Pickled cucumber Swedish style

Inlagd gurka / pickled cucumber, Swedish style.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2019

The crown dill and Västerås cucumbers get ripe for the picking at almost the same time in the garden. This harvest timing is probably what makes them a perfect pairing for the cucumber pickling. There are variations to pickling the cucumber that can be found online. The pickling used here includes mustard seeds, horseradish and chili. The pickling is done in two stages. First is the overnight soaking of the cucumber slices in salted water. The next day’s work is to concoct the vinegar, sugar and salt bath that will keep the cucumber slices happy and flavourful till time to serve. Best served with a favourite pâté.

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Postcards of late autumn, Styrsö, Sweden

On the grill in late summer, along the Swedish west coast.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2019

Spring is often the more colourful season, with trees coming back to life and flowers blossoming. Bees are a delight to sit and watch as they make their rounds around the garden flowers. Come late summer and early autumn, the garden tends to take on a more varied hue of green. We’ve managed to change that some over the past few years by growing different types of garden friendly vegetables. Or at least, Swedish west coast garden friendly vegetables. The Swedish west coast has relatively shallow soil with rocky soil beds that need clearing out before planting. So we built a few sand boxes and experimented some to see which vegetables felt at home in them. Carrots were a hit a few years ago. This year’s harvest is also interesting with garden sweet peas, Västerås cucumbers (great for pickling) and different types of lettuce. A small harvest of tomatoes also seems on the way. Most delightful are the herring wood barrels filled with rainwater. We use them to water the plants, “indoors-outdoors, can-can”.

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Farmer’s autumn market, Haga, Gothenburg

Saturday morning marketing in Haga, Gothenburg. Picking up autumn harvests for sale from farms in the surrounding region of the city of Gothenburg, Sweden.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2019

It was a dark and stormy night…

Well, no. Not quite. But yesterday morning was a little wet and windy to do some proper marketing. Still, the charming cobbled streets of Haga in Gothenburg is always inviting, rain or shine.

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Oxtail soup

Oxtail soup.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2019

It was during the 1980s that Singapore saw a number of restaurants that served European styled food using recipes from France and Germany that I was introduced to a tomato based oxtail soup. My mother at the time was working for a German company with its Asia-Pacific headquarters located in Singapore. It was those years that we had the opportunity to try classic German goulash served with large chunks of meat, as well as oxtail soup. Soups in the restaurants were served together with heavy grained breads, and that’s how I have oxtail soup today as well.

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European food fair, Tromsø, Norway

My absolute favourite moment on the Saturday city walkabout. When the perfect song begins to play when you’re at the perfect food stall at the summer food fair in Tromsø. “Sugar, ah honey honey”, The Archies from their album Everything Archie’s. (1969)
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2019

Tromsø is a little city that sparkles. Almost every other weekend sees some kind of exciting event. This weekend, 1-3 Aug. the Tromsø Skyrace was complemented by more grounded activities such as this petite European food fair held in the small square located adjacent to the city centre’s main shopping mall, Nerstranda. At Torgcentret, some couple of hundred meters from Nerstranda, was an ongoing Saturday farmer’s market and flea market.

This European food fair was exciting. Condensed into a small space, you could literally taste several of Europe’s most famous produce and dishes, from fudge, Belgium waffles served with raw, farm produced honey, to candied dried fruits.

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Art Café Tromsø: A passionate combination of art and food

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro and Ivonne Wilken, Art Café, Tromsø, Norway 2019

At Art Café with Ivonne Wilken in Tromsø, Norway. Ivonne is a writer and artist. Her sculpture exhibition titled “Connections” is currently on display at Art Café, Richard Withs plass 2, 9008 Tromsø, through the months of August and September 2019.
Text & Photo © Art Café, T. Altintzoglou, JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2019

The summer months of Tromsø is warm, languid and beautiful. The university is closed for the summer holiday and this makes a marked difference to the atmosphere of this city, that has as its core activities, education, medical expertise and tourism. Tourists still dock off from the majestic looking cruise ships that pass by, but the crowds are fleeting and transient. What is, are the long hours of summer sun, to be enjoyed at one’s own pace if you’re spending your summer here.

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At Art Café Tromsø: Connections by Ivonne Wilken

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro and Ivonne Wilken, Art Café, Tromsø, Norway 2019

At Art Café with Ivonne Wilken in Tromsø, Norway. Ivonne is a writer and artist. Her sculpture exhibition titled “Connections” is currently on display at Art Café, Richard Withs plass 2, 9008 Tromsø, through the months of August and September 2019.
Text & Photo © Art Café, T. Altintzoglou, JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2019

I met Ivonne Wilken about a year ago, not long after I moved to Tromsø. Born in Emmen, Netherlands, Ivonne studied journalism in Zwolle and anthropology/criminology in Utrecht. She’s a writer, writing in both Dutch and English. You can find her book published in English titled VIS-A-VIS available in Kindle version. She’s also an artist. Her sculpture collection currently on display at Art Café is titled Connections, and it’s a personal exploration and expression of relationships.

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Skärhamn, Swedish west coast, summer 2019

At Skärhamn, about an hour’s drive upcoast from Gothenburg, sitting with a docked fleet of Norwegian wood boats, built in the late 1800s. These boats were part of the Hurum Trebåtsfestival 2019 that took place between 31 May and 2 June 2019 in Sætre, near Oslo, Norway. They are here for the Swedish Träbåtsfestival in Skärhamn.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2019

It felt like an exchange of realities when we stepped off the ferry that took us from Strysö to Saltholmen. Saltholmen is the gateway ferry terminal that leads to the southern archipelago islands of Gothenburg city. We met with large numbers of people, most were crowds of tourists intent on a summer day’s visit the southern archipelago. The southern archipelago islands are exotic. With beautiful bathing spots and large yachts docked strategically around the islands, in front of equally beautifull coastal houses, the southern archipelago of Gothenburg is Sweden’s Côte d’Azur. So it felt surreal that we would escape this reality (if only for a few hours), and head in the opposite direction of the general Saltholmen crowd. We were taking a drive further upcoast to a small fishing village called Skärhamn, located at Tjörn. It’s one of my favourite summer-dos.

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Pear and double cream chia pudding

Chia pudding made with pears and double cream.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2019

In the canteen of the convent in which I grew up, CHIJ Katong Primary in Singapore, there was a corner stall that sold drinks in bright colours of green, purple, yellow and rose pink. The last drink was called bandung, a drink made with evaporated or condensed milk flavoured with rose cordial syrup. A lot of these large plastic drink tanks had in them chia seeds, that complemented the colours of the drinks, and which would draw the attention of the little ones, including myself. I used to call the chia seeds, frogs eggs. We had tadpoles and frogs in the school ponds when its monsoon season, so I thought they really were frogs eggs served in those drinks. It was gelatinous and tastes pretty much like smaller versions of tapioca pearls that go into the much loved bubble tea found in most Southeast-Asian countries.

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Trave Lübeck, Germany 2019

Crossing a bridge, on the way to Marktplatz, Lübeck, Germany, July 2019.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2019

It’s been about a decade since we last visited the market square in Lübeck city in Germany. In 2009, our visit to Lübeck coincided with the Harley Weekend 2009. The market square was absolutely packed with a crowd enthusiastic for both metal rock music and Harley Davidson motorcycles. I preferred the Harleys on display. A similar model to the Harley Davidson V Rod “Denim Black” custom by German company 69Customs caught my eye in 2009. A visit to the 69Customs website shows up some extremely drool worthy photos of tailored Harleys. I still remember in 2009, I met a woman who owned a Harley, who was there for the festival weekend. She totally rocked a black leather pants and high heeled boots with leather jacket look. She was almost 60 years old and shared that one of her great loves of life is to be on her bike, on the road. It beats normal retirement plans of old folks homes for her.

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Schweriner Schloss Localitäten, Schwerin Palace, Germany 2019

At Schwerin Palace, Germany, July 2019.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2019

We were headed to Lübeck, Germany, as one of Sweden’s favourite summer things to do. A visit to Lübeck for hypermart grocery shopping is practical for when you’re catering for large parties, summer or otherwise. Else, it is for anyone with food insecurities and believe that enough food to fill 3 family pantries for 2 years on any average day of the year is perfectly normal.

Since we’ll be in Lübeck, I googled the map to find places of interest to visit that was in driving distance from Lübeck. It was a Tromsö moment for me when I clicked on Schwerin and a gorgeous fairytale castle [1] appeared on screen as the feature of Schwerin. I fell in love with what I saw onscreen. It looked magic! I could not not visit this castle, especially when docked at Lübeck for a day or two.

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Styrsö festival weekend. 5-6 July 2019.

Styrsö, Swedish west coast, July 2019.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2019

Tourism is certainly in full swing this summer at the southern archipelago of Gothenburg. 5-6 July 2019 marks the much awaited Styrsö Festival 2019 (styrsofestival.se) with 20 music artists performing over Friday and Saturday. By noon, the ferries were packed with visitors on their way to the islands, ready to party! With slight winds and clear skies, we’ll be expecting an electric evening with good music at Styrsö Bratten.

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Vaniljbullar the Swedish pastéis de nata

Vaniljbullar, the Swedish variant of the Portuguese pastéis de nata.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2019

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A souvenir I often bring home after travelling to a new country, with the opportunity to sample their local fare, is to try to recreate a version of what I love and have experienced, right back at home. In this case, it was not much of a challenge, but rather, something nice to do on a summer’s afternoon in Sweden – to bake vaniljbullar (custard tarts), which is the Swedish version of the Portuguese pastéis de nata.

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TOPO Belém, Lisbon, Portugal

At TOPO Belém, Centro Cultural de Belém, Lisbon, Portugal.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2019

Dining at TOPO Belém, on the 3rd floor of the Centro Cultural de Belém (CCB) is surreal. This bar and restaurant was a serendipitous find. The intention was to visit the modern art collections in the Museu Coleção Berardo museum, but thought to have a coffee just before the walkabout. We asked the information counter where we could find coffee, and maybe some food. We were told, “There’s a restaurant, you go to the 3rd floor.”

The CCB is both spacious, and built to accommodate a sense of space. It sprawls 140,000 m², catering for exhibitions, conferences and other activities/events. And you certainly got this sense of vast sprawl when looking for TOPO Belém. It was quite a walk to the third floor of the CCB getting to the restaurant. For a moment, it looked more like we were entering a different wing of another modern art collection. But restaurant it was.

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Convento da Ordem do Carmo, Lisbon, Portugal

Contemplating, at the Convent of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Lisbon, Portugal.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2019

It was suggested from a very young age, that I become a nun of the Carmelite Order. For the simple reason that my father was once in the brotherhood and it was a sort of tradition.

There were more questions that came to my mind even as a child. Was I to stay a Carmelite forever? Or could I leave the Order if I wanted to marry? Could I listen to music with ear phones under the habit whilst keeping my vow of silence? How was I going to meet a man if I was technically holed up in the Convent all day? Would I marry a Priest who would similarly leave Priesthood? That seemed the only option since circumstance and environment would make that the monastary grounds as most likely the best dating realm/scene. It was also understood that nuns of the Carmelite Order did not speak unless spoken to, in which case, if it was during certain hours of the day, they might not reply, but redirect the query instead. To whom would they redict the query if everyone in the Convent kept their vow of silence?

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Breads and pastries in Lisbon, Portugal

Padaria do Bairro, Rua da Misericórdia, Lisbon, Portugal
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2019

I could eat cake for breakfast. But when in Lisbon, I discovered that this eating cake for breakfast could well be epigenetics at play, because in Lisbon, a lot of people eat a lot of cake for breakfast. It felt very much like home when upon entering the morning breakfast spread at the hotel, where I was greeted with what seemed like two-thirds of the total breakfast spread dedicated to various breads, cakes and pastries. Breakfast could take some time in Lisbon, I thought.

The Portuguese do pastries so well that they simply did away with the cumbersome Danish (pastry), and the bread around the Norwegian Skolebrod to produce one of their conconctions of greatest repute, the custard egg tart, pastel de nata or in Lisbon, also known as Pastéis de Belém. There are variations of this around the globe, such as the Cantonese or Hong Kong egg tart, or in Macau, known also as pastel de nata. But pastel de nata is but one sweet temptation. Walk into any bakery or pasteleria in Lisbon, and you’ll find an array of gorgeously prepared pastries that even if you didn’t have a love of sweet bakes, would encourage you to sit and sample. And this, one could do almost anytime of the day, beginning at breakfast.

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Stalking Louis Vuitton since 2006

Lisbon, Portugal 2019

Along Avenida da Liberdade at 190A, Lisbon, Portugal.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2019

The city of Lisbon has just about 3 million inhabitants, although on an average summer’s day on the streets, the crowd feels much thicker to meander through due to the number of visiting tourists. In 2017, Lisbon saw 3.2 million visitors explore its music, food and culture. There are various means of navigating the city’s smoothened cobbled streets, on foot, by bus, trams, tuk-tuks and not the least, by taxis that make for an affordable, more private option.

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Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin, Ireland

Looking on from the church yard, Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin, Ireland
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2019

Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin was founded in 1191. This was just after the Viking period (800 to 1066) and in parallel with the Chinese Song Dynasty era (960-1279). My system was trying to recover from this step through of a time warp from 2019 into an arena that was built about 1000 years ago, when not a few meters from entering the cathedral, I turned right and was accosted by a cast of the skull of writer and satirist Jonathan Swift, author of Gulliver’s Travels written in 1726.

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Liffey around Temple Bar, Dublin, Ireland

Coffee around River Liffey, in a sailing jacket and beach hat. Very Dublin.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2019

It was a typical tourist thing to do. Read up on the top ten things to do when in Dublin, Ireland, and then make a to-do list. Most reviews recommended pub crawling at Temple Bar. I’m personally drawn to waterways and the ocean, so walking along River Liffey was certainly on my list. That, in combination with some kind of Irish scone with raspberry jam and cream in hand, would’ve made an ideal evening activity. So it was mostly a matter of logistics of how to have scone in hand, tea or coffee in another, and stroll down River Liffey without knowing much about how to navigate Dublin. As the evening turned out, it was that the city navigated me. My antennas were out for something sweet, something rich, something… chocolate. And where I found that, would be the starting point of my evening’s activity. That happened to be Dollard House, along River Liffey, at Gratten Bridge.

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Baum und Pferdgarten

It’s Friday! In Baum und Pferdgarten.
Text & Photo © CM Cordeiro 2019

What first captured my attention about Baum und Pferdgarten designs was their combination of sweet flirty designs. The label is a Copenhagen-based fashion house founded in 1999 by creative duo Rikke Baumgarten and Helle Hestehave. It’s been a few years since I was last in Baum und Pferdgarten, more than a decade actually. It’s been more than a decade’s love affair – I still love their designs, even if I tend towards the Swedish flair for todos colores.

Cat in April sun, 2019

Some call him Twix, others have named him Bruno.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2019

Nice guy, this one. First summer as a young outdoor cat. Finding a sunny spot on a complementary coloured rug, he sits and waits patiently until someone opens the main door to let him into summer playtime.

Spanish orange almond cake to Easter, Styrsö, Sweden

Spanish orange almond cake, with orange crème anglaise, a variation of the Eurasian almond sugee cake. Topped with meringue.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2019

One of my favourite things to do when back in Sweden is to bake, and oddly enough, go back to cooking Straits Chinese / Peranakan dishes. Easter culinary traditions (as with Christmas, weddings etc.) however, are most often influenced from my Portuguese / Spanish heritage. This year, I thought to bake a variation of my father’s mother’s Eurasian sugee cake, a Spanish orange almond cake [1], layered with orange crème anglaise and topped with meringue. David Lebovitz has a brilliant recipe to orange crème anglaise to which anyone can refer/use [2].

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Lilla Askerön, Tjörn, Sweden

Browsing the grocery shelves at Pergolia Heavenly Italian, a boutique located at Lilla Askerön, Tjörn, along the Swedish west coast.
The boutique specialises in importing hand crafted Italian products, from accessories to food.

Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2019

It’s a spring/summer thing to do. To drive along the Swedish west coast. Sometimes we head north, sometimes we head south. Once, we headed south and kept going way past Germany to land in Rome, Italy. We walked around some, had an ice-cream at Vacanze Romane at Piazza Navona, and made an about turn back to Sweden again. This time, we thought to head towards Tjörn and Orust, twin islands that contain some of Bohuslän’s most beautiful summer sailing and bathing spots that’s only about an hour’s drive north of Gothenburg city. The intention was to scout for small local grocers and antique shops along the way.

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A walk through scenic Kuanzhaixiangzi Alley, Chengdu, China 2019

At Kuanzhaixiangzi Alley, Chengdu, China.
Text & Photo © CM Cordeiro 2019

I was expecting a Yuyuan street experience like that of Shanghai 2011, when I thought to visit Kuanzhaixiangzi Alley in Chengdu, China. But this was a different adventure of sorts. Cozy yet vibrant, visitors are greeted with beautiful architecture throughout the alleys. Located in proximity to Tianfu Square and Renmin Park a taxi ride will take just about ten minutes to Kuanzhaixiangzi Alley and what I think is one of the more scenic (historic-) urban areas in Chengdu.

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Chengdu by night, China 2019

Night scene at the intersection of Shangdong Street and Chunxi Road, Chengdu, China.
Text & Photo © CM Cordeiro 2019

According to a World Economic Forum 2019 [1] article Chengdu is among 10 cities that the UN predicts will break the 10 million mark by 2030, bringing the global number of megacities to 43. About 55% of global population live in urban areas today, compared to the less than one-third of the global population living in urban areas in 1950. In one generation to come, the proportion of people living in cities is expected to grow by 68%, adding to our current already crowded cities.

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Morning skyline in Shanghai, China 2019

Morning skyline in March 2019, Shanghai, China.
Text & Photo © CM Cordeiro 2019

I’ve often written that landing in Shanghai, China, feels as if I were coming back home. If there was a city in China that I have visited the most, it would be Shanghai. Between 2010 and 2014, I found myself almost annually in Shanghai for various work and study visits. It’s been about five years since I was in Shanghai and expectedly, the city has developed some, a morphing burgeon of its 1920s and 1930s personality from Paris of the East unto its own. I do not know how else to describe other than, it is, Shanghai, lacking nothing.

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Passion för Mat 2019, a focus on seafood

Skrei (wild captured cod), as presented in Sweden at Sweden’s most prominent gourmet food fair, Passion för mat 2019. The event (1 to 3 March, 2019) was held at Åbymässan, an conference and exhibition venue located in Mölndal, Gothenburg, Sweden.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2019

Sweden’s most prominent gourmet food fair, Passion för Mat 2019 took place between 1 to 3 March 2019 in a new conference and exhibition venue, Åbymässan, located in Mölndal in the outskirts of the city of Gothenburg, Sweden. An upside to this location is certainly, more parking spaces for visitors. Stepping into the exhibition space, the atmosphere was electric, as it always is for food enthusiasts, with a pleasant mix of people of the trade whom you’ve gotten to know over the decade and some new exhibitors with whom we can spend time with getting acquainted in their trade and product.

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Skrei season in the north of Norway

Skrei season in Norway is during January to April each year. This is when the fish arrives to the northern coast of Norway in order to spawn. In Northern Norway, this seasonal fish is traditionally served as a dish called mølje. As such the fish is boiled together with its liver and roe and served with a side of potatoes and carrots. This particular skrei was captured at Lofoten and bought at the main market square in Tromsø, Norway.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2019

The Norwegian skrei season is a miracle that repeats itself.

For those few unfortunate that are not yet familiar with skrei, it is a North-East Arctic cod that lives in the Barents Sea, in an area enclosed between Franz Josef Land on the north, Novaya Zemlya on the east, and Svalbard on the west. Skrei is the Norwegian word for wanderer.

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Valentine’s at Graffi Grill Tromsø

Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2019

The roses were brought out in most flower boutiques here in Tromsø on Sunday 10 February 2019. It was in celebration of Mother’s Day in Norway. The Feast of Saint Valentine which falls on 14 February in celebration of love and friendship, seems a fairly understated affair in Norway, and in particular as observed, in this city in the Arctic Circle. In a walkabout the city centre prior to dinner, I came across one of my favourite flower boutiques. There was a significant absence of bouquets of roses for the Feast of St Valentine’s. The shop had for ready-made bouquets, clusters of chrysanthemum and lily blooms. Roses were available but firmly potted. In Gothenburg, I loved to have tulips at this time of year sitting on the kitchen table in a vase. In Tromsø, four metre high snow walls built from clearing snow off the sidewalks and driveways is not encouraging weather for tulips, even in vases. I did however, bring home a new pet plant from that shop, a ficus elastica robusta.

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20190204 21:14 night sky Tromsø Norway

Photo © CM Cordeiro 2019

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Spark, a traditional form of Nordic transportation, Tromsø, Norway

On a Spark (kicksled) in Tromsø, Norway.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2019

The Swedish and Norwegian word spark means kick in English. This ‘winter walker’ has been a small, more lightweight form of transportation since the mid-1800s for the wintry landscapes of northern Scandinavia. An observation between the city of Gothenburg located along the southern southwest coast of Sweden and the Arctic Circle city of Tromsø is how much less gravelling of the snow is done here as compared to Gothenburg. This also means that in the northern regions of Scandinavia, kicksleds come more into use, facilitating longer distances and heavier carrying loads. These kicksleds are crafted from wood, where the seat in front of the kicksled could comfortably accommodate a child whom you’d want along with you if you were in a smaller town or village on a half day’s errand to the market or nearest grocers. In today’s context, kicksleds are used more for recreational purposes, like on this Saturday afternoon, the perfect time to går på tur along the snowy waterfront of this island.

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February colours, Tromsø, Norway 2019

Photo © CM Cordeiro 2019

Tromsø International Snow Festival 2019, Norway

The Tromsø International Snow Festival 2019, 26 January 2019, Stortorget, Tromsø, Norway.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2019

It was just about a week ago, almost immediately following the final movie screenings of the Tromsø International Film Festival (TIFF) 2019 that the large market square in the city centre was cleared and up sprang these carved ice-sculptures. Lit in various neon colours for a fantastic light and ice display, these ice sculptures certainly brightened and complemented the still darkened winter sky in this Arctic Circle city.

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Tromsø International Film Festival, TIFF 2019, Norway

At the Edge Sky Bar, Clarion Hotel, for the Tromsø International Film Festival (TIFF 2019), Tromsø, Norway. DJ for the TIFF 2019 evening event is Christian Bruun.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2019

The 29th Tromsø International Film Festival (TIFF 2019) is currently ongoing in this Arctic Circle city. Beginning on 14 January and ending on 20 January, the film festival is expected to see over 60 000 thousand visitors to the city of Tromsø. TIFF 2019 draws both local and international visitors to its annual event. It is also an important meeting space / platform for Norway’s local film industry to meet with its international network. An important socio-economic catalyst, in 2018, the film festival generated 26 million NOK in related activities for the local community [1].

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Knekkebrød, a Norwegian variety

Knekkebrød, a Norwegian variety made with different seeds.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2019

A tiny brown paper package that contained some crispbread / knekkebrød turned up at my kitchen table counter top during a gathering in early December 2018. Next to that was the cheese platter, laid out with different types of honey, fruit marmalade and jam. I assumed that the crispbread was a variety of Wasabröd, except this version was peppered with different types of seed. Wasabröd is a crispbread that is quite ubiquitous in Sweden and I usually pay little attention to it as a food item when grocery shopping. Why eat that when you can have intoxicating kanelbullar dribbled with pearl sugar?

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Fractal organizing on the eve of 2019, Styrsö Gothenburg, SE

In the moment of a Walden read. Although this article post is mostly about Taleb’s 2004 incerto meta-framework of writing.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2018

I received this year as part of the Christmas presents exchange, one of my favourite books written by Henry David Thoreau, Walden1. What’s special about this Pan Macmillan Collector’s Library 2016 edition is that it is petite, and bound most decoratively in floral print, in the colours of the planets Saturn (pale gold) and Uranus (pale blue)2. Another book received was written by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Fooled by Randomness3 (2004).

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Good morning Sunshine! Styrsö, Gothenburg, SE

A winter’s sunrise along the Swedish west coast, Gothenburg, Sweden.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2018

Out at the Gothenburg southern archipelago, it seemed a perfectly mundane winter’s morning, albeit a little warm hovering between 5 to 6 degrees celcius. The big family gatherings on 24 and 25 Dec. is done, the quayside this morning was parked full of shopper bags and luggages of varying sizes, with varying goods belonging to individuals moving between points of interest. Christmas was warm and cozy, now it’s time to prepare for a sparkly new year’s!

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Christmas at Styrsö Gothenburg, Sweden 2018

Christmas market tranquil at Saluhallen in Gothenburg, Sweden.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2018

Even if the markets are not as populous in Scandinavia as they are in Southeast-Asia where I grew up, there’s always a certain sense of panic with last minute shopping, especially during festive seasons, like Christmas. I was however, pleasantly surprised to find the main market hall Saluhallen in Gothenburg, in complete calm during the late afternoon on the eve of the eve of Christmas, Christmas eve being the big family meal for most families in Sweden.

So it was thoroughly enjoyable doing this year’s Christmas marketing, picking up a bit of liver pâté, an assortment of cheese and some more preserved herring to add to our existing collection of flavoured herrings for the home Christmas table. Since Gothenburg is a coastal city, our own Christmas table very much reflects the culinary traditions of the region with an emphasis on piscatorial dishes. A favourite this year seemed to be smoked rainbow trout. That, and there’s always room for dessert. This year’s favourite was caramelized baked apples with vanilla cream. The vanilla cream was made the old-fashioned way with lots of egg yolks, and vanilla beans.

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Coffee as an art form at RISØ Tromsø, Norway

Kawaii cat cappuccino. RISØ Tromsø, Norway, takes coffee customization to the next level.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2018

If there was a must-visit café in Tromsø, then RISØ, located along Strandgata is it. A walk-past on most days will find this café filled with guests for want of an excellent, personalized cup of coffee. Their cinnamon rolls (closest to Swedish kanelbullar I’ve found here in Northern Norway) and coffee cake are good too.

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Egon Tromsø, Norway

A festive season pizza buffet on a Sunday? Super. At Egon Tromsø Norway.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2018

The Egon chain was established in 1984 with headquarters in Trondheim. Having worked as a waitress at Chili’s Grill & Bar when they first opened in Singapore prior to my university years, I was skeptical. Due to my experiences in bridging between kitchen and customers at Chili’s, I knew both what to expect and what not to expect at the same time. But any misgiving about bar and grill franchises dissipated stepping into Egon Tromsø. With warm friendly smiles from the service frontline to the complimentary coffee to each meal, I found very little not to like about Egon Tromsø.

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Alice and Indigo M-theory

Christmas light-up in Tromsø, Norway, 2018.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2018

Alice sat rag doll on the ground her full skirt semi-circling around her knees. Minutes, or was that tens of minutes (?) had passed when Caterpillar with a note of ire in his tone of voice asked, or was that suggested (?), “Contemplating…, Alice”

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Evening out with Olaf, Tromsø, Norway

Me (left) with Olaf.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2018

It was an evening stroll that led to the serendipitous meeting with Olaf. It had been some years since we last met, and I was delighted to see him standing there with arms outstretched in a welcoming Hello! I returned the warm greeting. It being a chilly night, we noted that it would be tempting to make a cup of hot chocolate and get warm in a blanket with a good book. We agreed however that it was perhaps not something he should do.

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Julebord at ROAST Tromsø Scandic Ishavshotel

Eyes on the view of the harbour that is just outside our table by the window at ROAST Tromsø. We were there for a traditional North Norwegian Christmas table sitting. ROAST restaurant is located at Scandic Ishavshotel, at Fredrik Langes Gate 2.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2018

This would be my first jultide spent in Northern Norway. It was mentioned several times in the course of various conversations had that the long Norwegian coastline has given rise to slight variations of culinary traditions and Norwegian culture within the country. And I could expect it to be much different from the culinary traditions of the Christmas tables in Gothenburg, along the Swedish west coast. As such, I was curious about the Northern Norwegian julebord or Christmas table. How different is it from the Swedish west coast julbord?

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