jan 18 2012

Rat sketch

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nov 28 2010

I aten’t dead yet

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I’ve been in a master thesis bubble and still not out of it yet, but soon! Then I will return, maybe change the language of this blog to Norwegian, change the focus, I don’t know yet. Stay tuned!

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mai 16 2010

Adobo chicken

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My first attempt at Phillipine cuisine, Adobo chicken to be more precise. Delicious and so easy! I’d forgotten to take the chicken thighs out of the freezer, was starving and in an «oh what the heck»-mood, so I just dumped the frozen chicken straight into the adobo sauce, put a lid on the frying pan and let the chicken simmer slowly on medium low heat for about an hour. They turned out delicious and juicy, impossible to tell that they weren’t «thawed overnight in the fridge» like the food magazines tell us is the proper way. I think it’s the preparation – the fact that the chicken is cooked in a flavorful liquid – is what prevents it from drying out. Cooked on its own in the oven would not work with frozen chicken, I think. Not with chicken fillets/breasts either. Too dry. Need that subcutaneous fat  - the one that makes the skin on the drumsticks  so crispy and nice – that makes the dark chicken meat so juicy and yummy. Fat = flavour.

Here’s how the pan looked :

I could drink that sauce with a straw. No, actually, I couldn’t. Too salty. But it was good. Slighlty acidic, savoury, salty, spicy. You can find the recipe over at Ivory Hut.

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mai 14 2010

First attempt at making choux pastry!

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Choux pastry is a kind of pastry dough that is made with only butter. water. flour and eggs. The dough can be used to make a range of different pastries like eclairs, beignets, profiteroles and many more.  Choux is considered somewhat tricky to make since it uses no rising agent, only depending on the eggs and a high moisture content in order to let the steam puff up the baked goods. I chose to make a savoury version; chili cheese puffs! I added goodies like sriracha sauce, parmesan cheese and onion powder to the dough. They were delicious! So light and airy yet so flavourful. The next time I make choux I’ll use it for making eclairs filled with strawberry cream and with a dark chocolate crust..I think. Hmmm…..Maybe I’ll make some for the 17th of May party I’m going to on Monday.
Something completely different : We’ve increased our little zoo by one member – again! On Sunday two weeks ago Mr.T and I found a zebra finch flying around just outside our apartment. It’s an exotic bird and doesn’t belong in the Norwegian nature, but they’re kept as pets, so it must have «ran away from home». The bird (which we’ve found out to be a small female) was quite easy to catch, she probably was tired after her outside adventure. I’ve borrowed a cage from a friend, put up Found-posters all over the neighbourhood and temporarily named her Frk Frantzen (Miss Frantzen) after a beautiful Odd Nordstoga song. Since my camera is still in Bø where I left it, I haven’t been able to take any pictures of our little fosterbird, but she looks somewhat like this :
She’s become surprisingly tame in these two short weeks, is easy to catch after her daily fly-about in our living room, and seems to enjoy cuddles – she’ll arch and crane her neck to let us know where she wants to be scratched, and closes her eyes. Internet claims zebra finches are not interested in human contact, but this little girl sure is! It’s obvious that she craves attention and companionship, I hope her owner claims her soon. I don’t think we’ll keep her if we don’t find her owner, but a couple of our friends have already shown interest in her. Although…I’m starting to grow fond of her, like I do with most animals around me, but then I’d have to buy a huge cage and at least another finch to keep her company and and…well, if you check youtube for zebra finch singing you’ll probably discover what we did; their song is not particularly pleasant. It sounds more like a frog or a duck with a cold than a song bird. Mr. T is getting quite annoyed with her, whilst I think she’s somewhat charming. It’s nice to get a «Miip! Miip!» as response everytime I coo her name in a high tone of voice.

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mai 03 2010

Rusty – a Cinderella story

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Last weekend Mr. T, my girlfriend N, her Mr. T (both guys have the same name) and I went to N’s home town Bø that is located in the middle of Norway in the country were we baby sat her parents chickens, went to an awesome Jaga Jazzist concert (a Norwegian jazz fusion band that made my skirt fly up), found the first and second frog of the year, went fishing and got nothing but delicious bacon wrapped hot dogs barbecued on a smoky fire (due to the rain) and found the farm cat’s two week old kittens. I took pictures of most of it, but left the camera on the farm, of course. Until I get it back I’ll post some long due posts with pictures I took the last couple of weeks.

Here’s one of my best flea market founds. It cost me about 15 kroner, approximately the price of a litre of milk. It’s an expensive cook ware brand – Høyang Polaris if it means anything to you – but completely orange from rust. I don’t have a cast iron pot and figured 15 kroners weren’t too much to risk..So I took a steel wool scrub and got out the elbow grease. And scrubbed and scrubbed and polished and scrubbed…and then I gave in and handed the pot over to Mr. T who finally made the pot look like this :

No speck of rust left, just nice and black, solid cast iron. I can’t wait to cook  my first stew with good old Rusty! Just to be sure it won’t rust any time soon, I smeared it generously inside and out with sunflower oil, let soak overnight, wiped off residual oil and sealed in the oil with one hour in the oven at 400 degrees Celcius. Aaand then I did the same thing over again. Now I’ve used it at least six times and there’s still no sign of rust. Success!

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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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