Archive for april, 2010

apr 27 2010

R.I.P. Benny

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Benny died last Friday. One minute he was running around happily as always, the next moment we found him dead on the floor – less than ten minutes since the last time we saw him alive. It probably was a heart failure, I really can’t explain his sudden death any other way. There’s a small comfort in that it happened really fast and that he was old, but I miss him so much. My little darling, the gentlest and nicest little rat I’ve ever met. He was so thin and timid when Mr.T brought him home sometime last fall, so afraid of hands and getting picked up.  But then he got used to us and became the most trusting and gentle little rat, always licking my fingertips and ready for a cuddle.
Now it seems like Gunnar will follow in his path soon, his pneumonia just isn’t getting better, despite the heavy antibiotics. I wish rats would live forever, they live such short lives!

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apr 14 2010

Bondi vet

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OMG, I accidentily watced an episode of Bondi Vet today. I say accidentily because I know I’m not supposed to watch series like that because series about veterinary clinics carry a pretty high risk of featuring animals that..are hurt. Of course today’s episode did. A tiny wire haired white terrier that had been run over by a car, because some idiot had let her off her leash in order to steal the leash (!). And then when she had gotten emergency care and was stabilized, her owner came, and even though the severe head trauma had rendered her blind, she recognized him by his smell and tried to sit up and lick his hand..and then they X-rayed her and found severe fractures in her lower spine and had to put her to sleep! Needless to say; I bawled like a baby!  I need to stop watching stuff like that. I had to go to www.dailypuppy.com to soothe my nerves. Little Henry the Norfolk terrier here made my mood better :

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apr 09 2010

Friday! Hit me with your best shot!

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httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hTdMJuu9qYg

I love Pat Benatar and I LOVE this song. It makes me dance and jump around the living room like a monkey on speed. And chest bump Tore. It wasn’t a pretty sight but we giggled until we had to sit down to catch our breaths. Welcome to dork town!

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apr 09 2010

Polenta w/ Caramellized Onions

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This is pure comfort food. Creamy polenta with sweet sweet onions caramellized in their own juices. The polenta takes about an hour to cook, and that’s about as long as I let the onions sizzle slowly in the pan. Towards the end of their cook time I added a glob of full fat dairy butter and some dried sage. Heavenly! This is simple Italian food at its best. Slow cooked and full of flavor. Although I quite liked pretending to be an Italian house wife stirring that pot for ever and ever I got bored after a while (say, 5 minutes ?)  so I made a batch of thick tomato sauce too – it was a reeeaaallyyy nice addition to my second serving of polenta along side the onions.
I think I could eat this every day.

Polenta recipe

Ingredients

  • 1,25 liters of water/ about 5,2 US cups
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • 300 grams coarse corn meal (coarse is best, trust me)
Bring the water to a boil, add the salt, then add the corn meal by drizzling it into the boiling water little by little whilst stirring the whole time. You want to add the corn meal carefully and not to fast, as you don’t want to stop the water from boiling, in order to avoid a lumpy polenta. And you don’t want a lumpy polenta. No sirree, lumpy polentas are the worst. After you’ve successfully added all the corn meal to the water you want to make yourself comfortable and stir that pot for 45 minutes to an hour, never leaving your spot in front of the pot. Na, I’m just kidding. In the beginning you’ll need to stir constantly but when you see that the polenta is starting to thicken you’ll only need to stir every 10 minutes or so. You know it’s finished when it reaches a thick porridge like consistency and the corn grits have a kind of jelly like feel to them. The long cooking time brings out all the starch from the maize and makes them gelatinous. Which is what you want. The jellyness of the corn is what gives the polenta the silky creamy texture that makes my toes curl with joy. Some use half milk-half water instead of just water, and some add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil or butter to the cooking liquid. I didn’t do either, but I’m sure it’s delicious. Now, you can either pour the hopefully lump-less polenta on to a serving platter and dig in, or you can pour it into a pan, let it cool, then slice it into wedges and fry them in sage infused browned butter. YUM! I have to do that sometime. Or you can layer a meaty thick bolognese sauce between slices of polenta, kinda like a lasagna. I gotta do that sometime too. And the best thing is, polenta keeps forever! This makes  for a pretty big portion, which is good since you’ve used an hour of your precious time preparing it, and if you put the leftovers in your fridge they’ll keep for a week, at the least. I wouldn’t know, since we ate it all over the course of a weekend. Whatever you choose to do, make the caramellized onions to serve on top of the polenta!

Caramellized Onions in Sage Butter

Ingredients

  • 5 medium sized yellow onions (the smaller the better), slized as thin as possible
  • 2 tablespoons of neutral cooking oil, I use rape seed oil
  • 1 tablespoon of salted dairy butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage or a couple of fresh sage leaves
Heat the oil in a cast iron skillet or a nonstick pan, add all the onions, the salt and sugar, stir it all around a bit, turn the heat down to medium-low and let the onions sizzle away for as long it takes to cook your polenta, about 45 minutes. You don’t need the sugar really, since the onions are naturally sweet, I’ve just found that adding the tiny amount of sugar «starts them off» in caramellizing. Don’t let the onions brown too much, they should just collapse and turn golden, not burnt at all. After 30 minutes add the butter and sage, and turn down the heat even more.The aroma in your kitchen at this moment is incredible! I want to marry that smell, if marrying a smell was possible, that is. Okay, maybe not marry, but at least have a summer romance with it. It’s THAT delicious.

Gloopy thick red tomato sauce

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 4 desiliters milk
  • 5 tablespoons or more of tomato puré
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon salt
  • ground black pepper
  • a pinch of crushed dried chili pepper or a pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon  Heinz tomato ketchup
  • dried herbs of your choice, I used dried thyme, oregano, basil and marjoram
  • Either fresh chopped onions and garlic or dried powder. Either is fine.
Start off by making a bechamél sauce; melt the butter in a casserolle, add the flour, let it cook for a little while until you have lump of dough, add a splash of milk, let it cook for a while, add another splash of milk, let it cook, more milk..you see the pattern ? You’ll  either need a good whisk or a big wooden spoon, I prefer the latter, for some reason I cannot express. I use medium-high heat because it’s quicker, but you might want to use medium-low temp if you haven’t made a bechamél sauce before. The foundation for a lump-less sauce is made in the first few splashes of milk; if you manage to stir the butter-flour-milk mix to a smooth batter between each addition of milk, you won’t get lumps in your sauce, period. When you’ve added all the milk turn the heat down low, and let it simmer for at least 5 minutes to cook off the flour taste. Then you can add the other stuff; tomatopuré, spices, ketchup and dried herbs. I can’t really tell exactly how much tomato pureé I added, I have to taste the sauce several times and check it’s colour; it’s supposed to be a warm tomatoey red, pretty much like in the picture. Oh ! If you have onion and garlic powder, add that too. They’re nice. Of course you could add fresh onion and garlic at the beginning with the butter, but that takes some extra effort and since you’re already using tomato purée instead of fresh tomatoes I don’t think it matters too much if you use the dried stuff. This sauce is delicious spooned over your fresh polenta, or even over pasta or as a pizza sauce. It has a different flavour than tomato sauces made purely from fresh tomatoes and garlic, they’re two completely different things. For a hearty dish like polenta I luuurv this kind of tomato sauce. Or over fried slices of aubergine. Or zucchini spagetti. or…I think I need to stop right now. Too much salivating can’t be good for me.

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apr 08 2010

Fishy

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Whenever I go shopping in one of the Asian supermarkets downtown, I always end up buying some kind of snack that I haven’t had before – my tastebuds were curious as always. This time around, I ended up getting two kinds of fishy tasting snacks; Spicy Prawn Crackers, and Tempura Seaweed. The prawn crackers were delicious, they have a spicy flavour with that hint of seafood that I’ve come to love. The Tempura Seaweed was good too, but I prefer the Wasabi Seaweed snack that I tried last time to it.

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apr 07 2010

Terteskjell

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In the spirit of Easter and fresh herbs I made an old fashioned Norwegian speciality – Terteskjell. Savoury pastry shells – they’re flaky buttery delicious – are filled with a super thick bechamél sauce that is propped full of sea food goodies : in this case; tiny prawns and cubes of fish pudding. Oh, fish pudding. That’s a whole post in itself. Think meatloaf, only with white fish and heavy cream and eggs instead of meat. I’ll get back to it. Additional goodies : baby carrots and petit pois (baby peas), some finely chopped shallots, fresh lemon juice and loads of chopped dill herb. I love dill herb. And fresh lemon juice.

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apr 06 2010

The Nightworker’s Breakfast

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I worked the evening shift at the assisted living centre this Sunday, when the person who was signed up for the night shift didn’t show up. No notice, and not answering her phone…The good coworker that I am, I volunteered to do a double shift. I knew that my colleague has a small girl waiting for her at home, and that if I’d refuse to do it, our boss’d would  call and demand from one my other colleagues to come in for work – at 10 a.m.! Truth to be told, it wasn’t entirely out of the goodness of my heart, due to Easter I got 133% on top of the already decent night shift salary, so it really paid off. When I got home at nine in the morning after 17 hours continuous work, I first collapsed into a unrestful sleep, before I forced myself to get up at one a.m. in order to not shift my sleep rythm too much. And what’s the best way to reward a tired mind and body ? A warming soup, miso soup to be more precise! This is the first time I’ve made miso soup, and boy was it easy. It was just a matter of cooking the veggies – scallions, young broccoli, yellow bell pepper, onion, dried sea weed – in the miso broth, lightly searing the tofu in oil and soy sauce, and adjusting the taste with more soy sauce, some sesame oil and chinese rice vinegar . Oh, and I had some lemon grass and kaffir lime leaves at hand that I dumped into the broth too, and they gave a wonderful, though not entirely authentic, aromatic flavour.

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apr 06 2010

Fredrik & Alf compete for the good shelf

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This video just cracks me up. Fredrik the big, white one has claimed the «best» part of our book case, for some reason all the rats love to hang out and take their midday nap inside this particular shelf.  Alfie really wants to get some shelf time too, but Fredrik has decided that he and only he will be allowed on that special place. Mr. T filmed the epic battle for the shelf.

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apr 01 2010

Mmmmmung bean sprouts

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The sieve method works wonderfully with M-to-the-ung beans too! They were seared in sesame oil along with garlic and ginger, and got company from rice wine vinegar, some soy sauce and sesame seeds. Stir fried goodness.
This picture just speaks out EXUBERANT to me. Don’t ask me why.

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