Saturday, January 26, 2008

Breakfast on a Saturday morning

Marta loves week-end mornings.
She can sleep long, walk around in her pyjamas, and is allowed to eat breakfast in front of the television :-)
I made her breakfast today. A piece of bread with ham and cheese, chives for a little colour, a note from mum saying "I love you". A glass of milk.

Oh yes. It is easy to see why Saturdays and Sundays are favorite days.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

A Late Night Snack

I had dinner in town with a friend after work the other day. Between two appointments we met at a cafe and sat down to eat and catch up on news. I never felt I had this opportunity to eat in town after work when the kids were small, but now, when they are growing out of the nest one after the other, my life find new tracks to follow. A short meeting during a busy day is healthy food for the soul, something I can live on for a long time.
Our dinner was not a big one though, so when the night came I was hungry again.
Hungry for a snack.

Some left over bread was becoming dry, but made into an olive and cheese sandwich it was just perfect.

As I have repeated so often;
simple and easy food can often be the best!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Thanks you....can I offer you a piece of foccacia?

Thank you for your comments and email about my food blogging. It gives me alot of inspiration to hear from you. Who knows, may be I'll keep on food blogging :-) The Blue Café has just started its second year, so why stop now.........
Food, cooking, meals - it all means alot to me. The excitement of planning, the time for preparations, the joy of sharing a meal. All important moments of the day. It doesn't have to be chic or expensive, simple, plain food prepared with love can be just as good, or even better. I love to bake bread, and after finding Ilva's foccacia recipe a year ago, Italian inspired foccacia has become an important part of my bread sortiment. It is so much fun to differ the topping, try out new tastes, and it was a great positive surprise the other day when I topped the foccacia with sweet and sour herring left over from Christmas.
Here is the herring recipe.
Ilva's foccacia recipe here.

Monday, January 21, 2008

More from the kitchen table

My kitchen is for more than cooking. The kitchen table is perfect for reflections, for looking through cookbooks or food magazines, looking out the window, looking into my mind. The table has room for a birthday gift in waiting.
We had guests this afternoon. I had planned some baking when I came home from work, but then Marta came; Mom, can I bake muffins and make waffles for the guests.......... My little kitchen helper is soon a young woman.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

From my kitchen table.

Having a full time job and alot of travelling during the week.....well, it is not easy to keep up with my slow food intentions in the kitchen. Some days just have to be for fast food, or rather "easy prepared" food. Meals which are easily prepared can still be healthy, and still means gatherings around the table.

Week-end are good for keeping up though. I am a morning bird, and yesterday morning I had fresh pastries ready when the others came down for breakfast. It was well worth the early morning lack of sleep watching my family enjoying the fresh, still lukewarm bread.

I am not sure about the future for this food blog. Blogging is about conserving memories, but it is also about the feedback I get from readers. I am not sure about the amount of readers here, so I might go back to concentrate more fully on The House in the Woods, posting The Blue Café posts over there from time to time..........
..........will think about it a couple of weeks........

Sunday, January 13, 2008

A New Balsamico Vinegar

A new, expensive balsamic vinegar
turns a plain red lollo and leek salad
into a feast for godesses
We had this salad last night
with a Quiche Lorraine

Over in The House in the Woods today:
The Love of Food and the Time it Takes to Prepare it

Saturday, January 12, 2008

All curled up.

I am curled up in the sofa, an opera on the cd-player, a book in my lap, remote noises coming from the studio upstairs where Marta is playing with her new Nintendo dancing mat, "sweet music" from the kitchen where Terje is doing the dishes, cracks from the fire where logs are playfully burning.
It is Saturday and we are enjoying a quiet night at home.
Supper is just finished, tomato soup and bread for Marta,
a Quiche Lorraine for me and Terje. A Quiche Lorraine filled with ham, onion, leek, chives, eggs, cheese and creme fraiche.....

and a fresh salad of red lollo, leek and the sweetest vinegar balsamico
(I digged deep in my purse while grocery shopping today to buy the best, it is worth it!)

If you want the recipe for the quiche you can follow
this link back to February last year.

Photos of the lollo salad will come tomorrow.

Now it is time for me to go back to my book.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Leaving Christmas behind.

We have finally finished the last bits of turkey and all the other left overs from Christmas, and it si time to do some serious planning about what to eat for dinner again. As I have told you before we eat dinner quite early in Norway, as soon as possible after we are home from work. I drove to work today (usually I take the bus) and on my way home I picked up my husband. We stopped to grocery shop together, and when we came home he drove along to pick up Marta from handball practice while I started to prepare dinner. We have not had any spaghetti during the holidays, so that's what I wanted to make today. I bought the wholegrain type, just to feel healthier, and to go with the spahgetti I braised leek, cellery and some typical thick Norwegian "middagspølse" - dinner sausage.
At the grocery store I was tempted to buy some Selbu Blå (blue cheese from the village of Selbu, not far from Trondheim), and to eat with the cheese I also bought some salted biscuits. Then I can never have spaghetti without a green salad, today's one was made with a mixture of three different types; ruccola, heart and lollo (I don't know if these names are also what you call them in English though)

I love Christmas and all the typical Christmas food, but it is good to be back to everydays again. And everyday cooking.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

The Book Corner. Guestblogger Fleur

Greetings to you, friends and patrons of Britt-Arnhild's Blue Cafe! This past fall, I acquired a new cookbook called The Ethnic Paris Cookbook. For The Blue Cafe, I decided to make from it a recipe called Kabylia Lamb with Semolina Dumplings. It is an Algerian family recipe given to the authors by the owner-chef of the celebrated 404 restaurant in Paris. I thought it sounded good and was curious to see how it would turn out.
You will need:

For Lamb Stew:

Olive oil
3 pounds of lamb (1and1/2 kg) from the shoulder or leg, cubed
1 onion, grated or diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped or minced
2 (-to 4) tablespoons tomato paste
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 turnips, peeled and cut into eighths
2 stalks celery, diced
1 large potato, peeled and diced
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground coriander (powder)
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper

For Semolina Dumplings:

2 cups coarse semolina*
1 large egg
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tomato, diced
2 tablespoons finely-chopped fresh coriander leaves (cilantro)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground coriander (powder)
freshly-ground black pepper
2 teaspoons baking powder

Fresh coriander leaves (cilantro) for garnish

To make the stew, heat some olive oil in the bottom of a large cooking pot over medium heat. Add the meat cubes, onion and garlic, and cook, stirring the meat to brown evenly, about 10 minutes. Add the vegetables, paprika, ground coriander (powder), salt and pepper to taste, and enough water to just cover the vegetables. Simmer, covered, until the meat is tender (anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour).

While the meat is cooking, prepare the dumplings. In a medium bowl, mix all the ingredients except the baking powder, stirring well. Add about 1/2 cup of the lamb stew liquid to the dough and stir to blend. Set aside for 20 minutes to allow the semolina to soak up the moisture from the liquid ingredients. Stir in the baking powder, then form dumplings by pinching off large teaspoonfuls of dough mixture and rolling between your palms to make walnut-size balls. Set aside on a plate.

When the meat is cooked, use a slotted spoon to remove the meat and vegetables to a deep serving platter or bowl. Cover and keep warm. Return the stew broth to a low simmer. Gently place the dumplings in the simmering broth in a single layer (you may have to work in batches). The dumplings should be submerged in liquid and not touching -- add a little more water if it's necessary. Cover and
cook 15-20 minutes.

Using the slotted spoon, place the dumplings on the meat and vegetables, then spoon over with the hot broth. Garnish with the fresh coriander leaves (cilantro).

And how did it turn out? Well, I used pieces of lamb stewing meat with the bone in, not cubes, so I had to cook mine for quite a bit longer -- nearly 2 hours (which had no adverse affect on the vegetables, thankfully). The amount of meat was only 1/2 what the recipe called for but the broth probably became a bit thicker and richer with the longer cooking. The taste of the stew upon completion was hard to describe. It was actually somewhere in the neighborhood of "delicate, sweet and delicious", belying its hearty peasant ingredients.

I had some trouble with the dumplings. I couldn't find coarse semolina at the market and so was forced to buy the medium-to-fine grain. Wrong. They were very gooey and fell apart in the broth. I didn't photograph them because of this. However, once they were cooked, the pieces held together as they were supposed to, and the herbs gave them a wonderful tasty zing that was a perfect counterpart to the mild sweetness of the stew.

Also: the original recipe calls for huge amounts of herbs (1/2 bunches of each!) in the dumplings but that just looked wrong to me. So I changed the amounts I used (and changed the recipe above). I think the lesser amount is entirely satisfactory.

I'm looking forward to getting ahold of the correct coarse-grind semolina and trying this dish again. It's a great bet for those who aren't too crazy about lamb because it comes out so sweet, tender and non-game-y. I'd serve it with some warm Middle-Eastern flat bread, maybe with feta cheese toasted on it, and a crisp green salad.

Happy cooking and eating! Best regards from Fleur at Frangible Pie
Thank you Fleur for being my third guest blogger.
You can visit Fleur at Frangible Pie.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Breakfast with energy!

Breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day. What we eat then will give us energy through half of the work or school day. Traditionally we eat whole wheat bread/four grain bread with butter, cheese, jam, honey or thin slices of meat. Our girls have their own favorite though, porridge made on oatmeal grains and water. Simple, cheap and filled with energy. I don't make the porridge every day, so for them it feels like a treat when I do.

Outmeal porridge/havregrynsgrøt
water (about 2dl per person)
oatmeal - I never measure, just throw handfulls into the water and as soon as it boils I know if I have used enough. If not I just add some more.
Boil for a few minutes. Add just a little salt.
Eat with sugar, raisins, and if you want with a slash of butter and some cinnamon. My glass is often filled with milk, or for treats - homemade juice

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Chicken the Blue Café way

I uploaded these photos in the beginning of December, but then forgot all about them. Found them again today while doing a little New Year's cleaning in The Blue Café.

Cut chicken filet in pieces and fry in olive oil, salt and pepper. Boil for half an hour in chicken broth and add some creme fraiche. Eat with rice and a green salad.

For dinner today we had turkey leftovers from last night. Turkey mixed with cold rice and pear, sprinkeled with peanuts and eaten with leftovers from the waldorf salad. I was too hungry when I came home from work to remember my camera.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Waldorf Salad

We are still in Christmas mood here. Terje, Marta and I have spent New Year with friends at their cabin, but headed back home after breakfast today.
Work starts again tomorrow, so tonight is time for a last Christmas breakfast for the extended family (+ a boyfriend and a friend)
For the last about 10 years we've had turkey on the menu one of the days after Christmas Eve. This year we were invited to dinner parties those days, so the turkey had to wait. But now it is the oven, and in an hour we will be 8 people seated around the table
Turkey is a new dish here in Norway, adopted from USA, and when we first started to make it I got a recipe for the stuffing from Terje's greeat grandaunt, who died many years ago. She lived most of her grown up life in US, but came back to Norway to spend her last years here.
With the turkey we always serve rice, and a Waldorf salad.
I can't remember where I have got the recipe for the waldorf salad, I have it written down in my handwritten recipe book, and a note that I made it for the first time in 1987.
Waldorf Salad
2 apples
a small box of pinapple
2 stalks of cellery
100g cabbage
100g grapes
1dl almonds
1dl majonaise
1dl whiped cream
4teaspoons lemonjuice
2teaspoons suger
Dice the fruit, whipe the cream and mix it with majonaise, sugar and lemon.
Mix it all.