A Swedish Playlist

Today, I have a playlist with some of my favourite Swedish songs for you! I’ve always had a lot of fun exploring different kinds of Swedish music while I was learning Swedish, so I thought maybe other people would like it as well. Listening to music is a good way of getting to know a language and picking up some culture along the way – but most of all, it’s just nice to get to know some new music! I’ve been wanting to share this with you for a long time, but I somehow never got around to it – probably because most of Laleh’s song’s aren’t on Spotify so I could never make a playlist that I was fully satisfied with. But earlier this week, I saw that Maartje had made something similar (check out her playlist here) and I thought it was time to finally push it through.

The playlist contains a mix of different genres, because that’s just how I am when it comes to music :) Apart from Laleh, who probably is my favourite Swedish artist, not only because her music is amazing but also because of all the stories that are behind it and because she’s just such an amazing person (just check out her interview on Värvet!), my playlist also includes songs by Annika Norlin – or Säkert!, as her music project is called. I love her because her texts are often about feelings and I like the fact that she really exaggerates them instead of trying to be a reasonable person. Furthermore, the list contains songs by Veronica Maggio, because I’ve been listening to her music since 2008 (even before I started to learn Swedish) and I’ve always kind of stuck with her. She makes these delightful pop songs that are just nice to listen to every once in a while. And of course I also added some Håkan Hellström, because how could I not include him? Apart from pop, my playlist also includes some other genres like folk (Cornelis Vreeswijk and Evert Taube) and jazz (Monica Zetterlund), an instrumental folk song by Jan Johansson, and even a Swedish Bob Dylan cover by Lars Fernebring. Oh, and I also added a song by the Norwegian singer Siri Nilsen, because even though she’s not Swedish, she does make really nice music.

The playlist is called “Imaginär röd” and you can find it here. Hope you enjoy it!

Långhelg i maj, försommar

långhelg i maj, försommar

mina föräldrar är bortresta och jag låter mitt hjärta sakta ner
bländande soldagar

går upp tidigt om morgnarna och vattnar gräset och matar hönan i pyjamas
alla träd är fulla av fåglar som har byggt bo och jag äter frukost på terrassen

ville bada mina fötter i en zinkbalja men min pappa har gjort en damm utav den – längtade efter blåa vågor att flyta på, saltiga vågor som bär mig under en klar himmel under vattnet finns inga ljud – men det finns en ful röd plastbalja som jag kan bada fötterna i och det kommer gräs och solskyddskräm i vattnet när jag sköljer vatten över mig men det gör inget

går en tur i trädgården om eftermiddagen och betraktar det torra gräset
barfota nästan hela tiden slutar lyssna efter fotsteg på trappan låter mina tankar sakta ner

det här är semester det här
tittar på mina brunbrända ben

himlen är tung och jag bläddrar fram och tillbaka i min rosa bok jag gör anteckningar i blyerts kommer ihåg att varje bok ska vara som en upptäcktsresa

I wrote a piece of text about my weekend and posted it to Instagram, but I wanted to share it here as well – if you speak Swedish, that is. 

My favourite veggie sushi roll

Hi again! For a few months now, I’ve been kind of obsessed with sushi. So much that I’ve started making my own. I always thought making your own sushi would be really difficult, but it’s actually not that hard if you know a few tricks. I’ve been eating vegetarian for quite a while now, and the few times a year that I eat sushi at a restaurant have been my only exception to that. However, I figured that when I’m making my own sushi, I might as well explore some vegetarian options. That’s how I came up with this delicious vegetarian sushi roll.


For the rice:
(sushi) rice*
rice vinegar / sushi seasoning*
dried seaweed sheets (nori)*

sushi rolling mat
plastic foil
a sharp knife

Fillings and toppings:
some fresh carrots
one ripe avocado
two or three eggs
one teaspoon of sugar
one tablespoon sesame seeds
chili flakes
soy sauce*
sriracha sauce*
pickled ginger (gari)*
optional: sesame oil, lemon juice


* You can find these ingredients at an Asian supermarket, but some regular supermarkets have them as well.

How to make it

Preparing the rice

First, you need to cook the rice (I used this recipe for that). There’s a special kind of sushi rice*, but so far, I’ve just been using the rice that we have at home and that worked fine as well. It’s important to rinse the rice with some water before cooking it. When it’s done, I just put it in a bowl and I add some rice vinegar (that’s what makes it taste like typical sushi rice) and a little bit of salt and sugar, and I leave it to cool down for an hour.

Preparing the fillings

In the mean time, I prepare the fillings. I do the hot things first, so that they have time to cool down as well.

  • Sweet omelette: I mix some eggs (at least two, depending on how much sushi I’m making), a teaspoon of soy sauce, a teaspoon of water and a teaspoon of sugar. Then I try to do something like in this video, but it’s okay if it’s not perfect, because it’s going in a roll anyway. Then I put it in the fridge to cool down, and afterwards I cut it into slices.
  • Roasted sesame seeds: I just put some sesame seeds in a pan (without any oil) and I let them roast on low heat for about 10 minutes.
  • Spicy mayonnaise: I mix 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise, 1 teaspoon of sriracha sauce, and – optionally – also 1 teaspoon of sesame oil and a little bit of lemon juice.
  • Vegetables: I peel one or two fresh carrots and then I cut them in thin strips (sort of like this). I cut the avocado in half, then I carefully take of the peel and I cut the two avocado halves in thin slices.

Assembling the sushi roll

Set out all of your fillings on the table, as well as your bowl of rice, a bowl of water and a towel. Take your sushi rolling mat and wrap it in some plastic foil. Take a piece of nori that’s as wide as your rolling mat, and about 13 centimeter long. Usually, nori sheets are a bit longer than that, so you’ll probably have to cut off a bit. Put it on the mat with the rough side up. Use the bowl of water to make your hands wet (this will prevent the rice from sticking to your hands) and then put a layer of rice on the nori sheet. Cover about 10 centimeter lengthwise, leaving free about 3 centimeter. Next, put on a row of carrot strips, omelette slices, avocado slices, and spicy mayonnaise and sprinkle some roasted sesame seeds and some chili flakes on top. Then roll it up tightly, cut of the ends and cut it into pieces. It may be helpful to make wet your knife before, to prevent the rice from sticking to it.

(If you’re still not sure, take a look here for more instructions and illustrations.)

Almost done…

Serve it on a wooden plank or a nice plate. Pour some soy sauce into a dish and also add some mayonnaise, sriracha sauce and pickled ginger. Enjoy!

Things I painted lately

Things I painted lately | rougeimaginaire

Back to English now! Since I’ve had a quite a lot of free time lately, I’ve started to paint a little bit again. So I thought I’d share what I made and some of my thoughts behind it.

The painting on the left is a self-portrait I made last weekend. It had been quite a while since the last time I used acrylic paint – it feels so different from watercolour, more like a getting-your-hands-dirty feeling, if that makes sense. I think making self-portraits can be very nice and consoling (I think I got that idea from Frida Kahlo), but you have to be in the right mood for them. For the this one, I was inspired by the American painter Winston Chmielinksi: his colours are often very bright and I liked that idea. I like how it turned out, although I also think it maybe looks a little bit too perfect, as if nothing was left to chance.

The right one is a little watercolour painting that I made back in September when I was listening to the audiobook of The Serious Game by Hjalmar Söderberg. I heard that they were going to show the film adaptation at Film Fest Ghent, and I wanted to read the book first, because I figured I would get more out of the film that way. However, since it was quite a long book and I wasn’t even sure if I could get my hands on a paper copy so quickly, I decided to go for the audiobook. I really liked the film, by the way: it was nice and intimate and sort of dynamic, and there were a lot of nice details. Whenever I’m listening to an audiobook, I enjoy doing things like painting or crocheting, especially when autumn’s coming around (even though it sometimes takes up so much concentration that I can’t focus on the book anymore).

The text says “dare to take up space”, which I think is a nice reminder to myself. You can interpret it in a physical way, and then I suppose it means that there’s no point in being ashamed of how you look – and that, to give an example, you shouldn’t apologize for being “fat” (according to the norms of society, that is), because why on earth should you apologize for something that is essentially just taking up space. If you wouldn’t take up space, you wouldn’t be at all – and everyone has the right to be, whichever way they are. Besides that, you can also interpret it in a more abstract, social way: to dare to say things, to do things and to be seen in social situations. A couple of months ago, I listened to Liv Strömquist’s episode of Sommar i P1, and she said that “to overcome shame is to give oneself an inner right to express oneself”, and I think that’s what people should do. That’s what I am trying to do.

Mina favoritavsnitt av Sommar i P1

Mina favoritavsnitt av Sommar i P1 | rougeimaginaire

Nä men nu gör jag det! Nu skriver jag ett blogginlägg på svenska! Jag har velat skriva det här sedan ett tag nu, men har liksom alltid tänkt att “jag kan väl inte skriva ett blogginlägg på svenska, för min blogg är ju på engelska”. Men nu har jag faktiskt kommit på att om mitt liv är lite konstigt när det gäller språk, så får min blogg också vara det. Så nu tycker jag att utgångspunkten får vara engelska, men att jag också kan skriva på nederländska eller svenska om det lämpar sig bättre till innehållet (eller om jag nu känner för det). Jag vet inte om jag överhuvudtaget har några läsare som talar svenska, men vi får väl se hur det går.

Hur som helst. Idag vill jag skriva om mina favoritavsnitt av Sommar i P1, ett radioprogram där olika intressanta människor i en timme får berätta om sina upplevelser eller bara sådant som de tycker är intressant, och spela sin favoritmusik (ifall ni inte visste än ;)). Jag gillar ju att lyssna på poddar, så jag blev glad när jag fick reda på att det fanns något som verkade som en oändlig lista med avsnitt att välja från. Nu har jag lyssnat på en hel del och vissa är så bra att jag egentligen skulle vilja tipsa om dem till alla jag känner (om de bara talade svenska!). Så här er de!

Laleh Pourkarim (30 juli 2009)
Om det finns ett avsnitt som jag vill tipsa om, så är det det här. Musikern Laleh pratar om tidsandan och om att bryta tystnaden och hon läser också upp några av sina låttexter. Jag tycker att hon är en så förtjusande person och jag älskar att hon är så expressiv när hon pratar. Jag skulle gissa att jag har lyssnat på detta avsnitt minst fem gånger.

Susanna Alakoski (13 augusti 2007)
Författaren Susanna Alakoskis sommarprogram handlar om miljonprogram och städning, om hur människor påverkas av fattigdom och om hur viktigt det är med förutsättningar.

Liv Strömquist (24 juni 2013)
Liv Strömquist är serietecknare och hennes sommarprogram handlar om mens, skam och kreativt skapande. Jag tyckte att hon hade så många intressanta idéer, som faktiskt går att tillämpa på mycket mer än bara mens.

Annika Norlin (8 augusti 2015)
Journalisten och låtskrivaren Annika Norlin pratar om PMS, p-piller, samt hur hormoner i största allmänhet kan påverka ens mående. Så himla fascinerande.

José González (13 augusti 2016)
Jag har ju tyckt om José González musik sedan länge, men jag hade faktiskt ingen aning om att han var svensk. Det var fint att få lite av en bättre uppfattning av vem han egentligen var, och jag tyckte att han verkade som en så himla intelligent och nyanserad person. I sitt sommarprogram talar han om universumet, om att skriva musik, om människans omedvetna preferenser för vissa estetiska mönster och om världsbilder och religioner.

Saga Becker (3 juli 2015)
Skådespelaren Saga Becker berättar om hur det var att växa upp som transkvinna. Mycket häftigt, men jag tycker att det är så viktigt att den här typen av berättelser når ut.

→ Seinabo Sey (15 augusti 2015)
Musikern Seinabo Sey talar om kroppsångest och hudfärg. Jag har faktiskt aldrig riktigt lyssnat på hennes musik, men hennes sommarprogram var i alla fall intressant.

→ Jonas Gardell (22 juni 2013)
Författaren Jonas Gardell berättar om hur man blir människa, om att våga leva livet och om hur det gick till när Astrid Lindgren bet honom i näsan. Roligt tyckte jag!

→ Mark Levengood (25 juni 2011)
Programledaren och författaren Mark Levengood berättar om hur han fick ett hus av en främmande man och undrar varför hans liv egentligen är så konstigt. Mycket underhållande, och det är ju alltid fint att lyssna på lite finlandssvenska.

Translation: This is a blog post about my favourite episodes of the Swedish radio program “Sommar i P1”. I decided to write it in Swedish because it would only be useful to people who speak Swedish anyway. I also decided that it’s impossible for me to stick to just one language on this blog, at least if I want it to reflect who I am and how I think. My life is just a bit weird when it comes to languages, so I think my blog can be too. English will still be the default language, but if I feel like writing in Dutch or Swedish every now and then, I’ll just do that. But I’ll still make a translation, if it’s relevant. (Let me know what you think!)