Some Of My Favourite Recipes

As you probably know, having landed on this page, cooking - and eating! - is a favourite hobby of mine. When I moved away from home at 19, my mother gave me a cookbook, the " Rutete kokebok" by Ingrid Espelid Hovig (a Norwegian cookery guru). I learned to cook from that book as it has everything from basic techniques (like how to boil eggs) to advanced restaurant-type menus. I like to experiment and if I eat something I like in a restaurant I often try to copy it at home (not always with success though). At the moment I like thai-inspired food a lot and fill up the fridge with all sorts of interesting and exotic-looking tins and jars. The recipes below are some of my favourites from over the years. Enjoy!

Fiskeboller - Homemade Fish Balls (similar to meatballs, but made with fish)

I made this for my girlfriends. We have finally gotten our Monthly Dinner Club off the ground, and I hosted the first dinner. This dish got me rave reviews (I am still blushing!) and it is very good, if I may say so myself.

* about 600 grammes of firm white fish. (I used pike and a rather ferocious-looking saltwater fish, called "steinbit" in Norwegian. It has a big mouth with a "fishing-pole" attached, and firm flesh with an almost lobstery taste - sorry I dont know the English name. Plain ole cod will work fine though)
* 2 eggs
* a decilitre to a decilitre and a half of milk (or cream!)
* some flour
* plenty of fresh basil
* to pieces of garlic
* finely shredded peel of one lime (optional)

Mix all ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Put in the fridge for a while. Bring stock to the boil (I cheat and use stock cubes) and add a glass or two of white wine. Use two spoons to make the balls (dip spoons in icewater inbetween each ball). Slide the ball off the spoon and into the boiling stock. Boil just one at first to see how they turn out. The first one I made fell apart so I had to add more flour! Boil a few at a time. They are done when they "feel finished", that is, when they are firm. Strain the stock and use as a base for sauce. A very good sauce is made by starting with a butter/flour mix and then adding the stock and mroe white wine.

Sopa de ajo - Spanish garlic soup

This soup I learned to make from a good friend of mine, Sara. She is Basque but stayed with our family for a while when she was an AFS exchange student in Norway. She has since gone on to open a restaurant in Barcelona, and I guess this soup is on the menu there every now and then. It is very good in winter, being hot and filling.

* 3-4 whole garlics
* one green and one red sweet pepper
* 3-4 tomatoes
* breadcrumbs
* two eggs
* olive oil, salt, water (about a litre and a half)

Peel and crush the garlic and fry them in the oil until golden (you might want to open the window at this point). Add water and breadcrumbs (adjust the amount of breadcrumbs as to how thick you want the soup) and let it simmer for about an hour. Add diced peppers and tomatoes and boil until they are tender. Beat the eggs together while the soup boils fast. Stir the egg mix into the boiling soup so it will form little egg droplets. Add salt to taste.

Moroccan sardines

(This recipe comes from Ana, Saras big sister - they know how to cook in that family!)

* sardines (or you can use small herring instead)
* cumin seeds
* fresh parsley, preferably the flat-leaved kind
* garlic
* good red wine vinegar
* flour
* olive oil

Clean the fish: remove the heads, take out the innards (is it called that in fish? Anyways, the yucky bits inside) and remove the spine but leave the tails on. Make a paste of the crushed cumin seeds, crushed garlic, finely minced parsley and vinegar. Put the fish together two and two, hamburger-like, with the paste in the middle and the skin side out. Roll the fish in flour and fry in hot oil.
This is delicious!!! Serve with a green sallad and some beer.

Mussles In Lime And Tomato Sauce

This is one of my own inventions. It was supposed to be mussles in white wine sauce but I had drunk the wine and forgotten all about it! So, the lime juice mix was the closest thing in the house and it turned out very well.

* mussles
* ripe tomatoes
* lime juice, sweetened with a bit of honey
* fresh tarragon and garlic
* olive oil

Clean the mussles and leave them in the fridge. Slice the garlic in THIN slices. Dice the tomatoes in small cubes (if you feel very industrious you can peel them also. Not that I ever bother;-)). Fry tomates and garlic on oil until the garlic turns golden and the tomatoes start sweating (you will notice when the pan contents turn reddish). Add lime juice and chopped tarragon. Let it simmer for about five minutes and taste. Add some more honey if it is sour (it quite often is). Turn up the heat and when it is boiling hard, toss the mussles in. Dish is done when they open up. It only takes a few minutes, mussles being nature`s own fast food. Serve with French bread to sop up the sauce!

Russian Appetizer

This is a recipe my aunt brought home after a visit to Helsinki (capital of Finland). At first the combination surprised me (salt cucumbers and honey?!? Yikes) but it is very very good.

* salt pickled cucumbers (NOT the vinegar pickled ones, but salt ones! I get mine from a Turkish grocer)
* sour cream (or creme fraiche)
* honey

Slice the cucumbers lengthways and arrange them artfully on a nice plate (remember, anything that looks nice tastes better!). Melt the honey in a bain Marie (that is, in a bowl immersed in hot water) and pour over the cucumber. Put a generous dollop of sour cream in the middle. Grind black pepper over the plate and serve.

Escalivada - a Catalan dish

This is a Catalan classic. Catalunya is a region in norteastern Spain (with Barcelona as its capital) and this is once again something my Spanish friends taught me. It is a vegetarian dish, that can be eaten hot or cold, on its own or as a side dish to something else - roast lamb, for instance. Yum!

* whole onions
* whole aubergines (eggplants)
* whole red sweet peppers
* whole tomatoes
* olive oil and salt

Wash all the vegetables but do not peel them. Rub them with oil and sprinkle salt on them and put them in an ovenproof plate (bowl? receptacle? thingie?) and place them in the middle of the oven at 200 degrees celsius. Leave them there for an hour or until they are tender and done. The onions takes the longest time to cook and can be cut in two and put with the cut side down, to cook faster.
When they are done, peel all the veggies except the tomatoes carefully. Put them back in the whatever used to bake them in and pour over some more olive oil with some crushed garlic in. Sprinkle more salt on top, serve and enjoy!

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