Colorfull days

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So much you can do in a garden. I adore my kids, and I’m thankful for their creative abilities, but sometimes it takes s little effort to truly appreciate the ideas they come up with.

a day in the garden…

Watching the garden change from winter to early summer, as everything turns green and sprouting is awesome. Especially when you found time and energy to start your vegetable garden. Waiting and watching for the seeds to turn into plants and hopefully turn into something eatable for the family and not just the snails is exciting…or at least I think so. It looks like all my seeds turned into seedlings, and I still have a lot of seedlings in the sun-room waiting to grow into a size fit for being planted outside.
The kids are enjoying the sun, and being able to play outside without snowsuits and boots, and I’m enjoying the freedom of not having to dress 3 kids before letting them outside.

The house, and two thirds of the kids living there

The house, and two thirds of the kids living there

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Enjoying spring

I’m still here, even tho it might not seem that way. I have been busy since late December with various projects and other stuff. One of the projects is a brand new website, for my illustration business – It’s still not completely done, but it will be very soon. For the moment I’m working on some stock illustrations, here is a small preview of those:
littlethings

I’m also working on a children’s picture book; It’s about a cat and a mouse, living together in a old lighthouse. The story inspired me to try out some new texturing techniques while working on cat sketches.miau

And other than that, It’s spring and therefore time for gardening. I had my best friend staying with me during March and most of April, and besides cooking me the most wonderful meals, he also gave me back my veggie garden, which was in a hopeless state of decay before he came. Today the veggie garden is filled with seeds, and sprouts, and no weeds. I already planted three types of lettuce, turnips, cilantro, dill, basil, chives, parsley, eggplant, tomatillos, 3 types of chili, 4 types of bell peppers, yellow and green summer squash, and a lot of summer flowers. Most of it is still inside in the sun room waiting for the sun and warmth to take over – but the rhubarbs are huge already, and there is flowers in some of the strawberries.Veggie garden

Well time to go and spend time with the kiddies
– Enjoy Spring

me and the kiddies

Snow days

December at the beach
December at the beach 2

Christmas spirit

This year the Christmas spirit came sneaking in on me much earlier than usual – I think i’ts due to all the snow we got outside. Whatever the reason, I felt inspired to do some Holiday inspired artwork this weekend.

Ho ho ho

Christmas 2010

Birthdays and Bread

November has been a busy month. It seems that everyone I know were born in November. My two boys turned 3 and 5, with 4 days apart, so we have been drowning in birthday parties, and homemade birthdays cakes, buns, and other goodies. And on top of that this is the season for coughing, sneezing and staying home from School and kindergarten, so we have been watching a lot of cartoons. The boys have been on a Toy Story spree, and their biggest wish for their birthday was to get  Buzzlightyear and Woody  dolls. They did get them, and they have been playing with them ever since.

I did get to do some work this months, a lot of which I can’t show just yet, but one  illustration that I can show, is a Blog design I did for June for her new blog: VanFlittig. vanFlittigNovember was also a lot about getting my sourdough right, and I think I finally got it this time. 2 weeks ago, I succeeded getting the right crust, but unfortunately the dough collapsed when moved to the baking tray, so the crumb wasn’t perfect, but the taste was good. I ended up buying some Proving baskets, but haven’t had the time before yesterday to try them. So yesterday while making dinner, I also started a Sour Rye onion bread, and it turned out perfect when baked this morning. I’ve already made a new dough, for tomorrows bread, hoping it will turn out as nicely as todays bread.

And then winter hit us, we are covered in snow, everything is white and just magical. The boys stayed home yesterday, and after lunch we went outside to make a snowman.

brithdayBoysAndSnowmen

Sourdough & ​​​​​​​​​​Clam Chowder​​​​​​​​​​

Rye sourdough bread & Clam Chowder
Lately I’ve been on a quest for the perfect sourdough bread. It began in June, and I have been making a lot of breads since then, some turned out Ok, and some really yucky – either too sour or too heavy. But then I bought this book, “The River Cottage Bread book”, and all of a sudden it all made sense. Reading about all the chemistry that goes on, during the bread making process, made a huge difference. So after a few successes I thought I would venture out and find some inspiration for different types of sourdough breads.

And since it’s impossible not to stumble on San Francisco and Boudin, when googling for sourdough, I ended up on a page with the most mouth watering images of sourdough bread bowls with Clam Chowder. I did a search for recipes for Clam Chowder, and found a lot of different ones. However I didn’t find exactly what I wanted, so in the end I made up my own variant, inspired by the recipes I read, and based on what was available in my kitchen.

Next time I think I will substitute half of the cream with fish soup stock, just to make it a little more low-fat. I’m sure you could leave the heavy cream out all together, and just replace it with fish soup stock. You might also want to add some cumin, and maybe some chilli flakes to spice it up or you could use fresh fennel instread or fennel seeds ….plenty of room for experimenting …Happy cooking​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​.
This is what I came up with, a delicious hearty comfort soup.

Clam Chowder

    250 g chopped clam, I actually ran it through the food processor and turned​​ it into a paste. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​
    ½ yellow onion​​​​​, chopped
    2 shallot, minced
    4 garlic, minced
    3 stalks celery, chopped
    6 bay leaves
    1 tbsp oregano
    2 tbsp of fresh thyme
    1 tbsp ​fennel seeds, crushed
    2 diced sweet potatoes
    1 diced parsnip​
    500 ml heavy cream
    1000 ​​​​​ml fish soup stock​​​​​​​​​​​​​​
    slug of ​Olive oil​​​​​​​​
    1 tbs butter
    salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Add the butter and oil in a large ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​pot, add onion, garlic, shallot, and celery. Sauté for a bit, until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.
Then add the potatoes and parsnip, and stir for a couple of minutes.
Add stock, clam paste, bay leaves, oregano, thyme and fennel, and let it simmer until potatoes and parsnip are tender.
Stir in the cream, and season with salt and pepper. You could add flour diluted with water, in order to make a thicker soup, or you could just let the cream do it’s job…simmer til cream thickens, but don’t let it boil.
Remove bay leaves and serve. If you’re lucky enough to have a bowl of sourdough serve the hot soup in that, else just serve the soup with a good (sourdough) bread on the side.

Bon Appetit

Rumle

Groovy babies and mamas

GroovyBaby...and Mama

Finished a new Blog design for a danish blogger. This time for the creative and very sweet Trine at Groovybaby…and mama She has a shop so if you’re into the groovy 70es you should stop by her space.

I’ve been working on some other illustrations as well, but showcasing them will have to wait until approved by the client.

Haven’t had much time this week for anything else besides drawing. I did try a couple of new bread recipes or actually it was more about trying out new kneading methods.
I also experimented with different coatings. One really delicious coating I came up with for a wholegrain rye/spelt sourdough bread, was finely chopped hazelnuts, rolled oats, cardamom and Cinnamon. First I rolled the breads in a mixture of milk and lightly beaten eggs, and then the nut, oat, spice mixture. Pressing the coating mixture firmly into the bread all over. I don’t think I have ever gotten the coating to stick as well as I did this time. Baking the bread gave the hazelnuts a nice subtle chocolate flavor, making the bread excellent with homemade lemon jam.

Winter beauty

winter beauty
It’s freezing cold outside, winter is definitely on it’s way. Strange because yesterday I sat in the garden, having a cup of coffee enjoying the afternoon sun, and thinking about how it almost felt like early spring. But this morning shattered my spring dreaming.
Now I’m dreaming of a white Christmas instead, all though I’m not really ready for Christmas just yet. I know the shops are ready, the shelves are already brimming with Christmas decorations, cookies, and candy, but that’s just to early for. I usually only get into the spirit around mid December, but maybe this year it will catch on a little faster.
I just stumbled upon a shop with the most amazing baking accessories. And I’m sure some new cookies cutters will find their way to my kitchen for this years gingerbread production. Baking cookies filled with ginger and cinnamon usually brings out the Christmas in me.

winter beauty

Cluttering up my kitchen

This morning I decided to reorganize my kitchen.
I spend so many hours in there, that I thought it would be nice to have my “tools” where I need them, rather than neatly tucked away in cabinets and drawers. Normally I’m all for decluttering, but this time I actually did the opposite.

I have this huge old dining table in the middle of the room, which serves as the main work area. And since it is really huge, I decided that I could use some of that space for the tools I use on a regular basis. It may sound as a poor decision, but in reality I don’t use that many different tools, so it really wasn’t that much space I needed. I thought about it and ended up with a couple of wooden spoons, my favorite knifes, a bundle of measuring spoons​​​​​​​​​, a scissor, a small strainer, a mortar and pestle, 2 different peelers, a can opener and a few more items.

No more running around opening cabinets with fingers smudged in tomato sauce, trying to get that one bowl out without getting tomato sauce on everything.

In order to try my new setup, I made a sourdough bread from rye and wholegrain spelt, tried my hands on some Almond milk, which is going to be in my morning smoothie tomorrow, and finally for dinner, spiced mashed potatoes with celeriac and pickled beetroot.

And I’m happy to report that my new cluttered kitchen works perfectly.

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