Thursday, January 29, 2009

Daring Bakers: Something Light

This month's challenge is brought to us by Karen of Bake My Day and Zorra of 1x umruehren bitte aka Kochtopf. They have chosen Tuiles from The Chocolate Book by Angélique Schmeink and Nougatine and Chocolate Tuiles from Michel Roux.

My Tuiles are 100% organic and I filled them with homemade chocolate cream and lemon curd cream. The chocolate turned out better. The sweet lemon curd with the sweet cookie was just too over the top sweet for my taste. The shaping bit was fun but, truth be told, a little too much work for the amount of fun you get out of it. I think if I were to make them again I would do a savory version and make little coronets filled with a nicely Swedish Toast Skagen filling. Bon appétit!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Twelfth Night or What You Will

Would the play by any other name be as sweet? How about 'The Thirteenth Day'? Here in Sweden there is no such thing as Twelfth Night. There is instead a Thirteenth Day. And the Thirteenth Day Eve is the night of fancy balls at the fancy castles and hotel ballrooms around the country.

And it isn't until a little day they call 'the twentieth knut' (Jan. 13th, twenty days after Christmas and the name day of all Knuts) that Christmas is officially over. Then the Christmas tree can be plundered and it and all the myriad of decorations and ornaments and red decorating details are tossed out until November 29th, 2009. Most Swedes I know are ready with advent candles, mulled wine and gingerbread cookies for this day, the first advent of Christmas.

With some swift calculation that adds up to about 7 1/2 weeks of Christmas (!) and even more if you consider all the Christmas markets and unveiling of the town square and storefront decorations that start the weekend prior to the first advent.

Our Christmas tree is one of the few lucky ones that won't be hacked to bits in order to fit into the neighborhood garden recycling bin. This year we opted for a living tree, a four foot high Nordmann Fir (Kungsgran in Swedish and a.k.a. Picea Nordmannia) with its roots still on. Hopefully it will grow slowly and be our Christmas tree for a few years, on the terrace in a giant pot, until we decide where to plant it permanently. Bon courage!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Ring Out, Wild Bells: A Curiously English New Year's Eve Tradition in Sweden

"Ring Out, Wild Bells" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson is the perfect new year's eve verse and in 1890 Edvard Fredin, an actor, critic and translator from Stockholm, translated it to Swedish. For over a hundred years now it has been read aloud at the stroke of midnight for the New Year's revelers at Skansen Park in Stockholm, above the din of the fireworks. Here are both versions. Bonne Année!

Ring Out, Wild Bells

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light;
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
For those that here we see no more,
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes,
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease,
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land...


Ring, klocka, ring i bistra nyårsnatten
mot rymdens norrskenssky och markens snö;
det gamla året lägger sig att dö...
Ring själaringning över land och vatten!

Ring in det nya och ring ut det gamla
i årets första, skälvande minut.
Ring lögnens makt från världens gränser ut,
och ring in sanningens till oss som famla.

Ring våra tankar ut ur sorgens häkten,
och ring hugsvalelse till sargad barm.
Ring hatet ut emellan rik och arm
och ring försoning in till jordens släkten.

Ring ut vad dödsdömt räknar sina dagar
och forngestaltningar av split och kiv.
Ring in ett ädlare, ett högre liv
med bättre syften, mera rena lagar.

Ring ut bekymren, sorgerna och nöden,
och ring den frusna tiden åter varm.
Ring ut till tystnad diktens gatularm,
men ring till sångarhjärtan skaparglöden.

Ring ut den stolthet, som blott räknar anor,
förtalets lömskhet, avundens försåt.
Ring in det rätta på triumfens stråt,
och ring till seger mänsklighetens fanor.

Ring, klocka, ring... och seklets krankhet vike;
det dagas, släktet fram i styrka går!
Ring ut, ring ut de tusen krigens år,
ring in den tusenåra fredens rike!

Ring in den tid, då andarna befrias
ur själviskhetens sammansnörda band.
Ring mörkrets skuggor bort ur alla land...