Friday, February 24, 2012

Around and about Stavanger

Little bird outside my office window

Salted caramel pudding with butterscotch sauce

Stavanger Trad Jazz weekend. Kim Fairchild

Frozen lake

Thyme parmesan scones. Recipe from here
Thyme roasted plums with Crème fraîche. From here

Snow on our patio

Snow day

A little clean corner of our home

An unusually sunny Sunday. View from Godalen


Snow capped Mountains

A little red cabin next to the water

More views from Godalen. It is going to be so pretty in the summer

The sun is out! We can see our shadows!!

Pretty red weeds

A swan next to the red cabin

A swan next to the red cabin

More views from Godalen

More views from Godalen

More views from Godalen

Things we do on Trivia night

My first tart from scratch. White chocolate ganache, raspberry and hazelnut tart for Valentine's Day dinner. From here

Pretty feathers 

Stokka lake, just before it started raining frozen rain

Stokka Lake

Stokka - parts of it are frozen

Pretty yellow ship on the harbor

Some kind of a military ship? on the harbor

Stavanger canning museum

Vintage sardine can labels

Vintage sardine can labels

Vintage sardine can labels

Vintage sardine can labels

Vintage sardine can labels

Vintage sardine can labels

Canning equipment

Industrial mortar and pestle

More canning equipment

Large tub to boil cans

Fish ball maker

Sardines waiting to be smoked. These are not real sardines

Sardines in the smoking room

Sardine guillotine

Uniforms worn my women working in the factory



More Vintage sardine can labels   

Adventures in my kitchen - tangy, lemony beet soup

One of the biggest changes we have made after our move to Norway has been in the kitchen. Namely, I have started using the kitchen more often. In Houston, the kitchen was Mr. Sunshine's territory - I preferred to stay away - entering only when I really had to, and reluctantly I must add. Now, because Mr. Sunshine works late, and eating out is prohibitively expensive, I have been cooking more often. And I must admit, I am enjoying it. Who knew! And the good thing is: I am not half bad at it. I am not too adventurous in the kitchen though - I try to stick to what I know I can't easily mess up - like soups and pasta. In fact, soup has become one of my go to dishes for dinner. There is something about rainy evenings that call for the comfort of a hot bowl of soup. And we have a lot of rainy evenings here in Stavanger.

Last night, I had to use up some left over beets that I had originally bought to make beet ravioli for our valentine's day dinner. Inspired by this, I decided to make some lemony beet and potato soup. It was by far the easiest, tastiest, yummiest soup I have made - creamy, sweet and tangy, with just a little bit of heat from red pepper flakes. Also healthy. Here is a badly taken picture (I really do need to start taking better pictures of food).

And here is the recipe:

Tangy beetroot, potato and carrot soup 
(Makes about 4 servings)
  • One tablespoon olive oil
  • One small onion, chopped (I used red, but you could use white onions as well) 
  • Two cloves of garlic, smashed 
  • 2 to 3 medium sized beets, peeled and cut into small cubes (the smaller they are, the faster they will cook)
  • 2 Potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
  • 1 carrot, peeled and cubed
  • 2 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth for vegetarians)
  • 1/2 cup light sour cream (you can substitute it with yogurt)
  • I tablespoon sour cream or yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste
Heat a heavy bottomed pan - I use a dutch oven - and add oilve oil. Let heat, and then add chopped onions, and garlic. You don't have to worry about finely chopping the onions because you will be blending the soup at the end. Just make sure they are chopped evenly so that they can cook evenly.

When the onions turn translucent, add the vegetables and fry them for a minute.

Add broth and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, cover and let the vegetables simmer till they have cooked thoroughly. About 10 - 15 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat, and let cool.

Ladle the cooled broth and veggies in to a blender. Add 1/2 cup sour cream and blend.

Pour the soup back in to the pan, and put the pan on low heat. Add lemon juice and lemon zest and mix. Finally add red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Bring the soup to a boil. Add water if the soup is too thick.

Ladle the soup in bowls.

In a separate bowl, mix a tablespoon of the the soup with a tablespoon of sour cream. Spoon this over the soup in the bowls and gently swirl.

Serve and enjoy!

Credits: Pugly Pixel for the honeycomb pattern and the tape. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Link Mondays

Happy Monday everyone! Did you have a good weekend? We had a lazy weekend mostly, waiting for the weather to get better - it has been raining, snowing, sunny, raining iced rain the whole weekend long. We went out for a walk to a lake a few miles away from home early on Sunday morning and had to promptly turn back because it started raining ice! Big blobs of icy cold rain. And it was so windy - I could barely see anything because the rain kept hitting me on the face. Bah! I am so done with winter. Spring where are you?!? 

Things have been busy here at the Sunshine household. Mr. Sunshine has been working very hard, and I am back to being productive - writing and doing research. It is amazing how the mere act of moving can have such a negative impact on one's productivity. Thankfully, I am getting my groove back and getting more work done every day. I might just see the light at the end of the tunnel soon. I have started writing for the Stavanger Expats website - a great resource for expats seeking to move to or living in Stavanger and am also in the midst of starting and organizing a book, movie and wine club. All that is keeping me busy, and unfortunately keeping me away from the blog. I promise I will try to get more regular with the blog. 

Until then, here are a few things that intrigued me and made me smile this past week:

This SNL clip of last week's Weekend Update with Amy Poehler and Seth Myers about birth control and the all around fuckery (pardon my French, but all of this just makes me so mad) that is going on in the US regarding women's rights - the whole birth control issue, the proposed Virginia's ultrasound law, the proposed Oklahoma personhood law, and the stupid reaction of the conservatives towards Pentagon's decision to allow women in closer to combat roles. I heart Amy Poehler. 

These amazing jewel-like, fairy tale-ish paper installation by artist Kirsten Hassenfield. So pretty! I wouldn't mind having each one of them hanging in my home :-) Looks like a lot of her work was commissioned by Rice University in Houston. I will have to go see them when I visit Houston next. Via The Jealous Curator via Sycamore Street Press

This interesting article on why Pinterest is so addictive.

Paper cut film? Yes please! This gorgeous animated film made entirely using paper paper cuts called Les Trois Inventeurs or the Three Inventors by French writer Michel Ocelot. It is in French, but even if you don't speak French you can follow along. Via Craft Magazine.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Sunshine Household this Week

Reading: 11/22/63 by Steven King
Watching (TV Series): Downton Abbey
Watching (Movies): The Devil's Double 
Cooking and Eating: Lamb Chops cooked Indian style, Beet Ravioli, Ginger carrot soup, Roasted sweet potatoes with curried onion jam
Baking: White chocolate ganache and hazelnut tart 
Drinking: H2O
Doing: Trying to crochet a granny square. It is not going very well - I have little bits of rejected crocheted yarn lying all over my desk. One day.

Image credits: Sweetly Scrapped