Monday, November 21, 2011

Mårten Gås aka Blood Soup & Goose

I've had my fair share of bad experiences with geese, or rather, with one goose in particular (anyone from Market St knows the one I'm referring to). But betrayal by a goose - unheard of until I celebrated the Skåne tradition of Mårten Gås last weekend. 

K, K, & Gertrude

The story goes waaay back to about the 14th century when the modest monk St. Martin, actually French according to the legend, tried to escape being ordained bishop by hiding amongst a flock of geese. These geese, however, cackled so loudly they gave poor Martin away and he was unhappily sent to the ordainment. To get his revenge, Martin dined on goose for dinner - a meal which has continued through the centuries with Martin in mind.

perfect, fall-themed table - the candles are in real apples!

And so, we cooked ourselves up a goose (feathers and all!), hosted at the lovely home of P&K. As follows the Skåne (area of Southern Sweden) tradition, we started the meal with Blood Soup (this we didn't make ourselves) from the blood of the goose, mixed with spices and whiskey. I ate it, of course, and to be honest, it tasted a lot like gingerbread. Who would've thought?

The goose was served with red cabbage, boiled potatoes, and a delicious creamy sauce made from goose juices. Dessert was apple cake with vanilla sauce. And inbetween were drinking songs with shots of the classic Swedish liquor snaps, without which no holiday is complete. And so we celebrated this Skånish meal with good friends, good food, and an unlucky but very much-appreciated fresh goose.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

'Tis the Season (almost)

A few small red-berry branches - rönnbärs kvist - I found on our walk around Stora Essingen today can really add a lot to bring some holiday cheer to our little apartment

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Riga - The Paris of the Baltic

Boat cruises across the Baltic Sea depart from Stockholm every day, carrying passengers to exotic destinations like Helsinki or Riga. Most of these passengers don't really care where they're headed, and in all likelihood, won't even get off the ship until it's back in Stockholm. They're more interested in the tax-free drinking on board that earns these trips their rightful name: 'booze cruz.'

This is not to say our expectations were were far from these passengers' when our gang of 11 embarked on a trip to Latvia's capital city, Riga. However, I did care to see something of this city I didn't know existed before now, maybe get another stamp in my passport. And experience one of the infamous Baltic cruises I'd heard so much about.

I've never been on an overnight cruise like this to my knowledge, on a boat with 10 levels, multiple restaurants, swimming pool, sauna, movie theatre. It was all new and exciting... until I got on the boat and realized we'd signed ourselves up for probably the oldest vessel in the Tallink fleet. No matter, there were enough of us to make our own fun. And we did.

I can honestly say we dominated the karaoke, hands down. The word dominate is open to interpretation, but it can't be argued that we were the most musically active group in the bar by far. Wannabe, Gansta's Paradise, Killing Me Softly - you name it, we covered the spectrum.  

Upon our 11am arrival in Riga after 17 hours at sea, we set off and explored the city to the fullest extent possible in a 6-hour window, starting at the Finnish-owned Hesburger, of course, to eat away our hangovers. Special mayo, good burgers. Although I have to say I like Sweden's Max slightly more. 

We spent the next 4 hours wandering down Riga's narrow, cobblestone streets lined with beautiful buildings, apparently of German Art Nouveau architecture (according to Wiki). Small markets sold countless pairs of elaborately decorated, hand-knit socks and all the amber jewelry you can imagine. 

After a mediocre meal at an incredibly authentic Medieval restaurant in an old wine cellar, we headed back to the boat for our return journey and round II of karaoke of course. Then onward to the late-night disco. Perhaps it was the rocking of the ship, but I've never had more fun dancing. And I was never as happy as I was the next morning to get off a boat.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Studentum turns 10 Years Old!

Playing catch up....

a couple weeks ago, my company - formerly Studentum AB - celebrated its 10-year anniversary. (And in doing so, changed its name to Media Group). As is only right for any celebration of a decade, we did it big. 2pm cocktail hour at the elegant Berns Salonger - restaurant by day, nightclub/ concert hall by night - for champagne, sushi, magic, and many speeches of course. 

Berns Asian

Then back to the office for dinner, open bar, and dancing in the tech room-turned-club, complete with flashy lights and a smoke machine (which set off the fire alarm at one point).

And finally, a night of Studentum partying is never complete without a final stop at Stockholm's prestigious Cafe Opera. Where we got all the champagne we could ever want and more...

Let's just say it was a good thing I could sleep in on Saturday...