All posts by Martin

Switching to English

The best way to get two Swedes, speaking Swedish, to flip to English is to drop one word of English into their conversation. They will flip — often without noticing — almost instantly. You can then go away for 20 minutes or more and come back and they’ll still be speaking English.

I’m not sure this is A Good Thing™.

The Kind of Country I Want To Live In

This is from my old blog.

The Pragmatic Argument for Independence

Let me describe to you the kind of country I’d like to live in.

One that can happily announce that legislation coming in at the New Year will introduce free vaccines, higher parental leave benefits (already 16 months split between both parents at 80% of salary), tax exemption for private tutors, and more job security for temporary workers.

While maintaining a national AAA credit rating.

This is a fictitious utopia right? The economic orthodoxy is that you just can’t do these things together. You have to face stark choices in the current global economic climate. (Gently leaving to one side that nuclear weapons never seem to be part of that choice). Continue reading The Kind of Country I Want To Live In

Two Styles of Kanelbullar


Basic idea: roll the Cardamom Dough out, slather on a melted-butter plus sugar plus cinnamon mix, roll and then cut slices.

Ready for Rolling Take Me To An Oven

This gives you nice swirls which if you’re lucky, start forcing their way up in the middle.



Fancy Kanelbullar

This one is done by folding the cinnamon-ed dough sheet in three, then cutting strips which are twisted and artfully knotted.

Here’s a video of how it’s done

Only really missing a wee drop of pearl sugar.


OK, I said two styles. These are the two styles I can make. But I want the recipe for these fellas that drove us crazy in the Stationshuset cafe in Saltsjöbaden:
Coffee and Cinnamon Pastry
Continue reading Two Styles of Kanelbullar

Basic Scandinavian Cardamom Dough Recipe

This simple, cardamom-spiced yeasted dough serves as the basis for many Scandinavian coffee breads, rolls, and buns.

Prep Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes


  • 600ml milk
  • 375g melted butter
  • 200g sugar
  • 7g salt
  • 15g freshly ground cardamom (from about 25 cardamom pods)
  • 12g dry active yeast (2 packets)
  • 1000g all purpose or bread flour

Converted to the metric from the original.

Particularly useful as a base for Kanelbullar.

The Swedish-Scots Dictionary

So I’m working in Stockholm 3 days a week for the next few weeks. And I really don’t speak any Swedish, beyond what I can pick up from English subtitled TV such as The Bridge, which when characters are speaking quickly isn’t very helpful.

My German is a bit rusty, bit it helps a little with some constructions like Du/Dig (pronounced Dich).

But what’s really helping is a combination of English language TV with Swedish subtitles… and guid Scots. See if you can see the easy parallels I’m seeing here:

  • Bra – braw – Good
  • Dyr – dear – expensive
  • Att gråta – to greet – to cry (weep)
  • Mycket – muckle – a lot (Swedish spelling corrected, tack Torbjörn)
  • Att prata – to prate/prattle – to talk
  • Att flytta in – to flit – to move in (as in: to move house)
  • Huset (pron: Hooset) – house
  • Qvinne – quine – woman (and ultimately queen I guess)
  • Varför – why

Ok that last one was more archaic English, but you get the idea. After a couple of days, I’m now reading a good number of simple billboards and ads in the T-Bana.

Verbal communication is still way beyond me, though.