March, 2011

Smørrebrød for lunch

March 30th, 2011

I’ll be honest, Juli and I have really been missing Scandinavia. It’s getting warmer and brighter outside, and we are a bit too quick to start dressing like it’s summer. I think we are already in summer mode, and when we think of summer we can’t help but think of Scandinavia.

This week I needed to get my fix somehow and what I really wanted to have is that quintessential Danish lunch. If you have visited Scandinavia you know that lunch is king, and there is nothing more enjoyable than sitting outside, beer in hand, eating a Smørrebrød with toppings piled high.

I was feeling a bit ambitious this week, and my craving for a traditional Smørrebrød became unbearable. It was going to take 2 days to complete the final result, and it all started by making a loaf of Danish dark rye bread or Rugbrød.

Now there are many different ways of making Rugbrød, but the recipe I found contained beer and buttermilk, which sounded delicious. Bonus: we were able to use up the buttermilk to makes some amazing pancakes this morning. That’s right, we’re working our fridge like it’s 1940.

You can follow the recipe here.

This was the first time I’ve made Rugbrød and not knowing how thick bread can be I thought I would be able to easily mix everything by hand. I ultimately triumphed but it was exhausting – I started at 3, and the loaf was finally finished baking at 6:30. I put our roast in the oven to have for dinner, and saved some nice thin pieces for our Smørrebrød lunch the next day.

A Smørrebrød can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be. The beef version is just at the end of its season, whereas in spring the most popular dish usually contains small shrimp, dill, and lemon because the shrimp are harvested at this time. This is a beef Smørrebrød with butter, a bed of spinach, fried onions, chives, pickles, and of course fresh horse radish. More traditional versions may also include liver paste and meat jelly, but this recipe was good because it used ingredients readily available at the local grocer.

Today we had a proper Scandinavian lunch, with table cloth and all!

We also had some beer – such a novelty for us during the work day! This “Lava” beer comes from Iceland. Kevin Kelly, a new friend of the store has been importing Icelandic beers and they are now available at the LCBO. He dropped off a few bottles for us to try!

I used the dark “Lava” beer to make my bread so it complimented our lunch perfectly. There is also another beer called Skjalfti that I’m recommending everyone try this summer as it’s much lighter than the lava and would be great with a lime wedge.

Now there is no shame eating your Smørrebrød with a knife and fork. It is actually preferable to stack so many toppings that the dark rye bread cannot be seen, unfortunately from this angle it looks as if I was a bit skimpy, but trust me this guy was big!

Bon appetit!

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March 28th, 2011

For my birthday John surprised me with this artist piece by UK designer Kathleen Hills. Milkii is a double-spouted jug made of gorgeous bone china that can be used for milk, or when it’s off duty, as a vase.

The red tops are for when you want to reseal the jug when it’s in use. The foil tops are for changing up the display.

Continuing with our milk theme…some adorable Japanese milk bottles that we picked up during our layover in Narita. We quickly realized that spending 8 hours in the airport was a bad idea, so we headed over to Narita town, about 2 trains stops before the airport. It’s definitely worth a visit if you have a long layover! We fell for these  bottles–the green is milk, the black was for a really thick yogurt.


What’s this! At Kitanosumai Sekkeisha, located out in the countryside of Hokkaido, we found this bag. The shop was clearly Scandinavian inspired and I quickly grabbed this bag as soon as I saw it. Our shop name is actually inspired by the Arla Swedish milk packaging, which has won design awards, so whenever we see it, we think of our shop. Funny that another shop has used it for inspiration too!

This post needs some kitkas to go with the milk. Our friends over at Upside Dive gave us a lovely wedding gift – an awesome vintage cat tea towel and beautiful Dansk flamestone  pot, perfect for heating up hot chocolate. Thanks guys!

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Shop update

March 20th, 2011

It’s Sunday afternoon, and it’s another beautiful day in Toronto. The morning light was so nice we thought this was the perfect chance to share a few new items we have in the store.

The “Kuksa” cups from Finland are back in stock in three styles. They are hand carved from arctic birch burl and each come with a beautiful reindeer leather tie ($65 / $75 / $85).

The silhouette flower vase on the right is designed by Y. Tokuda and is made in Japan ($79). It’s so nice to have a bit of spring in the shop!

This is a good opportunity to let you know we are extending our 5% donation program to include all products from Japan (10% for Oji/Ono products).

We also are now carrying the Scandia collection by Hans Brattrud (1957). They are extremely comfortable and even more beautiful in person. The Scandia chairs have only recently been put back into production with the help of Fjord Fiesta–there was a terrible factory fire 40 years ago that ceased all production of these beautiful chairs. Hans Brattrud is still alive today and was a big part in getting the chairs back to the same standard and specifications of the original pieces.

The shelves are stacked with some pretty beautiful things right now!

You should definitely find time to visit the Junction this summer, now that the sun is out there is a new energy here, new shops opening up, and in June (hopefully) we will even have a new microbrewery and restaurant.

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Isha nom nom’s treats from Hokkaido

March 18th, 2011

After a long, emotional week, we need a cuteness break. Cue the cat!

While in Sapporo we stumbled across a dog/cat store in Maruyama Shopping Centre so we popped in to see if we could get a souvenir for Isha. I wish we took a photo of the selection because it was pretty incredible. Think squid, little intact fishes…none of that fake looking food that we get here in North America. I would have loved to bring back something like that but was afraid of having it taken away at the border so we went with the Crispy Cheese treats.

It was not an easy shoot. Shoot number one was a fail session full of blur.

Why hello there.

Nom nom.

What was that?

Oh yeah, treats!

Ok, I’m bored with this advertorial.

I’m out.

Please don’t make me do that again.

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Mjölk Wedding

March 15th, 2011

January 23rd was our wedding day, and we had a really good time going through these photos and picking out some of our favorites to share with you all. I don’t think many of these need explanation, so please just enjoy! Photography by Danijela Pruginic.

Last November I went to check out The Room at The Bay and stumbled upon this vintage inspired dress. It started the ball rolling on our wedding plans. Dress from Manoush at The Room at the Bay. We stayed at the Gladstone Hotel in the Canadiana Room the night of the wedding.

I found the perfect little jacket from Silver Falls Vintage.

Shoes are Christian Louboutin from Davids. They killed my feet.

Make up by our friend Jessica Robert. Hair by Ashley at The Proudest Pony.

Shirt and Marni suit from Sydney’s on Queen Street West, black tie from Prada, silver tie clip from HNDSM.

John wore my dad’s old leather Beatle boots.

Wild Boar Sausage

Rabbit Rillette with Walnuts & Sauce Sudoise

Niagara Prosciutto

Fresh Bread, Grainy Mustard, Pickled Shallots

We walked down the aisle together.

Saki cup ritual.

We were fortunate to have The Wilderness of Manitoba be our entertainment for the evening.

Chef Ezra Title in the kitchen, aka crammed into the back area of the store.

Beet cured white fish, haricots vert, and caviar cream.

Lobster bisque, celery root flan, lobster salad and sage chips.

Guinea hen roulade with black truffles, brussel sprouts, and wild mushrooms.

Elk loin, farrow risotto with elderberry jus.

Fifth town cheese with poached pears, port reduction and walnut bread. Oh this cheese was amazing!

Poached pear bread pudding with pine nuts and ginger. Creme fraiche ice cream and wash chai creme anglaise.

Cakes are by Lindsey Bakes.

The traditional Norwegian/Danish kransekake was the best we’ve ever had.

We kept aside a couple of sets of Yuki Sakano cutlery for the special day.

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With a little help from my friends

March 14th, 2011

Firstly, thank you to everyone who has left comments and tweets inquiring about our Japanese friends–they are all safe and sound and outside of the main earthquake/tsunami zones. As you know, we were just in Japan and met so many wonderful people and enjoyed so much hospitality, that it is impossible to fathom how an entire area of homes, families, and people, have been wiped out. Where does one begin to pick up the pieces?

It’s taken us awhile to respond to the devastation in Japan because we weren’t sure of how we could help.

We’d like to announce that our friends at IFJ Holdings are beginning a donation program. 5% of sales on all Oji Masanori and Rina Ono products will be donated to the Japanese Red Cross. Mjölk will be matching this amount.

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