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Archive for November, 2015

Friday 13th November 2015 is going to be a date to remember, especially for us living in the Western Hemisphere, and especially for those living in Paris, France. And let us not forget Beirut, Baghdad and elsewhere the unmentionables wage their idiotic, messed up war against all things sivilised and progressive. And with the lyrics of Imagine, let us all try and make this a better place. How, I don’t know. Anyway, life goes on, and so does cooking and eating. And as there seem to be something wrong with my liver, further tests in January, I might as well try and make a start living more healthily. Walk more, eat less of the stuff I love etc etc. 

This week I will make poached chicken and seasonal vegetables, grilled aubergine & tomato sandwiches, pea and lettuce soup, which I’ve made many times but not shared with you, and tonight spicy spinach soup, which promotes a good mood. Life is constantly full of worry, but as illustrated below, worry serves no useful purpose. 

So live long & in peace! 

Love, 

Natasja 

   
 

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This is a very mild and comforting soup, which is really easy to make. For a touch of luxury, add fresh field mushrooms and a drizzle of truffle oil. Enjoy with a crisp white wine.


Ingredients:

1 large cauliflower (about 1.3kg) stalks removed and florets chopped

1 large potato, peeled and chopped into large chunks

1 medium onion, chopped

25g butter

4 tbsp olive oil

1.2l vegetable stock

600ml full-fat milk

142ml double cream

Salt & pepper


Spices I used:

Pinch of saffron

Pinch of nutmeg

Pinch of cumin



Method:

Put the cauliflower, potato and onion in a large saucepan with the butter and half the oil. Gently heat the ingredients until they start to sizzle. Then cover with a lid and sweat over a low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. The vegetables should be softened but not take on any colour.

Pour in the stock and bring to the boil. Then pour in the milk and return gently to a boil. Season to taste then simmer, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes until the vegetables are soft. Pour in half the cream.

Blend everything in a food processor or blender, in batches. But do let it cool! Stir in the rest of the cream.

Serve in warm bowl with crispy bacon lardons and a chopped parsley. Alternatively, serve with crispy fried wild mushrooms and a drizzle of truffle oil.

Enjoy!

Love, Natasja

Recipe based on BBC Good Food. Picture my own.

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Happy Halloween / Bonfire Night / Thanksgiving / Allehelgensaften

The plan was to make soup out of the pumpkin A brought home to carve in time for Halloween. Unfortunately it was pretty rotten inside before we got to it with a carving knife, so I couldn’t make it. Below is the recipe I was going to try, and might do at a later stage.


Ingredients:

1 1/2 kg pumpkin, peeled and roughly chopped

4 tsp sunflower oil

1 onion, sliced

1 tbsp. grated ginger

1 lemongrass, bashed

3-4 tbsp. Thai red curry paste

400ml coconut milk

850ml vegetable stock

Lime juice and sugar, for seasoning

1 red chilli,  sliced, to served (optional)


Method:

  1. Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.
    Toss the pumpkin in a roasting tin with half the oil and seasoning, then roast for 30 minutes until golden and tender.
  2. Meanwhile, put the remaining oil in a pan with the onion, ginger and lemongrass. Gently cook for 8-10 minutes until softened. Stir in the curry paste for 1 minute, followed by the roasted pumpkin, all but 3 tbsp of the coconut milk and the stock. Bring to a simmer, cook for 5 minutes, then fish out the lemongrass. Cool for a few minutes, then whizz until smooth with a hand blender, or in a large blender in batches. Return to the pan to heat through, season with salt, pepper, lime juice and sugar, to taste. Serve drizzled with the remaining coconut milk and scattered with chilli.

Enjoy!

Love,
Natasja

A's pumpkinpumpkin 2

Recipe based on BBC Good Food. Pictures my own.

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This summer proved excellent for the harvest of wild berries in Norway. We were lucky enough to pick masses of blueberries and alpine strawberries in the forests near my mum’s house.

We also picked huge amounts of cloudberries on the mountains. Cloudberries are known as the ‘highland gold’, because when the cloudberries are just ripe and ready to be picked, they take on a marvellous orangey-yellow hue. I think we made three trips in total to the mountains, just to pick cloudberries. The poor dog got so bored by all the stopping and starting, he eventually began to eat the gold straight from the bush! Bad dog, indeed.  Here he is rolling in the autumnal leaves.

dog

The Law of Picking Cloudberries (Yes, there’s law for that)

“There are three regional rules of picking cloudberries in Norway according to the Penal Code article 400. The general rule is that you can pick anywhere as long as it is not fenced in (which applies to all fruit).  In Nordland and Troms you cannot pick cloudberries if the ground owner expressively forbids it.  In Finnmark anyone can pick cloudberries if they are eaten on site.
If you want to take them home and you don’t live in Finnmark, you need a permit from the sheriff.  

The reason why you have to ask permission from the law in Finnmark is because the land is privately owned by the State*
In Southern Norway anyone can freely pick cloudberries in areas that are not fenced in. If you are found guilty of stealing berries you can be fined and put in jail for up to three months. These rules are stricter than other berries because cloudberries are such an important part of the Norwegian* economy”.

*Note that it is the Sami people that owns the land. Thanks for pointing that out, mum!

Alpine strawberries & blueberries

Alpine strawberries & blueberries

The blueberries we just stirred with some sugar and ate on our pancakes in the mornings. Some days we would be feeling too lazy and just throw whole blueberries in with the batter, creating lovely bluish pancakes.

Now with the alpine strawberries, I wanted to make something special for the winter solstice, a reminder of the lovely summer holiday we’ve had together.

Roter Waldsschnaps in the making

Roter Waldsschnaps in the making

A quick search online produced a recipe for ‘Roter Waldschnaps’

Ingredients:

  • Use fresh, wild and fully ripe strawberries
  • 40% quality vodka, unflavoured
  • Sugar (optional). Use between 2 – 5 dl sugar to 7dl vodka
  • Vanilla pod

Now for the making:

  • Rinse the strawberries carefully.
  • Use a clean glass jar with tight-fitting lid and fill it with berries.
  • Add vodka to the jar until the berries are covered.
  • You may want to add a vanilla pod to the berry/vodka mixture
  • Steep for 3-4 weeks in a dark place at room temperature. Shake lightly and turn the jar every other day.
  • Strain and filter your infusion into a clean glass bottle or jar with tight-fitting lid.
  • Add sugar

You can serve your strawberry schnapps after it has settled for a couple of days. It has a fresh, fruity taste. Or you can store (age) it for 4-6 months in a dark place at room temperature before serving.

We’re having ours at Christmas!

Love,
Natasja

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Making cloudberry jam is pretty simple, if you have access to the berries, of course. And that is no easy feat outside of Scandinavia.

Ingredients:

1 kg cloudberries
1 dl water
650g sugar

  • Bring to the boil the berries, sugar and water and let slowly cook for 10 minutes.
  • Put your plate in the fridge for a few minutes before taking it out to test a spoonful of hot jam. Push your finger through the jam on the plate – you’re looking for it to wrinkle and not flood back in to fill the gap.
  • If it’s not ready, turn the pan back on, simmer for five minutes and test again.
  • Pour immediately into sterilized hot jars and seal

Enjoy!

Golden cloudberries

Golden cloudberries

As cloud-berries are such a luxury, most people will get their jams and berries out for special occasions, and especially around Christmastime. Mixing cloud-berries with whipped cream and a bit of sugar is one of my favourite desserts!

From Wiki:
Multekrem is a traditional Norwegian dessert, made by mixing cloudberries with whipped cream and sugar. The cloud-berries can be served as-is or heated. It is common to serve the Multekrem with Krumkake or Kransekake. 

 

Some of the cloud-berries we picked in the summer are now resting peacefully in sugar and cognac ready for a festive and golden after-dinner treat.

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Det er ingen sak å lage multesyltetøy, iallfall ikke i Skandinavia.  Og de fleste multeplukkende mennesker i Norge har nok sin egen oppskrift.

Du trenger:

1 kg multer
1 dl vann
650 g sukker

  • Kok opp bærene sammen med vannet, tilsett sukker og la blandingen småkoke i ca. 10 minutter.
  • Ha en liten klatt syltetøy på en tallerken, som du setter inn i kjøleskapet. Etter et par minutter skal du kunne trekke en finger gjennom syltetøyet uten at det glir sammen igjen.
  • Om syltetøyet ikke er ferdig, lar du blandingen småkoke i ca. 5 minutter og tester igjen.
  • Hell syltetøyet over på godt rengjorte, varme glass.

Et åpnet glass syltetøy holder seg i 2-3 uker i kjøleskapet.

Klem,
Natasja

Golden cloudberries

Golden cloudberries

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