Weekly Photo Challenge: Dinnertime

Meal prep

For this week’s photo challenge, I’ve resisted the hundreds of grainy food photos taken with my phone, and gone with meal prep time at a Swedish fish bar in Stockholm.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Dinnertime

~ Spotted Cow

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Swedish Baths

Towels & swimming costume

On our last morning in Stockholm, we went to the baths at the art deco inspired Centralbadet. We had a swim, soaked in the hot pools, and sat in the sauna. I would definitely recommend it if you like unwind time on your travels.

The Centralbadet is a beautiful building. I can’t show you pictures of the inside, but the swimming pool was surrounded by lush plants, wooden loungers and old-fashioned cubicles. Lots of light flooded through the stained glass windows. The spa area was quiet and relaxing. It was a Tuesday morning and mainly a mature crowd and housewives.

If we hadn’t had to leave to catch our flight, we would’ve stayed for lunch and booked a massage. And so, it was bye bye Stockholm, till another time. We departed super chilled.

~ Spotted Cow

Centralbadet window

Entrance Centralbadet

Stained glass window

The Ship That Sunk Before It Left The Harbour

The Vasa Museum, view from across the waterfront

If you go to only one museum in Stockholm, go to the Vasa. It intrigued us because on one of our walks, across the waterfront, we saw an impressive ship-like building – the Vasa Museum – sitting next to a classically built edific

The Vasa is a large warship that took 300 men two years to build in 1626. In 1628, it set sail on its inaugural voyage to much fanfare, only to keel over and sink before it made it out of Stockholm harbour. What an anti-climax.

333 years later (such a magic number!), the Swedes salvaged the ship, excavated and restored it, eventually turning it into a 7-floor museum. Conservation is an on-going process. The ship’s size is the most dramatic thing about it. You can go up & down – your choice, elevator or stairs – to look at all the levels of the ship. And they’ve extracted details like the decorative elements, the working objects, and a model ship for a close-up inspection.

Normally, war ships aren’t my thing. However, having been, I can see why it is the most popular museum in Sweden.

~ Spotted Cow

The salvaged Vasa

A view of the model ship from a high floor

Decorative detail on the Vasa

Inside the Vasa Museum

 

Snap Chat. Food tour & food photos

Blood pudding with lingonberry sauce on a stick

I used to laugh at my Singaporean friends visiting London, who would took pictures of the food they ate on their travels. I’ve sat through photo files of steak tartare in Paris, truffle spaghetti in Siena, and breakfast kippers in London’s East End.

Now, with a travel & photography blog, I find myself doing it. Sometimes. It really is awkward. Inside light is often poor, white plates & shiny utensils reflect everything, and you stand about conspicuously trying to find the best angle.

The Lovely J is a bit of a foodie and she booked us on a food tour with Food Tours Stockholm. My favourite part was the samplings around the various stalls in the basement food hall at Hötorgshallen – where all these pictures were taken – and later at Meatballs For The People.

My modus operandi with getting the shots was to bump up the ISO, use a very low f-number and focus with a steady hand on one morsel of food. That way, the one morsel is in focus and everything else is progressively blurred. In order, the food images are of blood pudding with lingonberry sauce, ham in olive oil & garnish, and reindeer mousse with accompanied cold meats. All were taken on ISO 1600, f6/3 settings.

I also wanted a shot of the prep counter when the cook was making our herring and salmon samples. So I stood back to use the widest angle possible, with the camera still on ISO 1600 and a bit higher f9. Then a deep breath and fingers crossed that everything would come out in focus.

I think I did an ok job. I’m keen to hear other people’s travel food photography techniques.

~ Spotted Cow

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Swedish meatballs

Swedish meatballs

My Swedish colleague told me – somewhat indignantly – that Swedes eat meatballs at home, not in restaurants. However, apart from imposing on his mother’s hospitality, my lovely friend J and I were going to have to eat meatballs somewhere. And that somewhere turned out to be Meatballs for the People in the Södermalm area (Nytorgsgatan 30, 11640 Stockholm).

We had the classic with a creamy gravy, lingonberry sauce, mash potatoes, and pickled cucumbers. These guys know where their meat comes from and there is a map on the wall with animal stickers showing the farms. I wouldn’t be surprised if they know the names of all the animals, but maybe that’s a bit too intimate. Best said that there’s a variety of meatballs and vegetarians get a look-in too.

Incidentally, they are listed in the Conde Nast Travellers “The World’s Best Meatballs”.

I have to let on that we ate Swedish meatballs twice while in Stockholm. After all, you have to be empirical about these things. On our first evening, we wanted to go to Operakällaren Bakfickan as recommended by The Slow Pace girls, but unfortunately the kitchen closed early that day. So we ate meatballs at the place next door … and I can’t remember the name of the restaurant, but apparently it’s the regular hangout of Dolph Lundgren, whom I didn’t recognise at the table next to us.

~ Spotted Cow

Meat map

Meatballs for the People, inside

Meatballs for the People, outside

Stockholm. Immediate impressions

Stockholm life on the river

The two things that struck me on my Stockholm city weekend was life on the water and the ubiquitous greenery. The combination made it feel fresh to be outside, and we were blessed with good weather to savour it. The picture above was our view while having a beer on the evening we arrived.

Stockholm sits on 14 islands, and water is everywhere. As I mentioned, the weather was good and we walked around a lot. Every so often, we would have a rest at one of the many bars and enjoy the calm of our surroundings. It’s not often you hear the words “tranquil” and “city” together.

It made me wish that we made more of London’s river and riverbank life. It’s not non-existent, but it could use a healthy helping of green.

~ Spotted Cow

Stockholm Opera House

Stockholm city skyline

Bridge onto Skeppsholmen