Hello 2019! I must say that so far, I like this new year. I suspect it has something to do with my extended vacation from the relentless news cycle, and its attendant anxieties. I've chosen instead to listen to music instead of talking heads, to dive into the pile of books on my bedside table, and to watch more films. The result is that I feel calmer, more productive, and just better than I have in awhile. Usually I am in recovery mode, after the mad rush of the holidays. Because I am not obsessing over the state of the world, I feel like I have time to think and to reflect, and ultimately to be inspired, which is something we all can benefit from. Don't worry, I am not "head in the sand" ignoring the world, I absorb enough information just from being awake and aware. I'm just taking a bit of a pause, catching my breath, and setting my intentions for the new year ahead.
I find myself reflecting on the incredible amount of art I was lucky enough to see this past year. It was an epic year for exhibitions, and some of my all-time favorites were the Picasso show at the Tate Modern in London, the Van Gogh/Japan show in Amsterdam last summer, and the recent Edward Burne-Jones at the Tate Britain. We were also fortunate enough to see the Picasso Bleu et Rose, the Miro retrospective, and the Basquiat/Schiele exhibitions in Paris, as well as an incredible John Singer Sergeant show at the National Museum in Stockholm, which reopened in October after a five year long renovation.
The Lars Tunbjork exhibition at Fotografiska was really wonderful too. They are open until one o'clock in the morning, so we wandered in around 11pm and had the place nearly to ourselves. Why can't more museums do this? It feels like such a privilege to have a quiet gallery to oneself.
The most wonderful though, was the Louisiana Museum in Denmark. It was such an outstanding experience on all fronts. Spending an afternoon there was one of the highlights of 2018 for me. The combination of nature, modern art, architecture, and design felt so intentional, soulful, and so thoughtfully regarded. If you haven't yet been, make it your next trip. You won't be disappointed.
It was also such a delight to discover the lesser known magic of the Thorvaldsens Museum, which pairs a grand scale with a cabinet-of-curiosities feeling, and the exotic treasures at The David Collection in Copenhagen. They both felt truly special and intimate, as they are precisely that: the expression of a singular passion for collecting.
If you've been over to visit the shop recently in the afternoon, you may have caught us in the middle of tea time. I make a pot of ginger tea with lemon and honey to share, which felt especially nice during the recent rainstorms. It's quite strong, and the perfect afternoon treat. We are attempting to be virtuous after the indulgences of the holiday season, but I still managed to make a batch of salted rye cookies. One of our talented foodie clients shared her recipe with us, and we are all a bit obsessed. I suppose the Swedish notion of fika really did make an impression on me. Spending time with a hot drink and a biscuit in the afternoon, catching up on things together definitely feels like something to carry on with in 2019. It's a lovely and delicious way to feel more grounded and connected.
I pour 3oz fresh ginger juice, the juice of one lemon, plus one or two spoonfuls of honey (depending on desired sweetness) in a tea pot. Add the hot water, and stir to combine. You can also refrigerate any leftover tea, as it's delicious and refreshing to drink cold. This hardly ever happens, as we usually drink it all, but it's a treat when it does.
Salted Rye Cookies
2 sticks unsalted, European style butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp. finely grated orange zest
2.5 cups whole rye flour
3 tbs. coarse turbinado sugar
Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and the granulated sugar together in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, a pinch of salt, and the orange zest. Slowly mix in the flour. Divide the dough into two portions, and place each on a sheet of plastic wrap. Shape into logs approximately 2 inches in diameter, and wrap tightly. Chill until firm, about an hour (or overnight).
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. On a sheet of waxed paper, combine 1.5 tsp salt and the turbinado sugar. Unwrap the dough, and roll them in the salt/sugar mixture to coat well. Place each log on a cutting board, and using a sharp knife, cut into 1/8 inch rounds. Arrange the rounds approximately 1 inch apart on the parchment paper lined baking sheets., and bake until lightly browned on the edges, about 16 minutes. Rotate the pans halfway through so that the cookies bake evenly. When finished baking, remove to wire racks to cool completely. They won't last long, I promise.