onsdag, august 31, 2011

A good crop

This summer has been a strange one, weather wise. I just heard on the news that it has been the wettest one since they started recording such things, some one hundred years ago. Yet I have had a good crop of some things, while others (like beets) have not done quite so well.

Broad beans have certainly done well this summer, and today I picked, shelled and blanched yet an other load. Now broad beans are not the regular fare here in Norway, and save for growing them yourself you are not likely to come across them here. I am quite partial to broad beans.

But since they are not commonly available here they do not figure in the Norwegian food tradition either. So I am short of a recipe or two on how to prepare them (the usual way I serve them is to give them a quick boil, and "Bob is your uncle"). Do you happen to have a good recipe that you would be happy to share? I sure would love to know.

Broad beans I grow in my potager, but mushrooms grow in the wild. And this year there has been a glut of them in the woods behind our house (must be all the rain). They are, of course, best eaten freshly picked and quickly fried, but the second best choice is to dry them. Which is what I have done this year (my freezer is still full of cantarelle from last summer... and the summer before). Good mushrooms recipes... anyone?

mandag, august 29, 2011

Tolix love

I can not remember the last time I bought I stick of furniture... The ones we have, have been in service for years, and have followed us from town to country. Most of them are either inherited or bought second hand. And that is quite the way we like it.

But for the past half a year I have had a secret love affair with the classic Tolix chair, and have wanted one "to have and to hold". And now all of a sudden I have four of them! And I do love them.

I especially love the distressed old look of these particular Tolix chairs. Just as I love the bluey greeny colour. Even though the old patina is not really a genuine article. Just as the chair itself is not really a genuine Tolix.

Not that I care of such "minor details". As long as I love love love the chairs. So far I have chosen not to have any cushions on the chairs, but to be honest they can be a tiny bit chilly to sit on.

So come winter I might choose to have some sheepskins thrown over them, for warmth and comfort. Yes, that might be a good idea. And just in case you wonder what kind of chairs I used to sit on earlier, click here.

torsdag, august 25, 2011

Basket case

I will leave for others to decide whether I am a total basket case or not... but I will freely admit to being extremely fond of baskets. I have quite a few of them and use them for all intents and purposes. But I have never had one like this before.

But what do I get with the gift voucher, worth quite a bit of money, that I got for my winning photo. So many lovely things at Lille Maison I am spoilt for choice. To be honest, the decision was not a difficult one.

As soon as I saw this basket I knew it was the one! And I knew where I would put it too. In my little cubby house come studio. Where there always seems to be a shortage of storage space. I know I will put this one into good use. And I think it looks pretty smart too...

onsdag, august 24, 2011

Rule the roost

Our henhouse has not had a resident rooster for about a year and a half. That is until this summer, when a handsome new gentleman moved in.

He is very popular with the ladies... while he is fiercely protective of them, making sure all is well and that no harm comes their way.

So much so that he does not allow anyone else into the henhouse, including me. So I usually wait until twilight to collect the eggs and to refill their water.

The ladies, on the other hand, are very productive indeed and give us the tastiest eggs, the yellowest egg yolk you ever saw.

That is, unless they get broody, and have their eyes set on offspring instead, not budging for 21 days on end. In the last year and a half this has been a useless activity, seeing that there has been no rooster about.

But now there is new hope in the henhouse, and who knows, maybe "the patter of tiny feet" can soon be heard in there....

mandag, august 22, 2011

Late summer

Summer is on its last leg here in Norway. I know our summers are short but sweet, yet this year I would not have minded a bit more of the sweetness bit before we head towards yet another winter.

Gratefully there are still a few warm lovely summer days to be had, like the one today. My garden is doing its best to show off its last bit of glory.

Most of my perennials are done flowering, but the annuals are still doing nicely, allowing me to pick bunches of them in abundance to bring indoors.

Most of the vegetables have been harvested by now, save for the root ones, which are still allowed to grow another month of two. Root vegetables are no "delicate flowers", and actually improve in taste after a frost night or two (not that we have had any yet...)

But there sure is a bit of autumn in the air, and we are more or less prepared for the approaching cold season. The firewood is dry and piled high in the barn, ready to be brought indoors when need be (we have already lit a fire or two this August).

The hay for the sheep´s winter feed is also in place in the barn. Come winter the hay will not only feed the sheep, but with its lovely scent remind us of warm sweet summer days.

torsdag, august 18, 2011

Have a seat

To fall in love with a chair... is it really possible? Quite possible indeed, as far as I am concerned. My latest love affair is with this "Tolix-look-alike"- chair, bought from here.

I had been eying it the best part of this summer, but not daring to take the plunge as I really did not need it, so could not quite justify the cost.

But when I the other day once again went over the the shop to swoon over it, I discovered that the coveted chair was on special, with a 40% reduction now in August.

So it did not take me more than a split second to place my order. And then the waiting started, and the anxiousness... whether the chair actually did live up to my expectations.

Today I got the chair home, and I am happy to tell you that it is all I could hope for, and then some. So much so that I have placed a new order for three more chairs, to go around the dining table. A set of four chairs... a serious love affair indeed.

tirsdag, august 16, 2011

Summer diamonds

I had high hopes for this summer... I had visions of warm sunny days stretching for months on end, and me myself enjoying it all from the comforts of a deck chair under the parasol, where I would stitch away on my patchwork diamonds (OK, I did plan to do a whole lot more during this summer too...)

But as we all know, fairytales do not really come true... and this summer turned out to be a very wet one. Really the wettest one for decades. And me myself... well I did not get to do much of the planned stitching under the parasol at all.

So my diamonds in the rough have not really turned into the summer jewels I had high hopes for. But in all fairness, I have worked a little on the forsaken diamonds. And now the best part of the summer is over, and early autumn is approaching.

As much as I love summer I do have to admit that in due course I am ready to welcome autumn too. Summer is such a busy time, when "everything" is supposed to happen, and even on rainy days (of which we have had a fair share this summer) I have not been able to slow down.

But with autumn comes calmness... time to reflect and to create. Already I feel myself drawn to the grey shades that for me signify autumn. I do like the way my lilac diamonds match the grey. So from now on they are autumn diamonds. Not a bad idea, actually...

fredag, august 12, 2011

What a lovely day it was

What a lovely day I had yesterday. The day was crisp, bright and sunny after an exceptionally chilly and gray day just the day before.

But the best thing about yesterday was a visit to Ellen and her charming home together with Eva.

Now those of you who do not know Ellen, she really is the queen of recycling here in Norway, and the author of several popular books, along with "Sjarmerende Jul" and this year´s "Sjarmerende Uterom".

Ellen lives in a quaint little red house, full to the brim with charming recycling ideas. And her delightful enclosed garden is equally full of recycled goodness (check out the first two photos in this entry, and you get the drift).

Ellen treated us to a delicious lunch in her garden. We enjoyed the food, the pretty surroundings, and each others company. Between three likeminded bloggers it is not hard to find things to talk about...

I had such a lovely time, and we all agreed that this was not the last time we met! Thank you, Ellen, for your friendship and for your hospitality.

And more thanks are in order! This time my gratitude goes to you, dear readers. "With a little help from my friends" my photo won! Thank you all!

onsdag, august 10, 2011

Take one rainy afternoon...

Take one rainy afternoon, a bowlful of blackcurrants, two overly ripe bananas, a handful of last year´s beets, a bit of wool and a dog... and what do you get? Quite a bit, as it turns out!

Out of the bowlful of blackcurrants I made jam, and out of the two overly ripe bananas I baked a banana bread.

And out of the two of them I got a lovely afternoon snack (maybe not the obvious combination, but not a bad one at all, as it turned out).

Out of the handful of last years beets (that had been forgotten at the back of the fridge) I got a jar of pickled beetroots.

Out of the colourful wool I knit more squares, and just had to see how they look together so far.

I have to admit I quite like what I see, so I think I will stick with these colours. I still have plenty to knit when the next rainy day comes along, as I am not even halfway done with the squares.

While I have been busy with all of the above, Zara the dog has been busy keeping an eye over the field behind our house... "I spy with my little eye... a sheep!"

I have to say Zara has been patient enough for long enough, so she is about to be rewarded with a long walk. I am about to face the elements (rain, wind and only +9C) and venture outdoors. Safe in the knowledge that there is more banana bread and blackcurrant jam to be had on my return.

(Just in case you wonder... Zara is a labradoodle, staying with us for a few weeks, something she has done quite often this past half a year. She is a delightful dog and a lovely breed for those of us with allergies).