Update: Duolingo offers Scandinavian language courses

Good news! Duolingo, the popular site featuring online language courses for English speakers, has added some Scandinavian languages to its roster of courses.

Now you can learn Danish, Norwegian and Swedish. Hopefully they’ll add Finnish soon.

Give it a try here: https://www.duolingo.com/



Duolingo is a website for learning languages that helps translate content across the internet at the same time. Here’s a quick explanation:


Unfortunately there’s no scandinavian languages available yet. If there are any bilingual people who might be interested in helping build this tool, please go here: http://incubator.duolingo.com/

Congratulations to our new President & Treasurer!

Hello everyone!

I’d like to share the good news! SNCA has a new president & treasurer!

Congratulations to incoming president Christian Samdal Borgen, and treasurer Liam Reeve for the 2014/2015 year. We’re very excited to have you lead our group forward!

Here’s his introduction from the SNCA Facebook group:

My name is Christian and I am the new president of the UBC Scandinavian and Nordic Cultural Association. Born and raised in Norway with some time in Denmark I have a vast amount of cultural exposure etc. to Scandinavia which I hope to bring to this club.

Me and my treasurer Liam Reeve have started planning events for next year, and hope you all will continue to be committed to this club!

Thanks for your trust as president, please comment below if you have any questions!

As the year progresses, it’s my hope that others will join Christian and Liam on the executive, and make this the most dynamic and exciting year yet!

I would also like to extend a heartfelt “thank you” to Michael Huber for stepping up and taking on the president’s role last year.  Without his commitment, the club would have folded. We are very grateful to him and the executive for their dedication over the past year, and we wish you much success in all your future endeavours. Thank you!

Please leave words of congratulations and thanks below, and any comments or suggestions you might have as well. We’re excited about the many possibilities for the coming year!



Founding President and Member

Please come to the SNCA Elections TONIGHT! March 13, 2014

We need YOU!

In 2003, I (Ingrid) and some fellow UBC students started the Scandinavian and Nordic cultural Association (SNCA). In 2004, we produced our first annual Lucia Celebration with the generous support of the CENES department thanks to the encouragement of the then department chair, Peter Stenberg.

The club did very well over the years. We participated in events like Dragon Boat races, Storm the Wall, friendly Kubb competitions, regular “fika” get togethers, etc. Friendships were formed that continue to this day. In fact, it’s thanks to SNCA that two of our members met and eventually married! 🙂

But, over the past couple of years, interest in the club has declined. It’s sad to see, considering the amount of work so many volunteers put into it over the years.

Tonight there will be informal elections for the new exec at the Wolf and Hound, Dunbar & West Broadway https://www.google.ca/maps/place/Wolf+%26+Hound+Restraurant/@49.2644249,-123.1840477,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m2!3m1!1s0x548672ff95fbd70d:0x265b7f3edffaf728

All that’s needed to keep the club going are a President and a Treasurer! Please volunteer!

If there’s no new executive, the club will have to fold.

Calling all UBC students and anyone who knows UBC students who are interested in anything Scandinavian! Please drop by the Wolf and Hound tonight at 7:30pm and join our executive.

I’ve asked the current exec to put something distinctive on the table so people who don’t know them can find them. Hopefully they’ll do that. Otherwise, we’ll just have to go from table to table and ask!

7:30PM. Wolf and Hound!

Keep SNCA going at least one more year!


SNCA Elections Done Right

Greetings all!

It has been quite some time since our last post, and it’s time for elections for the SNCA exec once again.

This time we’re doing it in a more casual and fun way. I’ll get to that in a minute, but first a little about Lucia this year.

Last year, interest in participating in Lucia was down, and it almost didn’t happen. In fact, it didn’t happen on campus at all. Instead, Lena Karlström, the Swedish lecturer at UBC, held it at her house and for the first time ever we had a male Lucia. It was fabulous!

This coming Lucia in 2014 will be our 10th anniversary! Fingers crossed it will happen!

But… in order for it to happen, we need YOU! Yes, YOU!

We need you to support our little club by joining or becoming an executive member, or committing to sing this year in Lucia!

Which brings me to the next bit of news: ELECTIONS at the WOLF AND HOUND PUB – 3617 West Broadway, Vancouver, Thursday, March 13, 7:30 pm.

There’s information about it HERE on Facebook, complete with map on how to get there. And yes, you can be a member of SNCA even if you’re not a student at UBC.

Most of our activities are now being posted on Facebook. You can find us on our SNCA page and on our SNCA group. You can request to join the group, where you can post relevant information yourself, and read up-to-date events and things of interest pertaining to Scandinavia. The page is open to all, and tries to keep up with the Group’s postings.

Here are some posts of interest from the SNCA Facebook Group:

>> Some Harvard College students have put together  “Simplicissimus – the Harvard College Journal of Germanic Studies.” Their Fall issue focuses on Scandinavia! There’s a lot of great Germanic scholarship and literature here, from translations of Old English literature to Swedish stories and Viking artwork. Check them out on Facebook to read more about them! https://www.facebook.com/harvardsimpl

>> SNCA members will be getting together tomorrow, Friday, March 7 at 7:30pm – “Vi slutter oss til folk fra svenskkursen og drar til Wolf and Hound for en tidlig øl eller te 😉 We’ll join the Swedish course and go to the Wolf and Hound for an early beer or tea ;-)” Come out and join them! https://www.facebook.com/thewolfandhound

>> Norway will be creating a sensitive and seminal memorial to the July 22, 2011 mass shooting of 77 people on the island of Utøya. It is beautiful. You can read about it here: http://gizmodo.com/norways-lovely-memorial-to-the-worst-mass-shooting-in-1536842749?utm_campaign=socialflow_gizmodo_facebook&utm_source=gizmodo_facebook&utm_medium=socialflow

>> Scandinavian architecture in Vancouver, GWERK: The connection between Richard Wagner, Danish architects Bjarke Ingels Group and the north end of Granville Bridge. Curious? Check in for a closer look, Sat. 22nd: http://gwerk.ca/coming-march-2014-the-gesamtkunstwerk-exhibition/

We’ll try to keep this blog better updated. But if you’re interested in what’s happening with the club on campus, please check out either of our Facebook sites.

Hope to see you at the Wolf and Hound!!

Fettisdagen and Semlor

Screen Shot 2013-02-12 at TuesdayFeb 12-2.11.19

Happy Fettisdagen! Aka, Laskiainen, Fastelavn, Shrove Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, Pancake Tuesday, Mardi Gras, etc., and the main reason to eat Semlor.

Semlor (singular, “semla”) are sweet buns, sometimes flavoured with cardamom, filled with marzipan (almond paste) and whipped cream. They are delicious and are traditionally eaten on this day before the fasting days of Lent, in Scandinavia. Wiki has an entry on Semlor here.

If you haven’t made some already, we’re including three recipes here: one in Swedish, one in English, and a gluten-free recipe for those of us who must avoid wheat but would love to have a nice yummy semla with our fika today (or any day!).

When you’re done, sit back with an aromatic cup of coffee or a soothing cup of tea. Soak your freshly baked semla in a bowl of warm milk and dig into its rich deliciousness, enjoying its warming goodness from the inside out!

Leila’s Semlor:

18 semlor
1 sats vetedeg

1 msk kardemummakärnor
3dl mjölk
50 färsk jäst
1 1/2 dl strösocker
1/2 tsk salt
150 g mjukt smör
1 ekologiskt ägg
11-12 dl vetemjöl special


400 g mandelmassa
1 skvätt mjölk
8dl vispgrädde
Ägg till pensling

Hemgjord mandelmassa, 1/2 kg

250 g sötmandel
2 1/2 dl strösocker

1 sats vetedeg

Stör kardemummakärnorna fint i en mortel och värm med mjölken tills den är fingerljummen, 37 grader.
Smula ner jästen i en bunke och lös den med mjölken, strösocker, salt, smör och ägg.
Tillsätt lite vetemjöl i taget och arbeta samman till en smidig deg.
Jäs degen i en bunke under bakduk till dubbel storlek i 45-60 minuter.
Stjälp upp degen på ett mjölat bord och baka ut till önskade bullar.

Hemgjord mandelmassa

Skålla och skala mandeln.
Mixa mandlarna till ett fint pulver i hushållsmixer.
Tillsätt strösocker och mixa i 5–7 minuter tills det blir en slät och varm massa.


Dela degen i 18 bitar och forma dem till runda bullar.
Lägg bullarna på plåtar med bakplåtspapper med skarven nedår.
Sätt ugnen på 200 grader.
Jäs under bakduk i 45-60 minuter.
Pensla bullarna med uppvispat ägg och grädda dem i mitten av ugnen i 6-7 minuter. Låt svalna.
Skär av topparna på bullarna och gröp ur innanmätet.
Rör innanmätet krämigt med riven mandelmassa och en skvätt mjölk.
Fyll semlorna med mandelmassa, spritsa över grädde och lägg på locket. Pudra med florsocker.

Du kan köpa det fantastiskt fina brödgallret på Leilas General Store.

(source: http://www.leila.se/leilas-semlor/recept/bakverk/index1,23.htm?id=2853)

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Lenten Buns


10-12 buns

2 ¾ Cup Butter 75g
1 ¼ Cup milk 3 dl
1 ¾ oz fresh yeast 50g
½ tsp salt ½ tsp
½ Cup sugar 1 dl
1 egg
1½ tsp baking powder 1½ tsp
about 3 ¾ Cups all-purpose flour about 9 dl
1 egg for brushing
4 oz or ¾ Cup almonds 100 g
crumbs from inside rolls
½ Cup sugar 1 dl
about ½ Cup milk or cream 1 dl
¾ Cup whipping cream 2 dl
1 TBSP confectioner’s sugar 1 TBSP


Melt butter, add milk and heat to 98°F (37°C). Crumble yeast into some of milk mixture and stir until dissolved. Add remaining liquid, salt, sugar and egg. Combine baking powder with some of the flour. Kneed in enough flour to make a smooth and elastic dough that cleans bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm place until almost doubled, 20-30 minutes

Turn dough onto floured board and knead in remaining flour. Form into 10-12 smooth, round rolls. Place on greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise in a warm place about 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 475°F (250°C). Lightly beat egg and brush on rolls. Bake 5-10 minutes. Transfer to a rack. Cool covered.

Blanch, peel and grind almonds. Cut top off each roll. Remove most of centre, but do not go through crust. Combine centre crumbs with almonds, sugar and milk or cream. Filling should be quite loose. Divide filling among rolls.

Whip cream and divide among rolls. Return tops and sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar.

Filled buns should be eaten the day they are made. Plain buns can be frozen 3-6 months.

It is possible to use purchased almond past in the filling. Count on 3 ½ -5 oz (100 – 150 g) almond paste for one batch of buns. Grate almond paste and combine with crumbs and milk or cream.

These buns are meant to be eaten during Lent, but now everyone in Sweden enjoys these delicious treats from January through Easter.

(Source: Served from the Swedish Kitchen: Fifty Classic Recipes from Sweden. ICA Bokförlag)

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Gluten-Free Semla

Makes 24 buns


Butter……………………………………….. 6 Tbsp
Milk………………………………………….. 1 ½ cups
Dry yeast…………………………………… 2 tsp
Psyllium husks* (see below)……….. 2 tsp
Sugar………………………………………… 1/2 cup, plus 1 tsp for the yeast liquid
Honey………………………………………. ¼ cup
Kosher salt………………………………… 1 tsp
Guar gum………………………………….. 2 tsp
Gelatin, unflavored……………………. 1 tsp
Large eggs, whisked…………………… 2
Ground cardamom……………………. 3 tsp
Corn starch………………………………. 1 ½ cups
White rice flour,plus 1/3 cup for rolling the dough… 1 cup
Tapioca starch…………………………… 1 cup
Egg Wash:
Large egg, whisked…………………….. 1
Water……………………………………….. 1 Tbsp
Gluten free almond paste……………. 7 oz
Milk (enough to blend with almond paste)……………………………. 1 -2 Tbsp
Whipped Cream:
Whipping cream………………………… 1 ¼ cups
Confectioner’s sugar…………………… 1 Tbsp


Melt butter in a medium sauce pan. Add the milk to the melted butter and heat until about 110-115 degrees F. Pour the heated liquid into a medium-sized bowl.

Add the yeast, psyllium husks, 1 tsp sugar and whisk together until yeast has dissolved. Let sit for 10 minutes to proof and activate the yeast. The liquid should expand.

Pour the yeast liquid into a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the sugar, honey, salt, guar gum, gelatin, the whisked eggs, cardamom, and gluten-free flours to the mixer. Beat on medium speed for 5 minutes. Scrape down the bowl occasionally. The dough will be sticky, do not worry, this is normal.

Remove the mixing bowl. Drape a clean kitchen towel, or plastic wrap, over the bowl. Place the mixing bowl in a warm part of the kitchen, and let the dough rise for 75 minutes.

Shape the dough into 3″ balls by scooping the dough out with a large spoon. Using wet hands, gently press into shape. You might need to wet your hands in between each roll, to prevent the dough from sticking and to create a smooth surface. But take care not to make the dough soggy.

Place the rolls onto parchment-lined cookie sheets. Allow the rolls to rise, loosely covered with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel, for 40 minutes.

During the last 20 minutes of the rise, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Remove covers from the baking sheets. Using a pastry brush, brush each roll with the egg wash.

Bake near center of the oven for about 15-18 minutes, or until golden.

Transfer the rolls to a wire rack, cover with the kitchen towels, and let cool to room temperature. The buns are also delicious on their own, sliced and spread with some butter.

Once cool, cut a slice off the top of the bun. Scoop out the center of the bun.

Blend the almond paste with the milk until smooth. Add additional milk if needed until the filling is nearly as soft as pudding.

Whip cream with the confectioners’ sugar to soft peaks. Fill each bun with a spoonful of the almond mixture. Pipe whipped cream on top of the filling to about 1/2 inch over the top of the bun. Replace the top onto the bun, and dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving.

*Psyllium husks are the same as Metamusil, which is gluten-free. Get the unflavored variety. This adds fiber, texture and elasticity to the dough.



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Tandem UBC

Tandem students from Tandem UBC website picture gallery.

Tandem students from Tandem UBC website picture gallery.

Happy New Year! We’re back at it with gusto! There are so many fabulous things to do this term. Here’s something for students at UBC. Thanks to Fiona Thompson for passing this on:

This is a great program, Tandem Learning at UBC. It’s a FREE student-run language program. If anyone is willing to offer help another student in a language (French, Swedish, Norwegian, etc) PLEASE sign up for this!

From their website:

What is Tandem UBC?

The Tandem UBC Language Exchange Program is a free and completely student-run initiative that started off with a very successful pilot project in Spring 2011 by then-graduate student Mary Leighton. Since then, the program has grown and evolved in multiple ways, and this Fall 2012 semester almost 700 UBC students, faculty and staff applied to the program.

The structure of Tandem UBC is as follows: participants that wish to practice a language get paired up with someone who speaks this language and at the same time wants to improve in the language the first person speaks. Pairs meet for a total of 10 or 11 weeks for 1.5 hours every week, either at facilitated sessions that take place at the Global Lounge and at the Meekison Arts Student Space, or independently. In both cases, participants are supported with suggested activities and conversation topics from the Tandem UBC Handbook, as well as by the guidance of trained Tandem UBC Volunteer Facilitators.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

So, for instance, I help you with French for half the time, and you help me with Swedish for the rest of the time. All levels are accepted. Here’s the link for the signup: http://goo.gl/WD82D

Check out their Webpage for more info: Tandem UBC

In addition, you have to go to the Global Lounge to physically sign up, before Jan 16.