Norwegian Books in English

The Thirst by Jo Nesbo (Nesbø)

Crime Fiction is the most popular genre in Norway, and Jo Nesbo is the most successful serial author of Thrillers to date. He also writes Children’s Fiction.

Timba ia a Troll by Tor Åge Bingsværd & Lisa Aisato
Modus by Anne Holt
Fart Power by Jo Nesbø

The Doctor Proctor children’s book series is written by Jo Nesbø who is also a Thriller novelist.

A Man in Love by Karl Ove Knausgaard

This title is the second book in the six-book series of My Struggle, or the more controversial Norwegian title, Min Kamp. It is an autobiography posed as fiction and details the lives of himself and family.

Encircling by Carl Frode Tiller
The Bird Tribunal by Agnes Ravatn
The Ice Swimmer by Kjell Ola Dahl
Astrid the Unstoppable by Maria Parr
Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder
The Disappearing Children by Lars Joachaim Grimstad
The Burnt-out Town of Miracles by Roy Jacobsen
The Frozen Woman by Jon Michelet
Where Roses Never Die by Gunnar Staalesen
Knots by Gunnhild Øyehaug
Cardamom Town by Thorbjørn Egner

Farmor’s Pepperkaker

Farmor doesn’t use recipes so it is mighty hard to get any kind of standard from her. For her pepperkaker recipe, she gave me a little sheet of paper with primitive-Norwegian writing (Farmor is actually from the Swedish part of Finland) with a simple method:

It reads:

syrup, butter, sugar and milk
bring to boil with spices
the dough stands until next day
roll out thinly
cut into slices
bake light

Hm… So I thought it best to just watch her and take pictures.

Farmor always laughs and shakes her head at me when I’m in the kitchen with her taking pictures of every move she makes. She can’t believe that someone could be so interested in her normal, boring routines. But her dance around the kitchen could never be more intriguing to me. Without a thought she picks up, what seems to be any old spice laying around, and puts in a finger of this and a handful of that. It can be a little hard to keep up. But from the pictures I took, let’s see if I can work the recipe out for you.

Pepperkaker Recipe

Preparation time – two days!  The pepperkaker needs to sit over night so make sure you prepare it at least the day before you want to bake and decorate it. Have cookie cutters on hand.

500ml syrup
250g butter
250g sugar
a large cup of milk (at least 250-300mls, I guess)
1 tsp chunky pepper
1 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ground cloves
900g plain flour
2 tsp bicarbonate soda

In a large pot put in syrup, butter, sugar and milk. Melt together lightly on the stove.

Add in cinnamon and cloves. Stir with whisk to mix.

Add in pepper. Mix with whisk.

Bring to boil, stirring occasionally.

Take off heat. Add in flour and bicarbonate soda. Mix with whisk.

Mix well. Dough is perfect when it is a little stretchy. Use the whisk to stretch it up to see.

Put on lid and leave overnight.

Farmor puts the mixture outside in the snow to keep it cold but I guess you can just put it in your fridge. The next day the dough is tough and ready to use. Set on the bench to become room temperature before use.

Heat oven to 180°C / 350°F. Knead pepperkake mix to warm a little; you might need a little more flour to prevent sticking. Take a portion and roll out with plenty of flour – thin for small decorations with crunch, a little thicker for bigger decorations or for softer cookies for eating.

Dip cookie-cutters in flour and cut dough. Make sure to put holes in each cookie if you want them to hang on the tree or in the window. Put cut-dough onto a sheeted baking tray. Cook for about 10-12 minutes or until lightly brown. For a softer cookie, just cook for less time. The dough will actually become lighter in the oven first before it starts to turn brown again.

Cool before decorating.

For how to decorate your pepperkaker see our post Decorating Pepperkaker.  It’s a fun traditional activity for the kids.

For a conventional recipe see Pepperkaker Recipe.

Advent Song

Advent Season is the Christian “countdown” in celebration of Christmas day. Starting on the fourth Sunday before Christmas, a candle is lit and a hymn or poem is cited. On the following Sunday two candles are lit and so on, until the Sunday before Christmas.

There are a few different songs and poems, but this one is the most famous in Norway.


Nå tenner vi det første lys
Alene må det stå
Vi venter på det lille Barn
som i en krybbe lå

Nå tenner vi det andre lys
Da kan vi bedre se
Vi venter på at Gud, vår Far
skal gi sin Sønn hit ned

Nå tenner vi det tredje lys
Det er et hellig tall
Vi venter på at Kongen vår
skal fødes i en stall

Nå tenner vi det fjerde lys
og natten blir til dag
Vi venter på en Frelsermann
for alle folkeslag

The Advent Song

Now we light the first candle
It must stand alone
We wait for the little child
who laid in a manger

Now we light the second candle
Then we can see better
We wait for God, our Father
to give his Son down here

Now we light the third candle
It is a sacred number
We wait for our King
to be born in a stable

Now we light the fourth candle
and night turns into day
We wait for a Saviour
for all mankind

Lom Stave Church

Lom is a bustling little tourist town with lots of things to see within walking distance. It was surprising to have everything open on a Sunday!

Senja Fjord

Senja Island and many great views. Even when the weather is moody, the majesty of the mountains are awe-inspiring.

Empty Fjord

View over the Alta fjord in summer. The tide is out, which means you can walk right out into the middle of the fjord.

Water Green

A misty day in Tromsø – the lake on top of the island produced a thick, eery-calm that is had to forget.

Autumn Kayaking

Tromsø is a kayaker’s haven – an inner-island protected from the open ocean by other islands scattered in between.