Sunday, 28 February 2010


I have been looking at various blogs and also shops and been inspired to take up some old hobbies of mine. First project is to knit some new cushions for the new flat in Edinburgh. No, we have still not bought nor found THE flat , but then again the cushions might take some time to make, too! Have seen some lovely ones in elaborate patterns, but I start off simple and thought this first one could be for Mimmi who could use a new cover for the cushion for bad her arm. I am planning to use some (4?) large buttons as the fastening on it. I am knitting it in Aran wool, so it should be soft and warm.

Family Reunion and Day Out in London

I don't know if it is my age (!) or just a sign of the times, but Internet, Facebook and Blogs have put me in touch with so many long lost friends and family. At least, many connections are strengthened and a more conscious effort has been made to meet up again. I cherish this a lot, particularly because I no longer live in a country where I have any of my own family around.

This weekend to take away a little of the focus of The Professor now moving up to Edinburgh, Our Boy, His Welsh Friend and I went to London to meet up with my favourite Cousins' Cousin, her Daughter and Friend. The girls had come over for the winter holidays and some retail therapy.

We had a great time exploring Tate Modern (too modern for my taste...) but ended up with a great lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe.

There is a small "museum" next door under the gift shop and Our Boy insisted we had to see the legendary guitars of his heros... So, been there, done that and have the T-Shirt to prove it! :-)

Friday, 26 February 2010

Retro Food

"Rullekake" or Roly Poly is a typical example of a cake from the 70's! And it is my mother-in-law's favourite... I made it for her about 20 years ago and she has been dreaming about it since. Well, I have now made it twice since Christmas and she is very happy! You can fill it with almost anything, jam, berries, chocolate etc. Her favourite is very indulgent with whipped cream and bananas. It is so quick and easy to make - done in about 30 mins (promise!). I normally use a recipe from an old (and now very retro) cookbook my mother gave me many years ago - "Haugeund Husmorskole's Kokebok", but also found the recipe below on the web.

4 eggs
175 gr sugar
75 g flour
60 g potatoeflour
0,5 teaspoon of baking powder
1. Whisk eggs and sugar so they are very fluffy
2. Add the dry ingredients
3. Pour the mixture to a rektangular tin covered in baking parchment
4. Put in the middle of the oven at about 220 degrees for about 5-10 minutter
5. Take a piece of baking parchment and cover it with sugar
6. Whent the cake is done, bring it out and turn it upside down on the sugar
7. Ta the baking parchment off the baked cake and roll it in the sugarcovered paper and let it cool
8. Once it is cool you can gently open it again and fill it with your desired filling.
9. Ensure the ends are tucked under the cake

The cookbook is a great read (no pictures!!!) of how we cooked in Norway from 1950-1980s. I always use it for more traditional Norwegian dishes - foolproof it is!

Thursday, 25 February 2010


While I am on a Persian theme - anyone who knows me well, knows of my love for Persian rugs, either for the floor or for the wall (preferably silk for the walls). They are all beautiful works of art. This is our latest aquisition. This carpet is from Quom and in a style called ghab-ghabi depicting different gardens/flowers.

It would probably not be the colours I would have chosen had I bought it myself as I am not a big fan of brown , but I was very pleasantly surprised to see how well it goes with the wooden floor and I am so pleased with it.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

This year...

I am going to start early with the Now Ruz preparations! As a bonus of being a rather culturally mixed family, we get more celebrations than most people! I need to get the Sabzeh started and will be putting some lentils in water to make them sprout. I always tend to do this too late and they don't look right, so maybe this year? Now Ruz this year is on 20 March at 5.32pm (UK time). I'll write more about Now Ruz as we approach it, but here is a little explanation so you understand what I need the sprouting lentils for:

Now Ruz, new day or New Year as the Iranians call it, is a celebration of spring Equinox. It is the most cherished of all the Iranian festivals and is celebrated by all. This occasion has been renowned in one form or another by all the major cultures of ancient Mesopotamia. What we have today as Now Ruz with its' uniquely Iranian characteristics has been celebrated for at least 3000 years and is deeply rooted in the rituals and traditions of Zoroastrian belief system of the Sassanian period.

A few days prior to Now Ruz, a special ceremonial table is laid out with seven dishes - each one beginning with the Persian letter Sinn, thereof the name Haft Sinn. The number seven ("haft") has been sacred in Iran since the ancient times, and the seven dishes stand for the seven angelic heralds of life-rebirth, health, happiness, prosperity, joy, patience, and beauty.

The symbolic dishes consist of:
1. Sabzeh or sprouts, usually wheat or lentil representing rebirth.
2. Samanu is a pudding in which common wheat sprouts are transformed and given new life as a sweet, creamy pudding.
3. Seeb means apple and represents health and beauty.
4. Senjed the sweet, dry fruit of the Lotus tree, represents love.
5. Seer which is garlic in Persian, represents medicine.
6. Somaq sumac berries, represent the color of sunrise; with the appearance of the sun God conquers Evil.
7. Serkeh or vinegar, represents age and patience.

To reconfirm all hopes and wishes expressed by the traditional foods, other elements and symbols are also on the sofreh:
• a few coins represent prosperity and wealth;
• a basket of painted eggs represents fertility;
• a Seville orange floating in a bowl of water represents the earth floating in space;
• a goldfish in a bowl represents life and the end of astral year-picas;
• a flask of rose water known for its magical cleansing power,
• Some would put a brazier for burning wild rue ,a sacred herb whose smoldering fumes ward off evil spirits;
• A pot of flowering hyacinth or narcissus is also set on the sofreh
• A mirror which represents the images and reflections of Creation
• On the side of the mirror are candlesticks holding a flickering candle for each child in the family. The candles represent enlightenment and happiness.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Shopping tips

For those of you either living in England or thinking of coming over for a visit or to SHOP I would recommend coming a little away from the regular High street stores and having a snoop around the second hand shops run by many charities or antique shops. I have made some great bargains in the antique shops - particularly a pair of silver candlesticks for £75 was a find!

I have often been thinking of visiting Bicester Village for some different type of retail therapy. It is just one hour from London, and apparently is a great destination for designer outlet shopping at desirable prices. Maybe I should save this trip for when one of my girl friends from Norway come for a visit....(hint)?

Another fun place to browse around is  Home Sense. This chain of shops which sells an amazing array of home furnishings at about 60% discount of regular prices does not keep a regular stock of set ranges, but bring in new things several times a week. It means that if you see something you like, you'd better buy it as it might not be there next time. It also means that you can't really go there looking for something particular, but rather have an open mind and you might come across something exciting!

The last shop I would like to mention is The White Company. I loooove going into their stores. Everything is so elegant and serene. I am looking forward to buying new bedsheets there for the new flat in Edinburgh... You can also order from them online.

Monday, 22 February 2010

Family Celebrations!

AP Photo/Kai-Uwe Knoth

Congratulations to The Professor's cousin Babak Najafi who won the Best First Feature Award at the International Film Festival Berlinale in Berlin, Germany this weekend!

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Recommended reading: The Elegance of the Hedgehog

"The Elegance of the Hedgehog" by Muriel Barbery.

I love reading and always have a book or two on the go. This is my current bedtime reading. It is a very cute and enjoyable read with very short chapters and therefore ideal before sleeping.

The back of the copy reads:
Renee is the concierge of a grand Parisian apartments buiding on the Left Bank. To the residents she is honest, reliable and uncultivated  an ideal concierge. But Renee has a secret. Beneath this conventional facade she is passionate about culture and the arts, and more knowledgeable in many ways than her self-important employers.
Down in her lodge, Renee is resigned to living a lie; meanwhile, several floors up, twelve-year-old Paloma Josse is determined to avoid a predictably bourgeois future, and plans to commit suicide on her thirteenth birthday.
But the death of one of their privileged neighbours will bring dramatic change to number 7, Rue de Grenelle, altering the course of both their lives forever.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Happyness is...

Lovely, relaxing Saturdays! Lazy mornings, caffe latte in bed, gentle uplifting music on the radio, no running after the clock... Yes, we need these days.

Happyness is noticing longer days of daylight. Happyness is seeing signs of spring even if it was snowing again last night - but it didn't stay on the ground. The daffodils, tulips and other spring flowers are now shooting up, and the snow drops are blooming. Spring is different here in England from what I am used to from Norway. Here spring lasts a looong time. In Norway I remember it as more of an "explosion"! "Suddenly" it is spring and then summer. Not sure what I prefer. Right now I just long for a new season.

So, although it is hard to believe, warmer, lighter days ARE COMING!

Friday, 19 February 2010

Farewell Party & Tarte Tatin

We were invited to a lovely farewell party for The Professor last night in one of the colleges, organised by his colleagues. Lots of lovely food, wine and kind words. Made me very proud of my man!

The dessert was a very nice Tarte Tatin and it made me think of a very easy recipe I use for a quick and easy version of this cake - it involves a little cheating and is not too accurate on the measurements:

Use a good frying pan which can take being put in the oven. I normally use a cast iron pan with a wooden handle (stekepanne i smijern).

  • Melt a good knob of butter with about 2 dl of sugar and let this caramelise (don't burn it!) in the frying pan

  • Peel, core and slice apples (3-4, maybe) and place them in a the caramelised sugar/butter in a nice pattern.

  • Let this simmer a little over low heat.

  • Roll out some ready bought puff pastry (the cheating part) and cut a circle that covers the frying pan well and place this over the apples.

  • Heat the oven to about 200 degrees and place the entire frying pan in the middle of the oven and let it bake for about 15 mins (keep an eye so it doesn't get burnt)

  • Turn the cake upside down on a plate when you bring it out of the oven

  • Serve with ice cream or whipped cream.
Voila! - Quick and easy!

Thursday, 18 February 2010

The Good Life

The Cat is obviously enjoying The Good Life. He has hardly been outside this winter - just the occassional trip to check that it is still not worth it... He was still in bed when I left for work this morning!

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

A New Passion

The picture is taken from The Centre for Yoga Studies' webpage

I have discovered a new passion: Yoga! I decided (like many other people did after the Christmas indulgences...) to invest in my own health. As part of this resolution I found a local yoga class, just a few minutes away from our house - no excuse, in other words. To my utter surprise and amazement - I love it! The breathing techniques and focus inwards on myself for an hour every week is akin to meditation, I would think. I have been stretched and stood in postures I have probably not done for over 25 years... I didn't know I could still do it!

This week is half-term here in England so no yoga class. I really miss it. I try to do some at home, but I am still a beginner and in need of the teacher's guidance, so doing it on my own is not very successful. I just love the feeling after class when all the tension in my body is gone, particularly in the shoulder area. Tension I didn't realise was there untill it is gone.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Shrove Tuesday/Pancake Day

Today is Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day which is the last day before Lent. In England it is traditional on this day to eat pancakes.The name Shrove comes from the old word "shrive" which means to confess. On Shrove Tuesday, in the Middle Ages, people used to confess their sins so that they were forgiven before the season of Lent began.

Lent is therefore a time of abstinence, of giving things up. I know people who today might give up alcohol or chocolate during this period. However, Shrove Tuesday is a day of celebration as well as penitence. So Shrove Tuesday is the last chance to indulge yourself, and to use up the foods that aren't allowed in Lent. Pancakes are eaten on this day because they contain fat, butter and eggs which were forbidden during Lent.

Here is a link to Nigella Lawson's Pancake Mix with Blueberry Syrup It is a good idea to make the dry pancake mix ready for when you need it. Enjoy - really yummy!

Photograph: Plush Studios/Getty Images


We all had a great time in Edinburgh this weekend! We looked at flats to buy - probably not successful this time either :-( -  so we mainly enjoyed being tourists!

We stayed in an apartment hotel called Knights Residence just below the castle (not the picture on the left which is from NewTown!). The staff were extremely friendly (as all Scots I have met so far are!) and the flat was amazing. Completely exceeded our expections! I would highly recommend it to anyone going to Edinburgh! Particularly if you are going for the Edinburgh Festival as it is right around the corner from the major music and theatre arenas.

As we went up with the in-laws we had a two-bedroom flat with a sofa bed in the living room for Our Boy. There was a fully equipped kitchen with washing machine and dishwasher (not that we did any domestic chores...), and complementary breakfast stuff as well as a bottle of Champagne and chocolates as it was Valentine's Weekend. Can't beat that, can you?

Even if the weather was not the best, it kind of fits a rather gothic city. We walked a lot and also went on the tourist buses and learnt a lot about this great city. Did you get the impression that I like this city?

The old town is full of quirky narrow passages. Got to have good shoes when you walk around as there are lots of hills in this city.
This picture of Water of Leith is taken in Dean Village.

I loved the name of this shop on the Mound. Can't remember what they sold, it was the name that mattered to me!

Friday, 12 February 2010

Last Weekend

Our Boy went on an overnight scout trip last weekend. Here posing with our Lovely Neighbour and his Grandmother. He had a great time and was completely covered in dirt when he returned the next morning. Nothing like sleeping outdoors in February...

We managed to make a trip to town earlier in the day and we had SUNSHINE! Much appreciated this time of year!!!

Not much shopping was done as town was too crowded. We wanted to have lunch at Carluccio's. I absolutely looove their mushroom and pancetta soup! However, it was too long to wait for a table and we ended up in a small Chinese restaurant. The food was a bit disappointing surpisingly enough as most of the rest of the guests where Chinese and this is normally a good sign in my experience. Nah, better be patient and wait for a table at Carluccio's next time or better still - book a table!

The BIG Weekend

This weekend is also the BIG weekend in our household as we celebrate The Professor's birthday AND Valentine's Day. Well, VD is not really big in our house. The Professor is not really the romantic type, but there might be a heart shaped cake...

We are also taking The In-laws and Our Boy to Edinburgh to show them "our new town". I made the Fastelavensboller last night in anticipation of this trip and they were really good! Managed to freeze a few so we have for the train journey before they disappeared!

The plan is also to view a flat for sale while we are up there. Fingers crossed it is a good one!!!

Thursday, 11 February 2010


This coming weekend is the start of Lent. In Norway we celebrate this with making/eating "Fastelavensboller". They are delicious, filled with egg creme...

Here is a recipe (as well as the picture) I have copied and translated from for those wanting to try them:

You need:
10 dl flour
1 dl sugar
¾ ts ground cardamom
100 gr  butter
3 dl milk
1 egg
50 gr yeast

Egg creme:
½ teaspoon vanilla sugar
2 dl milk
3 egg yolks
1 ½ tablespoons sugar
¾ tablespoons cornflour

1 whisked egg

This is how you do it:

The dough
Melt the butter, add the milk and heat till it is lukewarm.
Add the yeast to this mix
Mix in the egg and sugar and add the flour with the cardemom
Let the dough rise (double in size) for 30-45 mins.

The Egg creme
Add the vanilla sugar to a pan and add the rest of the ingredients to the egg creme.
Heat up while you stir it until it starts to thicken
Take the pan off when it starts to thicken properly, if not the creme might "split"
Cool it in a reverse bain maries (put the pan in the sink filled with cold water).

Return to the dough and shape into small balls (makes about 20). Make a hole in them and add a little of the egg creme. Try to pull some of the dough over the egg creme. Let them rest for 30 mins to 1 hr.

Use the whisked egg as a wash over the buns and put them in the middle of the oven for 12-15 mins on 225°C.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

On the move

The Professor is about to take up a new post in Edinburgh, Scotland. However Our Boy, The Cat and myself are not going with him - at least not in the foreseeable future. There are several reasons for that, Our Boy and his school is the main reason. He loves his school and we have chosen to listen to his request. SO, this means some family commuting in the years to come. But the fun bit is finding a flat for The Professor! Actually, it is a little nerve racking too, as there isn't too much on the market at the moment, but I am sure we will find something some day! The dream is to find a nice well maintained Georgian style flat in New Town with high ceilings, the old cornice intact, complete with one or more Edinburgh presses, a fireplace and nice wooden floors. I very much look forward to making it our second home and kitting it out! Just gotta find the perfect place first!

Morning rush

I guess most people are in rather a rush in the mornings and have a very set pattern of events they go through. I used to say to Our Boy that why don't I just make a tape of all my morning instructions as I say the SAME things every morning: "Did you pack your bag/Have you brushed your hair/Have you brushed your teeth/Don't forget your PE kit/Don't forget your coat?" etc etc.

One of our morning routines involve listening to the radio in the background while getting ready. We used to listen to the local radio station while rushing about and then again in the car on the way to school, but we have recently become great fans of Chris Evans Breakfast Show on BBC Radio 2. Chris took over the programme from Sir Terry Wogan and those were big shoes to fill. But he has done it beautifully - in my opinion. The programme is very entertaining and they don't just play the current popular music! I find some radio stations keep playing the same songs over and over again - as if no music has ever been made before! You should be able to get this on the Internet as well: Chris Evans Breakfast Show.

Monday, 8 February 2010

Still Winter

Just to show that it is still winter here in England. Ok, this picture was taken last year, but it has been snowing slightly today, so it looks like this again.

Just like The Cat, we are all waiting eagerly for warmer days!

Where to start...

Welcome to my blog!

When I was a little girl I used to write a diary like many other little girls. I wasn't always very up-to date on my entries, but it is still fun to read about what I was thinking and doing back then. Many of these stories I can't remember any more if it wasn't for the diary!

But technology moves on and today we have blogs! My aim is to use this blog as a sort of family diary where I also blog about what I am interested in. We are part of a family spread over many countries. I hope this blog will also serve to share with our families and friends some of what goes on in our daily lives!