Arriving in Oslo after the chaotic Cote d’Azur was a true breath of fresh air, literally and figuratively. France is swelteringly hot at the moment and by comparison dirty and hostile. My last day in France was totally chaotic and almost catastrophic as the officials in the airport made our lives hell, in French. After my boss made a phone call to the owner of the airline (god bless contacts), we finally managed to get hurried onto the, by now, very delayed plane but our luggage was then lost. I am sure the disgruntled ground staff played no small part in this happening.
Arriving in Oslo airport was the complete opposite of our experience at Nice Airport. The staff were friendly and efficient and without much delay, our bags were returned to our doorstep.
Now back to the air again. The air here is fresh and cool. The water from the tap tastes like the best mineral water. Strangers smile and greet you. People are honest and caring and almost everyone speaks fluent English. Those who don’t, still try to be as accommodating as possible. I feel safe and welcome here.
I spent two days on a peninsula in Oslo called Bøgday before leaving to a small privately owned island just off of a town called Tjøme. The house here had been closed all winter so I came with a team of workmen to get the house and gardens ready for the family to spend the summer.
|View from the terrace.|
|View over the water|
|View over the fjord from the hill top|
Now over to the food. The food has been fabulous. One of the main reasons I decided to join this family in Norway for the summer is because my boss is a doctor of nutrition and his wife is hugely into healthy living and eating. We have had a fabulous balance of healthy and decadent. There have been guests most of the time we have been here so we have been trying to keep the menus healthy but have thrown in a few treats and celebratory dishes.
My bosses wife and I seem to have a very similar palate and have enjoyed sharing recipes and chatting endlessly about ingredients, recipes and food experiences. We have been working with as many fresh raw meals as possible, keeping things as sugar, gluten and dairy free as we can too.
The one noteworthy exception was a special request from the kids of a New Yorkan family who wanted pancakes (what we would call crumpets or flapjacks).I have blogged about these before but this time I think I have perfected the recipe. I have made them a few more times since then, as the kids here keep requesting them.
The recipe is simple with the main version coming in the method. The whites of the eggs are separated and the whites are whipped until stiff and folded into the remaining mixture. This adds the lightness which I seemed to have been missing before.
The Americans ate their pancakes with maple syrup, the Norwegians with raspberry jam and crème fraiche and I had them the way I always do, with butter and honey, just the way my granny taught me. Heaven!
American Pancakes (Crumpets as my Granny called them)
Makes about 20 medium sized pancakes
3 large eggs, separated
125g of plain flour
1 ¼ tsp of baking powder
150ml of milk
2 Tbsp of castor sugar
½ tsp of vanilla essence or equivalent vanilla extract
A pinch of salt
Into a small mixing bowl separate the egg whites. Add the yellows into a medium sized mixing bowl. With an electric cake mixer whip the whites until stiff.
Add the remaining ingredients to the yellows and whip with the cake mixer until pale and creamy. With a spatula or wooden spoon gently fold the egg whites into the mixture being careful to keep the air in the mixture. If you are unsure about this take a look at this youtube link.
Heat a large non stick frying pan. Add a little oil if needed but if the quality of the non stick is still good you should not need to add oil. Gently drop heaped tablespoons of the mixture into the pan. Flip them once you see largish bubbles appear in the mixture. The bubbles should not be breaking but just appearing before you flip the pancakes. They should be golden in colour.
It is best to gather your guests around the stove for the pancakes to be eaten as soon as they come out the pan. But if this is not possible keep them warm and serve them as soon after preparation as possible.
Each person has their own favourite way of topping pancakes. It is best to have a few alternatives of jams, honey, nutella, berries, cinnamon etc. and let your guests decide how they would like them.
The traditional American way of having a stack of large pancakes eaten with a knife and fork doesn’t appeal to me at all. But this is totally up to you. I was raised with hand eaten honey and butter dripping crumpets and this still makes me very happy.