Granola and Yoghurt Pie with Berry Swirl

29 October, 2013

I do believe I have a legitimate reason for making myself comfort food these days. Days are increasingly colder, shorter and in general darker. This one looks a little messy, but it turned out to be exactly the thing falling right into my category of "super delicious, but not too unhealthy". It's a kind of pie you can indulge in three days in a row without feeling too awful about it. 

This recipe said that if you want one cake to consume for breakfast, this should be the one. But let's not fool ourselves. It's still contains enough sugar to caramelize the granola crust if you bake it for a little longer than you should. Which I did, and it turned out as the closest thing I've ever come to a perfect granola crust.

For the granola crust

1 1/2 cups plain granola
1/4 granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar (optional)

For the yoghurt filling

1 cup plain yoghurt (greek yoghurt has to be drained)
8 ounces (220g) creme cheese
3 tbsp granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the wild berry topping

5 ounces (1 cup) wild berries, rinsed
Mild honey

1. In a food processor, pulse granola with sugar and cinnamon until fine crumbs form. Add butter and process until combined but still crumbly.

2. Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C)

3. Transfer the mixture to a pie plate (medium sized) and press it evenly onto the bottom. Refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes. Bake until the crust is golden, about 15 minutes. Transfer the plate to a wire rack and cool it completely while you make the filling.

4. With an electric mixer on medium-low speed, beat the cream cheese until very smooth. Add sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth. Reduce the speed to low and add yoghurt. Beat until smooth.

5. Pour the filling into the cooled crust. cover loosely and refrigerate until set, at least 6 hours or up to 1 day.

6. Just before serving, scatter the wild berries over the filling. Drizzle with honey.

It's nice to be home and have all the space and equipment I need for cooking again. And the good news: this week is going to be, luckily, pretty busy!

Scenes from home + homemade granola

26 October, 2013

Since Monday I have felt like I've almost been loosing my mind. Although I have been outside every now and then taking pictures, things otherwise have been very static and repetitive. I wake up, I have breakfast, I start writing on my thesis until the evening and then the same thing over again the next day. My thesis is about work motivation, which I am ironically feeling that I have less and less of when it comes to getting this thesis done. And it's only 35 more working days before I hand it in!

Yet there is something very comforting about those big short term goals. When I will be done in December there will be nothing holding me back to do anything I want. I try to remind myself that once  I am and I'm back in New York, I will miss the repetitive simple life of the valley, not to mention the beautiful foggy mornings at the river. 

In the meantime I spend weekends cooking with my Mom, making homemade granola for a specific purpose that I will show you, hopefully very soon. I wish you all a wonderful Saturday!

Twenty Eight

21 October, 2013

At my birthday a while back ago I started to feel like nothing with my character was changing anymore. That I felt the same way being 20 as 25. And I don't know if it makes any sense, but another part of me felt that so much had happened and I felt almost old. Do you know that feeling?

Anyway. Sometimes I think I must have been the most goofy looking kid in school. Analog photos are still the best.

Messy Fall

17 October, 2013

I've been spending so much time and energy being anxious about my thesis. I have some of those mornings when I wake up at 5.30 and start worrying about it and I can't go back to sleep. I am still learning to make myself believe that everything works out in the end (And I know it will this time too) - I guess it is just the fact that in my head the thesis is very much unresolved that makes me so anxious.

Oh well, I guess I just needed to get something off my chest today. Even if the days get shorter and shorter here, fall is spectacular in every way. I like seeing the frost glittering on the remains of summer in the garden. And the feeling of stepping into masses of leaves, crushing them with your feet and their smell.

It's truly a wonderful season.

Apples, apples!

14 October, 2013

My friend Sigrid Marie has a farm in the Valley and when the the evening sun shines through the oaks and orchards during fall it becomes a very beautiful place to be.

My Mom can always use more apples, so Sigrid Marie let me fill up the boxes I brought with me, which wasn't a hard task at all since apples can be found in overabundance everywhere. All day I had flashbacks to my grandparents old house in southern Poland where they used to have wonderful orchards.

We had so much fun yesterday. It's not an understatement to say that Sigrid Marie's life is a little bit like from the blog Manger, just maybe the more Norwegian version of it. I know country life is hip and all that, but who wouldn't love to live like this? Stripped away from the romanticism, maintaining a farm very much about the hard work and persistence - especially with a full time job and if you choose to keep livestock as well. I imagine it is the result after that hard work, however, what makes living on a farm so very magical. The harvest, the plants and the trees that have survived the cold winter and finally bear fruit.

As you may have guessed by now, I am totally sold on this lifestyle. And last, but not the least - imagine what you can do with all that produce! All those apples! Here is an example.

The simplest apple pie you've ever made with a not-too-complicated ginger caramel sauce.

For the apple pie
This "apple pie", if you even can call it that, is ridiculously easy to make. All you need is puff pastry enough to cover a fireproof iron skillet a little bit over the edges. Place any kind of apple pieces over the puff pastry and fold the excess pastry over the sides. You can use apples of any kind, personally I find tart apples to contrast nicely with the delicate delicate puff pastry and sweet, slightly spicy ginger caramel sauce. We used the Norwegian apple Haugmann. Place the skillet in the middle of the oven at 200°C/ 390°F for about 20 minutes.

For the ginger caramel sauce
1 cup or 2 dl heavy cream
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
3/4 cup or 1.5 dl granulated sugar
1/4 cup or 0.5 dl water
2 tablespoons salted butter

We mostly followed this recipebut  we made some adjustments. The amount of sugar was a little less than in the original recipe.

The caramel sauce is made in two processes.

1. Cooking the heavy cream. In a saucepan the grated ginger is mixed with heavy cream and brought to a simmer. It is set aside for about 20 minutes.

2. The caramel. In a saucepan, mix the water and sugar and simmer it on medium heat. Whisk the mixture occasionally. After simmering the sugar and water mixture for about 7-8 minutes increase the heat. Notice how the mixture becomes first golden and them very quickly deep amber. This is when you know the caramel is ready. Set it aside.

A common problem when making caramel is that the sugar crystallizes at the end of the process instead of caramelizes. This means you need to use higher heat, and it's particularly a challenge when working on an electric furnace. If it happens add more water, give the mixture a stir and turn up the heat to the max before you put the saucepan back on.

3. Making the sauce. Set the caramel aside and add, through a sift, a little of the cooked heavy cream into it while stirring. Return the pan to a low heat and add the remaining heavy cream little by little. Whisk in the butter and continue whisking until the sauce is smooth.

Ginger caramel sauce can be used hot or cold and is perfect for ice cream, apple pie or anything else that is complemented by creamy sweetness and spice.

My Mom and Some thoughts

08 October, 2013

A photographer who made a picture from a splendid moment, an accidental pose of someone or a beautiful scenery, is the finder of a treasure. - Robert Doisneau

When going from taking pictures of scenes to people something is elevated in the heart of photographer. I think what I needed to get inspired to take pictures again, of anything, was actually to take this gem of a picture of my mom. Me and my mom went to the mountains gathering moss for the winter and my mom did this funny pose the second the shutter went down, and it turned out it was just the right moment. My mission has always to be to take pictures of everyday beauty, but I haven't always been extremely picky about portraits, not to mention my own. I want portraits to become a bigger part of my photography. I want to learn to recognize the perfect light for a portrait, the perfect moment. I want to take the portraits in such a way that they tell stories. Also I want to find a way to be perfectly comfortable with taking pictures of people, and not feeling like I'm intruding anyones privacy.

//PS. I loved this article I came across by Aubrey on lessons she learned about blogging. For quite some time I have been wondering how I should continue this space. And I like the thought that there are more and more people out there that keep their blogs as a personal space, and that it doesn't contradict their professional presence online. //

Fall in the Valley

06 October, 2013

"The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is now." 

I have been spending a lot of time at Sigurd's old home in the Valley after he came back to Norway for a while - the pictures are taken from there. I have an awfully bad habit in procrastinating things, but I'm better when I'm under his influence and when we are both working.

I was very optimistic when I thought about finishing my thesis last semester with the course going on and NY right outside my doorstep. Now that I'm back in the Valley I feel like this is the natural thing to prioritize, so I spend most of my time doing that and hopefully I will start a design project soon on the side. The good thing about being back is that two of my closest friends have moved back, and that makes me feel a lot less lonely here.

There are some days that I feel that I have gotten my fair share of the New York experience, and other days I feel like I long back to the buzzing life, opportunities and new friends. Whatever will happen from now on I am thankful for having had five wonderful months in the Big Apple. I am, probably for the first time in a while, not complaining about being back in the Valley at all.

A hike with Karin

02 October, 2013

Not many words needed to this post. Me and Karin made the most out of the day, started our hike early and got to the top of Harahødn before anyone else. On out way back there were lines with tourists - families with lots of kids hiking up the same trail. When they got to the top, we were back again at Vavatn having a well deserved and long lunch brake.

More photos here.
Content, design and development by Anna Miczka.