August is coming to an end, and after being stuck inside doing research and writing all summer, I haven't really been out in the sun much. It has been a particularly gray and cold summer and last time I visited Preben and Anders in Sweden it rained almost the entire time, so when the weekend in Mjöhult turned out as it did I couldn't have been more thrilled. We spent our days on the beach sunbathing, swimming and soaking up every last bit of sun, before returning to the house for delicious dinners and wine before waking up and doing the same thing all over again. Preben and Anders host a Midsummer party every summer with a bunch of Anders' friends, but this year it was cancelled and they decided to move it to August and make it a crayfish party! I was lucky enough to be invited along for the weekend even though I'm not a part of the usual group of guests, and I must say that it was absolutely wonderful! Lovely, sweet people and a really great atmosphere. After that weekend it's safe to say that I'm filled up with summer. Apart from the crayfish dinner, we indulged in something very Swedish for lunch: herring, potatoes, boiled eggs and cheese.
But the herring was just a warm up. A traditional crayfish dinner, and all the lovely things going into it did demand a little work (baking of pies, decorating the garden, all while sipping chilled white wine) but I think that everyone was very happy when it was ready and on the table.
Pretty delicious little starter made with
pears from the garden, blue cheese and walnuts
Anders was running the kitchen and I was helping, leaving me right where I want to be. I would much rather help in the kitchen than to drink wine in the garden waiting for dinner, at least on occasions like this. Learning how to make food that I have never tasted before, like the cheese pie accompanying the crayfish, seeing Anders prepare the crayfish itself, and all the other little things is very interesting. I like learning, and I like Swedish traditions, and to be honest I wouldn't really mind if the man I end up with turns out to be just that: Swedish.
While Anders was cooking, with me running around as his little assistant, the others were enjoying the last rays of sun in the backyard while we were finishing up the last elements for the dinner.
Just to leave you with intense food envy, here is what the menu consisted of:
Puff pastry with home grown pears, gorgonzola and walnuts
A huge cheese plate and crackers to go with it
Deliscious onion and dill baguettes to accompany the crayfish
Cheese Pie made from VÄsterbotten cheese, that is traditionally served with the crayfish
Crispy green salad
I had never had crayfish before, and I must admit that it was quite a struggle. I didn't really do it right and spent a lot time trying to figure out the right approach, failing miserably even though I had plenty of tips from the more advanced crayfish eater sitting next to me. I ended up giving up after (almost) successfully getting out four tiny pieces, and was happy to just eat cheese from that point. The cheese pie was incredibly good. We had decorated the garden, but if that wasn't enough we also bought a couple crayfish hats (as you should, right?) and drank a sip of the very strong stuff every time the hat changed owner. I get giggly from a single glass of wine so I played it safe, but we all ended up in quite a cheerful mood as the evening proceeded.
Now look at that glorious crayfish hat!
No wonder why things got a little out of hand.
The crayfish decoration ended up as a boa
(there was really just a question of time.. It was too perfect)
crazy happy midnight dancing in the garden.
plenty of delicious cocktails and a lot of laughter
(My abs were sore when I woke up the next morning).
The party got pretty late, and I don't really remember when I ended up going to bed, but people were still dancing in the backyard. When I woke up the next morning after what felt like waaaaaay too little sleep, I was very happy there was nothing on our agenda. After a long breakfast we said goodbye to the first guest traveling from far away and had to get an early start, and the rest of the day went by having naps and eating chocolate. Pretty good for a Sunday. I first had a nap after breakfast because I couldn't keep my eyes open or sit up properly (I usually get 8 hours of sleep, and if I don't it disrupts everything..), before Preben and I watched RuPaul's Drag Race and drank a little white wine, then I had a nap in the hammock, and then we went to the beach. Soaking up some sun in the hammock, looking at the Swedish flag wave in the wind behind the apple tree and watch Anders do garden work, followed by walking in the hot sand on the beach really underlined that perfect feeling of summer. I can't remember having a more relaxing weekend this summer. Made me very happy.
Anders, Preben and I decided to stay in Mjöhult until Monday morning, enjoying every little last bit of the weekend. There is a saying going something like "a Sunday well spent brings a week of content" and I couldn't agree more! After the crazy first weeks of August, without having any time off in the weekends, going to Sweden with these two guys and their beautiful friends really made me appreciate being completely free from life at home. No computer, no articles to read, no emails or chapters to be written, just sun, sand and sea.