Moove Cow

Living in a farming community you have to get used to sharing the road with other critters.  We use the roads all the time to drive our sheep from paddock to paddock.

It just so happened that we go stuck behind this Norwegian Red cow.  She was in no hurry to get to the milking barn.  When the road widened we took our opportunity to overtake her.  I’m sure if she had fingers we would be seeing one or two of them.

River Drinking

Winter is coming so our family makes the most of all the daylight and outdoors during late autumn.  The air is crisp and bites at your cheeks; snow is already laying on the mountain tops.

The trees have lost their leaves so the forest floor can be a little slippery and the rivers become slow as they thicken with the cold.

Bear, our Saint Bernard, follows us closely.  He keeps a watch on the kids to make sure they don’t get too close to the freezing water.  We encourage him to walk and run on the rocks; they are smooth from years of spring floods and act as a natural nail trimmer and foot massager for Bear.

After a good run-about, a refreshing drink from the river is called for.

The river is created from a collection of springs, rain and snow.  The water is lovely to drink.

It might seem a little peculiar plunging your lips only into a cold, cold river, but there is some good sense to it.  Using your hands to scoop up the icy water will make your hands very cold.  It is hard to dry them and put your gloves back on.  The best way to drink in these conditions is to find a flat rock you can lay on and suck up the water between your lips.  It is less messy, warmer and a little more fun than the regular way.

Farm Frost

The change has been quick.  The last two days a sharp layer of frost has coated the ground with crunchy crystals.  Winter is coming.

Pumpkin and Apple Lapskaus

Lapskaus is one of Norway’s most famous traditional country dishes.

Lapskaus can range from a watery soup to a thick stew, it all depends on how you like it. Traditionally being made from last nights left overs, Lapskaus uses potatoes as a thick base with other hearty, winter vegetables and meat. The idea of Lapskaus is ‘anything goes’, so you can guarantee that your soup will be an original masterpiece every time.

As we are gearing up for winter, soup has been on my mind as a hearty meal for family dinners.  Pumpkin and apple lapskaus just seems like a natural combination that I thought would have already been done but I could not find a Norwegian recipe anywhere.

In Autumn Norway harvests apples from Hardanger and other southern regions.  They are juicy and quite sour but very popular amongst many Norwegians.  The apples are used for cakes, pies, juices, jams, wine and sauce, but so far I have never heard of apples being used for lapskaus.

At this time of year, halloween has become popular – it has recently been introduced by American culture.  With halloween comes pumpkins, a relatively new fruit to hit the supermarkets.  Pumpkins are not part of Norwegian tradional cuisine.  (When I brought some up from Oslo, Farfar said it was one of the strangest foods he had ever eaten!)  The only traditional recipe I’ve found with pumpkin is from Hanna Winsnes, one of Norway’s first ‘cooking ladies’, who has suggested pickling pumpkin in vinegar.  We can only buy pumpkins during October where we live, and with the abundance of Norwegian apples and no Norwegian recipe to be found, I saw an opportunity to invent my own modern Norwegian lapskaus!

As lapskaus is best as a ‘free’ creation, I suggest people add according to taste.

1 onion
1 celery stick
1 carrot
1 good size butternut pumpkin
2 apples
4 medium starchy potatoes
2 cloves of garlic
fresh parsley
cracked pepper
good stock
sour cream
crispy bacon
rustic brown bread

Sauté 1 diced onion, 1 sliced stick of celery, 1 thinly chopped carrot.  Seed, skin and dice half a good sized butternut pumpkin and 2 apples.  Skin and dice about 4 medium starchy potatoes.  Add pumpkin, apples and potatoes to sauté mix.  Add two grated garlic cloves.  Add in fresh chopped parsley.  Season with cracked pepper.  Add in stock with enough water to cover all the vegetables.  Bring to boil and simmer for 40 minutes, adding more water if necessary.  I blended my soup to a smooth consistency but you can keep it lumpy for a more robust style.  Add a dollop of sour cream and crispy diced bacon.  Serve with rustic brown bread.

I’m sure this dish would suit a dash of cardamom and nutmeg for an earthy flavour or fresh sliced chili for a little zing.

Enjoy!

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