the light bulb and the bird cage

One winter afternoon I escaped Berlin's cold by going to the Hamburger Bahnhof. At the time the large exhibition hall was hosting works by Joseph Beuys. Contemporary art without Beuys is like brownies without chocolate, it just does not really make as much sense.

One of the pieces displayed in the room was a large, rusted cage. Inspired by Beuys, we began a hunt for an old bird cage. Since then, the bird cage has housed passports, fabric birds and, now, a light bulb.


arugula salad with dried figs and walnuts

When the winter turns colder, my apartment becomes nicer. My cupboards are filled with dried fruits, nuts and honey. One pair of slippers and one pair of moccasins wait for my feet each morning next to my bed. I buy plants and my roommate buys candles. Growing up in Canada I have never been afraid of snow, but I admit to still having some fear of the cold.

I am an avid salad eater and in the winter my cravings for all things green and fresh become all the more intense. Salads with fruit tend to be my favourite (which is rather obvious with past mentions of an orange and fennel salad and a watermelon and cucumber salad). A version of this salad - one with arugula with nuts, dried or fresh fruits, some cheese and a simple dressing of good olive oil, balsamic vinegar and honey - is one of my repeated staples and with each repeat, it is always becomes something new. Try arugula with peaches, almonds and goat cheese. Or, arugula with pear, walnuts and blue cheese. Or when you have a well stocked cupboard and little desire to put on your snow boots, try arugula salad with dried figs and walnuts.

Arugula Salad with Dried Figs and Walnuts


a handful of arugula
dried figs, cut into quarters
walnuts, toasted
a few shavings of pamigiano-reggiano
good olive oil
balsamic vinegar
sea salt
freshly ground pepper

Mix together arugula, dried figs and walnuts. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and toss. Assemble onto plates. Top with a drizzle of honey, sea salt, freshly ground pepper and a few shavings of parmigiano-reggiano.



polenta for breakfast

Before moving to Goteborg, I had never made polenta. One morning my roommate whipped it up with an egg on top and some parmesan and it has become a regular part of my breakfast ever since. Because of its neutral flavour, I alternate between sweet breakfast polenta and savory breakfast polenta. Now that afternoons in Sweden -and often mornings- look like a black hole, I find myself tempted more and more by sweet breakfast polenta.

Polenta is all about stirring. With a little coordination making polenta becomes a chance to catch up on reading, or a chance to simply admire the moments in which the weather does not resemble a black hole. Polenta is also all about adding what you please. It is a nice change to my typical oatmeal, then quinoa then oatmeal again breakfast routine.

Breakfast Polenta


polenta (for me 1/2 cup, for me and others 1 cup)
water (4 to 1 ratio for soft polenta, 2 cups for me, 4 cups for me and others)
a pinch of sea salt

dried fruit (cranberries, dates, figs, raisins)
nuts (almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts)
fresh berries

Bring water to a boil. Slowly add the polenta and the salt, stirring all of the time. Reduce the heat slightly and keep stirring. Stir some more. Read while stirring. And then stir some more. Should take half an hour or so. Dress up polenta as you please with nuts, dried fruit, honey and fresh berries.



postcards from göteborg

Sometimes I have to live in a place a while before I can begin to buy postcards.


missing maple

There are few things that make me nationalistic. I spend much time deconstructing the concept of nationalism and am greatly interested in its roots. My personal identity I try to keep separate from the identity of my country. I do not sew a Canadian flag on my backpack and I do not feel patriotic towards the red and white maple leaf flag. However, I do feel patriotic towards maple syrup. Other than my family and friends - of course - it is one of the few things I miss about Canada.

Maple syrup and I have bonded over the years - over pancakes, drizzled on Greek yogurt, over marinades and in cakes. My aunt is coming to visit me next week and when asked if there was anything I would like from home my answer was obvious: a big bottle of maple syrup.

Granola made with maple syrup is one of my breakfast favourites. However, maple syrup priced in Swedish Kronor is something that I cannot afford. But, with a big bottle from Canada things are looking up.Granola can be approached from dozens of recipes with dozens of ingredients. A lot of granola is made with butter or a neutral oil, but I usually skip both and just use maple syrup.

Orange-Maple Granola


rolled oats, 2-4 cups depending on how big the batch
zest of 1-2 organic oranges
ground cinnamon
ground nutmeg
maple syrup (or honey), 1/4 - 1 cup
dash of sea salt
your choice of nuts (almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds)
your choice of dried fruit (cranberries, apricots, raisins)

Preheat oven to 350F/180C. Mix rolled oats with salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add maple syrup and orange zest. Stir to coat evenly. If you wish, add nuts now. I often add them after. Place oats on a cookie-sheet lined with baking paper, or in a large baking pan. Bake for 30 - 40 minutes, or until brown. Stir occasionally while baking. Once crispy and brown, remove from pan and mix with dried fruit (and nuts, if you have decided to skip toasting them). Let cool and then store in an air-tight container.



falling for soup

Cooler temperatures have begun to make themselves comfortable here in Goteborg. I am okay with this as long as I have a warm parka and a kitchen full of ingredients to make soup.

Since the temperatures started to drop I have made this soup a few times, each time a bit different. Carrot and ginger is a classic combination and rather forgiving, so feel free to experiment. I made it once with miso. Another time with shrimp. Another time with coconut milk. All variations have been delicious, a sign of a good soup recipe.
a basic variation served at a dinner party

Carrot-Ginger Soup


a generous chunk of butter, or olive oil, 2-3 tbsp.
1 large onion, or 2-3 smaller ones
fresh ginger, minced (at least 1 tbsp.), to taste
500 g. carrots, peeled and chopped
4 cups water or vegetable broth
juice of an orange (about 1/2 a cup)
salt, to taste
fresh herbs (such as mint) and olive oil for garnish

Heat the oil or butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion, carrots, ginger and salt. Cook until softened and then add water, or broth. Bring to boil and then let simmer until carrots are very soft, about 40 minutes. Cool slightly and then puree soup in batches. Reheat and add orange juice and a bit more ginger (if you please). If using miso, add about 2 tbsp. If adding shrimp, add cooked shrimp and heat. Season with salt and pepper. Serve garnished with olive oil and mint.



postcards from louisiana

A short train ride north of Copenhagen is my favourite museum: Louisiana Museum of Modern Art.

Inspired by the idea of visiting a crazy uncle's house in the country side, Louisiana takes a more personal approach to the exhibition of modern art. Works are displayed in long corridors and in rooms with big windows and views of an even bigger coastline. It is a charming alternative to a white cube. To make the place even more appealing, their exhibitions are flawlessly executed and take creative approaches to the work of artists such as Anselm Kiefer (on exhibition now), Sophie Calle, Lucien Freud, Tal R., and Candice Breitz.

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