Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Marzipan cake for New Year's Eve

The guests will be here in a few hours. The only thing left for me to make is the foccacia. I want it warm and fresh, and wait till the last minute to bake it. Everything else is finished, I even found time for a nap, and I can feel the partymood filling me. Once more we will welcome the New Year, together and with good friends.

I have been busy in the kitchen all since I woke up early this morning. Not much time yet for reflections and lists of New Year's resolutions. That will have to wait till tomorrow. Today I am busy, today I am counting my blessings, today I look back and I look at what I have here and now.

When I woke up this morning it was snowing outside. After weeks of dirty old snow and ice, the world is again white and new. The garden looks beautiful and the snowflakes has a taste of heaven - yes, I've tasted them :-)

The snow and the festive colours of New Year's Eve inspired my cream cake.

My cake is made of eggs, sugar, white flour and baking powder. Cut in two layers and filled with strawberry jam and whipped cream, Covered in more whipped cream and then clothed in marzipan. And I know it will taste good.

Music for a New Year's Eve:

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Fresh bread and Christmas herring

After the first busy Christmas days with celebrations and parties with family and friends, life is slowing down. It is time to enjoy the peace and the quiet, time to play some music, read the Christmas cards, time to sit down and talk. Our kids are growing, and more and more Terje and I find ourselves home alone. Still all four kids are home often enough to avoid the empty nest feeling, now we just enjoy the "nights for two". Like last night. Early in the evening we decided to have a night in front of the fire with a nice supper. There were still Christmas herring left, I always make several jars, give some away and enjoy the rest, and with fresh homemade bread and the sweet, fizzy,homemade limonade Terje makes for Christmas, it really became a feast.
Especially with Schubert in the background.

Julesild / Christmas Herring

6 fillets of herring, spiced
2 onions
1 dl oil (soya or olive)
1 dl vinegar
1 dl tomato ketshup
3 dl sugar
4 tablespoons of water

Cut the herring and the onion into small pieces.
Warm the rest of the ingredients except the oil, till the sugar has melted.
Add the oil.
Let it cool.

Mix everything.


music for the food:

Schubert's Winterreise
with Ian Bostridge and Leif Ove Andsnes

Monday, December 29, 2008

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Fruitsalad with figs, oranges and avocado

We are in the middle of the Christmas celebrations, and the table is filled with goodies for several meals a day. After a light breakfast and a long walk out on icy roads, I was ready for a light lunch. Reading Lucullian Delights is a daily pleasure I treat myself, and today Ilva gave me the idea to use dried figs. We always buy dried figs and dates for Christmas. I love eating one or two at a time, but they are rich and I can never have many of them at once. Searching through the fruitbowl and the vegetable shelf in the fridge, and I knew what my salad would consist of; fig, orange, avocado, walnut and orange juice. I made two small bowls for me and Terje, and we ate it with a piece of fruitcake.

Fruitsalad with figs, for two
8 dried figs
3 oranges
1 avocado
10 walnuts
a few drops of balsamic vinegar
Cut the figs, two of the peeled oranges and the avocado fruitmeat into small pieces, squeeze one orange and add half of the juice to each bowl, add a few drops of the very best balsamic vinegar. Top each bowl with the walnuts.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Rislapper, rice pancakes

Today is "tredje juledag", 3rd day of Christmas. In Norway Christmas starts with Christmas Eve, or rather the day before when we decorate the Christmas tree, and then it last for 13 or 20 days (we have both traditions). So when many of my friends around the world say good bye to Christmas these days, our celebrations have just started. I am off work all untill the 5th of January, so I have a long time to enjoy the tree and the music, the family parties and the Christmas food, and long days for reading. The cold room in the basement is filled with leftovers after the celebrations so far, and it is always alot of fun to see what I can make from it.
Today is our annual family juletrefest, Christmas Tree Party. We all bring along food, and as my mother will bring a huge plate of small breads with meat, I decided I could bring the marzipan cream cake I made for Christmas Eve. There were so much else on the late night coffee table then, so only a small part of the cake was eaten. Terje and I had two small pieces for our morning coffee today, and it tastes just as good as it did 3 days ago. I will also bring rislapper, small rice pancakes, made from the leftover from the rice porridge we had for lunch on Christmas Eve.

cold left over rice porridge
white flour
melted butter
Mix all, let it rest for half an hour, fry small cakes in the pan just like when you make pancakes.
I am sorry I don't have any better recipe, these rislapper are typical "make as you go".

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas cake tabel in Norway

A typical Norwegian Christnas Eve: church, home to dinner, gifts, coffee and cakes, singing and dancing around the Christmas tree.

Everybody eats too much for sinner, we save the dessert for the coffee table where it has to compete with too many cakes........

Creamcake decorate with marzipan, chocolate cakes, krumkake, lefse, cookies, sweets, nuts, dates. figs....... what did I forget?

Too many cakes, too mcu sweets, and now we take long walks only to come home and feast on leftovers.....

Happy Christmas season.

Monday, December 8, 2008

About having a food blog

Some days I ask myself what I am doing with a food blog. Am I pretending to be one who knows how to cook and bake or what? There are so many food blogs out there, how can I believe that what I scribble down, the photos I show, the recipes I share, can be of any interest at all to other than myself?
I wonder if I shall stop food blogging, or if I shall close my foodblog down. It takes alot of time keeping up with all my blogs, and my family keep on teasing me when I line up our food for photos...........

But I keep on. Year after year. At least I have some recipes to show my children, I say to myself. The boys both have kitchens of their own, they call me from time to time asking how to cook this, how to bake that. May be I shall gather some of my recipes and make them a very special "Recipes, with love from Mum"-book?

Still I keep on food blogging. If you are once smitten, it is hard to stop. And then things happen. I get comments, I get emails. Questions. How do you do this? I like your blog? How do you make that? You have inspired me to start blogging, come and have a look....... And I know that food blogging has become a part of my life I will not leave behind.

Like when I write a post about our first Christmas cookies, and people from around the world take time to contact me, to comment, to help me with the words I don't know in English. UP, an extra Thank You, for the link which explains hjortetakksalt

Balisha, you have asked me about the colouring of the cookies in my previous post. It is so simple. We drip a few drops of food colouring into an egg glass, then we use the back of a match stick, dip it in the colour and use it as a paint brush. Good luck!


The recipe for these kokosmakroner, you ask? Well, I shared them last year. Take a look here.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Kakemenn, the first Christmas cookies

Cookietime is here. Terje and Marta made the first cookies yesterday. A traditional recipe from Terje's childhood, a recipe he has payed forward to all his children. And to his wife. A sweet and spicy smell fills the house. I sit in the livingroom, knitting on a pair of socks, enjoying the sounds from the kitchen. Father-daughter chatting and laughing.
"Thank you God for giving us the moments of here and now."The best moments can't be bought for money. The best moments are given us and must be lived.
Here is Terje's recipe for kakemenn:
1/4 liter milk
325 gr sugar
1 teaspoon "hjortetakksalt" (I have found no translation for this, but it is a powder, much like baking soda, with a terrible strong smell)
1 dl oil or melted butter
1/2 kg white flour
Mix and let the dough rest in the fridge over night.
Roll the dough out to a thickness of about 0.5cm. Cut out figures.
Bake for a few minutes at 200C

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Saturday Rice Porridge/risengrynsgrøt

Today is one of the favorite days in my year. I am decorating for Advent. Tomorrow is the first Sunday of Advent, the first candle in the Advent wreath will be lit during breakfast, the Advent star will shine in the livingroom window, purple wil be the dominant colour. I have a secret cupboard down in the basement where I keep all my Advent and Christmas decorations, and I am bursting with anticipation every year when I open the cupboard on the Saturday before the first Sunday of Advent, to look through my treasures. Monday is December 1st, and my Advent Basket will be waiting for me in the morning, the basket fillings are all down in the basement cupboard somewhere.
I spend most of today at home, and surrounded with so many memories from the past I get a need for some traditional cooking. All through my childhood, and also when our own kids were small, we used to have "risengrynsgrøt", rice porridge, for Saturday lunch. Nowadays I make it only occationally, but today was a perfect porridge day.

4 servings (+ some leftover for "rislapper")
3dl porridge rice
3dl water
1liter milk

Boil porridge rice and water for a few minutes. Add the milk, get it to the boiling point, turn donw the heath and let it "almost boil" for about 45 minutes, Add a little salt.

Serve with butter, sugar, cinnamon and raisins

Monday, November 24, 2008

Limonade from the garden

The kitchen is mostly my domene, at least when we talk about preparing food. My husband often comes after the meal is finished to help with the cleaning. (praise to him!). But from time to time Terje decides that he wants to "make some food". The coming month will be a busy one for him, as he is a great Christmas cookies baker. I can't wait to all the delicious smells which will float from the kitchen when he starts.
Last week-end he woke to a kitchen day. In the freezer he found the berries he had put there a few months back, now it was time to transform them into limonade.
Black and red currants were the main ingredients this time. We have a limonade boiler, old bottles were warmed in the oven, and soon a warm, sweet smell filled the house.

This limonade is the best you can get, giving us a taste of summer all year.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Salmon for breakfast

It is snowing outside, King Winter came early and he came strong. Indoors it is time for fires, mugs of tea, hot chocolate and books. Piles of books. I have a long list of books I want to hike my way through this winter, and I have a year's subscription of Food and Travel to enjoy. They are nicely stacked in a woven basket, waiting patiently for me to armchairtravel the world through recipes and colourful photos. And there are cookbooks. Cookbooks are not only for recipes, mostly for me they are for reading, enjoying, mindtravelling.
Most of all though, Sunday mornings are for long, slow breakfasts.
In the fridge I found a few tiny little pieces of smoked salmon. The girls love salmon, so when we buy some, I never know how long it will last, or rather, I know it will not last long. But the few small pieces were enough for me and Terje to get the right taste of salmon with our omelette. And with some foccaccia from last night, warmed to get back some of the fresh, crisp taste, the leftover breakfast became a perfect feast for a dark November morning.

3 eggs
some cream, milk or water
spring onion

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Foccaccia topped with pear.

A long, quiet Sunday at home. It was snowing lightly outdoors when I woke up and I knew that the day would be perfect for reading, listening to music, quilting, and some kitchen fun.
We had a late breakfast my husband and I, both girls were sleeping over with friends. Music on, chatting about this and that. Bread with fruits and nuts from a bakery downtown, alot of tea. Sunday morning breakfast just as I dream them to be.
But breakfast bread doesn't last for ever, and while it was still too early to start to prepere the moose soup for an early dinner, I decided to bake a sweet foccaccia. Two almost overripe pears were in the fruit bowl together with apples and oranges, perfect for a foccaccia topping.
25g fresh yeast
3dl lukewarm water
ca 5dl white flour
Put the yeast in the baking bowl, add a little salt and sugar. Let the yeast melt.
Add the water and stir well.
Add flour and stir more.
Let the dough rise for half an hour.
Glaze a baking tin, about 20x30cm with olive oil. Put the dough in the tin, add sliced pears, sugar and cinnamon.
Rise for yet 30 minutes.
Bake at 220C for about 25 minutes.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Okra, inspired from India

During my weeks in India I learned about new fruits and vegetables almost every day. I loved to go grocery shopping with Carolyn, as most of the shopping she did was vegetables, and I loved to watched while she cooked one creative dish after another. I found most of the vegetables tasty, though some did not correspond with my tastebuds....... My favorite though was okra. Fried okra was served several times, and I helped myself again and again, enjoying this new to me taste.
We usually have a late dinner on Friday nights here in The Blue Café. Today I've been to the fishmarket downtown to find a treat for dinner, and on my way back to work I passed one of the many small Asian grocery shops which are to be found in Trondheim. I went in just to have a look at the vegetables, and to my surprise and pleasure I found that they sold okras. I didn't hesitate, but bought a bunch, and couldn't wait to come home to fry them.
Ingrid, Marta and cousin Mathilde found the taste strange, and will probably need more time to get used to it, Terje liked the new taste, I loved it. Fried in olive oil in a deep wok pan, sprinkled with Maldon salt, it tasted just as good as the okras I ate in South India.
My kitchen and my cooking is changing, more creativity, new tastes, colours.....

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Ginger tea on a chilly night

Winter is on its way to my corner of the world. Frost has come and covered the grass out in the garden with a thin white film. I am only just home from the warm and sunny Indian days and don't feel ready for frost yet.
I was tempted to make myself a mug of thick, hot chocolate last night, and the thought made my mouth water. But then I thought better of it. Why not make a nice, healthy cup of ginger tea instead. And sweeten in with some fruit.
Ginger is good for the body, good for my arthritis, and felt even better with a nice book, and a couple of candles to give a feeling of warmth.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Pomegranate and yoghurt

I am back in my own kitchen, back to my own busy days, and with me from India I've brough alot of ideas which I hope can come alive in my own kitchen.
So far I haven't done very much cooking. The days and nights have been too busy. I don't want life to be too busy for cooming, but I can't always make my days exactly the ways I want them. A job and a family need time, time I give willingly. Meanwhile my kitchen is there, patiently waiting, and I know that days will come when more time can be spent making new and traditional dishes.
Today Marta came downtown after school and we had pizza together. Then we had some shopping to do for her upcoming dance performance before it was time to go back to school and a parent-teacher appointment. Home from that it was time for homework for her, writing for me, and suddenly it is almost bedtime. The pizza made me thirsty, so for a late night snack I've made a bowl of yogurt and pomegranate seeds - directly inspiration from South India :-)
Pomegranate youghurt
fill a small bowl with plain yoghurt
add pomegranateseeds
can it be any easier than this?