Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Cabin life.

Winterbreak, and we are on our way to our cabin to enjoy life. I will be back next week.

Monday, February 26, 2007

When it rains it pours.

One son is 23 today, one daughter will be 11 tomorrow. Øystein is working tonight, so we celebrated his birthday in his flat yesterday. And tonight I am busy baking for Marta's birthday breakfast tomorrow. It is winter break at the schools here this week, but Terje and I have to go to work early. Big sister Ingrid has promised to give Marta breakfast, and then take her downtown for some sister shopping before they meet us for dinner and a movie. Will be a perfect day for an 11 year old princess.

I asked her what she wanted for her birthday breakfast, and after some thinking she decided on sweet rolls filled with chocolat. So it seems like the chocolat mood in The Blue Café will never stop. When it rains it pours.

I just took 40 chocolate filled sweet rolls out of the oven, and of course we are allowed to eat a few now when they are still warm, with the chocolat dripping. Is there any taste sweeter than licking chocolat stained fingers?

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Warming on chocolate and books.

It's a cold Sunday night. I have started to prepare spring indoors, but still there will be weeks with winter out in my Blue Garden. I've been out for a long walk, in spite of the icy roads I try to keep on my walks in preparation for my pilgrimage. I felt terrible cold when I cane in though, and the best I could think of was to make a fire in the livingroom hearth, make somke hot chocolate, fill a blue bowl with mashmallows left overs from yesterday's fondue and grab a book for a reading night.

You are
welcome to join me.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Chocolate temptation.

I know it's Lent and a period for simple food for some. We do celebrate Lent, also in The Blue Café, but more important than stop eating sweets, meat and so on, we try to spend more time together as a family.
I was given several extra hours to do that today. I was supposed to fly two hours south in Norway to a day meeting, but when I came to the airpost this morning, the icy wind was so heavy my plane just flew over Trondheim, not being able to land. I managed to take part in the meeting by phone, and got all the travel hours as a bonus. And decided to spend it in The Blue Café's kitchen making a sweet fondue.
Chocolate Fondue.

Melt dark chocolate and cream on the oven. Add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice.

Fill a fondue pot with the sweet mixture and place it on the table. Make sure to keep the chocolate warm.

Dice your favorite fruits. Today I used oranges, bananas, pinapple and strawberries. And also filled a bowl with mashmallows.

Dip the fruit dices in the chocolate and eat right from the fondue fork. Enjoy your time around the table, and never ever raise your voice when your daughter spills chocolate on your clean white tunica.

A perfect read for Lent is
Chocolate by Joanne Harris. And a blog filled with chocolate temptations right now is CreamPuffs in Venice.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Fastelavn - Shrovetide

It is fastelavn, the Sunday before Lent, the period of carnival. And a period filled with traditions in the kitchen. I am writing a book about lent and it's traditions (in Norwegian) and part of the book will consentrate on food. Of course I will share it with you here in The Blue Café.
From my childhood I have brought with me the tradition of eating "fastelavnsboller" (sweet rolls) on the Sunday of Fastelavn. Marta and I baked the rolls Saturday. I am not giving any recipe here as I suppose we all have our favorite recipe for sweet rolls. Please give me a hint if you want me to send you mine.
Today we invited my parents over, and we ate the filled fastelavnsboller. Half of the rolls in the photo are filled with whiped cream and half are filled with "trollkrem" - cowberries whiped with egg whites and alot of sugar.
I would love to hear about your carnival and lent traditions in the kitchen.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Quiche Lorraine on a Friday.

Our oldest son is on his way back to Australia after three months at home. He has one year left of his studies down under, and then we hope to have him back north :-). With son #2 well placed in his own flat, we are again back to only four around the table. Today Marta went to kid's club in church and had pizza there, so suddenly we were only three ..... this sounds more and more like an Agatha Christie novel.....:-)
Ingrid had a long day with several rounds of handball practice, and wanted an extra treat for Friday dinner, and after looking through several cookbooks her choice fell on
Quiche Lorraine.
I made the pastry of:
100g butter
220g white flour
1 egg
a little salt
The pastry rested in the fridge for a couple of hours, and meanwhile I prepared the filling:
braise leek and bacon cut in dices,
mix with three eggs, a box of creme fraiche, pepper and cheese (any favorite, I use half parmesan, half Norwegian Jarlsberg.
Roll the pastry to fit the quiche dish, bake for 10 minutes at 200C. Take the pastry out and cover it with the filling. Back in oven with the dish and bake for 25 minutes.

We ate the quiche with a green salad, and sprinkeled the plate with parmesan.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Happy Valentine - Happy Friendship!

Last week a huge packet found its way into our mailbox. It came from Terri in USA, and was filled with Valentine goodies. Valentine is a new celebration in Norway, and I had asked Terri several questions about the day. Is Valentine a day created and kept alive by the trade, just for money, or is it more than that? Is the day really about love?
Terri could tell me that money and trade is secondary, the day is really about love, and she told me stories from her childhood Valentine celebrations.
Now Terri is paying love forward, helping me to create good and valuable memories for my family.
In the box was a cookie kit, and a few days ago Marta and I baked and decorated sweet Valentine cookies. This morning we ate them with our breakfast bread. Happy Valentine.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Mother's Day in Norway.

Here in Norway we celebrate Mother's Day the second Sunday of February. The photo is from yesterday's breakfast with bread rolls from the freezer,made by my mother, served in lace from Malta/Gozo.
As a mother of four kids and a loving husband I was spoilt with flowers and gifts. But even better was having them all around.
Terje, Torgeir, Øystein, Ingrid Elise and Marta Kristin - I love you all!

Friday, February 9, 2007

Italian Ilva Night.

As I wrote in My House in the Woods this morning, our youngest daughter and her friend invited us to a dinner party yesterday. This meant hotdogs on the menu. Absolutely okay food when prepared by two ten year old girls, but in the evening I was ready for something else.
The two girls had done all their grocery shopping themselves, and with a busy day at work behind me I had not planned any cooking, nor any shopping.
But that's no problem as long as I have Ilva's food blog where I get all the inspiration I can dream of, and more......
Yesterday she made brazed leeks with hazelnuts and balsamic vinegar. Everything looks so "out of this world" in her blog, and still so simple to make, and so also with this little dish. I had fresh yeast in the fridge, and a glass of sundried tomatoes, so while working on my computer writing the blog entry about yesterday's Pix party, a foccacia dough was set to rise. When I baked the foccacia I filled half of it with sundried tomatoes, the other half just with Gozo/Malta salt. And while the foccaca enjoyed life on the oven, I braised the leek and the hazelnuts. A perfect, light supper.
Thanks Ilva for another terrific idea! The recipes are found if you follow the links given.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Just a little sprinkle of parmesan and basil.

Preparing dinner can be a challenge when you work full time, and even more here the last couple of weeks. The snow has made the traffic terrible, and too much time is spent in the car. I play some Italian music on the cd-player while driving, Roberto Murolo, and dream about tasty dinners under the stars during long and warm Italian summer nights.
But even a very simple dinner can be made into a feast with a couple of simple tricks. Two of my winning tricks are a piece of parmesan in the fridge and a pot of basil on the dresser. And both tricks send me dreaming southwards to Italy.
So, what other name can I give this easy and fast to make salad than:
Dreamy chicken salad.
I usually buy a chicken pregrilled in the shop, remove the bones, cut the chicken meat into small pieces, and mix with what I have of vegetables - onion, tomato, cucumber, paprika, a couple of oranges - and I boil some pasta (this time it was penne) which I cool with cold water before adding it.
The salad is sprinkeled with extra virgin olive oil (how can one be an extra virgin actually, a virgin is a virgin.......) and the parmesan cheese is put on the table - not all in my family wants the parmesan taste in their salad.
I usually make a huge bowl, hoping for leftovers to take to work for lunch the next day, far there has been none.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007


Frequent guests at The Blue Café know how fond I am of leftovers. It triggers my artistic sense, make me want to create something quite new, something tasty, something which bind together what we sense through taste and sight.

Our weekly Saturday rice porridge is a perfect start for leftovers. Sweet rice cream for Sunday dessert (will blog it later) and if there is still more cold porridge left it is a perfect base for lapper or patches. And Marta is the one to reign in the kitchen.

Leftovers of riceporridge mixed with melted butter, milk, wheat flour, a little sugar.
Mix it to a smooth dough.
Fry the lapper/patches on both sides in a pan.

We eat them hot with strawberry jam.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

A Blue Day.

Yesterday was one of those days, if you know what I mean. I had a day off, and had planned to spend huge parts of it in the kitchen. I just needed to do some grocery shopping first.....and there I hit the nail. The roads were so icy I refused to go out. My husband was up early and planned to drive to work, but after several attempts to persuade the car to climb the road up from our house, he had to realize that he was defeated by the ice. He left the car and took to bus instead.
I knew that the "sand-truck" (sorry, I don't know any English name for this) would come, so "patient as I am" I lit the fire and sat down with a book.........and many, many hours later I still sat there. Thomas Hardy is a new author to me, and his The Mayor of Casterbridge captured me. I couldn't put it down, at least not for grocery shopping on icy road.
So, when it was time to prepare dinner I had to do what I did so many times in January - search fridge and freezer for leftover. In the freezer I found some white sausage which is popular around Christmas here in Norway, we actually call it Christmas sausage. Not my favorite, but I know ther rest of my family are keen on them, so it could do. I also found an open bag with frozen vegetables. And the fridge always has a stock of greens and vegetables. All I had to do then was to heat the sausages and the frozen vegetables,mix a salad and make a cheese souffle (a treat for me to make up for the white sausages).

The Blue Café's Cheese Souffle.
2 tbs butter
4tbs wheat flour
3dl milk
3 eggs
4dl grated cheese
Melt the butter and add flour and then the milk. Let this sauce boil for a few minutes. Remove from oven and mix in the egg yolks, the cheese, salt and pepper. Mix the eggwhites till they "stand by themselves" and mix it carefully into the sauce.
Bake in oven at 175C for about 45 minutes. Do NOT open oven door while baking, then the souffle will "fall down". Eat right from the oven.
With my nose in the book I forgot to take photos. But enjoy these from a dinner in The Blue Café, taken last summer.