Thursday, October 30, 2014

DIY: Heather Wreath for Fall


I love to bring a little piece of nature inside, so while out on a hike the other day I picked some whortleberry heather (tyttebærlyng) to make a small wreath.


Materials: Heather, moss and dirt from the woods.


Trim the heather, discard the moss and dirt and bugs that came with it.


Use wire to make a circle the size you want your wreath. 


Attach small bunches with wire. I used three little twigs in each bunch.


Continue wrapping and adding more heather all around the circle. 


Decorate with pine cones if you´d like, and hang it on the wall.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Raspberry Coconut Cupcakes


Cupcake Wars should not be watched unless accompanied by delicious cupcakes. So that is what a friend and I did Friday night.

Once we had settled on a few main ingredients (coconut and raspberries), I picked the recipe with the pretties picture. The French blog Les Friands d´Lise won that competition, and it helped that I already had all the ingredients it called for. Luckily, I had google to help me translate the French recipe, and I think it turned out great. We only did a few minor tweaks along the way, adding raspberries and coconut to the cupcake batter. This may be my best attempt at cupcake baking - ever, so the recipe has my recommendations!

RASPBERRY COCONUT CUPCAKES

Makes about 18 small cupcakes with non-heaping frosting.

Cupcakes:
240 g flour
200 g sugar
2 tsps baking powder
80 g cold butter, cut in small pieces
160 g coconut milk
120 g milk of your choice
2 eggs
100 g frozen raspberries in small pieces
3 tbsp shredded coconut



In a mixer, mix flour, sugar, and baking powder with the cold butter till it resembles bread crumbs.
Add coconut milk, milk, and an egg at the time till the batter is combined well.
Carefully fold in the raspberries and the coconut at the end.
Fill cupcake liners 4/5 full.
Bake on 180 C for 15-17 minutes.
Mine came out with a perfect dome shape, but it might have been mirage, cause a few seconds later the tops were flat as pancakes. Also, the picture below shows my kitchen mid-cooking.


Raspberry compote:
300 g raspberries (fresh or frozen)
Juice from 1 lemon
A little sugar to taste

Cook everything on low heat till most of the liquid has evaporated. Make sure you don't sweeten the raspberries too much. The tartness of the compote is a wonderful addition to the cupcakes

Frosting:
125 g softened butter
175 g powdered sugar
75 g cream cheese
A pinch of salt

Beat the butter to a creamy consistency. Add sifted sugar, some at the time, and mix well. Mix in the cream cheese in the end. If you have any raspberry compote left after filling the cupcakes, it can be added to the frosting. Double the frosting if you want mounds of it, we went for the lighter route.

Assembly:
Once the cupcakes have cooked and cooled down, cut a small hole in the top of each cake and fill with a teaspoon of raspberry compote. Frost the cupcakes to your liking/according to your abilities. I need a frosting class, since I am obviously clueless. Garnish with shredded coconut. I have tried hard to find coconut flakes here in Skien, but no luck yet. Can anyone help me figure out where to get it?

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Langelandskollen






Good things on a Sunday: 
- a surprising visit from an Estonian friend
- perfect hiking temperature
- new hiking boots (birthday gift from some friends)
- a great view (Kammerherrens utsikt)
- a cabin providing shelter from the wind
- coffee from a thermos + chocolate
- picking heather for a small project
- no rain (it has rained a lot here lately)

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Olive oil pizza sauce


This might as well be named "The easiest pizza sauce in the world", and that is not an exaggeration. My husband is not into tomato based sauces, and since I love pizza, I figured I had to try something new to switch it up. I found this recipe on The Cook's Kitchen, and was a little skeptical. How could it be any good, with neither sour cream nor tomatoes, or anything else with substance in it?? Well, you can trust me, it is delicious!

OLIVE OIL PIZZA SAUCE

1/4 cup Olive oil
2-4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 Tbsp dried herbs like oregano or basil
salt and pepper
If you have any fresh herbs in the house/garden, you can add that as well.

Mix all the ingredients and lit is sit for half an hour or so. This way, the flavors will have a chance to meld. If you are making pizza dough from scratch you can make the sauce first, and then start on your dough.
A brush would be the best tool for spreading the sauce on the pizza crust. Add cheese and toppings, cook it, and enjoy.
This makes enough for one large pizza.

More amazing food prints from Anek on Etsy.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A 30th Birthday Brunch

 I have just turned 30! Since my birthday fell on a Sunday this year, I decided to have a brunch party. I love breakfast food, and this seemed like the perfect occasion for a fancy version. I invited some of my favorite ladies and had such a wonderful time!

Some people make big parties for anniversaries, and if it wasn´t for our recent wedding, I would have loved that too. I have a tendency of putting a lot of planning into an event, so I decided that a small party was best this time. After a little research I found an article on how to host a brunch party and still sleep in on Smitten Kitchen, which was very helpful. It gives recommendations on what to serve, and they are basically all things that can be made in advance. She writes it really well, so you should check it out if you are planning a brunch in the future. Some additional tips from me: set the table the night before, and gather your decor ahead of time (I kept postponing this and had to run outside to find some twigs and branches last minute).


The decor was very simple. I used gourds, pumpkin and citrus fruit for the centerpiece, and twigs with a welcome card on each plate. This was the first time I set a table with our new fine china, and I was very excited! The striped silver napkins match the silver rim of the china, and I also used some leftover paper straws from the wedding.


Brunch menu that can be (mostly) made ahead:
Cranberry orange scones. These were so tasty! Can be made ahead and frozen uncooked, and on the morning of the party you thaw the scones and cook them like you normally would.
Spinach Quiche Cups. Make the egg batch the day before, cook the day of.
Cinnamon toast french toast. Made the day before and left to soak in the fridge overnight. Cook the day of. Serve with syrups.
- Fruit salad with pomegranate, papaya, plums and kiwi. Prep as much as possible the day before, especially something tedious and stain-inducing like pomegranates. Mix the fruit the day of. Served with a raspberry-lime sauce and yogurt.
- Cheese, crackers, dried meats and condiments of your choice
- For dessert: Chocolate cake. I had planned on making this gluten free Chocolate cake with almonds and beetroot, but then surprisingly, a birthday cake was delivered to my door and I will have to save that recipe for another day.
- A mimosa bar with a few different juices, bubbles and fruit garnish.
- And of course: a never ending stream of coffee.


Some of the lovely ladies. Thank you so much for making my birthday great! 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Red Leaves

My sister gave me a Norwegian fall poem for my birthday, 
and I think it is too lovely not to share.



RAUDE LAUV

Lik raude lauv
som atter vert grøne
like brune lauv
som vinkar i vinden
og kviler på jorda
kviler i jorda
før dei atter er der
grøne
og byrge
i sin uskjønelege byrgskap
som heng så trygt
i vind
i sol
i regn.

Jon Fosse


Thursday, October 2, 2014

Roasted Pumpkin Soup

Yesterday was a great pumpkin cooking adventure with my good friend Jae. Since my husband is no fan of pumpkin foods (and I obviously am), I am so happy to have other people to share this joy with. In addition to the soup we made for dinner, there was no question in my mind - we had to make pumpkin spice syrup! It is super easy, and so delicious in lattes, steamers (warm milk) or on pancakes for breakfast. I have used this recipe many times, and just love it.

But if you are looking for a perfect fall dinner suggestion, here it is:

ROASTED PUMPKIN SOUP

Ingredients:
1,5 kg raw pumpkin
4 cloves of garlic
1 Tbsp oil/butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground cumin
1 liter vegetable or chicken stock
salt and pepper
sour cream, cream or creme fraiche - for serving
roasted pumpkin seeds, for garnish


1. Roast the pumpkin and the garlic.
You need about 1 kg of actual pumpkin "meat", so a small pumpkin of 1,5 kg should be enough. Cut the pumpkin in half to remove the seeds and the stringy parts. Cut in wedges and place it on a baking tray. Roast for about 30 minutes on 200 C or until tender, but take the garlic out after 20 minutes so it doesnt burn.

2. When the pumpkin is soft and fully cooked, remove the skin (it will peel off really easily) and puree with a blender until smooth.

3. While the pumpkin is in the oven, chop the onion and cook on medium heat until brown and soft. Add all the spices, pumpkin and the stock and let it all simmer for 30 minutes. Add the roasted garlic in the end.

4. Optional: Roast your pumpkin seeds as well. Rinse and dry them, sprinkle with salt (and pepper), and roast on 200 C for 15-30 minutes, and you have the perfect snack and garnish for your soup!

5. Puree the soup with an immersion blender. If you only have a standing blender you will have to wait till the soup cools a bit before you do this.

6. Serve hot with a dollop of cream or sour cream, roasted pumpkin seeds and some fresh rolls on the side.

We found the recipe on Exclusively Food.

A real wedding budget


I have read a LOT of wedding blogs the past year, and one of the things I find really interesting to read about is the facts of wedding planning, including budgeting. So today I am writing about our budget, and maybe there are a few future brides/grooms that can benefit from it.

Planned budget: 50 000 kr
This number was very random, basically the highest amount I thought we could spend... I quickly realized it would be very difficult to keep to it. Earlier, I wrote about how to make a wedding budget, which might be helpful early in the process.

Actual budget: 77 500 kr
Was it really the "budget wedding" I wanted it to be? Comparatively, the average for weddings in Norway is around 100 000 kr, so maybe not. Being a part of a non-profit organization for 8 years has had a big impact on my view of finances, and it turns out that paying a professional for their service cost a lot more than I thought. PS. Our honeymoon and rings are excluded from the budget.

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