Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Tried and Tested: Gazpacho Soup

A good friend of mine from South America gave me the base for this recipe many years ago, but I have amended it a bit over time to suit our taste.
We love it on a hot summers day. It is simple and effortless and there is no hot cooking involved!
I think it is particularly nice if you have had too much BBQ meat the day before and need a bit of a break...

1 kilo tomatoes
1/2 cucumber
1 onion (white, if you can get)
1 pepper
4-6 cloves of garlic
4 spoons of white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons of sugar
250 grams of day old crusty bread (soak in 120 ml water for 5-10 mins)
1 dl olive oil
salt to taste
Add more water if you want it thinner

Skin the tomatoes by covering them with boiling water while you count to 30.
Drain and pour over cold water.The tomatoes will now skin easily.
Chop them in quarters and add the chopped (peeled) cucumber,onion and pepper.
Add the crushed garlics, sugar, the soaked bread and the vinegar
Whizz it all in a blender

Pour in the olive oil and mix well in the blender
Season to taste and adjust with more water if you like it less thick.
You can even add some crushed ice cubes and take it with you on a thermos for a picnic!

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Bring Out the Bunting!

We are getting ready for the up-coming Jubilee Weekend!
Bunting is very British to me, both for using indoors and outdoors.
It really gives a festive feel!
I have been crocheting my own bunting for the neighbourhood party.

Quick and easy, using the technique in granny squares to make the triangles.

They are stitched on to a ribbon from East of India

Luckily the colours are applicable for celebrations for several of the countries I consider

Monday, 28 May 2012

A Privileged Dip...

Summer has arrived!
A glorious weekend has been enjoyed by all and Monday has also been great although if I have had to work.

When The Professor was a student here in town many moons ago, like all students at this University, he was a member of a college. As you graduate you become as life member.

So, as we continued to live in this town we are lucky enough to continue enjoying the facilities of the college which is only a few blocks away from our house. These pictures are from one of the properties belonging to the college. Students live here and visiting academics stay here. And we get to enjoy it, too. The property was once owned by a very rich and well-known family and their monogram is found in places.
It is scarily easy to become a little blaze and blind to the privileges...

We are not close to the sea and I have to admit a dip in the river is not tempting.
So cooling down on a hot summers day can be a challenge...
Unless you are a member of this lovely college and can enjoy the gym and and the pool.

Friday, 25 May 2012

A Real Summer Weekend

The temperature is telling us it is SUMMER!
It has taken a while, but it looks like it will be 'one of those' amazing weekends
I am looking forward to a rare weekend with The Professor at home and perhaps a BBQ in the garden! (Do I hear anybody mentioning Pims...?) 
Our Boy is still in the middle of his exams and the weekend will be spent revising, but that may now take place in a comfy chair in the shade...
On Sunday we may even have a long leisurely breakfast in the garden with boiled eggs in my new eggcups
Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

What's In A Name...

A new criminal behaviour order, dubbed the 'Crimbo' is set to replace ASBO (anti-social behaviour order), according to the Home Office. The plans would include a "community trigger", which would force the police, councils and other agencies to act after several complaints.

Now, I am not commenting on these plans which are introduced with the intention of making life simpler, safer and easier for the powers to tackle problems.

My comment is on the ABBREVIATION...
WHAT are they thinking???

'Crimbo' is a slang word for Christmas...

Talk about misusing a name and giving the wrong impression...

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

What Makes Me Smile...

the soft sunshine in the morning through the leaves on my lilac tree

or the 'yellow' tree (don't remember the name) also in full bloom
The little gems in an ordinary day.

Almost summer...?

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Tried and Tested: Iceland Cake

May is cake time!
So many celebrations and parties going on...
 Here is the recip for a cake I made this week.
I have no idea WHY it is called Iceland Cake, perhaps it originated from there?
It reminds me of the recipe for Dreamcake, but the egg cream in this cake is rather yummy. The cake is very sweet, so perhaps best served with some coffee or tea. I am not sure I would make this with prunes next time. I think some nice summer berries would give a fresher taste.
But here is the original recipe as I have it:

The Base:
Whisk 4 egg whites with
2 dl of sugar till the mixture is stiff
Add 2 dl of dessicated coconut and
50 grams of chopped up chocolate

Bake in the oven at 175 degrees for 1 hr.
Let the base cool completely

The Egg Cream
Bring to a boil 4 egg yolks with
100 grams of sugar and
1 dl of cream

Take it off the heat and add
100 grams of butter
Let it all cool

Prune Filling
Bring 200 grams of prunes and 1-2 dl of water to the boil and let it simmer till the prunes are soft
Let the prunes cool

Whipped Cream topping
Whip 2 dl of cream

Chop up 50 grams of chocolate and set aside

Cover the cooled base with the egg cream
Add a layer of the cooled cooked prunes
Add the whipped cream
Decorate by sprinkling the chopped up chocolate over

Thursday, 17 May 2012

17th of May In My Corner

Flag and candle at the breakfast table this morning (no, the flat isn't on fire...)
The Norwegian Consitution Day!
Gratulerer med Dagen!

Just a quick update on the day from my corner of England:

I have been working AND celebrating.

I had a (loooong) lunch with some of the Scandi-ladies I have gotten to know recently
(I brought the flag with me to the restaurant)

Tonight a friend will be joining myself and Our Boy for a dinner out.
Although there has neither been any childrens' parades, flag waving, hot dog consumption, ice cream/cake eating nor wearing of my bunad (it would look a bit odd in the office...), it has actually been a typical day of celebrating 17th of May with food, drink, family and friends!

I hope you have also enjoyed the day, no matter where you are!

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Please Explain 472 vs 403...

I consider myself fortunate that we live so close to work that I can ride my bike.
The terrain is completely flat so it is no effort really.
It is so close, that I have even counted the times I push down my foot on the bike pedal on either journey...

But herein lies the mystery...

On my way TO work it takes 472 pedal pushes.
On my way HOME however, it only takes 403 pedal pushes...
Have a lovely day - whether you are on a bike, on foot, in a bus, a train/tram or a car!
(Yes, the sun is shining!)

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

An Award - If You Want It!

Lovely Helen from the blog "Helens Italia Liv... og litt fra Norge ogsa" has given me an Award!

It works this way:

1. Link back to the blog/person that gave you the ward (done).
Many thanks!

2. Send the award to 5 blogs with less than 100 readers.
Actually, I am going to let that be up to any of you who are on my blogroll.
I enjoy reading and keeping up with each and every one of you!!!

3. Answer 5 questions:

Why did you start blogging?
The first blog I came across was Hvit Stil. I loved what she was doing/writing about and her creativity, and the thought soon came - I want to do this too! So I started blogging as a way of keeping a diary to let our family and friends see what I get up to. But it has become a dear hobby where I have met a lot of lovely people with similar interests.
Which blogs do you follow?
It has become a rather eclectic mix and all inspire me in different ways. Some focus on cooking/baking, handicraft, daily life, interior design and some are simply very funny!
Favourite colour?
This is simple - it has always been purple. But my awakened interest for interior design has also shown that I like grey and cream.
Favourite film?
Oh, I have no idea. I love any of the British period dramas. I am also weak for romantic comedies.
I am really not too hard to please...
Which country do you dream about visiting?
Where to start? I have never been to the Far East nor Australia. North Africa would definitely be on the list. Also, there are so many places here in the UK I have not seen or explored sufficiently.
But then there are many places I would revisit given the chance...
So, go on - feel free to take the award and tell us some things about yourself!

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Tried and Tested: Sticky Ribs


The warmer days are approaching and the rain has finally let up a bit.
Let's hope it lasts for a while!

Sticky ribs are becoming a firm favourite in our house. I tend to cook them in the oven, but these could also be tried on the BBQ! 
Cheap, tasty and simple to make.
Can't beat that!

In a large bowl, mix together
500 gram passata or tomato paste
2 crushed garlic cloves
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (sometimes I swap this for Dijon mustard to add some more spice to them)
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons of olive oil

Cut the pork ribs to size and add them to the bowl and mix well and coat evenly.
Lay the ribs and all the sauce into a large, shallow roasting tin. Cover with tinfoil and bake at 180 degrees for about 35 mins. Turn them around a few times and remove the foil from the tray and bake for another 30-45 mins until most of the sauce has evaporated and the ribs are really sticky.

You could easily half bake these in advance if you wanted a more speedy process before putting them on the BBQ.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Visiting the UK: Lavenham

The Professor and I went exploring to the medieval village of Lavenham in Suffolk this bank holiday. Lavenham is in particular noted for its 15th century church and half-timbered medieval cottages. There was an art festival going on, but to be honest we didn't see much of it.

It was a grey day and although there were some people walking about, it seemed like the oomph had gone out of the place or perhaps it just is a very sleepy village...? I just think they could have put on a bit more activities in the market square when they had a festival going on to bring in more people.

Anyway, we still enjoyed walking around looking at the cottages and popping in to some antique shops on the high street. A very 'dangerous' activity..., but we were good and just enjoyed browsing!
A quick lunch was also had in a local tea shop.

So, to summarise - a cute place which could have made more out of it self.
Perhaps I will give it another chance on a sunnier day...!

Monday, 7 May 2012

Lilac Time!

Relaxing Bank Holiday!

We met with friends coming up from Paris, went to the old medieval village of Lavenham and did some gardening.

The lilac is now blooming in the garden even if the temperature doesn't quite tell us it is May. The rain still keeps pouring down, but I have chosen to see it as a blessing for the garden...

So since things are growing in the garden, we must be heading 'in the right direction'.

I am a bit curious to see how this year's tomato plants will be. I got a new grafted variety giving two types of tomatoes on the same plant. Apparently, they grow faster and is less needy of lots of light and sunshine. If the rain we have had lately is anything to go by, it might be just as well to get some hardier tomatoes for this climate...

I only got the tomatoes this time at the garden centre. Will need to think about the chilies soon too. Perhaps I will try something new this year - cucumber, perhaps?

So, what are you growing in your garden this year?

Saturday, 5 May 2012

No Denying It...

According to the optician my eyes are right on track according to my age...

Most people like to think we look younger than we are,
but the eyes don't care about deceiving anybody, apparently.
Inconsiderate and rude of the eyes, if you ask me...

So, I have got my first pair of progressive glasses.
Not sure I like them although, I suddenly realise how much easier it is to see things far away!

Probably should give them some more time before I pass my final verdict...?

Friday, 4 May 2012

Gearing Up for The Bank Holiday Weekend

"Happiness comes when you believe in what you are doing,
know what you are doing,
and love what you are doing."

This weekend is a bank holiday so we have three days off to look forward to
(May Day is always taken on the first Monday of this month)

The Professor is coming home
Our Boy has completed and handed in his Tech project for his IGCSE
I will have finished a larger project at work

Bring on the weekend!

PS: May we please have some sun...?

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Well Trained...

The illustration on my office calendar for the month of May could have been written by me:

"I had been told that training procedure with cats is difficult.
It's not.
Mine had me trained in two days..."

I think about this when I stumble out of bed at 4 am to let The Cat out...
It also strikes me as strange that nobody else in the house hears him...!

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Enough Already!!!!

I am sure it is enough now!
This April has been the wettest April in recorded history...
And still we are in the midst of a drought!
Is this not the 'right' kind of rain???

I am so not amused after cycling to work in the rain. To be honest, I could have saved myself this mornings (warm) shower - I had another cold one on the way in!

But the lilac is about to bloom in the garden so it must mean spring is here...
At least the calender says it is 1 May!

Happy Tuesday wherever you are - hope you are dry!