New recipes

Norway Catches Serial Chicken Smuggler

Norway Catches Serial Chicken Smuggler

Swedish smuggler caught with 1100 pounds of chicken

Wikimedia/ProjectManhattan

Norwegian customs agents caught a man trying to smuggle 1100 pounds of raw chicken across the border.

A Swedish man with a car full of raw chicken was stopped at the Norwegian border yesterday, but nobody was particularly surprised by the incident because the man was a known chicken smuggler who has been caught attempting the exact same smuggling run a total of nine times.

According to The Local, the man had 1100 pounds of raw, frozen chicken meat hidden in his Volvo when he was stopped at the border by Norwegian customs agents. That haul was 50 times the 10 kilograms of poultry it is legal for a person to transport across the border from Sweden to Norway. The culprit had reportedly been caught trying to smuggle poultry across the border eight times before this. It is unclear why he thought the ninth attempt would succeed, but he was incorrect.

Despite the fact that Norway’s customs agents are familiar with the smuggler’s face and his method of operation, the chicken smuggler just keeps trying. When caught, he is hit with a fine and released after customs agents seize his chicken. Then he presumably drives back home in his Volvo and begins planning his next attempt.

"He can count on getting a fine and we've confiscated the goods," said head of customs Gro Lene Gundelsby.


Food [ edit | edit source ]

Food can be organized into 4 categories: fruit, meat, fish and bait. Animal and fish meat can be cooked to provide health regeneration.

  • Primary Use eats any given food item in hand.
  • Holding Secondary Use allows the player to give food items to other pirates.
  • Holding Interact takes a food item from the ground or another pirate's hand.

Fruit [ edit | edit source ]

Fruit is the main source of health in-game and can be found in Barrels, beached on the shorelines of Islands or floating inside Shipwrecks. The more health a fruit restores, the rarer it is. All fruit can be cooked on the Stove, but they will only get burnt and give the player less health. Unlike meat, neither fresh nor burnt fruit can be sold to The Hunter's Call for reputation or gold. All fruit can be stored in the Fruit Crate. A player can carry a maximum of 5 fruit on them at all times, however up to 4800 Fruit can be stored inside a Ship's Food Barrel. With the exception of Pineapples, all fruit is consumed in one bite.

Fruit can also be used to feed Pigs, to stop them from dying of starvation.

Fruit Healing Chart
Fruit name Health value
Banana 20%
Coconut 30%
Pomegranate 40%
Mango 50%
Pineapple 100% x2

Meat [ edit | edit source ]

Meat is gathered from killing any of the animals that spawn on islands or from the more dangerous predators at sea. All dropped meat is raw and needs to be cooked on a Stove for their full benefits. Meat of any type and cookedness can also be found in the barrels of Shipwrecks. Eating raw meat restores only a little health and makes the player sick. When cooked, meats provide the player with a health regeneration bar which kicks in a few seconds after not taking any further damage. With the exception of raw meat, all stages of cooked meat can be sold to The Hunter's Call for reputation, commendations and gold. All meat can be eaten in two separate bites.

Tier 1 meat (provides a quarter circle of health regeneration when cooked):

Tier 2 meat (provides half a circle of health regeneration when cooked):

Fish [ edit | edit source ]

Fish are caught using the Fishing Rod. Fish act identically to Meat in that all fish are caught raw and need to be cooked on a Stove to grant health regenerative effects, eating fish raw makes the player sick, and all types of fish of any cookedness can be found in the barrels of Shipwrecks. Fish can appear in different variants of color and size, with larger Trophy versions of fish granting the player more health and regeneration when cooked. While fish provide a health boost, their main use is to be sold to The Hunter's Call for reputation and gold. All fish can be eaten in two separate bites.

Fish type Bait Required Regular Rare Night
Splashtails None Ruby Sunny Indigo Umber Seafoam
Plentifins Earthworms Olive Amber Cloudy Bonedust Watery
Ancientscales Leeches Almond Sapphire Smoke Bone Starshine
Wildsplashes Earthworms Russet Sandy Ocean Muddy Coral
Devilfishes Grubs Ashen Seashell Lava Forsaken Firelight
Islehoppers None Stone Moss Honey Raven Amethyst
Pondie None Charcoal Orchid Bronze Bright Moonsky
Battlegills Grubs Jade Sky Rum Sand Bittersweet
Stormfishes Leeches Ancient Shores Wild Shadow Twilight
Wreckers Earthworms Rose Blackcloud Sun Snow Moon

Bait [ edit | edit source ]

Bait is found by digging different terrain or looting Barrels. Bait restores only 5% of a player's health and can make the player throw up. The main use of bait is to catch Fish with the Fishing Rod. Up to 10 pieces of bait can be carried, which are considered separate from the food count. There are currently three different types of bait:


Safe, secure, sanitised…

… and for me, just a little bit creepy. Maybe I’m alone in this. It’s undoubtedly safe and probably a lot of fun if you love the manufactured world of Disney. The company themselves refer to Castaway Cay as ‘an island completely outfitted for premium family leisure’.

Is that really what we want? The Disney Cruises website speaks proudly about the fact that the island accommodation used by the staff (they refer to them as ‘crew members’) is powered using solar panels that are in the ‘backstage area’. Is this the world we want — a world with ‘outfitted’ public areas with everything else hidden backstage and out of sight? Complete with Disney characters to meet and greet us?


15 of the Freakiest, Real-Life Haunted House Stories You'll Ever Hear

Fair warning: Reading this collection of scary haunted house stories in the dark or by yourself is likely to keep you up all night. Or, at the very least, send a chill down your spine&mdasheven if you consider yourself the bravest of the brave. Oh, is that a challenge? Why yes, it is. Without further ado, we invite you to read about the following 15 scariest real-life haunted house stories from the creepiest places around the country. In case you're feeling really fearless and ready to get freaky, you can actually book a stay at most of these places&mdashand greet the ghosts yourself, so happy hauntings ahead.

Starting strong with a very scary house: The Lemp Mansion in St. Louis, which is known to be one of the most haunted places in America due to a tragic history.

The 33-room home was built in the 1860s by William Lemp, a successful brewery owner who ended up killing himself in 1904 after the youngest of his four sons, Frederick, died. A few years later, his wife also died of cancer in the house. Then, in 1922, William Lemp Jr., shot himself in the same room William Sr. killed himself.

As if that weren't enough tragedy for one place, in 1949, Charles Lemp&mdashWilliam's third son&mdashshot his dog in the basement of the home and then killed himself in his room. That same year, the house was sold and transformed into a boarding house, where reports of hauntings began. According to Destination America, witnesses have experienced burning sensations and slamming doors.

Today, the Lemp Mansion is a restaurant and inn that also holds events. On Sunday night, the inn hosts a Murder Mystery Dinner.

On June 10, 1912, Josiah and Sarah Moore were bludgeoned to death inside of their home in Villisca, Iowa. Their four children&mdashand two friends who were spending the night&mdashwere also killed, and to this day, the crime remains a mystery. Their home is considered one of the most haunted houses in the country, and guests are drawn to it. People even pay $400+ to stay for one night.

"Tours have been cut short by children's voices, falling lamps, moving ladders, and flying objects," says the Villisca Axe Murder House website. And, in 2014, a paranormal investigator stabbed himself after spending the night. "Skeptics have left believers," adds the website.

Los Angeles is one of the best destinations for haunted-house hunting, and this Bavarian-style home in Beverly Hills has a particularly gruesome history. In 1932, it was home to the iconic actress Jean Harlow and her abusive husband, Paul Bern, who shot himself in the head while standing in front of the mirror. Their butler discovered him and called MGM instead of the police, so there were tons of rumors that it wasn't actually suicide. Many suspected Bern's ex-girlfriend, a suspicion exacerbated by her jumping off a boat to her death a couple days later. Jean moved out after his death but died only a few years later at the age of 26.

But wait&mdashit gets creepier. In 1963, celebrity hairstylist Jay Sebring bought the home and lived there with his girlfriend, Sharon Tate, until she left him for Roman Polanski. They were still friends, and remained so until both of them were murdered by the Charles Manson cult. Tate was the same age as Harlow when she passed.

But back to when the couple lived in the Harlow House. Tate told several friends of creepy occurrences in the home and even mentioned it in interviews. For example, once, when she was sleeping in the master bedroom alone, she saw a "creepy little man." Her friends say she she believed it to be Paul Bern's ghost. She was so freaked out when she saw the alleged ghost that she ran out of the room and then saw a hanging shadowy corpse with its throat slit in the hallway. There are also stories about two other people dying in the swimming pool over the years.

The Hotel Monte Vista has numerous paranormal guests they can&rsquot get rid of. The hotel, which opened as the Community Hotel in 1927&mdashnamed after the townspeople who helped raised the funds for its construction&mdashhas a history of underground opium dens, speakeasies, and gambling. Today, the hotel is known for the paranormal activity that haunts some of the rooms and halls.

Guests who&rsquove stayed in room 220 have experienced the TV changing channels on its own accord, and some have said they felt cold hands touching them in their sleep. There&rsquos also reportedly a phantom bellboy who knocks on doors and announces &ldquoroom service,&rdquo but when guests get to the door, no one's there. One of the more popular&mdashand possibly most disturbing encounters&mdashis the sound of an infant crying in the basement. The hotel website reads, &ldquoStaff have found themselves running upstairs to escape the sound of the cries. Though the sounds are very real to those who hear them, there has been no information that has explained the phenomenon.&rdquo

Rumored to be on top of a burial ground is the Myrtles Plantation in Louisiana, which is the home to at least 12 different ghosts. Built in 1796, ghost stories center around the tale of an enslaved woman named Chloe, who had her ear chopped off after she was reportedly caught eavesdropping. Seeking revenge, Chloe killed two of the master&rsquos daughters by poisoning a birthday cake. She was then hanged by her fellow enslaved people, and today is reportedly seen wandering the plantation with a turban on to conceal her ear.

If you want to investigate things for yourself, you can stay at the plantation for $175/night.

More cursed than haunted, downtown L.A.'s Hotel Cecil got such a bad rap that it actually changed its name to Stay on Main. If you're a true crime and paranormal super fan, you've likely already heard of it. Where to begin? So many bad things have happened here&mdashthere's literally an entire Wikipedia page dedicated to its violent history. The first recorded death by suicide is in 1931, followed by a long string of similar deaths in 1932, 1934, 1937, 1938, 1939, and 1940.

At some point in the '30s, one man was pinned to the exterior wall by a truck. A woman murdered her newborn in the building in 1944, and the pattern of suicides continued into the '60s. In 1962, a woman jumped from the ninth floor window and landed on a pedestrian, killing them both. It's worth noting that two of the women who died by suicide apparently jumped while their husbands were asleep in the room.

In 1964, tenant Goldie Osgood was brutally murdered, a crime which has remained unsolved. Next, in the '80s, the infamous serial kill Richard Ramirez (the "Night Stalker") stayed at the hotel and in the 1990s, Austrian serial killer Jack Unterwege lived there. Other weird things kept happening but the weirdest is definitely the disappearance and death of 21-year-old traveler Elisa Lam.

A few weeks after Lam went missing, her body was discovered in the rooftop water tank after visitors and tenants complained about a funky taste. They later found odd footage of her in the elevator from the night of her disappearance. It's difficult to make out what she's doing it looks like she's either playing hide-and-seek with someone outside the elevator, or she's frightened and attempting to hide from someone but the doors won't seem to shut. Authorities ruled the death accidental drowning&mdashbut because you need a key to access the roof, many suspect foul play.

Built in 1929 in Baroque style, the Minxiong Ghost House (aka the Lui family mansion) is a place with a heartbreaking history. Located in the Taiwanese countryside, it's been abandoned since the 1950s when the family fled abruptly. Like all mysterious places, there's plenty of lore around the family and why they left the once-beautiful place.

Local legend says the maid was having an affair with her employer, Liu Rong-yu, and when the secret came out, she jumped down the well to her death (but since she did not live to tell the tale, who's to say another family member didn't push her?). Then she came back to haunt the family until they finally left. A few years later, it was occupied by members of the Kuomintang of China (KMT), many of whom were also thought to have died of suicide, which exacerbated its reputation as haunted. People who visit report plenty of ghostly sightings.

During the mid 20th century, this large Los Feliz home was the (seemingly) happy home of Dr. Harold Perelson and his family, until the horrific night of December, 6, 1959 when he murdered his wife in her sleep with a ball-peen hammer and attempted to murder his three children before drinking acid to kill himself.

Fortunately, his eldest daughter let out a scream when he struck her in the head, waking up the younger children who then walked into the hallway to find out what was going on. During the commotion, they were all able to flee. Before the murder-suicide, he was a successful doctor who invented a new type of syringe after investing most of money into its research and production, but he got screwed out of the rights, leading investigators to blame financial problems. Other creepy details include a passage of Dante's Divine Comedy left open on his bedside table.

Two years later, it was sold to the Enriquez family, who used it as "storage unit," and their son continued to to do so until he sold it to a couple in 2016 who had plans to fix it up. But it seems to have scared them off because within a few years it's on the market again. Photographers also report a feeling of needing to "run away" from the house when they get close up to it.

Villa de Vecchi is foreboding, alright. Just consider that looming fog blanket! Located near Lake Como, Italy, the "House of Witches" dates back to 1854-1857, when it was built as a summer house for Count Felix De Vecchi. The family was only able to spend a few years there, as their lives were mired in tragedy right after it was built.

First, the architect died a year after construction. Then in 1862, Count De Vecchi came home to discover his wife murdered and his daughter missing. When he could not find her after a year of searching, he died by suicide. His brother then moved into the home and his family continued to live there until WWII. It's been vacant since the 1960s, and an avalanche in 2002 wiped out all the houses in the area. except this one. Spooky.

In 1937, millionaire inventor Norman G. Baker posed as a doctor and turned the hotel into a hospital that he said could cure cancer. Have the chills yet? Baker, who had a fetish for purple, painted many sections of the hospital in the color, and today, the chimneys remain that same color. In addition to wearing purple shirts and ties, he drove a purple car as well. People came from all over with hopes of curing their cancer, and many who were "treated" died.

Eventually, Baker was exposed and run out of town, and today the property is an active hotel. It's said to be haunted by several ghosts, including a bearded man wearing Victorian clothing and a five-year-old girl.

In 1907, Mizpah Hotel opened as one of the first luxury hotels in Nevada. With a rich history and elaborate decor, the hotel is best known for its legend of the &ldquoLady in Red.&rdquo While the date remains unclear, the story goes like this: A woman was murdered in her room on the fifth floor. Some say it was a jealous ex-boyfriend, while others say the Lady in Red had been caught cheating by her husband and he killed her in a jealous rage.

Those who&rsquove stayed at the hotel say the Lady in Red whispers in men&rsquos ears and leaves pearls from her broken necklace on guests' pillows. Guests can stay in the Lady in Red suite to experience it themselves, and if that&rsquos too much for you, the Red Lady Bloody Mary at the hotel restaurant should suffice.

The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum was designed to house 250 patients when it opened in 1864. Fast forward to the 1950s, when the facility reached its peak and had more than 2,400 patients living in overcrowded and inhumane conditions&mdashwith some even kept in cages. In 1994, the asylum closed, and today, there are reports of paranormal activity, with souls of patients lingering and roaming the halls.

You can take an overnight ghost hunt tour from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. at the Asylum, a two-hour paranormal tour from 10:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., or a 90-minute day tour.

Seeing as it's the only preserved and intact family home from the 19th century in all of New York City, it makes sense that this house has also been the source and subject of many ghost stories. The Tredwell family lived here for over 100 years, and the last family occupant was Gertrude, the youngest daughter, who died in the home in 1933. Staff, visitors, and even passerby say they experience weird, disembodied things here.

Don't buy it? Take a candlelit ghost tour of the museum to decide for yourself. And even if you don't catch an apparition out the corner of your eye or hear children playing and floorboards in empty rooms, you'll at least get the sense that you're intruding on someone else's space, in a completely different time, since it's virtually the same as was when Gertrude died.

In 1890, the Queen Anne hotel in San Francisco was an etiquette school for girls. Today, it has 48 rooms for guests, though some believe the ghost of Miss Mary Lake, the school's headmistress, still lingers. Folks who stay in room 410, Miss Mary Lake&rsquos former office, have woken up to find their blankets closely tucked around them in bed or their clothes unpacked.

In 1892, Lizzie Borden was the main suspect for the axe murders of her father and stepmother. Borden was tried and acquitted of the murders, and guests who visit Lizzie's house in Fall River, Massachusetts say she can be heard cackling about it. Others say that you can sometimes hear a maid screaming for help, and that Lizzie's slaughtered parents stalk the grounds. You can experience the paranormal activity yourself by visiting the Lizzie Borden House, which is now a museum and bed and breakfast.


Frankie Boyle’s Tour of Scotland

Well, he’s certainly mellowed. Once the scourge of tabloid and liberal broadsheet alike, the comic has revealed more humanity as his face has been ever more hidden under a beard. He’s still sharp, as the introduction shows – ‘There comes a time in every comedian’s career when they decide to do travelogues,’ he tells us – though this is much richer than the sitcom-character-goes-to-Africa formula we’re used to. Over four episodes, each given a very loose theme, he enjoys Scotland’s camera-friendliness – the coast, moors and monumental architecture – and meets a parade of eccentric locals. His secret weapon is asking unusual questions, ensuring a wide range of subjects: one episode alone covers Mary Queen of Scots, martial arts, protests and funfairs. Be warned: contains adult content and sarcasm.
Streaming on BBC iPlayer


The 30 Best Netflix Horror Movies Will Make You Scream

From classic teen screams to suspenseful thrillers, watch these horror films in all their gory glory.

Sometimes you just need a good scare &mdash and these horror movies on Netflix are more than happy to help. From stories about terrorizing young children (hello Jacob Tremblay!) to films loosely based on real events, you might not want to watch any of these alone. So, after gathering friends via a Netflix watch party &mdash and plenty of snacks &mdash do hold onto your popcorn tightly. You might just jump once or twice.

There are several familiar faces in these movies, including Bella Thorne, James Franco, and Matt Bomer, to name a few. And trust that there are even more ghosts, demons, and dark spirits who want to kill them. From crazed and murderous clowns to creepy dolls, there's a terrifying surprise in store within all of these Netflix horror movies. There are some classic scary movies mixed in with some new fare that you probably haven't seen (or some you've seen, but want to watch again with your eyes open this time). If you're worried about disturbing your neighbors because of your horrified screams, or if you're looking for something to watch on family movie night, you might want to consider watching a one of our favorite kid-friendly scary movies instead.


Lucia and lussekatter

Filled with candlelight, white robes, singing, and saffron buns, Lucia in Sweden has evolved into a unique tradition that is observed throughout the country on December 13th. Although it isn’t an official holiday, Lucia celebrations are prominent from schools to universities and small towns to big cities. The origins and history of Lucia are quite complex, which actually made this post much later than I had hoped, but I’ll do my best to convey the highlights.

Lucia (LOO-SEE-uh) is the patron saint of the blind and died around 3ooAD in Syracuse, Sicily. Legend has it that she consecrated her virginity to God, refused to marry a pagan, and gave her dowry to the poor. Her angry betrothed perhaps misunderstood that she had found another bridegroom and in revenge turned her over to the authorities as a Christian. To try and get her to renounce her Christian beliefs they threatened to drag her to a brothel but she was so filled with the Holy Spirit they couldn’t move her despite all efforts. They decided to burn her on the spot but the flames did not consume her. She bravely continued to profess her belief in God and was finally killed when a sword was driven into her throat. Saint Lucia’s popularity grew during the Middle Ages and around the 1500s many religious images began to depict her holding two eyes on a plate. A new legend evolved that she was tortured by the soldiers who gouged out her eyes. Another explanation is that her betrothed had admired her beautiful eyes so she gouged them out herself to protect her chastity.

So how does a Catholic saint relate to Lucia in protestant Sweden? During the 10th century the popularity of celebrating Saint Lucia spread from France to Germany and England. Lucia is noted on the Swedish calendar as early as 1470 when Sweden was also Catholic. At that time December 13th was considered the shortest day of the year and the end of the fall work season. Pigs were often slaughtered on this day with a celebratory party that marked the beginning of the fast before Christmas. The tradition of Lucia survived the Reformation under King Gustav Vasa in the 16th century and continued to evolve. It wasn’t until the 20th century that Denmark, Norway and Finland adopted Lucia via Sweden.

The name Lucia shares a root (luc-) with the Latin word for light, which is lux. But in Sweden the name Lucia has also been associated with the devil, Lucifer. In northern Sweden there is a legend that Lucia was Adam’s first wife. She consorted with the devil and their descendants formed an evil race in the underworld. The story goes that if you didn’t keep your children inside the night before Christmas they could be taken by Lucia. In Folk I Fest author Jan Öjvind Swahn states that Lucia buns, known as lussekatter, are reminiscent of the devil because in old Swedish tradition they were called djävulskatter, or the devil’s cat and the s-shaped form is intended to represent a cat curled up.

Screen capture from the 2010 Lucia concert in Kungsholms Church

The first recorded occurence of the Lussebruden, or Lucia Bride, bearing a breakfast tray with coffee and lussekatterna while wearing a crown of candles is in Skövde in Västergötland in 1764. Over time the tradition spread from the higher to the lower social classes. I wasn’t able to find anything definitive as to why the saffron was used other than in Årets Festdagar Nils-Arvid Bringeus suggests it may have begun within the celebrations of the higher classes who could afford such an expensive ingredient. The white-clad Lussebruden may have its original influences from German tradition but it has evolved uniquely in Sweden.

In university towns Lucia marked the end of the fall term and was a time when students returned home for the Christmas break. There was a tradition that they would walk in groups from home to home throughout the countryside and sing in Latin and Swedish to receive gifts of food or money to continue their education. The tradition of singing was taken back to university towns and became an integral part of the Lucia celebration.

It wasn’t until the 20th century that Lucia became a nationwide phenomenon. In 1927 Stockholm’s Dagblad (the daily paper) selected a Lucia to represent the city and lead an official procession. Other newspapers and cities throughout Sweden quickly picked up on the idea and today nearly every city and town has a Lucia. There are Lucias chosen within grade school classes, and even a national Lucia. Girls who are not chosen as Lucia wear white robes and carry candles in the procession. Boys join in as well dressed as stjärngossar (star boys) in white robes with star-decorated cone hats or as gingerbread boys bringing up the rear of the procession and carrying lanterns.

The song for Lucia is a traditional Neapolitan tune. There are several different versions of Swedish lyrics but the original Swedish lyrics “Natten går tunga fjät” were created by journalist Sigrid Elmblad around the turn of the century. It’s popularity soared with the spread of the Lucia tradition throughout Sweden in the 1920s.

Natten går tunga fjät
Night walks with a heavy step
rund gård och stuva
Round yard and hearth,
kring jord, som sol förlät,
As the sun departs from earth,
skuggorna ruva.
Shadows are brooding.
Då i vårt mörka hus,
There in our dark house,
stiger med tända ljus,
Walking with lit candles,
Sankta Lucia, Sankta Lucia.
Santa Lucia, Santa Lucia!

Natten går stor och stum
Night walks grand, yet silent,
nu hörs dess vingar
Now hear its gentle wings,
i alla tysta rum
In every room so hushed,
sus som av vingar.
Whispering like wings.
Se, på vår tröskel står
Look, at our threshold stands,
vitklädd med ljus i hår
White-clad with light in her hair ,
Sankta Lucia, Sankta Lucia.
Santa Lucia, Santa Lucia!

Mörkret ska flykta snart
Darkness shall take flight soon
ur jordens dalar
From earth’s valleys.
så hon ett underbart
So she speaks
ord till oss talar.
Wonderful words to us:
Dagen ska åter ny
A new day will rise again
stiga ur rosig sky
From the rosy sky…
Sankta Lucia, Sankta Lucia.
Santa Lucia, Santa Lucia!

Aside from celebrations in schools and eating lussekatter, there is typically a Lucia procession and concert in every town. In cities the Lucia is picked by a public vote on the candidates who are presented in the local newspaper. There is a ceremony where Lucia is crowned and a prominent person is selected to light the candles on the crown. Lucia and her attendants visit hospitals and invalids and sometimes there is a Lucia Ball at larger hotels or universities. A national concert and program is aired on TV. Overall Lucia is a lovely tradition to bring light to the dark days of the Swedish winter. Despite its relatively late insurgence into the mainstream culture, Lucia celebrations are quite common in Swedish communities outside of the country, namely in the United States. Click here for a video that explains this all somewhat with a bit of humor.

The foods associated with Lucia are typically lussekatter (sweet buns made with saffron) glögg (mulled wine served with blanched almonds and raisins), coffee, and heart-shaped pepparkakor (gingerbread). Lussekatter, or Lucia buns, begin to make their appearance at bakeries around the first weekend of Advent and can be found throughout December. Saffron plays a significant role in Christmas baking in Sweden from Lucia buns to cakes. It is sold at the cash registers at supermarkets and pharmacies in 0.5 gram (.02 oz) packages that cost about 16sek ($2.30) each. It is the most expensive spice in the world and is actually the stigmas of the saffron crocus flower. Each flower only produces three stigmas and it takes 50,000-75,000 flowers to produce one pound (450g) of useable saffron.

Even though I didn’t grow up with the Lucia tradition, I nearly melted into tears at my first Lucia celebration when my oldest daughter bore her white Lucia gown and did the best that a 2-year-old could do with singing the song. The significance of the event is apparent by the masses of parents who show up in the dark winter morning with their children padded in layers of winter clothes under their Lucia gear since every effort is made to have the procession outside. Even though it’s dark out it’s soon like noon time as the flash bulbs fly like paparazzi and people jockey for a good position to snap a precious photo of their child celebrating Lucia.

Although I am a confessed serial yeast killer, I gave two lussekatt recipes a try this year and found one to be decidedly preferable. I tried three different ways of twisting them….a figure 8, an S, and then a simple twist. The S and the twist were the most successful and now I have more Lucia buns than any family of four should have. Thank goodness my 4-year-old has taken a liking to them and is downing one for breakfast daily. There is no more space in the freezer and the bread dries out fairly quickly so I’m getting creative about what to do with all of those rolls. But there are still loads to dispose of and as good as they are, there are only so many Lucia buns one can eat. So if you also find yourself in the unusual situation of being inundated with Lucia buns, stay tuned. A quick follow-up to this post will be a Lucia bun bread stuffing that is divine with roast chicken. And they are fantastic in saffron bread pudding with cognac sauce. In the meantime, get to baking your Lucia buns. Even if they aren’t ready in time to eat for Lucia, we have a good chunk of December ahead of us so it’s not too late to enjoy them.

Lussekatter (adapted from Vår Kok Bok)
makes 24-30 buns

To release the most flavor and color from the saffron, let it steep in the hot milk for at least 20 minutes and ideally up to 24 hours. If you are using saffron powder you can skip the steeping. The buns can be shaped into a variety of forms but the S-shape is the most common. Using an egg in the dough is optional. It makes the bread a bit less dense.

11 tablespoons (150 g) butter
2 1/2 cups (600 ml) 3% milk
.02-.04 ounces (.5-1g) saffron (I used 1g)
2 ounces (50g) fresh yeast*
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar or (180ml) corn syrup
1 egg (optional)
7-9 cups (875-1125g) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup raisins
1 egg for brushing the tops before baking

1. Place the raisins in a small bowl and add enough warm water to cover them. Soaking them for a couple of hours will help to keep them from getting rock hard during baking. If you do this step right at the beginning of your Lucia bun project they should be sufficiently soft by the time you are ready to bake the buns.

2. Heat the milk in a saucepan over medium heat until bubbles just begin to form on the sides of the pan. Remove from the heat and add the saffron, pushing down on the threads to submerge them (you can skip this step if using powdered saffron). Don’t use a wooden spoon as it will soak up the flavor of the saffron and you want all of that flavor to go into your baked goods, not your spoon. Let steep for at least 20 minutes and up to 24 hours. If steeping for an extended period of time, let the milk cool to room temperature and then refrigerate it.

3. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the saffron milk and heat until just warm to the touch or 98°F (37°C).

4. Crumble the yeast into the bowl of your mixer. Pour in the butter and milk mixture and stir until the yeast is dissolved. Add the salt, sugar, egg, and most of the flour. Work the dough until it is sticky, but doesn’t stick to your hands. Use the minimum amount of flour possible to achieve this. Let the dough rise in a lightly oiled bowl covered with a kitchen towel until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.

5. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead until the dough is smooth adding flour as needed if the dough is too sticky. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or lightly grease them. Work a fistful of dough into a 8″ (20cm) long snake and shape it into an “S” curling the ends in well and place on the baking sheet. Continue until all the buns are formed and let rise, covered with a kitchen towel, 30-40 minutes.

6. Preheat the oven to 475°F (250°C).

7. Drain the raisins. Once the buns have finished rising, place a raisin in the center of each curve on the “S.” Beat the egg in a small bowl and brush it over the tops of the buns. Bake the buns in the center of the oven for 5-10 minutes. When they are browned and sound hollow when tapped they are finished. The buns dry out quickly so once they have cooled to room temperature place them in an airtight container. If they do dry out too much, you can wrap them in a damp kitchen towel and heat in the microwave for a few seconds. Keep an eye on the towel so it doesn’t catch on fire. The buns also freeze really well so you can enjoy them for a longer period of time.

*Fresh yeast is readily available in Sweden. If using dry yeast, the San Francisco Baking Institute recommends the following conversion: Active dry yeast can be used at 50% of the weight of fresh yeast and instant dry can be used at 40% of the weight of fresh.


DIY Recipes: How to make baked yam balls

Eating yam doesn't have to be that boring again with this yam balls.

Yam balls are popular snacks enjoyed in Ghana. Usually, leftover boiled yams are used for this meal and it is enjoyed by all.

Ingredients

2 1/2 tablespoon margarine or butter

1 cup corn flakes roughly crashed

Salt and Black pepper as required

Boil yam with salt and water. Whiles yam is boiling, thinly chop sausages, onions, celery and garlic. Set aside.

Heat margarine or butter in a pan. Saute onions, garlic and celery till soft. Do not caramelise or brown the onions. Stir in sausages and turn off the fire. Check on yam to see if it softened or cooked through. Drain off the water when done.

Preheat an oven to 180℃/350℉. Line a baking pan with baking sheet. In a small bowl, mix cornflakes and black pepper together. Beat one egg in a different bowl set aside.

Using a food processor, or fork or asanka with apotɔyowa mash cooked yam. Yam should be well mashed but resemble a coarse dough. Add in egg yolk, margarine or butter and stir together. Add in sauteed garlic, onions, celery and chopped sausages.

Scoop about two tablespoons of the mixed yam dough together. Mould into a ball, dip into the egg to coat, dip into corn flakes and black pepper mixture. Gently press to stick well and arrange on a baking sheet. Repeat the process until all dough has been moulded to balls. Gently brush balls with remaining egg.

Bake balls in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes till the cornflakes are well stacked to the balls and looks crispy.


DIY Recipes: How to make Jollof spaghetti

Jollof Spaghetti is usually served with grilled or fried chicken, beef or fish (mostly fried).

Ingredients

A small handful of basil optional

Blend the tomatoes, onions, and peppers until smooth.

Boil down the tomato sauce on in a pot on medium-high heat until the sauce is about half the amount, and has thickened significantly to look like a paste. This takes about 15-20 minutes, depending on how high the heat is.

Be sure to stir the sauce occasionally to prevent it from burning.

Once the sauce is reduced, pour in the stock, oil, thyme, curry powder and bouillon. At this stage, taste the sauce and adjust for salt.

Add in the spaghetti, pushing it down or breaking it to fit into the pot.

Cover and allow to cook for 5 minutes on low-medium heat.

After 5 minutes, the pasta should be soft enough to stir. Stir, turn down the heat to low, and allow to cook for another 8-10 minutes.

After 8 minutes, stir, and the pasta should be cooked. If it is not, add in a splash (about 1/4 cup) of water and continue to cook for another 5 minutes.


11. Smith & Wollensky: Open since the 1970s

This high-end American steakhouse is one for the books. Not only has it garnered just about every award known to the restaurant industry, but the building in which it was first established has served as a steakhouse since 1897&mdashwhich is one of the reasons the restaurant is able to dry-age its steaks in-house. (Not only is this method the most time-consuming and expensive way to age beef, but most places these days just don&rsquot have the space that was allotted to steakhouses back then.)


Watch the video: Oslo, Norway. Όσλο Νορβηγία. Καλοκαίρι 2019 (December 2021).