mar 14 2010

ChowChow for dinner..no, not the dog breed.

Published by under Ukategorisert

ChowChow  was a dish popular in many Norwegian homes during the 1970s and ’80s, according to my boyfriend and the webpage where I found a recipe for it. I’d never tried it until I cooked it Saturday evening but it turned out dang delicious. The recipe carries within it the fragile beauty of Norwegian house wives that had tasted Indian food sometime and tried to re-create it with the ingredients they had at hand – which is a wonderful thing, I think. That’s my theory at least.

( I love it when I can make a nice meal from the things I have in my pantry. Okay, I don’t have a pantry, but I have an entire book case stuffed with food stuffs, it’s close enough to a pantry.)
Here goes the recipe, tweaked to my likings and pantry (but not much, it’s pretty close to the original):

ChowChow

6 servings

Ingredients

  • 600 grams pork (I used pork shoulder that I cut into pieces myself – nice and juicy meat)
  • 200 grams bacon
  • 1 big onion
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 orange bell pepper
  • 1 small can of diced pineapple
  • 1 dl cream
  • 1 ts corn starch/Maizenna
  • 1-2 teaspoons of dehydrated broth, or a stock cube or 3 dl of real beef stock, then omit water
  • 3 dl water
  • 1-2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 2 tablespoons tomato purée
  • 2 green apples (they need to be tangy, not too sweet)
  • 1 chinese garlic knob
  • 2 teaspoons of pickled ginger
  • 6 champignon mushrooms
  • 1-2 teaspoons Sweet chili sauce
  • Brown rice as a side

Instructions

Fry bacon bits till brown but not too crispy in a frying pan. Add to a large pot.  Fry the onion in the bacon grease, add to pot. Do the same thing to the champignons.  Cut pork to small pieces, let brown in frying pan, but not cook through, add to pot. Now; in the pot, add garlic and minced ginger, let fry till fragrant, then add curry powder and let sizzle a bit, before you add water, tomato purée, bell peppers, apples, and pineapple pieces. Let simmer until everything is cooked through, then mix cream with corn starch and add to pot. Let it reach the boiling point and simmer for a few minutes or until the sauce has reached desired concistency. Add salt and sweet chili sauce. It’s supposed to taste savoury sweet, not unlike chicken korma if that tells you anything. Serve with steaming hot rice, I used brown and red rice that I love since it’s chewy and tasty (and healthy).

Oh, and don’t ask me why it’s called ChowChow, I have no idea whatsoever. Any one out there have a clue ?

And I almost forgot, the craziest thing about the dish is the toppings it was served with in the 1970s. Behold:

  • Cashews and other nuts – okay, normal
  • Pickled ginger – it’s in the dish, okay to serve along side
  • Banana slices !!! – What a strange thing to add to a curry! It was delicious though, we tried it and we liked it.
  • Cucumber pieces !! WHY ?! This was too crazy for us, we didn’t dare to try. Tell me if you did and survived it.

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feb 22 2010

Best.Wok.Ever!

Published by under Ukategorisert

Recipe coming soon. It has almonds in it. And loads of ginger and garlic. My favourites. And two types of noodles! Naughty, I know, but they were goood together. Meanwhile, whilst waiting for the recipe, go watch Where The Wild Things Are; it has the cutest monsters in it. They’re not by far as scary as the ones in the book (I had night mares about them when I read the book as a kid).

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feb 17 2010

It’s all about balance

Published by under Ukategorisert

I believe in a diet where I do not forbid myself any kind of food. If I feel like a hamburger on a Tuesday, I’ll make a hamburger, but then maybe have soup or a salad on Wednesday. A voice in my head – or was it my stomach – convinced me to make spaghetti and meatballs last night, and the same voice made me melt some butter, soften half a clove of garlic in it, then pour the cooked pasta into the garlic-butter heaven and coat the pasta with it. As if that wasn’t enough, I added a small mountain of cheese on top. And I didn’t feel guilty one second whilst eating, only happy. Because today, I first took a 2 hour walk with my walking buddy Caesar, and then came home and invented a new kind of tomato-based fish casserole with pollock and black olives. I accidently dropped half a teaspoon of dried tarragon into it along with basil and thyme. I would never think of adding tarragon but it brought out the sweetness from the carrots and tomatoes wonderfully and gave a dish a special and nice flavour. It’s a stayer!

I added red lentils to the potatoes for some extra fiber, and the potato-lentil mash turned out nicely. It too got an extra clove of garlic, I must be on some garlic craving frenzy.

A quick list of ingredients and how-to’s for the pollock/saithe tomato casserole:

  • Fry two chopped medium onions,  along with two small, diced carrots in some rapeseed oi. Add 1-2 minced clove of garlic (I used one whole chinese garlic bulb) and fry gently until fragrant.
  • Add 2 cans of whole tomatoes.
  • Add  a pinch each of the following: dried basil, oregano, marjoram, tarragon and thyme. Then add a pinch of dried red chili flakes,  a teaspoon of sugar and a pinch of salt or celery salt. You’ll add more salt later through olives, so don’t salt as much as you normally do.Let simmer without a lid for 20 minutes.
  • Add the fish, either fresh or frozen. I used frozen, and let it thaw in the tomato juices. I let the casserole simmer at a slight boil for an hour all together, until the sauce had thickened slightly and the fish was cooked through.
  • About 10 minutes before you’re done add a handful of olives, and check seasoning for taste.
  • Lentil – potato mash: Cook potatoes with red split lentils and a clove of garlic in unsalted water. When the potatoes are cooked through, the lentils are too. Pour off the water, add a tablespoon of butter or oil, and enough milk or cream to give the mash the wanted consistency. Season with freshly ground black pepper and grated nutmeg, and salt. Divine!

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feb 10 2010

Fish au gratin

Published by under Ukategorisert

Fish au gratin, macaroni and fish casserole or fiskegrateng as we call it in Norway, is not a beautiful dish. But it’s tasty, and comforting. Norway has a long coast line and fishing has always been an important part of our culture. Fish au gratin is a convenient dish for utilizing left over fish and feeding lots of people. I guess it’s some kind of national dish. I’ve never tried my hands at making this dish before but there are lots of recipes out there. I borrowed some measurements from Grass Onion since I liked her «secret» ingredient – ketchup! (I guess it’s not so secret anymore). Most kids slather their fiskegrateng with ketchup and I did too – and still do, because it just compliments and balances the rich flavour of the dish really well !
I’ll give you the recipe and how I did it in english:

The grandmother of Grass Onions’  fiskegrateng

4 servings

Ingredients (metric)

  • 5 dl milk
  • 100 g flour
  • 400 grams cooked, cleansed fish, I started with 600 grams of raw cod that I simmered in salted water for 10 minutes.
  • 1 big onion
  • 1 ts salt
  • 1 ts curry powder
  • 1 ts ground black pepper
  • 1/4 ts nutmeg
  • 4 eggs
  • 100 grams macaroni (I used whole grain macaroni)
  • 3 tb ketchup, tomato purée or tomato sauce
  • grated cheese
  • breadcrumbs

I started with cooking the cod in salted water until it just started to flake. I also started heating up water for the macaroni. While the fish cooked I made a white, thick sauce from mixing the flour and milk in a casserole, stirring continuously. I got a thick, almoust doughy paste, which is what you want, since the eggs and fish bring moisture when you add them later. I seasoned the sauce,added the onion and fish when it was ready. Then I separated the yolks from the whites, and started beating the whites into a stiff foam. When the sauce had cooled down a bit I added the yolks, then I cut the whites carefully into the sauce carefully. When the macaronis had cooked almost  al dente (in salted water) I mixed them with some tomato purée and ketchup. Then I buttered an ovenproof pan, and layered the fiskegrateng like this: First half the fish sauce, then the macaroni, then the other half of the fish mix. Then I sprinkled the top with grated cheese and breadcrumbs. The cooking time says 1 hour, but mine turned out great with only 1/2 – 3/4 hours cooking time. It depends on how much it will rise in your oven. The top got a bit too dark for my taste, so I covered it with a sheet of aluminmum foil about halfway into the cooking time. I served it with råkostsalat – simply grated carrots and a green apple plus some lemon juice.

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feb 09 2010

Tonight’s dinner: Pigs In A Blanket

Published by under Ukategorisert

I’ve just finished an article about the origin of virus for the student newspaper I write for. Explaining the different scientific  theories  in words that my «grandma can comprehend» is difficult! When I finally sent my editor the very last version of the article earlier this evening, I hadn’t eaten since breakfast and had a serious hankering for a delicious dinner in the junk food category. I don’t remember how I got the idea, but Pigs In A Blanket it was. I made a pizza dough from scratch and let it rise twice, which resulted in wonderfully soft and airy «blankets».
I also made baby pigs in a blanket!
They all got nestled into their blankets with some cheese and tomato sauce.
They kind of look like babies :
..delicious babies.

The tomato sauce was just a mix of tomato purée, some dried herbs (oregano, basil, thyme, rosemary), dry Hellmans mustard, basil pesto and ketchup.  I think just ketchup and mustard would have been equally delicious.

Pigs-in-a-blanket recipe (metric)

Makes 24 «pigs in a blanket»

  • 11-12 dl flour
  • 1 package yeast (I used dry)
  • 1 – 2 ts salt
  • 1/2 ts sugar
  • 5 dl water, lukewarm
  • 4 tb olive oil
  • 1 egg for brushing
  • 3 tb poppy (or sesame-) seeds for garnish
  • 24 hot dogs/bratwürst
  • Extra fillings: Grated cheese, ketchup, mustard, etc.

Mix all the dry stuff, add the oil, then add water gradually until you have a flexible but firm dough. I always knead it for at least a couple of minutes. Put the mixing bowl with the dough inside a (clean) plastic bag and let it rise for an hour or until double in size. I cranked up the bathroom floor heat and placed the bowl there, with the result that the dough was more than tripled in size when I got it out of there.

Divide the dough into three pieces, roll each piece out into a large round pizza shape. Cut each circle into 8 slices  (or more). Spread the tomato sauce or ketchup on the slice, place the hot dog and the cheese at the wide end of the slice and start folding the dough around the dog like a croissant (check out the pictures, they explain it so much better than words!). Let the babies rest for another 10 minutes under a kitchen towel before you brush them with a beaten egg and sprinkle with poppy seeds or sesame seeds. Put them on a baking paper lined tray and bake for 10-15 minutes at 225 degrees Celcius. For the love of all thats good and holy; let them cool off a bit before you bite into one! Their inside is so much hotter than their outside, with molten cheese that’ll burn your tongue like lava if you try to eat them too soon. Trust me, and Mr. T’s blistered tongue, on this. But do make them! Bring them to work for lunch! Have them as an delicious little evening meal! Take them on a hike as a delicious snack around the bonfire! Give them to kids, your boyfriend and his buddies and they’ll love you forever! I think. Let’s just say that if food can buy you (platonic) love, then Pigs In A Blanket is one of those foods.

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jan 22 2010

Breaded plaice, rutabaga mash and pickled red beets

Published by under Ukategorisert

Last nights dinner looked kind of..brown, but boy was it good! Findus had a big sale on their fish products, so I grabbed as many items I knew would fit inside my tiny one-shelf freezer. The breaded crust wasn’t outstanding, but the plaice (a kind of flounder) was delicious, nestled nicely inside the crust with a dill-champignon sauce.
The mash was from the day before, and tasted even better than the  night I made it. How can you go wrong with a mash made of rutabaga, a few potatoes and loads of dairy butter ? Some nutmeg accompanied the salt and freshly ground black pepper, as they always do in my mashes. The pickled red beets were added in a spur of the moment, but their sweet and sour, earthy flavour went along nicely with the rest.
Later that night Mr. T and I went to the movies to watch the Avatar movie. The graphics were outstanding, but all the characters were very stereotypic and the plot was as big a cliché as it could get. If you take Disneys Pocahontas and add some components from the Aliens movies plus the special effects, you get Avatar. No surprises, but good entertainment anyway. I’d give it a 5/6. I regret paying the extra bucks for seeing it in 3-D format; it didn’t do the movie much better, and the glasses gave me a headache, and kept on sliding down my nose, which was annoying. Enough with the complaining, I loooveed the Leonopteryxes:

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feb 02 2009

Aubergine Awakening

Published by under Meg og mitt liv

Jebus, another month passed by without an update! But I won’t spend to much time apologizing, after all it’s my blog. And I have had a lot flying around my ears lately, not to mention trying to pierce my eardrum again. Yes, I’m talking about the chicks. I’ve just finished another two week batch of behaviour experiments with 12 fuzzballs, and as the batch before them; they were loud. After around 10 days of stuffing my ears with shredded pieces of paper towels, I bought some proper earplugs. Oh the relief. Did you know that chicks, not a mere 2 days old, can produce sounds up to (and I’m sure well beyond) 90 db ? 120 db is the safety limit before you’re in serious risk of hearing damage. But boy! It does hurt at 90 db too.

 

(The mealworm is UNDER the brown cardboard roof, little chick).

 

The first week at Uni after the holidays (one week before all the courses started, mind you) I attended an intensive course in lab animals ethics and management.  Although I cringed internally every time examples of painful experiment with rats came up, it was quite interesting (and Sam got more than his fair share of treats and cuddles when I came home). A couple of childhood/young adulthood daydreams of a world filled with alternatives to animal testing were sent to their realistic graves – they exist, but only in minute numbers to all the testing needed – and I’m not talking of cosmetics. I mean development and testing of drugs, vaccines, chemicals,  etc etc. I wonder what anti-animal testing people do when they’re at the dentist to pull a tooth, do they ask for anaestasia or not ? Cause if they do, they’re hypocrites.    

My own lab animal; Sam, testing rats response to beer. Result: whisker licking approval.

 

Sam, a true beerrat 

 

Bah! My month long absence from writing in English is really noticable, I feel like I’m slightly retarded, fighting with every sentence. I hope I get back on track soon. On Wednesday I have to make a talk on a paper about food neophobia and food conservatism in chicken in my Behaviour 2 course. In english. In front of a room full of foreign master- and phD students, that do not possess the Norwegian students apprehension to asking questions. Oh, there will be questions asked and discussions galore. And nothing helps preparing for a talk in english more than a tad of blogging, right ? 

Here’s some proper blogging for ya’;  in the beginning of December last year (2008!) I turned vegetarian. For the whole length of a week. How did Tore go down with the lack of animal protein you might ask? The answer is that he didn’t; he was on Svalbard doing labworks, while I had my friend Mona visiting me, who – surprise! is a vegetarian. Now, I don’t think I could become a proper vegetarian, vegan nonetheless, but I must say I was positively surprised by the whole experience. Not once did I feel abnormally hungry or unsatisfied by the food we were eating. It actually felt quite good. And I discovered a new favourite dish, which I can’t wait to introduce to Tore, just to see what he has to say when I tell him it’s made from eggplants. Now, Mona isn’t much of a cook, at least that was her words. Eager as I am to try new recipes, I took on the «chore» of cooking for us the whole week. Let me present a small week menu of a vegetarian-wannabe:

Monday: veggie pizza with mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, capsicum, garlic, black olives, pesto and cheese. Yum! To my norwegian readers; First Price Margarita frozen pizzas, 12 kr each, serve as an excellent alternative to ready-made pizza bottoms. So cheap and so thin-and-crispy-almost-authentic-Italian.   

Tuesday: One of my take-what-you-got Indian stews with lots of red curry paste and coconut milk. On impulse I added sweet potatoes in cubes and red lentils, and it was goood! 

Wednesday: Leftovers from Tuesday + some brown rice. Even yummier today after a night in the fridge.

Thursday: Aubergine/eggplant lasagna with salad on the side. 

Friday: Leftovers

The Thursday night dish really deserves some closer description. It was absolutely delicious, and although time consuming, very worth it. I cannot, although I want to, claim it to be very healthy, but who cares, it’s vegetarian, and that got to be worth some health points, if not karma points (not that I believe in Karma). 

 

Eggplant lasagna

The recipe in short terms: You take an aubergine, slice it, sprinkle with salt, let sit 30 minutes, rinse off salt. Coat with flour, then dip in egg, then crust with breadcrumbs. Fry, slowly, on low heat, until the flesh is soft and the crust is crusty. Layer as follows: Tomato sauce, aubergine, egg-ricotta(cottage cheese on students budget)-parmesan mix, repeat. Top off with tomato sauce and some kind of melting cheese, mozarella if you can afford it. Bake in oven until the cheese melts and the egg-ricotta/cottage cheese mix settles, enjoy!  You can find the original recipe here,   on the great danish foodblog Newyorkerbyheart.

A closer peek at the preparations: 

 

Eggplant lasagna

Oh, I see I added spinach in between, I forgot about that. I always wilt down spinach with some oil, minced garlic and a nutmeg drizzle whenever I use fresh spinach. And if you don’t feel like making this for dinner I don’t know what’s wrong with you. I Promise to post the extensive recipe Soon, capital P, capital S.

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