All posts tagged: featured

Local meat – sausage making & bone broth

Now that we have slaughtered and butchered the pig, we need to move on with processing some of the last parts, which in this case was the bones, skin, fat and meat that was set aside for sausage making, including the heart and tongue. The easiest and longest part of this process is making bone broth. There are many ways of doing so, and depending on how you plan on using it, you can make it as simple or complicated as you wish. When I am looking for a stock with lots of flavour, I tend to roast the bones in the oven with onions and vegetable scraps before covering with water and setting aside to cook. But with the quantity of bones we had on hand, we decided to simply get the best nutrients out of them and leave them with a neutral taste to use in a variety of ways. Many claim that the bones should be soaked in vinegar to enable better leaching of the minerals from the bones, but I have always been content …

Local meat – farm slaughtered

In recent years, we have been fortunate to have truly become involved in being part of our food supply chain. The appreciation you have for what is on your plate when you are part of the entire process is something I can not convey in words. This year, we took it a step further and I am so grateful to have been able to partake in the entire process. A smallholder farm a few kilometers from where we live offered us the opportunity to be part of a small group who would buy, slaughter and butcher our own meat. We of course jumped on the chance! So this spring, three little pigs were introduced to their new home where they had lots of place to play and dig up the ground, be fed well and live a happy life. Well last week, the time to do the dirty deed came along. With the help of another local farmer, we as a group learned by doing. And it was a very educational and rewarding experience. The pigs had …

Coq au vin and stock from rooster feet

When you raise hens in your garden, you are bound to end up with more than a rooster or two. We opt to let ours enjoy life with the girls, happily free-ranging until the day comes, when it is time to become part of our food cycle. We have learned quite a bit about how to take care of them in a humane and careful manner. I will not go into the details in this post, but will try and write about it sometime in the future. But for the time being, what do you do with a rooster? I have always been a fan of coq au vin, many people make it with chickens, because roosters (unless you raise your own) can be very hard to come by. You will find a variety of recipes online, each with their own nuance. Some call for armagnac vs. cognac, pearl onions vs. shallots, I say go with what you have and feel free to experiment. But one of the key ingredients is a good quality chicken stock. …

Expanding the flock with a broody hen

Our chicken adventure began a few years ago when we joined a local CSA farm (Community Supported Agriculture), we wanted our children to get a better understanding of where their food came from and enjoy the experience of being with the animals that provide for us. It was not long until we were so enamoured with the lifestyle, that we decided that we would have both chickens and bees at home. True to my nature, I read up on everything I could to figure out what would suit our family and property best. It was quite clear that having a rooster was not going to sit well with our neighbours, many of which have hens as well and also conceded to ‘no roosters’, so we needed a plan on how to expand the flock when that time came. When we chose our girls, we purposely selected heritage breeds and wanted one of those breeds to have a strong instinct to go broody.(see Broody Hen Notes at the end of this post). For that reason we chose two Icelandic hens, and …

seasonal food – squash

When the growing season provides you with an abundance of produce, find a variety of ways to preserve it to enjoy throughout the year. Right now, squash is about to burst onto the market (our local food initiative is a great way for us to follow the seasonal food cycle), and one of our favourite recipes in which to use it is in this chutney. Make more than you think you will need, many a dinner guest has requested a jar to take home COURGETTE CHUTNEY by River Cottage Time honoured traditional Indian spices turn a pan-full of courgettes into a superb chutney to enjoy with just about everything; cheese, cold meats, curries etc. 1kg courgettes, green or yellow 2 tablespoons salt 2 medium onions 4-5 large cloves garlic 1 red chilli (more if you want to increase the heat) 25g root ginger 100ml sunflower oil 2 tablespoons black mustard seed 1 tablespoon coriander seed 1 tablespoon ground cumin 1 tablespoon turmeric 300 ml cider vinegar 225g Demerara sugar Start by wiping the courgettes over …

Know where your food comes from – it’s ‘egg’cellent!

Eggs, have you ever tasted a really good egg? Chances are you haven’t. I am writing this post while visiting my mother in Florida for Easter, so eggs are on my mind (and yes, I am very fortunate to be able to combine family reunions and beach life.. I know!) Earlier this week, we went out with old friends for breakfast at a typical diner and ordered the standard bacon and eggs. My son looked at his food with a special look on his face and said ‘what is wrong with my egg?’ as he dipped his toast into a pale yellow yolk. We are used to deep orange yolks, full of flavour and nutrients, and we eat them with good conscience because we have our own chickens. They quite honestly won the chicken lottery getting a spot in our hen house after having lived their lives indoors before they came here. Now they eat our kitchen scraps and garden slugs and free range in the sun. And in return, we get eggs, garden fertiliser and entertainment – they are great company! After having been …

Upcycled and put to new use

  Every year for my daughters birthday, we try and include an activity as part of her birthday celebration. The girls are getting older, and it is a delight to see them work together. Last year, as part of the UN declaring 2015 the year of the Soil, we planted tomatoes (see our blog post here), I have heard some managed to even keep the plants going all season and enjoyed the ‘fruits of their labour’. This year, we decided to do upcycle old clothes and silk test samples from the studio into hair accessories, they were all very pleased with the results, so am I. To learn how to make fabric covered button parts, you can read my post from 2009 here. The details about adding pony tails is also included. My daughter who is now 10, is in full production mode to make a series that she can give as gifts, and maybe even sell 😉  

Bagels – Montreal Style!

Anyone who has ever been to Montreal for more than an airport layover knows about our bagels. No, even if you have eaten bagels in Boston, New York, Toronto or anywhere else, you still have not tried the good ones. It is a simple matter of fact.. and no.. I am not in the least bit biased 😉 Montreal bagels are the perfect combination of sweet, savoury, crunch and chewiness! They are anything but a bun with a hole in it. Sunday morning bagel runs, 3AM post party bagel line ups at Fairmont or St Viateur, waiting your turn at the bagel factory watching them come straight out of the wood fired oven is a Montreal ritual, you do not even need to put any toppings on them. But if you do, you know that nothing beats ‘bagels and lox’! It was only when I moved to Norway that I learned that salmon is called ‘laks’ in norwegian, I loved that, having calling smoked salmon ‘lox’ since my childhood. Every time I visit my gang back …

Foraging and Ramsløk – wild garlic pesto

Ramsløk as it is known in Norway, is also known as ramsons, buckrams, wild garlic, broad-leaved garlic, wood garlic, bear leek or bear’s garlic. Latin name: Allium ursinum Long overlooked, Ramsløk has made a comeback of late, gourmet restaurants and epicureans everywhere are hoarding what they can. There are few places locally where it grows, and hopefully those special places, much like favourite mushroom spots will remain secret such that it will continue to grow and those who harvest it are responsible and follow the foraging rule of take no more than 1/3 of what is available. Doing so will help it thrive for generations to come. Last year, our family took a course on local wild edibles, wandering the path and woods, collecting and nibbling as we walked. It was a revelation to see what can be foraged locally and was of immense value to increasing our knowledge about local food. We are fortunate to live in an area where we are able to obtain wild mushrooms, game, mussels, oysters, fish and more. We are blessed to …

“you say you want a revolution…”

In 1975 a visionary named Masanobu Fukuoka (1913-2008) wrote a book, The One Straw Revolution. He was a farmer and philosopher, who foresaw the problems we face today. It was clear to him that the industrialization of agriculture and the seeming ‘progress’ of the last half century was misguided… and yet only now is the rest of the world truly understanding what was so evident to him. The answers are clear, we know what we need to do. We need to create a sustainable plan to provide our communities with ethically produced food from smallholder farms, championing seasonal diets from local resources and care for our soil. Now we just have to do it. For the last 6 months I have been fully immersed in working on a solution for my local community, and in doing so met and listened to so many passionate souls from around the planet who wish to do the same for theirs. Whether those communities are remote rural towns, urban centres or major cities the likes of Oslo, New York, Washington or London. What has become obvious is …

2015 – International Year of Soil

2015 has been designated by the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization as the International Year of Soil. Today we celebrated our daughters 9th birthday, and soil was on the agenda! Soil has been on my mind on more ways than one.. permaculture, composting, bokashi, chicken manure and more.. but today it was all about children, 15 níne year olds, your typical birthday party – with a twist.. a soil cake and a make and take party favour, that hopefully will yield edibles for them to enjoy this summer 🙂 Organic Heirloom tomatoes (blue beauty, black cherry and  yellow pear tomato) as well a few who preferred Big Max pumpkins (let’s hope their parents can find a place to plant those!) 😉  and calendula flowers (one of my favourites – see my post on calendula salves and tub tea) I think our children enjoy party prep as much, if not more than the party itself… this year they did most of the work 😉  cake decorating has become a family affair and they even made the hand dipped beeswax …

Calendula salves and ‘tub tea’

Calendula.. ahh.. such an amazing plant! This week for the farmers market at Hellviktangen, I am putting together more of my salves and ‘tub teas’. Throughout the summer I collected calendula from Ekebo, our collective farm. The more you pick, the more buds appear, it is amazing what mother nature can do. Once home, I laid them out on trays to set in the dehydrator. I prefer to keep the temperature down and wait longer than to rush the process and risk overheating the flowers. Once they are bone dry, I remove the petal from their stems and store them in a clean airtight jar to be used in a myriad of ways. In order to make an infused oil from them, fill a clean jar halfway with petals and then top up with the carrier oil of your choice. Many use olive or coconut oil, but I prefer almond oil for skin products. Vitamin E can also be added to help prevent your oil from going rancid. Let the oil sit in a warm spot …

Bees are buzzing!

Always keen on trying out new pursuits in life, it was just a matter of time until apiculture was on the agenda. Many who know me are surprised, given my distaste (for lack of a better word) of bugs, but these little girls (and their drones) are just lovely! With hopes of harvesting honey, all the while helping the environment, the adventure begins! So along with my cohorts at Ekebo we have set up our hives and are learning all about what we can do for the bees, as well as what they can do for us. Enlightening is the word I would use to describe apiculture. There is simply so much to learn about how bees do what they do. A little overwhelming at first when you are reading about it, but once you have your own bee colony to follow and learn with, you simply go day by day. The bee gang at Ekebo consists of new beginners, a few who have taken beekeeping courses, and some who have some solid experience to help us all out. I can …

New tool in the studio

Over the holidays, the studio welcomed its newest tool, a plotter (cutter). There are many on the market, each having their own pros and cons, but after having done some research, I found the one for me. I have always had a love for words.. quotes and sayings… and being a font addict with a reasonable handle on graphic design and a love for Adobe Illustrator, the possibilities with this machine are endless! It cuts so much more than vinyl… cardstock, fabric, stencils for glass etching and fabric stenciling, heat transfer for clothing.. and I have even sourced reflective heat transfer for clothing. That may sound crazy to most of the world, but living in Norway, the dark season makes wearing reflects mandatory. My son has decided he wants to start a business selling his own reflects designs.. and he is only 8! Time to make space in the studio. Yesterday I made my first wall piece from vinyl. Well beyond the standard size of the plotter (the wording is just over a meter high), …