsically structured by Time and our relationship with Time [1]. Human beings are in essence existing at the edge of possibilities-for-being. If considered in that light, humans tend to exist in a mode of constant intersubjectivity [2], between tending to the pressures of the external world and of other minds, and of themselves experiencing tending to the external world and other minds. In my view, the essence of Heideggerian philosophy resonates much with J.A. Wheeler’s one particle theory, and Werner Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle. And it is this constant play of intersubjectivity in Heideggerian perspective, that forms the spacetime fabric of the possibilities-of-being.

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Ayutthaya, the coastal-hinterland kingdom of Siam 1351-1767

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Ayutthaya, Thailand.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2017

In the swelter of the tropical heat, I stood watching two women carefully position themselves by a banana tree. Placing their arms around the clusters of unripened bananas growing low tipped with a blossom, they readied themselves for a wefie. “Are you Thai?” came the high-pitched holler in my direction from the lady sitting behind the ticketing booth at the entrance of an ancient-modern park in Ayutthaya. I turned to look at her, my expression blank. “Are you Thai?” she repeated. Within two seconds of capturing my continued state of lack of expression, “Fifty baht please!”, was the clubbed reply to the final, full entrance fee to be paid. I stepped up to the ticketing booth and handed over fifty baht and thanked her. It seemed almost everywhere I went in Bangkok, Thailand, people thought I was Thai, except on the occasions of paying for entrance fees.

Continue reading “Ayutthaya, the coastal-hinterland kingdom of Siam 1351-1767”

The Swedish semla, an evolving culinary semiosis

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A Swedish semla, a creamy marzipan filled cardamom bun, topped with…more cream.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2017

I was halfway to the grocery shop located on Donsö, the adjacent island to Styrsö connected by a bridge. Propped unglamorously on a flakmoped huddling from the Nordic winds in clashing block colours of a black puffer jacket, a cobalt boy’s soft-shell ski pants and a Christmas red pair of Timberland gloves that did nothing to protect my fingers from the winds that swept right through its thermal threads, I peeked from under the fringes of my furred hat to view the coastal outlines of the island. To my left, as the flakmoped sped past the beach at a cool 8 km/h, I saw that the tides were low. The sea was lightly frozen over, the movement of the breaking of the waves over seaweed just before hitting rounded pebbles captured in an instantaneous frame of time. A murder of crows were merrily pecking away at the seabed, seemingly oblivious to the wintry temperatures.

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On a Swedish winters day, Styrsö Halsvik

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Styrsö Halsvik 2017
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2017

“A thing is right when it embraces the stability and beauty of the total ecosystem. It is wrong when it damages it.” Marjorie Kelly, quoting Stephan Harding (Kelly in Capra & Luisi 2014:402). Continue reading “On a Swedish winters day, Styrsö Halsvik”

The little chocolate shop, Kronhusgården, Göteborg 2016

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Inside the little shop Göteborgs Choklad & Karamellfabrik, 2016.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

Part of the fun of the winter’s festive season in Sweden, is to make time to visit the various Christmas markets. Located in a corner of Kronhusgården at Kronhuset, the city of Gothenburg’s oldest secular building designed by royal architect Simon de la Vallée and built from 1643 to 1654, sits Gothenburg’s Chocolate and Caramel Factory. It’s the kind of a small chocolate shop that reminds me of some scenes described in Enid Blyton’s stories that I read from when I was a little girl. With old fashioned wallpapers and the numerous clocks that adorn the wall, this shop is a little magic come winter evenings. Place chocolate concoctions of different sorts in the middle of it all and you have a place that even I might find difficult to walk out of even after acquiring what I want packaged and bowed in a brown paper bag. Continue reading “The little chocolate shop, Kronhusgården, Göteborg 2016”

Tjolöholm Christmas 2016

At Tjolöholm Castle for a Swedish yuletide table sitting, 2016.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

“Upon first reading A Christmas Carol there appears little evidence of anxiety. The protagonist, Ebenezer Scrooge would seem to be the least anxious person imaginable. A belligerent, spiteful man, he seems strikingly sure of himself. However, a closer reading of the text from an existential standpoint shows that this is hardly the case. Scrooge, from the outset, is a cold, nasty and mean-spirited character. As the story opens, he turns down his nephew’s invitation to Christmas dinner; begrudges his clerk’s only holiday in the year; refuses to contribute to charity; frightens a carol singer; and violently claims that “every idiot who goes about with ‘Merry Christmas’ on his lips should be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart” (48). Where is anxiety to be found in such a stance? Everywhere, I suggest.” [1:744]

A Christmas Carol is a story I grew up with, having first watched Walt Disney’s version Mickey’s Christmas Carol in 1983. The Charles Dickens read came later. A characteristic of narratives by Dickens is how I’ve found to be able to revisit protagonists and characters presented in his novels from various perspectives. Continue reading “Tjolöholm Christmas 2016”

Gravad lax Christmas tradition 2016

Regardless of how inventive and creative we usually feel during the year, come Christmas and long evenings while approaching the winter solstice in Sweden, you start wanting those old-fashioned dishes. There is something comforting with the very routines in the traditional preparations that you for sure know goes back into the earliest recesses of Nordic history. You can almost see the Vikings sitting in the long boats out at sea, sharing a piece of pickled (gravad) salmon and saying things like -Pass the Mjöd, Sven … and, well, who wouldn’t have wanted to be there with them on their way to pursue their peaceful trading traditions of olden days.

Dill, an essential to gravad lax.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

The recipe is very simple. One part salt and one part sugar and an handful of chopped up dill. Put under pressure for a couple of days. Done. Traditionally a 6lbs canon ball is fine. Continue reading “Gravad lax Christmas tradition 2016”

Lussestjärna, Lucia in Sweden 2016

A Lussestjärna to Lucia day in Sweden 2016.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

It occurred to me that I was much more enthusiastic last year about lussekatter and had by end of November 2015, already baked a batch in their traditional shapes. This year, I am rather, on the day itself for baking Lucia saffron buns, though keeping my sight pegged a little farther ahead in the week. In seven days on 21 December at 10:44 UTC, the winter solstice will be here and so the globe turns. It’s something I’m looking forward to, and thought to celebrate the day of St. Lucia in Sweden, with a traditional saffron bun, baked in the shape of a star.

While I do have a favourite recipe for a saffron bun that doesn’t dry out too soon over the counter, this time around, I followed a recipe from a cookbook that called for adding the butter and saffron mixture after the dough had risen once over. It was labelled ‘grandmother’s lussekatter recipe’, I trusted it. The striations are done by first placing four pieces of thinly rolled dough in disk shape over each other, where the layers (stacked like pancakes) are buttered and dusted over with cocoa power in between. Nutella will work beautifully here too. Continue reading “Lussestjärna, Lucia in Sweden 2016”

Milo-kopi espoir

Singapore east in the heartlands, 2016.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

It was a moment to look forward to, and an opportunity only to be had when Janice was back in Singapore. The quality of the food at the eatery was certainly consistent, the reason so many natives and tourists alike, have fallen in love with just the culinary creations served at the eatery, especially before mid-morning. It was a place to recommend on detour. After surveying the eatery, Janice took her seat at the given table, at the far end of the eatery, diagonally across the dining hall from the eatery’s reception counter. She had placed orders for the eatery’s most famous dishes and was not surprised at how promptly her orders had arrived. Consistent timeliness in service was a much appreciated factor at the eatery.

Janice had ordered two dishes to begin with and she surveyed the dishes as they were presented at the table. On one small red dish, the culinary creation was stacked and neatly sliced. On another likewise small red dish, the even tones of the rounded ovals of the eggs was something to be marvelled at – such a feat of nature! Janice was awestruck at how the culinary creations were presented as bonsai works of art, each creation having its own signature small dish, the food meticulously arranged. The food looked beautiful and tempting. Continue reading “Milo-kopi espoir”

Ellenborough Market Café and a narrative of a prestiged banquet, Singapore 2016

At the Ellenborough Market Café at Swissotel Merchant Court, Singapore, 2016.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

[narrative of a prestiged banquet]

In a white resplendent European designed wedding gown that emphasised her tiny waist, the gown’s flowing hemline trimmed with delicate lace imported from France, Gina Chen, now Mrs Gina Phua strode arm in arm with her husband, Mr Tom Phua, as they entered the dining hall to their wedding dinner banquet. The hall was decked out in various shades of red and gold, symbolising prosperity and happiness for the newlyweds. Mrs Phua’s eyes swept the room and noted with pride that all other eyes were on her that evening. The French lace trimming to her gown that she had insisted Mr Phua pay for, is now paying off. She felt rich, and more than beautiful. Her father’s country club membership application, where members of the club were mostly Europeans living in Singapore for work purposes, finally came through two days prior to the wedding day. The Chen family had waited more than a month for the club membership approval and Mrs Phua felt that she finally belonged to the European inner circle that her father had tried so hard to place her. With the country club membership approved, and with the newfound freedom of marriage of not having to be under constant watch by her own mother, Mrs Phua looked forward to lazier afternoons. She was also in the position of having the Chen family fortune behind her, ensuring that she need not stay with her in-laws. She sighed a small breath Continue reading “Ellenborough Market Café and a narrative of a prestiged banquet, Singapore 2016”

Circle Market, east Singapore 2016

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Circle Market, east Singapore 2016.

At the Circle Market located in the east of Singapore, 2016.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

I love marketing. From Barcelona, Spain to Bali, Indonesia and in in this post, the east of Singapore, I think having time to market is a privilege. Often times, the market place is combined with places for eating, where one can sample the people’s street foods. Located in the eastern part of Singapore in Tampines neighbourhood is the Circle Market (Tampines Round Market and Food Centre). This place comes alive from the break of dawn and winds down just at about noon each day, with its most festive days being the weekends. On weekends, marketers are greeted by a flea market carrying an array of eclectic goods in makeshift stalls that frill the outmost circle of the market place. The combined amenities of eateries, market stalls and flea market activities resonate as a heartbeat of the neighbourhood. If cooking at home, one is most likely to be able to bag most ingredients to grandmother’s dishes here.

The wet markets in Singapore are attractive socio-economic spaces for the community. On a recent visit (2 Dec. 2016) to Singapore by Myanmar state counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi toured Ghim Moh Market and Food Centre the morning, hosted by Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan [1]. Continue reading “Circle Market, east Singapore 2016”

Enclave Catalunya, Sentosa, Singapore 2016

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At FOC Sentosa, Tanjong Beach, Sentosa, Singapore 2016.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

I had planned to visit Palawan Beach at Sentosa, and when in a car, it was only to follow the road signs. Turning mostly left when on Sentosa, we were greeted by a female peacock crossing the street. She looked pretty in mid-morning, just doing her own thing. Turning into the carpark to what I thought was Palawan Beach, I hesitated getting out of the car when greeted by what seemed to be an ongoing student orientation activity taking place by the beach. Crowded and loud, I wanted away from crowd. But I got out of the car in either case, and walked further on, farthest I could from the noise and activities. Continue reading “Enclave Catalunya, Sentosa, Singapore 2016”

Raindance Godiva

Pluviophile, Singapore 2016.

Tropical raindance, a pluviophile’s dream. November, in Singapore 2016.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

A tropical storm raged just out from under the hawker centre night shades. Within the compounds of the hawker centre in a small enough area, an elderly male busker had put on the most upbeat of ’80s dance tunes. He stood just beside a flattened cap he had placed on the ground, moving energetically to the beat.

“You should go out in the rain, and dance!” said a voice that stood to my right.

I looked to my right, caught a pair of sparkling eyes that belonged to that familiar voice, and smiled. I wanted to. I’d be soaked through to the skin in warm rain, something I could never do in the Nordics.

“This is your kind of weather” the voice encouraged, “go dance!”

Looking at the elderly male busker grooving to his own chosen ’80s dance tracks, he had by now asked his female companion to join him in the show. I shook my head in reply. “It’s not polite if I outdid them.” I said. “Worse still is if people just stared at me, and didn’t throw me any money… Continue reading “Raindance Godiva”

Personalised kampong spaces, Singapore 2016

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Singapore 2016

In a 1970s design crochet bell-sleeved top made by my mother, Rita Yong Cordeiro. A small, high-gloss finish wood table with two accompanying chairs standing in the lift landing area of this HDB corridor was what caught my eye. On the table, a tiny glass vase filled with plastic carnations in red.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

I remember his hands firmly gripping me around my ribcage, under my arms, then lifting me decidedly over two square tiles. He landed me unceremoniously unto a tidied space in the apartment and then went about working again. I was about four years old, and wondered how come he could not just have asked me to hop over two square tiles. The man was a construction worker who was at the time, halfway through tiling the floor to the living room. That was one of the earliest memories I have of watching my parents’ new home, their first Singapore government built HDB (Housing and Development Board) flat come to life. Although not literally the “final stage of [their] housing ladder” [1:195] it was however, a confirmation of a fairly secure economic status reached for our small family, Continue reading “Personalised kampong spaces, Singapore 2016”

Food along the east coast, Singapore

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Singapore 2016

At the East Coast Lagoon Food Village, Singapore.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

I had not known that sun ripened fresh cut fruits served with ice drizzled over them was a concept dish until I had moved out of Singapore to live in Sweden. In the nordic countries, a ‘fruit salad’ was what you might find as a type of side dish to the cheese platter, by which the fruit bit might be cut pears and/or green grapes. Perhaps marmalade as the fruit bit is also possible. So you’ll end up with having a fruit salad of different tiny jars of artisan marmalades, to the cheese platter. Different.

But it would be a day of any weather that living in the east of Singapore close to the beach, I would find myself encountering a mixed fruit platter as part of my favourite things to eat at the hawker centres located in this area. I liked in particular, to have a fruit platter at the East Coast Lagoon Food Village, which I had only all my life known as Lagoon. Continue reading “Food along the east coast, Singapore”

Stalking Louis Vuitton

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Louis Vuitton, Marina Bay Sands Promenade 2016

2016. Louis Vuitton Island Maisson in focus, located at 2 Bayfront Avenue, at the Marina Bay Sands Promenade in Singapore. Beautiful architecture.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2016

A quiet and slightly grey Tuesday afternoon of 22 Nov. 2016 silhouettes the Louis Vuitton Island Maison located long the Marina Bay Sands Promenade in Singapore. Its striking asymmetric architecture of mirrored walls characteristic of the buildings of the bay area, is a unique concept for the luxury brand that opened on 13 July 2011. The nautical interiors are the keyworks of internationally acclaimed and award winning architect Peter Marino.

What I love about the promenade at the bay is that you can comfortably plunk yourself down on the wooden decks just outside the island mansion of Louis Vuitton and look out over the waters, in contemplation of the city skyline, or else, the myriad shades of Sea. Continue reading “Stalking Louis Vuitton”

Case number 17V17XIII1.1.1.1.

Illustration by Michael Whelan for Robert A. Heinlein's "The Cat Who Walked Through Walls" (1985)

Illustration by Michael Whelan for Robert A. Heinlein’s “The Cat Who Walked Through Walls” (1985)
Text © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

In 4170s where Time is iffy, in a R.A. Heinlein world, Madame Pixel attends a court hearing regarding her filing for divorce. Due to that she is of the constellation of Andromeda whose mother tongue is Triangulum, and Mister Pixel is of Barnard 33 of the constellation of Orion whose mother tongue is Flamean, the divorce petition in the Third Way Galaxy Court were filed in both languages, plus a third language, a more formal version of the Third Way Galaxy lingua franca known as Standard Galactic English.

Judge: I am here referring to case number 17V17XIII1.1.1.1. Madame Pixel? In view that Mister Pixel is time travelling, I understand you are attending alone?

MPixel: Yes, your honour.

Judge: Your divorce request has been evaluated. Due to the condition of Quantum Entanglement, in an undisclosed clausal agreement between you and Mister Pixel, I regret to inform that this falls outside the jurisdiction of the Court. Continue reading “Case number 17V17XIII1.1.1.1.”

Street food, Bangkok, Thailand 2016

Bangkok, Thailand 2016

Chinatown at after five, Bangkok, Thailand.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

I had not often come across a decline in request to a destination, especially one in which tourists are encouraged to visit, but the tuk-tuk driver absolutely declined to drop us off at Chinatown in mid-morning in Bangkok, Thailand. “There is nothing there to see now. After five p.m. okay. But if you really want to go, I can drop you off at the corner 7-11 shop and you can walk from there.” He spoke to us through the rear view mirror of the tuk-tuk, his eyes meeting ours. After some contemplation, I asked, “Where would you recommend we go now? What is open?” His eyes lit up with a smile, “I bring you river tour! But first, I bring you to tailor shop? Very good suits for you, Sir!” He had already brought us to two other tailor shops, plus a jewellery outlet. So we kindly agreed to the river tour, but we didn’t want any more tailor visits. It was our turn to decline. “Only five minutes!” he intervened, “Very fast! You just go in spend five minutes, and then I get free petrol. Free petrol. You help me?” he said, unabashedly, with a big smile. He was already off to his designated shop. I turned to look at Sir and said, “I’ll probably find another cheongsam to tailor with Thai silk.” Continue reading “Street food, Bangkok, Thailand 2016”

On the slopes of Mount Vesuvius

Azienda Vinicola Sorrentino, Mount Vesuvius, Naples, Italy 2016

A commanding view that belongs to Mount Vesuvius.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

Lush, with a hint of aridity in the air, is what I would describe the climate that surrounds the undulating lands around Mount Vesuvius just about this time of year. That, and a certain solemnity and silence that blankets the surroundings. But this solemnity is permeating, because I have felt this sense of quiet even in the heart of the city of Naples when walking along the Gulf of Naples. We walk around the vineyard with our guide who knows the grounds well. The landscape reminds me somewhat of the landscape found in southeastern France.

It was about lunch hour when we strolled about the grounds where we were introduced to the various grape varieties planted, as well as other friendly vegetables complementing. Walking with a few steps between us in distance, our guide suddenly turned to us and said, “You know, I’m training running”, with a nod in the direction of Vesuvius. Continue reading “On the slopes of Mount Vesuvius”

Pompeii, Campania, Italy 2016

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Pompeii, Campania, Italy 2016

At the Forum, the central area in the ancient ruins of the city of Pompeii, Campania, Italy 2016.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

I developed an interest in archaeology as a hobby read from when I was about fourteen years old. Having read about Pompeii, and followed its archaeological uncoverings through my teenage years since the early 1990s, I visit this UNESCO World Heritage site in 2016 with mixed feelings.

Located across the Bay from the city of Naples in southern Italy, you seem never allowed to lose your bearing to Mount Vesuvius. Gaping at the top where in ancient paintings it was once capped, Vesuvius dominates the horizon. It stands in statement of the events that took place in 79 AD. As a reminder of its last large outbreak in 1944, it is still 95 centigrade warm a few meters under the ground. That is a hair’s breath from boiling. But for now, on the surface, the fire mountain slumbers.

The region around Vesuvius today hosts some three million inhabitants that would need to be evacuated immediately when, not if, Vesuvius wakes up again. Inhabiting the area could possibly be human optimism, else, more pragmatically, the fertile soils of the land afforded by the very fire mountain itself gives the possibility of good trade (thus good living), especially in wine. Continue reading “Pompeii, Campania, Italy 2016”

Gelato, gelato, gelato

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Capri, Italy 2016.

Bar Corallo, Capri, Italy 2016.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

Just a few days prior to landing in southern Italy, I walked out of a little gelateria, Gelato Da Luca, in Gothenburg, Sweden. Newly located in the heart of Gothenburg’s older marketing district where cobbled streets were set out in grid format, I had in hand from this gelateria, a paper cup of two generous scoops of Italian made ice-cream. Caffè and cioccolato fondente (extra dark chocolate).

I could always do gelato, the sequence being caffè and cioccolato fondente, then cioccolato fondente and pistacchio. If there was no caffè or pistacchio, then it will be nocciola. I was only too happy to know that the owner, who had come to Sweden from Rome, had decided to open a second outlet in Gothenburg, both outlets being equidistant to the Business School at the University of Gothenburg.

Already then, I had decided that when in southern Italy, or Italy at all, I would gelato.

And that, I did. That, and cioccolata calda, a smooth, thick hot chocolate concoction that rivals Granja M. Viader xocolata calenta in Barcelona, Spain.

Swapping different types of cobbled stones from Gothenburg to southern Italy, I was beyond delighted to once again, gelato. Continue reading “Gelato, gelato, gelato”

Stream of consciousness: an evolution

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, T-back crochet dress by Rita Yong Cordeiro

In a crochet halterneck T-back dress made by my mother, Rita Yong Cordeiro.
The dress was made in mid-1990s.

Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

For as long as I can remember, my mother crocheted. Well, yes. She had made her own wedding dress a whole two years before I was born. Thing is, having handcrafted frills of dresses since baby in arm, I never really thought about the rarity of the skill of the producer or rarity of product/s as such. That I had access to these time-consuming handcrafted clothing made by my working mother from the time of my Christening till when I graduated with a doctoral degree was something I had quite taken for granted.

I read in Richard Feynman’s 1985 self-biography [1] that whilst at MIT, he had to take mandatory humanities courses, of which one of them was philosophy. He got deathly bored during philosophy classes that having happened to be in possession of a small drill, about one-sixteenth-inch, he made holes in the soles of his shoes by twisting this tool into the sole of his shoes, week after week. Continue reading “Stream of consciousness: an evolution”

Styrsö Sandvik, 2016

Mermaid in distress

Styrsö Sandvik guest harbour [1], Sweden, summer 2016.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

Styrsö Sandvik was one of the best sandy beaches that the old summer resort Styrsö ever had in the 19th century. But landscapes evolve and eventually, modern times caught up with even this small part of the world when the local fishing fleet decided they needed a current and better protected harbour. So it was that the long sandy beach so much appreciated by the locals as well as the city slanker* (as they were called at the time by the locals in local dialect), were no more.

Now in the current millennium the tide is turning again and the tourist, service and “experience” industry is reclaiming territory. The novelty and charm of harbours such as this for visitors for the moment is to get to experience first hand, island life and island living. Docked in this harbour are larger fishing boats, and in neat piles by dockside are lobster and crab nets for when it is season.

The fish harbour shares its space as guest harbour for pleasure yachts complete with harbour café, neat bathing facilities, a children’s playground and a barbecue pit for the occasional older children who might want spare ribs and a beer. Continue reading “Styrsö Sandvik, 2016”

Skärhamn – A Swedish west coast fishing village in the 21st century, Sweden 2016

Flying into Sweden on an aerial view before landing, I continue to marvel at how green the country is. More green than I have ever seen before even if I was born in equatorial tropical rainforest region, this Scandinavian landscape far north of the globe has its green interspersed with water fills of varying dimensions. The first few years of my being here which is now more than a decade ago, I thought nothing much of it. There was nothing to see, just green. Today, the sight of the Nordic tree tops interspersed with water, as far as the eye takes you, is a treasured moment of aerial encounter. And contrary to my initial impression, there is a lot to see.

Skärhamn, Tjörn, Sweden 2016

Skärhamn, Tjörn, Sweden, summer 2016.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

Most of Sweden is very scenic. The panoramic terrains from Skåne in the South of Sweden to Lappland, way north of the arctic circle, is distinct and different.

The west coast of Sweden is the country’s own riviera. Besides facing the North Sea and the Atlantic, it is kept warmer than the rest of Sweden by the Gulf Stream that passes just outside its coast. The west coast goes from long sandy beaches in the South until you hit the old Viking territories, around Gothenburg. From there and up north, the terrain becomes rocky and the coast is cut into hundreds of large and small islands, separated by steep cliffs and deep fjords.

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Skärhamn, Tjörn, Sweden 2016 Continue reading “Skärhamn – A Swedish west coast fishing village in the 21st century, Sweden 2016”

Chocolate in seasons

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A chocolate cake based on a brownie recipe.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

Foods are seasonal. There was a time when growing up in Singapore, I would have prawn noodle soup everyday after school hours at the hawker centre at the bus terminal. The bus terminal was the interval stop between the Convent where I went to school (located in walking proximity to the Singapore’s east coast beach), and the government built housing apartment farther inland north-east, that was home. Prior to hopping on to a loop feeder bus service, I would drop my school bag and files on a stool at a table at the hawker centre and go order lunch. There were at least five different variations of this dish you could order. After a year or so, the owners of the stall knew me by name and knew my order. I only had to wave and smile in their direction and they would come with a bowl of prawn noodles with the type of noodles I preferred. The prawn noodle soup season lasted three years, after which it never seemed to ever come back in season for me. Last I had a bowl of prawn noodle soup that was in season in the manner I preferred was more than twenty eight years ago.

Chocolate however, seems to be in season all year round, and has been so for more than thirty five years. I remember a photograph of me from when I was age seven or eight living in the east of Singapore. I had a broad grin with a mouthful of melted chocolate. It must’ve been chocolate cake I was eating at someone’s birthday, because that was the only time we had such decadent cakes filled with buttercream between and over layers of sponge cakes. Continue reading “Chocolate in seasons”

Latticework for little gherkins

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro

Latticing cucumbers in the garden patch, summer 2016.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

One of the fun things to discover in Sweden is that small cucumbers, originally an Asian fruit, are easy to grow here once you have some land available in a warm corner of the garden. They do like warm weather and are actually very picky with that. Below 15 degrees centigrade in the soil and you can as well save yourself the trouble of even planting them.

Swedish summers are not always tropical warm. You can likewise experience 10 degrees centigrade at Midsummer’s as on New Year’s Eve. So usually, it is from middle (to late) in the summer season here that the gherkins suddenly decide life is worth living after all and start growing leaves. They stretch upwards and throw out small lassos to use for climbing. You know that they’re doing fine when small star-shaped flowers that are a vibrant yellow begin to light up the spaces among all the large green leaves.

Looking at the tiny tendrils, you’ll also know when it is time to give them a little direction in life – upwards – or they will end up in a big entangled mass. We have noticed that they have no qualms using each other for climb support, so given enough space they might probably be fine growing directly on the ground. But we prefer that each has its own climb support and giving them a string each skywards enables you to see them in their full sunny disposition once they start bearing fruit. Continue reading “Latticework for little gherkins”

Bonnakringlor hors d’oeuvres, 2016

Bonnakringlor, bonnakakor med pesto

Rustic Bonnakringlor dressed up as what they were born to be.
Hors d’oeuvres with spicy tapenade, slice of tomato and small leaf basil.

Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

As a child I would go to my father’s mother’s place after school or on weekends with my parents. I still remember how my grandmother used to stir a generous dollop of butter into a small bowl of hot steaming rice. It was a luxury that she liked to treat her grandchildren with when we were around.

Old fashioned food is really interesting but today often associated with cooking on no budget.

I’ve read articles and watched videos on what others would describe as cooking on a dime during the years of the Great Depression, and the years of the two World Wars. Many times, I find myself going over the shared recipes only to discover that I’ve been cooking that very same thing whilst growing up. On some days after coming home from school, I’d want something quick for lunch. So I’ll have one onion, one potato and one egg in a pan, add salt, and there I’ll have a meal in less than ten minutes.

Home cooked with fresh produce. Since when was that bad?

But old fashioned cooking, the kind that my grandmother would do in the 1940s and had presented to us in the 1980s, is of a different sort of awakening of the senses. What is deemed as farmer foods and rustic recipes would be everyday taking care of what was available at hand such as fresh cream, milled flours, eggs from the chickens… the practical making-do of what you have, where enough is all that you need. Continue reading “Bonnakringlor hors d’oeuvres, 2016”

Pesto with a twist, 2016

Tapenade, basil harvest 2016

From the garden’s basil harvest 2016.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

When traveling from South of France into Northern Italy it is impossible to not be taken in by the intense flavours of the local herbs and vegetables. It is an overwhelming experience that makes you instantly fall in love with the food.

The nature, the high skies, the imposing Alps just beyond the horizon and the steep cliffs dropping straight into the azure waves of the Northern Mediterranean Sea, all are there to sweep you off your feet and make you never forget what was set in front of you on the tables of the numerous local restaurants you can’t all but resist.

In south of France a nice olive paste and in Italy a similar paste but based on basil were unforgettable additions to any pasta dish or fresh baked breads we had. Often combined with some splendid olive oil, which quality always make the difference between just oil and heaven.

Food tourism, as in bringing your memories back home and integrate your new ideas and inspirations into your daily life is to me a nice way of extending your holidays, ideally all the way until the next.

During a few summer months in Scandinavia the climate shows itself from its very best side, one that might trick anyone from a warmer climate into feeling at home and foolishly start growing things that the winter soon promptly will put a stop to. Continue reading “Pesto with a twist, 2016”

In essence of revealing: Schloss Nymphenburg, Munich 2016

Schloss Nymphenburg 2016

In the style of a Japanese Imari baluster vase with lid ca. 1720, Schloss Nymphenburg, Munich , Germany 2016.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

One of the most torturous things you can do to an academic mind with an eager disposition is suggest threads of thought tangent to the current context of dialogue. This however, is what one experiences when reading Martin Heidegger’s The Question Concerning Technology [1]. As commentary on Heidegger’s essay on Heidegger’s claim that the essence of technology is itself nothing technical, Mahon O’Brien wrote in footnote in a 2004 conference paper,

“One should be warned however, that Heidegger will not simply introduce his problematic and then present the solution, one has to follow the path which he weaves on the way toward coming to grips with the problem. Following this path is a rather arduous task and involves a significant level of patience and commitment from the reader. A number of thinkers have resisted what they see as this recurring ‘errant’ method in Heidegger’s philosophy, not least, Ernst Tugendhat who dismisses Heidegger’s technique as merely “evocative” and thereby groundless. This is a serious charge but one which Heidegger himself was not unaware of.” [2:1]

For Heidegger, technology is not merely means, but it is a way of revealing, an unfolding from the essence of technology. In quotation below, are some paragraphs from Heidegger’s essay that perhaps caused Tugendhat and others of like mind to label Heidgger’s writings as evocative: Continue reading “In essence of revealing: Schloss Nymphenburg, Munich 2016”

Viktualienmarkt travel in time, Munich , Germany 2016

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Viktualienmarkt, München 2016

A tall glass of coffee ice-cream and whipped cream from Chocolaterie Beluga is a decadent excuse to being in the corner under the shade at Viktualienmarket, Munich , Germany 2016.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

Noting St. Peter’s Church located at the Marienplatz in Munich as a point of interest to visit, where it is the district’s oldest church, it was not long before I found myself headed towards the medieval city center of Munich.

Alighting from the U-Bahn at Marienplatz and coming out into the large, spacious city square, I was immediately greeted by the towering Gothic architecture of the Neues Rathaus. Despite summer visits and the ongoing UEFA Euro 2016, I noted with appreciation that the city remained relatively uncluttered of people.

Unter der München Sun

Viktualienmarkt, München

Chocolaterie Beluga, München, Germany 2016.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

– narrative –

After rounding off from St. Peter’s Church, the girls, Gene, Alicia and Patrice, who were on an all-girl European tour for the summer season found the perfect chocolate hot spot to cool down, out from under the München sun.

After placing their orders, the girls settled neatly in the outdoor area overlooking the market square, watching a little bit of marketing life go by. This particular chocolaterie was renowned for its vast hot chocolate choices. Being one who doesn’t quite like sweets per se, Gene was particularly happy she could find a more than 70% cacao content for her hot chocolate. Patrice settled for a chocolate-hazelnut conconction and Alicia who ordered a modest cup of two scoops of ice-cream had already in hand part of her order.

The girls by most Southeast-Asian socio-economic standards could be deemed highly successful in their own right. Each had worked in the top Forbes listed global multinationals in the finance industry for at least two decades. To their academic accolades, they each had their condominium, their convertible in their favourite colour, time enough to spend together on this trip and most important, cash in hand. It was also comfortable that having grown up together in the same convent since they were six years old, the girls knew each other well enough to carry on conversations between themselves smoothly.

Gene surveyed the market scene in front of her, “I love this place! Don’t you think it’s so rustic? Europe is so rustic!” Continue reading “Unter der München Sun”

Zwickl Gastro, München, Germany 2016

If you are looking for the very centre of Munich and where to start your explorations of this interesting city that have its roots at least back into the Roman Empire some two thousand years ago, Marienplatz with the Rathaus-Glockenspiel would certainly be one of the options.

From there, it is just a few steps over well worn cobbled stones to the largest open air wet market, the Viktualienmarkt. Numerous small food stores specializing in their own brands of meat sausages, cheese, pickled olives and wine surround the market square. Here is where where you can have succulent pieces of roast pork and cracklings between generous slices of bread buns, all in the proximity of the Biergarten (the Beer Garden) for which Munich is famed.

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Zwickl München, Germany

Zwickl München 2016.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

Continue reading “Zwickl Gastro, München, Germany 2016”

Lenbachhaus, Munich 2016

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Rochelle Feinstein, Lenbachhaus, Munich, Germany 2016

Geography 1994, Rochelle Feinstein [1], Lenbachhaus, Munich, Germany 2016.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

His eyes followed my form from one room to the next, one exhibit to the next. He watched me grab the by-laying catalogue from the clean white benches that invite visitors to sit and contemplate the displays. He watched me, with catalogue in hand, stride back to the painting of a framed white paint splatter. In that moment, he strode across the room covering the distance in but a few long strides between us to stand by a Rochelle Feinstein work that I was contemplating with my back to wall. He pointed to the caption on the wall regarding the framed paint. I read the caption. He smiled. I smiled right back. The photograph shown above was taken right after that encounter with him.

Continue reading “Lenbachhaus, Munich 2016”

Stalking Louis Vuitton, Europe

22 Jun. 2016. Munich, Germany.
Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Louis Vuitton,  München Residenzpost, Germany  2016.

Louis Vuitton, München Residenzpost, Germany 2016.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2016

– You know there’s nothing much in Munich if you’re not into beer guzzling or wurst eating.
– I could do pork knuckles.
– Schweinshaxe. No, you don’t.
– No, you’re right, I don’t. And stop swearing at me.

I thought Munich one of the prettiest most liveable cities I’ve thus far visited. From the chimes of the clock tower in the city centre that advise the time of day and task to accomplish before sundown to the historic cathedrals built around the old market square, Munich is anything but nothing much.

I didn’t need to look for it. I knew I would come across it just like so, an old friend along the street. And I did. The Louis Vuitton boutique located along Residenzstraße.

Continue reading “Stalking Louis Vuitton, Europe”

A little bit of Midsummer

Garden

Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

We thought a wonderful way to use the strawberry harvest is to have it on the family’s absolute Swedish summer cake. This verily all-occasion cake is made of three layers of sponge cakes with a filling of fresh fruits and strawberry jam.

This cake is sheer joy. So much so that it tends to wash away any misgiving in conversation that might arise in these sittings of cake eating, such as when addressing the heavier life philosophical questions of – if you needed to choose, would you rather have room temperature beer, or room temperature beer with ice?

The answer to that took quite a bit of cake eating to solve.

Continue reading “A little bit of Midsummer”

Honey, with a balloon

Day's pickings, Styrsö

Day’s pickings from the garden.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

This first pickings of strawberries from the garden much reminded me of chapter one of the book by A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh (1926) in its first volume of stories when we are introduced to both Christopher Robin and Winnie-the-Pooh:

“Good morning, Christopher Robin,” he said.
“Good morning, Winnie-ther-Pooh,” said you.
“I wonder if you’ve got such a thing as a balloon about you?”
“A balloon?”
“Yes, I just said to myself coming along: ‘I wonder if Christopher Robin has such a thing as a balloon about him?’ I just said it to myself, thinking of balloons, and wondering.”
“What do you want a balloon for?” you said.
Winnie-the-Pooh looked round to see that nobody was listening, put his paw to his mouth, and said in a deep whisper: “Honey!”
“But you don’t get honey with balloons!”
“I do,” said Pooh.

Rhubarb harvest 2016

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, summer harvest 2016 Styrsö

At the rhubarb patch in the corner of the garden, Styrsö.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

Strong winds, half grey skies that threaten a tropical thunderstorm at any minute, and a comfy 10degC outdoors. The Swedish west coast summer is coming along just fine.

Sitting cozy and happy in the corner of the garden are the rhubarb plants now ready for their first picking. These gorgeous leaved, crimson stalked perennials were widely used in China for their medicinal purposes long before finding their way to the middle-east and farther west in the medieval times.

I contemplated between using the first pickings towards pie filling, but then felt very much for stewed rhubarb instead. For a portion of that, what’s needed is about 200g of rhubarb with about 1 dl of white sugar, 2 dl of water and 2 heaped tsp of potato flour to thicken the stew. In Sweden, rhubarb stew or rabarberkräm is topped with either milk or if preferred, heavy cream.

Rhubarb 2016 Styrsö Continue reading “Rhubarb harvest 2016”

Tektology in OXV: The Manual (2013)

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro 20160519

I was once told that I should not bother with planning anything in my life. And so I’ve wondered if I hummed to high or low frequency. Perhaps the real question is, have I ever needed to wait for a train?
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

Alexander Bogdanov (1873-1928), developed a theory called Tektology as “the science of structures” as a forerunner to systems theory [1]. His main goal was to clarify in generalisable form the principles of the organization of all living and non-living structures:

“Tektology must clarify the modes of organization that are perceived to exist in nature and human activity; then it must generalise and systematise these modes; further it must explain them, that is, propose abstract schemes of their tendencies and laws… Tektology deals with organisational experiences not of this or that specialised field, but of all these fields together. In other words, tektology embraces the subject matter of all the other sciences.” [2]

I am probably a late developer. I spent an evening watching a 2013 produced movie, Frequencies, also known as OXV: The Manual. Continue reading “Tektology in OXV: The Manual (2013)”

As simple as it gets

Poached cod, white asparagus.

Cod and mild vegetables. All poached – just under boiling – in as little water we could get away with.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

“Apologize to the turbot ’cause it died in vain. I said apologize! … Not to me, to the fish!” – Adam Jones to Helene in the movie Burnt (2015).

It is difficult to tell from where inspiration arises. It can be from a recent dinner, something a friend said in a recent conversation or you just bumping into a great bargain of some nice produce you have not had in a long time. Today, it was a little bit of all.

I guess it takes a special kind of personality to go directly from a great gourmet movie to your own home kitchen to whip out pots and pans and do something yourself. But a lot of eating is done with your eyes and if it looks good, maybe you can do something similar yourself?

This evening’s culinary adventure was pleasantly relaxed and an understated celebration of the coming of summer. A simple fare, mostly cooked just under boiling temperatures.

Continue reading “As simple as it gets”

Train of thoughts

East to west bound, Sweden.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

“The first aspect of systems thinking concerns the relationship between the part and the whole. In the mechanistic, classical scientific paradigm it was believed that in any complex system the dynamics of the whole could be understood from the properties of the parts. Once you knew the parts, ie their fundamental properties and the mechanisms through which they interacted, you could derive, at least in principle, the dynamics of the whole. Therefore, the rule was: in order to understand any complex system, you break it up into its pieces. The pieces cannot be explained any further, except by splitting them into smaller pieces, but as far as you want to go in this procedure, you will at some stage end up with fundamental building blocks- elements, substances, particles, etc- with properties that you can no longer explain. From these fundamental building blocks with their fundamental laws of interaction you would then build up the larger whole and try to explain its dynamics in terms of the properties of its parts. This started with Democritus in ancient Greece and was the procedure formalized by Descartes Continue reading “Train of thoughts”

Visiting Abbot Suger’s St. Denis: A visual language of light and architecture

Basilique Saint-Denis, Paris 2016

The choir of Saint-Denis, the birth place of Gothic architecture.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

It is generally thought that Gothic architecture was born when Abbot Suger (c.1081–1151) of the French Royal Abbey of Saint-Denis just north of Paris, undertook the renovation of the then Romanesque style structure of the Saint-Denis, the most sacred shrine in France. The work began in 1140 with the erection of a new western facade, and continued with a new choir at the eastern end, covering as he put it, the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end of the basilica. Time did not let him see the new nave erected as he planned it but the foundation was laid. As the Saint-Denis Basilica Chatedral stands today what remains of Sugers work is the general appearance of the western fascade minus the northern tower, and the very important new choir at the eastern end. The nave is as he envisioned it but was built after his time. Most of the important glass windows was lost over the years or destroyed at the time of the French revolution at the end of the 18th century.

Continue reading “Visiting Abbot Suger’s St. Denis: A visual language of light and architecture”

The latent image

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Auguste Rodin, L’aurore (Camille Claudel) c.1885, Musée Rodin, Paris.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

Dionysius the Areopagite

Mystical Theology

Chapter II

How it is necessary to be united with and render praise to Him Who is the cause of all and above all. Unto this Darkness which is beyond Light we pray that we may come, and may attain unto vision through the loss of sight and knowledge, and that in ceasing thus to see or to know we may learn to know that which is beyond all perception and understanding (for this emptying of our faculties is true sight and knowledge), and that we may offer Him that transcends all things the praises of a transcendent hymnody, which we shall do by denying or removing all things that are like as men who, carving a statue out of marble, remove all the impediments that hinder the clear perceptive of the latent image and by this mere removal display the hidden statue itself in its hidden beauty. Continue reading “The latent image”

Une petite cheese shop spectaculaire, Paris 2016

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, French cheeses, Paris 2016

Neatly tucked in between other more imposing shop facades along Rue de Grenelle, equally far away from Musée d’Orsay and Musée Rodin rests one of Paris’ many culinary gems, the Barthélemy cheese boutique, that carries more than 200 varieties of unique and hand crafted French cheeses.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

It is not possible to go to Paris and not step into the myriad small specialist culinary boutiques that cater to almost every whim or fancy. From cheese and wine to artisan chocolates, these boutiques are scattered over the city, making it possible to find your favourite merchant in almost every quarter of the cityscape.

Unawares of this scatterings of artisan boutiques, I had in fact, written down a few addresses of cheese boutiques that I wanted to visit in Paris. The other unawares of mine was that some of these small specialist shops in Paris tended to shut down for a mid-day break. The boutiques close at around Swedish lunch time and re-open at about Swedish after lunch fika time.

For a cheese enthusiast, this midi repos was nothing of a deterrent. I simply found a nearby café around the corner and indulged in my other enthusiast culinary staple – a local hot chocolat viennois.

Continue reading “Une petite cheese shop spectaculaire, Paris 2016”

Musée d’Orsay: unbound by gilded frame

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Musée d'Orsay 2016

At the former restaurant of the Hôtel d’Orsay that serve traditional French cuisine.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

There is something about old train stations that takes me to another place, another time. Stepping into the Musée d’Orsay is like stepping into a circle of old friends, in continuance of a conversation of a different time period – which, reminds me of some lines from Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris – from 2011:

“Inez: You’re in love with a fantasy.
Gil: I’m in love with you.”

“Man Ray: A man in love with a woman from a different era. I see a photograph!
Luis Buñuel: I see a film!
Gil: I see insurmountable problem!
Salvador Dalí: I see rhinoceros!” Continue reading “Musée d’Orsay: unbound by gilded frame”

Un chocolat viennois s’il vous plaît

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Paris 2016 café culture

Marie. Starbucks, Paris.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

I had a list of maybe forty-two different restaurants and cafés that I wanted to visit when in Paris. But sometimes the idea of what you’d like to do when visiting a different city stifles the doing in itself. So the eatery list was placed aside and what was left were the serendipitous finds of round the corner cafés and restaurants, closest in proximity usually, to our other list – places of interest.

Paris has a rich café culture to offer, a total joy and treasure of the city.

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Paris 2016 café culture Continue reading “Un chocolat viennois s’il vous plaît”