First harvest

I picked our first tomato two days ago. We never had ripe tomatoes this early in Hallingdal and here are plenty more to come. We also have potato plants, some carrots, onions, kale and pumpkins that have survived the hot and dry summer.

Despite having an irrigation system none of our beans and peas have survived though so we have to upgrade the hose pipes to the “paddock” before next growing season

I ate the tomato today and it was delicious!

Ripe red plum tomato

Nam nam


Baked by Mama-Bakica and Damae three weeks ago. Damae takes credit for the coating (marmalade, marzipan and icing).

On the left is a gluten free cake, on the right the 'normal' Winter Solstice Cake (aka Christmas Cake).

On the left is a gluten free cake, on the right the ‘normal’ Winter Solstice Cake (aka Christmas Cake).

How to make quick cook polenta in a thermos flask

Subject: Polenta in thermos
From: Ninki Williams

On 23 February 2011 23:30, Ninki Williams wrote:

Hello Stan,Can I please have instructions and quantities of how to make it this way…?

Ninki xxxxxxxxxxxxx

Instructions, see below.

Disclaimer: No warranty is given or implied, nor should it be inferred and no responsibility is accepted by the author for any damage/loss of any sort arising from attempts to follow this recipe. There is no way to make fool-proof instructions as fools continually improve their skills with supernatural ease. When fools are involved there is no such thing as an unambiguous sentence. Technical writers please take note.

1) Take one 500ml stainless steel wide mouth thermos flask (or another size or type if that takes your fancy but it might not work if you use a different type of flask. It might be worth checking step 12 before you go any further)

2) Fill about a quarter to one third full with quick cook polenta (must be quick cook).

3) Add boiling water to (max) within a centimetre of the bottom of the lid of the thermos (that is the bottom of the lid when the lid is screwed in place. You will probably have to guess exactly where that is)

4) Stir the polenta-water mix so that no solid clumps of polenta remain in the flask. Unless of course you like clumps of solid un-rehydrated polenta-meal in your cooked polenta, in which case you can skip this step.

5) Screw the lid closed. If it doesn’t want to screw closed then you have probably added too much polenta and/or water. If this is the case remove some of the contents from the flask and try screwing the lid on again. If you have a burning sensation in one or more of your fingers, then remove your finger(s) from inside the flask and you will find that you should be able to screw the lid on. Unless of course you still have too much water/polenta mix in the flask (see above).

6) Shake gently twice (or as many times as you feel like)

7) Lay the thermos flask on its side, on the worktop/kitchen table/garage floor/grass next to the tent making sure it cannot roll in any direction. Note, if you glue the thermos flask down to stop it rolling then you might have problems carrying out some of the subsequent steps. Mostly ones from Step 10) onwards.

8) Wait at least ten minutes (you can wait longer if you wish. However if you wait 24 hours of more, the polenta will probably start decaying and will in any case be cold)

9) Get out a plate and put it next to the thermos flask. The plate can be any colour or size and can be made of any material. It helps if the plate is bigger than the quantity of polenta you have just made and is made of a material that is both moisture and heat resistant. It might be a good idea to use a clean plate rather than a dirty one. It is best not to use the plate you put under the car to catch drips of oil from the sump.

10) Pick up the thermos flask and carefully unscrew the lid so that you can see the polenta inside the flask. Along one side, all the way to the bottom of the flask you will see a void (unless of course you have overfilled the thermos flask in which case you are on your own from here on).

11) If you have a void in your flask, turn the thermos flask on its side so that the void is below the polenta and the mouth of the flask is over the plate.

12) Shake/hit the flask gently so that the polenta comes free from the flask and floops onto the plate (if you don’t know what ‘floops’ means then you shouldn’t be trying to cook anything). If you used a glass thermos flask then this might not work in quite the same way. In this case you should treat these instructions as ‘alpha’ quality. The cooked polenta should come out in one piece and be shaped a little like a sausage.

13) You can either eat the polenta then and there, or wait for it to cool and put it in the fridge. If you are going to eat in now, then jump to step 18)

14) If putting in the fridge then make sure you cover it so that the polenta does not dry out. Unless you like dried out bits on the outside of your polenta in which case skip this step.

15) If you have chosen to put your polenta in the fridge, keep an eye on it. If you forget about it for a couple of weeks it will probably become inedible and uneatable. If you like inedible or uneatable polenta then skip this step.

16) To use the polenta sausage from the fridge, take it out of the fridge, and using a knife that is reasonably sharp (obviously ‘reasonably’ in this context will vary depending on if you are a butcher who uses knives to cut through gristle and bone or a vegan who only ever uses knives to spread smooth peanut butter on pre-sliced organic sour-dough bread) and slice the polenta into one centimetre thick slices. (If you don’t know what a centimetre is, then where on earth have you been living since 1791?).

17) Take a frying pan, large enough to hold all the slices of polenta when they are lying on their big flat sides, pour in liberal amounts of cold pressed olive oil (or Aldi ‘vegetable oil’ or ‘lard’ if you are a mingy skinflint), and place the polenta slices in the pan on their big flat sides rather than their skinny edges. Fry the polenta until golden brown on both the big flat sides (or a lighter or darker colour depending on how hungry you are and/or your attention span and/or if you are a mingy skinflint who is trying to save on the gas/electric/other fuel bill).

18) If you are capable of anything like logical thought, then you will have already made/bought a tomato sauce or fried some sliced onions and mushrooms or some fried bacon bits to pour/sprinkle over your nicely fried polenta slices/fresh dollop of polenta. If not then you have some rather boring polenta to eat – life is a bummer sometimes. But, look on the bright side. At least it is a gluten free meal.

19) Don’t forget to pour water into the thermos flask as soon as you have removed the polenta. Dried cooked polenta is one of the best adhesives known to man and it is almost impossible to remove from any surface without extensive soaking in water. Dried cooked polenta was used as the main test material when DuPont were developing the Teflon non-stick pan coating (this might not be true as Wikipedia makes no mention of this use of polenta nor any mention of polenta on the Teflon page).


Stop press shocker! Tofu found in Gol

We had our suspicions that there must be some tofu for sale somewhere in Gol. Well today we found it after taking a trip to the small ‘innvandringersjappe’ next to the Pizza restaurant near to the Rema1000. The shop is apparently run by some Irakis and we had a quick nosey round today. Not only do they have big bags of PG Tips tea, large pots of pickles and olives and Helva, they also do packs of Mori-Nu Silken Tofu for ‘rimelig’ price (a shade under NOK 28).

This is a very soft type of tofu (despite it saying FIRM on the packet) more melt-in-your-mouth than chew, not our favourite type, probably best suited in dessert recipes. Still, I made a nice sweet and sour stir fry with it tonight and on the plus side, it is available in a shop ten minutes walk away from here.