The scouts, and other hangers-around at the camp such as myself, took turns to try our hand at baking traditional Hälsingland flatbread, with the help of a local expert. I enjoyed the result.


When I was a child, the cake I always had for my birthday was a redcurrant merengue cake. We couldn’t find any redcurrants today, so this is a raspberry and blackberry merengue cake.

Back then, a birthday with just one cake was no birthday. My other cake was often an upside-down pineapple cake (without any artificial-looking canned cherries) or a kringel, which is a filled and braided bread. The internet seems to think it should be filled with cinnamon, but I remember raisins and chopped nuts and a chocolatey glaze.


For today, we chose a flat walk. From Bärenau a local bus took us to the Zillergrund dam, and from there we walked along the reservoir lake to Hohenaualm and back.


Hohenaualm has a Tibetan theme, with prayer wheels and flags. It’s a small and rustic hut, very cosy and pretty but unfortunately not at all familiar with vegetarianism. Which I guess is kind of in keeping with the whole Tibetan theme. They served sausages and cheeses of various kinds, and that was that.

We tried a cheese platter with a local “gray cheese”. It had a potent smell and didn’t taste particularly good. At least it came with some bread and pickled cucumbers.

Adrian ordered “sausages and bread” which we all expected to look vaguely like a hot dog, but it was truly sausages and bread – two wiener sausages and two slices of white bread.

We thought that perhaps the bigger huts near the start of the hike would have more choice for us, so we hiked back. They had more choice, but were no more prepared for vegetarians than the cottage at the end of the road. The two options on the menu for us were French fries, or pancakes, so that’s what we had for lunch.

The locals are very, very fond of pancakes. Their version is called Kaiserschmarrn, and it’s to pancakes like scrambled eggs is to an omelette: it’s a scrambled pancake. Quite sweet to begin with, then covered with mounds of icing sugar and served with a large bowl of jam on the side (preferably apple sauce). Tastes quite good when you first try it but when you have to eat a whole large platter of it or go hungry then it’s not quite so appealing any more…


Eggs, new potatoes and herring are givens for a Swedish midsummer. Devilled eggs are by far the most delicious, festive way to serve eggs, so we make them every year. New potatoes need no fancy preparations whatsoever to be delicious. Today we served them with a luxurious summer salad of avocados, asparagus, sugar snaps, pine nuts and strawberries.


Worked late, then splurged on some excellent but very expensive sushi at a rooftop bar/restaurant (appropriately named Tak, meaning roof).

This was one of those trendy places where you order a number of small-to-medium dishes. Everything I ate was both delicious and interesting. The least interesting dish was their signature “sushi-in-a-bowl”, where the salmon was nearly hidden and overpowered by lettuce and rice. The seared salmon (accompanied by things I couldn’t even identify) was as wonderful as seared salmon can be, which means it was really, really wonderful – I love seared salmon! The egg dish was puzzling, and the tofu with trout roe was an unexpected combination, but both were nevertheless delicious. I enjoyed every single bite of everything.

We had some hours of free time today, which I spent walking Riga’s Old Town lengthways and crossways.

Among all the pretty buildings, I ran across a bakery that sold a great variety of goods that immediately reminded me of Estonian baked goods. None were quite like Estonian pastries and cakes, but there was nevertheless a kind of similarity there, that immediately made the cakes feel familiar, and much more appetizing than most Swedish cakes. I bought both spinach pastries and curd cake, which turned out very useful later, given the rather lousy packed lunch we got.

Note for any future visits to Riga: Andreass Bekereja in Turgonu iela.



Friday night finger food: mini spinach and cheese quiches in a muffin pan.


It is my turn to bake for this week’s Friday fika at the office. My colleagues will get kaerahelbeküpsised, Estonian-style oat cookies with candied orange peel, one of my favourite kinds of cake. I could eat these every day, but the rest of the family don’t find them as moreish as I do. It’s nice to have an excuse to bake them.


I’m happy with the whole Idre experience, despite the Arctic temperatures – except for the food. All the restaurants here seem to be stuck in the 1990s when it comes to catering for vegetarians. In the rest of the Western world, veganism is growing and even meat-eaters plan meat-free days. And here I have to eat the same boring halloumi burger every day. Not only that – it’s the same halloumi burger that I had to eat daily two years ago.

Today we lunched at the restaurant at the very top of the mountain, and they at least had a good fish soup. On the other hand, the kids’ buffet did not include a single vegetable, not even a lonely piece of cucumber or grated carrots.

This time at least we’re staying in a self-catering hut so I can cook proper food for dinner, with plenty of vegetables and generous servings to everyone. (On Tuesday, when I was exhausted by the cold and didn’t have the energy to cook, we had dinner at the hotel. The portions were so small that Adrian and I had to top up with another dinner when we got back.)


It’s Ingrid’s turn to make dinner, and it’s going to be pizza. Store-bought pizza dough and tomato sauce combined with fresh toppings doesn’t get you gourmet quality, but I like the result better than what I get at most pizza places.