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The Selfish Idealist


If you do things for yourself, do you have to be destructive towards the world? Life can be made fairly good both for you and for the rest of us.

Maybe you'll not only help out, but even give everybody a good laugh from time to time.

The moon, an old friend.

Dark bread & pork

A sandwich for lunch Posted on 22 Apr, 2017 04:24

Some slices of dark rye bread, pumpernickel or something
Butter on the bread

1 package chopped
pork meat
butter, at least 3 tbsp
dried tarragon, 2 pinches, thoroughly crushed
3 garlic cloves
sea salt
ground black pepper
tabasco sauce, enough
a small squeeze of lime

The normal things to do: Chop the garlic finely, brunoise if
you like (tiny cubes, say, 1 mm). Heat it in a pan with the butter, spice and
herbs. Everything, really, but the meat last.

Slowly, in order not to burn the garlic and not to dry the pork meat more than necessary.

Then turn off the heat before the meat is really finished
and leave it there, to “marinate” in the little sauce that has emerged.

Then simply put some on top of your piece of bread, with
butter underneath, and eat it.

The white Burgundy I had tonight didn’t quite enjoy the
bread, first when I had the rest of the meat and the sauce, no bread, together with the wine, it responded in a
truly friendly way.

But maybe it’s all in my imagination. It is, any way
you see it.

Try it with something you’d like to drink, anyway.

This one is actually not for lunch.
Nocturne, notturno, nattstykke.


A sandwich for lunch Posted on 30 Jul, 2015 19:24

…and why
not do it really simple? A few chunks of raw salmon and lompe, nothing else, really did it.

those two things really belong together. Both have what might – in English – be
called ”bland” tastes. There is no salt, neither in the carbs nor the fish. The
expression is a little derogatory, though, considering the whole world of
sushi, with variations in delicious blandness, in that case.

And the
world of Scandinavian country cooking too. There is variation, but I think it
lies maybe in the performance more than the recipes. Even if, I believe,
historically, there is a wealth of food that has never really surfaced, not today. Yet to
be seen. Maybe I
should dive into that subject too.

I believe that the variation in the cooking, which you have to learn I think
from the housewives and mothers who cooked for us, lies in the small actions, small
“tricks” as some call it, what in Norwegian and probably Swedish and Danish is
summed up as håndlag. Meaning manual skill, definitely, but I wonder if it rules more or less the whole thing. All the small things you learn to a large degree
without knowing it, unconsciously, maybe, or through small acts of practical teaching
from relatives or friends.

I’ve eaten so simple things whith such taste. A piece of kid meat, baked in the oven, on a farm in “the valleys”, as we say. Salt, fat of some kind. I don’t know what was done to it, but it is one of my rare food experiences.

This is typical for many feats of this popular culture. It is a largely practical world, a lot, really a lot, is done and never said. You speak through your actions more than your words.

@ @ @

But splashing these simple things together and creating something could also lead me to think that Japan and Norway has something in common
culturally – who knows?

Traditional Norwegian – and Scandinavian – country food
uses very little herbs and spices and is by many considered simple and with
very slight variation. Still, a traditional foodie has no problem of singling out the
good cooks from the bad and appreciate the really good meals.

I know myself very
well what a good dinner of fresh cod should be like, you can’t fool me there,
even if it consists of nothing more than boiled cod, boiled potatoes, boiled carrots and melted
butter, with the miniscule variations of adding boiled eggs to the butter or serving fried bacon as a side dish.

It is a little like French country bread too, I believe it is considered hard to make really good. It has no more ingredients. Fewer, rather.

I am as
usual not too knowledgeable about the world of sushi, or Japan, but as I have
understood it you can make a world of difference with the same piece of raw fish,
through the way you treat it. I guess, simply, how you use your knife, even if that is probably a coarse way of putting it.

Even if making sushi is
probably a highly planned skill, and the Norwegian kitchen is very much based
on improvisation within a narrow frame, I find it interesting. It seems
parallel in some way.

And the taste of raw fish, I believe absolutely unknown here until the sushi wave hit us, resembles the simple world of lompe, boiled carrots (which, by the way, is no favourite of mine), boiled potatoes, maybe, all the straight-forward tastes that are so familiar to us. Too familiar, which is, of course, why we eat all the “new” and really new stuff.

Good for us, also.

this lompe-laks business is not traditional food, but traditional ingredients put together in a new

@ @ @

Maybe there is something there for a food researcher, an
anthropologist, a student of sociology. A would-be
journalist like myself.

Or a
professional amateur cook, looking for new fields of experiment.

PS Please don’t quote me on saying that complicated cooking is unnecessary or bad. I have the greatest respect for professional crafts which give us pleasure, and every complication is welcome, as long as it works.

Edited after publishing.


A sandwich for lunch Posted on 14 Oct, 2014 00:13

Finnish Rugsprö,
Coulommiers or some other soft, stinking good French cheese, cashew nuts.

Have the nuts on the side if you like.

Sweet and tasty

A sandwich for lunch Posted on 18 Sep, 2014 05:17

combination: Modern knekkebrød,
butter, sliced parmesan, honey.

The knekkebrød stuff I’m talking about you can find in Norwegian shops now. It looks like those bran things which is supposed to reduce your weight, but this one tastes really good.

Even better if you make it yourself, there must be plenty of recipes on the Internet. There was a wave some years ago, which may not have subsided.

Spekeskinke etc

A sandwich for lunch Posted on 13 May, 2014 10:03

Bread, butter, some good cured ham, sweet mustard, ground pepper, slices of red sweet peppers.

Norwegian cured ham is usually almost too salty, it needs some sweet stuff to balance it.

Sardines Inc.

A sandwich for lunch Posted on 22 Apr, 2014 00:26

1 box sardines in oil, laid out on
2 pieces of Finnish Rugsprö
ground black pepper on top

fried champignons (butter, oil, salt, pepper)

a small cucumber salad (Balsamic vinegar, olive oil, sea salt,
truffle honey)

Drink: A glass of whisky

Time to buy something more tarry than Macallan…
bottle is nearly empty.

Slices of raw onion

A sandwich for lunch Posted on 20 Feb, 2014 23:33

Tonight’s snack:
White bread, butter, mackerel in tomato sauce, Tabasco,
slices of raw onion. Have I tried this before?

Tonight’s little hit:
White bread, butter, servelat,
lots of ground black pepper, slices of raw onion again. Surprisingly enough, a
glass of Calvados on the side was very good. I would have thought it to be too classy for something as grounded as Gilde’s servelat. Also, tea.

Debussy afterwards:

Gardens in rain…fits well into the climate news these days. Goes well with the Calvados too, of course.

Snow outside, beautiful, in my nice little place at Grünerløkka. Some public money well spent on making a little piece of park, by the river. Gives me shoulders down.

Turkish mackerel

A sandwich for lunch Posted on 14 Jan, 2014 02:52

A piece of bread, something good
Mackerel in oil, mixed with ground pepper and strrong
Tabasco (actually Habanero sauce)

I tried to eat this together with a cauliflower dish, but
no, they wouldn’t cooperate. Better to eat it as lunch, or kveldsmat, as the name was when we were kids. The thing has been gone from my life for many years, but now my own kids demand food before they go to bed, whenever dinner was. Their treat of the day, really, as it was ours.

I found something Turkish, quite ok, but I’ve tried eating
boxed fish as dinner before, it doesn’t work.

I didn’t know that there were a lot of different mackerel species around the world. Typically Norwegian, grown stupid from living in isolation for too long. The mackerel is ours, we think, in the South at least. We fry it with new potatoes, sour cream etc. Yummie.

The good thing is, I can now look for mackerel recipes from all over the world and travel without travelling, again. Who said anything about isolation?

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