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Monday, 30 December 2013

2014 GOAL: MORGANITE CARDIGAN

I don’t normally make new year’s resolutions. Or at least if I make them, I tend to forget about them about halfway through January. I guess on some level I believe that if there’s something in my life I’m unhappy about and feel I should improve, I shouldn’t really wait until January each year to improve it. Obviously, that’s a lot easier said than done. However, this year I’ve set myself a goal for 2014: to knit myself an article of clothing. More specifically, I’m planning on knitting the cardigan below from the Pompom Autumn 2013 issue. 


You may have noticed this, but most of my knitting and crochet projects are all really quick and simple. There are a couple exceptions to this, such as this project, but for the most part I tend to prefer projects that won’t take me forever, like this one and this one. I tend to get distracted easily when it’s too big a project (here's an example I'm still not finished with--I guess "next summer" was being too optimistic), and I’m terrible at following knitting patterns and tend to prefer to make up my own. I'm getting a bit bored of small projects and I'd like to get better at following patterns though, and since I completely fell for this Pompom cardigan I figured it'd be a good starting point.

I also told myself that I have to knit something out of the magazine before I can justify buying another Pompom issue. And I'm pretty much dying to buy the winter issue, so let's get knitting!

Thursday, 26 December 2013

EASIEST SALTED CARAMELS


I know, I know, like you haven't already spent the past few days endulging in far too much already. But seriously. I don't believe there is a recipe for caramels that's easier than this one. As Graeme put it, "more effort goes into a grilled cheese sandwich." And I'm not gonna lie, I've gone through my fair share of failed caramel attempts. I've ruined both pans and spatulas, and more often than not I've ended up with caramel so hard you could probably use it to cut glass. Or at least to break teeth. I’d pretty much decided that making caramels just wasn’t for me. But then by chance, as I was looking for a completely different recipe, I came across a recipe that recommended using caramels in the microwave. In the microwave?

I was pretty sceptical at first, but as the recipe looked so simple and wasn’t exactly going to take a big chunk out of my day, so I decided to try it out. And boy, am I glad I did. In less than 15 minutes, I was standing there with a tray of perfect caramels. On my first try.




Caramels recipe (yields about a dozen caramels):
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon golden syrup
100 ml double cream
100 ml sugar
flaky sea salt

Directions:
Throw everything in a microwave-safe bowl. I recommend using one that's not too shallow, as the mix is going to end up boiling and bubbling a lot. Put everything in the microwave on a high heat for 8 minutes. Take it out every 2 minutes and stir. After the 8 minutes, pour it into an ice cube tray and sprinkle with the sea salt. Allow them to cool. Once they're cool, carefully poke them out with a kitchen knife and wrap them up individually in some greaseproof paper. Then try not to eat them all straight away.

NOTE: If a dozen caramels aren't enough, make sure to make your caramels in batches. If you double the recipe and try to make it as the instructions above, they will not set and you'll end up with a caramel sauce. Unless that's what you're after.




Hope everyone had a lovely Christmas!

Monday, 16 December 2013

KNITTED CHRISTMAS BAUBLES


I was a little late with decorating my Christmas tree this year. I say late, but that’s only because I basically like to decorate either on the first of December or the first Sunday of advent, and this year I waited over a week. So I suppose decorating it the first week of December isn’t really all that late. My mom commented that my tree was still looking pretty bare though, so I'm still in the process of adding to it. I don't have a whole lot of Christmas decorations here yet though, so I decided to knit myself a few Christmas baubles as well. I love the traditional Scandinavian look of these, and took my inspiration from Arne and Carlos and traditional Norwegian knitting patterns, like the Marius sweater and the Selbu mittens. How's your Christmas tree decorating going?

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

FIRST SNOW!


So last week we had a pretty intense storm going on that caused a bit of destruction. Roofs blew off and Stavanger was completely shut down. We don’t normally get storm that bad around here! When the storm finally quieted down though, we were left with blue skies and the most wonderful winter wonderland. I find it very hard to stay inside when it’s snowy outside, so I took my camera out for a little adventure with Bo. As I mentioned in my last post, I’m trying to make more of an effort to take photos in winter!




These photos are all from around my neighborhood, where I usually walk my dog. However, the woods I usually take her to were taped off due the fallen trees. I let my curiosity reign, ignored the tape and went to explore the aftermath of the storm.





These trees are right next to a row of houses (that were missed by about 5 meters), so it must have been pretty intense in there when the trees were falling. Even a poor little birdhouse had felt the wrath of the wind! Since everything was covered in snow though, it almost looked like the trees had always been like that. I guess the storm felt bad about all the destruction it had caused and tried to cover it up. Sadly, most of this snow has already rained away now though. Fingers crossed we get more snow before Christmas!

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

NOVEMBER ON INSTAGRAM


So, I obviously meant to post this ages ago! We're already over a week into December, and I've been so busy. One thing I've noticed though, is that I take a lot less pictures in winter than I do the rest of the year. With so little daylight, I tend to forget all about my camera. Must make more of an effort!

Looking back at November, I don't even know where it went, but the highlight of the month was definitely a far too short trip to Newcastle to visit Graeme. Hope you had a good November too!

Sunday, 1 December 2013

GINGERBREAD ADVENT CALENDAR






Never too old for an advent calendar, right? I usually get the chocolate ones, but I'm usually not the biggest fan of the chocolate so this year I decided to make my own with gingerbread. Have you got your advent calendar ready?

All you need for this is a branch, some gingerbread, some twine or string to tie the cookies with. I chose a pretty sturdy branch I found int he woods near my house, and then used a saw to get it down to the right length. I used this recipe to bake the cookies, and then made the holes with a toothpick before putting them in the oven. Let the countdown to Christmas begin!


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!