fredag 31 oktober 2008

I did it!

This morning I noticed that the copper cauldron where we keep the wood was almost empty, so I had to fill it up. I figured I could as well fetch the tires as I was using the wheelbarrow. They are kept in my father's little workshop, which is standing as he left it two years ago — going there is a bit overwhelming as so many memories are falling over me.

I should have brought the table in weeks ago but it is so heavy that I have been putting it off. Today I got it done!

And finally the wood.

Today's window

Little Girl by a Pillar at Liselund" 1920 painting by Peter Ilsted, 1861-1933

torsdag 30 oktober 2008

From my blue chair

Oh, it's good to be back home by the fire and listening to music I choose (right now Karl von Ordonez) and not what is playing in the taxi or like today, in the small lounge where I waited before it was my turn to get interviewed.

I had to run some errands before I could crash in my blue chair — and now it feels as I could stay here for ever.

We're expecting a cold night so I took a quick tour to the studio to check that it was warm enough there. It is gray, damp and the kind of cold that makes you long back to the fire before long. But in spite of the nasty cold it was beautiful — here is the river northwards.

And this is the view toward west.

I had planned to fetch the winter tires from the outhouse tomorrow and put them in the car so I'm ready to get them changed on Monday. While out there I also need to move things in the garage to get better place for the garden furniture. Right now I'm inclined to put it off to another day.

Today's window

L' Empire des Lumieeres, painting by Rene Magritte, 1898-1967

onsdag 29 oktober 2008


The more it
The more it
The more it
And nobody
How cold my
How cold my

This was the sight that met me when I stepped out of the kitchen door this morning.
I think snow is beautiful to look at, and I like to live in a part of the world where we have different seasons — I only wish the winter were shorter.

The pumpkin-coach will fetch me at 8:40 tomorrow morning.

Today's window

The Window Forget Me Knots, painting by Henri Matisse, 1869-1954

I've been looking at this painting for a while wondering if the title is some kind of pun or if it simply is a misspelling — knowing that it is translated from French I'm leaning towards the latter.

tisdag 28 oktober 2008

Today's window

Martina by the fire, 1908 painting by Carl Larsson, 1853-1919

måndag 27 oktober 2008


Today when I was pottering about in the kitchen I remembered that some of you have asked me to write about how to keep house when you don't really have the energy to do it. I have ignored the question for a long time, not knowing how to tackle the subject. I think that those of you, who are living on a tight budget energy wise, already know how to get along — mainly because you have to do it and when you have to do things you find ways to cope.
Planning is the key word — when baking or cooking I usually bring all the ingredients out ahead of time. Later, often the next day, I measure what has to be measured and put it in a convenient order so when I start the actual baking or cooking I can go ahead without looking for things. That's the thought anyway; usually I have forgotten something and run around looking for it.....
When it comes to tidying the principle is the same — it helps if you're not too particular and can tolerate dust balls and cobwebs!
The hardest part is to learn not to demand too much of yourself.

I tried another pumpkin recipe from this cookbook today, and was not disappointed.
The book is still available — I just googled the title and found that you can buy it in most English speaking countries. My book was printed in 1993 and has a different cover than the new ones.

I'm so relieved to be able to go on-line again — I couldn't yesterday and was afraid it was my computer that was dyeing.

Today's window

Still Life and Street by M. C. Escher 1898-1972

söndag 26 oktober 2008

Today's window

Interior with Cup, Spoon and Window, painting by Robert Kipniss

lördag 25 oktober 2008

Slow Saturday

For pottage and puddings and custards and pies,
Our pumpkins and parsnips are common supplies.
We have pumpkins at morning and pumpkins at noon,
If it were not for pumpkins we should be undoon.
================Pilgrim verse, circa 1630

I've taken a break from the pumpkins today. Spent the morning by the fire with Gutenberg listening to music and only thinking about pumpkins when I planned the dinner. I have a beautiful cookbook by Troth Wells, "The World in Your Kitchen, vegetarian recipes from Africa, Asia and Latin America for Western kitchens with country information and food facts". There are several pumpkin recipes in it — today we tried "Colombo de giraumon" (spicy pumpkin) from Martinique. I'm sorry that I'm not able to share it with you because of the copyright.

But the bread I made yesterday is my own recipe. I like to use the stone ground flour that comes from a local mill, but use what you have.

1½ cups water
1 cup pumpkin
1 cup stone ground rye flour
3 cups stone ground wheat flour
1/3 cup wheat germ
1/3 cup cracked rye

1 tbsp sweetener
1 tsp salt
1½ tsp savory
1½ tsp yeast

½ cup lingon berries or cranberries

Today's window

The Collector of Coin, 1904, painting by Vilhelm Hammersøi, 1864-1916

fredag 24 oktober 2008

Today's window

Utdragssoffan med Odinstatyn, painting by Åke Göransson, 1902-1942

torsdag 23 oktober 2008

Pumpkins, pumpkins and more pumpkins

Greek pépōn denoted a variety of melon that was not eaten until it was fully ripe (the word was a noun use of the adjective pépōn ‘ripe’). Latin took it over as pépō, and passed it on to Old French as pepon. Through a series of vicissitudes this evolved via popon to early modern French pompon. This was borrowed into English in the 16th century, and soon altered to pompion; and in the 17th century the native diminutive suffix-kin was grafted on to it to produce pumpkin.
from Dictionary of Word Origins by John Ayto

We have two (not so) super markets in my small town ,they both had pumpkins but not much to choose from — the other store had only huge ones. So I came home with two rather small ones. Tomorrow I start experimenting — I have some cookie recipes that I'll alter. Later I hope to have the strength to make a pumpkin dinner.
Blogger is running amok – it has taken me over half an hour to get this short entrance in place. Well I hope it is in place, at one point only parts of the text showed up.

Today's window

Porträtt av Jeanette Rubenson, 1883, painting by Ernst Josephson, 1851-1906

onsdag 22 oktober 2008

Help needed

The Peter Patter Book of Nursery Rhymes by The Peter Patter Book of Nursery Rhymes with illustrations by Blanche Fisher Wright
“What makes you run, my little lass?
You’re almost out of breath.”
“A pumpkin made a face at me,
And scared me half to death.”

What have I done?
I got a phone call from our local radio station today. My friend Steven, an American who lives not far from me, had given them my name and told them that I bake the yummiest bread and pies. That's only because I sometimes make him brownies, doughnuts and other things that are not so common here. (I just got a mail from his wife who told me that he had said that I'd probably kill him for this. Well, I'm not in the habit of killing people so I have to think out something else...)
Anyhow — I ended up promising to talk about pumpkins next Thursday. I'm supposed to share some of my recipes too.
So here I am wondering if I have promised too much. We can't buy canned pumpkins here, so I need to find some pumpkins very soon and start to experiment. The selection of pumpkins is minimal here — most pumpkins they sell are meant for decorations.
I'd love to hear from you — do you have a favorite pumpkin recipe. I've used pumpkins in pies, cookies and bread but very little in main dishes — can anybody help me there? You can either leave a comment or mail me (you find the address to the right, under the photo of me).
And I know absolutely nothing about different kinds of pumpkins — is it a good site where I can learn?

Today's window

Painting by Solveig Rudström

tisdag 21 oktober 2008

Today's window

Lovers in Moonnlight, painting by Marc Chagall, 1887-1985

måndag 20 oktober 2008

Idle words

Where in this small-talking world can I find
A longitude with no platitude?
00000000000000Christopher Fry

I've written my friend Naomi today — an old fashioned handwritten letter as she is Amish and lives happily without computer and many other not so necessary things.
I have many good friends of many different denominations. We don't always have the same values but we respect each other and often discuss religion. But today it occurred to me that Naomi is the only one of my friends who never talks much of her faith — she lives it. I know Naomi her family and some of her friends, but I don't know how representative she is for the Amish. But what I know is that she is more, much more, well-read than many of my other friends and also much more tolerant.
Many years ago she gave me a prayer book: "A Devoted Christian's Prayer Book".
Besides the prayers the book also includes "Rules of a Godly Life". Those rules are very down-to-earth practical rules that are worth some reflection.
Here are a few of them:

If you wish to admonish a brother be careful to bring your reproof at a suitable time; for a reproof at the wrong time may easily do more harm than good, especially if the rebuke is too sharp or not tempered with gentleness. A reproof is like a salad, it needs more oil than vinegar.

Think! For every idle word you speak you must give account thereof in the day of judgment. Matt. 12:36. "In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin" (Prov.10:19). Seek to avoid, therefore, all non-edifying talk; let your words be thoughtful, few, and true. Consider beforehand if what you are about to say is worth saying. Practice saying much with few words. Never present a tale as true unless you know for certain that it is so; it is better to say nothing at all than to say something that may turn out to be false or otherwise of no value.

Confide to no one your personal secrets unless you have beforehand found him to be worthy of your trust. Here is one way to prove him and learn to know him well: confide to him some secret of some small importance; if he keeps it to himself it is an indication of his trustworthiness. However it is not wise to inform any friend carelessly all your secrets. There is a possibility that at some later time you may have sharp differences and then he may use his knowledge to your harm.

It would be quiet in the blogosphere if we all followed these rules. Still I think the rules are sensible, too often we say or write things we regret.

Today's window

View from a Window, painting by Fay Powell

söndag 19 oktober 2008

Today's window

Person at the Window by Salvador Dali, 1904-1989

lördag 18 oktober 2008

Saturday by the fire

It was -5◦C this morning — so I built a fire and made myself comfortable in my blue chair (you can see part of it to the left).

The most interesting find at Gutenberg was "The Cornwall Coast" from 1910 by Arthur L. Salmon. Since so many bloggers seem to live in the southwest corner of England I decided to take a look at the book.

Sennen Cove
I've never been to this part of England and I doubt that I would recognize the places from the book's photos. So tomorrow I'll get my England map out and see if I can find the places mentioned in the book.

Kim, I've mailed you several times but all mails bounce. As Deb and Lynne also asked about baking bread I thought I answer you all here although the questions differed a bit.
No, I don't make quick bread very often as I prefer yeast unsweetened bread. Usually when we talk about bread (bröd) here we mean yeast bread for making sandwiches. Coffee bread (kaffebröd) includes sweetened bread, usually made of wheat flour, cookies (småkakor) and what we call soft cakes (mjuka kakor) which includes bars, coffeecakes, pound cakes and that kind of bread. I seldom make coffee bread for many reasons, which I won’t become absorbed in here — just, let me say that I consider it unhealthy and unnecessary.
So back to the "real" bread — I make hard bread sometimes but not very often. It isn't difficult but it takes a lot of rolling and there are things I like better than spending an afternoon rolling out bread.
We eat more bread meals in Scandinavia than in many other countries. We set the table with bread, soft and hard, butter, cheese, marmalade, lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes and whatever you like to put on your sandwich (smörgås — which is an open sandwich). I'm a vegetarian so I stop there — non-vegetarians add different meats as well. Everybody makes his own sandwich, drink tea or coffee and solve all the worlds’ problems while having a good time.
Of course this differ from home to home — I write about it as Kim asked. I've had similar meals on the continent so I don't claim that Scandinavia have the sole right to this kind of meals.
I think that answer most of the questions — if not I'll continue another day.

Good night, I'll do as my darling now.

Today's window

The Lady of Shalott William Holman Hunt, 1827-1910

fredag 17 oktober 2008

A sunny day

I'm too tired to write so I'll show you a few pictures from today.

Went to the studio to fetch a few things.

After some grocery shopping I had to bring the car to the repair shop. Had to wait quite a while so I enjoyed the lovely weather and two playful kittens.

A window?


Someone there?

I can see you!

Today's window

The Lady of Shalott, c. 1916, painting by John William Waterhouse, 1849-1917

torsdag 16 oktober 2008

Apple butter

Here comes the recipe you asked for Anne — I'm sorry you had to wait. There have been a couple of e-mails regarding baking bread, which I'll answer soon (I hope).
You find a conversion calculator here.


1 kg apples,
100 - 200 g muscovado sugar
2 eggs
100 g butter
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
½ tsp all spice

Peel, core and chop the apples and cook them in a small amount of apple juice or water, until soft.
Add the remaining ingredients and let it simmer in water bath until it thickens. Don't let it boil!

I'm more generous with the spices than written here — I'd say this is a minimum. As for sugar, how much you use depends on how sweet the apples are — I never take more than 100 g.
You can use this recipe for most fruit butters — when I make pear butter I exchange cinnamon for ginger.