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Thursday, 28 November 2013

DIY ADVENT CANDLES

It is almost December! And as it's the first Sunday of advent this weekend, I thought I'd get my advent candles ready. As I don't have an advent candle holder I decided to make my own (any excuse for a bit of DIY!) . I got my inspiration from Bolig Pluss, this interior design magazine I subscribe to (the old fashioned way, by post!), and since I pretty much already had all the things I needed at home anyway, I decided I'd try to make something similar.

To make these advent candles, I used four candles, four jars (in different sizes), white tack, some twine and a few pine twigs from my garden. I used white tack to attach the candles to the jars, and decorated them by tying a bit of twine around it and shoving in a couple twigs. Done. My kitchen table looks so much more festive already! Can't wait to light the first candle on Sunday!

Monday, 25 November 2013

PEPPERKAKER RECIPE

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So I wasn't actually planning on starting my Christmas baking until next weekend. I mean, it's still November, and I like to hold off on the Christmas stuff until at least December. But then, you kinda have to start early if you want everything to be finished in time, and I've already started a few Christmas projects on the sly anyway. So with that logic, I started my Christmas baking this weekend with a batch of gingerbread, or pepperkaker in Norwegian.

Historically in Norway, the tradition is to bake seven kinds of cookies for Christmas to have ready for visitors. I doubt I'll actually end up baking seven kinds, but mainly because I'm pretty sure I'd end up with way more cookies than necessary and I'd probably end up eating them all myself, which is not as good of an idea as it might sound. I do however plan on also making kakemen and krumkaker, and I might even try to make some smultringer. We'll see what I end up having time to make!


This is my favorite gingerbread recipe. It calls for leaving the dough over night, so I like to prepare the dough before I go to bed, and then do my stamping and baking the next day. It'll give you a good sized batch, though if you're planning on making a gingerbread house as well then you might need to double up. Last year I only ended up with about 20 cookies after making my house, and that might sound like enough, but it was less than half a jar of cookies which pretty much all myseriously disappeared after I had my brother over for a visit. Gingerbread is pretty popular in my family, so another batch was an absolute necessity. 


Pepperkake (gingerbread) recipe:
2 eggs
350 g butter
350 g sugar
200 ml golden syrup
2 tablespoons ground clove
2 tablespoons ground ginger
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons baking soda
700 g flour

Directions: Melt butter, sugar, syrup and the spices in a medium pan. Stir continuously, and take it off once it starts to boil. It'll smell amazing but I don't recommend dipping your finger in to taste as it'll be very hot! Leave it in the fridge to cool for about an hour. Once it's cool, mix in the eggs, and then the flour using a mixer. Once it's all incorporated, put the dough in a cold place and leave it over night.



The next day, roll the dough out on a floured surface, and stamp out your cookies. I like to roll them out so they're about half a cm thick so they don't end up being too thin and crispy. Bake at 150 degrees Celsius on the middle shelf, for about 7 minutes until the cookies start to brown. Decorate with icing if you wish, or just dig in! Try not to finish them before Christmas, though.


Saturday, 23 November 2013

GRAEME'S OLYMPUS TRIP PHOTOS FROM STOKKELANDSVANNET


These photos are actually from this summer, but I thought I'd share them anyway. Graeme took them one evening when we were taking the dog for a walk around Stokkelandsvannet, a nearby lake. It was a pretty lovely day, and I love how dreamy these pictures turned out. These were all taken with an Olympus Trip on 35 mm film.


It's been so cold in the house recently, and I've got patches of snow outside in the garden (though I don't think they'll stay much longer as it just started raining). The sun sets so early, so looking at these are totally making me miss the long summer days!


Monday, 18 November 2013

THROWBACK: KNITTED FOOD ITEMS

I didn't turn on the TV or computer once this weekend. Instead I was a very busy bee. I cleaned out the house, furnished the guest room, started a new home brew, painted lots, read lots and baked a birthday cake for my mother (carrot cake with a maple cream cheese frosting and terrible sparkler candles). However, I also finally managed to unpack some of the stuff i brought over from Glasgow last time, which included these knitted things I thought I'd share. I knitted them a few years ago, just for fun. I think my original plan was to knit a whole fruit bowl, but clearly got a bit distracted in the process once I started doing popsicles as well (and a carrot, which I gave to a friend). Must say I'm a little tempted to complete the bowl now though. Maybe I should knit a pineapple? Or a bunch of grapes?

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

JALAPEÑO CHUTNEY


Yes, I know what you’re thinking—another chutney? And yes, well, I like chutney. And I’ve clearly been in a chutney making mood recently. So, lo and behold—jalapeño chutney. And while I love the apple chutney I made the other week, I might actually love this jalapeño chutney even more. Like the apple chutney, this one is also quick and simple to make, and will fill your house with the wonderful smells of the spices.



It was actually my friend Ebany who first made me a jar of jalapeño chutney and gave it as a gift for no apparent reason a few years ago. She actually has two blogs, one for her travels and one for her creative outlet. I loved it so I requested the recipe, and I’ve made it a few times since then. I’ve only made a couple changes to the recipe, mainly to the spices used. The original recipe called for cinnamon sticks and fresh coriander, but for this I actually prefer using ground and dried spices and herbs as I prefer the texture of the end result.




Jalapeño Chutney Recipe: (makes about half a kg of chutney
130 g jalapeño chilis
125 ml apple cider vinegar
250 g brown sugar
2 onions, chopped
200 g raisins
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp coriander leaves
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp turmeric
juice of 1 lemon
250 ml water

Directions:
Chop the chilis. De-seed if you'd like to keep it as mild as possible, or leave the seeds in if you want it hotter. I decided to de-seeded half to keep it somewhat spicy. Combine everything in a pot and bring to a boil. Let it simmer for 25 minutes. Transfer to sterilized  jars, and seal. Enjoy! 



Friday, 8 November 2013

ESPAÑA PHOTOBOOK

I made a new photobook! I was pretty happy with the one I made last time, so I  made another one using the same website this time as well. Thought I would share a couple of pages from it!


These photos were all from mine and Graeme’s holiday in Spain last year. We visited my parents in Cadiz and travelled to Sevilla and Bilbao where we went to the Bilbao BBK Life festival, and we brought  quite a few cameras with us (the La Sardina, Fisheye, Diana Mini, Olympus Trip, various disposable underwater cameras, as well as my SLR), so we ended up with a ton of photos. I’m so happy to finally have these printed—they’ve been hiding on my hard drive for far too long!

As I'm posting this, I'm actually sitting at the airport, about to board my flight to Newcastle to spend the weekend with Graeme. So excited! Hope you have a good weekend too!

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

KNITTED BUNNY SLIPPERS

I’ve been obsessing over knitting a bit lately. It all started with the mini hats I knitted for the Innocent Big Knit, and somewhat escalated from there. I first knitted Graeme a pair of slippers as he was complaining about his feet being cold. Then I decided I should probably knit myself a pair as well, only I wanted them to be bunny slippers as I’ve pretty much always wanted a pair. Then I got my copy of Pompom magazine in the post and the list of things I need to knit has now grown rather huge. I don’t even know how I’ll find the time to knit half of all the things I want to knit. I’ve been pretty busy lately, and to top it off I also managed to slice my index finger which mad me unfit for knitting for about two weeks (don’t worry—I’m ok. Though there was definitely a moment of panic amidst the bloodshed as I was bandaging myself up and being dramatic and googling how deep a cut can be before you need stitches).

But this weekend, finally, I managed to complete my bunny slippers. I’ve pretty much living in them ever since! They make me so happy and keep my feet nice and warm as the days are getting colder. They’re so easy to knit as well, as you knit the whole slipper in one piece in a stocking stitch using double pointed needles starting at the heel and finishing at the toe, and then you just attach the ears and pompom tail. I knitted them for my own feet which are about a UK size 5/European size 38  (so the cm measurements below are accordingly), but they can easily be adapted to fit any size by trying them on as you knit. I knitted these in grey and white wool, and used scraps of dark grey and pink yarn for the bunny faces. As you can probably tell, I’m no expert at making knitting patterns but here’s how I made these:

For the slipper: Cast on 40 stitches on two size 3.5 double pointed knitting needles. Knit the first row, and then continue to purl and knit every other row. Once you have reached 15 cm or until it reaches the middle of the top of your foot, attach the ends of the piece together so that you’re knitting in the round using five double pointed needles and have 10 stitches on each needle. Continue knitting for about 5 cm, or reaches the widest part of your foot. Now for the decreasing to make the toe part: knit 10 so that you are on the side of the slipper. Knit 1, knit 2 together, and knit 7 (to the end of the needle). Then knit 7, knit 2 together, knit 1. Repeat this decreasing pattern until you have 5 stitches on each needle. You should have a pretty neat decreasing edge on each side of the foot. Stitch the heel together.
For the ears: Cast on 12 stitches of grey wool. Knit the first row, then continue to purl and knit every other row until your piece reaches about 8.5 cm. Decrease by knitting 9, knitting 2 together and knitting one, then purling 8, purling 2 together and purling 1, until you have 3 stitches left. Cast off. Cast on 10 stitches of white wool. Knit the first row, then continue to purl and knit every other row until your piece reaches about 8 cm. Decrease by knitting 7, knitting 2 together and knitting one, then purling 6, purling 2 together and purling 1, until you have 3 stitches left. Cast off. Assemble by placing the white piece inside the grey piece. It should curl up so that the grey piece will surround the white piece. Stitch it together so it stays in place.
To assemble the whole slipper, stitch the ears onto the slipper, and embroider a bunny face on the toe. Make a small pompom for the tail (I used the fork method) and attach it to the back of the heel. Put them on and enjoy! Perfect to enjoy on a duvet day, or maybe as a present for someone?

Friday, 1 November 2013

OCTOBER ON INSTAGRAM

While everyone’s still going on about autumn, I’m starting to get a serious winter feeling. We are now in November, and it’s been pretty stormy and rainy recently. Today I woke up to a pretty intense hail and thunderstorm banging on my bedroom roof! I love a good storm though, and especially when I’m cuddled up inside in a blanket. I'm looking forward to a cozy winter in front of the fireplace!

So looking at October on instagram, I realize I've been taking a lot of pictures of food this month. I think it's the cold weather making me want to cook more. It's been a busy month! Graeme left for the UK on the first, so it's been strange just being me and Bo in the house. Graeme and I had a weekend break in Glasgow, though it was more business than pleasure as we basically spent the whole weekend clearing out the flat (we're getting it ready for renting out). Also finally got to enjoy the homebrew! Will definitely be making our own brew again.

Hope you had a good month too!