Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Just a few days to go...

And maybe we can stop fixing up the apartment!! I've noticed over the last few months that "his" projects have become "my" projects and things "we" will do becomes things that "I" will do. Like moving the couch. It was never going to happen, but it had to, because I had to empty that room. Mind you, my husband has been CRAZY busy ever since the media got ahold of the swine flu and suddenly my husband's editor realized WAIT, there are a lot of swine in Denmark... WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE!!

So I had to move the couch mahself. How does a 125 lb woman move a 100 lb couch (I have no idea how heavy the couch is, I can't really get it to hop on my scale and still be able to read the weight)? She rolls it. Up on one end, turn in desired direction, put up end down. Repeat as needed. Through a doorway and across the floor. I didn't even bother to take the legs off. Yup, I rock. I'm all about rolling furniture. If there was an olympic sport in furniture rolling, I'd be taking the gold. I managed to get a HUGE wardrobe up stairs all on my own, it took two men to get it back down. I told them to roll it, but they got all offended looking. I also have been known to pack boxes very tightly with things that are too heavy for me to lift, and then after some judicious taping, roll them up and down the stairs as needed.

The living room is set, the entry way has been pared down to two jackets each and two storage units of shoes per person (I only use one, the other is for hats, scarfs, and mittens), and the two bedrooms that will be inhabited Friday and Sunday are mostly clear (I need to know where to roll some items). I rocked out the doors from the kitchen and put them back on. I'll take an after shot AFTER I clean the kitchen thoroughly. What remains? My husband's project: the bathroom. It's not done. I'd go in and do it, but I'd get my head bitten off. There's priming and painting and sanding involved and I don't know which step he's at. Best not to get involved at that point. But I need my bathroom back. I'd like to NOT get out of the shower onto plastic. I'd like to be able to keep a towel in there and not worry about getting paint on it. I want to clean the bathroom!!



That last photo is of the hallway. Why is there so much crap in the hallway?
1) Nothing could be in the bathroom: see above
2) I had to spread the cabinet doors out over two rooms and when you are traipsing back and forth will oil paint, you do NOT want to drip, smear, or step with painted foot on your very nice floor. So you put down random newspapers.


My cabinet doors.

Yessiree, I take some mighty great photos of my life. Bet you are excited.

Promise, better ones to come soon. I found my other (prefered) camera. The EOS digital scares the bejeezus out of me, so fancy, too expensive for me to do anything other than cry if I drop it! I'll take the Elph, thanks.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Arcane advice from the archaeogoddess

In Denmark we usually do not have dishwashers of the automatic persuasion. We have the elbow grease kind. (More and more homes are getting dishwashers... but it's not going to happen in this home any time soon.) So this advice is only relevant to those who are still doing their dishes the archaic way: by hand with a scrub brush in a bowl of hot soapy water.

Have you ever had the problem where after washing a dish that was, say heavy on the cheese that you get melted cheese in your brush and you can JUST NOT GET IT OFF? I would then throw away the brush and get a new one, grumbling loudly. But then it came about that I was eating these cheesy dishes more frequently than I wanted to buy new brushes. I don't like to throw them away. Yeah, they're cheap, but they're also plastic and they'll never break down in the dump!! In the days of yore, when I had a dishwasher, I could just throw the brush into the dishwasher and the magic soap would dissolve it. But that didn't happen with the liquid soap here. And since we have no dishwasher, we obviously have no dishwasher soap.

Enter husband. Husband says, "try laundry soap." Exit husband.

It works! By golly it works! I had Penne a la Vodka last night from the Pioneer Woman and it left a bit of a cheesy mess. Dumped some laundry detergent in the pot along with my scrub brush and the eating and serving utensils and watched a Dr. Who episode (To be Continued??? NOOOOOOO!!!!) before going back and finding a miraculously clean pot et al.

I don't know where the cheese goes. It's magic.

This also works on the baked-on grease on oven dishes and any and all egg problems (what you've never glued bread to a pan with egg? Oh, it's just me then? Never mind).

Friday, April 24, 2009

If I keep this up - I'll hit 200 posts in NO TIME!

Having figured out how to upload images from the camera to my computer and then to the blog, I now have some catch up work to do. Namely give you pictures of things in my life.

Like my exploded kitchen.





Yeah, it may look fairly tidy to YOU - but when I walk in all I see is everything I own WAVING AT ME!!

But this, my friends, is the Archaeogoddess Culinary Institute for American Cooking in Denmark. Sans doors.

Photo test!

The question: Can I get a photo of the violent purple cabbage soup from just a few weeks ago to appear on this blog?



Survey says: yes, but it's going to take a long time to upload your pictures, you memory hog, you.

And for tonight's glorious feast!

I'm going American.

'Cause I just spent $10 for a jar of Jif and $15 on a six pack of A&W Root Beer. I'm eyeing the $12 box of Bisquik.

I have to calculate the cost, because if I don't, I'll just keep buying stuff because it's there. I probably didn't NEED to buy the peanut butter, I can get Jif in Israel, so it's not like my whole life has gone Jif-less. But sometimes a girl really needs a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and I just can't bring myself to do that with gourmet peanut butter (which pound for pound might actually be cheaper than the Jif, but leave me my delusions, kthnx).

Anyway, the root beer was a real treat. I have vanilla ice cream in the fridge. I have tall fill-me-up-with-root-beer-floaty-goodness glasses. And a balcony.

Yessir-ee-bob, I'll be sticky and sunburned by tomorrow night, mark my words!

Anyway... about tonight's glorious feast. It involves NEITHER root beer or peanut butter. Because I'm perverse like that. It will be oven-baked hot wings (or thighs because they have wingless chickens here in Denmark) (unless somewhere there are people wondering why all they ever get in the supermarket is wings and no thighs) with french-fries and home-made blue cheese dressing.

Because the only downside to having to make all your own American food is discovering that most of it is better when you make it yourself. Ranch and blue cheese are two of those things. Except Jensen's Bøfhuset (or something like that) - which makes a MEAN ranch and if you ever see it in the store, buy and and mail it to me. They used to sell it in my store, but then they stopped. I think I licked the last bottle clean. It's the best stuff to put on raw carrots, no lie. I have no idea what it tastes like on salad, it never gets that far. And I don't care what you say, blue cheese dressing is NOT just ranch with blue cheese and "hvidløg" is not ranch. Nor is "creme fraise dressing". Nope. Not ranch. And even if they WERE ranch, I am NOT dumping blue cheese into them to make some half-assed blue cheese dip. Alas, I don't particularly care for the American brand of salad dressings they're selling in the supermarket. I'll just keep making my own ranch and my own blue cheese.

Returning to tonights dinner. I am going to try to take pictures of the process. I took pictures of some other stuff too, like my exploded kitchen, my office pre-move, some random cooking shots and a really great graffito (singular of graffiti). All I need is to find the damned camera cables. Figure out how to get them onto the computer... and then I'll slap them up here. But the biggest challenge is already complete: I took photos. Hurrah for me!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

If a bomb went off in my kitchen...

would anyone notice the difference?

I haven't washed dishes in two days. Moving an office and decimating dust bunnies (though, I hope I did more than decimate, because that only means kill one in ten and I'm really hoping I got more than that) leaves one with odd aches and pains (why, for instance does my elbow hurt?) and all the whacking my head and slipping on slippery floors and bashing my fingers didn't really help either, so I just can't bring myself to wash dishes. Even though I am out of spoons.

Who needs spoons anyway? I can drink my soup and eat the fiddly bits with a fork. And when I run out of forks there are knifes and wine bottle openers. And some other odd implements in my what-is-it drawer that I've never found a use for. Until NOW!

But then I prepped the kitchen for some last minute painting. Husband *was* planning on painting the cabinet doors. So I took 'em all off the cabinets, cleaned 'em, made a newspaper protective carpet for the floor, set up the banana boxes, laid out the cabinet doors (sans handles), and cleaned the areas around where the doors had been. Making kind of a mess in the process, but ... bygones, the doors are READY.

But then husband got some phone calls from some sources and then the newspaper and has spent most of the day working on a story that had been shelved until suddenly it WASN'T and he had to do something about it.

So my kitchen as it stands... or not so much at the moment... is doorless and the cabinets all naked and exposed, with food and towels all higgeldy piggeldy (I swear I folded the towels before I stuffed them onto the that shelf) and dishes pilled in haphazard post-modernist sculptures (at least they are rinsed so it's not like dried food is holding the piles together... oh, wait, then what IS holding the piles together?) and screws and knobs in rows (sometimes I can be VERY OCD).

Speaking of OCD, I was pondering how to organize my husband's tool boxes (he just got another one for a birthday present) (yes, his birthday was actually some time ago, no I didn't get him anything other than the continued presence of my wonderful self) (whadday mean it's weird for ME to organize my husband's tool box?)...

Too many parenthetical sub-clauses and things... let me regroup.

Right, so I was thinking of how I can organize my husband's tool boxes and I decided that one box should be for things that screw.... And I laughed so hard I had to sit down. Then I got up and began dancing (more like spastic sashaying) and singing (in my head, thank the lucky stars) "Screws to the left of me, hammers to my right and here I am... stuck in the middle with glue!" Which led to me leaning on the wall and gasping for air.

No one saw me. And that's probably a good thing, since I'd be posting this from the loony bin otherwise. But, boy, I crack myself up!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Dust bunny mafia wars

Dust bunnies ("nullernix" in Danish) have invaded my home. They were confined to the office for some time (I don't know about you but I don't unload and move bookcases just to vacuum behind them). Yesterday and the day before, they were unleashed by some idiot who decided to move her office to the other room.

Wait, wasn't that me?

Crap.

I'd been pretty good about keeping the rest of the apartment clean so we could show out the rooms. Apart from the Amazing Popcorn Kernels, who seem to appear out of thin air in the middle of the floor EVEN WHEN NO ONE HAS EATEN POPCORN, dust bunny evidence was NIL.

But yesterday as I betook myself to the restroom to do that thing I do... TMI!!... I noticed... DA DUM... I noticed..... DA DUM... I realized DA DA DA DA DA DA DAAAAAAA!!... I was surrounded on ALL SIDES by dust bunnies. And ALL SIDES is kinda hard to do when you are sitting on the can... TMI!! But it was true! I bent around and looked.

Everywhere!! And not little baby dust bunnies, but full grown MASSIVE dust bunnies. They're in the hallway. They're in the kitchen. They're in the entry way. I even found one out on the balcony, lurking in a corner.

I've been running around for the past two days with a vacuum cleaner. Thankfully I have a very long cord. But like the Hydra, it seems that for every one that I remove from this earth, several more leap up to take its place.

And it's a fight for life, my friends. Because while my allergy medicine is taking spring in stride and I can frolic in the outdoors and drive my pollen ridden car with the windows down and the radio blaring, I am miserable in my own home.

So, I've declared war. I will vacuum this house within an inch of it's life. But first I need to spray my nose, down a spare Benedryl and lay down with a damp cloth over my sinuses for about an hour. Would I cut off my nose to spite my face? Yes, if it meant it would BLOODY stop itching!

(Really, tragically, I am breathing better when I'm outside standing next to freshly mowed grass, which ALWAYS kills me, than I am in this dust bunny infested yet tastefully renovated apartment. ARGH!!)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Archaeology post!

Treasure trove found on Funen!

"Ancient Islamic coins and silver jewellery were discovered in one of the biggest finds of its kind on Funen by a local man with a metal detector.

An amateur archaeologist hit the jackpot when he discovered a hidden cache of buried silver in a rural field on Funen earlier this year.

Odense City Museums has since taken advantage of the recent stretch of fine weather over the past few days to further unearth the unique and valuable Viking-age find.

So far, archaeologists have found 41 silver coins, a silver bracelet and half of a highly decorative Thor’s hammer. Most of the coins originate from the ancient Islamic times of the caliphs, while some are from the area covered by present-day Russia.
The bracelet and hammer are thought to be Scandinavian in design.

The find lay undiscovered in the field near Ringe for more than 1,000 years and museum curator Jesper Hansen said that is the biggest coin find of its kind on Funen.

Odense City Museums indicated that the foreign coins are ‘yet another sign of the vast connections and trading relations, which were an integral part of Scandinavia during the Viking age’.

It is likely that the treasure finder, Benny Pennerup, will receive a finder’s fee from the National Museum."


Neato!

The Great White North

I am a fan of Stuff White People Like.

It amuses me and often I find myself thinking, "doh, what a white thing I just did!"

Of course, I *am* white, so it's not like I'm trying to be a different ethnic group or anything.

I love this web-site because I can sit and laugh and say to myself (out-loud because I lack all social skills) "oh, that is so true! I have *got* to stop doing that!!" Not that I'm going to stop recycling or desiring North Face gear or throw away my pea coat, but at least I can laugh about it. I have a great love of laughing at myself, so maybe that's why I am so entertained.

Anyway, part of the premise of this web-site is to "teach" others how to interact with white people. And I'm thinking to myself, this could be an instruction manuel on how to interact with Danes. Because Denmark is THE country of white people. Almost every post relates to it.

#120: Taking a year off
This is THE Danish thing to do. Personally, I think it's a great idea... but then, I'm white. :-) While most Americans can't really afford to do this AND go traveling (taking a year off is more often than not a chance to work your butt off and make some cash for college), Danish kids don't need to save up for school. Since they're not only getting a free education, but also get some money from the state to do so, they can blow their savings on a nice exotic tour of somewhere. And for Danes, Europe is just south of them! I get so frustrated with Europeans (this is not limited to Danes) who are so surprised that I haven't visited Spain or spent summers in southern Italy. Um... it was kinda farther away from me than it was for you. And I sorta had to work to pay off my school.

This led to a discussion last night with my over-tired cranky husband. He laughed when I told him how I managed to get thought my education for very cheap and how I'm proud of how low my loans were. He was amused because he's been paying my bill for the last two years and to him, $6000 a year is NOT cheap for school. Telling him how much it normally cost didn't make much of a dent. Trying to explain that there is tuition, fees, and health care bundled together as well as food and housing costs that are far above what we pay in rent here really didn't compute. Finally getting really mad and pointing out that I was working to pay my food and housing costs because this is not covered by anyone sort of got through to him. Most American kids have to work to pay for food and housing costs. They then take out loans to cover the tuition et al. By going to inexpensive schools, I managed to keep the tuition down and fortunately my parents were able to put money towards it and I was able to keep my grades high enough to get some scholarships. I worked to cover the incidental needs, food, roof, etc. I did have to take loans, but only small ones to cover what was left. Graduate school is more like the Danish system, because they pay you and they waive your tuition. Until you run out of funding, but hopefully by then you just have to pay a minimum fee, as I do.

I'm still a bit frustrated about the discussion last night, as you can probably tell.

#97: Scarves
I don't know when the keffiyeh became part of the Danish wardrobe, but you can buy it in H&M with sparkly strings woven through it. It's like "wow, how hip, pretty, and political!" And you can't really ask the Dane wearing it if they actually support the Palestinian movement (almost all the keffiyehs on people around here are black and white = Palestinian) because the answer is "of course!" Not that they've been there or follow the news in the Middle East with regularity, but that's okay, you can support a political position without knowing anything about it - just ask Republicans. HA! Sorry, so sorry. I really couldn't resist. I have sane Republican friends (as well as several insane Republican family members), really. (Is that like certain politicians who say they have black friends or gay friends in order to try to suggest they aren't racist homo-phobic asshats?)

Anyway, as you can see in my picture, I am wearing a keffiyeh. So who am I to talk? Well, I wear it to keep the sun out of my eyes and the sweat off my brow. I don't wear it as a scarf. I don't wear it outside of Israel. Yes, I do wear it in Israel. Yes, I do know what political message I am sending when I wear it there. I usually keep it to the field. I'm not walking around downtown Jerusalem wearing it. Because, duh, it's really for men. Women do not wear keffiyehs. I'd look like a complete idiot tourist wearing it around town!

What I've learned from reading "Stuff White People Like" is that upper-middle class America is ridiculously Dane-like. Probably one of the reasons so much of Denmark seems normal to me. It also explains why I get so frustrated with Denmark some times. I feel like some of the worst behavior I thought I'd left behind followed me here. If we were to follow the lead of certain American who are calling for the end of immigration, making English the official language, and insisting on institutionalizing American-ness, we'll end up like Denmark! Too much white, too much homogeneity! Ack!!

There is good stuff about Denmark. Really. The idea that people ought to be treated equally and have equal access to education and health care is a noble one. It gets a little perverted when it becomes "all people are equal, which means same, and if they aren't, well, we'll just come up with a system for making sure they are." I want to go hit people about the head. "Equal does not mean SAME!" GAH!

(Meanwhile if one more Republican friend or relative tries to convince me that Obama is Satan and America is becoming a socialist ungodly nation, I'm going to scream.)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

How did your easter chocolate come to you? If you believe it was a rabbit, you might want to keep that information to yourself while traveling abroad

For anyone who has ever tried to explain a strange (but normal to you) belief or behavior in a foreign language to someone from another culture.... this is for you. For those who haven't, it's still funny. Especially the end. Go on, it's not that long.

Meanwhile, I laughed so hard I had a mild heart infarction. You have been warned.

Signs of Spring and other stuff

Finally! I think the tree in my courtyard is beginning to show signs of budding! Of course, it still has some dead leaves still clinging to it, but the tips of the branches have gone and turned red and I *think* I see buds.

Also in the fruit and veg section of the supermarket, the green onions are now from Italy again and not China. The coriander is coming in full bunches (instead of the poor yellowy leaves of a week or so ago) and I smell barbeque when I go out to buy groceries.

Also, my husband started wearing t-shirts under his sweaters. Geez he's gotten pale! I mean, I'm not nearly so brown now, but he's been missing out on several summers of good excavating fun, so he's almost translucent.

I exaggerate. Even at his palest he's still ruddier than many Danes. His hair is definitely brown, though. Okay, light brown-dark blond something something. He normally bleaches out in the sun, ending up a blond tanned picture of health.

Meanwhile, as part of the integration process, I've been invited to a "welcome to our town" get-together for all the newbies in the area, in May. In an hour and a half they're going to cover everything you need to know about living in Denmark. Hah! But I'm going to go anyway. I'm curious. What do *they* think we need to know? One of the funny things in the invite is that they tell you that they'll answer all your questions, like "where do I learn Danish?" Um, first, the invite is in Danish, so if I can read it, then I probably know where to learn Danish. And secondly, one of the first things the kommune did was sign me up for Danish. They signed me up so fast I don't think the ink was dry on my visa. Who actually manages to live long enough in Denmark to get one of these invitations and yet does not get nabbed by the taler-danske-gestapo?

Yesterday I was so bone-tired that I was nauseous most of the day. I hate that! I managed to snooze long enough to manage to get out to the store and buy the things I needed for taco salad, salsa and guacamole. I was a little heavy handed with the cumin in the guacamole, but at least I tasted it before I added any jalapenos. The excitement of yesterday was getting THREE jars of jalapenos for the price of TWO! Since I have been putting jalapenos on EVERYTHING lately, this was great. They also started stocking my favorite salami again. Thank god! What a bad two weeks that was! I can't stand most other lunch meats and I refuse to eat the "salads" Danes put on their bread. *Psst* Denmark, that stuff is terrible! Put it down! Back away! And stop mocking my love of peanut butter.

I really need to get my butt in gear and put together my illustrations. But I'm still reveling in NOT having a chapter to write, NOT having a writers block, and NOT worrying about research. Nope, now I'm worrying because I'm not worrying. Very restful. I'd kick back and pour myself a drink, but I did that on Tuesday and ended up RAGING drunk. Well, not raging, because I'm a happy drunk, but I did babble a lot when I guy came over to look at the rooms in the apartment. OOPS! I read "thursday" instead of "tuesday" because my husband wrote the note in Danish and I am complete crap at telling the difference between the two. I also suck at differentiating between "lordag" and "sondag" - "lordag" is saturday, but I keep seeing "lord" in the word and then think, ah, this is a state-religious place, so of course they name the day after God. But they didn't. "Sondag" is sunday and you'd think that would be easy to remember. Nope. Nada. Ab-so-freaking-not.

On that note, I also should relate a story about how I say "oh Lord" quite a lot. I don't know why. Why isn't important. Anyway, I get to Denmark and EVERYONE is saying it. Hm, I think to myself, maybe I have some latent Danish in my DNA that rises up and speaks Danish!

Uh, no.

No no no no.

People around here are saying "oh lort" which means "oh sh!t." Which means that every time I say "oh Lord" rather than some horrible swear word because I'm trying to be polite, I'm actually swearing in Danish. My husband's grandmothers probably think that I have the most awful potty mouth and that my husband has been teaching me to swear in Danish rather than how to say nice polite things to little old ladies.

Well, crap!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

What a mad 24 hours!

In the last 24 hours I have:

- read 3 books in Danish, preparing for a test that, as it turns out, isn't until the 24th of April

- turned in the polished draft of my dissertation to my advisor, for further polishing (YES, THAT MEANS I AM NO LONGER DISSERTATING, I AM NOW REVISING!) (don't get out the champagne yet, my advisor may suggest I write a whole 'nother chapter or rewrite a chapter or something horrible - we'll party once he gives me the 'all clear' to proceed to sending my disastertation to my readers)

- presented my dissertation research to reputable scholars who didn't laugh of disagree, but did suggest that 350 years of scholarship on one particular plate was wrong and it was not 4th century but 6th century. I looked at the evidence they suggested, my god they're right, I changed it and if I can whip it into a paper I can actually do something meaningful in my field!

Right. So what do I do now?? Oh, wait, I have a bibliography to check, plates of images to prepare, a list of illustrations and plates to put together and corrections to make once my advisor gets back to me on that THING.

No rest for the wicked they say. But what do they know? They got the dates wrong! They assume Julian was responsible for the "classical renaissance" that didn't happen (there was a rise in classicism in the 4th century, but we can't really attribute it to one unpopular emperor who only reigned unopposed for 18 months). They are idiots!! Screw them! I'm taking the night off.

BTW, since it was such a small select group at my presentation, we had more of a round table chat. I spoke and answered questions for 2 hours. TWO HOURS!! But I answered every question. I sounded intelligent. I got people excited about what I was doing. And I made people laugh at my jokes. I rock.

Double shot of whiskey for me!! Although... I think I have vodka and tonic and a lemon around here somewhere...

Unforeseen consequences

One of the unforeseen consequences of taking Danish is that you start to speak English in short easy sentences. I go home. I eat lunch. I go to do shopping. I sound like an idiot.

Okay, that last one I actually can't say in Danish.

Anyway, I have to go up to the university in a few hours and say, among other things, the following sentence: Individuals, in their process of comparing themselves to members of their own group or members of other groups, rely heavily on symbols that communicate social and physical similarities and differences.

And: The envaluation of items with socially imbued meaning is a social strategy to further communicate social distinction.

It's all well and good, because at least all this is written down in a crazy long text for me to read. 15 pages = aprox. one hour speaking. With a power point presentation.

But what if they start asking questions? IN ENGLISH!!??

I have ideas. They are good ideas. Silver is very pretty. It is for rich men. There are many rich men. Sorry, I can not understand you. See you later! Goodbye!!

Maybe if I keep reading what I've written my English will come back! I hope so, otherwise I'm going to be left with very poor English AND Danish and no hope to ever communicate on an intelligent level ever again! ACK!!

Monday, April 13, 2009

My Dane

You gotta hand it to my Danish husband. He has to put up with all kinds of madness. But at least we crack each other up.

Yesterday, after he'd worked an exceptionally long taxi shift, he finally got himself into bed, at about 7:30. 7:45 and I roll over, punch him, and take the blanket. I had NO idea he'd come home. I was just trying to stretch. I realized after I grabbed the blanket that the pillow I punched was strangely warm and unyielding. I woke up, apologized profusely and fell back asleep. He got up and went to the spare bed to get some uninterrupted sleep WITH a blanket.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The kitchen sink recipe I think I may have perfected

So I've had this "Oven Frittata" recipe in my files for some time. The first time I made it, it was a disaster. The wonky oven might have had something to do with it. The second time I made it, earlier this week, we were definitely closer to the truth. Last night, I whipped it up again and I think I finally got it all worked out. I even tried to figure out the proportions so that I could write it down and post it for you all. And myself. If I don't write it down I'll never remember.

This may become a common recipe in my portfolio. It was easy and very good.

Serves only the two of us. But we tend to just pile it on our plates and forget the side dishes. After all, all the possible side dishes just went into the dish.

Ingredients
1/2 tsp olive oil (for greasing a baking dish)
2 cups (500 ml, not grams, use a measuring cup) macaroni or other shaped pasta
1 or 2 leeks or a bunch of spring onion, chopped I suppose you could use some other onion... or none at all.... but I really suggest getting a leek just for this recipe, it's a LOVELY addition.
4 cups of frozen vegetables any combination of veg is good, corn and peas for example, or wok mix, which is what I had in my freezer last night
1 red pepper optional, especially if you go with wok mix
3 eggs
200 ml milk (just under a cup) Can you tell that I have a strange mixture of measuring devices in my kitchen?
1 tbsp HEAPING of fresh thyme OR 1 tsp HEAPING of dried thyme possibly even a bit more, I get a good pile in my palm and chuck it in
2 cups or 200 g of shredded cheese the recipe says chedder, but you know what, mozzerella is also very nice
2 tbsp grated parmesan ran out of this, didn't notice a problem
salt and pepper to taste although, you will be adding it to raw egg, so you can't REALLY taste and check, so maybe about 1/4 tsp salt and 1/8 pepper... go with your gut

Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 190 C (375 F). Grease a baking dish with olive oil. Check and make sure that the dish can hold 8 cups or 2 liters of liquid first. It sucks when you use too small of a dish and then run around the kitchen trying to find another pan. Not that that's EVER happened to me. Pshaw!
2. Cook pasta in boiling salted water for 8 minutes. Add all the veg and cook an additional 2-3 minutes. Drain and tip everything into the baking dish and mix well.
3. Beat together eggs, milk, thyme, salt and pepper. Add most of the cheese. Pour into the dish and mix gently. Scatter the rest of the cheese on top. The liquid mixture should come almost up to, but not over the top layer of pasta and veg. If it doesn't, you may need to whip up another bit of egg and milk and thyme. I am lazy so I don't, I've had almost an inch of pasta and veg showing and it's still okay to eat. A little crispy, but still okay.
4. Bake for 35-40 minutes. Cool for a few minutes. Serve with salad. Unless you live in Denmark where there is no salad, in which case you serve with whatever you want or nothing at all.

Simple Rogan Josh for the curry impaired

Right, I made this earlier in the week and it worked out... sorta. Gotta get me some cardamom. Needs the cardamom. Now here's the kicker - you don't actually need cardamom seeds, which is good because lord knows where I'd get those. I have not found any here in Denmark, but I may not be going to the right places. I'm going to bring some back from Israel, but I'm not going there until June and I'm not waiting that long to make this again. So here's the cheat: 10 pods of cardamom = 1 1/2 tsp ground cardamom. So all I have to do is find GROUND CARDAMOM, which I think might be easier, and try this recipe again.

Apart from being a little bland (lack of cardamom), it came out pretty darned good.

I nabbed the recipe from BBC, and I think I even linked to it in a previous post, but I'm going to give you the recipe here with my alterations.

Ingredients
6 garlic cloves
1 large onion, roughly chopped
thumb sized piece of ginger, peeled and roughtly chopped
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tbsp paprika
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp tomato puree
4 tbsp vegetable oil
1 kg lamb or beef
8-10 cardamom pods lightly crushed OR 1 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1 can or bottle of beer (300 ml/10 oz)

Instructions
1. Using a food processor, blender, or immersion blender, puree the garlic, onion, ginger, all the ground spices (including the ground cardamom if you are using it instead of the pods, but NOT the pods if you are using pods), salt and tomato puree. I used an immersion blender in a glass and it worked fine, after a fashion. If you have none of these things, you can still make this by shredding the onion and ginger, and mincing the garlic, that's what I did the first time I made it and it worked out okay.
2. Heat the oil in a large pot and add the meat and the cardamom pods, if you are using the pods. Fry it all up so the meat is brown. Stir in the spicy paste and cook for about 5 minutes, stir frequently and turn on the fan. Whew that's spicy stuff!
3. Add the beer and bring to a simmer. Cover with a lid and cook for about 1 to 1 1/4 hours, stirring occasionally. Let the dish sit for 5 minutes before serving. Serve over rice. Make naan if you can. I can't... or at least... I haven't yet. There's that whole let it sit and rise for an hour that I just can't remember to plan for.

My attempts to buy lamb at the butcher didn't work so well. It cost too much. If I'd wanted a sheep head or a sheep leg, it would have been cheap, but I wanted a kilo of nice muscle. Tsk. So I went with beef, which is much cheaper. I bought a huge lump of it and cut it down myself. I need to get my fancy knives out of storage, de-tendon-ing the beef was rather difficult with my tiny little knife. I imagined I was a caveman trying to scrape meat with an obsidian blade. Grunting a lot helped with the tricky bits. This has probably grossed out the vegetarians by now. Sorry about that. But I do love the smell and feel of raw meat.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Quiz!!

Nabbed from The Writer, it's another quiz!




Your Personality at 35,000 Feet Is Friendly and Gregarious



Deep down, you vastly prefer being with others to being alone. You love to engage people in conversation.

You are good with your place in the world. You are confident and comfortable with who you are.

Your gift is having a way with words. You know how to express yourself well.

You are inspired by almost anything. You don't have many mental blocks.

You are happy as long as you are given some personal space. It's important for you to have your own private life.



I like this one. Apart from my dissertation, I don't often have mental blocks. On the contrary, I have verbal diarrhea. Sometimes I have so much to say that it gets clogged up and nothing comes out. Or I skip over the important connecting thoughts and lose people in the process. I have been known to take sleeping pills at night just to get myself to stop thinking blog posts, conversations, and speeches.

That's been the hardest part of the interview process. I tend to babble and then get carried away and then the interviewee and I are involved in a conversation about cows or something.

Sorry folks, no pictures, I'm not going to post pictures and give you my impressions on people I don't really know who may end up being my roommates. I'll just say, so far all the people we've interviewed who might work out are all nice girls in their early 20's and finishing off their first year of university, or in one case about ready to start. We decided we liked students and girls better. Girls are cleaner. They come to interviews showered. Really, I can't say the same of the guys. Students are more flexible. Students are more likely to move out once they get a job and can afford to live on their own. Students are young enough that they aren't so set in their ways that they can't conceive of people being different. Most of these girls are in international programs or have classes with other foreign students or have lived in a foreign country. Only one hasn't and yet she's very friendly and open and has the most fantastic english. She watches a lot of American tv, she says. We babbled at each other for some time.

But speaking of pictures, I discovered today that I don't have any pictures of where I live or the area in which I live on my computer. I'll hunt around and if I still can't find any, maybe I'll go do something about that. Or not. I'm really bad about this photo thing.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

And a G&T makes everything better!

So we got a little wasted last night, the husband and I.

Not only have the money issues been weighing heavily, he's been also having a hard time at work. He's covering this trial and his articles are getting reworked to fit into the prevailing view that immigrants are bad and need to be locked up. He's going to try to pitch an idea at his editor where he goes and interviews the families and tries to show that the kids are human beings and not that different from the the Danski kids who throw rocks and yell "fuck the po-liti", but he expects it to be turned down. He's absolutely livid at Århus Stiftidende, the woman covering the trial was there for 10 minutes, heard the police chief on the stand, ran out and wrote this report about how dangerous Gellerup was and how the police are scared for their lives and are threatened by this young group of kids. The truth? Five are on trial for burning a kindergarten (on a Sunday night, no injuries). Two or three have never been in trouble before, two others have rap sheets as long as your arm. The cops saved up a list of things that these kids have done over two years and they're all being thrown at them now. Twenty plus counts for one kid. And then this woman's story got picked up by Ritzau and is now being printed in all the news-sources as if it's fact. All five are lumped together as being part of the crime wave that engulfs the ghetto. Of course, hers is a much more exciting story that his and fits in better with the zeitgeist.

So a couple of G&T's later and we were feeling lots better. We also had half a crack-brained plan to divest from civilization, although I think I lost my husband somewhere around the time I told him I could learn to make soap from bear fat.

We also discovered, while drinking away our worries, that we were dressed the same again. Jeans and maroon sweaters. And we interviewed a possible roommate this way! (Pre-G&T, never fear.) How embarrassing. We dress similarly ALL THE FREAKIN' TIME. And never on purpose. He went to work long before I rolled out of bed. I had no idea what he was wearing. It's just too bad neither of us noticed until we were tossed.

We're doing more interviews tonight. This time I am DEFINITELY checking to see what he's wearing.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

And the bank fuckery moves to America

WARNING: THIS POST IS RATED R FOR LANGUAGE.

And general assfuckery.

Just in case you wondered if Danish banks had a monopoly in assholeness, think again. My credit just got cancelled because they can tell by looking at my bank records that I don't have a steady income, therefore I must be unemployed, therefore I shouldn't have.... wait for it.... $3,000 in debt. Yes folks, I am the reason for the recession. My wild borrowing habits have ruined, simply ruined the economy.

By the way, if you calculate in the debt I have from over 10 years of higher education you get a whopping.... $7000.

Yes that includes the three grand mentioned above. Boy, if only I'd pay that back, the stock market would rise and babies would smile, China would start following human rights directives and Hamas, Fatah, and Israel would sit down and start singing Kum-bay-yah.

I called the bank because I couldn't use my credit card so I wanted to transfer that money to my checking, because I can make withdrawals no problem. Turns out it's not a problem with my card, it's a problem with ME.

That's when they grilled me about my income. And my husband's. And what did I want to use my money for and when was I going to be able to pay it back and why can't I tell her right now how much money my "family" makes in a year and I keep telling her I DON'T LIVE IN THE US - THE MONEY I MAKE IS IN KRONER, THE MONEY MY HUSBAND MAKES IS IN KRONER AND IT STAYS IN DENMARK!! Of course I don't have a steady income in the US. I'M NOT FUCKING THERE!! Have I missed a payment? Nope. Have I got money to cover the next two payments? Yup. Does it look like I'm living off my credit card? Are there lots of payments to grocery stores and gas stations? NO BECAUSE I DON'T FUCKING USE IT UNLESS I NEED TO. Last purchase on credit card? Computer. In OCTOBER! Yeah, I'm totally fucking living off my fucking credit card you stupid fucking bitch.

She told me that I could get my credit back when I got a job.

Did I tell her off? No. What was the point? Telling her she's a horrible person and I hope she gets cervical cancer and dies may make me feel better, but only until I realize that it probably won't happen just because I wish it to.

Did I cry? Not on the phone. Again, no point. She was a bitch and tears weren't going to sway her. Only make me look like a sad little girl who obviously doesn't deserve a "grown up" account.

I got off the phone and THEN had my temper-tantrum.

And I'm going to do what I feel is appropriate. Change fuckin' banks. No money other than what I owe will be going into Bank of America. When my credit card is paid off, I'm closing it out. I will not make any more purchases on that card. I will pay it off as fast as I can to minimize the interest they can charge me. I will not put any more money in the bank. I will not recommend Bank of America to my friends. I will never use Bank of America again. And when I close out my account I will tell them why they lost me as a client.

Anybody know any good banks?

Massive Shrinkage!

So I'm presenting my dissertation (no it's NOT DONE, I finished my rough draft, sorta, and I'm proof-reading before I send it off to my advisor, but that doesn't stop interested people from inviting me to speak about the random crap that I've been working on) to the Classical Archaeology department at Århus University. I'm told I have an hour to an hour and a half, but that I should plan on leaving some time for questions.

Oh, I only have to talk for an hour? How kind.

I can babble at people for an hour.

I can give a darned good explanation of stratigraphy, complete with white-board stick figures in an hour.

And if you stop me in Tel Aviv airport and give me a a security test in which you ask me about stratigraphical analysis using pottery sherds, I can go on for even longer. True story. I was still talking about seriation and typology when they took me to the back room to check my bra for explosives.

But my dissertation? You want me to speak intelligently, right? Maybe even, you know, use some big words.

Bloody hell.

I gave a 20 minute presentation about 2 years ago. I read through it again today. HAHAHAHAHA! That must have been someone else's dissertation, because it certainly isn't mine. It's missing all the good stuff I've written in the last year. Oh.

Damn good power point though.

A 20 minute presentation took up about 8 single-spaced pages of text with spaces for "[SLIDE 4]". So... an hour or so would be, like 20 single-spaced pages of text. Okay, all I have to do is smash a 250 page dissertation down to 20 single-spaced pages.

EDIT!!!

I've chopped down the first half of my dissertation, which is all theory and prolegomena (what you need to know or might like to know or I might like you to know before I let you loose on the rest of this dissertation) (see why we use the word "prolegomena"?) and it comes to: 11 and a half pages.

My god, I might just be able to do this.

And it's going to totally suck when I have to read it to myself in order to time myself.

An hour?

Christ on a candlestick.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Nacho Chicken Casserole

Right, I CANNOT figure out how to post backwards. So you'll just have to bear with me and scroll down and maybe even read backwards. If someone could tell me how to drag and drop posts in a different order, I'd be much obliged.

Anyway, last recipe for the moment... only if you are reading this in order it's the FIRST recipe...

Gad, it's like a time warp thing here!

Nacho Chicken Casserole
5 cups slightly crushed tortilla chips - DIVIDED: 3 cups and 2 cups
4 cups cubed cooked chicken (aprox. 500 g or maybe a bit more... or maybe about three chicken breast fillets - seriously your guess is as good as mine)
2 16-oz jars salsa (which is 2 x 500 g!! So use 2x the salsa for cooking recipe found in the Spanish Rice post)
1 10 oz package frozen whole kernel corn (315 g) and I have no idea what that becomes in cups. I dump a little over half a 500 g bag in. Or maybe a can of corn, drained, if that's what you've got.
1/2 cup sour cream or creme fraiche (125 ml)
2 tbsp all-purpose flour (30 ml)
1 cup (4 oz or 125 g) cheese, like mozzarella or if you live in America and have access to these wonderful things, Monterey Jack with jalapeño peppers, drool -THIS IS THE TOPPING!

Instructions
*cook the chicken if you are like me and don't mess about with pre-cooked chicken or have enough left over chicken to make four cups*
1. Lightly grease a rectangular baking dish. One of those 9x12 or whatever, the normal sized rectangular baking dishes. Place 3 cups of the tortilla chips in the bottom of the dish. In a large bowl combine COOKED chicken, salsa, corn, sour cream, and flour BUT NOT THE CHEESE!! Pour over the tortilla chips.
2. Bake UNCOVERED, in a 350 F (180 C) oven for 25 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 cups of tortilla chips and the cheese. Bake, uncovered, for 5 to 10 more minutes until the cheese is all melty and gooey goodness.

Spanish Rice

So the most important recipe you can learn when making "American" food in a foreign country is how to make salsa. The stuff in the jars is just gross. So you learn to cut up tomatoes and onions and garlic and jalapeños and cilantro/coriander and away you go. Until you discover that you need to put salsa into something in order to bake it. But then you don't want to use your fresh salsa, because it isn't the right concistancy. You need the jar stuff. Only if you live in a foreign country you may not have access to it OR it may be so freakin' expensive you can't quite figure buying 4 bottles of the stuff for a recipe. (You need crap loads of the stuff for the Nacho Chicken Casserole.) Wadda ya gonna do??

Archaeogoddess's Instant Fake Salsa for Cooking
don't eat this with chips, it's not a proper salsa, really
1 can stewed or chopped or diced or whatever tomatoes
2 tsp chili pepper (flakes or powder if that's what you got)
3/4 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp cumin
*optional: add a diced green bell pepper and onion if it's not already in the recipe you're using this cheat for

MIX

Now you are ready to make

Spanish Rice
2 tbsp oil
1 onion
1 1/2 cups uncooked rice
2 cups chicken broth (or 2 cups water and correct amount of bouillon)
1 cup salsa or one recipe of instant fake salsa for cooking

Instructions
1. In a pot, heat oil, cook onion until soft.
2. Add rice and brown or not, because parboilled rice doesn't like to brown and brown rice is well, kinda brown already so it's hard to figure. For what it's worth, I dump in the rice, swirl it around until it has absorbed the oil and is mixed with the onion.
3. Add broth and salsa. Bring to a boil and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.

By the by, I love this reheated the next day with a fried egg and some jalapeños. Because I OBVIOUSLY do not get enough acid in my stomach from stress already.

What I'm Eating This Week

So I did my shopping and apart from a few things I still need to get I have food for a week. The tricky bit is finding some cheap lamb, but I think I'll swing by the halal butcher and see what I can do.

I was going to do this in a nice planned out menu way and then realized that I don't know if I'm going to have leftovers tonight or not, so screw planning.

During this week, including last night I'm going to have:
Nacho Chicken Casserole and Spanish Rice (last night's chow), Hot and Sour Cabbage Soup, Simple Lamb Rogan Josh, and Oven Frittata. All of those will provide some left-overs and if all else fails I'll whip up a French Onion Soup.

I have all these recipes written out on scraps of paper, except the Rogan Josh, which I got from BBC, LINK.

Googling resulted in NOT finding where I got these recipes. I certainly didn't assemble them all at once, let me tell you. Some of them have several different colors of pen, suggesting that I have been up to no good. So I'll post some recipes for you above or below or something.

QUIZ!!

I'm sure I've mentioned before that I am a total sucker for quizes. I mean, seriously. Total nut. I liked what this one had to say about me. Especially the stable part. Heh. It's probably true, at least a lot of people think I'm stable. But then a lot of people haven't seen me when I'm watching "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" and I'm bawling like a baby when they move that bus.




You Color Your Life With Intense Warmth



You are a down to earth, stable person. You can be relied on.

You enjoy the outdoors. There's something about being in nature that makes you feel really blissful.



While you are responsible, you aren't boring. You have a lot of flair and style.

You enjoy creative projects of all sorts. You're a very visual person.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

What to do?

What to do when your husband comes to you and says "look, we've paid the mortgage, and some of the bills, but we got nothing until pay day in two weeks time, and we need to shop for food."

First, overriding despair. It means we really really need the guy coming on Tuesday or Wednesday to rent our apartment for the amount we've asked without us having to do more than the basics to get it ready. But that means moving, leaving our lovely apartment and finding something small and cheap. This will probably not be Gellerup, because we can't get into a two room apartment and we can't afford a three room and a single room is just too freakin' small. I don't know where we'd go. Maybe we'll get lucky and come up for a two room in the next month. But I was getting used to the idea of roommates again, roommates on our own terms.

But then the challenge. I like having a budget for food. It makes me creative in a way I don't normally have to be. Call me nuts, but I like a challenge from time to time. Yeah, a BETTER challenge would be to NOT have to figure out how many meals I can make out of a head of cabbage, but something along the lines of "we need to visit 5 European capitals in 6 days - GO"... but you do what you gotta do with what you've got.

Thankfully I have collected enough recipes that I can sit down and sift through them, figuring out which ones I have most of the food for and what I can make without buying more than one or two items. I'm glad I stocked up on chicken last month. Also I'm glad that Netto is open the first sunday of the month until 5. We ate up all the spaghetti last night.

Right carpe diem... or better yet, carpe cabbage!

Murphy's Law

Murphy's Law rules my life. It seems there's not a darned thing that I can do to stop it.

So, I'm sorry, but I think it's going to rain.

See, I washed the windows yesterday. It took me 2 1/2 hours, 2 rolls of paper towels, half a bottle of glass cleaner, half a bottle of general cleaner and countless buckets of water. I hung my ass out of the second story (third for the Americans) to get the outside of the windows. I cursed the preservation society yet again for insisting that we have two sets of windows in each window instead of ONE set of DOUBLE PANED windows. (Their reasoning is that the light reflected off of the glass is different from the way the light would have reflected off the glass in 1640. Well no shit sherlock, they also made shitty glass back then you stupid fucks! Sorry. I get REALLY pissed off because my windows are NOT good and let warm air out and cold air in and are rotting after only 5 years and we're going to have to spend a fortune on buying more specially made windows that suck.)

Anyway, lots of windows. Lots of mould. Ugh. The sealant that holds the panes in place is coming off, which means we have to keep an eye out for falling panes of glass. Well, actually WE don't, because we live up here and it's the poor sods that live below us that need to watch out, but I'm nice enough to try to stop falling glass before it happens.

Oh and on the new special windows, the paint is STILL not dry and when they painted it they smeared it around on the glass and it just does not come off. But I am not leaning THAT far out with a razor to scrape it off. I have a terrible fear (self-preservation set at "high") of falling.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

And randomly....

I'm tending bar at Ridehuset tonight for the Spleen United concert, if any of you all out there are going. Swing by and say hi if you are. And don't be all offended if I don't recognize you by your picture or something. I suck at facial recognition.

I plan

I'm a good one for planning.

Travel Planning
Whenever we need to go somewhere, my husband usually lets me do the planning. It's just easier. If he plans, I bother him about the where, when, hows until he goes bonkers. Besides which I am usually a brilliant navigator and have an unhealthy affection for maps. I love the London Tube. I write city names by their airport codes. Which is why sometimes people want to know what is SFO. Er, it's San Francisco and I know it would be easier to just write SF, but I can't help myself. I've only gotten really really lost and confused in Rome. And that's only because the road maps changed over 2,000 years.

Life Planning
I'm not so inflexible that I make a life plan and stick to it. Too many variables to know which course of action may be best in the long term. But I always have a plan B. Call it an emergency backup plan or whatever, but you'll often hear me say "and if that doesn't work out..."

So you'd think I'd be good at chess. But I'm not. I suck at it mightily. Again, it's too many bloody variables, but none that make sense to me. It's all "if you move that rook there then that frees up the knight there but that leaves you open to the queen here." But I'm sitting there wondering, "does the rook really want to move there? I mean, it's not exactly the garden spot of the board, you know. Too many freakin' pawns."

My husband, who likes chess (and so we will never play each other if I can help it), finds this kind of reasoning of mine hilarious. We think so differently, he and I. I so easily accept and adapt to chaos in the system while he needs time to process and assess. He'll usually chose the first solution to a problem, whereas I want to see all the options and maybe even try a few out before making my final decision. If I try something and fail, I am less likely to be upset about it (though it depends on how much of my resources I used) than he will be if he fails. However, he is more likely to cut his loses and move on if a solution isn't working. I have to make sure it's really really not going to work first.

What does this all mean? Why am I blogging about this?

Because we are going to put a new vanity in the bathroom. What we have now is a sink sticking out of the wall. It has no room for him to balance his contact lens accouterments on and I hate getting dizzy when I have to turn around to the cupboard behind me to get the toothpaste, toothbrush, hair brush, deodorant, tweezers, etc. We also took one sink out already to make room for a storage cabinet, but never got it. We'd like something that floats off the floor, because of the location of the drain and it would be easier to wash the floor without legs getting in the way, but I could be flexible. It needs to have either six drawers or six shelves so that if we rent out the rooms (plan B which is quickly on it's way to becoming plan A), everyone will have their own space. It also needs to have a large sink area... preferably with two sinks, because I am always trying to brush my teeth while he's shaving.

He's found one in the first store he went to that he likes. Me.... ehhhh, I really don't like it. I don't hate it. But I would like about a bazillion other vanities more. Okay, maybe I hate it. So I'm hunting around and finding other options and he's not as pleased with them. The good news is that he does listen to my desires and is certainly not going to stop me from looking for a better solution and if I find one he's not going to quibble, he'll go for it, but I can't quite convince him to go vanity shopping with me. So I may just have to keep hitting up show rooms and DIY stores, Ikea and other insta-home decor locations. I don't mind doing this at all, I *love* to do this stuff. I'd love it if he'd go with me, I like to share the things that I love doing with the people I love.

But I know why he'd rather stay home. I tend to blow through stores really quickly, visiting numerous stores several times in quick succession. If I see something I like I start poking, prodding, leaving, returning, deciding that it isn't "friendly" even though it fulfills our requirements, leaving again, deciding to give it one more chance, returning, discovering one that I completely neglected before, falling in love, buying, suffering from buyers remorse, coming to terms with my decision, falling in love again.

I'm a pinball shopper. One who plans her assault on all bath-retail outlets. First the research, then the mapping of locations for the minimum expenditure of energy and time, then the shopping. For a friendly fixture who wants to come home with me and be in my bathroom.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

My not so secret crush

I have the most awful crush on Jamie Oliver. I may have mentioned it in the past. I may have mentioned that my husband is rather jealous of this and gleefully pointed out that in his most recent pictures, Jamie looks a bit fat. He's such a girl, my husband. I love him so.

Anyway, I mentioned on this blog that I was making some fancy food for husband's birthday and while I've already posted the chicken recipe (which reminds me, I need to get the left over chicken out of the freezer if I want dinner tonight) I also tried a new carrot recipe from Jamie Oliver and I wanted to tell you that it's ONLY THE BEST DAMN CARROT RECIPE EVAH!

So I'm going to give it to you. I do hope Mr. Oliver doesn't mind. Did I mention it was the BEST DAMN CARROT RECIPE EVAH?!?!

Jamie Oliver's Sticky Saucepan Carrots
aka BEST DAMN CARROT RECIPE EVAH!
Ingredients (Dear Mr. Oliver, this serves nowhere near 4... too damn good)
1 3/4 lb carrots peeled, cut into 2 inch lengths, ...ish. (1 kg - like I'm going to sweat the conversion and like you were going to remove carrots from the 1 kg bag anyway, and I don't know, the length of your thumb or something.)
butter
a few bay leaves
salt and pepper

Instructions
1. Stand the carrots up in a pan on their heads. (Or butts, depending on how you feel the carrot universe is organized.) Try to get a pot that fits the carrots so they are all standing/sitting snugly and not laying down. Lazy carrots don't deserve this recipe.
2. Stick a knob or two or however much you feel is necessary on the top of the carrots. Seriously, Jamie told me to use "a large knob." I don't know what this is, so I went with aprox. 3 "almost" tablespoons in different sections of the pot. (Okay, okay, I took what I felt to be a large knob and cut it into three chunks, I only eyeballed the size after I'd thrown 'em in.)
3. Poke a few bay leaves between the carrots. Having made three knobs of butter I opted for 3 bay leaves. I was feeling the symmetry. Yes, I am psychotic, why do you ask?
4. Add enough water to come halfway up the carrots. Bring to a boil, cover, and turn down the heat. Simmer for about 20 minutes.
5. Take the lid off and let the liquid reduce until there isn't any left. (You might have to turn the heat up again.) This will take about half an hour. Seriously. Jamie said so and at first I didn't believe him because there was so much liquid. I doubted him for the first 15 minutes and then suddenly the pot hit the tipping point and the water just beamed itself out.
6. Let the carrots sizzle gently in the butter for about 5 minutes until the bottoms of the carrots are sticky-brown. Serve.

Optional step:
7. Swear that you will never make carrots in any other way ever again.

How do you feel about violently lilac colored soup?

Because if you aren't down with it, I suggest using green cabbage rather than red cabbage in the recipe below.

As per usual, there are days when I just can't be bothered to plan far in advance what we'll have for dinner. I then call and beg my husband to come up with something. Most of the time he comes through. He buys frozen pizza. Or he makes pasta with pesto. Sometimes the thought of having pasta with pesto will bestir me to great lengths of invention in order to provide myself with ANYTHING other than pasta with pesto.

Last night, after I told him with no uncertain words that I will not be dining on pasta and pesto and that I deserved something a bit nicer than that, seeing how I'd done cleaned the stairwell and given myself an allergy attack because of it. Somehow this still morphed into *me* making Hot and Sour Cabbage Soup... probably because my husband noticed that the half a head of cabbage was beginning to grow a beautiful cabbage flower from it's butt. And then he ran out the door to buy buns. We never have buns or yogurt, we always seem to be "just out". I'm convinced there is an evil gnome living in my home who eats yogurt on buns when I'm at Danish class.

Anyway, I discovered that it will take an hour to boil the soup, let alone all the other bits that have to go into it. And it was already 9 o'clock. I didn't want to wait THAT long for dinner. I tried to reach the Danish Boy while he was still at the store, but he'd gone and left his phone on silent, the bugger.

So, to the internet I turned. Somewhere there must be a faster food that I can prepare.

Bless Allrecipes.com - they have an ingredients search feature and after plugging some random stuff into it, a recipe came out the other side. I modified it a bit, because I had more stuff that I wanted to get rid of, but it turned out to be a damn tasty soup. It's also crazy cheap if you happen to have loads of left over cream and half a head of cabbage growing in your 'fridge.

Archaeogoddess's Creamy Cabbage Soup
Ingredients
2 cups chicken broth (1/2 liter water and a cube of chicken bouillon)
1 onion, diced
4-6 cups of thinly sliced cabbage (that's half a head of red cabbage in Denmark, which are larger than *my* head) (DON'T USE RED CABBAGE IF YOU CAN'T HANDLE PURPLE SOUP, USE GREEN or WHITE or whatever other colors cabbage come in)
1 carrot, diced
2 sticks of celery, cut like you normally cut celery... you know what I mean (this is optional, I had celery that I needed to use up)
1/4 cup butter (60g)
3 tbsp flour
2 cups milk
1 cup whipping cream (OR 2 cups light cream and 1 cup milk, which is what the recipe originally called for, but I had a lot of milk and a good 250 ml of whipping cream left over from husband's birthday "lagkage")
no more than 2 cups of your husband's pork lunch meat (Okay, the recipe calls for 2 cups of cooked ham... but I didn't have any and if aforementioned husband doesn't answer the phone, aforesaid husband will just have to do without his lunch meat)
1 1/2 tsp salt OR salt to taste (since the amount of salt in your bouillon and packaged ham will vary)
1/4 tsp pepper OR to taste
1/2 tsp thyme
chopped fresh parsley as a garnish (also really good if you totally forget the part where it says "garnish" and instead toss the lot in as you are seasoning)

Instructions
1) Simmer veg in the broth for 20 minutes. NOTE: there will be way more veg than liquid when you first put it on the stove. That's okay, just stir it from time to time during the first 5-10 minutes and the liquid will come out of the veg and you'll be fine.
2) In a fairly large saucepan, melt the butter. Stir in the flour. Don't bother trying to make a roux, this is not one of those kinds of soup. If you have no idea what a roux is, don't worry, it's not important at this time.
3) In your hot flour and butter mess, pour the milk and cream. Cook and stir until it thickens a bit.
4) Pour this creamy mess into your veggie mixture (it might smell a bit odd, boiled cabbage and celery will do that, it's okay, you just have to trust me). Add ham, salt, pepper, and thyme. Heat thought. (Uh, that's kind of a stupid thing to say, seeing as how everything is already hot, but what you're doing is getting the tastes to infuse and interact, so make a big show of stirring and tasting for me, okay?) Garnish with parsley.

I took a picture of this violently lilac colored soup, but without the cables I can't get the photo on the computer. I tried. I held the camera close to the computer and asked the file to jump, but I guess it's scared of heights.