Train of thoughts

Narratives

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

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

France

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.

The latent image

Art&Design // France

IMG_5432 598

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.

Une petite cheese shop spectaculaire, Paris 2016

France

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.

Musée d’Orsay: unbound by gilded frame

France

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!”

Un chocolat viennois s’il vous plaît

France

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

(someone else’s) Theory of Everything

Culīnaria

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Apple Strudel

Apple strudel with vanilla custard.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

In a recent study, it was found that the essence or aroma of vanilla made people happy [1,2]. Still, I wonder if it was the serendipity of the find or if vanilla, being one of the most widely used essences in baking, would activate certain Madeleine moments for many. Through some mouthfuls of apple strudel filled with rum soaked raisins, butter toasted bread crumbs wrapped in layers of phyllo pastry topped with – vanilla custard – the research of Cristina Alberini and Joseph E. LeDoux comes to mind on memory reconsolidating:

“The traditional view of memory storage assumes that each time we remember some past experience, the original memory trace is retrieved. This view has been challenged by data showing that when memories are retrieved they are susceptible to change, such that future retrievals call upon the changed information. This is called reconsolidating.” [3:746]

Alberini and LeDoux go on to explain that there are two views of how memory works. The conventional view is that memories are stored once and each time the memory is activated, a trace of the original experience is retrieved. According to the reconsolidation view, memories are susceptible to change each time they are retrieved.

Mundane hobbies

Culīnaria

Lantlig paj, pizza rustica

Sunday baking, a variation of pizza rustica.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

My hobbies are pretty mundane – reading, cooking and dancing. It happens sometimes though that these hobbies get entangled. Like this day when browsing the internet for recipes to the next cooking project, I end up reading large sections of books available partially or wholly online.

My recipe browse for pizza rustica diverted into contemplations on Supernormal: Science, Yoga, and the Evidence for Extraordinary Psychic Abilities (2013) a book by Dean Radin. I have not a clue how I ended up in the realm of studies between materialism, idealism and consciousness when browsing for how to make Easter pies. Still, it was exactly the promise implied in the title of the book – to give evidence for extraordinary psychic abilities – that got me reading some pages of it online. The explicit promise of the title coupled with what I had read then led to me link click through the web for more information since I felt it to be a promise undelivered statistically. I soon landed on a page to a Supernormal book review by Dale DeBakcsy [1]:

“Most people coming to this book are looking for the evidence promised in the title. Unfortunately, they’re going to have to wait,…”

Yep. I figured*.

Food with Identity: Passion för Mat 2016, Gothenburg

Culīnaria // Sweden

Domaine Wines Sweden
Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Passion för Mat 2016

A sample of wines from Domaine Wines Sweden at Passion för Mat 2016 (26-28 Feb.), Gothenburg.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

Just about a decade ago, the idea of using locally produced raw ingredients saw its effects of the pulling together of marketing efforts of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the food and beverage industry. One such marketplace that facilitated the actualisation of the ideology of ‘locally produced’ that in turn helped Sweden rediscover their own culinary heritage that might have even breathed life to the current Nordic cuisine scene is the food trade fair, Passion för Mat that began in 2008 at Eriksbergshallen in Gothenburg.

This year’s theme for the food fair is “Food with Identity”. First that came to my mind on the theme were the lengthy, interesting and sometimes heated Swedish midsummer night debates with friends of the Western Swedish Academy of Gastronomy on the heritage and origins of certain wines and cheeses, particularly from France and Italy.

Stalking Louis Vuitton, Europe

France // LOUIS VUITTON // Mode // Travels

27 Feb. 2016. Passion för Mat, Göteborg, Sweden
Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Marika Lang, Passion för Mat 2016

Meeting Louis Vuitton – of Amsterdam – in a Marika Lang lithography at Passion för Mat 2016 (26-28 Feb.), Gothenburg. It’s been years. Fancy that.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

What began as a quirk of irony on my part years ago in 2006 of falling in love and chasing Louis Vuitton, has today seemed to take upon a life of its own in the grid of things of coincidences in life. Apart from this blogpost, I have two other blogposts on just that topic and fascination of ‘stalking Louis Vuitton’. One is entitled Stalking Louis Vuitton (in Asia) where it began in my visit to Hong Kong, and the other reference appeared when I wrote about my stay in Florence and walking in the proximity of Ponte Vecchio, Florence, Italy in 2008.

This weekend, I had most of my curiosity focused on food novelties at the annual Gothenburg food trade fair, Passion för Mat 2016 when upon entering the hall from the entrance for press, I came immediately face-to-face with the vibrant paintings and lithographies of Gothenburg artist Marika Lang, meeting the artist herself at the booth.

Dialectica femineus ellipsus

Narratives

A chocolate cherry mousse cake

A chocolate cherry mousse cake.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

Year 1999. Cathay Cineleisure Orchard. Singapore.

The plan for the group of girls who after the 1990 release of the movie Pretty Woman, became devoted fans of Richard Gere, was to meet at the café on the second floor of Cathay Cineleisure Orchard to watch the year’s release of Runaway Bride. It had been about a decade since they had left their pony-tailed, coconut husk fringed convent school life, but had through the years made it a point to meet with each other. Now and again, whenever their life goals schedule of career, family and time-to-self (not necessarily in that order) allowed, they would gather at Carnegies or Bar None, else at the poolside of one of their own (read also: parents’) condos for a barbecue and cocktail session. Each girl, now in their mid-twenties, had their own priorities in life. And while it seemed it was increasingly difficult to find time to meet with each other, the girls nonetheless did put in effort to stay in touch, especially when Richard Gere was involved. Besides, it was a notable change in level of comfort for when they met for milo at the convent’s nearest neighbourhood kopitiam in their school uniforms till now,

To a world without Verona walls

Mode

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro

Evening read. In the background, portrait of English cellist Jacqueline du Pré (1945-1987) by Yngve Werner Ericson [1].
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

“The international labor movement is not against globalisation; indeed we would agree that globalisation can be a big part of the answer to the problems of the world’s poor. But it is also a big part of the problem. In other words, globalisation is neither entirely beneficial nor entirely harmful. It is not an unstoppable force of nature, but is shaped by those who set the rules. And while it has the potential to help life more than 2 billion people out of poverty, it is not doing so now.” [2]

References
[1] Ericson, Y. W. Interview with Yngve Werner Ericson, GALLERIROND våren 2006 Zenit, kulturtidningen i väst. Internet resource at http://www.zenitkultur.com/artist.php?id=396. Retrieved 30 Jan. 2016.
[2] Jordan, B. (2000). Yes to globalization, but protect the poor. New York Times. Internet resource at http://www.nytimes.com/2000/12/21/opinion/21iht-edjordan.t.html. Retrieved 30 Jan. 2016. Cited in Peter Van Den Bossche, 2008,The Law and Policy of the World Trade Organization. Text, Cases and Materials. 2nd edition. Cambridge University Press, p 11.

January 31st, 2016

January winter 2016, Swedish west coast

PHOTO // Sweden

Swedish west coast, Styrsö, Sweden, January 2016

– I wanted to see this place in winter. I wanted to know what it looked like with snow all around.
– Well yes, you’re in luck. Here is the Nordic gods boasting of what they can do, tinting the sky in complement to the waters. Would you like your hot chocolate spiked with cinnamon, or vodka?
Swedish west coast

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

Swedish west coast, Styrsö, Sweden, January 2016
Swedish west coast, Styrsö, Sweden, January 2016

Winter festive, Göteborg 2015

Sweden

Winter festive, streets of Gothenburg

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro

On the way to market, eve of Christmas eve, Gothenburg.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

After planning for weeks to explore the festive winter markets whether in Gothenburg or Västerås, I went right ahead and missed every single one of them, in both cities.

This series of miss-events reminded me of what was told of me years ago, “For you, my dear, planning doesn’t work. You might as well give up on planning things altogether.” Perplexed at the woman’s absolute tone of voice, I had asked the woman who seemed so convinced of my stars, “What do you mean ‘planning doesn’t work’? I plan all the time!”, “Exactly what I said” she promptly replied, “And it doesn’t work for you.” I shot her a look of one raised eyebrow, expecting an elaboration on her part. But I received no further elaboration. I watched as she continued to peer with furrowed brows, into the astrological charts she had unfolded on the table in front of her.

Christmas at Tjolöholm

Culīnaria // Sweden

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro

At Tjolöholm Castle for a Swedish Jultide Table sitting, 2015.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

I had just voiced the observation that Swedish Christmas table sittings were so much more homogeneous than Singapore Christmas table sittings when I stepped through the heavy carved wooden doors of Tjolöholm Castle and found on the dessert table – Crannachan – a traditional Scottish Christmas dessert made with raspberries, whiskey, cream and oats.

The Crannachan sat right next to the very English Christmas pudding, a close cousin of the dark Christmas fruitcake drenched in rum that the Cordeiros are so fond of during jultide, weddings, baptism, and most any other family designated festive day through the year.

Meiji jingū in Shibuya, Tokyo

Japan

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Meiji Jingu Shrine

Customary cleansing with water before entering the Meiji jingū in Shibuya, Tokyo.
Text & Photo © S Posén, JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

It was not too long ago that I sat in a group that discussed preferences as to whether or not to research a city / country before visiting. At that time, I had just begun learning about cross-cultural communication, embarking on several university courses on culture studies. I was thus adamant that it was better to read as much as you could about a country of visit prior to landing, else face a myriad of cultural filters and challenges when there. Some in the group were adamant in the opposite camp, believing that part of travelling was indeed to get ‘lost in translation’, the very definition of a travel adventure itself. From that roundtable discussion till today, my preference could be said to have shifted some from all things orchestrated and planned, my favourite saying to the utter frustration of some co-travellers when not having found my way around

Sensoji Temple at Asakusa, Tokyo

Japan

Sensoji Temple

Sensoji Temple grounds.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

§TRANSCRIPTION START
$G: We have a very interesting story about the Sensoji Temple, origin of Sensoji Temple. One day, two grown-ups picked up a statue of Buddha from nearby Sumida River when they are fishing. And at that time they didn’t know what is that. Because the Buddhism was imported to Japan during the sixth century, so at that time, they were commoners so they didn’t know what is that. And they tried to put it back many times. But the statue always found a way to come back to them. So finally the two fisherman together with chief of village, the three people built a place to worship the statue of Bodhisattva. Bodhisattva is a kind of Buddha. And Bodhisattva is known as God of Mercy. And Bodhisattva can save all people from suffering. And the creating of the Bodhisattva became very popular, and a lot of people began to came to the temple to make a prayer. That is the history of Sensoji Temple.

So in the main hall of Sensoji Temple, they worship the statue of Buddha. But today, we cannot see that. Because always we cannot see that. Because the statue is in the box. Stored in the box. And the box is not opened by persons for one hundred fifty years.

Tsukiji Fish Market, Tokyo

Japan

Tokyo Bay, view from Le Grand Pacific Daiba, 30F.

A morning view of Tokyo Bay, from Odaiba. Tokyo’s container harbour framed lightly by its mountainous region in the background.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

Faced with a declining birthrate and an ageing society, Japan’s Revitalization Strategy was revised in 2014 to include a section on “robot revolution”. It focused on the potential of the use of robots for the solving its social challenges and labour shortages. These ideas ran as core theme to this year’s International Robot Exhibition (iREX 2015, 2-5 Dec.) held at the Tokyo Big Sight, in Tokyo, Japan.

It was in such a forward looking context of robotisation that I decided to head towards one of the world’s largest fish markets right in the centre of the city, the Tsukiji Market, if only to feel the heartbeat and observe the pulse of an ancient trade in this metropolis.

November cats

Culīnaria // Life

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro

An evening with homebaked Lussekatter or saffron buns that are usually made in Sweden in celebration of St. Lucia’s Day that falls on 13 December.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

I love when Christmas comes a little early. In this case, I thought to settle and bake a batch of saffron infused buns called Lussekatt that in the tradition of Sweden, are baked in celebration of St. Lucia’s day that falls on 13 December. This, and a cup of glogg sounds pretty much a good start to the jultide season.

Alice and the Caterpillar

Narratives

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll. Illustrated by John Tenniel.

It was soon that Alice found herself in front of the Caterpillar again. Instead of waiting patiently first for him to speak, she ventured a step forward to the mushroom where he usually sat, in a swirling cloud of smoke.

“Caterpillar, I think I can answer your question now on who are you?”

“I know who I am, there is no need for you to tell me.” The Caterpillar replied indignantly, even if with patience.

“I meant your question, to me from fore – who are you?” Alice tried again. The Caterpillar remained silent, and at this point Alice didn’t quite know if it was because he was inhaling on his hookah that he didn’t respond of if he had lost sight of her that he was not responding. “It is not the question of who are you, but what are you actua –”

Rita Hayworth as “Gilda” 1946

Narratives

One of my absolute favourite scenes from the 1946 film noir Gilda directed by Charles Vidor and starring Rita Hayworth – Put the Blame on Mame – sung by Anita Kert Ellis.

November 21st, 2015

Back to basics

Culīnaria

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, home baked mixed wheat bread.

Homebaked bread, served with butter and sea salt.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

The phenomenon of no-knead bread began to grow in popularity in the mid-2000s in address to the lack of time people had to spend in home kitchens. Today there are about 1.6M hits on google for no-knead bread recipes, including one of my favourites by Mark Bittman simply entitled No Knead Bread from 2006 [1] when he worked with The New York Times (NYT) writing on food. That NYT video upload featuring Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery in Manhattan showed how breads could easily be baked without too much work, plopped into a cast iron pot, which I did for mine right here.

I had likewise as Jim Lahey from the 2006 video, used a three-ingredient bread recipe of yeast, flour and water. The difference however is that I liked kneading the dough, bringing out its gluten in the protein strands. That and, I had also used three different types of flours for this bread in a pot.

Pick up any flour package from the Swedish grocery stores and you’ll find on the side of that package, a recipe and instructions to baking a couple of loaves of bread using that flour. The recommended kneading time

Marketplaces: converging inspirations

Singapore // Sweden

Saluhallen Västerås

Saluhallen Slakteriet, Västerås, Sweden.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

Whilst the field of transdisciplinary research contemplates the effectiveness of the use of metaphors as a means to transcend boundaries between different fields of academic research, walk the streets of Västerås on a sightsee tour and you’ll find anything but the use of metaphors in street names or buildings, the sign designating the name of the road being metaphor enough. There is one skyscraper in the entire city, and that is aptly called, ‘The Skyscraper’. This weekend, I had the opportunity to go a little farther out of the city centre to the former abattoir, to a farmer’s market called ‘The Market Slaughterhouse’. You’ll find this market right next to the city’s landmark energy plant in the midst of a romantic industrial setting. Most street and building names are so straightly connected to the city’s power and energy industrial roots that one might come to think that the effort of keeping things in two dimensional vectors was considered effort enough in deployment of metaphor in itself.

Having observed two vector namings in three dimensional space, entering Saluhallen Slakteriet came as a surprise visual

Around the river Limmat, Zürich, Switzerland

Switzerland

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Zürich Switzerland

Standing at the bank of the river Limmat with Fraumünster Church in the background.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

The oldest parts of the city of Zürich is just a couple of minutes walk from the central station. With just about a few hours to spend in Zürich, I think my favourite thing to do would be to plan some points of interest to visit and then make time for some coffee, sitting in a café by the river Limmat. On a brilliant day, the crowds gather to sit outdoors for late breakfast all through high tea. There is no lacking of culinary genius from Swiss bakeries and cafés, that makes for interesting points of conversation in terms of the influence of foods and peoples in the city’s long history.

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Zürich Switzerland

A familiar view on most city rivers, ferries on rivers.

Time in circles, Baden, Switzerland

Life // Switzerland

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Baden, Switzerland

View from the top of the Stein Castle ruin, whose foundations were laid some time before the 1100s.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

It was about a decade ago that I sat in the Singapore regional headquarters office of a Swedish owned multinational enterprise, speaking with its Managing Director. The topic was about the general managing of conflicts within the organisation, when we touched upon the concept of Time, and whether that was viewed in linearity:

$1: what happens if you disagree
$2: well you tell / you tell and eventually you do agree / because all disagreements end with an agreement if you’re lucky / or you become / enemies /
$1: do swedes generally see time as a straight line
$2: well no / i would see it as a circle / my time is a circle / i have no idea what others do / and strangely enough that the year and the day / goes in different directions /
$1: is that [understanding of time] a result of [an understanding of a certain philosophy] or
$2: i have no idea / if christmas is six oclock then april is three oclock / and summer is noon / october is nine oclock / but if you’re asking if we are on time or not / yes we are

Baden is a town with a long history. A history that you are made aware of as you walk its small, winding cobbled streets from the banks of the the river Limmat

Cadenhead’s in Baden, Switzerland

Culīnaria // Switzerland

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Baden, Switzerland

Astrid Bach, explaining the different whiskies in specialist whiskey importer Peter Siegenthaler’s shop, Cadenhead’s in Baden, Switzerland. William Cadenhead Ltd, established in 1842 is Scotland’s oldest independent bottler, the joy of which is that one can bring home a Cadenhead’s right here from the heart of the historic town of Baden.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

In the heart of the old town of Baden, Switzerland, in a corner of Mittleren Gasse, the rich variations of bottled liquid amber reflecting in the sunlight through the glass window display caught my eye. I had in the past few days, tried to visit this shop that seemed to close minutes before I stepped by in the evenings. So I was more than delighted that on this day, I could swing open the door and step into Cadenhead’s.

It was Astrid Bach who greeted me as I stepped in through the door. I took a long sweeping look around the shop. Delighted at what I saw, I turned to her and asked, “Do you have Eiswein?”

My question was greeted with a polite perplexed look on her face. The reason for her perplexity as I found out later was that the shop that belonged to Peter Siegenthaler, the sole importer for Cadenhead Scottish distilled whiskies into Switzerland, sold “alles ausser Wein”. I looked at Astrid in brief pause, smiled and said, “I guess I’m here to buy a whiskey.” And so began an early evening adventure on the different types of Cadenhead whiskies.

Life speeds up when you slow down

Culīnaria // Life

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, lingonsylt

At market today, fresh lingonberries to make a batch of traditional Swedish lingonberry jam or lingonsylt.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

I have now watched with interest, several documentaries on individuals who have chosen to live alternative lifestyles. These documentaries feature individuals with a different type of life philosophy, where some for example choose not to own any property but rather live in a vehicle that gives them the freedom of adventure and of getting in touch with themselves whilst on the road. Others featured spoke thoughtfully on how individuals in society often did what others wanted and expected of them and not what they wanted themselves. They chose a different way of living in order to do something for themselves. These documentaries then reminded me of a paragraph in the book Walden, written by Henry David Thoreau in 1854:

“Most men even in this comparatively free country through mere ignorance and mistake are so occupied with the factitious cares and superfluously coarse labors of life that its finer fruits cannot be plucked by them. Their fingers from excessive toil are too clumsy and tremble too much for that. Actually the laboring man has not leisure for a true integrity day by day he cannot afford to sustain the manliest relations to men his labor would be depreciated in the market. He has no time to be anything but a machine. How can he remember well his ignorance which his growth requires who has so often to use

Muscovado carrot cake

Culīnaria

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro

A small weekend indulgence both in the baking and eating, of that carrot cake.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

I wanted a moist cake that for the first time in a long time, was not double chocolate. As autumn rolls around, harvests of various root vegetables are abundant, which makes it a perfect opportunity to bake something out of them. Carrot cake, with a warm mixture of ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg seemed to be the perfect autumn harvest crave and I set about in my weekend indulgence of baking one.

While it seems that many might consider no cream cheese frosting atop a carrot cake as a loss of the culinary experience of eating that cake, my personal preference has often been to skip the frosting, else reduce the overall portion of sugar in any given recipe.

I made several small changes to the standard carrot cake recipe where I used butter instead of cooking oil, left out any kind of nuts, used fresh grated ginger, and chose to use muscovado sugar in complement to the mixture of warm spices.

Once out of the oven, I topped this dark, sweet and richly spiced cake with one of my favourite things, plain whipped cream. A quick grating of some lemon zest over the whipped cream and it was good to be enjoyed with a favourite drink on an autumn weekend.

Weekend farmers market, Västerås

Sweden

Farmers market, Västerås

This piece of public art, the ASEA stream, depicts people cycling to work. It sits by Stora Torget and is the creation of Västerås artist B G Broström. Cycling remains one of the preferred means of transport in this city.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

The move from Gothenburg to Västerås in Sweden with a brief visit to Maastricht in Netherlands prior to Västerås is surreal. It is not only that these two cities are one of the oldest in Europe dating back to 1000 AD or earlier, but their size and layout are fairly comparable. Both cities are best reached by train, and both have its city centre close to the train station that is navigable on foot, with having a bicycle making navigation a notch more efficient on their cobble paved streets. In the case of Västerås, one can literally see the undulations of the cobbled streets from the inner-city radiating outwards from the river. Reminiscent of the structures of Rome (although less fantastic), newer constructions in Västerås have been built upon older constructions, making the newer parts of the city sit on higher ground.

As weekend unfurls, the city comes to life most prominently with a weekend farmers market located at Stora Torget. The large square that hosts the market place sits in the oldest quarters at the heart of town, just alongside Svartån and a block away from the three Michelin Guide starred Västerås Domkyrka that is also one of Sweden’s episcopal see.

Golden chantarelle in cream

Culīnaria

Chantarelle, Kantareller

Known as skogens guld or Swedish forest yellow gold, these luscious chantarelle make an appearance come autumn in Sweden. Pan fried, braised or stewed, this makes a perfect rounding to most any autumn meal.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

Farmers market open on the weekends in Västerås in the main large square of the city centre. It was there that I took the opportunity to pick up several favourite items including a bag of golden chantarelle, also known as Swedish forest yellow gold. Luscious, flavourful and absolutely velvety in texture when lightly stewed in cream, these mushrooms add a just that notch of luxury to most dinner menus.

Philosophies of summer drives

Life // Sweden

Laxå

View from sitting at the edge of one of Sweden’s many waterways.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

It seems like summer decided to begin just as the tail-end of its official months with many regions of Sweden feeling warm as toast. If not too warm, a favourite thing to do is to get in the car and do small road trips, anywhere from between two hour to three hour drives from Gothenburg that leaves quite a radius of interesting exploration.

While there’s been a culture of second-hand findings where Swedes readily barter or trade at low cost things tired of or unwanted to what they want, it has only been in the past couple of years that antique shop hopping and second-hand goods browsing has really taken off, much due to the hipster culture and greater awareness of the sourcing of ecological produce. It is just about these past years that see the those born from the 1990s and forwards step out of school and into the labour force, bringing with them their own awareness and motivations into their living interests and entrepreneurial ambitions.

It was on one of these summer drives where we decided to absolutely ignore the voice of the GPS nicely suckered onto the windshield insisting that we go where we should go that we found an interesting farmhouse set up with several barnyards for different needs. There was the family house of medium size, then there were two barns that housed a vintage shop and a café.

Cooking lessons in a chocolate mousse pie

Culīnaria // Narratives // Singapore

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro

A chocolate mousse pie laced with Irish cream measured to ‘a lot’.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

After four years of a bottle of Baileys Irish cream sitting in the liqueur cabinet – because anything Baileys is not the thing to bring home to your husband, and because women like me buy alcohol based on the design of the bottles – I decided I could as well do something with it.

So, chocolate mousse pie infused with Irish cream liquor it was to be, on this Scandinavian late summer’s afternoon, noted by the meteorological station as one of Sweden’s warmest summer days this year. I already had some nice dark hazelnut chocolate cake that I could use for a pie crust for this project and some Valrhona Abinao, that I thought could add in a nice way with some tempered eggs. I managed to convince myself the refreshing lightness of this pie is but disguised, in the heavy dark chocolate of it all.

Occasionally it sometimes is that after I’ve served up a dish for a meal, the question comes, “That was not bad – what went into that?” followed by, “How did you make that?”

It’s here that I find myself halting in mid-sentence, trying to recall what went into the dish and how it came to be.

Be-Bop-A-Rhubarb

Culīnaria

Rhubarb harvest, Rabarberpaj, Rhubarb Pie

It’s my baby!
Rhubarb pie from our garden’s harvest 2015.

Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

Just before spring, a neighbour called for anyone interested in taking care of some orphaned rhubarbs. So we picked up about five or six plants already dug up from her garden, and wheelbarrowed them back to our garden. Traditionally in Sweden, rhubarbs are harvested in the autumn, allowing the stems to get slightly thicker but not so thick that it becomes all fibres and impossible to make that crumble-pie.

The internet is a trusty source of information, with plenty of recipes for good rabarberpaj, even rabarberkräm which is a lovely rhubarb-porridge dessert to have with just milk over. One could go full exotic with the recipe for pie filling, adding five spice, cloves, ginger, orange zest, and bake it with a crumble of oats, crushed hazelnuts, demerara sugar etc. But I was curious about just that rhubarb pie. So I reached out for a Swedish cookbook publication I have on the shelves at home, that began its first print run in the 1930s entitled, Stora Kokboken. Page 418 of the 1963 print reads a rhubarb pie recipe from the 1940s. It is a no fuss recipe, and sounded perfect for a late night baking:

Chasing marbles

Culīnaria // Narratives

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, tigerkaka

Swedish summer fruit cake made with layers of tigerkaka. Tigerkaka is a variation of the Marble Cake.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

As a child attending school in Singapore at the Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus (CHIJ), I thought the convent was good at putting together one thing, a fundraiser event. The convent had fundraiser events at least once every year where the monies collected were allotted different purposes. In a good number of years, they were to go to the building of our very own new convent and school grounds. In other years, they were to go to the vicinity’s Catholic Church or a designated children’s charity.

A large part of the fundraiser event consisted of nuns, teachers and parents putting things out to sell to an open house public. To this end, the foyer and the school sports field would be lined with the wooden benches and tables taken from the school tuckshop / canteen. The tables were then covered over neatly with various items. It was a school fair where you could find odds and ends, from old clothes and used school books to handcrafted works of art, embroidered decorative items. My favourite items were the homebaked breads and cakes, much like the kind still available at a small neighbourhood bakery in Singapore.

Project Atman

Life // Narratives // TRINIDAD & TOBAGO

Cheryl Marie Cordeir, Trinidad Tobago 1999

Carnival! was the first thing introduced to me the minute I touched base at the airport in Trinidad back in 1999, as Singapore’s delegate to the international Miss Universe Pageant 1999.
Text & Photo © R Yong Cordeiro, JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

2015

The seminar ended and a colleague, Stefan, and I walked out of the room. The topic of the seminar was about Southeast-Asia (SE-Asia) and its developing context in the latest wave of globalisation.

“What did you think about the ideas from the seminar?” I asked.

“Well it was interesting. All very interesting.” Stefan said.

I knew Stefan to be of a brilliant mind, and knowledgeable on the region of SE-Asia, “But you said not much at all in feedback.” I queried.

“Yes, well there is not much to say. The entire perspective is different from how I see it. So the departure point for argumentation is different. I would not have approached the topic of SE-Asia from that point of view.” he said.

That vintage blue dress

Mode // Narratives

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, garden 2015

In a vintage dress, brought home from Maastricht, Netherlands. Looking out across the very departure point of the Swedish East Indiaman ships in the 18th century.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

In April 1750 Olof Thorén, disciple of Carl von Linneaus and Ship’s Priest on board the Swedish East Indiaman Götha Lejon, wrote in his diary while enjoying a short stopover in Cadiz:

“Portugueze ladies are not common birds in the streets. But as far as it could be discerned when they spectature and spectande pulled up their window grills, they appeared to display a fine fair complexion and merry eyes. Those, who are seen in Cadiz do not appear to be able to count to five, are tall and brunette. I noticed there, that the Virgin Mary had correspondent air, complexion, and shape in their pictures; and judged from thence, that this was the taste of the nation with regard to beauty.”

Finally, a strawberry harvest!

Life // Sweden

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, strawberry harvest, strawberries and cream, 2015

Enjoying strawberries, the Swedish old fashioned way.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

This year, Sweden saw one of its coldest and rainiest Junes in twenty years. Between 1920 and 1991, it has happened only once that temperatures in the month of June had not gone upwards of 25 centigrade, until now. The Västerås cucumbers know this, so they’ve refused to grow, insisting on a bedding temperature of at least 14 centigrade before showing themselves. It was a pleasant surprise however, to have found that the strawberries thought it was alright to unfold their leaves, flower and produce fruits that are now ripening heavy on the soil beds.

In traditional Swedish farmlands, strawberries as with most other fruits, were summer luxuries. Their presence at all on the outdoor tables depended much upon the proper amounts of rain and sun. As soon as the strawberries were ripened and picked, it would also be customary to go into the barnyard and get some fresh cream straight from the cows.

If there was a favourite way of enjoying freshly picked strawberries, it would be that time honoured manner in having them with cream, generously dusted over with sugar.

That, and curling under the bed covers with a good book and a hot chocolate. Best summer evening doing.

Visiting Maastricht, the oldest city in the Netherlands

Netherlands // Travels

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Maastricht Netherlands v 3

St. John’s (left) and St. Servatius at Vrijthof Square Maastricht, Netherlands.
The St. Servatius cathedral is in complement to the Cathedral of Our Lady in Maastricht, which constitute the two main cathedrals of worship for this city. St. Servatius contains a large number of church treasury and continues till today, to draw Roman Catholic pilgrims to its ground. Beginning in the 14th century in a seven-year cycle, in collaboration with Aachen Cathedral and Kornelimünster Abbey, a Heligdomsvaart is held for pilgrims, the next being in July 2018.

Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

The invite card from the 10th Ph.D. and Post-Doc Seminar and Conference: Global and Cross-Cultural Organizational Research hosted by the Hofstede Chair, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASoS), Maastricht University, read “Basilica”. Basilica was the venue for the group’s first evening meet.

Markt Maastricht, Netherlands

Netherlands // Travels

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Maastricht Netherlands market 19

Skyline of Maastricht, St. Servaasbrug.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

Something I had not expected to do much in Maastricht was shopping and marketing. But as circumstances have it, it was one of the more entertaining daily activities outside of the post-doc programme at Maastricht University that filled some hours of each day.

There are several ways to sightsee in the city. One that caught my attention was an old yellow School Bus, that toured the city streets. Bicycle rentals from hotels or hostels are also available, else the city centre of Maastricht is quite small and walking can get you to many places of interest within minutes.

A memorable place of interest where I had spent quite some hours browsing its shelves on different floors was the Domenica bookshop. The building is a 13th century Dominican church converted by Merkx+Girod Architecten into a gorgeous bookstore, whose contemporary space is sometimes used to showcase creative arts projects.

In a corner at the Vrijthof, Maastricht

Netherlands // Travels

Urban Residences Maastricht 0

A landmark of the city of Maastricht at Vrijthof square: the old post office building that currently houses 19 gorgeously designed apartments for rent.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

Close to parts of the Maastricht University at the heart of the city of Maastricht stands the old post office building in the corner of Vrijthof square. This great old building has now been done up to house a collection of 19 apartments called Urban Residences.

Besides the proximity to the University a number of numerous places of interest are in walking distance that include the Museum Aan Het Vrijthof and the beautiful as imposing Saint Servaas Basilica, that dates back from 1000, holding gold artwork from the 12th century.

Impeccable in combining function with design, Urban Residences Maastricht won the Victor de Stuersprijs in 2013 for best monumental renovation in the city.

The chocolate room, Helsinki

Finland // Travels

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Petris Chocolate 1

Along Runeberginkatu, a candy pastel seated chocolate boutique.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

It was lunch hour, and a break in the 2015 GEM&L (Groupe d’Études Management & Langage) conference schedule. Across the road from the Aalto University School of Business located in the Töölö Campus in Helsinki where the conference was held, stands a pastel seated chocolate boutique. I’ve always found pyramids of macaron on display in confectionaries attractive. Maracon coupled with chocolate pralines and chocolate cakes in the colours of cocoa heaven proved impossible to bypass and ignore, so I stepped in.

Bicycling through Helsinki

Finland // Travels

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, HELtours, Helsinki Bike Tours a

At Kasarmitori with Jari, our touring Helsinki by bicycle guide.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

I took one last look at the map before stepping out of the door. Kasarmitori Square. Right. I wasn’t sure if I was going to find the place, but thought to try, because that was the meeting point where I read a bike tour of the city of Helsinki would begin. The tours leave in a group of maximum eight persons twice a day, at ten in the morning and at two in the afternoon. I made no prior online bookings at the company’s website, but noted that their bicycles were single geared of Finnish make, and in an identifiable cobalt blue. Easy! All I had to do was to make it to their office, locating it by spotting a row of conspicuous looking chirpy blue bicycles parked just outside.

Sun deck afternoon

Mode

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, sun deck 2015b

On the sun deck, Styrsö.
Just one of those lovely Nordic days to spend outdoors, under the sun.

Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

Singapore Management University BSM Scandinavia 2015 visiting the Swedish west coast

Life // Singapore // Sweden

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Styrsö v2015h

As part of broadening student perspectives in business and organization management education, Tom Estad, Associate Dean Undergraduate Student Matters from the Singapore Management University (SMU) had his students visit Swedish SMEs and learn about the history of trade between Scandinavia and Asia for the Business Study Mission (BSM) 2015 out at the southern archipelago of the Swedish west coast.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

Some pictures to share of a study visit from a university in Singapore to the Swedish west coast.

Part of the narrative and evening’s conversation revolved around the historic trade relations between Sweden and China, and how Singapore en route continues till today, to be an important trade partner for Sweden.

The historical voyages of the Swedish East India Company (1731-1813) more often than not started from this very spot where we now stood in the garden. Known as Vargö Håla, water was taken on board the ships from the surrounding fresh water wells, and good sailing winds were awaited in the waters between the islands right here, that through a peculiarity of the Gulf Stream was kept ice free even in the winters.

Separating the perennials from non-perennials

Life // Sweden

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, home garden 2015a

Working with Lovage (known in Swedish as libbsticka). Lovage is a perennial herb with anti-inflammation properties, used in Sweden since the Medieval times by monks in apothecary concoctions. It also makes an excellent flavour enhancer to soups and stews, if not just tossed fresh into salads.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

It’s finally starting to get warmer outdoors. Spring will officially turn into summer in two weeks, so there is a lot to be done by nature in order to make that materialize in a convincing manner.

Outside of research in academia, I spend my time reading literature of various interests, these days interspersed with planting out some vegetables and flowers, that now seem grown up enough to have their feet plunked down in proper soil, from the plant nursery in which we have kept them the past few months.

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