Nine Years Old

Today, Freya, is your birthday, and we are celebrating it whilst in the north of Sweden with your cousins, Jocke and mormor.

The weather has not been the best since we got up here three weeks ago, but today the sun pushed up the temperature to an almost uncomfortable (for me) level.

As usual, mormor and Mum made a selection of pies and cakes. Along with the three different types of biscuits and ice-cream, we indulged in the sugary smörgåsbord presented to us, washing it down with fizzy drinks and coffee.

The sunshine gave us the chance to play brännboll (one of your presents). Despite some similarities to cricket, there are some parts of the game I simply do not understand, though it did not lessen the enjoyment that we had.

The rest of the afternoon you spent swimming and hanging out with your cousins, whom you and Zelda seem to like very much. Your socialising has meant that some of your presents are waiting patiently for you. You did play Monopoly with me this morning, for about half an hour, and Super Mario 3D for you 3DS is yet to be opened. The present that you have used most so far today has been the one that you have (not so quietly) wished for these last few weeks: a camera.

Oh, and Jo thinks that she may have broken something in her foot whilst swimming this afternoon.

Jämtland Bean Burgers

Our summer holiday in the north of Sweden has been, thus far, more like a rainy autumn week. We have ventured outside as much as we dare, though the inclement weather has given Jo the justification she requires to continue the renovation of our house.

We have also taken time to evaluate the contents of mormor’s fridge, freezer and food cupboards (I believe her house is old enough to include a “pantry”). She has accumulated far too much food for her own requirements, so I have taken it upon myself to decrease the amount of extra ingredients she has, at the same time making cheap meals for the family.

I get a good feeling from making food out of otherwise forgotten bags, packets and tins that lie hidden away. Some of the items found have gone past the best before date. This does not overly concern us, as long as any item looks, smells and tastes ok. There have been a few, however, that have not got to the taste test, being some eight to ten years old.

The other day I tested a burger recipe that was very loosely based on a few recipes I had seen, using up some leftover bulgar and a couple of packets of precooked beans. I cannot remember exactly the quantities, as I was not convinced the recipe would a) hold together when fried b) taste nice. I was greatly surprised that the burgers were tasty enough that even Freya liked them. As a note to myself, the recipe goes more or less so:

Fry half a finely chopped onion and add to 2dl bulgar (precooked with a bullion cube). Add tomato paste, garlic salt, dried Italian herbs and one packet each of half mashed black beans and butter beans. To make the correct consistency, add breadcrumbs. Form burgers to falafel size and fry on medium heat with a little oil.

41 plus 5

This week has seen two family members celebrate their birthdays: Jo and Zelda.

Jo received a couple of presents that she wished for earlier this year. My memory, at least when it comes to presents, is mighty fine. Jo only needs to mention an interest in something one time, and it is stored in a part of my brain that actually works. I also use my phone to make notes, so armed with a double hard drive, I am force to be reckoned with.

Now Jo is the proud owner of a pizza stone and a staple gun. Unfortunately, a couple of gifts are still being delivered, but there is still a lot one can do with a pizza stone staple gun.

In the evening the family surprised Jo with one more present: a visit to the comically named Wong Kee restaurant. The food is a bit overpriced for what it is, but it is still tasty, the offspring like it, and it is near to where we live.

Today, Zelda had her birthday, starting with breakfast in bed, which consisted of five strawberries and some orange juice (Zelda’s wish). Her presents, as always, are quite difficult to think of. She requested a pony and a mobile phone, though I do not think she was disappointed to get a new scooter, kite, and swimming goggles, amongst other things.

After a small party in the park, and time spent by the water nearby, we ate pizza using Jo’s newly acquired stone. Because the girls were famished, we opted for a shop-bought pizza base. We soon realised that this was not the optimal way to start experimenting with pizza, the base being difficult to work with. The end result was very similar to the normal way we have it, but the girls did not complain.

So, congratulations to Jo and Zelda on their birthdays. I hope you both have many more, and I hope I get to see many more.

Tofu Salad

I’ve recently been trying a number of new recipes that held the promise of entertaining the tastebuds. Sadly, many of them failed to impressive, leaving disappointment as an aftertaste. One recipe that did have Jo and I wanting more came from The Sexy Vegan Diet, which in turn got it from Tofu Salad. The recipe is not strictly raw food because of the inclusion of tofu, though we are not complaining.

2 packets of tofu
2½ dl vegan mayonnaise
4 tbs finely chopped onion
1¼ dl grated carrots
¾ dl parsley
4 tbs nutritional yeast flakes
1 tbs dijon mustard
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper

I think that the above amounts make the recipe to heavy, so I take less mayonnaise and add a bit more carrot. The end result is still rather stodgy, though. I also omitted the parsley, having none at hand. We have also tired it with black salt powder (kala namak), to give it an eggy taste, which works very well.


I was walking home with Freya this evening after her very rainy football practice, when we came upon a path scattered with slugs. It got me thinking just how rubbish slugs are. I needed proof, of course, so I did some quick research.

Snails are pretty poor creatures, with the bonus of having shells to protect them. Scientists who have studied one particular sea snail have found out that its shell is made up of three different layers, each layer offering different benefits and forms of protection. I still believe that, overall, snails suck. Slugs, as we know, don’t even have this to aid them against predators; however, their slime does not taste at all nice.

Despite this, they are apparently preyed upon by virtually every major vertebrate group, which makes me wonder just how effective a defence vile tasting slime is. Should they get caught, they are able to lose their tails at will. They will also chew off their own penises (or their partner’s) when they get stuck during mating. This, apparently, is not an uncommon occurrence.

Self mutilation is definitely an attribute of suckiness. Slugs ARE rubbish.

Posted in Jon