Sunday, May 10, 2009

Rhubarb Soup with Chilli!

After two months away from The Blue Café blog, but not away from cooking and baking, I finally found time to come here again today. When I started this blog, a long time ago, I had serious plans to come here regularly. After all I run a house and a kitchen, and I make food for handfulls of people almost every day.
But life walks her own paths, dancing her own rythm, and now I know better than to say or plan to come here every day. And it doesn't matter, does it :-) If you follow this blog there is laways a long, long list of old posts where you can go, recipes to learn, words to read, photos to enjoy.......posts which will take you to the daily life of a Norwegian kitchen.

It is rhubarb season here. Last week-end my husband and I spent a few days at our cabin, and I played with a new rhubarb soup recipe. It turned out a success, and I made it again today, for Sunday lunch with a sweet foccacia filled with almonds and left over marzipan from a cake I baked yesterday.
Rhubarb Soup with Chilli
10 stalks of rhubarb
one chilli
a handfull of lemon melissa
Cut the rhubarb staks into small pieces, with their skin on (the skin is so red and nice at this time of the year). Boil in water. Remove the seeds from a red chili, cut and add, cut the melisssa leaves. Add everything into the soup and let boil for at least half an hour.
Serve warm or cold, as you like it.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Shaghetti vongole, or isn't it?

I had the women from work here for dinner the other night. For a long time I had planned to make it an Italian night, but hadn't quite decided what to cook. Something with spaghetti yes, but what else. Carbonara was on my mind for a long time, but then, when visiting the fish market one day, I saw that they had what we call hjerteskjell (heart shells, clams or vongole?). The boys were coming home for dinner that night, and I decided to use them as tester for a self made recipe using the shells together with some fish.
The dish was a success and I knew that I would make it again for the girls. I posted about the dinner over in The House in the Woods the other day, and a very interesting discussion about what to call the clams, started. Marco, the artist behind Glasshandmade, lives in Venezia and knows vongole very well. Now he has promised me to show me real vongole when I come to Venezia in June :-) And while waiting I keep on calling my dish Spaghetti Vongole

Spaghetti Vongole ala The Blue Café

white fish (my dictionary says wolf fish or catfish)
olive oil
white wine

make spaghetti as you always do.

cut andbraise the garlic in extra virgin olive oil, add sliced leek and a whole lemon cut into small pieces, dice the fish and add

steam the hjerteskjell in white wine and olive oil for a few minutes, just enough so that all the clams open.

find a beautiful bowl for the spaghetti, add the braised fish and vegetables, pour over the white wine from the hjerteskjell, decorate with the clams.

(......oh my! I need to work on my English for my food blogging........)


I didn't play any music during the dinner, but while preparing it last week I enjoyed one of my favorite operas, Die Zauberflöte

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Pancakes for birthday breakfast

Two birthday kids in two days. We combined and invited to dinner last night, family, mid-20 students and on the step to become teenager girls. A success. Marta, who is 13 years+one day old today had a few of her best friends to sleep over, and this morning I woke them with a pile of pancakes, ready to fill with blueberry jam made of blueberries we picked last summer. Grandma and grandpa, who couldn't come for the dinner last night, came up and had pancakes with us.

Recipe for pancakes? Well, I don't think I have ever used any, never in my life. I learned to make it as a girl, just like I have taught all our kids to make them, still without recipes.

Start with eggs, add milk, melted butter, salt, a little sugar, flour. Stir well, look forward to the meal and the people you will share the pancakes with, keep on stiring. Rest before frying the pancakes. Do the table with more than a teaspoon of love. Enjoy the food, compare blue tongues.

Music for this? Do you have any suggestion?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Fishballs in white sauce - typical Norway!

When I do grocery shopping I often have an idea in my head what to buy, which means I also have an idea of what to make for dinner. But some days I like to let the colours in the shop guide me. Like the day I found this beautiful white and green fennel. The day was cold and grey, and after a walk home from work I had wet, wet feet. I needed some comfort food, and knew that the sweet, licorice taste of the fennel would be just perfect. I knew I alreday had fishballs at home, so then the desicion was easy. Fishballs in white sauce is a traditional dish here in Norway. Not the tastiest food there is you might say, but it depends on the sauce, and from time to time I love to make it. And to eat it.

Fishballs in white sauce
the sauce:
melt 3 tablespoons of butter in the pan. add 3 tablespoons of white flour and stir well. add milk, a little at a time and keep on to stir well, till you have a smooth sauce. add salt and white pepper, and as I did this time, thin cut fennel. add the fishballs and warm it all. Serve with potatos and vegetables, we often use raw grinded (wrong word, or?) carrots with a little bit of sugar and lemon juice.

I should really give you some traditional Scandinavian music today, but we are doing a caotic redecoration in the music corner in our livingroom and all my cds are stored away in huge baskets. So the fishballs will have to be eaten in silence. or may be some food talk? Do you have a traditional recipe to share?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Fastelavnsboller, pastries before Lent

It is the carnival time, or the last days before Lent starts. A period which is filled with traditions, and often the strongest traditions, those which survive, are the traditions concerning food. On facebook this week-end alot of my friends have written about the baking of "fastelavnsboller" or semlor as Sewdish Ilva call them. I see from what Ilva has written that in Sweden they are typical for Fat Tuesday, and this differes a little from the Norwegian traditions. here they are for Sunday before lent, "fastelavnssøndag".

Traditions are important, and in The Blue Café I try to follow the traditions as best as I can. During the period of carnival the food is rich, you are supposed to fill up before Lent starts. I don't say totally no to meat during Lent, but still I try to make our menues simpler, with less meat, less sweets. Then it is nice to feast with food now, these last days before Lent starts, and the cream filled pastries which we call fastelavnsboller, are perfect for that.


300g butter

1 liter milk or water

100g fresh yeast

1 teaspoon baking powder

a little salt

2dl sugar

white flour

Melt the butter, add milk/water and warm till fingerwarm. Add the fresh yeast. Mix flour, suger and salt and add the fluid. Mix/knead well. Let the dough raise for almost an hour. Bake round pastries and let them raise for at least 30 minutes. Bake for 10-15 minutes at 220C.

Eat them cold, filled with whiped cream. At "fastelavnssøndag" we always hide a miniature Venezian ceramic mask in one of the fastelavndsboller. The one who finds the mask gets a little gift.


Music for the fastelavnsboller? It can't be anything else than Saint Saëns and Le Carneval des Animaux, can it :-)

Monday, January 26, 2009

Tea time with sick daughters, Santa Sunniva Cookies

None of us got much sleep last night, up in her bedroom in the attic, Marta was coughing badly, down in the basement Ingrid's coughing was even worse. Today they have both been home from school, and as it often is with choughing, it is better in daylight. Fortunately.
Both girls slept long and then they spent the morning planning dinner and starting their own blogs. Marta is an easy learner, so when Ingrid was busy preparing the food, she found the white table cloth I usually use for my food photographing, unwrapped it just like I do, and took series of photos. Both girls are laughing. For years they have teased me for my blogging and for my food photographing, now they are both walking in my footsteps :-)
Not long ago I bought several packets of dates at the grocery store. Left overs from Christmas, still soft and sweet. I love dates, but there certainly is a limit of how many I can eat at a time, so I had to find other ways to use them. Sick daughters are in need of comfort food, even though they feel well enough both to cook and to blog, so I decided to make a plate of cookies. The smell from freshly bakes cookies is always a very good medicine
The dates gave the cookies a very nice, sweet taste, and to make them even better I added some Norwegian Santa Sunniva Liqueur, therefore the name; Santa Sunniva Cookies.

Santa Sunniva Cookies
5dl white flour
1 1/2 dl sugar
200gr salted butter
cut the butter into small pieces and knead the dough together by your hands
add about 20 sliced dates and an egg cup of liqueur
make round cookies
press them down with a fork
bake at 200C for about 15 minutes


My choice of music this time is a little different. Not any of the old classics, but charming Josh Groban with a collection of evergreens. Not a music I listen to every day, but for a cookie baking night it filled the kitchen perfectly :-)


By the way, here is Marta's blog

and here is Ingrid's

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Cod Paella, risotto med torsk

One of the pleasure is life is to visit fishmarkets. We don't have one like the Rialto market here in Trondheim, still the one we have is a nice one with quite a good selection of choices according to the season. When Terje and I visited Ravnkloa (the fish market here in Trondheim) yesterday, I was looking for fish for a paella, and the cod filets looked perfect.
I have a favorite restaurant out at Murano (in Venice) where I have discovered a marvellous risotto with fruits from the sea. Unfortunately you have to be two to order the dish, I remember one time Terje and I had it, we almost licked the plates at the end, the taste was too good to let go. I was not able to create the same juicy taste in my paella, but I am on the right way. Give me some more practice, and I am there.
cod paella

dice the cod filet into small pieces
fry in an extravagance of extra virgin olive oil
add salt and pepper
cut an onion and a green sweet pepper
fly in more olive oil

fry the rice in the leftover oil in the pan
add fish bouillon and white wine
add the fried fish and let boil for about half an hour
add the onion and the sweet pepper

serve with olive bread dipped in olive oil, the one we had is baked in Lom, sold in the delicatessen at the fish market.


I fist fell for Monteverdi's Vespro della Beata Vergine 1610 because of the beautifil painting on the cd cover. The music is just as beautiful, and suits well on an icy, wintry Sunday morning.