All gone!

See how the ice is floating above the water?

On Saturday ice crunched under our feet, the wind was icy cold and fingers and ears needed to stay in pockets and under woolly hats.

On Sunday I had hoped to catch more pictures of the wonderful ice patterns, but the weather had suddenly turned much warmer. Two layers of clothing less, in fact it was just too warm to wear anything more than my favorite shirt from Icebreaker. I did get some other nice photos though. I’ll share them with you soon.

But here are two more of the ice pictures I snapped on Saturday:

I am always amazed at nature’s creativity! Tell me that you are just as captivated as I am… See too how lovely the frozen cloudberry leaves are (they are the brown hand shaped ones):

I have enjoyed sharing this with you. Have you enjoyed seeing the pictures?

Come take a walk with me again … and the recipe for my saffron spaghetti with mussels and shrimp

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.

A very last reminder of summer

A quick peek in the garden last week made me run into the house to get my camera. The weather here has been quite cold the past week. We had woken up to frost several mornings in a row. And yet, and yet, a few small reminders of summer were still hanging on. Today, as I post this, they are gone.

The green grocer still supplies raspberries, blue berries and both white, red and black currants. But they certainly aren’t grown locally at this time of the year. Seeing the sweet peas and the berries in the store made me long for a summer favorite recipe, as a last fling before winter seriously hits.

So on Saturday I served this Chocolate Panna Cotta with a topping of fresh raspberries.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1.5 gelatin leaves
  • 250 ml cream
  • 40 gr caster sugar
  • 100 gr quality dark chocolate
  • 0.5 tsp powdered espresso coffee (optional)
  • raspberries for topping
  • powdered sugar

METHOD:
Cut gelatin leaves into smaller pieces, place in a small bowl and cover with cold water. Place cream, sugar and chocolate into a saucepan and heat over low heat, stirring continuously until sugar has dissolved and chocolate has melted. You may need to whisk a little.  Remove from heat.  Squeeze the water out of the gelatin and add it to the hot mixture. Whisk until gelatin is dissolved.  Pour into moulds or serving dishes/glasses.  Let cool in the fridge at least 4 hours until set.

Top with raspberries and a snow of powdered sugar.

Serves four if you have a good amount of raspberries. Serves two if serving the panna cotta by itself.

Note:  The recipe can easily be doubled. Use 0,5 gelatin leaves for each 100 ml.

The capacity for delight is the gift of paying attention

These words by Julia Cameron in “the Artist’s Way” describe so well what this blogg is all about. The attention to detail in all the small things which make up the environ of our lives, from minute to minute, hour to hour and day to day, finally turning into years and then a life lived.

Taking delight in all the little things which surround me and capturing those moments in my mind, on a piece of paper or with my camera. Little things that make me happy or sad, curious and/or reflective, at peace or outraged, surprised and wondrous. The meticulous measuring of ingredients to create a perfect meal, a lovely cake or a generous loaf of bread, which fills the whole house with the delightful smell of freshly baked bread.

The attention to detail when taking a photograph, to the light, the depth of field, what to include and what to exclude. Hoping to be able to convey my thoughts and feelings about the image to others, once it leaves its creator.

The exercise of attention becomes an act of meditation, stilling the mind, leaving me at peace with myself and all the world, at least for a little while and making me always want to come back for more of the same.

Morning has broken … and a delicious crock pot recipe

On Saturday we woke up to the first really frosty morning.  The mist was hovering over the fields and the sun was just breaking through.

The scene was achingly beautiful …

As I stood there and watched, the sun danced over the clouds and the light was caught by the few golden leaves which were left on some of the trees. The yellow tinge of the straw on the fields glowed as it was covered by the warming blanket of sun rays.

A shivery day like this called for a rib sticking heartwarming dinner later in the day. The perfect recipe came to mind “Slow Cooked Sweet Potato Chili”. Thanks Angie for a delicious meal!  I had to do some personal tweaking as always, but I guess that is how it always is for creative cooks!

700 g tomat passata
400 g diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon stock concentrate or 2 stock cubes
2 tablespoons chili powder (more or less depending on strength)
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 tablespoons sweet soy sauce (ketjap manis)
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1” pieces
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
400 g kidney beans
400 g black beans
450 grams ground beef sirloin (optional)

Put everything in your crock pot, stir well and cook for about 10 hours until the sweet potatoes are cooked.

Serves 4 very hungry ones og 6 normal appetites.

Wild mushroom risotto

Last weekend we went for a walk in the forest behind the farm.  Although winter is definitely creeping up on us, there are still mushrooms to be found, although they can be very hard to see.

Can you see them among all the green and brown? In Norwegian they are called “traktkantareller”, in English “funnel chanterelles” (Cantharellus tubaeformis).  They are very delicious, especially fried with a little butter and salt and pepper.

However, we also love them in risotto, so I thought I’d share the recipe with you. Before you start, set your plates in the oven to warm. Risotto is best when it keeps warm!

  • 400 g mushrooms of choice – it’s fine if you mixed several varieties, but make sure all are edible!
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 1 tbs un-flavoured oil
  • 1 shallot, finely sliced
  • 200 g Carnaroli or Arborio rice
  • 2oo ml white wine or 100ml dry vermouth
  • 1 l hot stock
  • 1 dl full fat cream
  • 1 big handful basil
  • 150 g shredded parmesan
Heat the butter and oil in a wide, heavy bottomed pot. Fry the shallot and half of the mushrooms until golden. Pour in the rice and stir for a minute or so until it is golden. Pour in the wine and cook until absorbed whilst stirring. Pour in a ladle full of hot stock and stir until absorbed. Continue adding more stock until all has been absorbed. This should take about 20 min. By then the risotto should be a little soupy, and the rice kernels should have a little resistance.  Add the cream and the basil, reheat, but do not boil.  Sett aside when hot. The risotto should have absorbed the rest of the liquid by the time you are ready to serve.
Fry the remaining mushorroms in a very hot pan with a little hot butter.  This should only take a minute or two.   Fill the bowls with the risotto and top with fried mushrooms and lots of parmesan.
I hope you will enjoy this!  If you can’t find wild mushrooms, the dark button mushrooms also taste delicious.
We have more recipes for mushroom risotto.  I am looking forward to sharing them with you in time. A recipe for use in the Thermomix will also follow.

Our new paradise

Enter into our new paradise from the forest

or from the down the hill

We have fallen in love with this place

and are looking forward to moving here in and to look out on this view

and to walk in these forests

Will you visit one day?