Friday, September 28, 2007

Bread for the holy communion

Tuesday night we had a late service in the Nidaros cathedral in connection with a conference we had on "food and trade - talks on sustainability and development". I was asked if I could bake some ecological bread for the communion and knew at once that my foccacia would be perfect.
Today I had a meeting with my publisher, the last one before the printing of the book. There was one page in the book where we still could use a photo, and one of these fitted perfectly. So here is a special glimpse for you - two months before the book is in the shelves (here in Norway, in Norwegian only)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Broccoli and mushroom pie

For my birthday I got a pie mould with The Blue Café written in a beautiful blue handwriting. It is used many times for Quiche Lorraine. I usually use ham and onion as filling in the Quiche, but this time I wanted to try something new. The giver of the mould gift, dear Catherine in Canada, did send me a pie recipe some time ago where it was used broccoli and mushrooms for the filling, and with a good selection of mushroom at the growcry stores right now, it was time to try the recipe.

The mushroom I used is called kantarell in Norwegian, and though I bought it this time, we also pick it oursekves, mostly near our cabin.
The recipe from Catherine had several ingrediets which are unknown to me here in Norway, so I used what I usually have in my Quicch filling - eggs, salt, pepper, craime fraiche, cheese.

Saturday, September 22, 2007


It has finally been time to try out some of the secrets I learned during my apprentice night up in the mountains. The fish sauce which we served to the trout then had such a wonderful taste, my mouth was watering for days afterwards.

We are trying to empty our huge freezer now, to make room for the new meat and vegetables of the season, and when I found a packet of frozen salmon filets the other day I knew it was time to try out the secret fish sauce.

Yes! - the taste was just as good when I made it all by myself :-). No! I will not share it here. You will have to come to The Blue Café yourself. Give me at least a one day notice, and remember to mark your order "secret".

Friday, September 21, 2007

Mom, can we have pizza today.

My two girls send me sms. From Marta: Mom, can we have pizza today? And from Ingrid: Mom, can you please make carbonara for dinner today? I love these messages. They tel me that the girls love the homemade food I serve. So both pizza and spaghetti carbonara are served often in The Blue Café.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Always a salad

All summer it has been easy to find greens in the garden for salads. Now we have had our first night frost and my "just outside the kitchen door" - supplies are reduced. There are still some herbs,and borago and calendula flowers for decorations, but the grocery store is again my main source for our daily salads.

There is seldom a dinner in The Blue Café without a fresh green salad. Simple or more sophisticated - salads are my speciality:-) This one is quite simple, though fresh, crisp and delicate. Iceberg salad, cucumber, an orange cut into dices and all sparkled with fresh fennel and extra virgin olive oil.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

I grow peas in my garden

For as long as I can remember I have grown peas in the garden. Usually we just eat them plain, right from the bush or as greens to give the dinner dish some colours. This year I have tried to use the peas in different ways.
In this green and blue dish I boiled the peas for just a few minutes in salted water and then braised them in olive oil. Before serving I sprinkeled them with salt and decorated the plate with blue borago flowers.

Again I used the Flor de Sal from Portugal. This natural salt is perfect to make the best out of fresh products.

I got a comment from Mr. Mauro Canas who sent me the salt, and since he writes more about the product I want to share the comment with you here:

Indeed, the french fleur de sel is nice but the Algarve Flor de Sal (Fleur de Sel) tastes and looks better since it's naturally white and with less sodium chloride (salt) concentration, so it's healthier.Terras de Sal Flor de Sal is produced in the Natural Reserve of Castro Marim and VRSA in a pollution-free environment. Everyone interested in more information should check or email us at

Our meal today was a family meal where we shared stories from our day while eating. I believe that just as important as good, healthy food is the time we spend together, and with everybody living a busy everyday life, the shared meals are getting more and more important. Our meal is finished now and the dishes are done. One daughter and her friend have left for handball and swimming practice, another daughter is getting ready for a soccer match. My husband has his well deserved afternoon nap on the coach, my nap today is listening to Schubert's Trout Quintet, and reading a few pages from Jane Austen's Emma.

Have a blessed day.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Troll Cream - trollkrem

After my tyttebær/lingonberry post several of you have asked about recipes. Our favorite tyttebær desert is "trollkrem". Mix berries, two egg whites and alot of sugar - ready to eat :-). Can it be more easy.

  • Books: I have finished Dervla Murphy's Full Tilt, I am deep into Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway, and have started Jane Austen's Emma

  • Treats: I am in Oslo today and lucky for me my meeting starts late enough allowing me a morning visit to Pascal

  • Music: and after Pascal I still have time to stop at a small music store where they specialize on classic music, for another opera and a Schubert cd.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Focaccia with Sal de Flor

A couple of weeks ago I got an email from a company in Portugal. They produce sea salt and asked if I was interested in trying out their products. I wrote back telling that my Blue Café is not a real cafe, but if they wanted to send me some salt I would be happy to try it out. I got a nice email back, and a few days ago a package found its way to my mailbox. Inside was a nice letter from Mr. Mauro Canas from Terras de Sal, and a bag filled with flower salt.

I have been trying out the special flower salt the last days, and except from the reason that the bag contained some moisture which made the salt a little sticky, I love the flavour it gives. And I love reading about the old traditional way the company produce the salt - "the Flor de Sal is handraked and non-processed, and there are absolutely no additives. It is a product of natural purity, with a delicate flavour and prolongued finish on your palate; considered by the connaisseurs as the best seasoning for grilled fish, meat, vegetables or salads.

Here I use it to flavour a focaccia, more ways I use this salt will come. I might be addicted and will than have to email Mr. Canas for more samples :-)

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Busy days and a chocolate souffle.

The Blue Café had a busy day yesterday. My parents and Ingrid's boyfriend came for lunch. It was in between two handball matches for the girls, and being one of their best cheer leaders, trying not to miss a match, I didn't have much time for preparations, and no time for photos. I served the leftovers of the moose steak from last Sunday, a colourful vegetable wok, grilled potatoes and a fresh focaccia. And lingonberry jam, always lingonberries to eat :-)
Ingrid had another handball match late in the afternoon, but then I stayed home with my apprentice (Marta). Marta had invited a few of her best friends for a girl's night and has spent the whole week planning the menue and decorating the livingroom.

When the girls came they were served taco and afterwards they all went up to my studio to play Sing Star while I stayed behind in the kitchen to work on the grand surprise of the evening - a chocolate souffle with hot chocolate sauce. When the souffle arrived at the table five excited girls wanted to have a taste as soon as possible - hardly any leftover at all for me, Terje and Ingrid :-) I was exhausted last night, but what a pleasure to cook for so many delighted girls. Yes, in my next life I will run a B&B. I will name it The Blue Café, and every morning I will sit with my pot of freshly brewed French coffee out at the Blue Table planning the menue.

Anybody interested in the recipe?

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Raspberry roll, rullekake med bringebær

Last night Terje and I had one of these rare nights when we were home alone. Both girls were out with friends, and we sat there like an old couple.......oh no, we don't feel old at all, though "old couple nights" can be quite pleasant. I can always dig myself down in piles and stacks of books, and Terje forgets everything else with tracks and fields on the television. In the afternoon we had dinner with the girls, salted muttons with grilled potatoes and vegetables cooked in a white sauce, and alot of cranberry (foxberry?) jam. We were filled up and in no need for supper, but since we both have a sweet tooth and wanted coffee, alot of coffee, after the salted mutton, I decided to make a sweet roll.Mix 4 eggs and 1 1/2 dl sugar. Add 2 dl white flour and 1/4 teaspoon baking powder.
Bake at 250C for 5-7 minutes.
Wet and sugar a piece of fabric and let the cake rest on this sweet bed. Add jam, I used raspberry jam made by my father in law. Roll the cake together.
Enjoy - with books, track and fields or whatever you like. And if your husband take a break from television you can always listen to Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazón singing duets.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Not everything is homemade.

I had an appointment with my hairdresser early this morning (I need help to cover "a few" gray hairs). Before going back home I stopped at the local grocery store which is situated in the same building as the hairdresser. I filled my basket with vegetables and meat for the dinner I will make tonight, and then couldn't resist to buy some fresh, still warm white bread. Some days are perfect days for pampering yourself, and today is such a day for me. I also squeezed a local made blue cheese into my basket. Norway has so much very good local cheese, though it is far from as well known as cheese from The Netherlands or France, and for me it means alot to be able to support local producers.

A day at home means that I must pay attention to the long list of "things to do in the house", but first I gave myself an hour in the armchair - for book and food, both essentials to make the day perfect. And of course a cup of Max Havelaar Fairtrade coffee.

  • the china is Norwegian design from Lofoten
  • the colourful table cloth is from Laos, originally made as a border for a dress, perfect as a tablerunner
  • the book I read right now is Dervla Murphy's Full Tilt - Ireland to India with a Bicycle, published in 1965 (I love it!)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Marbelled coffee cake

Marta had handball practice for two hours yesterday. Some of the time they practiced shooting the ball with their left hand, and this morning Marta woke up with a totally stiff neck. I let her stay home from school, and after a few hours rest she was bursting with energy. I had to go to work for a meeting, but stayed home long enough to see the marbelled cake go into the oven, and came home to a wonderful treat for the afternoon coffee. Marta has started to learn cooking at school and love to play in the kitchen. One day she will be a perfect chef.

Marbelled Coffee Cake:

175g sugar, 175 soft butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla sugar, 3 eggs, 225g white flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 50g dark chocolate.

Mix sugar and butter till it is almost white, blend in the vanilla sugar and then one egg at a time. Add flour and baking powder. Split the dough in two and add melted chocolate to the one half. Fill a pan with the white dough and then add the chocolate dough on top.

Bake in 190C for 30minutes.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

I can eat books about food.

Some days I read cookbooks the way I read novels. Eating them from cover to cover, first the starter, then the main course, finishing with the desert and a cup of cappucino.

I have been too busy to try out new recipes lately, with the exeption of the moose steak on Sunday. Yesterday I was down in Stavanger for a day meeting and had lunch in a restaurant there, and skipped dinner. Today Marta had handball practice after school and wanted pancakes with bacon and blueberry jam before going there. I was home from work early and made the pancakes, and when she left for handball I was left with a long afternoon ahead of me. With all the rain we've had lately I was so sure it would keep on raining today, but suddenly the sun rays shone through my kitchen windows calling me to come out. I followed the call and spent a couple of very nice hours tending my potted plants and my roses. And before the dusk fell I took a few photos for The Blue Garden.

Now I am in again and darkness and a few raindrops are falling. And I have a night ahead to enjoy my cookbooks, and especially Falling Cloudberries, a book given to me by houseguests earlier this summer. And in between I have foxberries to clean - my parents came with a big bucket when I was out gardening.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

A new way of preparings the moose steak.

When I travel, which I do alot, I am always in search of local food and new recipes. My visitation week a week ago was busy with quite alot of work, but you always have to sit down for meals, and when the food is good it is easy to talk about our food experiences and to share recipes. My friends know about my love of food, and lovingly share some of their secrets with me. After my experiences with catching the perfect trout and being allowed into the guesthouse kitchen to help preparing it, the meal that followed was filled with food talk. The dean who travelled with us is a superb chef - well, I haven't actually tasted any of his meals, but he has so many secrets to share, his cooking must be heavenly :-)
One night the dean and I talked about moose meat and different ways we use it. My uncle is a moose hunter, and we always buy alot of meat from him after the hunting season. Dean Inge shared a new way of preparing the moose meat with me, and now I have tried it myself and know that The Blue Café has got a new favorite.

From the freezer I brough up a frozen moose steak, I put it in an oven proof plate and left it in the oven at 80C for 12 hours. No salt, no oil, just the frozen meat and the heat. The girls and I went downtown leaving the steak and Terje, who was changing a window down in the basement washingroom, home alone. When we came home a tempting fragrance filled the house. In the night we were invited to friends for supper, and when we came home the 12 hours were over. I took the steak out of the oven and placed it in a huge pot filled with salted water, and left it there over night. (The water wants quite alot of salt)

This morning the cold steak was finished. We will have it for lunch with cooked potatos, cooked sweet peas from the garden and sweetened delicious deep red mountain cranberries. And of course a hot wilderness sauce to cover the meat. We couldn't resist trying a few pieces on our breakfast bread though :-) - and now we are all looking forward to lunch, Marta watching TV while waiting, Terje out biking, I enjoying my books.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

When I started this blog in January my intention was to write down experiences from my kitchen. I have posted recipes most of the days, but some days I have only been "food-talking". I have learned during these months that I am not an expert in writing down recipes from all the "food-knowledge" I have in my head and heart, so my step by step explanations haven't always been easy to follow.

I have been thinking alot about my food blog lately. I have three blogs to follow up at the moment. Some days it is more than I can handle, other days it is a dream. I will keep on developing all three blogs, but will do some changes here at The Blue Café. Not all posts will be recipes. Some days I will talk about food, share food stories, show you books I've found or take you with me when I food-travel.
I know there are quite alot of readers of this blog which I never hear from. I would love to get to know you better, and walk a few, or many steps along the road of foods with you.
Starting this new road today, I have a macaron story to share:
As a daily reader of Carol's ParisBreakfast, I know everything about the look and the colours of macarons. I have seen them in all different colours, with an unbelievable variety of fillings, in all imaginable settings. But I had never tasted one. Not until a couple of weeks ago. I was in Oslo, it was right after breakfast and I was on my way to a meeting. I had some spare minutes for a cappucino though, and sat down at Pascal. And almost fell down from my chair when I dicovered they had macarons. I hastily regained myself and ordered two. Would have loved to order all different colours and fragrances, but as I sai it was still early morning - I had to behave.

Next time I will come back for the day. I will bring my diary, my book, stationary, ipod.....and I will disappear into a world of magnifician tastes, colours and flavours. I have lost my innocence.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Leek and carrot soup - purre og gulrotsuppe.

I have worked so much lately, and travelled alot through my job. May be most of the readers here also read my House in the Woods blog, but if you don't you can go here to see my wonderful fish story. With all this working though I was able to take today off - a wonderful day doing nothing :-). I had planned to take a long walk in the nearby forest, but the rain has been pouring down all day, so I just stayed indoors. Well, I took a short walk out in the garden, to feed the birds and the squirrels, to take the photos for my Blue Garden blog and to gather herbs and vegetables for today's dinner.
The leeks are growing. The autumn has been cold so they don't grow fast enough, but I took up a few to make more room for the others to grow, and with two carrots (not from the garden) and alot of herbs and flowers and some cream, it made a perfect soup.

I am really no expert in writing down recipes, I have it all in my head and my fingers only. But I started with cutting the carrots and leek very thin and boil it in salted water. Then I melted butter, mixed it with some flour and added water from the boiling vegetables, and also some cream, salt, pepper and herbs from the garden. It made a wonderful soup.
Marta was away celebration a birthday, and when Ingrid heard I was going to make leek soup she said at once: I'm going to eat with my boyfriend today. They were still here when the soup was finished, I offered them a tasting spoon and got them hooked :-). Luckily I had made enough soup for four.
Forgot to say that I also diced some old bread and fried the dices in olive oil. The bread was served as a sidedish to top the soup before eating. A perfect way to make old and dry bread as good as new.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Treats from the herb garden

The summer temperatures are gone, every day now gets a little sun and alot of rain. Terje has been out in the garden raking some of the fast growing fungis today, while I took my regular walk in the herb and vagetable garden. Every dinner now has a bowl of fresh sweet peas and a plate or bowl with a colourful salad.

As I sit here writing my food blog of the day I am listening through my collection of old and newer Luciano Pavarotti cds. The salad we had for dinner today har so name, so I am tempted to call it Insalate di Pavarotti. Its freshness, its colours, its deep tastes, its artfullness and its beauty - all it misses are some black olives to symbolize the strongness of Pavarotti's mucical talent and voice.

Insalate di Pavarotti

Iceberg salad/crisp headed salad


calendula petals and one small tomatoe forming a center flower

borago flowers


extra virgin olive oil

black olives (not in photo)

Must be enjoyed with Pavarotti singing Annina! Donde Viene? from La Traviata :-) - or some other Pavarotti music of your own choice.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

A craving for spaghetti carbonara.

I have some plane photos of a fantastic favorite dish for you today. As I wrote yesterday I was away all last week. One day my daughter called me to ask if I could make spaghetti carbonara when I came home, the next day my sister in law phoned to ask for the recipe of the spaghetti carbonara I served when she visited a few months ago.So when today I finally had the day free to spend it in my kitchen I knew what to make - spaghetti carbonara. And it turned out to be a celebration. Ingrid turned 18 a couple of weeks ago and got her driver licence today! Congratulations Ingrid :-)
I have made this dish so often, and was so sure I already had blogged about it. When when I looked through The Blue Café today, and the almost 100 entries since the beginning of January, it wasn't there. I have promised my sister in law the recipe today, she will have a party tomorrow, so I had to find my camera and take some "in a hurry"- photos. They are not suitable for entering "does my blog look good in this", but that's not a competition I take part in anyway; The Blue Café is for my own fun mostly. So here they are, together with the recipe.

Spaghetti Carbonara
350 g spaghetti
200g bacon
3 eggs
1 dl cream
parmesan or pecorini cheese
melted butter

Boil the spaghetti. Cut the bacon in small dices and fry. Mix the eggs, the cream and the cheese. Taste with pepper and salt.

Melt the butter and add the egg mixture. Stir untill it starts to thicken. Mix it with the spaghetti and the bacon dices.

I always serve the spaghetti with foccacia bread sprinkeled with Maldon salt and extra virgin olive oil (not nuts as described in the recipe you find if you follow the link), and often a salad of ruccola, cherry tomatos, mozzarella cheese, olive oil and basil leaves.

Good luck with your party Lisbeth. Give your friends my greetings.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Eating elsewhere.

I have had all my meals elsewhere for a week. In an area where everybody where proud of the rich local food traditions based on fishing, hunting and farming. Though I was there through my job it feels like I have been feasting for a week. Highlight was Saturday when we went out fishing in a boat on a small mountain lake with an old local farmer. I got a one kilo trout, and back at the guesthouse where we stayed the landlady and queen of the kitchen let me prepere the fish together with her. A heavenly meal for me and my two co-workers which will be blogged soon.
This morning I was back in the Blue Café enjoying my breakfast though. Simple, rich and tasty. Coloured with yellow, blue and green from the Blue Garden

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Food travelling

I am travelling in Norway through my work this week, and a surprisingly benefit is all the wonderful, local food we are served. I plan to make a food traveller article from the area, and will post parts of it here and over at My House in the Woods. But I need some time to organize my notes and photos first. Meanwhile you can enjoy this photo of the sparkling water we were served yesterday, with a taste of sap/juice from birch.