lördag 31 januari 2009

We all need a certain amount of fallow time. . .
Watching the grass grow, sitting on the hillside,
staring out the window daydreaming.
When we don't have it, there is a deeper
intelligence that won't come forth.
000000000000 Sue Bender

fredag 30 januari 2009

One thing at the time

A thin layer of snow has fallen during the night, enough to freshen up the nature so even if it still is gray the snow together with longer days makes the world a bit brighter than only few days ago.
My darling still complains about the weather and prefers to play in the laundry (clean).

My capacity for doing more than one thing at the time is nil — and I don’t always manage one thing either. But my brain can't grasp that fact, and is milling out ideas for projects at a neck breaking speed. That clash between brain and reality paralyze me and I end up doing nothing. There are many books waiting to be read but for some reason also the reading is slow. Partly because my brain seems to be deep-frozen — but I also think that I've changed over the years. I used to gobble up the books, which I don't do any longer — now I like to put the book down for a while to ponder what I've been reading. Some books takes more time to reflect over than others, and I'm reading two such books for the moment. They are both in Swedish, which is a pity as they are very interesting. One of them is about the Finnish poet Edith Södergran and how she studied Rudolf Steiner's books.
The other slow book is even slower and deals with ethic and wisdom in the healthcare.
In between those two books I keep reading "The Cat Who books" and plan another art theme for the blog. When I was looking for windows I found so many other paintings I'd like to share — I hope to start it next week.

torsdag 29 januari 2009


I found this lovely teapot on TT's Origami Page; unfortunately there is no address so I couldn't ask for permission to publish these pictures.
If you want something to serve with the tea I have an old recipe for caraway cakes here. I found it in one of Gutenberg's many cookbooks — I'll try to find out which, and publish the title later.


Take one pound of flour, three quarters of a pound of sugar, half a pound of butter, a glass of rose-water, four eggs, and half a tea-cup of caraway seed,—the materials well rubbed together and beat up. Drop them from a spoon on tin sheets, and bake them brown in rather a slow oven. Twenty minutes, or half an hour, is enough to bake them.

måndag 26 januari 2009

Beets — again

Today I tried a recipe for borscht from Cranks first cookbook. It was delicious, and looked redder and prettier than on the picture. There was no cabbage as it usually is; it contained only beets, potatoes and onion. I have the Swedish translation of the book so it's a bit odd to translate it back to English. Maybe someone have "The Cranks recipe book" from 1982. If you don't have the book but want the recipe just mail me. You find the address to the right under my picture.
The river from my studio window.
It is still gray — but there is a promising feeling in the air, as the spring is waiting in the wings ready to bless us as soon she gets a chance. Spring is the feminine — isn't she?

söndag 25 januari 2009

Saturday with Gutenberg


I spent most of the Saturday with Gutenberg and it's Swedish relative, Projekt Runeberg and got so absorbed that I found no time to write about it. The day's find was a Swedish book with pictures and descriptions of craftsmen — yes they were all men.



Have you ever felt that you need to learn more about cauliflowers? Then this book s for you: The Cauliflower, 1891, by A. A. Crozier. It tells you all there is to know about growing cauliflowers and broccoli. There are even some recipes even if I don't find them too tempting.

23. Á la Louis XIV (Mr. S. J. Soyer).—Cauliflower, new-made butter, grated nutmeg, bouillon.
The cauliflower is to be repeatedly washed in lukewarm water, boiled with bouillon and a little nutmeg, drained and then shaken with butter over a fire. To be served as soon as the butter is melted.
28. Cauliflower Omelette.—Take the white part of a boiled cauliflower after it is cold, chop it very small, and mix with it a sufficient quantity of well beaten egg to make a very thick batter; then fry it in fresh butter, in a small pan, and send to the table hot.
Note:—This omelette makes a fine dressing to pour hot over fried chicken when ready to send to the table.

Look at this young ensign, how fine he looks
with his banner and his sword. Wouldn’t you
like to be a soldier? to fight for your country?
I don't know when "Young Soldier" by unknown author and illustrator was printed — but I'm sure it is rather old. It only contains eight pictures with a short text to each, and that is more than enough as it glorifies war and soldiers.

It was much more fun to read "The Allinson Vegetarian Cookery Book" by Thomas R. Allinson. I have seen it before and even if there aren't many recipes I'd like to try it gives you a glimpse into the past to read this kind of books.

Baking powder, soda, and tartaric acid, or soda and hydrochloric acid, or ammonia and hydrochloric acid, or other chemical agents, must never be used for raising bread, as these substances are injurious, and affect the human system for harm. The only ferment that should be used is yeast; of this the French variety is best. If brewer's yeast is used it must be first well washed, otherwise it gives a bitter flavour to the loaf. A small quantity of salt may be used, but not much, otherwise it adds an injurious agent to the bread.

This is as sweet and pure a bread as the finger-rolls, and keeps fresh for several days, as it has to be mixed fairly moist. 2 lbs. of Allinson wholemeal, 1-1/2 pints of milk and water; mix these to a thick paste, and put the mixture into some small greased bread tins. Loaves the size of the twopenny loaves will want 1-1/2 hours in a hot oven.
I don't think I'll try this unfermented bread — it might keep fresh for some days but I wonder if it is possible to slice it — or chew it!
These Sly cakes remind me of what an English friend call sad cakes.

1 lb. Allinson wholemeal flour, 8 oz. butter, 8 oz. currants, 2 oz. sugar, and 6 drops essence of lemon; mix the flour and sugar, and make it into a smooth paste with water, but do not make it very wet. Roll out 3 times, and spread in the butter as for pastry; roll it very thin, and cut into rounds or square cakes. Spread half of them very thickly with currants, press the others very gently on the top, so as to form a sandwich, and bake in a quick oven till a light brown.

lördag 24 januari 2009

Every man should be born again on the first day of January. Start with afresh page. Take up one hole more in the buckle if necessary, or let down one, according to circumstances; but on the first of January let every man gird himself once more, with his face to the front, and take no interest in the things that were and are past.
000000000000000000000Henry Ward Beecher

fredag 23 januari 2009


On some Swedish blogs we've been looking at old cookbooks and this kind of free booklets from different kind of companies so I felt I had to see what I had in my bookcase.
This small booklet with recipes from "Braun's TOWN TALK" was printed in 1950. Do they still exist? I don't think I've used it many times, if at all, but remember that I loved to look at the pictures as a child.

Somebody likes to try Fiesta Toast?


3 tbsp. flour
3 tbsp. butter or margarine
2 cups canned tomatoes
2 cups canned corn
2 tsp. salt
¼ lb. sharp cheese¨
1 onion, sliced
Brown the flour in skillet, then blend with 2 tablespoons melted butter or margarine. Brown the sliced onion in remaining butter. Add all remaining ingredients except cheese and cook about 10 minutes, stirring slightly to heat evenly. Blend in the cheese, thinly shaved or grated, and stir until cheese melts. Serve on crisp toast, garnished with bacon or slices of hard-cooked egg. (6 servings)
I just found this article from 2005 about "Braun's TOWN TALK".

onsdag 21 januari 2009

Not much to blog about

But I do it anyway as I think these beet-potato pancakes have a potential. They were simple to make but something was lacking, I'm not sure what.

Grate (as fine as possible) 2 red beets and 2 potatoes and mix with ½ onion that is finely chopped. Mix and add salt and pepper and fry them. They must be rather small as they are next to impossible to turn otherwise.

An egg would make them easier to handle but they also need more spices or herbs. Maybe horseradish, or thyme — I'm not sure. And I'm not sure that I'll bother to figure it out either. I ended up eating them on hard

I've seen recipes for bread (yeast) and chocolate cakes with red beets — but I've never tried it myself. I don't think it gives much taste — it is rather the consistence and color you're after.

tisdag 20 januari 2009

Beets and snow

I promised to put up some more beet recipes. One of our favorite salads is a salad I found on the web many years ago — I'm a bit surprised that only three persons have rated it as it has been there since 2003. On the other hand I haven't done it either in spite of the fact that we make it quite often. Here it is, Creamy Beet Salad.

Another simple salad is made with pickled beets, lentils and apples — for the dressing you can use sour cream, yoghurt or crème fraiche with some mustard and black pepper.

Life keeps running faster than I do and it also have a way of telling me what to do instead of the other way round. Heavy snowfall was predicted so I thought I better go shopping on Sunday in case our driveway would turn into a toboggan-run. So I wrapped up and left the domestic hearth only to find that the car refused to start. Not much to do about on a Sunday but Monday morning I phoned for help. Two young nice guys came — and I was almost happy that they couldn't start the car either. It would have been cheaper but I would have felt stupid — like I always do when the computer act up and I bring it to town where it behaves perfectly. Just like kids when they are away from home. Anyway, they had to bring the car to the garage, where they cured it. This morning the driveway looked like a toboggan-run but I managed to get both down and back up without any problems. Now I don't need to shop until the end of next week so I can relax and do everything I have intended to do for some years. Or I might read and have tea...


lördag 17 januari 2009

What do I have in common with Lewis Carroll?

Believe it or not — the language!
I typed in a post from my blog and was told that:
"The text moderately resembles to the writings of Lewis Carroll . I can see a few clear similarities in the language and word usage, interesting!"
At uClassify you can find out things about yourself you didn't know before. By typing in my blog's url I got to know this about myself:
The entertaining and friendly type. They are especially attuned to pleasure and beauty and like to fill their surroundings with soft fabrics, bright colors and sweet smells. They live in the present moment and don´t like to plan ahead — they are always in risk of exhausting themselves. The enjoy work that makes them able to help other people in a concrete and visible way. They tend to avoid conflicts and rarely initiate confrontation — qualities that can make it hard for them in management positions.

Happy Birthday Don Quixote

Don Quixote, painting by Salvadore Dali
It is 404 years today since "The History of Don Quixote" was published — the first modern novel. It's a book that has inspired many artists and composers — the first image that comes to my mind when I think of the book is Pablo Picasso's Don Quixote, but a search on the web showed many more paintings called Don Quixote. Here are just a few, you can see more at my Swedish blog.
The English translation you can find at Gutenber has illustrations by Gustave Doré.

illustration by Gustave Doré

Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, painting
by Andreas Achenbach (1815-1910)

Searching for that big happy moment in life, how many special little moments we let pass us by? 0000000000000 Anonymous

torsdag 15 januari 2009

Mmmmmmmore beets

"The beet is the most intense of vegetables. The radish, admittedly, is more feverish, but the fire of the radish is a cold fire, the fire of discontent, not of passion. Tomatoes are lusty enough, yet there runs through tomatoes an undercurrent of frivolity.
Beets are deadly serious."
0000000000000000 Tom Robbins
This is one of our favorite salads — today for the first time we made it with polka dot beets. It tastes the same but red beets are prettier. If you don't live near an IKEA store or other shop where you can buy lingon berry jam I'm sure you can use cranberry jam as they have a similar taste.

Rödbetssallad (red beet salad)

3 red beets
1 large apple
chopped nuts
1 tbsp lingonberry jam
3 tbsp heavy cream or sour cream
1 tsp oil
caraway seeds

Grate beets and apple and mix with the other ingredients.

onsdag 14 januari 2009

A day in my life — part two

Time to sum up the day.
It has been just as slow and pleasant as I hoped for.
The pie is ready and I hope it is good — I think it is a rather dense and rich pie. What it taste like I'll know tomorrow night.

I got a couple of mice posts written but only a few mails answered.

Since it was such a beautiful day I walked to the studio and back after dinner. The sun had just set (4 pm) and it was beautiful, not too cold walk.
I've loaded the CD player with Telemann, Reinecke, Clara Schumann and Haydn — and will let the evening happen as it pleases.


A day in my life — part one

Another month has disappeared and it is time for "A day in my life" again. The day has just started, I've let my darling in and "tucked him in bed" (yes, he requires to be cuddled and talked to before getting his morning sleep), been down to the mailbox to fetch the daily papers and am now sitting in the library hoping it will be a slow and pleasant day. Up till now the year has been filled with appointments, electricians, plumbers and that kind of things. Yesterday we got the new radiators for our largest room (50 m²), which has been hard to keep warm with the old radiators. Now we're only waiting for a guy to come and install a ramp on one of our entrances.

So what do I hope to get done today?
A pie for a friend that is coming to see me.
Some mice work — I'm running a mice theme on a Swedish blog. Mainly pictures, but also text both in English and Swedish. The whole thing started before Christmas when a fellow blogger, Christina, got uninvited houseguests.
I need to catch up on mails and letters.
To read by the fire.

It will be interesting to see how much I managed of this — or if the day, as so often, takes off in its own direction and all I can do is to follow to the best of my ability.

But first tea!

tisdag 13 januari 2009

B is for beets

Monix has started to cook herself through the alphabet. She had a yummy recipe for filled aubergine the other day and today I made a beet quiche. I think it would look nicer with red beets than the polka dot ones I bought yesterday. And it would have looked less pale had I turned the oven on the right temperature 200°C instead for just under 175°C that I for some strange reason did. It was good even if I probably try to add more spices next time.

Rödbetsquiche (red beet quiche)

Your favorite whole-wheat crust, pre-baked for about 10 minutes.

½ kg beets, preferable rather small
½ tsp thyme
100 g feta cheese
3 eggs
3 dl milk
Cook the beets and slip of the skins. Cut them in half and put them, cut side down, in the pie pan. Crumble the feta cheese on top of the beets. Beat the eggs with the milk and add the thyme and pepper (I used chervil as well). Bake at 200°C for about 30 minutes — or until ready.
I was wondering if carrots would be next but Monix has already prepared a C-dish, so I guess we have to figure out what D-dish to make.

söndag 11 januari 2009

A lunatic post

From Klappa, klappa händer by Maria Moberg
I happened on this picture today and since I've been reading — well, not really reading, looking at comes closer to the truth — "Moon Lore" by Timothy Harley lately I thought I share both the picture and a few excerpt from the book.
In English, French, Italian, Latin, and Greek, the moon is feminine; but in all the Teutonic tongues the moon is masculine. Which of the twain is its true gender? We go back to the Sanskrit for an answer. Professor Max Müller rightly says, "It is no longer denied that for throwing light on some of the darkest problems that have to be solved by the student of language, nothing is so useful as a critical study of Sanskrit." Here the word for the moon is mâs, which is masculine. Mark how even what Hamlet calls "words, words, words" lend their weight and value to the adjustment of this great argument. The very moon is masculine, and, like Wordsworth's child, is "father of the man."

We cross the Atlantic, and among the Greenlanders discover a myth, which is sui generis. "The sun and moon are nothing else than two mortals, brother and sister. They were playing with others at children's games in the dark, when Malina, being teased in a shameful manner by her brother Anninga, smeared her hands with the soot of the lamp, and rubbed them over the face and hands of her persecutor, that she might recognise him by daylight. Hence arise the spots in the moon. Malina wished to save herself by flight, but her brother followed at her heels. At length she flew upwards, and became the sun. Anninga followed her, and became the moon; but being unable to mount so high, he runs continually round the sun, in hopes of some time surprising her. When he is tired and hungry in his last quarter, he leaves his house on a sledge harnessed to four huge dogs, to hunt seals, and continues abroad for several days. He now fattens so prodigiously on the spoils of the chase, that he soon grows into the full moon. He rejoices on the death of women, and the sun has her revenge on the death of men; all males therefore keep within doors during an eclipse of the sun, and females during that of the moon."


"From my palace of light I look down upon earth,
When the tiny stars are twinkling round me;
Though centuries old, I am now as bright
As when at my birth Old Adam found me.
Oh! the strange sights that I have seen,
Since earth first wore her garment of green!
King after king has been toppled down,
And red-handed anarchy's worn the crown!
From the world that's beneath me I crave not a boon,
For a shrewd old fellow's the Man in the Moon.
And I looked on 'mid the watery strife,
When the world was deluged and all was lost
Save one blessed vessel, preserver of life,
Which rode on through safety, though tempest tost.
I have seen crime clothed in ermine and gold,
And virtue shuddering in winter's cold.
I have seen the hypocrite blandly smile,
While straightforward honesty starved the while.
Oh! the strange sights that I have seen,
Since earth first wore her garment of green!
I have gazed on the coronet decking the brow
Of the villain who, breathing affection's vow,
Hath poisoned the ear of the credulous maiden,
Then left her to pine with heart grief laden.
Oh! oh! if this, then, be the world, say I,
I'll keep to my home in the clear blue sky;
Still to dwell in my planet I crave as a boon,
For the earth ne'er will do for the Man in the Moon."
0000000 The Man in the Moon, by C. Sloman.

00000000London, 1848, Music by E. J. Loder.

A candle, a candle
To light me to bed;
A pillow, a pillow
To tuck up my head.
The moon is as sleepy as sleepy can be,
The stars are all pointing their fingers at me,
And Missus Hop-Robin, way up in her nest,
Is rocking her tired little babies to rest.
So give me a blanket
To tuck up my toes,
And a little soft pillow
To snuggle my nose.

From The Peter Patter Book of Nursery Rhymes by Leroy F. Jackson with illustrations by Blanche Fisher Wright

torsdag 8 januari 2009


Today I spent some hours in the studio while the plumber was working there. It was rather cold and not much I could do so I looked through some boxes with yarn and thought of all the things I want to do.
I've always envied people who do not need much sleep — how much you could read, weave, sew, knit — and blog if you didn't need more than four or five hours of sleep every night!

It has been a gray day — but I prefer that to the very cold weather — it is back to more endurable temperatures again -7°C (19.4°F) now. So I could take my mittens off and take some photos without getting frostbitten fingers.

Strange how hard it is not to take dozens of photos of sunsets —I know that it never is as exciting to look at pictures of a sunset as it is to watch the real thing, but still I keep taking those pictures.

tisdag 6 januari 2009

Amazon staff punished for being ill

The boys like to call on Mr. Leaf,
because he has such nice books.
But sometimes they merely
sit down and read them.
A couple of days ago a fellow blogger had a link to this article.

måndag 5 januari 2009

A cold beauty

There is nothing in the world more beautiful than the forest
clothed to its very hollows in snow.
It is the still ecstasy of nature, wherein every spray,
every blade of grass, every spire of reed,
every intricacy of twig, is clad with radiance.
000000000000000000000 William Sharp

It seems, as the cold weather is here to stay. It is -22°C today (-8°F) so we stay as close to the fire as we can — which is nice — and hope we won't run out of wood.
Today I need to tidy up — I don't understand how a house can get messy when you're sitting in your recliner reading most of the time. Gnomes?We'll keep the tree for another week so it needs new candles. I'm glad that my darling isn't very interested in the tree, he hides under it sometimes and we always are careful to keep an eye on him when we light the candles.

söndag 4 januari 2009


Christmas card by Jenny Nyström
Twelfth Night and Knut

Twelfth Night or Epiphany, the 6th-7th of January, is cele­brated in many homes as an extension of the Christmas festivities, in terms of food at any rate. Children are still on holiday from school, and many parents take a holiday up until this day, too. In olden days it was customary to put on a Twelfth Night pageant, telling the Christmas story, or for groups of white-clad boys (as described under "Lucia") to go the rounds of the village. These traditions live on in only a very few communities today.

One week after Twelfth Night the Swedish calendar cele­brates the name Knut. Prior to a seventeenth century calen­dar reform Knut was celebrated on Twelfth Night and marked the end of the holiday season. As a result of the reform Knut was moved forward one week, and since Swedes were accustomed to ending their Christmas holidays on Knut's day, they simply continued celebrating an extra week.

This is the day people finally part with their Christmas trees — if they haven't already done so. All the decorations are first removed, and the act is often the occasion for a final party — this one especially for the children. Friends and classmates are invited over to eat cakes and candies, play games and "plunder" the tree. All the small trinkets are carefully removed and stored away, while edible ornaments — ginger biscuits, caramels, and the like — are gobbled up.

Finally, the group pick up the tree and literally toss it out of the house or flat, singing a song that, in translation, goes something like this:

Christmas has come to an end,
And the tree must go.
But next year once again
We shall see our dear old friend,
For he has promised us so.
In the past Knut was also an occasion for masquerading. Men and boys dressed up as "Old Knut" would prowl about, playing practical jokes and doing mischief. In some parts of the country — particularly where immigrant Wal­loons settled in the seventeenth century — Knut is the occa­sion for regular carnivals, especially in the province of Uppland just north of Stockholm.
Author: Ingemar Liman
Translation: Charly Hultén

My small town, in the west part of Sweden, is one of the few places where the Knut tradition still is very much alive. People, not only men and boys, dress up and goes from house to house begging for sweets — pretty much like trick or treating.

lördag 3 januari 2009

Saturday with Gutenberg

One, two, buckle my shoe
If you have read all books about Katy by Susan Coolidge — you can't pass "Nine Little Goslings" from 1893, by the same author. The chapters have name from well-known nursery rhymes — but are short stories. As so often in old books the illustrators name is a secret — except for in some ads for other books by the same author.

I'm not so sure that I'll try any of the recipes from "New Vegetarian Dishes" (1892) by Mrs. Bowdich. Mr. Bell says in the foreword "If they are not all found to be palatable, the fault must be in the individual cook, who cannot have put in the important ingredient of feeling, without which no work can be wholly good."
In a way I agree but at the same time wonder why bother to write cookbooks — if you have that feeling you don't need any! Most recipes in old cookbooks are rather boring with overcooked vegetables and very few spices. What do you think of these sausages?
No. 107.—Savoury Sausages.
¼ Pound cooked cabbage.
¼ pound mashed potatoes.
1 hard-boiled egg.
2 slices of beetroot.
2 teaspoons mint sauce.
1 ounce fine bread crumbs.
½ teaspoon salt.
½ teaspoon pepper.
1 egg and bread crumbs.

Mince the cabbage, boiled egg and beetroot very fine, mix with them the potatoes, bread crumbs, mint sauce, salt and pepper; stir well together, adding 62a teaspoonful of the beaten egg. Shape into twelve sausages, roll in the remainder of the egg and bread crumbs, and fry in boiling oil until a golden brown. Serve piled on a hot dish, and garnish with parsley. Peas, new potatoes, mint sauce and brown gravy should, when in season, be served with this dish.

"The Doers" by William John Hopkins from 1914 is another illustrated book where the name of the illustrator remains a secret. It is an educational book where a five-year-old boy watches workmen building a house.