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Meeta's wonderful article about German bakeries on The Daily Tiffin reminded me of a topic I've been wanting to write about for a while: Swedish bakeries, or rather, Swedish cafés because that’s what they usually are.

A typical Swedish café is far from cool. Nor is it stylish, designed or anything like that. The proper word for it is comfortable.

Swedes drink a lot of coffee, but, unlike say the Italians, they don't consider it to be a hip or sexy thing to do. It's a comfort thing, something to do with your family on a Sunday afternoon. And that is how Swedish cafés look and feel – a little like being invited to your grandma on a sunday afternoon, in a lovely, maybe a bit oldfashioned house. The coffee isn't espresso (though some cafés have started to serve that too) but filter coffee, but there is lots of it. And oh! the good food!

Apart from delicious bakeries (a photo of these is still forthcoming, as I didn't manage to take one last time), most cafés will have a lunch menu. There is no big restaurant tradition in Sweden, but a lot of places traditionally offer lunch with coffee at really nice prices.
Outside lunch times you can usually order smörgas – stuffed or single-layer sammiches with lots of nummy fillings! The ones my café makes are especially nice – you can see one with shrimp on the left and one with meatballs on the right!
The toast bread is also homemade and delicious – one of the few types of Swedish bread I really love, as it’s unsweetened! Most Swedish bread is sweetened, as opposed to German – it’s an acquired taste I guess, but I crave nice black bread!

The real deal though, of course, is the sweets. Mmm. I’ll continue about them next time – with photos!

;)

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Originally posted to :

This bento is kind of Sweden-themed, but mostly showing how I love to have lots of mixed foods :)
Top layer (Breakfast): Soyghurt, some carrot-apple salad, 1/4 egg, 1/4 wild tomato, chocolate wheats, rye bread, one red dalahorse made of bell pepper and one chocolatey one :)

Middle layer (Lunch): Ovenbaked potato slices, fried red and green bellpeppers and mushrooms in balsamico, Grana (hard cheese rather like parmesan) sprinkles and a basil leaf on top
Lowest layer: 3/4 egg with crab paste, more Grana, some green-red wild tomato, more carrot and apple salad and a bell pepper heart.

The lunch is leftovers from a tapas dinner: I love to make a bunch of mixed foods if I don't feel like anything in specific. The recipes are not particularly Spanish, but generally mediterranean-themed as small mixed foods can be found everywhere around the mediterranean coast.
One of the staples in this type of food are fried, vinegared bell peppers. The recipe is from an Italian chef and has been a long-time favourite in my family.

Fried vinegared bell peppers recipe:
Slice 2-3 bell peppers, preferably each of a different color, into thin strips.
In a deep pan, heat extra virgin olive oil. Add 1-2 cloves of garlic, peeled and quartered. When the oil is hot, add the bell pepper strips and cook them in the oil until they start to become soft, but still have some bite. Take the pan off the heat and pour a generous amount of Balsamic vinegar over them. The dictionary tells me the term for this is to “deglaze” but in fact what we are doing is to cool down the peppers and finishing the cooking by broiling them in the residual heat in the vinegar. The “sauce” itself is not actually used after cooking.
Pick out the garlic bits and serve the peppers hot or cold with fresh Basil and preferably a crunchy Baguette.

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