Archive for september, 2008

sept 29 2008

Autumn leaves and all that you need

Published by under Meg og mitt liv

 

When the colours change

 

 

Autumn leaves

 

and the leaves turn red, 

 

Autumn leaves

 

some Earl Grey cookies

 

Earl Grey cookies

 

and a nice Caesar salad

 

Caesar salad

 

(with parmesan)

(and homemade croutons)

is all that

you

need.

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sept 28 2008

Freud calling

Published by under Meg og mitt liv

Wow, I completely forgot to tell you about my birthday! The 17th of September I turned the sturdy age of 23 years, and it was wonderful. I don’ know why I haven’t told you about it yet, but I can assure you that it has nothing to do with Freud’s idea of «what you don’t like, you try to forget». Quite the contrary.

The Wednesday started out wonderfully, Tore got up early – 6.30 a.m to be precice – to cook me a hearty breakfast before I had to go to an early lecture. I got eggs, bacon and baked beans, my favourite hot breakfast combo. He was scrambling along in the kitchen for half an hour, before he snuck in to «wake me up» with a birthday kiss. I, of course, tried to pretend I had been asleep all the time through his breakfast preparation. Then, after a long day at Uni, Tore picked me up, and gave me the first part of his birthdaygift ; a charcoal grey granite mortar and pestle! It looks just like this:

I can’ wait to try it out, I’ve never cooked with one before…but I’m pretty sure that chicken satay with cashew nut sauce is going to be one of the first recipes I’ll try out.  

The next post on my birthday program was «a surprise» as Tore called it. And it was; he took me to a restaurant we’ve never visited before, even heard of; Jonoe on Vinderen, a japanese restaurant. We both ordered a three course menul (called Bonzai 390), and it was soooo gooooood!!!! I love sushi, but I’ve only tried single bites of nigirisushi or maki rolls, eating a whole japanese-style three course menu is something very different – and an incredible experience for a couple of food-lovers like my boyfriend and me. 

The first dish was Sashimi and ponzu; thin slices of superfresh,buttery soft salmon and halibut, in the most amazing dipping sauce I’ve ever tasted. The combination of the sweet, raw fish and the indescribable taste of ponzu blew us away. I’ve checked up on ponzu on the internet; it’s made of rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, lemon juice and dashi, some kind of japanese stock either made of dried mushroom or kelp. Sound’s like quite a project to re-enact but I’l definitely give it a try in the future (after midterms).

The next dish was «Jonathan shellfish salad» – oh my oh my oh my. – A heavenly mix of seafood; scallops, king crab, scampi, some kind of clam, avokado, chili and sweet soy sauce. I just adored the taste of salty-sweet seafood combined with the nutty flavour of avocado and roasted sesame oil, perfectly balanced by sweet soy sauce. I would’ve licked the plate clean if I hadn’t been in public. Tore even made an attempt to use his chopsticks to wipe up the remaining specks of sauce, that’s how good it was!

The last and more standard dish was a plate with five assorted nigiri (fish on balls of rice), and maki rolls with tempura fish, avocado and chili mayonnese. Again, the fish was wonderfully smooth and fresh, but I really enjoyed the maki rolls; I was so happy that I got the combination of avokado, fish and something sweet again, it really «hit the spot» on my palate. 

All the time during the meal, Tore and I sat and held hands (between the dishes, that is), giggling, ooh’ing and aaahh’ing whilst eating, looking at each other almost bursting with excitement over the meal – our neighbours must have thought we were high on something. We didn’t care, of course. It was so great to have this evening out with Tore after the long time apart and I don’t think I could’ve been more happy. 

Again; if you live in Oslo or come by for a visit, go to Jonoe! It’s not too expensive (hey, two students on a thight budget managed), has super food and the service is impeccable (and the place was stuffed when we were there). Here’s the link : Jonoe

 

 

 

 

 

 

The last post on the «birthday programme» was to see the movie of my choice; Pixar’s Wall-E. It was just as touching, sweet and funny as the critics say, go and see it if you haven’t already! Tore pretended to see it just because I wanted to, but I could tell that he was touched by the cute little robot too. All in all, a wonderful night, and I can hardly wait for the next time. Thank you darling!

Speaking of cashews (satay and cashew sauce, remember?), the reason why I don’t want to make the traditional peanut sauce, is because I’m highly allergic to it. My mouth starts to itch and the tongue and my throat starts swelling. It has never been so bad that I had to go to the ER, but it’s really uncomfortable. What’s weird is that as a kid I could eat peanuts with no problems. I still dream of Snicker-ice cream bars..mmmhh… Tore is a big fan of chili peanuts (peanuts in a chili crust), but kind hearted as he is he tries to just buy and eat them when I’m not at home. He’s also a huge fan of chicken satay with peanut dipping sauce, but I’ve never cooked it for him, of course. Now as I’ve found an alternative recipe with cashews instead, I can hardly wait! 

Speaking of cashews, take two: Yesterday night, after spending a couple of hours at the University (yes, on a Saturday!), I made chicken and cashew wok when I came home – incredibly good. It’s a stayer. 

 

Cashew chicken

I’ll plot down the instructions as soon as possible, in the meanwhile you can check out the inspiration for the dish on this site , Blogchef.

Now I have to get to Uni again ( Yes, on a sunday!), as one midtterm and one final exam are coming up soooon…But I think they’ll turn out fine, I even enjoy studying for them in the weekends. – Drinking uncountable amounts of rooibush tea, with a wonderful view from my desk and the kind of silence you only get on a sunday afternoon – good stuff.

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sept 26 2008

Mac ‘n cheese, my way

Published by under oppskrifter

My take on mac 'n cheese
I’m just going to slot this recipe down before I forget how I did it: None of the measurements are precice, since I didn’t follow any recipe myself, you’ll just have to eyeball it, like I did. 
  • 3-4 cups cooked whole wheat semolina Cellentani pasta (a fancy  tripple-twisted macaroni)
Cellentani whole wheat semolina pasta
  • half an onion, chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2-3 tb butter
  • 2-3 tb flour
  • 1-2 cups of frozen spinach
  • 2-3 cups of milk
  • half a can of ham (Spam!) with 10 % fat
  • 2 tb cream cheese (with spices)
  • as much grated cheese you want to, I added 1/2 cup to the sauce and 1 cup of Jarlsberg on top
  • 1 cup of breadcrumbs
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • nutmeg
  • celeriac salt, if you want to

While the pasta was cooking away in salted water until al’ dente, the oven was heating up to 200 degrees Celcius, and I started to sauté the onion and the garlic to a shiny, translucent state. The blocks of frozen spinach were added to the golden mix, and were left to melt under a lid. Then I drizzled two tablespoons of flour into the green mix, stirred it all together, and started to add the milk gradually while stirring meticoulously, until I had a beautiful, green sauce, not to thick, not to thin. I seasoned it with some celeriac salt, regular salt, freshly ground black pepper, and some grated nutmeg (my favourite!). The only remaining thing to do then was to add the diced ham and cream cheese (which I’ll substitute for another kind of cheese the next time since it didn’t add very much flavour) and some of the grated Jarlsberg, and stir until the cheese had melted. In the meanwhile the pasta was done, so I drained it and rinsed it with cold water to stop it from getting all mushy because we don’t want mushy pasta, do we? (I know an italian guy who throws out freshly cooked spagetthi if it’s just a tad more on the mushy side than on the al’ dente side, but I’m not that extreme. His roommate on the other side, who ate the freshly cooked pasta from the sink, while muttering about the shame of throwing away food, is extreme (but I agree more with him than with the food-wasting guy).- Better to take extra care to not overcook the pasta!).

Ahnywhay (phew!), I folded the pasta into the spinachy Bechamel sauce, poured it into a buttered, ovenproof dish, put cheese and breadcrumbs on top and showed the lot into the oven.  I don’t know how long it stayed there, I took it out when the top started to brown and look nice and crunchy (and indeed it was). Maybe 10-15 minutes? I think my crappy student housing oven should not be trusted to behave how ovens from more «furnished homes» do (I’m sorry Mr. Crap Y. Oven, but it’s true).

Some Dijon mustard would’ve been good I think, and some time in the future I’ll try a version with blue cheese. But for now, I’m very pleased with how my first mac ‘n cheese turned out. Yay!

My mac 'n cheese  My mac 'n cheese

Making this dish reminded me of my all time favourite dinner from my childhood, my mothers german «Nudel auflauf». Its just cooked pasta, with bits of cured ham, sausage (whatever you have on hand), mixed up with beaten eggs and cream, salt and pepper, and then cooked in the oven for about an hour until the egg-mix is starting to set, and the top getting brown and crusty, served with a thick tomato sauce..my mouth is watering from just thinking about it! I need to make it as soon as I’ve recovered from the mac ‘n cheese..mmmmhh!

Oh, and one more thing. Does anyone know why Spam is called Spam? And why are those annoying e-mails, that are offering me pills that will enlarge parts that I don’t even possess, called spam mail? Please enlighten me, someone.

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sept 25 2008

Virgin Mac ‘n cheese

Published by under Meg og mitt liv

 

My take on mac 'n cheese

 

I have a great fascination for traditional American food – lovely BBQ, tex-mex, gumbo, american chinese food.. a few days ago I made Sloppy Joes, today I had my first go at making Mac and cheese!  I didn’t go all the way traditional though, since I wanted to make a slighly more healthy version. But I guess mac ‘n cheese is that kind of dish that every family has their own recipe of, all with sligh alterrations and different kinds of ingrediens.  For my «healthy» version (the amounts of cheese I put into it can never be healthy), I used Barilla’s Cellentani Integrali (whole durum wheat semolina pasta, that is), low fat pork ham (from a can), and – behold – some spinach! I might sound like a funky combo, but it was delicious, I can assure you. My boyfriend ate until he was reduced to a moaning lump on the coach, complaining about his aching tummy and I ate a lot more than my fair share too. More dishes from the American continent to come! (but I won’t limit my cooking to just American food, no worries).

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sept 24 2008

Happy days..with lots’ to do

Published by under Meg og mitt liv

 

I guess you can imagine why I haven’t gotten around to writing the last week – my boyfriend finally got back from Spitzbergen, Svalbard, where he’s been working on his master thesis in biology the last three months. It’s really good to have him back! To spoil him with some good home cooked food I made something I’ve never made before – Beef and Guiness pie. It took me good and well 4 hours since I doubled the recipe, so I didn’t get into bed before 4 in the morning (I started cooking reeaaally late), but I couldn’t sleep from the anticipation anyway. i’ll post the recipe i followed on the recipe page:)

 

Here’s the photo

 

Beef- and Guinness pie

 

 

I even bought some quality import beer from the «Vinmonopolet» – the only store in Norway where you can buy alcoholic beverages with a higher alcohol content than regular beer. The employee who helped me pick out the beer to drink with the pie was really enthusiastic about my «project» and we found a couple of beer brands that she thought would go with the hearty, beefy taste of the pie. Tore loved it, and I was quie pleased with it too. We only got around trying one of the beers (I had bough three different brands) since we fell asleep on the couch right after finishing the heavy meal, and it was the perfect supplement. I look forward to try the two other brands!

While Tore has his «summer vacation» now, I’m really busy with all the stuff I need to get done a he University; I normally get there around 9 am, and the last wo weeks I haven’t been back home before 7 pm.  oh well, my new master student-desk is really nice, and after the 7th of October I’ve finished one of my courses. I’ve also started to work with the chicken, not «my» chicken, but helping some BA-students with a projec that is a mini-version of my masters. The chicken are so amazingly cute, it’s almost hard to consentrate and I have to stop myself from baby-talking to them all the time. I’ll take my trusted camera to Uni tomorrow so that I can share some of that fluffy, yellow delighfulness with you guys soon. 

Besides from finally having my darling back home aka someone to snuggle up to at nigh, sharing laugher and tears with, someone to come to, it’s soo good to have someone to cook for again! I did cook for myself during our months apart but I’ve missed his blessed expression on his face when he’s munching down my – MY! – food so quickly that he can’ talk, just attempting to smile through stuffed cheeks. 

Yesterday night’s meal was a combination of what I had been craving all day at Uni; BBQ-chicken, rataouille and garlic bread! I had made the BBQ-marinade the night before and let the frozen chicken fillets marinade and thaw in the fridge over night, and Tore bought the other ingredients. It’s such a good feeling to finally fulfill a craving, getting the tastecombination you’ve been fantasizing about just right. 

 

BBQ-chicken, ratatouille, garlic bread

 

 

Keeping to «what I’ve cooked this week»-theme; tonight I made a favourite of the boyfriend and I; Sloppy Joes! So easy and so so good ! We ate them with whole-wheat baguettes and a greek salad, so it wasn’t completely unhealthy either. 

 

Sloppy Joe

 

 

Yum!

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sept 14 2008

Tore is coming home..

Published by under Meg og mitt liv

…TOMORROW! I can’t think of anything else, I can hardly wait! I’ll pick him up at the airport at 7 pm, those hours before that are going to be torturous. I hope  I’ll be able to read some articles at Uni before I go to get him. The weekend has been wasted, pretty much. I work part-time as a nurses assistant at a apartment house for the elderly; I think assisted living would be a good translation from norwegian. Most of the residents don’t need much help, maybe just help to take the right medicine, but a few of them need a lot of help, like getting in and out of bed. But the job isn’t as hard physically as in a nursing home, and my co-workers are great. This weekend I did the night shift, both nights; friday-saturday and saturday-sunday.  Normally I cope well with sleep-deprivation, but I’ve had this galloping cold all week and not being able to rest has made it worse. So I made myself my standard heart-warming curry dish, which always helps when I need something hot and satisfying, and when Tore comes home he can nurse me back to perfect health!

 

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sept 10 2008

Veggie overload

Published by under Meg og mitt liv

Yesterday I found myself feeling utterly emaciated with a desperate need to binge, standing in front of a fridge full of lovely vegetables that needed some eating done…result? Three vegetarian dishes for dinner, and I aalmost managed to eat them all! Oh, and I found a new way to eat fresh corn-on-a-knob – with aubergine chutney!

Well, you  can’t really call it a chutney since it doesn’t contain any acid/vinegar, but no other word comes to mind. While the corn knob was bubbling away I just fried up small pieces of aubergine, chili peppers and chinese cabbage, seasoned with salt, pepper and some soy sauce. It was soo good! The combination of that really fresh, sweet, crunchy corn with that buttery soft, savoury aubergine…mmmmhhhh…definitely gonna make this again.

The second dish was the most complicated, not because it’s difficult to make but because it takes some time. Since the corn was going to take some time to cook anyway, and I knew I had some delicious Surimi-sticks in the freezer, I made vietnamese springrolls! See-through, soaked in water, rice paper wrappers, filled with a surimi-stick, glassnoodles, julienned vegetables (squash, cucumber, leek, chinese cabbage, carrots), and plum sauce! Dip : sweet chili sauce, oyster sauce and sesame seeds. Yum! Wikipedia-FAQ: Did you know that crab sticks don’t contain any crab meat? They’re made of white fish, flavoured with crab essence..that’s why they’re called surimi sticks by most manufactorers now, since they’re not allowed to call them crabsticks.

At last, I made approximately the same salad as I had the day before yesterday, so I won’t bother to post a picture of it. When I had finished the corn and the spring rolls I was so full that I wasn’t able to even look at the salad, so I Tupperware’d it and took it to Uni today – hooray for home-made lunch! 

Uni-update; In the lecture about reproductive toxicology I actually managed to ask the lecturer if monks in celibacy «dry up down there»..Not prepared for a whole classroom of very amused collegues laughing their ass..ets off. Think before you speak, think before you speak! Oh well.

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sept 08 2008

Plums, sunflower seeds and my rattie darling

Published by under Meg og mitt liv,Sam

Plums! I love their sweet and juicy flavour, and as they’re in season, I’ve been munching on them every day for a week. I saw a recipe for an upside-down plum cake in one of the newspapers I read every day, but of course I forgot to write it down…To be continued.

Apart from overdosing on plums, I’m addicted to salted sunflower seeds right now. If I start snacking, I can’t stop until my tongue is all sore from the coarse salty coating. Sam loves them too, but I take care to rinse off the salt before I give him the seeds. He’s such a sweetheart,very social; I can’t spend much time in a room where he’s running loose before he comes over and jumps onto my lap or tries to crawl on to my shoulder, giving my ears small rattie-kisses.

I asked my toxicology-professor a question today that I’ve been wondering about for a long time; how do rats react to alcohol? He confirmed my suspicion; they cope with alcohol very well, their metabolism is very effective so they practically can’t get drunk. Which is good, since Sam loves beer. He so cute when he runs over to me, grabs the glass with his small human-like hands and sticks his entire head down the glass and starts leaping like crazy. – It’s a struggle to make him let loose of the beer when I think he has drunk enough!

  

- Sam trying to climb up along my pants.  - «Up, Mommy!»

 »Gimme’ gimme’!»

7 days until Tore comes back home to me!

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sept 07 2008

Good goat cheese lasagna

Published by under oppskrifter

I have fed on this baby lasagna for at least three days, so it should be enough food for 4 people as one meal.

Ingredients

For the tomato-vegetable-meat sauce (a Bolognese with an overload of vegetables):

  • Lots of vegetables, chopped in fairly small pieces :
  • - 1/2 squash (zucchini)
  • - 2-3 carrots, grated
  • - 1/2 aubergine (eggplant)
  • - 1/2 red pepper/capsicum
  • - 1 small onion
  • - 1/4 leek
  • - 5-6 small champignons
  • - 500 gr tinned crushed tomatoes
  • 400 gr minced pork
  • 2-3 tb herbs, I used dried oregano, basil, thyme, parsley, and bay leaves
  • 2-4 cloves of garlic ( I didn’t add any this time, since I’m going out tonight!)
  • 1 tb sweet chili sauce
  • 1 ts Worchestersauce (It’s pronounced «Woostah», did you know ?)
  • salt, freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 dl red wine (I wish! I didn’t have any, but if I had, I would’ve added it)

For the white, cheesy Bechamel sauce:

  • 4-5 dl goat milk
  • 1-2 tb butter (or margarine)
  • 2-3 tb flour
  • as much white, stored goat cheese as you want, I guess I used 8 slices, of the brand Balsfjord
  • nutmeg, pepper and salt for seasoning

How I did it:

I started with the mushrooms, since I like to fry them in a non-stick pan without any oil until they’ve lost most of their water, and then just add a few drops of oil in the last few minutes of frying. I seasoned them with salt and pepper and put them aside on some kitchen paper to dry off excess fat and water.

 <- My idea of perfectly fried champignons

Then I started with the vegetables; I fried onion, leek and capsicum in rape seed (Canola) oil a few minutes. A few minutes later I added the meat, let it brown a bit, and then I added the rest of the vegetables. Turned down the heat, and let the veggiemix simmer for about 15 minutes to make the vegetables loose some of their water. Then I added the canned tomatoes and the other ingredients, and let the thick sauce (it could almost be called a stew) continue to simmer over medium-low heat for at least additional 15 minutes.

In the meantime I got started on the Bechamel sauce. Well, I’ve checked with my dear friends Google and Wikipedia, and I guess you can call it a Mornay sauce by definition, since I added cheese to the Bechamel sauce. Since I followed the standard prosedure for making the sauce, I will not bother to write it down here when there already are good descriptions on «how to» on the net:

Bechamel Sauce recipe

 

I let about 6-8 slices of this beautiful,  well aged, white goat cheese melt into the finished, hot Bechamel sauce, and then added a few moore slices to the top layer of the lasagna. I layered it like this : First white sauce, then lasagna plates, red meat sauce, half the mushrooms, and then the Mornay sauce again, plates, meat sauce and mushrooms again. The top layer consisted of lasagna plates, Mornay sauce and the cheese on the very top…Into the oven for about 30 minutes, let it rest for 10 minutes, and then..I tried to take some delicious-looking pictures before I dived into it, patting myself on the shoulder whilst munching it down.

 

Oh, and I made a salad to eat on the side! Although good-tasting food is good for you, a fresh salad has never killed anyone either. I used a pre-pepared herb salad dressing-mix and drizzled it over grated carrots, leek in thin rings, tomato-cubes, sunflower seeds and minced red capsicum. Crunchy and delicious! A nice balsamic vinager vinaigrette would have been a great substitute for the dressing-mix.

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sept 05 2008

My dog Duxie

Published by under Meg og mitt liv

 I had a flashback to my childhood today at university; a friend brought a dog she’s watching with her to «my» office; a black giant schnauzer female called Wilma. I never had a dog growing up (even though it was all I asked for every Christmas many years in a row), but we used to babysit the dog of a friend of my dad – also a giant schnauzer, a female called Duxie. I think we had her almost every other weekend and most of the school breaks and holidays, and during those three years she became a very loved family member. She had no dicipline since her owner really didn’t have any time to train and take proper care of her (he’s a taxi driver), but we were happy since she got to come to us quite frequently. She would jump up and place her big paws on your chest in order to lick your face; I’ve never been afraid of big excited dogs and I can thank Duxie for that. Somehow she thought she was a lap dog; you couldn’t sit in a couch for 5 minutes before she came over to you and tried to climb onto your lap. Her favourite trick was to sink her fluffy beard in her water bowl and then place her big head (and now dripping wet beard) on your knee. I still miss her, and some day I’ll get a big jumpy dog myself. I took some pictures of Wilma; Duxie didn’t look much like her; she was more athletic and had longer legs, but they’re the same breed. I don’t have any pictures of Duxie in digital, but here are some of Wilma. She’s such a sweetheart, it didn’t take her long time to accept my knee as a head-rest platform.

      Wilma

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