Spooky Halloween treats in 5 minutes

A quick tip… I bought edible cup cake toppers but they looked too tricky to cut out of the rice paper. Instead I cut them into rectangles, wet the back with a little water and stuck them onto marshmallows. Hope my daughter will like them for the school Halloween party tomorrow:)

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A lovely outing

Woke up this morning to a windy island. We decided to go on a little outing to Wira bruk (the village is spelled Vira bruk on the map), a picturesque little place north of Stockholm. It’s all based around a iron foundry established in the 17th century. And what a great outing it was! Just have to share some pics….

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There was a cafe with great prawn sandwiches and the iron work shop is amazing but not cheap as its all locally hand made…

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Childhood nostalgia

My grandparents had the cutest little summer cottage in the north of Sweden. These days many of the neighbours are bulldozing the little houses in favour of pre-fab family homes that in my backward view are pretty ugly… Luckily my aunt has the good taste of keeping it as it should be- a bit wonky, very original and totally adorable!

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Banana cake with chocolate topping

Summer holidays are here and bananas go brown so quickly… Here’s a quick and easy one that’s lovely as it is or even scrummier with the topping.

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(Switch oven to 175 degrees C)

2 eggs
2 dl sugar (swedes favourite measurement… 1dl is 0.1litre, about the amount of a small coffee cup, or a little less than half an American Cup)
Pinch of salt

Whisk the above until white and fluffy

2.5dl plain flour
1 tsp vanilla powder/sugar or a little vanilla essence
2 tsp baking powder

I place a sieve over the egg mixture, than add these dry ingredients into the eggs by sieving it to avoid lumps.

100gr melted butter or margarine
4 tbsp milk
2 mashed, ripe bananas

Add these ingredients in to the mixture. Place in a greased cake tin and bake for about 45 min. I usually check after about 35 mins, as I don’t like dry cake… It’s even nicer the day after, but don’t forget to cover it with some cling film so that it doesn’t dry out, and don’t store it in the fridge. Now on to the very delicious and highly recommended frosting.

Frosting:
50 gr butter
5 tbsp cocoa
3 dl icing sugar
2 tbsp cream

Melt the butter, then add all the dry ingredients (sieve them in again, then you won’t have to get worked up about the dreaded icing lumps…). Spread thick onto you cake and enjoy!

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My sister tried it with a cream cheese, butter and lemon curd topping and said that was really nice with a bit of tangy to go with the sweet bananas. One for next time!

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15 minute (ehh almost…) princess bed

Here’s an easy peasy way to make your little one happy when she asks for a princess bed and you have neither time nor inclination to go to the shops.

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I used a piece of netting from ikea, but you could use any sheer fabric. You will also need two old hangers, some scrap fabric, glue and a hook. Cut off the hook on one hanger and wrap fabric around both of them.

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Tie them together forming a cross, and drape fabric over. Hang a hook from the ceiling, if you need to adjust the height use some string or ribbon. I thought I might collect some pretty things like butterflies, stars or flowers to hang from the hangers a bit like a mobile….
Our weekend place is coming together slowly but surely. The girls have a mini bedroom each, which is more than they have in town. So far though they refuse to sleep in separate rooms but perhaps this will do the trick?!

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Green roof and island days

Spring has finally arrived and I have been busy… Work, work, work and even a little fun! Have to show you this green roof that we’ve just finished laying down. Here it is half done.

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I managed to get a stomach bug, so lifting the 50kg sections of soil and sedum was pretty exhausting. But I had great help from two strong guys who were on the roof laying it right, whilst my dad and I did the ground work. Sedum is great as a green roof, they are little leaf succulents so don’t require much maintenance (no mowing for example) once installed. And they do come in pretty handy sections so it wasn’t too hard to handle for two. Really pleased with the results! More pics to come of the house further on, we might even finish it this summer:)

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The sedum squares delivered on pallets to a nearby rock. Lucky there is a man with a crane on a boat nearby…

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We (as in them) pulled the sections up to roof height on a home made construction made of two boards and half a pallet. We did offer safety gear I would like to add. Unfortunately we couldn't make them wear it. Much relief when it was done and everyone safe.

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Quick Goulash soup

I have to share this recipe whilst it’s bubbling away… I have a freezer full of mince, and this is such an easy and yum way to use it.

1 onion
4 potatoes
1 pepper
1 table spoon of oil
500 gr of mince (give or take)
600ml water
1 meat stock cube
600 gr tinned tomatoes
2 tsp caraway seeds (called “Kummin” in Swedish, you would think that was cumin in English but noooo)
1 tsp paprika (smoked if you are into that)
Salt & pepper to taste (and a bit of chilli powder if you like it hot)

Fry the onion, pepper and mince in the oil. Add the spices, potatoes, stock cube, water and tomatoes. Simmer until potatoes are soft, about 15 min. Lovely with a dollop of creme fraiche.

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Got to go, it’s ready:)

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Finally! A sideboard…

I have been so busy with my new job, that my home has definitely suffered… Piles of stuff everywhere and little progress on tasks that need to be dealt with. Welcome to the real world I hear you say… So, when I found a little antiques shop in the middle of Swedish nowhere that are helpful and deliver for next to nothing, I was very much cheered up! Here’s the sideboard I bought.

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It matches the mid century chest of drawers I bought back in the autumn. No peeking at the nest of cables that I haven’t untangled. Or the computer that can’t go in the cupboard yet because I haven’t had time to make holes in the back. Be nice!
Also bought these:

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Plan is to get them up on the wall by the tv. It will be like my own little hunting lodge 😉

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The blue cupboard

Happy New Year! Time is flying and I have a new job…. After many years of being my own boss I’m rather excited that it is for a large company with lots of new colleagues. It’s a department store, and my new office is behind a shop floor so no doubt there will be posts about their lush home wares…

Anyway, back to my latest DIY project! I finally got the old cupboard painted and here it is.

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I bought it this summer as a cupboard for sweaters and cardigans. It was white and a bit beat up from the ride on the trailer to Stockholm. The blue brings out the colour of the fifties lampshades I posted earlier. I think the bedroom is getting there, but I’m still looking for the right retro sideboard and it is proving tricky to find…
By the way, the girls helped me make a little charm for the cupboard key. We used old beads, some leather string and other random bits and pieces.

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Going outside now, it’s -19!!! Wish me luck…

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Rocky road pig out

So Christmas is over… But not the holiday! We are watching films and eating treats like there is no tomorrow (or new year!). I wanted to share one of the best recipes this Christmas. Rocky Road, it’s so easy to make with the kids and big kids love it too. My ingredients change depending on what’s in the larder. Use your yummiest stuff and make it your own classic! Great as a little gift in a jar or left over tin.

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You will need:
400 grams of chocolate (I use 50/50 milk and dark)
a tea mug full of mixed salted nuts (yes, salted, trust me on this…)
5 digestive biscuits (I sometimes use rice crispies)
1/2 mug of mini marshmallows
1 mug of sweets (think soft things like fudge. Fruity things work if they are soft enough.)

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Melt the chocolate, either in a metal bowl over a pan of simmering water or gently in the microwave. Break up the biscuits, roughly chop your other ingredients. Line a small tin with grease proof paper (I use a small square roasting tin from the 99p shop). Poor in the mixture, sprinkle some hundreds and thousands over it if you like and leave it to set in room temperature. Cut into small squares and enjoy!

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