It’s a while since I’ve made a food post, as my friend Vicky pointed out in an e-mail a couple of weeks ago. I’m hoping to meet her in a few days’ time, so this one’s for you, Vicky.
There weren’t many choices on the menu, but that often goes hand in hand with excellence. Better to use great ingredients to produce a couple of incredible dishes than to try to do too much and dilute the effect. Both John and I chose Spanish meatballs with mash. It had a wonderful, rich flavour. The potato was topped with tiny pieces of crispy onion and the meatballs were given extra texture and taste with a sprinkling of chopped smoked nuts. It really was delicious.
Outside, the autumn weather was stormy, but as usual, it was warm and welcoming inside, with a wonderful view over the harbour at Stonglandseidet.
For dessert, we both had vanilla and lemon tart, to which I added a cappuccino. I might have preferred a slightly stronger element of lemon, but all in all, it still tasted as good as it looked.
Hope you all had a wonderful weekend. See you next week!
Given all the uncertainty at the moment around the pandemic, I thought it would be nice to share some images from my life over the next four weeks in the lead up till Christmas. I had hoped to spend Christmas in the UK with my parents this year. It wasn’t to be but Christmas in Norway is beautiful, so hopefully I can share some of it with you.
Back in Scotland, in the lead up to Christmas, we used to go round the village where we lived to find the “crazy houses” – those wonderfully over-the-top places where there were inflatable snowmen in the garden, where a spotlit Santa was ascending the wall on a makeshift ladder and the entire house was lit up with flashing lights that would put Blackpool Illuminations in the shade.
Here in the north of Norway, there are a lot of lights, but most of them are warm white. The painted wooden houses look very cosy in the darkness.
In the town centre yesterday afternoon, my eye was caught by some lovely shop window displays and by a rather drunken looking Christmas tree, lingering beside a door. There was also a stall in the local shopping centre, selling cured sausages.
We decided to take a walk in Ånderdalen national park and then have coffee at Senja Roasters but our plans were foiled by the cold temperature. It was minus twenty two when we set off for our walk. Triar has always been surprisingly resilient in the snow, so it hadn’t crossed my mind that perhaps minus twenty two might be a step too far. We managed less than two minutes before his natural enthusiasm left him, and instead of racing ahead, he came back and walked in front of me looking very uncertain. We carried him back to the car and he seemed relieved. I paused to take a photograph of the fjord, which was already starting to freeze in the shallow bay.
We weren’t sure whether we would be able to go into Senja Roasters. We did contemplate leaving the car running for Triar while we galloped in for coffee ( it was a balmy minus eleven in Stonglandseidet – the temperature changes as we drove around were astonishing) but happily, they allowed us to take Triar inside, so we could have a somewhat more relaxed lunch.
It was beautifully decorated with candles and coffee beans, and a few other cosy Christmas touches.
The food was great, of course, as well as the company.
And happily for Triar, we have hopefully found a solution to the cold-toe problem. See you next week!
There has been a massive change in the weather this week. Until now, it’s been warm and sunny, on and off, but the forecast this week, courtesy of YR.no looked like this.
Not only has it rained a lot, but those temperature listings aren’t very accurate. I took John to the airport on Tuesday and noticed that the temperature was a rather chilly 5.5°C. I took a picture after dropping him off. The mountains were shrouded in mist and the river was a distant mirage.
When the mountain peaks emerged now and then, they too showed evidence of the chill in the air.
I was reminded of the weather forecasts in October and November last year, where they announced that the snow line was now at 400m, 300m, 200m and you could watch the gradual descent into winter.
I am very much better than I was. My blood pressure has returned to normal, thank goodness and I seem to be generally on the mend. I was back to work yesterday. I was afraid that I would be too tired, but I had a good quiet day in the office catching up and arranging things for next week.
Though I spent much of the week resting, Anna and Andrew offered to take me out for a Senja Roasters brunch on Thursday. How could I resist? I’ve been wanting to try the French Toast ever since I read the description and it didn’t disappoint. It was wonderful, filled with caramel flavours.
Our trip did lead to one of those truly embarrassing British moments, however. Thomas is always telling me off for thanking him and I probably still apologise way too often, but this was one of those more toe curling examples. The lovely waitress was explaining to us that there was no cured ham for the Banger Toasts. Instead, they were substituting chorizo. I’m not sure where she was from, but I didn’t quite catch what she said at first. When it dawned on me, I said, in a rather loud voice, “Oh, chorizo!” About one second later, my brain caught up and I remembered that, of course, her pronunciation was almost certainly the genuine article. It was more an announcement of realisation from me than any attempt to correct, but it was one of those wonderfully cringeworthy moments I love to share with you all!
We walked down the track to my favourite beach afterwards. Happily it was between rain showers. Though summer is passing and the green has passed its vibrant zenith, Senja is still stunning. There are orchids and harebells, sandy beaches and misty mountains. And sheep with bells on. What could be more Norwegian than that?