Friday, November 30, 2007

Welcome to the advent party

Tomorrow is the first day of advent. I have been excited like a child for a long time now, and have day by day tried to set myself in an advent mood, slowing down my steps.Today has been a day off in schools, and Marta and her cousin came downtown to meet me after work. They wanted to visit clothes shops, and as a good mother I went with them of course, continuing to the Panduro craft shop where there are tons of crafty temptations. We bought a few, and when we came home the girls sat down at the dinigroom table to make beaded snowflakes and stamped Christmas cards, while I started to make the traditional slow down, party, comfort, love food of the Wigum (my birth name) family - vafler.
After a while Terje came home from work (he plays cage ball after work every Friday). He made a fire, and we all sat down to enjoy the crackling flames and the tasty and comforting vafler.
Tomorrow advent starts, and in celebration, there is a party going on over at The House in the Woods. Welcome over. I have enough vafler for everybody.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Slowing down

I am slowing down for the advent season. The four weeks before Christmas which we have almost lost because we are so busy with Christmas preparation. I want my advent to be different, and strive to slow down my steps through my days. Slowing down needs practice, and tonight we practiced with a fire in the hearth, warm sweet rolls and hot chocolate. My eyes seeked the dancing flames, though in between I buried them deep into my book.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The simple life

The simple life is an important philosophy in The Blue Café. Simple can still be creative and exotic, and I love to challenge my fantasy. The simple life in cooking is for me homemade food. Grocery shopping is an important task during the day, though I never like spending too much time in a shop. I love to wander through the fruit and vegetable section of the store while planning what to cook, or look through the cheese shelves to see if there is anythying new to try. At the same time I often feel at my best in the kitchen when I can compose a dish mostly from leftovers. Like today :-). I knew there were several cooked potatoes already in the fridge, laying side by side with a thick, juicy sausage. In the vegetable shelf in my fridge I have the half of a paprika, so all I had to buy today was some shell pasta (and a box of some old fashioned chocolate, "kremtopper", for the afternoon coffee).
While waiting for the pasta shells to get the right al dente feeling, I diced the sausage, the potatoes and the paprica and braised it all together in olive oil. When the pasta shells were finished I mixed all the ingredients, and in no time I had a cheap and tasty dish.


Thanks for the responce to my Guest Blogger invitation. Darla will be the first one out on Sunday.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Not always that romantic.....

I confess that I have a romantic soul, but my style in decoration is usually much more rustic than what can be seen in these photos. But some days are meant for romance, and all you have to do is to follow the bliss.
I worked longer than my husband today. He phoned me when I was on the bus on my way home to let me know that dinner was on the table, and I decided to stop at the grocery store to buy a treat for afternoon coffee. I actually hadn't planned anything too sweet, but when I saw these pink and dark "punchkaker", I couldn't resist, and filled a small plastic bag.

Coming home I realised that my husband was in a pink mood as weel, for dinner he had fried salmon filets. Mmmm, I love fish, and even more when I can come home from work to a ready dinner table. My pink cakes made the dot over the i - a plain Monday was transformed to a feast.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Late night treat.

We were away most of the day yesterday to celebrate a friend's birthday party. I had made no plans for any spesific supper, which was good after all the great food at the party. Our girls left is in the late evening to babysit two cousins, so there we were, we two "old ones" with a quiet night ahead of us.
I almost never watch television, and neither do I find time for dvds, but with nothing planned Terje and I decided it was time to watch a dvd which has been waiting for us to see for months. Some friends lent us Luther and told us it was well worth seeing. And they were right, it really was, though a 2 hours dvd is actually rather too long for me.

Stuffed with food from earlier in the day, and with the dvd waiting (I hate eating wood from my lap, a proper meal deserves a proper table setting and eating with the television turn OFF)I decided ti just make us a very simple and easy "late night treat". I baked a foccaccia and filled two plates with Birkebeiner spekeskinke (salted and dried ham) and a piece of melon. A small drop of French mustard gave the plate its finished touch, then a glass of red wine for me, a glass of fruit juice for Terje. Simple food can really taste good! And I had alot of energy left for crocheting while watching the dvd.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Breakfast at home.

I have been travelling on and off for several weeks now, so this morning it felt great sleeping a little longer in my own bed, with a brand new Saturday greeting me. I took my garden walk with my camera and was greeted by a sleeping garden covered in a snow quilt. With tracks from birds and animals telling me that during the winter season they are princess and princesses in The Blue Garden.

My husband was up early and was already on his way out to cross country ski when I made myself a simple breakfast of two pieces of bread with butter and brown goat cheese, a glass of orange juice and a mug of Earl Grey.

I haven't been cooking for a long time, but now a big moose steak is in the owen. Tomorrow we will fill the dinner table with food and laughter.

Friday, November 16, 2007

I'm bringing my own lunch

I am in the middle of a period with alot of travelling. Great meals around the country, but neither much cooking in The Blue Café, nor much time to blog. But travelling can be a very good excuse to make nice lunch packets. Fleur sent me this food tin some time ago as a surprise after I had commented on her blog telliong her how nice I found the tin. It is perfect for a train ride, with rooms for bread, a salad, some cheese and fruit and a piece of cake. And with a basket filled with books and a moleskin or three I am well equipped for a day on the train.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Book Corner - Greatest Ever Chocolate

It is Father's Day in Norway today. We have just had coffee and a cake we call "Verdens beste" (best in the world). I will blog about that later, and the cake is so good there was too little left to serve in The Book Corner, so here comes instead some coffee flavored sweets which Marta gave to her father this morning. The bag was huge, so I can share with you :-)

Several of you have responded to my Guest Blogger request, and I hope to have a guest blogger in The Book Corner next Sunday. Today though the scene is mine, and I have a book filled with chocolate dreams to share with you. Not exactly healthy with so much sugar, but soon advent and simpler food is here. Advent was traditionally a period when people ate little, and simple food, to prepare for the grandest of all feasts - Christmas.

Greatest Ever Chocolate is Martas book, and she love to look through it, to read the recipes, to look at the photos and to plan which ones to try. She has tried several of the recipes already, both with my help and alone, and her favorite is a fondue - pieces of fresh fruit dipped in hot and rich chocolate.

Amazon doesn't have an image of this book, so instead I'll share with you the chocolate fondue recipe:

Chocolate fondue

225g dark chocolate, 2dl dobble cream, 2tsp brandy (not in Marta's fondue)

Cut the chocolate, add the cream and walm till the chocolate is melted and blended with the cream. Add the brandy. Pour the mixture into a fondue pot and keep warm. Cut fresh fruits into small pieces and dip them into the melted chocolate. Enjoy!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Greens, and other colours.

Last night I was invited to a church here in Trondheim to talk about celtic spirituality. The meeting started with dinner, and as celtic spirituality also can be called "green spirituality", the lady in charge of the food wanted to serve something green. This was of course a great opportunity for me to speak about my book which will be in the market in just a couple of weeks now. The Lent book with its rainbow lental calendar and menues in the different colours of the rainbow.

The woman who had made the food yesterday wanted to keep her recipe a secret, but it didn't take us long to play the game "what's in the salad".

I think we figured out most of the ingredients, and of course today I had to keep on "the game" and make the salad for my family. Luckily I made a huge bowl. We were 6 around the table, and everybody asked for second and third helpings.

The recipe will be written down in the Blue Book of The Blue Café.........and yes, you guessed right. I will not share it here, at least not yet. But I take bookings for a chair around the blue table where food and reflections are shared.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Ahmad tea and sweet dates.

Last night I had my last meeting doing some local board duty, and before the meeting was over, I was surprised with a basket of sweet treats. The work I have done has been among immigrants in Trondheim, so a suitable food basket consisted of Middle East treats. Oh, how I look forward to try it all :-) I do have my first try this afternoon though, after a spaghetti carbonara dinner enriched with vegetables because we ended up so many around the table (both girls had friends staying) - a mug of Ahmad Ceylon Cardamom Tea, and a small plate of sweet, rich dates.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Carrot Soup

Marta's handball practice starts at 4pm two days a week. She has 90 minutes from school ends and till she has to be in the sports hall, and during this time she must walk home from school, change clothes, make herself something to eat and walk to the sports hall. She has been quite good at making herself (and often a friend) some healthy snacks , but is very happy when she can come home from school to a ready dinner. I must go back to work tonight for a meeting, but was able to come home early to make a light dinner for the two of us before her handball. She was very happy when she heard that I would make one of her favorite soups - carrot soup (or sometimes called tomato soup)
Since we have so many carrots still from the sack we bought from a local farmer a few weeks ago, today's version is a carrot soup with the orange colours dominating. The soup consists of olive oil, onion, cellery, carrots, water, salt, pepper, saffron and a finishing touch of white wine.
Braise onion and cellery in olive oil, cut the carrots into thin slices and add (cut the tomato into boats and add, or leave the tomato). Add salt, and after braising for a few minutes cover the vegetables with water. Add more salt, some pepper and saffron to give a warm, yellow colour. Let boil for about 15 minutes. Add a glass of white wine and boil two more second if you are going to use the car in the afternoon. Never any alcohol in connection with driving here in The Blue Café
Serve the soup topped with "rømme" (sour cream) and eat with bread dipped in balsamic vinegar or butter and salt.
Left overs can be eaten for supper with more bread.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Before the night train

I am going with the night train tonight, up north of the Artic Circle. But before going I plan to eat some bread with my husband. Home made "rundstykker", small breads made by my mother, some with ham, others with cheese.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

The Book Corner is open.

I have a huge appetite for cookbooks. I braise them, I bake them, I make salads and I eat them raw. Sometimes I eat all, other times I am satisfied with just a piece of cake. And I love to share. So hereby you are invited to a new corner of The Blue Café - The Book Corner.

There will always be pots of fresh coffee here, and a colourful variety of china will be used for serving, home made cakes will fill the plates on the tables, and please don't hesitate to remove the stack of books from the chair before you sit down. And don't be afraid, I don't mind coffee stains in my books, they will taste even better I believe :-)

I plan to open the Book Corner once a week, and I would love to have guest bloggers here. Let me know if you have a book about food you want to come over and share. The Blue Café has its special gift for all guest bloggers who takes part.


The first book out in The Book Corner is The French Kitchen by Joanne Harris and Fran Warde. Being a huge fan of Harris and her fiction books for years, I was curious to see what she could write about cooking. Well, of course I knew she could write about chocolate in such a way that I gain kilos just by reading about it, but that's in her fiction books of course.

I had nothing to fear. Absolutely nothing! The French Kitchen is filled to the brim with Joanne's wonderful writing topped with her love for food and her amazing collection of old family recipes. With chef Fran Warde she has cooked it all together to one of the best meals I've had in a long time. Warm Goat's Cheese Salad, Blue Cheese Bake, Roasted Aspargus Spears, Roulade Bicolore.............luckily I have just had dinner (Terje's fantastic moose soup). If not I would not be here writing, but in the kitchen cooking right now.


Do you want to be a guest blogger in The Book Corner? Send an email to and let me know what you want to blog about.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Warm and sweet foccaccia

In pouring rain, Terje and I was out in the garden this morning to do the very last winter preparations. Now the garden is ready for winter.
The rain made us freezing all through our bodies, and as soon as were finished I went in to make a sweet foccaccia. Originally I got my foccaccia recipe from Ilva's food blog, and I make it several times a week. Sometimes topped with salt, or olives, sundried tomatos or whatever I have at hand. Other times I am in a more sweet mood and top it with sugar, almonds, raisins, berries or other sweets.

I love a rising dough in a warm kitchen. Love the anticipation of the fragrance I know will fill the house when I start baking the bread, love the anticipation of a meal, alone or with family or friends.
Todays foccaccia was topped with olive oil, sugar and almonds. I still have almonds left over from last Christmas, and will use them before I start shopping alot more for this year's Christmas baking.

Still hot, the foccaccia is served on plates handpainted with Provence memories of a dear friend of mine.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Carrot and cabbage stew

Family life is changing here at the Blue Café. From a full table every day with four kids and an unknown number of friends who found their seats around the huge diningroom table, there are now more and more days when Terje and I have our dinner just the two of us. Both girls were away today, so again it was dinner for two. I had a day off work (to "work" with something else.......), which means I have spent most of the day in my studio with books and the computer. From my studio window, which is on the first floor, I see right out into the Blue Garden and our front porch, and I was quite amazed at noon when I finially lifted my eyes from what I was writing, to see two mooses right outside our porch. My camera was at hand, and I got some quite good photos of the "mother and child".

But this blog is about food, and believe me, we don't have moose steak on the menu today, though my mother just called to let us know that she and my father will come tonight with some moose meat which they will put in our freezer :-), from my uncle, the moose hunter. Good though that I found some meat in the freezer today which Terje and I had for dinner - so now there is room enough for what my parents bring.

What I am blogging about today though is not the meat but the carrot and cabbage stew sidedish. We have a hug bag of carrots bought directly from the farmer, and I love to find different ways to use the carrots. When making the stew I peel and cut the carrots and cook them for a few minutes in salted water. While waiting for them to finish I make the white sauce, melting butter, adding flour and then water from the carrots, and at last salt, pepper, mustard and capers. And today also green cabbage (from the freezer, originally grown by an old gardener friend of my parents)

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Tea with Mma Ramotswe

Do you know Mma Ramotswe and her The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency?

Mma Ramotswe is a good friend of mine, and I love to have tea with her. Rooibush tea of course, tea made from this special red African tree. For Mma Ramotswe it can never be any other type of tea:-)

I love this series written by Alexander McCall Smith about the Botswana lady detective Mma Ramotswe. You say that you haven't read them...yet? Well, all I can say then is that these books are a must! And of course always with rooibush tea!

Happy reading and happy tea drinking!


(This is a repost from January)