Growing herbs and fighting old ideas

I have wanted to grow some fresh herbs in my window for some time now. During summer its ok, it grows, but it still could be a lot better, its not really a window that catches a lot of light. The entire house is surrounded by tall trees so what I get is something of a chlorophyllish light all day. And I’m not complaining, I like this, but my plants doesn’t. And now its winter and nothing grows at all. So I got a led plant light. And to be straight, it was hell expensive. It has some kind of system with different led-chips with wavelengths that are supposed to be good for the plants. If you look at the shadows, you will notice both blue and red light, besides the overall white impression the lamp gives. Before I got this one I ordered the wrong one, in my urge to get the most efficient one I didn’t read the descriptions to well, the light was just pure purple. Extremely irritating four your eyes. I guess it only had the blue and the red led. So it was just to return it, don’t make that mistake unless you have a dedicated room for plants and so.

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Am amazed, only two weeks after I started this windowsill growing, the basil is up, the dill is up, the cilantro is up. Even the thyme that I re-planted when I moved it inside (grew it in a pot in the garden during the summer) seem to get some new life. I guess that I’ll have fresh herbs in a few weeks, even during the years darkest months. To be continued.

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Can I end with a small complaint? Last week there was a party for the staff. The discussion surrounded one thing, my way of eating and other peoples worries. I was pretty sad after the whole thing. And trying to recover during the weekend, I’m faced with the same thing this week. For three days in a row I have faced condescending comments of how bad my food must be. Both in taste and protein. Well, the things I eat at work isn’t always the pretties, trying to go for a healthy salad or so but why? Can’t they just shut up?

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World vegan day

Being vegan och plant based is sometimes quite hard when you live outside of a major city. But for some reason I’v always been spared all of those harsh and stuipd comments about what I eat and why. Might it be that I’m raised vegetarian or that I went to school with other children in a vegetarian Waldof school, I don’t know. As I wrote earlier, since I moved to the countryside the negative tone suddently is here. I hear it all the time, and even if I push the immediate feeling away, it’s hard. I have even started stating my veganism more than ever, like a teenage revolt, that cruelty towards animals is wrong (I used to just ignore it, as long as I stuck to my own beliefs). Last weekend I painted a piece of canvas and fited it on the inside of my car windows. Just stating how bad milk out of many different perspectives.

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I did the statements on my car because last saturday was world vegan day and I wanted people to know that. Super exciting since there was going to be a big vegan happening in the town nearby. Finally I hoped to connect with like-minded people from around. There was going to be bands and a lecture from läkare för framtiden (doctors for the future) about nutrition and so on. And also it was going to be held in a newly renovated train depo, a beautiful space. Things turned out flat, entirely. Not only was it very few people there, the only ones that showed up was the people that arranged the whole thing and the performers. NO ONE ELSE. I meet some people from my local animal rights organisation, and everyone was shocked about the embassignly low attandance rate, ZERO. How does that even happen? I mean, the town isn’t that big, but at least some people from high-school should show up. I felt really bad for the bands that traveled there. You know the feeling when you just wanna be somewhere else, out of sympathy? That feeling was overwhelming. There might be something about the statement made a couple of years ago, that this is Sweden’s most boring town. Damn I need something positive now.

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Lets end with some good news. The big supermarket had a big re-opening. To me and my mothers delight there was a whole new selection of oranic products. Most of them are amazing. Some I believe just to be a trend and something you shouldn’t consume to much since they have traveled across half the earth to get here. But anyway, great suprise.

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Mushroom overload, part 2

Its later into autumn, things look different all around and so does the small things in the forest. Most of the mushrooms are of a different variety. We went out last weekend for another hunt. Looking especially for yellowfoot schrroms. I guess its one of the most popular and common mushrooms in Sweden. We did find quite an amount, but they weren’t everywhere, we really did have to look for them. There also was some wood hedgehog and a few horn of plenty. The horn is pretty rare, and hard to find, is is black and easily missed by the eye. My dad also got all exited about this one.

Yellowfoot

Yellowfoot

Its great to be outside for this, but you easily forget the amount of time it takes to get them clean of all soil and insects. This happened with the yellowfoot, to many small things and we ended up with a lot of work. Easy in the beginning but when the pile of dirty ones doesn’t seem to get any smaller the motivation fluctuates. But it was nice work anyway, talking to sis on the phone and things seemed to go more rapidly.

Horn of pleny

Horn of plenty

Anyway, harvesting directly form nature without the detour through an importer and a supermarket is really astonishing.

Wood hedgehog

Wood hedgehog

What to do with apple branches

There was a course here at the mansion in how to prune an apple tree a few weeks back. You prune some trees to promote the growth of fruit and shaping them in a desirable shape (both pickability and design). It sounds harsh to cut 30 % off in the fall but that helps the three to produce more. Or maybe it just helps us, we are kind of greedy right?

Anyway, I don’t know that much about pruning so let’s skip that part. There were lots of branches from the apple trees left. I love them. Small and big. Their irregularly makes apple wood stick out, the shapes are extremely organic, you just have to cope with how they grow. I find it more irregular then other wood but it might just be me romanticising it. I wanted to do something with this wood.

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Luckily my friend Lina showed me a pic of a headboard made entire of branches. I guess the headboard in the pic was made from driftwood and was therefore clean of all the bark. And I wanted the same look. Removing the bark with a small knife woodworking knife takes a lot of time. But once that was done (with some company of a good friend) drilling, cutting and screwing took almost no time. I’m extremely satisfied with this, cost was almost nothing, just the screws. Sloyed for life!

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Damn, autumn, this time of the year, i love it.

Sure you can feel pretty damp this time of the year. Waking up frozen cause the heater doesn’t realise quick enough that the temp has dropped heavily during night. And when you get dropped of by the main road with the realisation that it’s dark outside and you didn’t bring a flashlight, there are no street lights what so ever here. Or you hear a college dropping the line, “well its just going to be darker so quick now, no light after work, just dark dark dark“, then you really don’t have any enthusiasm left.

But I love it. Totally, it can be harsh but when you wake up and everything is covered in a big mist but how beautiful isn’t it? Or when the apples start to fall from the trees. On top of it all, harvest season. Purple corn, pumpkins, oyster plant (ever tried it? my friend brought some yesterday, like a very mild parsnip), yeah everything is riper then ever and the fridge is full till the rim. And in the afternoon the sun goes lover and creates insane shadow and light plays. Here you have some photos, photos, photos!

 

The apple cemetery

The apple cemetery

Oyster plant

Oyster plant

Öljaren

Öljaren

Purple kohlrabi

Purple kohlrabi

Purple corn

Purple corn

Hops

Hops

The mansion in mist

The mansion in mist

My house in mist

My house in mist

Pumpkin

Pumpkin

Purple kale

Purple kale

Trying out apples

Another tryout. This time it’s apples. The place where I live has about 100 different kinds of apples. It’s a living archive of rare and local apple varieties. Varieties that you normally don’t grow, but you still want to keep them for the future (you can’t plant an apple tree from a seed and get the same kind, you you need to keep it alive all the time).

So the early apples are ready and my dad is visiting, we went on a stroll and tasted many many many apples. The difference in taste and texture is insane, one even tasted like candy, it had a slightly chemical taste to it, but in a good way. While others were try and tasteless. I’m not going to share my thoughts about them like I did in the mushroom post, I will just state that you should try this, if you get the chance. You learn so much about taste, and how an apple just isn’t just an apple. I will never view an this little round fruit in the same way again.  But beware, your mouth will almost feel a bit sore afterwards from the acidity of the fruit.  It’s worth it, big time!

(you get some autumnish pics as well.)

Mushroom overload

My dad and me decided to go for a mushroom hunt last weekend. We heard that there wasn’t going to be many shrroooms in the forest this summer. It has been extremely hot and dry for most of July and that is quite bad if you want to have a party from the woods. But august has been rainy, and that changes things. We were out for 2 hours and got back with almost 11 kilos (24 punds)! I have never experienced anything like this. They were literary everywhere. We had to go back since our baskets got full. The most common word we exchanged during the walk was: found one! Followed by the variety. We had about 10 different edible kinds when we got back. And a few extra we didn’t know so we had to dig some in various books and on the net. But they all turned out to be quite nasty, not necessarily dangerous but not “favourable”. They went into the recycling bin.

Father on the schrrroum hunt

Father on the schrrroum hunt

We froze and dried the majority of them. Cleaning and cutting occupied the entire day, and three of us. But now we have mushrooms for many years. I even got 4 extra kilos (9 punds) when I went out for a run (!!) the day after. I brought a plastic bag with me incase there were going to be any along the path. It was full when I retuned. Pretty hard to run with a bag in one hand.

Porcini in the big pile

Porcini in the big pile

So what did we do with the rest of them? Well, since you don’t get the change to have this many different kinds of mushy things in front of you to often, we decided to try them out and how different they are from each other. We fried them in some oil and salt, separately, and had a small testing. Here are some thoughts:

The porcini were mild but complex in flavour, without any “peaks”, just a smooth and wide taste, earthy. The consistency was a bit slimy.

Red-capped scaber talk, not smily, it’s consistency didn’t change much with prolonged cooking. Great as a “filler” mushroom. The taste was very mild, almost to mild, quite boring actually.

Velvet bolete, Birch bolete and Slippery jack were all similar, slimy like the porcini, milder, but with more peaks, the taste wasn’t as smooth. Quite different, and very good.

Chantarelle, don’t think I have to write anything here…

False saffron milkcap, became very crispy, with a few distinct flavours, a bit acid and earthy, very very delicious.

Scotch bonnet, very very crisp. Wide taste with a few distinct flavours, a bit acid as well.

Parasol mushroom

Parasol mushroom

And the last one, parasol mushroom. My dad got quite worked up when we found this one. Many years since he had one (i might have tried it before, not sure). Looking like a quite poisonous little thing it turned out to be delicious, crisp and extremely complex, like the false saffron but with ten times more flavour. It even smelled great, quite sweet, like honey from the ground. It’s also big so it’s perfect for a burger, like you use portabello sometimes.

Testing

Testing

This vas a great testing, now I really know the difference, you should try it out, side by side comparison!

Love!

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Hops

Just got a bag of hops from my neighbor. They are fresh and the smell and fumes almost made me dizzy. Also pretty nice that they are of a local variety from Sörmland where iIgrew up. I know that you normally would use them for that bitter taste in beer and its preservative effects. BUT since I know absolutely nothing about beer brewing, that is not going to happen (one day maybe).

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One thing they are used in though is Swedish Christmas Must, Julmust, or are my English cousins say, Christmas coke. It’s a bottled soda, looking like coke with a bitter aftertaste. Only drunken at Christmas. If you haven’t tried any, I believe they stock it up at the ikea food store. You gotta try it! Last year I thought about making it myself, turned out OK, had to little hops on my hands and it didn’t get bitter enough, the sweetness just took over. It’s quite a complex mix with farm mulling spices and berries, hops and caramelized sugar so I guess I will make some more experimentation this year with them as well. I’m going for another round this year. Meanwhile I will keep those small babies in the freezer. Pretty fabulous to have them fresh. Love!

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Why this new blog? About me

It’s time for a proper presentation. I’m Hannes. I’v always longed back to the countryside. Originally I grew up outside the city with two hippie / green wave parents, so going back wasn’t that strange to me. But the insane part about this is me moving away from the city, to a part of Sweden that I’m unfamiliar with, and doing it completely alone. I did move for a job so it’s not like I’m completely away from everyone, out in the middle of nowhere, but the shift was very big. It kept me awake at night, just thinking of the future move and how crazy it would be to do it without anyone else.

My house

My house

Now I’m here, in Julita, living in a house from the 1700th century (possibly, no one knows exactly and it could be even older). It is said to be haunted, it has even been in one of those shows on the telly where they help restless souls to the other side. I haven’t noticed anything just yet. I can sleep through pretty much anything, and ghosts don’t frighten me, it would even be nice to have a pal there! Ghosts come one! Show yourself.

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What I didn’t expect was how conservative it would be here. I’m mostly vegan, both for the health (please, read the china study, page turner while being a book about nutrition) and that I enjoy the clean taste of vegan foods much more. I haven’t heard any negative comments about my way of living for many years. Since I grew up vegetarian, thanks to my hippie parent =) I was always faced with questions about proteins and other stuff (bet you know) but they ceased once I grew older and people gradually seemed to be more open for other ideas. Now back to square one. People here in the countryside seems to think it’s their right to comment on anything that isn’t what they always used to be. I don’t know how to deal with it, sometimes a get angry, sometimes I just walk away from there. I didn’t anticipate this!

So this is why I’m here now, on the net. To tell about my recipes and my life, easy things and hard things about living here. And since I love cooking more than anything, I’m going to post my favourite recipes here. So please, try them and be creative, and share your thoughts with me. Let’s be dining pals!

The pumpkins, earlier this spring

The pumpkins, earlier this spring

I’ll try my best to be seasonal and local, but I will put in some occasional exotic fruit now and then. I’ll also do some forest harvesting so some of those ingredients might be hard to find, but you can always substitute them for something else. Let’s start this!

This is me. Photo by Lina Roizman

This is me. Photo by Lina Roizman

View from the bridge close to my house

View from the bridge close to my house

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