We are extremely lucky to have a beautiful cottage in a very quiet area not too far from Oslo. Located at the foot of Hardangervidda, the area is dotted with marshes, beautiful rocks, moss and lots of pine and birch trees, which as you get up higher up in altitude, get more and more twisted and gnarled.
Sometimes I get the feeling of walking in a bonsai garden, looking ad the trees, the moss covered rocks and the water pools.
Hiking across the marshes yesterday we came across lovely thin ice formations, which were floating above the water, because of the water level having sunk after the ice had formed.
The beauty of the ice constellations hanging on to the thin straws struck a cord of wonder in us. Can you see the lovely ice feather that has been formed in the picture below?
After a 4 hour walk it was nice to get back to the cottage, where a sauna took away the chill of the icy winds. Pottering around the kitchen we created this meal which was enjoyed with a good bottle of Italian wine. Although the ingredients list is long, the meal takes a short while to make and is well worth the trouble!
Pasta with mussels and scampi and a hint of saffron
You will need:
- 500 g spaghetti of choice, we prefer whole wheat
- 1 kg mussels
- 500 g big shrimp in their shells
- 2 chorizo sausages (sliced chorizo works well too)
- 2 handfuls of mini tomatoes
- 2-4 cloves garlic, as preferred
- 1/2 g saffron
- 100 ml heavy cream
- 1 fat bulb fennel
- 1 shallot
- 2 good handfuls rucola salad
- about 10 stoned and sliced black olives
- salt and pepper
Cook the pasta al dente as the packet prescribes. Rinse in cold water to prevent further cooking. Clean the mussels and throw away any that do not close up when handled. Heat 1/2 dl water in medium sized pot. Place the mussels in the pot and cook gently for 5 minutes by which time they should have opened. Set aside. Peel the shrimp leaving tail on, slice the chorizo, the shallot thinly and the fennel (about 2 mm thick). Cut the tomatoes in half and finely chop the garlic.
Fry in the chorizo in a big sauté pane or large wide pot until it begins release some of its lovely red color. Add the garlic, shallot, fennel, and tomatoes. Sprinkle the saffron on top. Pour 1dl of the mussel juice into the pan together with the cream. Let simmer for about 5 min. Adjust flavoring with salt and pepper. Mix in the spaghetti and the mussels and heat gently until everything is warm. Lastly mix in the rucola and the olives. Serve in warm, deep bowls together with some hot rustic bread.
Tip: Remove half of the mussel shells before mixing them into the spaghetti. Makes serving easier. Serves 4
Read more about Hardanger vidda and hiking there.