okt 22 2009

Back from holiday, two new family members!

Published by under Alf&Benny,Meg og mitt liv

- Not in that order, though.  Whilst spending a couple of rainy July weeks in the south of Norway, a friend of Tore gave us his two rats, Hud and Sapiens. Hud means skin in Norwegian. He felt he didn’t have time for them and had lost interest in them. I just couldn’t turn them down, two adorable dumbo’s with characteristic ear shape. The first thing we did was to re-name them Alfred and Benjamin, aka Alf and Benny. Or Bonny and Aaalfiii! Or Silkepus and Skrållan. What can I say;  they deserve every nickname. They were a bit timid at first, scared of being picked up and are still afraid of hands, but they’ve become incredibly trusting and seek contact with me whenever they’re outside the cage. Luckily the introduction with our two other guys went well, there was some squarreling and fighting during the night, but now they all sleep together in one big ratpile.

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jun 23 2009

Whole wheat chicken calzone

Published by under Meg og mitt liv

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I made these calzones when I actually was craving empanadas but didn’t want to be working with puffpastry, so I made an empanadas-inspired filling, wrapped in a somewhat healthier calzone dough made with whole wheat flour. I found a nice recipe for the dough on Newyorkerbyheart’s blog, tweaked it by replacing some of the flour with whole wheat flour, and made «my own» filling of minced chicken meat, tomato sauce, peppers, olives and eggs.

Whole wheat chicken calzone recipe

(metric scale) (TB = tablespoon, ts = teaspoon)

Dough

1 package of dry yeast (equivalent to 50 grams of active yeast)

6 dl luke-warm water

1- 1 1/2 TB olive oil

2 ts coarse sea salt

400 grams whole wheat flour

400 grams regular, all-purpose flour

2 TB dried oregano

pinch of sugar

Filling

500 grams minced chicken meat/pork/beef/whatever.

1 can/400 grams chopped tomatoes (or fresh, ripe, tomatoes)

1 big onion, chopped

2 carrots, grated

2-3 TB tomato purée

4-3 cloves of garlic, minced

pinch of sugar, or dash of sweet chili sauce

salt, pepper

1 green capsicum/ bell pepper, chopped

3 hardboiled eggs

2 dl (1 cup) green pimento olives

some dried red chili’s , to taste

dried herbs; oregano, basil, thyme, etc.

1 – 2 ts Worchestersauce

Instructions

  1. Start off with making the dough; sift together the dry stuff (flours, salt, dry yeast, salt, sugar). Add olive oil and luke-warm water (not warmer than 37° C!), mix, knead, and add additional flour until you have nice dough. Let rise until it had doubled in size.
  2. Make filling: sauté onions, carrots and bell pepper  a few minutes until they’re shiny, add garlic, fry til fragrant, then add the minced meat. Sauté for 3-4 minutes until the meat begins to change colour, then add the tomatoes, the tomato puré and let simmer on medium heat until the vegetables are soft and the sauce thickens. Season to taste (salt, pepper, chili, herbs, sugar/sweet chili sauce, Worchester sauce).
  3. Let the filling cool while you hard boil the eggs, and chop the olives. Chop the eggs, and add them and the olives to the rest of the filling.
  4. Separate the dough into 6-8 parts, roll out to thin, pizza shaped loaves. Add 3-4 TB filling to one half of the circle, put some water or raw egg along the edge, and fold the other circle-half over. Press toghether halves thightly, either by creasing the edge or by pressing  a fork down along the edge. Brush the surface of the calzones with a raw egg, bake in the oven at 10-15 minutes, 225°C.

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jun 18 2009

Fridjof

Published by under Meg og mitt liv

- a tame magpie that we rescued from starvation and the numerous dogs that run loose through campus were we found him, bobbing along on the lawn, lethargic and dizzy. He learnt how to be fed from human fingers in a couple of hours, and soon started to gain weight…now he’s about 5 weeks old (we’ve had him about 3 weeks), very tame, constantly hungry, flies around in the house and begs for food and/or attention ALL THE TIME. He does this by either; 1)  jumping on to your head/shoulder/the hand you’re typing with, whilst 2) shrieking straight into your ear or 3) pecking/pinching at the places on your body were it hurts the most (the skin between your fingers, on your temples, earlobes, etc). So we make him fly around  outside  to let out some steam, he’ll peck at the window when he wants to come in, and if I can’t see him when I want him to come home, I just have to call his name – if he isn’t too far away to hear me calling he’ll fly over to me immediately (whilst screaching furiously. It warms a mothers heart). We hope that he’ll be able to tend for himself by the end of the summer.

Our tame magpie Fridjof

We’ve fitted some sticks on the top of our wardrobe for him to perch/jump around on, with lots of newspapers on the floor to catch his  poop. By now we’ve been relatively lucky; he hasn’t done any considerable damage to furniture, but let’s just say that we cover up our white sofa with blankets and towels just to be safe. He is a flying poop-machine, afterall.

Our tame magpie Fridjof

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jun 18 2009

Sloppy sushi

Published by under Meg og mitt liv

Typical. Of all the times I’ve made sushi, the first time I have a camera at hand, my rice turns out too loose, and the sushi got really sloppy. It was delicious as always, but I’m not too pleased with the pictures. But I’ll post them anyway, I’ll just have to give to photoproof from the next sushi dinner that I CAN in fact do better.

Sloppy sushi

I looooveee sushi. Salmon is my favourite; with avocado, cucumber, and a crazy, totally not authentic mayo-scallion-srirachasauce-mix. It adds just a hint of creaminess, spicyness and crunchiness that I adore, and frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn if it’s not authentic.  My next food project will be to make my own pickled ginger because in the store a tiny less-than-a-cup-sized-jar of ginger costs outrageous 20 Kroner! (~ 4 dollars!).  The fact that my boyfriend can’t help himself from munching the pickled ginger as a snack sans the sushi, makes it too expensive to not try and make it myself.

Sloppy sushi

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jun 17 2009

Rhubarb muffins

Published by under Meg og mitt liv

Rhubarb youghurt muffin

At the last family gathering (my fathers side of the family is big on getting together for every birthday, holidays, etc.), my aunt and uncle brought a lot of rhubarb from their own garden. I spontanously said I would like some but when I got home I was really insecure about what to do with all those long red stalks. So they ended in the fridge, and there they  stayed, for many days, making me feel guilty every time I opened the fridge without taking them out. «Eat us before we go bad!» they said. The problem is, I’ve never made anything with rhubarb before, and growing up I mostly just ate them raw, dipped in sugar.  I remember that sweet sour taste that made my lips pucker up and my teeth hurt from all the sugar I dipped the stalks in. I did have a rhubarb crumble once, which was absolutely delicious, but I just wasn’t feeling it. Okay, true to be told, I didn’t feel like cleaning up after dirtying a whole pan. But then! Disposable paper cups for muffins/cupcakes came to my mind. You know, the ones that you JUST THROW AWAY AFTER USE. I normally am a big fan of recycling, living green, eating organic, all that stuff, but sometimes..in order to get a ‘chore’ done it’s just easier if you can use a disposable whatever (cleaning whipes, paper towels, paper muffin cups..). So, with a tad more baking inspiration at hand (can you tell that I’m not super-into baking?), I found a lovely rhubarb muffin recipe over at Closet Cooking, a really nice food blog that has been on my RSS-feed for a couple of months now. The muffins turned out great, very moist, and kept for a long time in the fridge (my sweet tooth is dormant at the moment, only craving fruit). I liked how the recipe incorporated some healthy elements, like rolled oats, whole wheat flour and youghurt.  I’ll write up the recipe (with permission from Kevin, of course!) with the original measurements and my tweaks on the recipe in italics. For Scandinavians/metric system users: 1 cup is approximately 2,4 dL. I just used a regular coffeecup, that worked out fine.

Rhubarb youghurt muffins

Rhubarb Muffins

(makes 12 big muffins)

Ingredients:
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup ~ I omitted this since I didn’t have it, replaced it with some more youghurt
3/4 cup vanilla yogurt
1 over ripe banana (mashed)
1/4 cup butter (melted)
1 egg
3/4 cup rolled oats
1 cup flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda ~ I’ve never found baking soda in the store, I used 1/2 teaspoon extra baking powder
1/4 teaspoon cardamom (ground) ~ I used cinnamon instead
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups rhubarb (chopped) ~ I used 2,5 cups rhubarb – and managed to use up all of my rhubarb! Approximately ten stalks of rhubarb, that is.

Directions:
1. Mix the brown sugar, maple syrup, yogurt, banana, butter, egg and rolled oats in a bowl and let it sit for 10 minutes.
2. Mix the flours, baking powder, baking soda, cardamom and salt in a bowl.
3. Mix the wet and dry ingredients along with the rhubarb until just mixed.
4. Spoon the mixture into a greased muffin pan.
5. Bake in a preheated 375F (~ 180 degrees Celcius) oven until a toothpick pushed into the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 20 minutes.

The original recipe is found here.

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jun 16 2009

Back to bloggin, Part III: Salmon with sesame seed crust

Published by under Meg og mitt liv

Salmon with sesame seed crust

Usually when I make fish, I go for a quick and simple thai stew version, but this time I craved something more elaborate. I love fried food (who doesn’t ? ) but I hate the deep frying, I’m even apprehensive towards pan-frying. My imagination has a mind of its own, and whenever I’m around dangerous things I picture myself doing the exact opposite of what is safe. Like when I’m frying food in lots of hot oil, I get these images in my mind where I suddenly pick up the pan with mentioned hot oil, flip it and pour it all over myself. I would never do such a thing, I have some self-restraint afterall, but the pictures in my head are quite disturbing and hard to get rid of, so I tend to avoid situations that cause my imagination to go crazy.  So in order to get that lovely crust that comes from deep frying, I searched the net and came up with the idea of making a crust of sesame seeds. It’s really simple, and was a lot less hassle than I thought, except for the few extra dishes to clean afterwards. Here goes:

Salmon with sesame seed crust

Ingredients

  • Salmon fillets, without bones and skin
  • 1-2 cups of raw sesame seeds
  • 1-2 cups of flour
  • 2-3 eggs, beaten
  • Rapeseed oil
  • salt, pepper

Pat the fish fillets dry. Put the eggs, flour and sesame seeds in three separate dishes. Salt and pepper the fish, then dip it in the flour first, make sure to shake of excess flour. Then dip it in the beaten eggs, let drip off a bit, then put the fillets in the dish with sesame seeds, make sure to  cover the fish completely with the seeds. Fry in 1-2 tablespoons of oil at medium low heat for 3-4 minutes on each side, until the sesame seeds start to brown and the fish is cooked to your liking. I like mine almost raw in the middle rather than dry.

For a starchy side dish I cooked 3 small sweet potatoes and 5-6 of tiny fresh almond potatoes with 3-4 cloves of garlic in well salted water until everything was soft. I then mashed up the vegetables with one  fresh clove of garlic, a tablespoon of fresh, grated ginger and a few heaped tablespoons of butter, plus salt and pepper.

To healthy up dinner even further I chopped and sauteed  some vegetables I had in the fridge; red onions, thinly sliced carrots, and a red pepper/capsicum, salted and peppered it, and added a tiny splash of sweet chili sauce to bring out that extra sweetness of the veggies and to complement the sweet potatoes.

I really loved the sesame seed crust on the salmon, and the side courses were wonderful –  this is not the last time I make this! I think it might even be good for entertaining, just look how beautiful it is!

Salmon with sesame seed crust

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mai 24 2009

AWESOME pasta salad

I’ve always thought of pasta salads as a kinda cheesy, 90ties dish with too much mayo and too much starch for my liking. I prefer all-greens salads, but this other day I need to find something to serve as a side to hamburgers. So I googles «hamburger side dish» and I got a lot of suggestions for pasta salad. Scouting around in the food blog world I picked up tips here and there, and combined lots of different recipes to make this one, specially tweaked for my preferences and to what I had in my fridge and pantry. No pictures this time, but I’m sure I’ll make it over and over again during the summer time so you’ll see pictures of it eventually..soo easy, so flavourful, and full of crunchy delicious vegetables. It’s quite healthy too, since you don’t use a heavy dairy-based dressing, the proteinshare is covered by legumes, lots of colorful vegetables (which contain the most antioxidants, as you may know) and wholegrain pasta to lower the GI-value/less carbohydrates. I love dishes that keep well in the fridge and are good for bringing to lunch the next day, and bringing home made lunch versus buying in the cantina is a good way to save some money too.

Here goes:
1. Heat up generously salted water for your pasta; I used about 250 grams whole wheat elbow macaroni, you use whatever you want.

2. Make vinaigrette: Whisk 42 tb Dijonmustard with 3-4 tb white wine vinegar, then add extra virgin olive oil in a thin drizzle while stirring, until it emulsifies and reaches the consistency you prefer. Season with salt and pepper, and something sweet – sugar, honey, agave nectar or sweet chili sauce, like I did. I loved the little sting of heat from the chilis. Add fresh herbs if have them on hand, I didn’t, but herbs always add something to a salad, I think. Parsley, or maybe basil would’ve been nice. Add in a couple of tablespoons (or rather 1/2 cup) of finely diced onions (I think red would be good, but the yellow ones I used worked well too) and some salty capers.

3. Start chopping your vegetables :
- peel and finely slice one big carrot
- chop one red and one green bell pepper/capsicum
- cube 2 ripe tomatoes
- open a can of corn and one can of beans of your choice (I used a mix of kidney beans, brown beans and pinto beans)

4. Cook the pasta until just al dente. Drain it, run it quickly under cold water to stop the cooking process, then mix thoroughly with the vinaigrette dressing. Let soak for a bit if you have the time, or add the vegetables immediately, and serve. I loved this salad the same day I made it, but the day after it was wonderful, with that great savoury, tangy dressing soaked up by the pasta and vegetables. Tomorrow I’ll bring the leftovers for lunch. Can’t wait to have more of it!

 

Wonderful cherry tomatoes

- Gloooriooouuss cherry tomatoes from last autumn, too bad I didn’t get any of this quality for the salad.

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apr 28 2009

I’ll have my fish raw, please

Published by under Meg og mitt liv

I’ve had an insane craving for sushi the last month. Last week we got some okay, but slightly dissapointing (tiny!) maki rolls at the neighbourhood takeaway sushi, but that did only make my cravings bigger. Last night I came home early from Uni, completely emaciated since I wanted to get really hungry before dinner, which of course resulted in a totally stupid argument with Tore over something I don’t really remember. After some angry «I don’t even want sushi for dinner tonight!», we made up, and he apologized with a «Can I have some sushi too? «. Of course he could. I couldn’t have, even if I’d tried, manage to eat all the sushi myself. I boiled up 2 cups of sushi rice and made 3 giant maki rolls (rice on the outside) with salmon, spring onions, avocado, cucumber and shrimps. I mixed the shrimps with majonese and Sriracha sauce because I just love that spicy (though not completely authentic) flavour. I was so excited about managing the inside-out rolls (toasted sesame seeds and plastic cling film essential), and so hungry, that we just stood there at the kitchen counter and ate them immediately as  I made them. Yuummmyyy! Sadly, I haven’t gotten around to fix my camera yet, so I have to make sushi again for you to see when it’s fixed..

I found something slightly confusing though, when I was checking the internet for what kind of fish I should use. The Norwegian Fishing Ministry recommends to only use fish that has been frozen at -20° Celsius for at least 24 hours, while at other sites I read about «Sashimi-grade fish», by which I think they meant really fresh fish. But freshness doesn’t guarantee you a fish without parasites, round worms, which is the real issue of concern. All fish have parasites to some degree; fish living in brackish, still-water have more of them (should not be eaten raw) while sea fish and especially farmed salmon have few, or none. Anyway, I didn’t want to take any chances, so I went with a couple of frozen salmon fillets. I sliced them while they were still a bit frozen, which made it easy to get really thin slices. 

As satisfying the sushi yesterday was, today I still had a craving for more sushi, or at least more raw fish. So I decided to make Vietnamese spring rolls with salmon ceviché and shrimps. I soaked the rice paper wrappers in hot water as always, but as a twist I marinated the salmon  in lemon juice, soy sauce, grated ginger and garlic, some salt and sugar, and a tiny drizzle of sesame oil. I wrapped the salmon with shrimps, julienned cucumber and carrot, diced spring onion, sesame seeds, and some slices of pickled ginger. Divine!

Here’s a pic from another time I made Vietnamese spring rolls: 

 

Vietnamese spring rolls

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apr 21 2009

Visiting Oma

Published by under Meg og mitt liv

Most Norwegians try to go to skiing in the mountains during the Easter holiday, cabintrips, etc., this year I went to visit my grandmother (Oma) in Germany. Instead of snow and cold, I got sun and almost summer-like temperatures. Going from grey, snowy, not cold/not warm Oslo to the little village she lives in felt like fast-forwarding from one season to another; her garden was blooming with tulips and crocuses and daffodils, the bees and bumblebees were humming around like it had never been winter, and the little birds that she feeds every day with homemade (!) bird food wake me up every morning with beautiful song and I wasn’t even annoyed by having to get up at 7.30 am during my vacation. The simple reason for that was the fantastic everyday-breakfast; the smell of freshly made toasted bread and coffee was too good to sleep in to. And the dinners! Oh my, I got everything I’ve craved since my last visit and more; memory-laden comfort food.

German gourmet food
- Seidewürstle (some kind of delicious wiener hot dog), brown vinegar lentils, Spätzle (German speciality, think noodles) and a locally brewed pilsener. Yum! I’m going to make my mother teach me how to make Spätzle, but it’s hard, it requires a special cutting board and knife, and a loot of patience.
German gourmet food
Sausagesalad with ham, pickles and that wonderful black sausage from the Saturday farmers market, plus a slice of delicious sour dough stone oven potato bread. I just can’t get the ingredients for this dish home in Norway, we’re lightyears away from the selection and abundancy of different food types that you can get in other countries. It sucks!In this little village there’s a farmers market EVERY Saturday, in Oslo there’s one every couple of months, half the size of the one in Nagold.
Except from eating, reading non-scientific books (the luxury!), napping, smelling the flowers and sunbathing in the garden, we went to Wilhelma, the zoo in Stuttgart I’ve talked about before in this blog. We came just in time to see the Magnolia trees blossoming, and what a sight that was – breathtakingly beautiful. I love the fact that this zoo not only focuses on the animals, but also spends a lot of resources on the botanical part of the zoo. I took like a million pictures with my mothers camera (mine is still broken), here’s a few of them:
Wilhelma zoo
Wilhelma zoo
Wilhelma zoo
- I just adore those big and lucious, light pink magnolia blossoms.
Wilhelma zoo Wilhelma zoo
- Three of my favourites: Wilbär and his polarbearmama, and the Cuban tree rat.
I came home with recharged sleep – and energystorages, a suitcase filled with smoked dried sausages, chocolate, whisky, and what one theoretically could call  a tan (increased amount of freckles); I call that A Good Vacation!

 

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apr 18 2009

A Wonderful Friday

Published by under Meg og mitt liv

A wonderful Friday (freeday!):

8.00 a.m. – 12.00 am : Breakfast with Sam, reading some articles, a shower, getting back into bed to snuggle just a few moments more with «the very sick boyfriend» (read: he has the manflu). Decided to break in my trusted two-wheeler and cycle to Uni to meet Marte for lunch.

12.30 p.m – 13.30 p.m : lunch in the cantina – left over homemade chicken soup with tortellini – and catching up with gossip.

13.30 p.m. – 15.30 p.m. : having ice cream in the herb garden in front of the biology building with three girlfriends, enjoying the sun, getting a slight sunburn on the tip of my nose, trying to identify various bugs passing by, chatting about everything from funny shaped penises to international politics and just procrastinating with almost no guilty feelings – it IS Friday, afterall.

15.30 p.m. – 17.00 p.m. :  reading some more articles, working with the essay a bit, but mostly gazing out the window  at the lovely spring weather.

17.00 p.m. – 17.30 pm : Biking down Bogstadveien (shopping street) – smiley faces sitting at sidewalk restaurants having their first outside-beer of the year - to get to the Litterature House (Litteraturhuset). Met up with a couple of friends, had my first shrimpsandwhich of the year (slice of white bread, a small mountain of cold-water shrimp, lemon, mayo and a green salad),

Se bildet i full størrelse

 

 and then attended the lecture «Is Darwinism past its ‘sell-by’ date ?» by the famous biology philosopher David Reuse. Very entertaining, funny AND interesting; mixed with my overall admiration for this guys’ genius, plus a sprinkle of exciting (read: crazy) Creationist interrupting the lecture by running up the aisle screaming «REFERENCES, I WANT REFERENCES!». He was briskly shown back to his seat with the notion to hold his questions till the end of the lecture, upon which he then mumbled an extremely incoherent something something none of the audience understood. So much bravado during the lecture but then when he was offered the microphone he wasn’t able to present his opinion in a proper way.  Oh well, as Mr. Ruse put it; «We’ll just have to agree to disagree».

19.30 p.m. – 20.15 p.m. : biking back up the hill with big-A…

20.15 pm – 23.3o p.m.: …to get to the lovely student pub the Amateur (Amatøren) to attend a concert of a great, great jazz band called ‘Made In Corea’. They play cover versions of songs written by the famous jazz pianist/composer Chick Corea. Being a piano-less band they compensate with guitar and vibraphone. I really enjoyed myself; the music, my mood, the atmossphere, the people I was with, even the red wine I was drinking was perfect. – A wonderful end to a wonderful day.

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