The banjo is done

So I didn’t end up using birch, I went for beech instead. One thing about me it that when I start something it takes up all my time. At least if I like it enough. This project was one of those, all I did was working on the banjo, or reading about banjo constructions. It took quite a lot of studying before I felt comfortable enough to start the actual construction. Angels that needed to be right, scale length and so on. Things I didn’t know a shit about before but now it has broaden my view and anatomy of the banjo.

Well here it is, everything went fine, not a single mistake unless you count the stringing. That was the hardest part. Im so damn proud of it. Made out of beech with some ebony fretboard. Some birch and apple tree inlay. Also some shells I found on New Zealand and some mother of pearl. Little wonder tone ring and.. well take a look. First instrument I ever built.

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First drawings

First drawings

Glueing the fretboard

Glueing the fretboard

Trying bent wood

Trying bent wood

Drilling jig

Drilling jig

Me and the parts

Me and the parts

Inlay

Inlay

Back and dowel

Back and dowel

Building a …. banjo

I truly love the banjo, everything about it, the simplicity of the design to the somewhat hollow sound it gives. Unfortunately it is quite an unusual instrument here in Sweden, there are some people around who play it but they are easily counted. I’m trying my best right now to give it a go, got a cheap banjo a couple of years ago. Started learning but never got it right. Now I’m on the second round, getting the basics right, from the beginning. What I also will be doing is constructing a new banjo, instead of buying one. I have never built an instrument before so this frightens me a bit, but what the hell, I guess I should just start. Instrument construction cant be that much harder than other wood works, just that some science needs to be present with very specific measurements and so on. And now I can also construct the custom banjo from the beginning. My hopes are that when I’m done with it I will be good enough to play it, just practising on my old shitty one.

I know birch is quite an unusual material for instruments. But we just took one down, so why not?

Birch, with the picturesque deer in the distance

Birch, with the picturesque deer in the distance

Frozen december

It has been quite silent here for some time now. So about time for  a short update. A lot of things have been happening lately. The biggest change is that I have moved from the countryside to Stockholm. I could rant about it for hours, better or worse reasons for moving, but I’m not going to do it. Here I am, in a new situation, and I’m staying in this city for about 6 months, then no one knows where I’m of too.

The biggest difference I suppose is that I don’t have access to a garden, but luckily my parents don’t live to far off, and since my mother and me worked a lot in the garden this summer I can still get some veggies from there. Veggies can be quite heavy so how much I can carry on the train sets the limit of how much i can bring. I’m gonna try to get as many recipes as possible up here.

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Anyhow, fuck, it’s soon christmas, and even though I might not be the most traditional guy around I still love the tastes and smells, so every time this year I do my best to recreate that childhood feeling. But of corse I do it in a new and somehow creative way. So what does coconuts and gingerbread have in common? They make splendid gingerbread vegan ice-cream, that is the perfect chiller for the hot mulled wine we drink over here. Sine the first of advent was celebrated here last sunday it is perfect timing do make for next weekend. Advent is something that goes on every sunday for 4 weeks until christmas eve. We light one candle every sunday. I suppose its religious and being a non-believer (still being spiritual) it might be off, but still SOMETIMES traditions can be damn awesome.

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So lets get started, I hope you will enjoy this winter coldness, get your ice-cream makes ready, unless there is friickin cold outside and you can make it there (which would be kind of sweet if you could).

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Frozen december
 
What you need
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 0,5 can coconut cream (higher fat content)
  • 0,5 dl muscavado sugar
  • 1 dl brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 0,5 tsp vanilla extract
  • 0,25 tsp ground cloves
  • 2 tsp contreu
  • 0,5 tsp guar gum (for better smoothness, emit if you can't find it)
  • Some gingerbread cookies
How to do it
  1. Mix all ingredients in a blender (add guar slowly while it it running). Except cookies.
  2. Chill for an hour or so.
  3. Pour into cream maker according to inscriptions.
  4. Add small pieces for gingerbread cookies at the end.

Amazake

Always wanted tro try amazake, technically it is the first step in brewing sake before the alcohol get into the picture. Since I lately have started to make my own miso I had a lot of koji (a mouldy rice) to use for amazake. The koji is also used for some varieties of soy sauce, and miso of course. What you do is mix regular sticky rice with water and koji, and keep it around 65° C for a few hours, 8-12 hours, I used a thermos. Then it’s ready. This was an experiment.

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I dont know if I liked it, it definitely tasted like the smell of koji, very sweet. I guess it is an acquired taste, it might grow on me. Any other people out there whe has tried it? Also just as a note, since I never tried it elsewhere I’m not 100% sure I got the taste right. I might make it again for friends to see if they like it or not.

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Purple carrot cake oatmeal

This one is not a regular recipe just an idea, how you do it is up to you. It is an amazing way to spice up a very mundane dish that normally helps us start the day, OATMEAL. This will be vibrant. Use grated purple carrots in your favourite oatmeal recipe, with some carrot cake spice mix (cardamom, vanilla and cinnamon) and you will have something astonishing.

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Almond feta

While sitting in a sofa at the Uddebo fermentation festival we had a discussion about nut-cheeses. I was curious about fermented nut cheeses, like soaking seeds/nuts, mixing them with a starter like the liquid from sauerkraut and letting it ferment for a while in room temperature. Last week I tried it and it was ok, nothing magnificent just ok, so you won’t see a recipe here. While speaking about cheeses though a girl at the festival said that you can make almond feta. This is not a ferment, rather baked and grinded almonds. Tried this recipe as well, without any real hopes of it turning out good. Tried it just for the sake of it. It was amazing, might be the best spread for a sandwich ever. This recipe will be included. Indulge.

 

Almond feta
 
What you need
  • 1 cup of soaked almonds (blanched and peeled if you want it to be paler)
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tsp salt
How to do it
  1. Mix all ingredients in a blender until smooth, add just enough water so it will blend without sticking to the sides of the jar.
  2. Using a cheese cloth place the almond mixture in it, fold it over, place it in a colander over a bowl and allow the water to drip overnight.
  3. In the morning it will be firmer.
  4. Heat the oven to 200C or 400F. Add the mixture to a small heat resistant bowl, and place it in the oven. As soon as it starts to brown on the top, remove it from the oven, mix it, and place it in the oven again. Repeat 3-4 times. This will make the almonds creamier.
  5. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  6. You epic vegan almond feta spread is done.

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Fermentation festival in Uddebo

Last weekend there was an fermentation festival held in Uddebo. A small town that has been seeing a revival when young people believing in a second green wave started moving there. The textile industry moves out, everything got cheap and new people move in. The festival was a hit, people came from all over the country, some even from abroad. Workshops in nut-cheeses, kombucha, miso and my own in how to make natto.

Miso workshop

Miso workshop

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The house everyone together renovated

The house everyone renovated together

The hosts

The hosts

 

I probably held the most unusual workshop, natto is something that generally gets people of. Soybeans in a kind of slime. I got familiar with it in Japan when I accidentally bought some and had to finish it since I don’t want to throw food away. In Japan it is considered healthy, helpful for the cardiovascular system and for bone health. I’m not going to get down in how to make it now, maybe later, it is an interesting ferment. Just going to say how fantastic this festival was, I hope for another round next year. Missed out on the nut-cheese workshop and really want to know more about that.

Natto

Natto

My natto setup and tryout

My natto setup and tryout at the festival

Aquafaba tryout

I suppose everyone has heard about aquafaba? That waste bean liquid that some genius discovered could be whiped for baking meringues with, instead of using egg whites. It is insane that it work, but simultaneously quite crazy that no one discovered it until just recently, you can see that foam building on top of the beans while cooking and that is quite a hint of the possibilities. There has been an explosion of people making all kind of different foods with it, cakes, butter, brownies, chocolate mousse etc. There is no end to it. I’m deeply fascinated by this phenomenon, and decided to try out some myself. Since most are based on chickpeas I decided to try the liquid from 4 different kinds of legumes. Chickpeas, soy beans, black lentils, and lima beans.

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So this is the way I carried it out. Soak all them for 12 hours. Cook according to instructions until ready, and then use the liquid. 5 tbsp. of each and measure the volume, time for whiping and taste. I used a hand whisk but went very steadily speed wise. I didn’t bake anything, just made the foam. So here are the results.

 

Lima beans. 10 min for whiping. Volume 250 ml or 1 cup. Strong bean flavour. Did break back into liquid after 30 min. Bad choice.

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Black lentils. 4 min, 500 ml or 2 cups. Very strong foam that hold for long before breaking down into liquid again, a bit strong lentil flavor, the foam was a bit darker.

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Soy beans. 3 min, 400 ml, 1,6 cus, Most subtle flavour. Easy to whip but the form did break down quicker than the lentils.

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Chickpeas. The original. 3 min, 400 ml, 1,6 cups, strong foam but not as strong as the lentils. Subtle flavour.

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Conclusion.

The strongets foam was from the black lentils, the foam also yielded the most volume after whiping. It did have a stronger flavour though.

I would say it is a tie between soy and chickpeas, where chickpeas was stronger in the foam but the soy’s taste was harder to distinguish. I guess it comes down to what your using them for.