Warm up with some Glogg!

A classic Scandinavian hot spiced wine punch served with raisins and almonds. This will surely take the bite off those cold winter nights. Flaming the brandy is optional.


2 (750 milliliter) bottles red wine
2 ounces dried orange zest
2 ounces cinnamon sticks
20 whole cardamom seeds
25 whole cloves
1 pound blanched almonds
1 pound raisins
1 pound sugar cubes
5 fluid ounces brandy


1.Pour wine into a large pot. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Wrap orange zest, cinnamon sticks, cardamom and cloves in cheesecloth, tie with kitchen string and put into pot. Let boil for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in almonds and raisins and continue to boil for 15 more minutes. Remove from heat.

2.Place a wire grill over the pot and cover with sugar cubes. Slowly pour on brandy, making sure to completely saturate the sugar. Light sugar with a match and let it flame. When sugar has melted, cover pot with lid to extinguish flame.

3.Stir and remove spice bag. Serve hot in cups with a few almonds and raisins.

In California, a Midcentury House in the Redwoods - by NY Times

“IT sounds very Californian, but this home found us,” said Kim Todd, explaining why she and her husband, Andrew, left a 5,000-square-foot house with a pool and a large landscaped garden in Marin County for a home one-fifth the size, with a single bedroom and a wealth of deferred maintenance.

The couple, who run diPietro Todd, a chain of hair salons in the San Francisco Bay Area, first saw the crescent-shaped house nestled in a canyon of redwood trees here about four years ago, and almost immediately made the decision to move.

“We fell in love as soon as we saw the house and its surroundings,” Ms. Todd, 55, said. “Our work life is so public. It’s really quiet here, and the owls fly by at night.”

She and Mr. Todd, 49, had two children who were nearly grown — Luke is now 17, and Sophie is 21 — and they knew they were approaching the time when they would have to think about downsizing, since they were “soon going to be empty nesters,” she said.

But the architecture was a big part of the appeal. The house was built in 1958 by Daniel J. Liebermann, an architect who had apprenticed with Frank Lloyd Wright, and he was just 28 when he designed it for himself and his wife. Like most of Mr. Liebermann’s homes, it is constructed on a radial frame, with curving exterior walls.

John Lovell, a friend of Mr. Todd’s who is a designer and had studied Mr. Liebermann’s work, showed him the listing when the house came on the market and urged him to take a look. Mr. Todd then passed the listing along to another friend, Wanda Liebermann, an architect who had helped design several of his salons, without realizing she was Mr. Liebermann’s daughter. “That’s the house I grew up in,” she told him.

Mr. Liebermann had sold the house in 1966, but he was living nearby — and still practicing architecture at 80 — and both he and Ms. Liebermann advised the Todds during the early stages of the renovation.

But Mr. Todd also spent many hours alone on the property, ruminating about how to proceed. “I would stare at every angle and reconfigure the space in my mind,” he said of the house, which they bought in 2006 for $1,125,000. “In the end, it was clear the original design was best. We chose to edit and make the home more luxurious.”

That meant leaving the interior layout basically as it was, with one important exception: the three cramped bedrooms and two bathrooms in the sleeping area were replaced with a single master bedroom and bathroom, and a walk-in closet handcrafted in wood by a boat builder. (The couple’s son sleeps in an adjacent guest house; their daughter had already left home by the time they moved in a year ago.)

It also meant upgrading the house’s 19 skylights, putting in a new kitchen and refurbishing the radiant heating system. New lighting was installed throughout the house; the wood rafters and the ceiling were wire-brushed and waxed; the concrete floors were restained and polished; and the exposed brick walls were coated with plaster to create a more modern look.

Not surprisingly, the remodeling budget spiraled. “We started with the idea of spending $350 a square foot,” Mr. Todd said. “We ended up spending at least 25 percent more than that — at some point I stopped counting. I just knew we had only one chance to do it right.”

Living in a 1,100-square-foot house has had its challenges. The couple had to get rid of many of their possessions, including most of Mr. Todd’s collection of midcentury modern furniture. “I had to put so much in storage,” he said. “I brought my Mies van der Rohe daybed here, and it was too big, too square.”

Ms. Todd, however, is content to be a minimalist. “This home represents the next chapter for us as a couple,” she said. “It’s our rite of passage.”

Danish Beer Business

I was introduced to a great little Danish ale in a small Arrhus tavern, apparently 300 years old.

Pylle our resident Dane and investigator tracked down the brewery on a small island in Denmark, coincidently very close to where Pylle grew up. We visited the Brewery twice, the first time they just told me to come back as we hadn’t made an appointment. Clearly he had forgotten the conversation the day before where we did arrange a time!  so we left and then called and told him we would be back tomorrow.

Low and behold the same thing happened the next day, then it clicked he was not the most sober of brewers! He sat us in a room, cracked 2 beers turned on a DVD and walked out! Oookayyyyy! Pylle and I just looked at each other, laughed and drank the beer while watching what was possiblly the funniest home made video of how they make the beer.

We finally finished the beer and video, and walked back into the brewey. Suddenly the brewer seemed a lot happier, we tried ½ dozen different beers and talked about the brewing. Well, Pylle did, no English at all just the international language of beer.

The brewery has been around for almost 100 years, 3 generations of brewers in family, all made on site using local wheat etc. So I will keep you posted, we hope to have it in Australia before Xmas.

Great Dane in the NUD in Sweden

We visited our supplier NUD/FRINAB and we were greeted by the Australian flag flying high, it was great, I have never seen such a clean and organized factory as NUD, it was great to sit and and meet Staffan the owner and discuss all the new and exciting products they are working on.

You can see some of the prototypes of the new lights in image 0270, low voltage floours and LEDS bulbs, with some fantastic new deisgns.

Here is a few photos from NUD

Hello Stockholm...

Sunrise at 4.30am
Crazy Subway!
Sunset at 10.30pm