Wednesday 31 March 2010

On my own...

Our very lucky Boy went on a 5 day school trip to Greece yesterday! I am shortly off to Norway for Easter while The Professor is coming home to look after The Cat.

So, we have managed to spread ourselves over 3 countries this coming weekend. Not to despair, Our Boy and I return on the same day and he has holidays till middle of April so there will be family time, too!

We should also be getting the keys for the flat in Edinburgh next week, so I see a shopping trip in the Scottish capital on the horizon! Really can't wait! The Professor is fed up living in rented accommodation so it will be lovely making it nice and comfortable for him. However, not TOO comfortable - we want him to come home to us as well...!

Tuesday 30 March 2010

Rediscovering old pleasures

I was just watching a very inspiring program about Omar Khayyam on BBC4 tonight and rediscovered an old "friend". 

I have many times read Khayyam's poetry, in the famously translated version to English by Edward FitzGerald. However, I have had the same relationship with Khayyam's poetry as I had with Shakespear when I studied for my English degree - their language is not easy to grasp. But then I discovered the clue for me to uncovering them - have the poetry recited TO you! I used to borrow tapes from the library with Shakespear's plays, and suddenly they all made sense! I think perhaps much poetry is that way - it has to be recited with emotion, not just read.

With their concern for the here and now, as opposed to the hereafter, Khayyam's quatrains are as romantic today as they were hundreds of years ago. They are a tribute to the power of one moment's pleasure over a lifetime of sorrow, of desire over the viscissitudes of time.

Here with a loaf of bread beneath the bough,
A flask of wine, a book of verse - and thou
Beside me singing in the wilderness -
And wilderness is paradise enow.

Monday 29 March 2010


Like many Scandinavians, I looooooove to burn candles - must be something to do with the need to warm and lighten up those long winter evenings! I think I go through several hundred, if not thousands particulary during the winter months.

I came across these lovely candles on  the blog: 'Kammerset' (The Chamber) today:

Do you think I am a little romantic/nostalgic...?

Sunday 28 March 2010

Happy Easter

On this amazingly gloriously sunny and springlike day in England I went to see my former neighbor in her new house. She has already spent 1 1/2 years refurbishing it, but I think it will take at least another year before she has it the way she wants it. She is very particular about everything and is happy spending the time on a project to get it right.

I don't have the patience for her details, but I do admire her and the finished product will be splendid. She has promised I can take some pictures of the house as it progresses and post here on my blog.

In the meantime, I hope you are having a lovely and relaxing time, no matter where you are!

Here are some pictures taken in our garden today:

Saturday 27 March 2010

Traditional food - Porridge

During my childhood - like many other Norwegian families - we ALWAYS had porridge for lunch at 1 pm on a Saturday.

For many years my mother had a cafe and catering business, and porridge was always on the menu on Saturdays. Later she sold the cafe and opened a clothing shop (yes, a very resourceful and independent woman). This was in the days before the late opening hours most places have these days - actually not more than about 10 years ago... - and we would close the shop on Saturdays at 1 pm. One of us (my mother, my sister or myself) would have had the day off and prepared the porridge.

I try to maintain some of the older, traditional Norwegian recipes in my own household, but I make slight changes to them as we don't use so much fat and butter in our diet anymore. Porridge is always a hit. We serve it with a knob of butter, cinnamon sprinkle and sugar and you would normally serve a red berry juice or cordial to accompany the meal. I cook the porridge  with skimmed milk and that works just as well as a more full fat variety of milk.

1,5 l of milk
1 3/4 dl of rice (short grain variety)
3/4 tsp of salt

Rinse the rice and add it to the boiling milk (stirr constantly and use a non stick pan!!)
Bring it to the boil and let it simmer for about 1 hr. Make sure you stirr occasionally.
Add the salt.

I suggest you double this recipe and use the leftovers in a pancake batter to make "Lapper" - or literally translated : "Patches".

Or whip some cream and mix in a few spoons of the cold porridge to make a traditional dessert "Riskrem"  served with a cold red sauce of pureed berries- I think you can figure out the English translation of that...

You can also make the porridge in a slightly different way:
I sometimes prepare it in the morning in the following way: after the milk has reboiled after adding the rice I take it off the stove and wrap it in a blanket. When you come home in the afternoon you just need to reheat the porridge and it is all done!

Friday 26 March 2010

"My One Weakness"

(picture borrowed from

Sundays at 8 pm is MY time. 
BBC1 shows the lovely series Larch Rise to Candleford and I do love a good period drama. 

Few can do them as well as the BBC and the cast is very well chosen! The title of this blog is taken from what is becoming the lovely Postmistress' catchphrase. Needless to say, there is not only ONE weakness.

Julia Sawalha as Dorcas Lane, the Postmistress (picture borrowed from BBC)

The two sisters, Pearl and Ruby (picture borrowed from the Guardian)

Dawn French (picture borrowed from Daily Mail)

The series is an adaptation of Flora Thompson's memoir of her Oxfordshire childhood, set in the small hamlet of Lark Rise and the wealthier neighbouring market town, Candleford, at the end of the 19th Century.

If you can't get BBC1 I recommend you check out Amazon or Ebay. For Christmas I bought the DVD boxset for a friend of mine and she is now officially HOOKED! It is a real feelgood serie!

Thursday 25 March 2010


I love flowers, but I can't say I am particulary good with them. One plant I NEVER thought I would attempt was the illusive Orchid. I always thought they were so difficult and fickle and needed specialist treatment.

 Well, I have to say this one is more or less getting the same treatment as my cacti... poor, to be blunt! I water the roots once a week (if I remember) and that is it! When I bought this lovely Orchid many months ago it was in full bloom and they lasted forever. Time came when the flowers fell off, but I just left it and still occassionally remembered to wet the roots. About a month ago it started blooming again. Considering the lack of specialist care it is gorgeous, I think!

Wednesday 24 March 2010


Last Saturday was the Persian New Year Celebration, NowRuz (New Day). Our Boy and I made an attempt on the traditional Haft Sin (which I wrote and explained about in an earlier entry) and the picture above show some of the detals of this display. As you can see, my Sabzi (the sprouted lentils) grew well this year!

I used Photoscape a free downloadable photoediting software to edit the pictures, so this is my first attempt at that, too! Simple and great fun. Could really "fiddle" with that a looong time...

Tuesday 23 March 2010

A New Shop!

This is getting complicated: my cousin's cousin's niece (!) - can we still say we are related??? - has started a new shop in Sandefjord, Norway. I looove her colorful and happy style

She makes dresses, coats, purses and bags and other things.


She also sells these lovely buttons from Snella & Petronella

I just have to make a trip over SOON!!!!

Monday 22 March 2010

Recommended viewing: Jeeves & Wooster

Yesterday afternoon Our Boy and I enjoyed watching an episode of Jeeves & Wooster which we had bought for Christmas for The Professor as a box set of DVDs. J&W is a British comedy television series adapted from P.G. Wodehouse's "Jeeves" stories. The series was screened on TV from 1990 to 1993. It starred Hugh Laurie as Bertie Wooster, a jovial but empty-headed young gentleman, and the wonderful Stephen Fry (I am a HUGE fan of Stephen Fry) as Jeeves, his improbably well-informed and talented valet. The stories are set in England and the United States in the pre-Second-World-War 20th century (there are aspects of the Edwardian era, 1920s, and 1930s).

Wooster is a well-to-do bachelor, a minor aristocrat and member of the idle rich. He and his friends, who are mainly members of The Drones Club, are aided in all manner of societal adventures by the indispensable "gentleman's personal gentleman," Jeeves. Four series were produced, with 23 episodes in total. As well as the humor and the language of the series, I just love the well carried out display of Art Deco. Watching an episode is the perfect way to idle away an afternoon...

Sunday 21 March 2010

Recommended Reading II: The Fiction Class

Picture is borrowed from

Last night, after the surprise birthday party, I finished "The Fiction Class " by Susan Breen.

You know the feeling you get when an enjoyable book comes to the end and that "lost" feeling you have until you find a new book...? Well, that is how I feel after this book.

I picked it up at the train station coming from Edinburgh a couple of weeks ago and didn't really expect much from it. To begin with the story seemed to be about a creative writing teacher with a rather sad and not very exciting life. But as the story unfolds there are more layers to her past and present, particularly in relation to her relationship towards her mother who is in a nursing home. That hit a note with me as my mother is also in a nursing home (the similarities with the book story end there!), but I can relate to her feelings towards this major change in both her mother's and her own life. It isn't a sad book. It is more a book on coming to terms with family history, embracing your life and moving on. 


... and now I am looking for another book to read!

Friday 19 March 2010

Weekend Delights

The picture is borrowed from

After a rather stressful week at work and with a cold (which is now on the mend, I am happy to say...)
I have the following "plan"for the weekend:

  • ... a little bit of knitting

  • ... a little bit of shopping

  • ... a bit more of self pampering

  • ... a lot of cuddling with The Cat

  • ... a low key NowRuz Celebration

  • ... a little bit of snoozing in the afternoon

  • ... a little bit of coffee (latte or cappucino)

  • ... a little bit of housework (not "TOO" much)

  • ... a little bit of walking in the glorious spring sunshine

  • ... a lot of talking and spending time with Our Boy (teenage boys CAN have a lot they want to talk about if you let them come when it suits them...;-))
  • ... a little bit of baking (thinking of making my namesake Miss Mette's Best Buns In the World - I am happy to translate it if you need it in English)
  • ... and not least going to a 

Thursday 18 March 2010

Tomato Soup

Picture borrowed from

I had a lovely time with The Ladies Who Dine last night. However, due to my cold I was truly a "blind" cook as I couldn't taste ANYTHING. A bit strange to serve food you don't know what tastes like - you just have to go on experience... However, they assured me it was all nice and requests for the recipe must be a good sign!

Here is the recipe for the tomato soup I served as a starter with some (bought) foccaccia bread. It is really simple and has no specific measurements. It tends to be a bit different every time I make it depending on what I have in the fridge…:

  • Fry some chopped onion/garlic/leeks/celery in very little oil (I use virtually no oil so this is really low cal!)

  • Add a couple of packs of passata (you get them in the tinned tomato section of the supermarket). I used the basil and olive type.

  • Add a tin of tomato paste

  • Add a tin of tinned tomatos

  • Add water to adjust thickness

  • Add a little salt/pepper

  • Add a little sugar (enforces the taste of the tomatoes)

  • Add a couple of slices of day old bread
Let it cook for 10-15 mins (or more if you have time).
I made the soup the day before so the flavours had time to blend.

Blitz it all with a blitzer

If you have, add some parsley/coriander, if you like either before or after blitzing depending on how you like it.

Wednesday 17 March 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

It suddenly dawned on me that this time of year there are a lot of celebrations! Mother's Day, Lent, Easter, NowRuz, 17. Mai, etc etc. Well, today is a special day for our Irish friends as it is St. Patrick's Day. St. Patrick's Day is celebrated by the Irish and Irish at Heart in big cities and small towns alike with parades, "wearing of the green," music and songs, Irish food and drink, and activities for kids such as crafts, coloring and games. Its a time for fun. Some communities even go so far as to dye rivers or streams green!

I am hosting a dinner party tonight for 3 dear friends: "Ladies who Dine". This group of friends started as a group of mothers to some boys in the same class who loooove good food and wine and the company of great friends. We have all become firm friends even if our boys are now at different schools. We get together 6-8 times a year (or more) and either try out a nice restaurant, invite eachother around, go to the movies, exhibitions or go on citibreaks. They are all great girls that I trust and cherish. They are like my sisters/cousins/family away from home. The group has grown and shrunk over the years due to the international nature of this city where people come and go. However, the previous "members" often come back to see us even if they are now spread all over the world: Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Hong Kong. Tonight we are 2 Welsh, 1 Danish and me - the Norwegian. Our English friend could not make it this time.

We don't have any Irish "members". In the spirit of generosity we might have a token green decoration on the table for them!

Tuesday 16 March 2010

Under the weather...

I have not written anything for a couple of days for two reasons:

1. I have a cold (however, not a MAN-cold)

2. I am "snowed" under with work in the office. Twice a year we have a board meeting and it is part of my job to write and prepare various reports, accounts, budgets, etc etc for this event. It is ALWAYS a mad scramble to get it all together and I never seem to manage to be better prepared. I feel like this is my annual exam and I fret a lot... I have a great assistant, but she is also snowed under with another event happening the same time, so I can't really ask for any help. Besides, I am also the only one that has the info needed.

I will stop complaning now - good to get it out! The papers will leave me on Friday, so I should be in a better place then...

First - yoga tonight - I NEED IT!

Sunday 14 March 2010

Mother's Day

I am so very blessed! I have the nicest and kindest boy in the world! I had told him I didn't really want anything for Mother's Day, except perhaps coffee in bed and a lazy morning in bed... I did get that, plus he had bought this Scrapbooking book for me.

I have dabbled a bit in Scrapbooking before, but I find it is sooo timeconsuming. I made an album last Easter when I had a number of days to myself and found it took a long time to go through the pictures and choose the ones for the album. However, it is very worthwhile once it is done!

Easter is coming up and there might be a chance to do another album (the pictures waiting to be sorted are numerous!!!) so I was very pleased to get some inspiration in this book!

We also made another attempt at going to Ikea (and yes, Our Boy came with us to spend the day with his Mother!) to find some inspiration for the flat in Edinburgh. This time we made it and I am pleased to say it was a very productive day! We have chosen the sofa (yes it is a sofabed for friends to stay on when the come to visit!!!),  the beds, and looked at wardrobes. Some more measuring needs to be done before we can settle on the wardrobes. The rest will be decided once we have the flat and we might want to look around Edinburgh to mix some old and new pieces.

As we say in Norwegian: "Nar det regner pa presten, sa drypper det pa klokkeren", so we also got a chair for the livingroom at our present house.The Professor is testing it out on the picture. As you see, I have started putting the NowRuz table together! I am really pleased that the Sabzi has grown so well!!!

Saturday 13 March 2010

Change of plans

We (The Professor and I) decided to take a trip to Ikea today to suss out together what we need for the new flat. Our Boy refused to spend two weekends in a row at Ikea... However, on our way to the store in Milton Keynes we almost got stuck in a long queue due to an accident. We therefore turned around and decided to check out what other chains could offer.

After a quick bite for lunch in Starbucks - where I had my first "Chai Tea Latte" which I am not sure I liked...(also - why call it "Tea tea latte"?) -  we checked out Habitat, Furniture Village, ScS, and a new chain in town called Slidarobes. They had some really nifty wardrobe solutions for regular but also unusual spaces. They are rather expensive, but I guess that is what happens when you get something bespoke. Food for thought both for the new flat and for the current house...

We didn't see ANYTHING we liked in the other shops. Think we might try Ikea again as I would like to order at least a bed and a sofa on-line to have delivered to the flat once we know for sure the take over date.

The rest can come later.

Friday 12 March 2010

Happyness is...

... looking forward to The Professor coming home this weekend!

... looking forward to Mother's Day this Sunday (yes, it is THIS Sunday here in England)!

... noticing Spring has sprung!

... preparing for great friends coming for dinner next week!

... preparing for NowRuz next weekend!

... thinking about what cake to make for a friend's surprise birthday party! Not saying who, where or when!

... knowing Mimmi is well installed in new accommodation!

.... trying out a new cake recipe? (The recipe is in Norwegian - I am happy to translate it if anybody is tempted...)

Have a lovely weekend!

Thursday 11 March 2010

The Scottish Way

Things are not done in Scotland as in England.

Particularly not when it comes to buying property. In fact, in some ways it more resembles a Norwegian system as any bids submitted are binding, but the Scottish system still has its own twists. Our bid was accepted last week, but we are now waiting for the surveyor's report to ensure the flat is in good condition and there are no hidden agendas... The seller only provides a very superficial report and it is up to the buyer to order a more indepth survey. Good business, if you can get it! However, if we are not satisfied with the surveyor's findings and the seller's responses to any issues, this will be the only way we can legally walk away from the agreement. Which is very different from England where the process is all very much more unsure until the contract has been signed. That is also nerve wrecking. Buying property seems to have its own challenges no matter what country you are in.

I am sure this will all be fine, but I have to say this buraucratic process is very taxing on the nerves. We are still hopeful that all the paperwork will be over and done with by 8 April...

Tuesday 9 March 2010


Winter evenings are great for many types of hobbies. I have for many years been an avid "hobby- genealogist". I think this stems from not knowing my father's family too well, but at the same time feeling a strong sense of kinship and belonging. I guess that physically resembling people on my father's side of the family has also helped in this sense. In later years, other family members have also taken up this hobby and it is interesting to compare notes and it gives us a joint interest in our shared past and history. The Internet has made searches in many public archives so easy and this is great for a rather impatient person like myself! The Internet has also served to renew and reinforce the bonds between many of my relatives across countries and continents. 

I have also made some attempts to writing down some of the family stories and what I have come to suspect are family "myths", but that is an entirely different kettle of fish! One day...

The beautiful lady above is my grand mother who sadly died very young. I don't see it myself, but apparently I look like her, as does one of my cousins.

Monday 8 March 2010

Brownie muffins!

Oh, let's indulge!

This is the simplest cake in the world and oh so yummy! I guess it is the butter that makes it rather gooey and also the lack of raising agent helps keep it rather dense:

Stir 2 eggs and 3 dl sugar
100 gram of melted butter,
1/4 teaspoon salt,
1 teaspoon vanilasugar,
1,5 dl flour,
4 tablespoons of cocoa

Pour in to muffin cups or a larger form
175 degrees for about 15-20 mins (check)

In my opinion there is no need for a topping on this cake!

Sunday 7 March 2010


Patience is not one of my strong sides... I quickly realised it would take a long time to finish off the cushion covers and when I came across these two covers for sale on Ebay at a bargain of £8 it was too easy to reach for the creditcard...

They just need a little tlc, some new buttons and some minor repair work. I am still knitting away on my own cover, I just don't need to rush it!

Note the spring sun!

Saturday 6 March 2010


My in-laws are returning to Iran today after almost two months with us. We will miss them a lot. Hopefully, it won't be too long till we see them again.

Our Boy has reluctantly agreed that we can stop at Ikea on the way back... Not really a favourite past time occupation for a teenager... He once agreed to indulging my needs to visit Ikea by coming on one trip a year. Well, apparently I have had so many advances on this arrangement that I am not supposed to make another trip till he is 35!

Thursday 4 March 2010


I have not written anything for a couple of days. The reason is that
we have bought a flat in Edinburgh
for The Professor! Hurrah!

He called on Tuesday, all excited, but at the same time a bit afraid to make the decision on his own. So, I went up by train yesterday morning, we viewed the flat together, put in an offer this morning and it has been ACCEPTED! It is a bit scary to spend so much money (!), but I think it will be ok...

It ticks almost all the boxes we had, plus it also has a few extra bonuses! It is a newly renovated flat from 1890 (I think) in the part of town called Stockbridge. Below are some pictures from the sales site, so I am not sure how well they will turn out on the blog. The flat has

two double bedrooms to the back (this is the master bedroom),

an ensuite, 

the main bathroom,

and the kitchen.

The flat has solid oak wooden floors and they have kept the corniches under the celing. Downside is that the fireplace is blocked up (as many of them are), but we might find an electric fireplace to use as a focal point (instead of the plasma TV...).

I am rather excited and really looking forward to making my own mark on the place! 

Thank you!

I had a very pleasant surprise in the mail today: a very sweet little handmade tablecloth had been sent to me by "my secret blogger friend"! Such a fun and surprising thing to do!! I signed up for this via Tulip's blog and I have had great fun choosing something for MY secret friend (who is NOT the same as the person who has sent the tablecloth to me - thanks Tulip for organising this!).

I completely understand it being difficult to choose something for somebody you don't know, but I think MY secret blogger friend has been very thoughtful and sent something he/she has made him/herself!

Tusen takk! :-)

Tuesday 2 March 2010

Doing well

For those wondering how The Professor is doing on his own in his new job and town - he is fine! He has settled in well, rented a centrally located flat and is getting on with the flat hunt. He went to view 3 flats on the weekend, but one was already sold. The other two were interesting, but the Home Reports were not so good, so the hunt still goes on...

A new flat came on the market yesterday. It looks small, but worth checking out so we are waiting to hear from him. The process has proved to be really hard and much longer than we thought. We remain optimistic, and I am sure it will be fine in the end.

We have realised we might have to compromise on size, but we will not compromise on location and we are reluctant to compromise on style... Famous last words, perhaps. I am dreaming of what to put in it and the style, so I am getting rather impatient! I just want to get on with it! The dream is a Georgian style with high ceilings, nice cornices, wooden floors, fireplace, one or two Edinburgh presses, modern kitchen, modern bathroom, 2 bedrooms... Not asking for much are we...? These exist, but the sellers are unrealistic as to price - in our view.

It can't be us being mean - it must be them being greedy, no? :-)