Thursday, 17 December 2009


To all of you who are following and reading my blog I wish you

A very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Be inspired and decorate with black and white and make big ginger cookies and write a nice Christmas greeting with icing.

To find the recipes go to my "old blog" where you will find a lot of Swedish and English Christmas recipes.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009


Surprise your guests and present them with homemade Gravad Lax. Saffron is a very "Chrismassy" spice in Sweden, so here we are giving the Gravad Lax some Christmas treatment. To be sure that there is no parasites in the raw fish it needs to be in the freezer below -18 degrees for approx 10 days before or after the cure! For 6-8 people you need:

1 kilo salmon fillets with skin on
2 tsp mixed peppercorns
4 tbsp sea salt flakes (Maldon)
4 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp honey
big bunch of dill

Crush the peppercorns in a pestle and mortar together with the salt and sugar. Rub 1/3 of the mix into the salmon. Cover the fillets with plenty of chopped dill and put on the rest of the salt/pepper mix. Put the fillets together fleshy side against flesh and thick side against thin, and place them in a plastic bag. Seal the bag thoroughly and put on a plate which you put in the fridge. Leave for 2 days and 2 nights, turning them a couple of times. After the 2 days pour away the liquid. Can be kept in the fridge for about one week, or in the freezer for up to 2 months.

When serving - take away most of the dill and pepper and cut into fine slices. Serve with Gravlaxsås or some crème fraiche that you spice with some mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, runny honey, salt & pepper.
This is how you make the Gravlax Sauce

3 tbsp mustard (mix English and Dijon)
1 tbsp sugar
1 pinch of salt
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
100 ml chopped dill
100 ml sunflower oil

Mix everything but the oil and the dill. Slowly add the oil and whisk it in slowy, it should get quite thick! Mix in the dill and serve!

Monday, 23 November 2009


Welcome to the Christmas at Åhléns 2009! Choose between red, black, white or grey.
A cosy and Nordic and folkloristic feel that will make any home warm and snug for the holidays. Of course, Åhléns is a department store chain in Sweden. But take some inspiration from it and find similar items at Ikea, Skandium (in London) etc.

Monday, 9 November 2009


This Saturday we went on a little shopping trip to some organic farm shops in our area.
We found some lovely fresh pheasant breast and locally grown organic potatoes, Brussels sprouts and red cabbage. What a wonderful base for a cold Sunday winter supper! This is what I did!

For 4 you need

4 pheasant breasts
12 potatoes (butter and bread crumbs)
20 Brussels sprouts

1/2 medium sized red cabbage
1 large red onion
2 tbsp treacle
2 tbsp raisins
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
100 ml red wine

For the red wine sauce

300 ml red wine
3 tbsp brown sugar
1 chicken stock cube
1 tbsp potato flour
2 tbsp water
salt and pepper

Start with the potatoes. This potato dish is called Hasselbackspotatis and is said to be created at a very famous restaurant/hotel in the Djurgården part of Stockhom with the same name Hasselbacken (Hazel Hill).
Put the oven on at 225 C. Cut the potatoes finely but not all the way through. Put them in a oven dish and drizzle some melted butter over them and sprinkle with a little bit of bread crumbs. Cook in the oven for 45 minutes.

Meanwhile cook the red cabbage. Slice the onion and the cabbage finely. Fry gently with some butter in a saucepan. Add the raisins, brown sugar, treacle, vinegar and wine. Cook for approx 15 minutes and season with salt and pepper and a pinch of 5 spice (optional).

Season the pheasant breast with salt and freshly milled black pepper. Brown them in butter. Put them in an oven dish and add 100 ml of red wine. Cook in the oven at 200 C for approx 10 min. Take out to rest and keep warm.

When the breast is in the oven, make the red wine sauce.

Melt the sugar and add the red wine and stock cube. Let simmer for 10 minutes. Mix 1 tbsp of potato flour with 2 tbsp of water and add to the sauce. Simmer for another 5 minutes. Add the wine from the pheasant breast and serve up.

Put the breast on top of the red cabbage. Cook the Brussels sprouts (preferably in the microwave for 6 minutes) and serve up together with the potatoes. Finally, pour a little bit of the red wine sauce on top! Serve immediately with some sauce on the side.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009


Christmas has arrived early this year. Went to London last weekend for a party and stopped at Next and Paperchase on Tottenham Court Road on the way back. I was surprised to see that they had already started their Christmas windows! Get inspired by Next and perhaps you will have a pink Christmas this year?

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Winter gardening with Cyclamen in white

We did some gardening this weekend. High time to change the summer flowers in the pots to frost resistant winter flowers. Cyclamens are fantastic for this purpose. I have Ivy in my pots all year round and just change the flowering bit in the middle. Next weekend it is time to put some bulbs in, white Crocuses or perhaps some mini Irises!

Thursday, 1 October 2009


Sandbergs have had help from talented stylist Helene Holmstedt to do their dramatic stand at Decorex recently. A daring mix of wallpapers covered the walls and she had even dressed the inside of the small black coffee tables from Ikea with wallpaper.
The sofa from famous Carl Malmsten Shop (Stockholm) had been covered with a patchwork of Sandbergs textiles, a project by Swedish artist Pontus Djanaieff.


Look at this fantastic golden chair and metallic wallpaper in blue and brown. All shown at Osborne & Little's showroom and shop on Kings Road in Chelsea, London.
The metallic trend was big as I went round not only the showrooms in Chelsea but also when I visited Chelsea Harbour with all the showrooms there. For you who has never been to Chelsea Harbour and are interested in interior design. Next time you go to London make the effort to go there. Most of the showrooms are open daily for visitors, trade or not! Visit their web site for more info and opening times

Tuesday, 29 September 2009


I went to Designers Guild yesterday during London Design Week. Always very inspirational and fantastically put together. She told us herself how they had mixed different styles and epochs together and the result is a very eclectic mix that can easily be transferred into your home. Mix antiques with modern design of today, 50-ies style with vintage, old and new. Here all in black and white, timeless and interesting.
Go to her shop in London if and when you are there and get more inspiration, 267 Kings Road, Chelsea.

Thursday, 24 September 2009


Tom Dixon has teamed up with the Rug Company and created not only modern Kelims but also lovely wool rugs with geometric and three dimensional patterns!
In their temporary showroom tent at the Dock (Portobello Docks) in London (by the canal in Ladbroke Grove/Kensal Road Toms rugs and floor cushions formed a calm retreat where you were offered mint tea and sweets served from Ikea coffee tables!
The exhibition goes on until the 27 September!

Wednesday, 23 September 2009


It is London Design Week. That means the interior design fair 100% Design at Earls Court, London Fashion Week, a happening by Tom Dixon along with his first shop, Tent exhibition in East London and Designersblock this year at 100% Design!
I went to Notting Hill to see for myself. The Tom Dixon shop/showroom is situated in the old Dock building. Not big, but definitely very different. Just for the week the whole area has been done up as an exhibition with designers and company's from all over the world.... I had lunch at the temporary restaurant, The Dock Kitchen, run by the a former chef from the famous River Café. Delicious, you have to come back and read more about that early next week.

Friday, 18 September 2009


This spicy and sweet plum sauce will taste wonderful with cheese, in stir fries, with pork etc. My son has it for breakfast on his toast!
I made it from wild yellow plums, but any type will do well.

2 kg plums, stoned and quartered
750 g apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1 cm chunks
1 medium onion, any colour
4 cloves of garlic, minced (I used my homegrown!)
2,5 dl white wine vinegar
2,5 dl white malt vinegar
2,5 dl balsamic vinegar
500 g dark muscovado sugar
2 cm piece of ginger, peeled and sliced into fine splinters
2 long red chillies
2-4 dried red chillies, crumbled
2 teaspoons of ground Chinese 5-spice
1 stick of cinnamon broken into pieces

You will need approximately 5 x 550 ml glass jars, sterilized and warm.

Use a big pan. Put all ingredients in it.

Cook at a steady boil for 1-1 1/2 hours. When it is ready , it will still be runny - remember it is a sauce - but it will become firmer, it will set more while cooling.
Bottle in the jars. Makes approx 2 3/4 litres.


This marmalade/jam should be cooked from a mix of ripe and unripe plums to get enough pectin to set it.
Will make about 1 1/2 kg of marmalade/jam.

1 1/2 kg plums, stoned and quarted (keep the stones)
2 dl water
12 dl (1 kg) sugar
1 lemon, in wedges
1 cinnamon stick
1 vanilla pod, halve it and scrape out the seeds
2 star aniseed's
4 x 550 ml jars, sterilized and warm

Put the stones in a fabric parcel.
Gently boil the plums, lemon wedges and the stone parcel with the water for 30 minuter - with the lid on,
Remove the stone parcel and the lemon wedges, add the sugar, a little at a time until it is totally dissolved. Add the spices and boil rapidly without lid for 15 minutes. Pour the marmalade/jam into the jars, put the lids on immediately. Store in a cool place.


The important thing when making this cake is that the butter should be nice and soft.

175 g sugar (2 dl)
6 tbsp water (90 cl)
4 large plums, halved. I used 10 of my smaller ones!

150 g plain flour (2,5 dl)
2 tsp baking powder
175 g butter, softened
175 g sugar (2 dl)
4 tbsp ground almonds (60 cl)
4 eggs, beaten
1 tsp natural vanilla extract or 2 tsp vanilla sugar

Heat the oven to 150 C. Butter a 24 cm springform cake tin and line the base with baking paper.
Place the sugar and water in a heavy-based pan over a low heat. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon to dissolve sugar. Don´t let the liquid boil until the sugar has completely dissolved to form a clear syrup. Now raise the heat to medium and bring to the boil. Boil rapidly until the syrup starts to turn brown around the edge of the pan. Lower the heat and cook the sugar to a dark golden brown. You shouldn't´t stir sugar as it cooks, just swirl the pan once or twice so that i colours evenly. As soon as the caramel is ready, pour immediately into the buttered tin. Arrange the plums skin side up over the caramel.

Mix the flour and the baking powder into a large bowl. Add butter, sugar, almonds, eggs and vanilla. Beat until smooth and evenly blended, 1-2 minutes. Spread the cake mixture over the fruit. Bake until the top is golden brown and the sides of the cake have pulled away from the tin, about 50 minutes.

Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool for a few minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cake and turn out onto a serving dish. If any pieces of fruit stick to the paper, don´t despair, use a spatula to remove and press them back into place. Serve the cake warm or at room temperature. Dust with icing sugar and serve with a dollop of thick yogurt, crème fraiche, whipped cream, custard or ice cream!



We went to Ebrington for a village garage sale and on the way we found some plum trees by the road! The next day I went and picked a bag full. And look what I managed to make from just one bag of plums! A fabulous plum cake, plum sauce and plum marmalade. I felt like a real domestic goddess! Here are the recipies!

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

A small guide to Birmingham


I went to Birmingham for a short city break with my dear husband. The reason was that the Swedish Chamber of Commerce had a networking happening at the SAS Radisson there and we decided to stay the night and make it a small city break.
The sun was shining and we walked to the Bullring and started by having a nice lunch at he Café Rouge. After that we spent the afternoon having some "shopping therapy", but a budget one. The Bullring has everything you want and we were especially impressed with Selfridges, a very well layed out department store.
I got some nice winter boots, and we got some good value jeans for Bruce and sport shoes etc for our son Hugo! He is having growing spurts continuously needing new shoes!

After a nice drink in the sun we got changed and headed for the drinks party. Very enjoyable and we met some interesting people working for the Birmingham City Council and various other companies in some way related to Sweden.
After the party we had a bit to eat at the hotel restaurant, Italian style, and very good. Bruce had a fantastic risotto and I had a mixed antipasti platter.
Off to bed. Very comfy beds in our spacey and colourful room.
We had a bit of a sleep in and had a very leisurely long breakfast and then we headed off for the canals. A pleasant surprise, you can walk around for hours and look a new house developments and house boats etc....
We were pleasantly surprised of how clean Birmingham is everywhere.
We bumped into a new restaurant, LoveS, opening tomorrow. The very nice proprietors showed us around, they have recently been running a restaurant in Leamington Spa. We will come back to try it out at a later date.

On the way back to the hotel to check out and head back home we passed an other shopping center, The Mailhouse, impressing with a small Harvey Nicols, Hugo Boss etc.
We will be back for more....

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Vintage, nostalgia and a new simplicity at Formex in Stockholm

I rec
ently visited Formex in Stockholm. A fair of interior design accessories and gifts.

A haven for interior design lovers...
Here you can find all things decorative for your home.
I think this one was one of the best so far...
Very high quality stands and a lot of new and young designs of high st
The picture from Lisa Bengtsson "vintage" café summons it all. Vintage, proper old things, retro design in new production, black and white and new prints with nostalgic images put together to a new pattern (by textile designer Lisa Bengtsson) and with a red accent...

Another strong colour scheme are the happy colours of the 50-ies.
Kitschy, happy things for the kitchen and bathroom that will lighten up any bland interior. Within this "trend" we also found a lot of crochet, from making table mats to false flowers and cup cakes! A bit of Asian influences can also be found here, we can see a return of the Indian rugs, often as patchwork!
A new simplicity was found where white and black, and the new "black" - grey i around.
Basic, and sometimes nostalgic
patterns with a modern feel. Like the cushions in the Finish stand, Finland was guest of honour at this fair.

The "ski chalet" is another interesting inspiration at the moment. With a mix of the basic wooden panelled walls, vintage furniture and natural colour scheme, it has a new simplicity with a very homey feeling!

Last but not least, the Swedish dish cloth, "Wettexduk", made from nature (pine), washable and recyclable, was found in a lot of stands in new and modern designs! Even as Christmas tree decorations!

Thursday, 20 August 2009



I had my neighbours on the island for dinner the other night. This is what I made for dessert.

If you have followed my other blog you are already familiar with this pie!

Since there is so man blueberries growing on the island I just stepped outside my house to pick some. I needed 5 dl and it took me about 20 minutes to pick them!
Here is the recipie:

125 g cold butter
3 dl flour
1 tbls cold water
5 dl blueberries
1 tbls potatoe flower or cornflower
3 tbls sugar

Cut the cold butter into cubes and mix in a bowl with the flour and the water (with your fingers) until a smooth doe is forming. Press out with your knuckles into a pieform. Save a bit of dough for the decoration. Add the blueberries and sprinkle the potaoe
flour and the sugar over the berries. Make strips of the rest of the dough and place over the berries. I you feel inspired, form some leaves and berries from the dough and decorate! Bake at 225 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Serve with custard, cream or ice cream.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009


Our new bedroom at Gåsö are nearly finished.
The Gustavian desk we had in the guestroom in our cottage in Wales (now sold! in favour of Gåsö!), but it looks so much better in the archipelago house! The chair cover was once made for a fair stand I did the styling for in the early nineties! New bed and bedlinen from Ikea. Grey felt cushion that i found in a handicraft shop when I was skiing in Åre this spring! What is missing is the headboard for the bed, probably in grey flanell, we will see?

Tonight I am cooking for my neighbours, will be back tomorrow with recipies and more from our lovely island!

Friday, 14 August 2009

Gåsö livingroom!

A first glimpse of our new house. The open plan kitchen/livingroom has a wonderful open fire at the north end of the house. All built in slate and the floor in Douglas Pine...
A big corner sofa with space for at least 6 people, a wonderful place to sit and admire the fantastic sea view...see you tomorrow

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Risotto etc


Hi everybody, sorry for not having blogged for a while. We, me, my husband Bruce and son Hugo, have now installed ourselves in our new house in the Stockholm Archipelago, not without problems.
We had to let our builder go....
It has been a lot of things to sort out, but we are slowly getting there.
Gåsö is such a wonderful and friendly island. We have been here now for three weeks and has already been to a couple of parties, jazz evenings at Älgö Kiosk, having had some aerobics by the beach and sauna afterwards...
Saturday 1 august we had an open house for all the people we know on the island, about 60 people came during the afternoon and evening. A very succesful party.

Of course I am enjoying cooking in my new kitchen and one of the first dishes was tenderloin with green pea risotto. For 4 people you need

800 g tenderloin or similar

For the marinade:

250 ml japanese soya
1 tbls runny honey
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 thumbnail size peace of ginger, grated
1 tsp dried peperoncini or freshly chopped red chili
the juice of one lime

mix the marinade together and put together with the tenderloin in a plastic bag.
Let it rest for at least a couple of hours. BBQ the tenderloin until it is just a bit pink in the middle, it will take about 20 min.

Meanwhile start the risotto, for 4-6 people you need:

4 dl arborio, carnarioli or viale nonno risotto rice
1 dl olive oil
1 tblsp butter
1 liter to 1.3 liter of vegetable or chicken stock
1 finely chopped onion
1-2 finely chopped garlic cloves
1 dl of white wine or white dry martini
300 g green peas
2 dl grated parmesan cheese

Soften the onion with the garlic in a mix of the oil and butter, until the onion is transparent and not fried. Add the rice, stir and let it "cook" for a couple of minutes. Add the wine and let it "cook out". Slowly add the stock, bit by bit, continuesly stirring, this will take about 20 minutes. After 15 min add the peas and continue cooking. Taste the rice, it should be "al dente", add the parmesan cheese and serve immediately with peaces of the tenderloin on top and decorated with some green herbes, we had fresh thyme in the house, but any herb of your liking will do! Have a nice meal!

Monday, 27 April 2009

Black is back!
We had a little dinner party on Saturday and I laid the table with some new runners in pale green linen that I bought at Åhléns in Stockholm recently. Mixed with my favourite candlesticks (Habitat a couple of years ago), china in black/white from Next and black linen napkins (also from Åhléns) it looked very springlike but with some attitude!
Black is really back in, not only in the kitchen but very much so in the garden. Furniture and plants in dramatic shades of black...I replanted my Box balls in black square pots that I got from Homebase (special offer, 3 for the price of 2, a bargain). The garden table in metal with a very french touch we got from Heal´s last year and are designed by the very talented young British designer John Reeves. I also have a dressing table by him in my bedroom in shiny Chinese lacquer...(it is part of a series of bedrooms furniture, look at
Even some of my plants in my garden are black like the black grass and black tulips. We also planted some black Hollyhocks in black this weekend and they will flower in the end of July, cannot wait....
Watch this space, there will be more black. We are currently building a house in the Stockholm archipelago and there we will have a black kitchen, even the dishwasher, cooker, fridge freezer are black as well as the floor in the kitchen and hall. The bathroom is also all black with marble tiles on the walls and sea stone flooring. New bathroom furniture Svea from Svedbergs ( and a black washing machine from Electrolux (
I will return with more pictures and a full story about the house in Stockholm meanwhile enjoy this pictures and I will soon return with more about design, travel and of course more recipes!

Monday, 23 March 2009

Spring Salmon

I was in London last Monday and went to Designers Guild and Chelsea Design Center for the Chelsea Designers Week. I had lunch at a local Gastro Pub, Lots Road, and got inspired to do this simple dish at home!
A success with my family, and it was so easy to make!


serves 4

4 salmon fillets
250 g fresh baby spinach leaves, wilted in a tablespoon of water and a blob of butter
1 kg freshly boiled new potatoes
1 tablespoon horse radish sauce mixed with
2 tablespoons of light mayonnaise

Grill the salmon,
preferably in a grill pan, with at light drizzle of olive oil, , freshly grated black pepper and sea salt. Approximately 4-5 minutes each side. Smash the potatoes ruffly with a fork and add a blob of butter. Put the spinach on top of the potatoes and then the grilled salmon. Put a generous blob of horseradish mayo on top. Serve immediately! Why not serve with a glass of New Zeeland Sauvignon Blanc!

Ankan, love immigrant from Sweden!

Hi everybody. For you who do not know me, a short introduction.
Born on a cold winters night in Stockholm 1955 I was the lovechild of Gösta and Mari-Anne.

I grew up in a southern suburbia of Stockholm and when 20 years of age I graduated as a PA-assistant. My first employment was as just that, a PA-assistant to an editor in chief of a weekly news magazine. It was while working there I realized that a future in journalism would be something for me. I studied at evening school and was an apprentice for a very (then) famous and trendy youth magazine Vecko Revyn. Hard work, but so much fun....

I got my first employment as a journalist at Damernas Värld (then a weekly fashion magazine) where I started off doing fashion but ended up doing interior design and food. In 1990 i went freelance after a short session as a fashion editor back at Vecko Revyn.

When Elle Interiör was launched in Sweden I was asked to take part, I was contributing as the senior stylist and writer until the early millennium... From 1992 I worked substantially for Ikea with its catalogues as well as doing stories, features, and advertising assignments for Rörstrand, Ikea, Åhléns, etc, etc...

Since 2001 I have lived in England, in the lovely Cotswold´s with my investment banker husband Bruce and son, Hugo (pictured above) soon to be 11 years of age! We are now building a house in Stockholm archipelago which means that I will spend more time in Sweden, and also work there since I just got some assignments there from a new Swedish Interior Design Magazine! My base in Stockholm is my "bachelor flat" in the south city center. A lovely little studio which also works as my Stockholm office!

After a couple of years off work I am now looking for more to do with journalism (interior design, food, travel, styling and lifestyle). Here on my blog I will show you what I mean, perhaps even create my own magazine, Living with Ankan! Welcome to my world.