Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Our Halloween

Halloween is no traditional holiday in Norway, but the past years it has come, influenced by US. Most of our celebrations are the shops selling costumes, special sweets, and all imaginable and unimaginable items you "simply must have".
I am no shopper, but with an 11 year old girl in the house it is difficult to say no to the "celebration". A group of her friends had a party which they had planned all by themselves, and when Marta came home we had our own family Halloween night in front of the hearth - me, Terje and our two girls.
Sweet rools, hot chocolate with whiped cream, best "china" and real silverware, a crackling fire and the reading of a H.C.Andersen fairytale.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

It's supper time.

Favorite supper: a piece of Wasa knekkebrød with butter and brown goat cheese, a cup of tea and a pile of books.

Tomorrow is Halloween, Marta has her costume ready, she and Terje has finished the pumpkin which will decorate the porch and I have made "boller" (sweet rolls) to give the trick and treaters.

Monday, October 29, 2007

An appetite teaser

Sunday was a day for leftovers. Yes, I agree with you, leftovers are for Mondays, or Tuesdays, but not yesterday. We had so much left of the paella, and all of us love paella so much.....we agreed it would be a perfect Sunday dinner.
To make the Sunday a little special though I made a little appetite teaser for Terje and myself. I had made no plans for this on Saturday while grocery shopping, so I had to make it like I often do while playing in the kitchen - look to the cupboards, search through my creativity.
In the garden it is full time to harvest the small leeks. For some reason they never grew much this summer, but inspite of their miniature size their taste is great. I cut a few and braised them in extra virgin olive oil with almonds. Coooled it and sprinkeled with honey before serving.
Mmmmm. Give it a try. You will not regret it.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Sharing a breakfast

A colleague has turned 50, and we are surprising him with a breakfast at work. Everybody bring a plate. I bought some ham and cucumber, and to make the place a little happier I used chives, lavendel and the very last calendulas from the garden.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Chicken paella

It is Friday night. Work is over for this week and I find myself in the kitchen enjoying some extra cooking. Though inspired by the French and the Italian kitchen, alot of my cooking is traditional Norwegian. But today I took a trip south of France, to Spain and the land of the paellas.
Though paella is often served with fish and seafood, I decided to go for a chicken one, with onion and sweet pepper.
To celebrate the week-end, I did a few extra touches on the table, and added white wine to the paella. Terje plays cageball after work every Friday, and is starving when he comes home, so it is easy to find my way into his heart through his stomach.

Chicken paella
fry diced chichen in a rich bath of virgin olive oil
add salt and pepper
fry an onion and two sweet peppers (a red and a green)

fry the rice in the olive oil left in the pan
add chicken broth and white wine
boil rice and chicken for about half an hour
add onion and sweet pepper before serving
give huge helpings
second and third helpings tells you that love is achived

We ate the paella with warm foccaccia bread right from the oven, richly sprinkeled with Mauro's Portugese Sal de Flor, and drank Terje's home made blackcurrant lemonade.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

My turn today

Today the kitchen was mine again. Terje and I drove together home from work, and both of us went right into the kitchen when we came home to make dinner together. I love togetherness :-)

In the fridge there was some minced meat left over from Ingrid's pizza yesterday. While Terje washed potatos and carrots, I mixed the meat with an egg, some water, potato flour, dried bread crumbs and pepper, made small cakes and fried them in butter - then you have the most traditional Norwegian dish, "kjøttkaker" (meat cakes). And as side dishes - potatos and carrots.

Plain and simple. The Norwegian kitchen at its best. And a small bowl of olives just to give the dinner a touch of Italy.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Spoiled with taco pizza

Some days you know are perfect days. Already when I woke this morning there was something in the air whispering that this is a day to dance through. The dance music has been on all day, and met its crescendo when I came home from work and could take my afternoon nap while Ingrid and her boyfriend made dinner.
The singing of a homemade taco pizza woke me, and all I had to do when the two chefs made the table, was to take my daily garden walk in the blue hour, when dusk is falling.

Now the pizza is finished, the two turtledoves are doing the dishes and preparing for afternoon coffee - for a full table (guests/family are expected). I hear them downstairs while I sit here up in my studio updating my blogs, continuing my dance.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

After breakfast

Breakfast is over and a group of friends are leaving the Blue Café. They are in town for a meeting, and I will soon follow them downtown. First I have an hour to clean the breakfast table, an hour to enjoy the memories of a gathering around the table. I start a cd and hum along. I'm smiling.
Cleaning a table, dwelling upon the meal that is just finished. Counting blessings and good friends. Sending thanks for being able to invite people to my home.

Sharing a meal is an intimate action. Sharing a meal loosens laughter. Sharing a meal means sharing yourself.


God bless my food, my table and my home. God bless my hands and make them willing to serve You. Amen.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Friends and food........

I had friends here last night for an Italian dinner. Four women around a table - alot of laughter and chatting. I was busy in the afternoon preparing the dishes, and as so often before there was no time for photos.

After dinner we had coffee and chocolate. And the chatting continued. Italy was our main topic. Three of the women have never been to Rome. I found my laptop to show some photos, and suddenly we were at the online page where flight tickets are booked, just to look at the prizes. To make a long story short - we phoned a fifth friend, and before the night ended - o la la: 5 women will fly to Rome in August for five days.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Visiting Uppsala

I spent three days last week in Uppsala in Sweden, on a seminar on HIV/Aids and Theology. Uppsala is the birth town ofIlva from Lucullian Delights, and when I told her I was going there she pointed out a restaurant I "had to" visit, Hamberg Fisk. Tuesday night we were free to go out and eat by ourselves, and I dragged with me another Norwegian and three Danish friends, telling them that I knew about a wonderful fish restaurant.

The restaurant was small, with just a few tables, and looked like it also was a shop during the day where you could buy fresh fish. As soon as I opened the front door to ask for a table I knew I was at the right place. The fragrance of fish, the anticipation of a fish meal, made my mouth water and my tummy smile.

As I said it was a Tuesday night, and all of us only wanted a main course, so when the menue came that's what we looked for. 6 different main courses were listed, and though Norwegian, Swedish and Danish are quite similar languages, some of the words are very different. We all needed the waiter to explain the different courses for us.

In the end I decided to go for "Tub garnard with potato-`västerbotten`cheese crème and chantarelles"........and the little food elf which is my inner voice was right. Every single bite was a treat for the tastebuds. Tasting even better as it was swallowed with a shared bottle of Argentinian Chardonnay/Malambo Cherin Blanc.

Thanks Ilva, I will ask you agan next time I need your restaurant advice.

You can read more about my visit to Uppsala here.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

An ordinary night souffle

Marta went with friends to their cabin on Wednesday, and Ingrid is away all week on autumn break. Terje and I followed Marta, first to our friends' cabin on Thursday, then we drove on to our own cabin Friday morning. But having Wednesday night at home just the two of us, I with all week off work, was a wonderful excuse to play around in the kitchen. I mostly cook on a whim, and Wednesday was no exception. I had a califlower at hand, and in the fridge I found egg, milk and cheese - what else could this be than a tasty souffle. A put of diced tomatos, a glass of wine for me, some non-alcoholic beer for Terje and a Wednesday night feast was set.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Invited to dinner

The kitchen is my arena, and I enjoy making food for family and friends. But I never say no to a dinner invitation. It is lamb season, and earlier this week my parents invited us over for a lamb dinner, "fårefrikasé"
My camera is never far away, and this blue table was too beautiful. While my mother started to serve Terje I found time to shoot a few photos.

Flatbrød and tyttebær - important ingredients on a Norwegian dinner table.

Dinner at mu parents is always followed by music, but that's a story for Britt-Arnhild's House in the Woods.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Comfort food and a hearth fire.

It is autumn break. Marta and I had planned to go to our cabin on Monday and stay for a week, but the cold and wet weather is keeping us at home. Yesterday morning the sun was up and I decided to go out in the garden to do some much needed work. But not before the thought was there, the rain started again.
So what is there to do on a day like this? Make some nice food of course. The plums are tempting now, and last night I decided to make a foccaccia with plums for a comfort supper around the hearth.

Terje is busy down in the basement in the afternoons. He is renovation the room where we have our washing machine. This room is quite big, and if I am lucky there will be room for a garden corner for me, where I can start growing seeds and plants while it is still cold outside. I have dreamed of such a bench or corner for a long time, the only thing I have to do now is to decide how I want it, and Terje will make it :-). The nice smell from the kitchen went all the way down to him last night, and he was very happy to come up with us to have tea and huge pieces of the plum foccaccia.

Well, today the sun is here again.....If you come over you'll find me out in the garden.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Monday, October 8, 2007

The Blue Café has breadmaking day at least once a week. Bread is an important part of the Norwegian kitchen, bread for breakfast, bread for "matpakke"-lunch and bread for supper, so one breadmaking day a week is not enough for the bread we need. Which means we have to buy bread as well. But nothing tastes like fresh, homemade bread, especially when it is still hot from the oven, the crust crisp.

The recipe I use is something which is inherited in my Norwegian stubborn genes I think, it is written only in my mind. For 4 big breads and 15-20 small ones I use 1,8liter fingerwarm water, and as much flour as needed to get the right consistence on the dough, 2 packets of 50g fresh years, salt and "some" oil - I always use different types of flour to get a dark bread.

The smell of fresh bread in the house.....oh, that must be close to paradise.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Back in my own kitchen.

I have been to Venezia for a week, just by myself, digging deeper into this city which has so totally captured my heart. I came home late last night. My husband and youngest daughter picked me up at the airport and when we came home the house smelled deliciously of a cake baked by Marta. I started to unpack and read the waiting mail while Terje disappeared into the kitchen to make a late dinner for the three of us.
Today the kitchen was mine again though, and as a side dish for lunch I transformed three carrots into a stew. Fresh, colourful and tasty. On the menue was chicken and rice, so the carrots made a great addition.

When I am in Venezia I usually stay in a flat with a tiny little kitchen. This means we can cook our own food at least some of the days. Since I was alone this time I didn't feel much up to cooking, so my kitchen muse had a good time today finally cooking again. Luckily I am having all next week off work, so the muse will be busy both here in The House in the Woods and at our cabin.