This is the second article of two on how to bring Scandinavian concepts into your every day.
Although Brits will sometimes have lunch with their fellow students or colleagues, and sometimes do something after work, the Swedes have a very special concept of sitting down during the day with a cup of cake and a warm drink just to enjoy that moment with your friends or by yourself. It is something that they actively plan into their day (most often twice a day) and that nearly all swedes do. If you are invited to FIka, it is sometimes considered rude not to say yes, and people from different parts of society often Fika together: for example, if you were to walk into a Stockholm office at 11 am and find it empty, you can probably find the cleaners, office workers, and bosses enjoying their cake and coffee together at a nearby café or in the cafeteria.
The reason swedes do this is to ensure that they have some time to simply enjoy the moment they are in with their friends or colleagues. If you want to try having a FIka, you can follow the recipe below to make a nice, easy Swedish Almond Cake.
1 ¼ cups sugar
1 egg (try to buy free range, as this means much better conditions for the chicken!)
1 ½ teaspoon almond extract
2/3 cup milk
1 ¼ cups flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
8 tablespoons butter, melted ( you can melt this by putting it in the microwave for 20 second – be absolutely sure the spoon does not go into the microwave though!)
Preheat the oven to 175 degrees. Put the sugar, egg, almond extract, and milk together and use a whisk to mix it very quickly. Once it is mixed, add the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and the butter. Use a baking dish to bake the cake; make sure to rub its side with butter or some non-stick oil before pouring the batter in. Once the cake is in the oven, leave it for 50 minutes, until a skewer or fork that you put into the middle comes back out with no wet dough on it. Take the cake out of the oven (carefully) and let it stand to cool for 20 minutes. When it is cold, or nearly so, remove it from the baking dish and put a little icing sugar on it. You can now cut it in slices and enjoy it with a warm drink and you do a Fika with your friends, family or by yourself. Use this as an exercise in enjoying a good moment, without doing much else. Turn off your TV, and put away your phone as you simply sit down to talk to whoever you are with, or think about your day or grand philosophical thought. This is also a great thing to do if you are stressed, for example up to exam time; if you give yourself a break where you don’t think about the work that is stressing you at all, you will return to it with renewed energy and a clear mind.