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Weekly Dinners With My Big Brother

Wednesday, March 9th, 2005

I have two older brothers, Sebastian and Dariusz. The latter one lives in Gothenburg just as me, and since January we meet for dinner once a week. We take turns cooking for each other, and tonight it’s my turn. I think that it’s a really nice “tradition” we have, it’s cosy to meet so often and it’s nice to get a lunch box with leftovers for the next day. At work when I warm the leftovers from my brother’s dinner every second week, I proudly say that my brother made it for me :-) During dinner we talk about all sorts of things: movies, computer games (escpecially World of Warcraft that we both play) and many other subjects. I’m glad that I meet my brother so often and that we have a good relationship. In December this year he will turn 40 and I will turn 30 next March, so we have even talked about arranging a special birthday party together. But until then we will continue with our weekly dinners.

Now a few words about not blogging for a long time. I’ve been really busy at work, please don’t mention Denmark and electronic invoices or I’ll have problems breathing :-) Life as a programmer isn’t always easy…. And also I’m nowadays an online game addict, thanks to Fredrik and my brother I can’t stop playing World of Warcraft… Shame on you! But I do have some photos and recipes from recent baking och cooking that I will post very soon.

Tonight when my brother comes I will serve a great vegetarian lasagna, I’ve meantioned it in my blog earlier. Yesterday I prepared the sauce and today I’ll assemble the whole lasagna and put it in the oven.

Vegetarian Lasagna

Red Sauce
2 carrots, chopped
2 zucchinis, chopped
2 onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
0,5 fresh chilli, finely chopped
1 handful fresh basil, finely chopped
1 tsp sugar
400 gram crushed tomatoes (tin or box)
1,5 deciliter cream
black pepper. minced
1 stock cube, vegetable

Filling
1 bag of fresh spinach
125 gram Feta cheese

Topping
100 gram grated cheese
Some grated Parmesan

Last but not least
Lasagna sheets

Preheat the oven to 225 degrees C.
Fry the garlic and the onions. Add carrots, zucchini, cream, tomatoes and the rest of the ingredients for the sauce. Let the sauce simmer for 10 minutes. Assemble the lasagna by first greasing a casserole dish with olive oil. Add the first layer of lasagna sheets and then the sauce. Add half of the spinach and half of the Feta cheese. Then add a new layer of lasagna sheets, sauce, spinach and feta cheese. Then add a last layer of lasagna sheets, cover with the remainings of the sauce and put all cheese on the top. Cook in the oven for about 25 minutes. Serve with a salad.

Music In My Kitchen

Friday, February 11th, 2005

I thought that I would be lucky and escape this one, but as soon as I saw that Anne was tagged by Oslo Foodie some days ago I some how knew that Anne would pass it on to me :-) But I’m still glad to be included even though I’m having a big problem passing it further :-) But when I’ll reach the last question I’ll pick out 3 persons and until then no one is safe from this music chain that’s spreading on all food blogs…

What is the total amount of music files on your computer?
I have about 100 complete albums.

The CD you last bought?
I can’t actually remember. But I think it was a CD (with only 4 or 5 songs) by the Swedish singer Jens Lekman.

What was the song you last listened to before reading this message?
I’m at work now and the last song before seeing Anne’s post was Stockholm Snow by the Norwegian (at least I think so) singer Karin Park.

Write down 5 songs you often listen to or that mean a lot to you.
I will mostly write down complete albums as it’s hard to pick individual songs. I listen to all kinds of music and I’m very fond of JPop. Here are some various songs and albums that I enjoy:

Album: Veneer by José Gonzalez

“Don’t you know that I’ll be around to guide you
Through your weakest moments to leave them behind you
Returning nightmares only shadows
We’ll cast some light and you’ll be alright
We’ll cast some light and you’ll be alright for now”

(José Gonzalez, Crosses)

José Gonzalez is a doctoral student in bio chemistry at the University in Gothenburg, Sweden. He’s also making a musical career with his own songs that he accompanies with his acustic guitar. He’s amazing and very talented

(You can listen to some of his songs (including the above, Crosses) at this site).

Album: Love In The Time Of Science by Emiliana Torrini

“Did you know that tuna fish
Float up to the surface
Belly to the moonlight
just to cool down their heart down
‘Cause it helps them just to think about the hurtful things
I guess it’s just one wait to get them some sedation”

(Emiliana Torrini, Tuna Fish)

I LOVE this album, I really do. It’s impossible to pick a single song from it. I like all of her songs, but I’m not very happy with her latest album Fisherman’s Woman. Hopefully I’ll get used to it and will appreciate it more. Emiliana Torrini is from Iceland and her songs are great.

Song: Magic Carpet Ride by Pizzicato Five

“It’s strange but you and I
have been friends since forever
Don’t you think it feels like we’ve loved each other
for two thousand light years?
and before we realise we’ll be old (it’s alright if)
We can go on having so much fun forever
magic carpet ride
It’s like magic
when I wake up there you are
it smells like flowers
Let’s cross two thousand light years
once again on a persian carpet”

(Pizzicato Five, Magic Carpet Ride, translated from Japanese)

I use to listen to various songs by the Japanese group Pizzicato Five. This is my favourite one.

Album: Café Del Mar Vol 6
This album makes my heart ache. Under the first period that I lived with Fredrik we always listened to this album. It reminds about joy, anxiety, despair, happiness and a deep endless love that became even stronger, despite the horrible circumstances that we tried to master. It’s a long and complicated story (with a lucky ending!) that I won’t write down here. The album contains wonderful songs like Beautiful by Mandalay and Traveller by Talvin Singh, I really recomend listening to it.

(Here you can listen on samples form the album, go to CD’s and choose Vol 6).

Song: Voices from the Anime Macross Plus
A beautiful Japanese a cappella song from an anime movie.

Who are you going to pass this stick to (3 persons) and why?
The first person I’m passing this on to is Keiko at NordLjus. She’s a new food blogger with great photos and as she’s from Japan I really would like to hear what she listens to.

Next up is Chika at She Who Eats. I love her blog and wonderful tempting photos. I’m very interested in Japanese culture and food, and that’s why I choose both Keiko and Chika :-)

Last but absolutely not least is Barbara at Tigers & Strawberries. I love reading her long posts, very often about Chinese food and culture. She also gives me insight in American culture and food. It will be interesting getting to know which music Barbara listens to.

Hmmm, yes I know… As you can see I have a weakness for Asian culture :-)

Risky Chicken

Thursday, January 20th, 2005

The food blogs are driving me crazy… You may wonder why? Well, as a lacto-ovo vegetarian I only eat vegetables, eggs and dairy products. And as I’m not a faithful vegetarian I also eat fish. I started with this diet about 5 years ago as I’ve never been especially fond of meat. The first years of this diet I also ate chicken, as most people say that white chicken meat is healthier than red meat. But that was before I got ill… One spring day in 2003 my knees swelled up and the following months consisted of operations, medicine and uncertainty. The doctors didn’t know what was wrong with me, and the pain was killing me, furthermore I could’t walk properly so the summer was spent at home in pain. Finally the doctors came to the conclusion that I had eaten chicken infected with campylobacterias. Most people that get a campylobacter infection only get diarrhoea, but a small percent get a reactive inflammation that attacs the bigger joints in the body, in my case knees and left wrist. The treatment that I got was special rheumatic medicine and cortison injections and the doctor’s told me that it could take two years to get well but also that there is a risk that it has become chronic.

The chicken that made me ill was rather easy to trace. The whole spring of 2003 I ate chicken for lunch everyday, bought from one of two Thai restaurants near my former job. Every evening I only had cheese sandwiches for dinner, so I came to the conclusion that it was one of the two restaurant’s fault. Anyway since that episode I don’t eat chicken, only very very seldom when I get an enormous urge for it and I cook it myself at home. But most of the time I just loathe it…
It’s now been almost 2 years since I got the inflammation and even though there has been a mayor improvement during the last 6 months I still have pain, and even if I don’t have as much reduced mobilty as I had earlier, I still have problems with pain, walking in stairs and bending my knees.

Fredrik loves meat in almost all shapes, except for lamb’s brain etc, and at home we have to be imaginative when cooking dinner. Most of the time we always figure something out (thank God for Quorn) or we just go to a restaurant so that both of us get what we want. One of our favourite dishes at home is baked potatoes. We eat them with chopped red onions, sour cream, Crème Bonjour Cuisine with Pepper and Crème Bonjour Cuisine with chive (Crème Bonjour is absolutely amazing, but don’t confuse it with the cheese because I’m talking about a totally different product, a kind of cream or something). In addition to all theese things Fredrik eats bacon to the potatoes, and myself I eat corn. When Fredrik fries his bacon I always get a big urge even though I don’t really want to eat it. And it’s the same thing with most of the meat dishes that I read about in food blogs on the internet. Some of them sound so delicious, even though I probably would feel sick if I had to eat them. I’m a bit worried that the food blogs will ruin my diet and life, but we’ll see about that :-)

The Wine God

Wednesday, January 12th, 2005

In Gothenburg there’s a very cosy and nice Italian restaurant called Toscana. We use to go there rather often, sometimes for dinner and sometimes just for a glass of red wine (they import really tasty wine). The owner, Francesco, is very nice, kind and very Italian :-) He doesn’t speek Swedish, only English and Italian, and he gladly talks with everyone. His adorable baby daughter is often seen at the restaurant, taken cared of by Francesco’s cute mother (who does most of the delicious desserts at Toscana), by Francesco himself at the same time as he pours up some wine at the bar counter or by Francesco’s wife.
As we are frequent guests (unfortunately we havn’t been there for a long time now), we were invited to Francesco’s birthday and a late opening dinner of the restaurant last summer. It was a lovely evening with wonderful food and a mixture of different people. And the Tiramisú made by Francesco’s mother was absolutely amazing! There was a nice intimate atmosphere that evening (as always when we’re there) and we willingly sang the Italian birthday song (tanti auguri a te! tanti auguri a te!).

There’s a weird painting at Toscana, I think that it’s supposed to be a cow and there are horns on the painting. Anyway, we call the painting the Wine God and it’s absolutely compulsory to toast to the Wine Good when we are there. Sometimes when we’re at home or somewhere else drinking wine we try to remember the Wine God and toast to him in the approximate direction. That can be tricky when we’re abroad, but I hope that we toasted to the right direction when we were on the Maldives, or else the Wine God would be really angry :-) Of course dear Francesco doesn’t know about our toasting and crazy ideas, he surely loves his painting and doesn’t have a clue about the Wine God.

When at Toscana, we often order Penne Fattorini which is a pasta with a hot tasty tomato sauce served with fresh ground pepper and a lot of parmesan. To that you get a delicious focaccia that I love to in the sauce. Yummy!


My own Penne Fattorini

Here’s my own recipe for Penne Fattorini, not so good as at Toscana but not so bad either:

Penne Fattorini

500 g crushed tomatoes (from can or box)
1 big onion
2 garlic cloves
salt
a lot of ground pepper
some cayenne pepper
a pinch of sugar
1 stock cube (vegetable)
Salt
Basil
Olive oil
250 g Penne

(serves 2)

Chop the onion and the garlic cloves, and fry in olive oil for a couple of minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and let it simmer under a lid for 25 minutes. Don’t forget to add a lot of pepper, it should be really hot and nice!
Cook the pasta al dente, and then mix the pasta with the sauce. Serve with a lot of parmesan cheese and more ground pepper.