Category Archives: MY NORDIC DIARY

Semla-mania!

“Shrove Tuesday”, “Fat Tuesday”,…… in Sweden, the 13th of February has a more down-to-earth name: “Semmeldagen“, the day when people eat as many Semla as they wish!

WHY SEMMELDAGEN?

Before starting to eat your Semla, our KTH blogger Tomas has an amusing story of the history Semmeldagen, which includes the King died of eating Semla (okey, maybe I should not start from here……), that I strongly recommend you to read. My story today is slightly different: it is about how to DIY 40 Semlor (Semlor = plural of Semla) from flour, whipped cream, sugar and almond, in a student corridor with my classmates.

HOW TO DIY SEMLA

There are a lot of DIY videos online, such as this one:

And you need a colorful recipe, such as this one “Learn to bake Semlor step by step

Matskolan: Lär dig baka semlor

Most importantly, we have Karine, the baking Queen who is so enthusiastic about baking and feeding her hungry classmates!

To start with, you may say that Semla is simply the composition of three elements: almond paste, whipping cream and dough. It is true:

 

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The warmest, simplest winter food

Food is more than fulfilling metabolic need; it is emotion, sensation and life itself. People differ in their inclination towards food; even the same individual prefer different food under different circumstances. Today I will recommend two types of food that are perfectly apt for Swedish winter: they are as warm as home-coming, and are simple enough to prepare in a shared student kitchen.

SWEET POTATOES

The vendors selling roasted sweet potatoes are a shared memory of post-1990s’ China.  Although such sign disappears from my life since I moved to Sweden, the nostalgic taste of roasted sweet potatoes can be easily replicated in your own oven, in three steeps:

  1. Pre-warm the oven at 200C, 10 min *

  2. Put the sweet potatoes (NOT peeled), 70 min *

  3. Let the sweet potatoes cool down **

A qualified roasted sweet potato should:

  • secret a viscous, black juice
  • have readily removable skin
  • soft enough be bailed with a spoon

* It might be variation between my oven and yours

** Allowing your sweet potatoes to cool down is really important. High-temperature food and beverages are a known risk factor for various types of cancers. Besides, sweet potatoes actually taste better when they are a bit cooler.

SWEET CHESTNUT

Some mix up sweet chestnut with it cousin, horse chestnut, due to their appearance:

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Inside the heart of Swedish democracy

If you were in Stockholm before, you must have been to the historical old town and  impressed by the great architectures erected on the islets. Among them, there is a crescent-shape building which carries an special meaning for the nation. “Riksdag”  is its name and “heart of the Swedish democracy” is official definition. In this blog I will discover this grandiose building with you, and touch a bit upon the incredible political system and ideology behind it.

ACCESS TO RIKSDAG

Some says that democracy means open and free information available to the public. So it is for Riksdag. You may enter the Riksdag via

  1. Guided Tour  (Free of charge)

2.  Public hearing, chamber meetings and debates are open to the public. You just need to reserve more time to arrive due to the security check, and better be able to understand Swedish to make more sense for you existence.

Security check

3. Riksdags has its own library , which is also open to public and you may also borrow books.

THE BUILDING

Being the heart of Swedish democracy, the Riksdag building must be located in the heart of the capital. Inaugurated in 1905, and it is then fused with the nearby national bank in the 80s. Today, Riksdag spans the entire Helgeandsholmen, overlooking the water. 

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The career fair towards a sustainable future

Scandinavia’s largest career fair ——- THS ARMADA  organised by KTH Student Union, was successfully finished today. For many, it must be two exciting days of attending talks, submitting CV, talking to company representatives……Instead of repeating those job hunting that you might be already familiar with, I am going to talk about a rather interesting theme that penetrates throughout the fair, sustainability.

WHAT IS SUSTAINABILITY

Although the combination “sustainability” + “career fair” doesn’t seem to be intuitive, it is nothing to be surprised in Sweden, a country in which sustainability is so deep-rooted.

Indeed, sustainability, together with quality and diversity, are the three core values of THS Armada. In the level of implementation, THS Armada has these principles:

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The First Snow in Stockholm

When I opened the window from my corridor’s kitchen on the morning of 21st November, a brand new world was in front of my eyes.

In Stockholm, it starts snowing from the beginning of November until April next year. But we are still pining for the first snow. How is it so?

Vasapark

Firstly, it paints the world with silvery white so timely when the brilliant red, yellow and green colours from trees are gradually fading out.

KTH Campus Alba Nova

Cited from one of my Swedish colleagues: “Snow lights up the November sky. I always feel better because of its presence”

Besides its aesthetic function, snow is a symbol for Christmas, celebration and family gathering.

Snow also broaches the season of winter activities: many of us are waiting for the lakes to be frozen (usually in December).

Winter hints? 

  1. Take vitamin D, especially if you are female and have darker skin.
  2. Keep exercising. (Click here for the outdoor winter activities that you can do in Stockholm.)
  3. Talk to friends, eat more and be happy 😉

//tianlin