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Tuesday, 22 April 2014

HELLO SUNSHINE / A VEGETABLE GARDEN

We've had the most amazing weather lately. I've been wearing shorts and tank tops and I've even got a bit of a tan (in April, in Norway, without going to the slopes!). Graeme and I took advantage and decided to do a bit of gardening and make a vegetable patch. I've been wanting one for ages as I love the idea of growing my own vegetables. I'd love a greenhouse too someday, but that's a slightly bigger project. And seeing as we know next to nothing about gardening, a little veggie garden seemed like a good starting point!

To make our raised little vegetable patch, we found a couple of old planks of wood in my garage, cut them to size and hammered them in place. Graeme gets credit for doing most of the manual labor (which included hammering everything together with an axe, as he misplaced the hammer...), and got yet another boo-boo as he was getting it down from the garage. We then filled it with soil and planted romaine lettuce, spring onions, radishes, carrots, strawberries and a little garlic bulb that was sprouting in the fridge. Hopefully something will grow!
On a related note, the rhubarb patch is already ready to be harvested this year, so I'll need to make some rhubarb juice soon!

Saturday, 19 April 2014

GRAEME'S VEGGIE ROAST

Happy Easter, everyone! For some reason, I’ve been more excited about Easter this year than I normally am. I’ve been looking forward to having a few days off from work and painting Easter eggs, eating lots of chocolate, going for hikes and hopefully jamming in a session in the slopes too. We're having the best weather, and Graeme even got a bit of pinkish tint on his face yesterday, when we took his friend who's visiting from Florida on a hike to Preikestolen (tee hee, Graeme and his pale Scottish skin). 

A big roast dinner is also an Easter must. As Graeme is the only vegetarian, this is often his meat-free option when the rest of us are having a roast. And even though I happily eat meat and love a good roast chicken as much as the next meat eater, I usually try to sneak a bit from Graeme's veggie roast as well. Call me greedy, but really, it's so good.


The recipe might sound like a bit of a cumbersome process, but it is well worth the effort, as the roast you end up with is both moist and full of flavour. You can also easily make it a day in advance and leave it in the fridge overnight. It’ll set and keep its shape much better if you do, and it actually tastes amazing cold, too. However, leaving it overnight also means you have to wait a day, which we definitely struggle with.

Ingredients:
175 g green lentils
450 ml vegetable stock
1 bay leaf
75 g cashews, roughly chopped
75 g walnuts, roughly chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large leek, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
100 g mushrooms, chopped
2 cloves garlic
juice of half a lemon
100 g cheddar cheese, grated
1 egg
a handful fresh parsley
100 g bread crumbs (if making your own breadcrumbs: 100 g bread, 2 cloves garlic, splash of olive oil and salt and pepper)

Directions:
If you're making your own breadcrumbs: break up the bread into chunks on a piece of tinfoil, pour over a good glug of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Put in the oven at 200 degrees Celsius for about 5 to 10 minutes, until golden. Once the bread is browned, take it out and let a cool for a minute, before putting it in a food processor and blitzing it with two cloves of garlic. 

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius. Rinse the lentils in cold water, and put them in a saucepan with the stock and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and stir every now and again to make sure it's not sticking to the bottom. Leave it to simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes until thick and pulpy. While the lentils are cooking, toast the walnuts and cashews in a dry pan on medium heat. Once browned, set aside. Add oil to the frying pan and throw in the chopped onion and garlic. Cook til soft, and then add the leek, red pepper and mushrooms. Add the lemon juice and let it cook until tender. In a mixing bowl, combine lentils, vegetables, breadcrumbs and nuts, and mix in the chopped parsley. Add the egg and 3/4 of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper and mix. Transfer the mixture to a loaf tin, and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Cover the loaf in tin foil, and place it in the oven. After 30 minutes, take off the tin foil, and bake it for a further 30 minutes. Take it out and let it cool for a bit before you cut into it.


Serve with whatever sides you like with your roast. We usually mix it up a little, and today we went for hasselback potatoes, carrots, homemade yorkies (that looked funny but tasted delicious!), gravy and lingonberry sauce. Because I am Scandinavian and need my lingonberry sauce.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

INDUSTRIAL SPOOL TABLE

I love the industrial look, and the first time I saw a table made out of an industrial spool (which was years ago!), I knew I wanted to make one. There's a lot of construction going on where I live, so every now and then I would drive past a construction site a bit slower than usual, keeping an eye out for that perfect-sized spool. for a while I thought i'd found it, though closer inspection disguised as a dog walk revealed that it wasn't in the best condition. I also had my mother on the case, who would tip me every now and then about potential spools in the area. It even got to the point where I'm pretty sure I wrote about half a page about my industrial spool table visions in a letter to Graeme, diagram included. And a couple weeks ago, I finally found it. So one Friday night at 11, I got Graeme to come with me to pick it up. It turns out the one I had my eye on was a lot smaller than I thought it was, and we were about to just head home again, until I noticed a larger spool lying in a nearby ditch. It had some imperfections and some industrial staples and cement on it, but it was the perfect size, so we threw it in the car and headed home. (We felt like complete outlaws, even though the spool had been lying in a ditch outside of the construction site for a long time and was probably just going to get thrown away anyway.)



The next day, Graeme removed the staples and gave it a good blast with the power washer, and the cement bits came off relatively easily. The spool then hung out in the garage, drying for 5 days, before it was ready for a round with the sander. The original plan was to add some wheels to the spool so that it'd be easy to move it, but we decided that it wasn't really necessary as the spool was a  lot lighter than we anticipated. So instead of wheels, we attached three rubber doors stoppers to the bottom to protect the floor. I also had grand plans of staining it using the same stain I used for my headboard, but Graeme did such a good job (and even got a boo boo!) on the sanding and I liked the color of the wood so much that I decided to leave it. And there it is, I finally have my industrial spool table!



Monday, 7 April 2014

CLAY HERB MARKERS

I'm not entirely sure how many herb gardens I've had and killed in my life. I'm not very good at keeping them alive for very long, but as I use fresh herbs in my cooking a lot, I'm always trying to keep a couple herb plants in my kitchen window sill. But then I forget about them for a couple of days, and sadly, my herbs are not as forgiving of neglect as my cacti are. Still, I recently got a new pot for my herb garden, so I decided to make some cute markers out of polymer clay to label them. This is a super simple project, the kind you can easily do in an hour (depending on how long your clay needs to bake) and get great results.




I used white FIMO soft clay for this, as well as my alphabet stamp set. I rolled them into little sausages, flattened them with a kid's rolling pin and used the stamps for the lettering, before I baked them according to the instructions.

Maybe these will remind me to take better care of my herbs?


Friday, 4 April 2014

MARCH ON INSTAGRAM

March absolutely flew by. And seeing as I was in Korea for most of it, my instagram the past month has mainly consisted of pictures from that, as you can see above! It was a very exciting trip, and you can see more of the photos here. Since I've been back, I've been spending a lot of time with Bo and enjoying the lovely spring weather. Let's hope it stays nice! Hope you had a good month too!