The Hunt {Elgjakten}

October 27, 2016
The Hunt (Elgjakten) - Moose Hunting in Norway

The Norwegian Hunt (Jakten)The Norwegian Hunt (Jakten)The tree branch cracks as my shoe presses firmly against it, pushing it deeper into the forest floor. The noise, though quick to pass, makes me hold my breath as I freeze every part of myself in anticipation of whether that one step will be enough to grab the attention of the mighty elg, moose, as it stands firmly planted atop the mossy floor. Movements must be feather-like and graceful. The silence and passage of time evoke a sense of kinship with the animal. Nothing is rushed. Nothing is taken for granted. This is a journey. And this journey begins long before such an encounter.

The history of moose hunting, elgjakt, in Norway extends far back and was possibly a prerequisite for the settlement of Norway after the last Ice Age. It is believed the moose came to Norway approximately 9,000 years ago and became a very important resource for those living in the mountainous regions. Discoveries of moose bones on settlements and from hieroglyphics during the Stone Age testify to the importance of the moose for Norwegians.

Today, the hunt is still strongly embedded into the culture though the philosophy behind hunting has moved away from a necessity for survival to a wider experience of nature, recreation, and self-sustainability. It is a way to be physically active and to be part of a team and a community. It is a way to connect with the environment and connect with the food system. The hunt, for many, is a part of who they are. And this is very much the case for the team I spent the day with in Rollag, Norway.

The Norwegian Hunt (Jakten) Continue Reading…

Lapper med Øl (Norwegian Flat Cakes with Beer)

October 25, 2016
Lapper med Øl (Norwegian Flat Cakes with Beer)

Lapper med Øl (Norwegian Flat Cakes with Beer) Lapper med Øl (Norwegian Flat Cakes with Beer)Lapper is a traditional Norwegian flat cake similar to that of an American pancake, but by no means the same. Flat cakes have a long tradition in Norway, particularly in western Norway, which stretches back to the 1300s when the daily lives of most Norwegians were marked by poverty. Every ingredient was used to its fullest so as not to waste it. Sour milk, surmelk, was a common commodity and families would use the leftovers and mix with dry goods to be baked. The cakes were then served alongside Saturday coffee.

I would say lapper is a variation of svele. A sibling, perhaps. They’re family. They have similarities. They have differences. Sometimes they overlap. You may not be able to tell them apart. They have different facets depending upon the ingredients available in various regions of Norway. Yet, svele is the more-well known term deeply rooted in western Norway. Around the 1920s it began to be associated with ferry-travel and tradition stands that customers should eat one aboard as they begin their journey. Continue Reading…

Jordskokksuppe (Jerusalem Artichoke Soup)

October 18, 2016
Jordskokksuppe (Creamy Jerusalem Artichoke Soup)

Jordskokksuppe (Creamy Jerusalem Artichoke Soup)Jordskokksuppe (Creamy Jerusalem Artichoke Soup)There’s a certain joy that comes from being able to watch another person prepare a dish. Being the student and able to just listen and learn and see the creativity of another person unfold. I am lucky to have many friends and neighbors who are wonderful cooks and who are happy to share their recipes and techniques with me. One such friend is the beautiful and kind Maj-Lis.

Maj-Lis is already busy in the kitchen when I come through her door. Her hands are dusted in flour and she greets me with a warm hug and smile before she returns quickly to her countertops to carry on kneading the dough.

She is making a couple of her specialties and dedicating the majority of the day to the kitchen. The menu consists of creamy jordskokksuppe (Jerusalem artichoke soup), homemade valnøttbrød (walnut bread) and her famous Glitreboller (sweet pastry filled with cinnamon, sugar and raisins and topped with almonds). She shares the stories about each recipe and works her way between each dish as I sit back and listen. While the dough rises, she cuts the Jerusalem artichokes. While the soup is on, she prepares the boller.   Continue Reading…

Snurrer with Plums and Almond Custard

October 13, 2016
Norwegian Snurrer with Plums and Almond Custard

Norwegian Boller with Plums and Almond CustardLightly sweetened buns, boller, are one of the most beloved breads in Norway. The sweet-smelling aroma coming from boller just baked in the oven is comfort at its best. The milk-based breads are soft and fluffy and lightly scented with spicy cardamom. They are simply divine in their subtleties. The most basic recipe features nothing other than this golden bun and its cardamom, which deserves its own post as it is the mecca for all other types of boller in Norway. This I will be sure to write about sometime in the near future.

This recipe, however, is a little bit indulgent. Baking like this seems to occur more frequently when autumn is at its height and winter is peaking its head around the corner. Here I use the boller dough as a base while creating a variation on the filling and then rolling it like you would a cinnamon bun, which then gets the name snurrer in Norwegian.

I wanted to utilise the plums which I had picked from our tree and made jam out of a few weeks back. Homemade plum jam with boller. Perfection.

Plums have been cultivated since the 1700s in Norway, making the use of plums in Norwegian cooking a 300 year old tradition.

Norwegian Boller with Plums and Almond Custard Continue Reading…

Rustic Pear Tart with Blue Cheese, Honey & Walnuts (Pæreterte)

October 7, 2016
Rustic Pear Tart with local honey, blue cheese, walnuts and a whole wheat or spelt puff pastry (Pæreterte)

Savory Pear Tart with local honey, blue cheese, walnuts and a whole wheat puff pastry (Pæreterte)Savory Pear Tart with local honey, blue cheese, walnuts and a whole wheat puff pastry (Pæreterte)Anywhere there is community and a sense of connectedness, there is always the act of giving, sharing and receiving. And that is exactly what I experience daily where I live. When there is a need or a want, there are many who come forward. They share their time, their skills and their resources. There is also an incredible sense of support in aiding in the success of others.

When I was asked to make a recipe which I could share on the blog and on a feature about North Wild Kitchen for NRK, I knew it had to center around what was currently available in and around my area, which I could source locally and which highlights the season. I had received a message earlier from Laila, my not-so-far-away neighbor, that she had an abundance of pears and if I wanted to, I should feel free to stop by. I then knew I should make something which features these amazing little pears. Within a few short hours, I already had the assistance of my community in sourcing the rest of the ingredients. And so it was, the savory pear tart was starting to come to fruition.

This recipe, although not necessarily Norwegian, highlights just a few of the amazing products being produced in this region (and just a little beyond). From the local honning (honey) produced from Rud Gård in Rollag to blåmuggost  (blue cheese) from Thorbjørnrud Hotel in the bordering county of Oppland and to gråpære (pears) picked locally from the Juleshuset in Numedal. Even the flour was provided by the local bakery, Veggli Bakeri. In a way, this tart is really just an example of the many flavors and quality products which Norwegians are producing and using.

Savory Pear Tart with local honey, blue cheese, walnuts and a whole wheat puff pastry (Pæreterte) Continue Reading…

Bløtkake med Tyttebær (Layer Cake with Lingonberries)

October 4, 2016
Bløtkake med Tyttebaer (Norwegian Layer Cake with Lingonberries)

Bløtkake med Tyttebaer (Norwegian Layer Cake with Lingonberries)Bløtkake med Tyttebaer (Norwegian Layer Cake with Lingonberries) There are so many reasons to celebrate. Daily ones in fact. From the sweetest smiles to the dearest conversations to the sun’s rays dancing across the trees. It would be unfitting to overlook the simple delights that each day brings and which call for even the smallest hint of celebration.

That’s what bløtkake is all about. It’s a celebration cake. The quintessential Norwegian party cake, because it always makes an appearance. From the light and fluffy sponge to the delightfully tangy and sweet berries. It’s essentially a layer cake with cream, and sometimes custard, sandwiched between vanilla sponge. It can be topped with cream and fruit or enclosed with marzipan. It’s one of those cakes where anything goes. You pick the fruit, the fillings and the toppings, just keep the sponge and cream.

Layer cakes say a lot about celebrations because, just like the cake, a reason to celebrate is usually a build up of many things that culminate into an integrated and splendid outcome.

Bløtkake med Tyttebaer (Norwegian Layer Cake with Lingonberries) Continue Reading…