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“I think the only way to get through this life is laughing hard and constantly, mostly at myself.”

― Shannon Hale

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Around the world in 20 eggs

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Dads singing Disney

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“Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It’s splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.”
― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

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May 17

The Norwegian National Psalm:

You can catch the television transmission from all over Norway, including the royals at Skaugum and at the Palace, on NRK from abroad. Some years they allow the viewers from abroad on this link – http://tv.nrk.no/direkte/nrk1 other years they restrict it to a specific transmission.

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Battenberg cake

I have wanted to make a Battenberg cake for years. Since a recipe came with my issue of BBCGoodFood in March, it seemed like a good reason to make it.

 Unfortunately, our pink food colouring did not come through that well in the oven. It ended up being yellow and brown… We might try some other colours if we’re making it again.

But taste-wise, it was ok.

History of the Battenberg cake

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This week’s recipe in Tuesday’s with Dorie was Nutella Buttons (Baking Chez Moi,  page 188). Basically, mini muffins filled  with Nutella. Check out the other bakers.


The mini versions turned out pretty great, but as I was lacking patience and lacking good liners – I turned the rest of the batter into big version.


I am generally not a big fan of white cakes (including cupcakes) but these were moist and delicious. The nutella filling helped a lot.

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Haakon & Maud

Grrr… Just finished reading this Norwegian series of books – allegedly about King Haakon and Queen Maud. It was meant to be a two volume series.

In reality, the author was given (almost) free access to a whole lot of royal archives of letters, diaries and other documents (in Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Russia and the UK – among others), and went a bit nuts.

In reality, it is now six volumes – and the majority of volume six deals with how the Norwegian government in Norway during WWII. Wait… No… that’s inaccurate. It goes from May to September 1940.

He is writing another volume (at least) for the rest of the war and the post-war years.

In general, the writing is good, and the royal letters and thoughts are interesting. But there is just too much information that maybe could have been cut, because it is generally known, redundant or not relevant for the biography on Haakon and Maud.

For example the half-page biography on Hitler.

Or the extreme repetition of the telling of the murders of the tsar and his family, in all their blood and gore. Which, in itself, is relevant to the story, but not in the extreme overload that is shared.

And the same goes for the volume detailing about half of 1940.

Also, the theory that Olav was not the son of Haakon – but the son of the royal doctor is in, but the theory that the sister of Carl/Haakon/Charles had a child out of wedlock is dismissed.

The six books that have been published so far could very well have been edited down to four. Maybe five with a generous editor. But as it is, it has transcended from being a biography about Haakon and Maud into a never-ending story about everything and the kitchen sink (almost.)

If you do read Norwegian, I recommend it – it is by Tor Bomann-Larsen, (who also wrote the cutest children’s book about when the royal family learnt to ski.) and it has won a lot of awards. It is well written. It just, in my opinion, should have been edited down a bit.

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Quotation Monday #104: Loss

“You will lose someone you can’t live without,and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly—that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.”

― Anne Lamott

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Pizza dough for freezing

I got another bowl for my Kenwood recently. Perfect for making up a double batch of Annie’s Eats pizza dough for freezing.

It is probably one of the easiest (and least energy consuming) recipes for making pizza dough I have found. Well, save for proving time. 

That aside, it really is quite nice on days when I do have a bit more energy, to spend in the kitchen and make freezer food for days when I won’t.

Pulling out a premade pizza dough from the freezer, with ingredients I can name, on the other days, uses about as much energy as stopping at the store on energy-less days to pick up a frozen meal.

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Madeleine : Prinsessan privat by Johan T Lindwall
I’m not sure I will ever get used to the Swedish royal reporters’ way of writing biographies. First of all – there is too much inference of what the persons in this book were thinking about specific events. Another reviewer said that a problem with it is that with Johan T. Lindwall you never quite know what are the facts, what are the rumours and what is pure speculation, and I thought *that’s it*: that is my basic problem with the book. There are no citations or footnotes at the end, so you can tell when he is working from the facts from interviews, or other books. Obviously, he also has to protect his sources, and when the sources are the main persons themselves, he is diligent about reporting who said what.  It does however, resort in a slight muddle when you hear about “Queen Silvia thought…” and the people in the room with Queen Silvia at the time were just family… and none of whom are being quoted as the person talking to Lindwall.
[click to continue…]

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“What she was finding also was how one book led to another, doors kept opening wherever she turned and the days weren’t long enough for the reading she wanted to do.”

― Alan Bennett, The Uncommon Reader

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Rugby: Oh Flower of Scotland

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Grandfather Charles got the granddaughter he told people he was hoping for. (And the 7 of you who guessed it would be a girl in the poll were right.)

Anyone have any nice suggestions for names for a girl? I think there are so many pretty names in the historic English/Scottish/British royal history, and I hope they use some of them.

Other royal births that took place on this date:
1458 – Eleanor of Viseu (d. 1525)
1729 – Catherine the Great, (d. 1796)
1896 – Helen of Greece and Denmark (d. 1982)
1975 – Nathalie, Princess zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg

May 2. was the wedding day of Léopold of Saxe-Coburg and Princess Charlotte Augusta of Wales in 1816.

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May 26 and 27, the Norwegian court announced, Crown Princess Mette-Marit will make another literary train journey. It is a follow-up to the literary train ride she took last year.

Like last year, they have transformed the royal rail carriage into a library. This time the train will go from Trondheim to Hamar, and make stops on Oppdal, Ringebu and Lillehammer. At Lillehammer, the Crown Princess will open the Norwegian Literature Festival.

This time she is collaborating with the local libraries at the stops, and authors have also been invited along. Two authors will be traveling along the train – Tore Renberg and Harald Rosenløw Eeg.

Other authors and literature critics will participate along the way on the stops.

At the Norwegian Literature Festival at Lillehammer the Crown Princess will, in addition to do the official opening, have a literary salon with two Norwegian authors.

The journey ends at Hamar.

 

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Started this today

 First book in the series about Haakon and Maud. Borrowed them all at the library yesterday. 

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Tuesday with Dorie – Coconut Tapioca

This Tuesday with Dorie recipe was the Coconut Tapioca, from her book Baking Chez Moi: Recipes from My Paris Home to Your Home Anywhere

The recipe said big tapioca balls -so I found some “Cock brand” Tapioca balls at my local Asian immigrant store. (I kind of wanted to go for the small ones with colour, but the recipe said big, and they only had big ones in white.)  DSC0026

Then came the time to soak them. Overnight. In cold water. I am not quite sure what I did wrong, but the balls disintegrated. I did some searching, and found that there was another approach – to start off with boiling hot water, and then let the balls soak in that.

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Second batch of balls were almost completely whole, and starting to go translucent. (Admittedly, I only had these soak for four hours. I probably should have had them soak overnight.)

By that point, I was starting to wonder if this whole process was worth it.

I added the ingredients to a pot on the stove and set to cooking. Allegedly, it was supposed to turn fairly quickly to porridge-like consistency. Mine didn’t. I got bored. I added food colouring. (Not in original recipe.)

Two hours after putting it on the stove, I discarded a lot of the liquid, and cooked it some more. When it started to resemble porridge a bit, I took it off, stirred in the vanilla and let it cool a bit before having a small bowl.

It was good, (rich and tasty) but I have had better milk-based puddings. (Like my grandmother’s sago porridge.)

I put the remainder in the fridge, and the next day the consistency was much more what I had initially expected. Very creamy and rich.

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Would I make it again?

Probably not. Something did not quite work for me with the taste, and as the recipe did not come together properly for me, (nowhere does it say to discard liquid.) it is not one I feel the desperate need to make again.

I kind of wish I had mixed in some flavouring with the food colouring so it did not merely look pink, but have that taste.

I’m going to try making bubble tea with the remainder of the tapioca balls at some point, though, so not completely wasted purchase.

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“Life isn’t finding shelter in the storm. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.”

― Sherrilyn Kenyon, Acheron

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Flashmob: Ravel’s Bolero

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