Autumn is here and the rain has set in. The little heat we had over the summer is disappearing fast and the temperature is just above two digits most of the days (actually ranging between 12 and 17 – but it’s getting cold). I like these days. I’m quite handicapped and have to spend most of my days indoors. The dark cozy evenings that I can spend snuggled up on the sofa with a huge cup of teas I welcome with open arms. And I can always dream about the paradise we visited this summer.
Please join me further down the path of Norwegian delicacies. Today we have a very simple dinner planned: sausages and mashed swede (or rutabaga if you like).
The big, round root is first sliced, then peeled (using a small knife, don’t bother with no potato peeler) and diced. Put in a pot, add water to just about cover the root, put a lid on and leave on medium heat to simmer for a while. To check if it’s done pierce a piece with a sharp knife, if the knife won’t hold the piece of swede then consider it done. Drain, add a pinch or two of sugar, add a wee bit of milk or cream and a spoonful of cream cheese (if you like). Mash it all up using either a masher or a hand blender. A swede can without problems be mashed using a hand blender (potatoes should not). I often add a carrot or two to the mash. The carrots are then sliced and boiled with the swede.
I served this with lamb sausages (which you really should try if you’re in the area!)
Swedes are people too and should not be confused with the root-vegetable which is the subject of this post. No Swedes were hurt making this dish.
I’m quiet, I know, I’m not dead I’m still here, I’ve just been very busy living.
Autumn is here and now it’s here to stay. I really don’t mind. I bought this cute, little umbrella this summer and I now get to use it every day. I enjoy huge cups of tea at night (and at work) and I have a son who at least every weekend gives me plenty of reasons to go outside and enjoy the season.
Son has a few favourite activities that I must admit I don’t participate in as much as I should. For some reason it seems more of a hassle dressing myself properly before going outside than it is to dress him properly. The big puddles are thus reserved for my wee man.
Another favourite activity is to pick rowan berries, throw them high up in the air and see them dance around us as they fall down. Before the berries stop rolling about, Son tries to smash them flat by stepping on them. In this activity I participate joyfully but I do restrain myself a wee bit and let him get most of the berries.
And for those of you with culinary interests, the black gems hidden in the bushes at this time of year are the blackberries. In Norwegian they’re called ‘bjørnebær’ which translates to ‘bear-berries’. Many of Son’s teddy-bears have suffered many a stomach ache after stuffing their faces with these sweet things
This Saturday I bough about at least a kilo (two pounds) of plums. By Sunday night they were all gone. I bought twice as many as I normally would, as I planned to have a go at making jam, but I had to change those plans.
Autumn is here and I love it! (I just ignore the fact that the temperature this weekend was above out average summer temperature) It’s raining outside. I’ve come home soaking wet a few times already (despite dressing well). Evenings are filled with huge cups of tea, plums, burning candles and cuddling on the sofa. Life is good!
I’ve surrendered. Surrendered to autumn, dark skies, short days, everyday life, work, kindergarten – and most importantly large cups of tea, woolen blankets, candles, books and snuggling inside while the rain is hammering on the window. I now sit with a lit candle, a big cup of green tea with honey, and a few small late-summer flowers my parents picked while out walking with Son.
The temperature has given up, or I have lost hope in a sudden return of tropical heat and long summer nights. I am now officially ready for autumn. I caught myself looking at my winter shoes here the other day, thinking long and hard about whether I would pull it off wearing them to work, or if I would then diminish the hope of those of my colleagues who still hope for more summer days. My raincoat is ready and I sometimes long for my scarf and winter jacket.
I realise that it is only a few days since I walked the forests, a warm summer day, where I missed my bikini and longed for a proper swim in the river. I guess that was what I needed to let go of summer and be satisfied with the experiences I’ve had for the summer of 2011. I haven’t had a swim outside though, which I must have before completely letting go. It’s not very tempting, but it must be done…
It seems the summer will soon be taken over by autumn. It is sad, but true. Fortunately I have had a good summer and am ready to taken on the many joys of autumn. However, Son and I came across a fruit vendor (or close to that at least: a man selling berries off a table near a gas station) who still sold Norwegian strawberries. I’m not much of a nationalist regarding strawberries, but I prefer buying local produce rather than strawberries that have barely had time to ripen before they are shipped across a continent to be placed in my local supermarket. I was surprised to see someone still sell strawberries, as I thought the season was over. The berries weren’t as sweet as they have been earlier in the summer, neither were they as red or juicy, but they definitely served their purpose well: the last local strawberries of the summer of 2011. We bought about a kilo worth of berries. Some we put on sliced of bread and sprinkled with a wee bit of sugar (just as much for the crunch as making them sweeter) the rest we ate straight from the box.
This summer I’ve tried strawberries from both Norway, Sweden and Denmark, and it is impossible to pick a favourite. However, they are all a lot better than the importer berries from Belgium and Portugal (there are the most common imported strawberries in Norway). I think I could live on strawberries alone during the summer, and some days I have been close to eating nothing but strawberries. Now, however, I am happy to wait some ten months before I again taste the delicious berries.
Usually when I start to let go of a season, and start preparing for the next, the weather god put on their sarcastic faces and completely surprise me. Some days ago I talked to someone about the weather, and we both agreed that autumn was just around the corner. Consequently the next days were the sunniest days we’ve had in a long time. There is a bit of a cold breeze though, and the shade is no longer as pleasant as it has been. I’m sitting outside at the moment, showered in the warm rays of the sun, but I’m still a bit cold, despite jeans and a sweater. I’ll pretend it’s still summer for a few more days though.
Strawberries are ‘jordbær’ in Norwegian, which translates directly to ‘earth-berries’ (pronounces something like ‘your bear’) Fun fact of the day 😉
Some days back, a friend of mine, Silje, her two children, Son and I, went for a walk in a forest nearby. The autumn colours are so beautiful right now, the weather was chilly and it was raining on and off all day. We only had light sprays as we walked and absolutely nothing to complain about. We walked slowly, letting the kids play, and took almost thee hours walking a round that would normally never take me more than an hour.
My friend’s oldest child is thee years old and play extremely well with Son, who is a year and a half. My friend’s youngest is only two months, and spent the entire trip wrapped in duvets and blankets in his carriage. And he slept like a baby for all the hours.
We chit chatted and laughed and smiled at our kids running around. We also dropped by an local farm where they sell biological groceries and homegrown vegetables. The kids were thrilled as they got to pick out some biscuits and dried fruits.
This morning didn’t start out too good. It’s one of those mornings where everything goes wrong, and it didn’t stop after I left the house. I was in my office, and just had to go out for two minutes. When I came back the door turned out to have locked itself as I closed it. It’s an old lock, apparently not of the best quality and lose enough to manage to lock itself just because of the movement of the door being closed. My keys were inside my office, and I knew that if I left the building I wouldn’t be able to get back in. Luckily I met the cleaners just before they were about to leave and they were able to get me back in.
I tried to end the bad karma of the morning by walking home again. A good walk always brightens my mood. I met this guy and his friend on the way. He saw me coming some metres away and ran up to the fence to greet me. As I walked by I walked up to the fence to pet him, and as soon as I was about to touch him, he bent his head down and started eating, pretending I wasn’t there. Odd behaviour I must say, even for a horse!
Back home Husband surprised me with home made cauliflower soup with fresh baguettes, yum! It was his first time to make it from scratch, but it was sooo good. He had also cleaned most of the house. What a great husband I have!
One downside to walking home though; I haven’t done much of it lately, so I am now suffering. The pain!! (only sore muscles, and the feeling is still good)
After some hours of intense reading at the office today, I decided to take the time to walk home. It’s about an hour and half walk, which is more time than I usually have to get home, but today I wanted to make it a priority. I don’t regret that. The weather was beautiful and 90 mins of crisp, clear, autumn air felt great! I really should try harder to make time for a daily walk.
It is just lovely outside these days. I love autumn, I think I love all seasons, I just don’t like the time in between seasons. I don’t like the insecurity regarding the weather and how to dress when going outside. I want it to be so cold now that I have to wear a jacket when going out, a warm jacket that won’t be too warm as soon as I start moving. Well, I’ll leave you with this and sit back and enjoy the season, in a few months I’ll be sick and tired of it and longing for spring. Well, that’s then and this is now. Enjoy autumn everyone!
The house is quiet, I’m tired. I have a few candles burning and a huge cup of tea with my favourite blend sweetened with just a wee bit of honey. Tea cups can, in my opinion, not be big enough. My favourite at home is this green cup that holds 6dl (that’s a bit more than a pint). As you can imagine, I don’t like my tea too hot…
My favourite blend these days is green Marani tea, from the TeeGschwendner in Germany. The tea is a Japanese and Chinese blend with rose, cornflower and sunflower blossoms as well as pineapple. With a tea spoon of honey it’s perfect! I found it while in Berlin last Novembre, bought a small bag, which I regretted when it was empty after about a month. Husband was in Berlin again in May and bought home a large bag which I hope will last until the end of the winter season. Shipping charges from the online store are ridiculous and not even worth considering, so I hope friends and family will take advantage of the direct flights to Berlin and bring me home some tea every now and then.
I usually drink my tea with a bit of honey, and have just found out the hard way that honey isn’t just honey. I usually buy a local variety, but didn’t find it last time I was in the shops, so I bought a similar looking one at approximately the same price. The taste is very different, and when used in tea the taste of the honey is rather prominent. Well, we live and learn.