Like seven billion other people, I read the Stig Larsson trilogy and enjoyed them, although in the last book I gave up trying to follow who was who - how many Olegs can there be in that country? With the trend towards reading Scandinavian crime, I turned to Camilla Lackberg, on my friend Julie's recommendation. She is a Swedish crime writer, and I really enjoy her books. The crimes are just as violent as the Larsson books, and are actually quite creepy at times, but the protagonists are a married couple and their relationship sweetens the harshness of the content. You really begin to care about the couple and the other characters as you read through the series. I read some review somewhere that says Lackberg mixes violence with the comfort of domesticity. I highly recommend the books. But something that has captured my imagination in the Lackberg and the Larsson books is the Swedish obsession with coffee, sandwiches and buns! Lisbeth and Mickael are constantly packing themselves a thermos of coffee and a pack of sandwiches. And I would think - damn, I'd like some coffee and a sandwich right now while I'm reading. And it's even worse in the Lackberg novels because they are constantly - and I mean like every 5 pages! - having a cup of coffee and a hot bun out of the oven. The protagonist Erika is constantly baking buns. It makes me drool. I start looking around frantically. Where can I get Swedish buns near my house? Where? Where?!
Enter Jamie Oliver. On his Jamie Does... series I watched an episode where he is doing Swedish food - and there were the buns!!!! I bought the book, and made them straight away. Jamie's looked crusty, gooey with fruit, oozing with flavour, delicious looking. Mine looked...crap. True to form then. But they tasted okay, if not a bit doughy. I've tried them again today since I'm reading another Northern European writer - Jo Nesbo. A lot of hype about his books last month when he visited Sydney and the film of his novel premiered- 'Headhunter'. I'm reading 'Nemesis'. I'm not overwhelmed by it - not as good as Lackberg or Larsson.
Here are the buns - they look a bit better this time, but they spread! The dough is very wet and hard to work with. Can I give you the red hot tip though - they're delicious! Blueberry, with orange zest and demerara sugar on top. What a treat with a coffee and a Swedish crime thriller!