My grandmother`s doughnuts


It seems that snow has landed everywhere but in my little countryside village these past weeks.

I´ve been ever so excited for white crystals to drape every tree and hedge around the cottage, but to no avail.

So far we've been exempt from a magical sprinkle of that white winter frosting.

This time of the year all I yearn for is warming cups of tea, mulled wine, freshly baked cookies and my grandmother's "Smultringer" aka, Norwegian doughnuts and a wee bit of snow.

It always surprised me that we actually never got to taste her Smultringer when they were freshly made.

My grandmother was a planner, and would bake days ahead of any known visit.

In a round tin box with chipped paint and a dented lid, she would keep these delicious   doughnuts for whenever friends and family would pop by for a visit in the afternoon. Such a visit called for both a warm welcome drink, and something sweet as a side treat.

She didn't have the habit of writing down her recipes, and only a few have survived on weathered yellow paper with her distinct beautiful handwriting.

When she passed away at 94, my mother and I strived to recreate some of her staple pieces in the kitchen with varied luck.

A soon as I began writing my cookbook "The Cottage Kitchen" I knew I wanted to include her delightful Smultringer.

My grandmother served hers naked, baked days in advance.

I serve mine drenched in chocolate sauce, warm on the day of making.


As summer turned to Autumn and the deadline for handing in the last few recipes loomed on the horizon, I had yet to master her Smultringer. My lovely assistant Abbie Melle and I practically lived in the kitchen those last days, churning out doughnuts with lard, without lard, with butter, with oil, then back to butter, trying out different types of flour, and into the bubbling oil they went. 

We looked at each other as we tried ring after ring of these traditional Norwegian treats.



One batch was a definite no!

It was the one where I seemed to remember my grandmother frying them in Lard...

In the end we settled for the version as close to what recipe she must have used, and called my mother to confirm. 

Once I had my mother´s go ahead, the last recipes was sent off to my publisher Clarkson Potter in New York.


The day my cookbook came out this October, I picked up a copy of the book, took a seat in the sofa I had inherited from my grandmother, and sent her a thought.

I think she may have smiled back.

Your sofa is in England now, I whispered and stroked the french linen fabric I had reupholstered it in.

 I´m not sure she approved of my choice of fabric, but I did sense a wee smile anyway.


Some of the recipes in my cookbook "The Cottage Kitchen" are hers.

Having kept the phone line warm between my mother and I, and with quite a few letters sent across the channels trying to remember her recipes, we managed to get there in the end.

The most challenging aspect of the book was by far to get the recipes right, and when are they ever right.

One day it rains, which affects the amount of flour in a recipe, my oven may be different than yours, my cottage is at a lover altitude then your home, and the quantities of flour per cup varies with every cup filled when we tried to convert from grams to cups.

But at some point one has to say, this is it, the recipe works, has been tested and tested and it´s time to set it in stone.

However, I hope as you cook from my cookbook that you use common sense, add a bit of this and that, roast for a bit longer, boil for a bit longer, add more seasoning etc.

After all, I think no recipe should be followed blindly, and it´s a lot more fun when you make it yours in the end.

For best results when you cook from my book, I´d suggest getting a scale and working from grams.

Before I end with the recipe, may I just say thank you for making this book journey of mine possible with all your encouraging words, emails and comments.

Many of you helped with recipe testing and it was always such a treat reading your notes and feedback.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

I´ll be sharing a few more recipes from my cookbook over the next months, but with no further ado, here´s the recipe for my grandmother's Norwegian doughnuts, with my mother´s thick and glossy chocolate sauce.


My Grandmother’s “Smultring” with Chocolate Sauce Recipe

makes 12 to 15 doughnuts

These are quite different to the krispy creams and dunking donut´s doughnuts,.

They can keep in an airtight container for a few days, but I love them warm, drizzled with my mother´s thick and glossy chocolate sauce.

TIP: The round doughnuts holes can be pierced and filled with jam.  


2 medium eggs 

125g / 1/2 cup granulated sugar

75ml / 1/3 cup double/whipping cream

75ml / 1/3 cup kefir or plain unsweetened yogurt

450g / 3 1/3 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon bicarb soda

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamon

2 tablespoons salted butter, melted

1 1/2 litres / 7 cups vegetable oil

My Mother’s Chocolate Sauce, warmed, recipe follows 

In a large bowl whisk the eggs with the sugar for 8 to 10 minutes to a light frothy, meringue like consistency. In a separate bowl whisk the cream till soft peaks form and fold into the egg and sugar mixture. Add the kefir / yoghurt and stir to combine. Sift in the flour, baking powder, bicarb soda, and add the cardamon. Melt the butter, add to the mixture and stir to combine into a dough. Leave to rest overnight in the fridge. 

Next day, remove from fridge and roll out with a rolling pin to 1 centimetre / 1/4 inch thick.

Use a doughnut cutter or a glass to cut out circles of dough 8 centimetres / 3 inches width, with a small cutter or glass 4 centimetre / 1 1/2 inch wide for the hole in the middle. 

In a medium saucepan with a lid set over medium-high heat, heat oil till 180°C / 355°F. Test by dropping a wooden spoon, shaft end down in the hot oil, if it bubbles around it, the oil is hot enough. Drop 2 to 3 doughnuts at a time into the oil, taking care not to crowd the pot so it boils over. Fry the doughnuts until golden, 2 to 3 minutes, turning halfway.

Remove and place on a rack to cool. 



My Mother’s Chocolate Sauce Recipe

makes 500 ml / 2 1/4 cups


370 g / 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar

100 ml / 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon, light golden syrup

60 g  / 3/4 cup cocoa powder

200 ml / 1 cup water

50 g / 1.7 ounces 70% dark chocolate, broken into pieces 

1 teaspoon vanilla paste

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, combine all the ingredients, whisk well and bring to a boil. Lower heat and allow to simmer for 10 to 12 minutes, till luscious and glossy, stirring occasionally. Though it may not seem that thick, the mixture will thicken more as it cools. Sterilise a glass jar sufficiently large to hold the sauce and with a wide opening to allow for easy access to the sauce. Pour in the chocolate sauce, and keep in fridge for up to 1 month. 

Serve cold or warm.


Mulled wine poached pears with clotted cream and wintery winds


Warm winds have cooled, and smoke is steadily puffing from stone cottages dotting the countryside around where we live. Early morning frost on the ground and crackling fireplaces all add to that wintery charm that the english countryside do so well.

The grass is still green on the surrounding hills, but don't be fooled, the trees have shed their colourful autumnal frocks, winter is most definitely here.

The blog post I promised you about my grandmother's doughnuts drenched in that thick and glossy chocolate sauce my mother taught me to make, is still in draft form, like so many blog posts I´ve been meaning to share with you over the last year.

Words seem to escapee these days, and so much has happened since we last met here on the blog, so I hope you'll forgive me for sharing a delicious little recipe for mulled wine poached pears with you, as a treat while we wait.


When mince pies and mulled wine appear on the menu at our local pub, we know it´s time to begin searching for the perfect Christmas tree, and to leave mulled wine on gentle heat on the stove, both for perfuming our home with the ever so festive aroma, and for filling up a mug or two to serve friends swinging by.

This year, with renovations of the go, the launch of my cookbook`The Cottage KItchen´ and with our little girl on the way, I reached for the perfectly convenient packages of mulled wine spices from Schwartz, added a lovely red wine.

I used Langhe Nebbiolo 2013 for the recipe below, but I suggest using your favourite drinking wine. I don´t believe in cooking wine, because let´s face it you will probably have a wee timbal while cooking, perks of the job. And most importantly everything you add to a dish will affect it´s final outcome.

Poor quality in ingredients results in a poorer result, yet the work of creating the dish stays the same, so reach for your favourite wine. 

Then add a few spoonfuls of sugar and a bit of water, and let the ingredients do their own magic with your stove turned to low.


Growing up in Norway, December was the month of sweet aromas wafting through the house. Originating in the kitchen where mum was baking traditional treats, and always had a warming drink with traditional spices simmering away, these aromas tickled the nostrils and awoke our tastebuds.

This year my Englishman and I are carving out our very own family traditions for the month of December, from an advent calendar, to christmas tree decorations, and the three day event between the 24th-26th that is the hight of Christmas celebrations in my home country.

Every Sunday of the month of December when I grew up, we´d light a candle and serve a special dessert with our dinner. It was a formal event and a formal dinner, one that called for an especially delicious dessert.


Upon moving to England I discovered mulled wine.

That lovely warm and sweetly spiced drink that every pub would have on low in a big barrel of a pot, and homes across the country on their stove, infusing their house with that special Christmas aroma.

I fell in love with the flavours of mulled wine so much so that I created the below recipe for mulled wine poached pears with clotted cream and sweet wine sauce. It quickly become a classic that we've served again and again during this festive season.

Find the recipe below, and do let me know what you think!

It´s ever so easy to make, and rich in flavour.

It can easily be made in advance and served cold with a warm sauce, or warm straight out of the poaching liquid.

Either way, I have a sneaking suspicion you might fall in love too...


Mulled wine poached pears with clotted cream and wine glace


6 Conference pears (or other firm pears)

6 bags of mulled wine from Schwarz (follow instructions and quantity of ingredients)

Pluss 300ml red wine

Clotted cream



Peel the pears and leave the stem (optional)

On low heat combine the ingredients for the mulled wine and stirr till the sugar is dissolved.

Add the extra wine, add the pears and remove the mulled wine bags after 10-15 min. Leave the bags in longer should you want a stronger mulled wine flavour.

Let the remaining content simmer on low/medium for 30-35 minutes till the pears are soft but still retaining their shape.

Remove the pears and arrange them on a serving place.

Turn up the heat to medium and let the mulled wine mixture reduce till you have a gentle reduction left, quite runny when warm, but thicker when cooled. It should be about 200ml syrup when its ready.

Serve the pears at room temp, with the warm mulled wine reduction with your afternoon tea or after a decadent festive meal.



A winter retreat with lots of cheese and rabbits...

With Chet Baker and Aretha Franklin sounding from the loudspeaker with soothing tunes, the afternoon sun casts a golden glow on the living room floor, and it feels like summer is just around the corner.

But for now, it still just the beginning of spring, and I´m behind.

So behind in fact, that this post will take you all the way back to February, when the winds howled outside my wee countryside cottage, and snow was in the air more often than not.

The only thing that was the same, was Chet and Aretha.

They jazzed it up inside and keep us cool and warm, with the help of the fireplace crackling away ever so comforting from underneath the mantle piece in the living room piled with books on either side.

Ever since moving to the english countryside almost three years ago, I´ve been utterly seduced by the landscape, the green rolling hills, the fog, the rain, the mild winter winds, wonky tea rooms, and the wonderful produce I have right at my doorstep.

Winter kale and leek are some staple pieces in my kitchen during the colder months of the year, and because I love pomegranate, they are pretty much scattered around on everything I cook, allowing their ruby like pearls to be sprinkled and incorporated in most meals. They are most definitely such a versatile and wonderful fruit.

I grew up in the countryside in Norway, spent childhood and teenage summers in France and Switzerland, and my early twenties in Italy. My culinary style is made up of aromas from all the places I´ve spent time in, allowing my cooking style to be a blend of them all, cooking from the heart, with a healthy dose of nostalgia.

Heather, whom I met just a few days after my move to this area of England, became a dear friend after our very first encounter over glasses of brilliant wine in a local pub. In true celebratory style I raised my glass in a toast as I was invited over to her table surrounded by her friends, and with great eagerness lifted it towards the ceiling with great gusto. To the sound of our "Cheers", it flew out of my hands and smashed into a million pieces agains the nearby stone wall of the pub. As you can imagine, we´ve been friends ever since.

By day, Heather creates wonky cake magic, and in the evening, she cooks.

So while I teach photography and visual storytelling at my countryside retreats, she puts on an apron and takes to the kitchen, where she creates hearty and lovely seasonal meals for my retreat participants to enjoy around the table in my dining room for lunch.

As cools winds swept through the valley surrounding my cottage back in January, we sipped to tea and put pen to paper as we began throwing around ideas for what to cook this particular weekend in February.

Rabbit! I exclaimed with great eagerness, we simply must have rabbit!

At the local market I´d seen it for weeks, and yet had the opportunity to cook with it.

So thus it began, us writing down an ambitious shopping list, sourcing for great wine, and Heather phoning up friends to order rabbits.

And because I really cannot invite people over without serving a proper charcuterie and cheese board, I popped by my local deli who has the most creamy and delicious local cheeses. Simon, who owns the local Deli in Tisbury, has a soft spot for Italy and France, which serves me just fine, and I know that when I miss a cheese or two from the content, he´s my man.

So there we were, a few weeks prior to my February retreat, with rabbits on the menu and a crazy long list of cheese I needed to source.

And then there was wine...

Since it was winter, but to be honest, pretty much any time of the year, I was leaning towards a full bodied red wines.

Just down the street and across a few fields, is high street in my local town, where we recently saw the welcoming opening of the Bottle Shop, a boutique with aged wooden floor boards, and reclaimed wood bookcases from floor to ceiling filled with wines from all over the world.

I feel spoilt really, to be nestled in, in a cottage in the middle of the english countryside, and with the world of wines right at my fingertips.

Stan, who until recently worked at the pub up the street, took one good look at my list, and quickly suggested a few options of wintery wines, that would go well with rabbit, a few with my cheese board, and a few bottles of prosecco for good measure.

I´m always a fan or pairing wine with what´s on the menu, however, I´m far too impulsive for my own good when shopping for bottles, and half the time end up being persuaded by a great bottle shape or well designed labels, which Stan knows very well... so in the end I think I end up with a good amount of thought through wines, and a few wild cards for fun.

I may have gone a bit overboard on my cheese section, as when do you really stop!

I loaded up on creamy fresh gorgonzola cut out from a delicious smelling wheel, which is, lets face it, just the most heavily thing, and i can't help but having niles just like that without a piece of cracker or bread in site. We baked up the rather mature smelling Mont d´or with rosemary sprigs and honey comb all melted in as it baked for a mere 10 minutes in the oven. The way the warm cheese just oozes out as you cut into it, is my kind of treat, and more often than not, do I give in to baking a cheese or two for starters as my guests wait for dinner with a cooling drink in their hands.

Rosemary pecorino is a must, and so is local stilton with damson jam, and any goats cheese is welcomed with open arms. And because every now and then, you simply need a chunk of cheese on your plate that has just the right amount of personality, but is neither too quiet, nor too overpowering, very much like the perfect guest, a local aged cheddar is just the ticket for your cheese board.

We really had the loveliest time, with participants arriving from the four corners of the world, we ate, drank, prop shopped and photographed to our hearts content.

And every evening, I fell asleep with a happy grin on my face...this is what makes a house a home, the people that create happy memories together within its four walls.

These retreats held in my countryside home, are my very favourites...

As i sit her gazing out in the green garden below with warm spring sun shining through the window, this feels all so far away.

But as I´m preparing from my two next retreats here in the english countryside, these lovely recipes from Heather came to mind.

So while we wait for warmer days, here´s a few recipes that will get you through this temperamental season with ever changing temperatures and cool winds.

Rabbit in white wine

(Serves 8)


2 prepared rabbits, jointed by your local butcher.

50g unsalted butter

1tsp of good olive oil

1 bottle of dry white wine

3 bay leaves

2 cloves of garlic

Salt and freshly ground pepper to season


Brown the rabbit joints quickly in a large casserole over medium to high heat in butter and oil. the butter  and oil combination will help the fat not to burn as it browns.

Preheat oven to 140 Celsius.

Add the wine, garlic cloves and bay leaves.

Cover, and bake gently in the oven for about 3 hours at 140 Celsius.

Halfway through, turn the rabbit joints over in the juices in the casserole.

When the meat is almost falling off the bones after a good three hours in the oven, staring off the juice in the casserole, and simmer it in a saucepan till reduced, add seasoning as you go to taste.

Serve warm with the sauce on the side, with a cheesy leek grating and a kale salad.

Cheesy leek gratin

(serves 8)


4 Large Leeks, washed and sliced lengthwise.

20 g unsalted butter

1 tbsp oilve oil

5 sprigs of fresh thyme

1 heaped teaspoon all purpose flour.

1 dl Single cream

1dl Whole milk

100g grated parmesan

100g fresh breadcrumbs

Ocean salt and freshly grind pepper for seasoning.


Gently sauté


Gently sauté the leeks in the butter and oil for about 5 minutes or until softened. Stir in the flour and cook for about a minute. Stir in the cream and milk and mix well to make a smooth sauce. Let this bubble for a minute gently. Stir in the cheeses and thyme and season to taste. Spoon into a shallow gratin dish and scatter with the breadcrumbs. Bake in a moderate oven (170c) for about 30 minutes until golden and bubbling.

Serve warm with the Rabbit above, or as a side for any meat dish.

If you´d like a few of our wine recommendations from the retreat, heres a few of our favourites:

Chateau Barreyres, Haut-Medoc, Cru Bourgeois 2013 (red)

The vines are grown on clay soil and its a 50% Cabernet Sauvignon and 50% Merlot blend. Way to easy to drink, and ever so beautiful rich without being heavy.


Babylonstoren, Babe 2013 (red)

South African wine, utterly delicious and ever so surprising flavours of chocolate and berries. Yet another blend, this time, 60% Merlot, 24% Shiraz, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 6% Malbec.

Babylonstoren, 2657/8000, Chardonnay 2013 (white)

This is such a delicious and fresh white, with just the right kind of body to give it a bit of depth.

Bon Appetit!




A salty anchovy dish on a cold winter´s day...

Every year, when December rolls over into January I feel like celebrating.

After a whole month of feasts, dinner, friends and family, playing dress up at fancy evening parties, and perhaps with a bit too much bubbles. The brand new year gets kicked off with fireworks that light up the sky in a sparkly interpretation on the rainbow, and I secretly feel excited for what is perhaps the dullest month of the year.

January, filled with quiet days, rain, fog as thick as a home spun tweed, January feel like an abrupt hand break from the lovely December party that was filled with laughter, delicious food and the anticipation of both Christmas and New Year´s eve.

So every year, I decide to make January a months of celebrations, of celebrating the everyday, the way life is suddenly back to normal, with its rocking back and forth like a steady tide with routines and everyday tasks like doing the laundry, pottering in the garden, walking the ever excited Mr Whiskey in the afternoon, and perhaps contemplating mowing the lawn that is now turning into a jungle...

This is January, quiet, steady and grey, and the kitchen is the perfect refuge from what may on the outside seem like a month not worth spending too much time on.

If you follow me on instagram, you may have noticed that I've recently made a move to a home in the countryside, now, I did live in the countryside before as well, in a charming little thatched cottage, but I needed a home,with a larger garden for my vegetables to grow, for Mr Whiskey to roam free, and a slightly bigger kitchen for my many cooking endeavours.

So one day, in autumn I spotted this lovely home nestled on the outskirts of a forest, just a mere 7 min from where I used to live, but instead of waking up to the chatter of people on their way to the market in town, I would fall asleep to Mr Owl outside my bedroom window, and wake up to the ever so chatty birds in my garden.

And so it happened, that amidst travels to Venice, Milano and Ireland, I made plenty a phone call to my real estate broker in England, sobbed a bit from a balcony of a renaissance palace in Venice overlooking the grand canal, when I almost lost the house to someone else, and jumped of sheer joy when it was finally mine, after what felt like an eternity with uncertainty.

So here i am now, in my new home in the english countryside.

I don´t really do any detox, as many do in January... I simply reach for local cider instead of bubbles to accompany supper, and keep myself warm throughout the day with cups of fresh ginger and lemon tea with a humble spoonful of honey in.

Boxes of fresh and seasonal vegetables are dropped off on my doorstep that I eagerly rummage through each week to see what may be steamed, sautéed, baked or roasted for dinner that week, and this week it´s the unassuming potato, or spud, as the brits calls it.

This starchy little oval shaped root vegetable, is perfect as a side or as a main ingredient this time of the year.

My mother and father came to visit my new home last week, and we talked food, family recipes, wandered nostalgically down memory lane, and my beloved mother recalled a favourite potato dish that is perfectly salty and heartwarming this time of year, that originates in Sweden, where our family hails from.

Jansons fristelse, or "Janson´s temptation" may sound more like a naughty and sweet dessert, rather than a salty baked potato dish, but bear with me.

This dish is just as lovely as a wee starter served in individual ramekins, as it is served for lunch on a Sunday with a side of local cider and fresh crusty bread from your neighbour baker...

This is just the kind of Scandinavian comfort food that I've longed for, as a wee celebratory Sunday lunch for my new home here in the english countryside, and here´s my version of it.

Buon Appetito!

Jansons´s Fristelse


8 Medium size potatoes 

2 medium yellow onions

3 Tablespoons unsalted butter (as this dish is quite salty as it is)

2,5 dl double cream

A pinch of Nutmeg

A gentle sprinkle of freshly grated Parmesan

Ocean salt

Freshly ground pepper

Anchovies to decorate generously on top of the dish.



Preheat the oven to 200 C

Peel the potato and then shred them on a grater.

Cut the onions in half, then cut think half rings.

Heat a medium sauce pan, and gently soften the onions in a little know of butter.

Butter a medium sized baking dish.


Cover the bottom of the baking dish in one layer of grated potatoes.

Add another thin layer of onions.

Season gently with sea salt, but you can be more generous with the pepper.

Add a few small butter knobs.

Then repeat the above steps, potatoes, onions, season, butter and then potatoes again on top.

Mix  a the pinch of nutmeg in with the double cream and pour over the dish, grate a thin payer or parmesan cheese,  before covering the top with anchovies in a pattern you like.

Put in the middle of the oven and bake for 25 minutes or until the potatoes are completely soft, and the top has a light golden crust.


Serve warm with a wee side salad of your choice and a chilled bottle of local cider.

Sultry dark chocolate cake with blackberries...

I live in a sleepy town that if you were´t specifically headed for it, you could easily miss it. Not even the train has a station here, and even though there are buses that connect us with the outside world, the shire is quite the quaint and peaceful little place, where time seems to stand still, and non us really mind at all.

If anything, living in a place where the world seem a million miles away, and where time has a distinct slower beat, only makes me treasure this tiny part of the world even more.

One cold and foggy autumn on the brink of winter´s day about two years ago, I arrived by taxi as the day drifted into evening, and the car came to a stop outside a wee thatched cottage, on the outskirts of town.

My heart skipped a beat, and I instantly knew this was my new home.

I felt I belonged there inside those thick stone walls, that weary yet strong hands had built over 200 years earlier.

So I began unpacking my new life, lit the grand fireplace on most evening to stay warm, and went for long wanders in the surrounding hills to introduce myself to this new land, and home.

I must admit, that even if my wanders were filled with stunning vistas of green rolling hills, history filled wonky cottages, and fern and moss overgrown forests, I quickly adapted to the afternoon tea ritual so promptly followed by many of this towns inhabitants. And began snuggling up inside teahouses around town, more often than not.

I´d wile the afternoon hours away with a pot of tea and a slice of cake. With each sip I felt like my mind and heart settled in more and more, and with each sweet bite, my palate developed a pinch for this newfound cake and scone world.

Afternoon tea is possible my favourite ritual, and I take it quite seriously, stopping the world with an hour of pure cake and tea heaven each day, where letters are written and books are read.

This is my hour, my hour to reflect, and to breathe.

Outside stack of wood are now piled high to keep the old fireplace going all winter long, sending comforting smoke signals to all the other cottages in the shire, letting them know I´m home.

It´s one of the most comforting things in the world, knowing that even if the heat of the summer has left, and cooler winds sweep across the landscape outside, fireplaces all across town are lit up at night to keep us toasty and warm, much like a cup of tea does during the day...

a cup of tea upon arrival at a country house is a thing which I, as a rule, in particularly enjoy. I like crawling logs, the shaded lights, the scent of buttered toast, the general atmosphere or leisured coziness
— P.G. Woodhouse

Although I definitely have my favourite cake or two, that I enjoy more often than not with my afternoon tea, there something to be said about a little seasonal change to my cake indulgence.

The hedges all over town are humbled to the point of breaking under the weight of the luscious and ripe blackberries that, at this time of the year, can be used in pretty much every meal of the day.

I sprinkle them on my warm porridge in the morning, make crumble and jam for the afternoon, and sauces for supper, but when made into a ganache, it instantly become best friends with chocolate.

Both so dark and sultry in colour and taste, they are practically begging to be mixed, folded and slathered in layers on top of each other, and that is precisely what I did for the cake inspired by this time of the year.

The recipe is an adapted version of Nigella Lawson´s "Devil Chocolate cake" and not that any of her recipes need to be altered one bit, I still took the liberty to tweak it here and there, and add my blackberry and balsamic ganache into the mix. 

And please don't be intimidated by the seemingly long ingredients list, theres a lot of the same ingredients in both the cake and the frosting, and you probably have most of it in your pantry already...


Sultry chocolate cake with blackberry ganache




60g Organic cocoa powder

100g Dark muscovado sugar

2,5 dl Boiling water

125g Salted butter and some for greasing

150g Caster sugar

225g All purpose flour

½ tsp Baking powder

½ tsp Bicarbonate of soda

One handful of ripe blackberries for decoration

2 tsp Vanilla syrup

2 Organic free range eggs, room temperature



125 boiling water

20g dark muscovado sugar

150g salted butter

200 g milk chocolate

100 g dark chocolate

Pinch of freshly ground pepper


Blackberry Ganache

3dl blackberries

    6 tbsp sugar

    4 tbsp balsamic vinegar

    3 tbsp lemon juice



Begin with making the frosting and the ganache so that they have time to cool while you bake the cake.

Preheat the oven to 180 Celsius.

For the frosting:

In a pan on medium heat melt the butter in the water, and then add the chocolate, breaking it into bite size pieces so they melt faster.

Swirl the pan around while the chocolate melts, then drip in the vanilla syrup and with great gusto mix it all together to a luscious and glossy mixture, before setting it aside to cool.

For the ganache:

In a saucepan over low heat combine the blackberries, sugar, balsamic vinegar and lemon juice. Let it simmer over a low heat for 10 minutes, then set it aside to cool.

I like to mash the blackberries at bit with the back of a spoon at this point to really combine it all and make it into one syrupy and soft sauce.

Once cooled it´s ready to be used.

For the cake:

Mix together in a bowl the cocoa powder and muscovado sugar with the boiling water. 

I like to sift the cocoa as I mix it in so as to avoid lumps in the batter.

In another bowl mix room temperature butter with sugar to a fluffy almost white mixture, feel free to ue and hand mixer as your arms will ache for days attempting this with bare muscle power.

Then whisk in one egg at the time.

I like mixing the flour and baking soda and baking powder together first and then sifting and folding it into the sugar and butter batter, so as to keep as much fluff as possible.

Then fold in the cocoa mixture folding to keep the air in.

Set aside.

Grease two cake tins with butter making sure you cover every nook, before dividing the batter between the two cake tins.

Pop them in the middle of the oven, till a toothpick comes out clean, about 25-30 min depending on the oven.

Let the cake tins rest on a rack for 5 min before removing the cakes, and leaving them for another 10 min to cool down.

On a serving tray plonk the first cake down, then slather on the first chocolate frosting layer, keeping enough to cover the top and sides of the cake once you´ve put the top layer on.

Follow up by generously spreading on top of the frosting, a layer of blackberry ganache. 

Plonk the top layer of cake on, and get down with the frosting, decorating the cake as beautiful or rustic as you want with the remaining chocolate frosting, before adding a handful of fresh blackberries to the top like a wee seasonal crown.

Sprinkle over a careful dusting of cocoa powder, and serve with a warm cup of tea, or a cooling glass of slow gin, as shown in the firs picture..


Norwegian "Rømmegrøt", a delighfully smooth sour cream porridge...

The season has changed, the leaves are beginning to blush ever so slightly, and the temperature has cooled enough for me to begin ligthing the fireplace, and I couldn't be happier.

If I was a season, I´d be autumn.

My tweed jackets are all dusted and hanging on little hooks above the wellies in the hallway, which one of course can never get enough of, wellies or tweed, I mean this is England after all.

Almost every morning at this time of the year opens its daily chapter with a dash of fog, the kind that brings a blanket of cool and magic over the green rolling landscape.

Now, don't get me wrong, the sun makes me ever so delighted, as its rays gently caress my cheeks and warm my back, but the fog brings with it that dash of fairytale, that perhaps the sun never quite does in the same way.

Besides, as the temperatures cool down, the warmth in the cottage is cracked up, fireplace roaring, something baking in the oven and bubbling away on the stove.

Chimneys all over the countryside let out little puffs of smoke as fireplace after fireplace is being put back into use after a long season of slumber.

Autumn is all about comfort food, and I long for porridges and stews from my childhood, especially this one type of sour cream silky smooth porridge my beloved mother would make.

Now it´s traditionally a summer dish, served with slices of salt cured meat and flatbread with butter, but on a day like today, where the trees are shaking nervously as the seasons pass from one to another, not knowing whether they should hold on tight to their leaves or let them go with the wind, I too feel like letting go slightly, at least as far as tradition is concerned, and snuggle up in front of the fireplace with a bowl of my mother´s famous sour cream porridge.

It may sound a bit odd, and trust me, every time I make this abroad for friends, they always have a look of someone a bit concerned that I perhaps got double cream mixed up with sour cream,  not being a native english speaker and all...but I can assure you it´s sour cream we´re looking for when shopping for ingredients to make this porridge.

It´s such a silky savoury treat, quick to make make, but it does require a little time hovering over the stove stirring the porridge into smooth perfection, no lumps in sight. 

I suggest light the fireplace, put on your favourite cooking in the kitchen soundtrack, and take this opportunity to stir as your chance to ponder what to have for dessert.

While stirring, don't be disappointed if you eagerly have a taste of the porridge, and it tastes a bit sad. It all comes together in the end, trust me, and the porridge need to boil for the flour to melt away its dusty flavour, the salt is an important bridge ingredient, but what really makes the porridge come alive is when the sugar and cinnamon is generously sprinkled on top each bowl of porridge, and a golden butter eye melt ever so seductingly in the middle, creating little steams of yellow goodness to adorn the top layer as you serve it.

As they say, the devil is in the details...;)

"Norwegian Rømme grøt"

(serves 4-6 people)



3 dl Sour cream

3,5 dl all purpose flour

6 dl whole milk

2ts ocean salt

Salted butter





tirring is the key word here, and I cannot emphasise this enough, stir the whole time, and when you do you´ll have the smoothest porridge, just the way my mother makes it on the stove in her Norwegian fjord island kitchen

Pour the sorcery in to a large pan and heat is slowly while stirring constantly over medium to low heat.

ou don't want it to boil as the butter will separate and your porridge will become oily.

Aftern a minute as the sour cream has "melted" in the pan, sprinkle in 2 dl of the flour just a little bit at the time and mix evenly before adding more.

At this point your porridge should be quite thick, so here you can begin interchanging adding a bit of milk, mix till smooth and then some more flour till smooth, all until its all mixed in.

Add the salt.

Keep stirring:) 

Allow the porridge to come to a boil and let it boil for a 2-3 minutes.

It should now have a silky smooth and quite thick consistency and is ready to serve.

Ladle up a bowl for each of your dinner guests, hover this is just as great for a comfort lunch as well.

Sprinkel generously over each bowl of porridge cinnamon and sugar, and put a dollop of salted butter in the middle.

he butter eye melt ever so slowly creating little salty yellow streets that mixes to teasingly with the warm cinnamon and sugar, and it is in this moment the porridge come s alive.

Traditionally served with "rød saft" which is a type of red strawberry lemonade.

Happy porridge making!

Roast chicken with plums on a foggy summer´s day...

In the middle of summer, on a muggy kinda of day, where the fog lays like a thick blanket, I always feel like lighting the fireplace in my wee cottage, even it it´s in the middle of summer. And I´ll admit, for days like this, I long a bit for autumn...

Not that I want summer to give heed for a cooler autumn, but I yearn for a reason to curl up inside with a blanket, a good book, with the fireplace crackling like a tender love song from a friend in the distance, and a comforting meal roasting in the oven.

Foggy days are the best days to go shopping in my village for ingredients to cook up that comforting meal, simply because its all so magical with its thatched cottages, cobblestoned streets, old churches and old school pubs.

My greengrocer´s lovely boutique, is always filled to the brim with fresh produce, both from local farmers and a wee bit more far flung places like Spain and Italy, and he always, almost intuitively knows what I´m looking for, or perhaps he takes the opportunity to slightly guide my impressionable soul towards the produce he wants sold...either way, as I entered he held up a basket with ripe and juicy red plums, that I, of course, simply couldn't resist.

"Let´s have 10 plums", I suggested, and he simply looked at me with his hands resting on his hips, "alright let´s have 20 plums", I said shyly smiling, before he got in there with both hands and happily filled my shopping tote up with these deliciously red little treats.

Of course these juicy round fruits taste like heaven, but I also adore their deep ruby like colour, that makes the sauce that I had in mind for my comfort meal that day, more like a sweet deep purple, the yummiest colour.

This is one of the many reasons I adore living in the countryside. The fresh produce, the small shops and their owners that now you by name, and the space, the green rolling hills in which I daily find such inspiration, are the perfect backdrop for my cooking.

Down through narrow streets I made my way, and payed my local butcher, who kindly gave me a few marrow bones for the Mr Whiskey, and a plump free range and organic chicken to roast up, a visit. He is such a character, and I remember well the very first time I stepped inside his shop when I first moved to the countryside.

I don't remember what I was planning on cooking that day, but he came to with a big piece of meat, took one good look at me as he placed it on the scale and said... "You would know what to do with this piece of meat would you, my love..?"

I had to smile.

Perhaps he mistook my look of sheer joy at the sight of the fine piece of meat for bewilderment at what to do with I just smiled, which usually keeps my mouth out of trouble...

Foggy days are ever so magical.

On foggy summer days, which simply are some of my favourite days, as the air is warm and the landscape is wrapped in the lovelies veil of a fairytale, nothing really beats nestling up inside a wee tea room or local pub for a warming little afternoon tea with cake.

It´s become a ritual really, to have cake on the first day of the week, foggy or not, to sort of start it off on the right kinda foot, if you know what I mean...

Those lovely little rituals that breaks up the everyday filled with routines and chores, are like sprinkles on a cake. 

So which a bursting tote, filled to the brim with plums, chicken, herbs and potatoes, I walked passed the old church in my village and took a seat by the window at a local pub for a warm afternoon tea, with a guilt free side of the loveliest sticky toffee pudding you have ever tasted...i simply must persuade the cook to share the recipe with me. 

But that is for another day...


Plum roast chicken with basil and lemon

(for 4 people)

Prep time: 15 min

Cooking time: ca 1 hour and 10 min


One free range organic chicken of ca 500g

About 6 medium sized red or purple plums.

A handful of fresh basil

1 Lemon

4 cloves of garlic

ca 75g of unsalted butter



A dash of fresh chives (optional)

Ocean salt 

Freshly ground pepper



Preheat the oven to 200 C

I usually don't rinse the chicken in cold water, put rather pat it dry with a kitchen towel. 

I also make sure to take it out of the fridge about 30 min before I´ll begin preparing it in order for the chicken to rest before hitting the oven. At this time I also take out the needed butter for it to soften a bit.

After about 30 min I gently stuff with my fingers, butter that is at room temperature, right underneath the skin on the back of the chicken.

(If you´re uncertain how to do this, go here to watch a tutorial, however feel free to butter first and season after, I find that is much less of a mess.)

Butter a medium sized pie dish with ca 3 cm edge, but you can use any roasting tray as long as there are about 3cm walls/edges to your tray to keep all the juices in, as you roast the chicken and the plums.

I usually butter the tray first and then put the whole chicken in with its backside up.

Feel free not to butter the dish, I however, I am quite the butter fiend, and I find that is simply makes the chicken more delicious...

When you´ve gently stuffed the butter underneath the chicken skin and evenly massaged it out to cover the whole back and legs, I do the same on the outside of the chicken.

I gently massage butter at room temperature all over its back, and crooks and crannies, leaving some butter knobs in little folds and nooks, before generously seasoning with ocean salt and freshly ground pepper.

Slice up a lemon into four wedges, and leave two in the carcass with a handful of fresh basil, and a few gently crushed garlic cloves with the skin on.

Around the chicken arrange the pitted and halved plums.

With the back of your hand or a knife, gently crush a few more garlic cloves with their skin on, and tuck in with the plums.

Your chicken is now ready to roast!

Roast it for about 45 min in the middle of the oven on 200 c before lowering the heat to 180 c for the remaining 30 min.

Total time in the oven is about: 1 hour and 15 min, or until the chicken has a deep and golden glow.

The plums will bubble away, and lovingly mix in with the juices from the chicken as it roasts. Every ingredients will caramelise, melt, bubble and create the most aromatic sauce for which to serve with your chicken later.

All you need to do now is to put yourself a lovely red, perhaps a Melbac, enjoy some slices of a great Italian salami, and set the table.

I usually serve this chicken with new potatoes with the skin on, scrubbed and washed, then boiled in salt water for about 20 min.

When ready bash them a few times in the pot with the lid on, butter a wee baking tray, and throw them in with a generous know of butter, and season with salt. Put in the oven for about 5 min with your chicken.

Serve warm with some fresh chives finely cut on top.


Ps: If you only are one or two people, roast this chicken up anyway, and make a lovely plum and basil  chicken ragu with pappardelle with the left overs, recipe coming up next.


Wild Garlic and an ode to the rain...

People often wonder why I moved to England, seeing as I´m born in Norway.

With eyes wide open they cannot seem to understand the words coming out of my mouth when I say I fell in love with the green rolling hills, the fog and the rain...


They utter completely bewildered.

Precisely, I say with a wry smile...

You see, that is mostly right, I do with all my heart adore the sound of rain, the smell after it has poured down for hours, the feeling of coolness in the air as it gently drizzles from the sky, and the wet mist that like beautiful Egyptian cotton softly rests on the green landscape below.

I  grew up in Norway, spent my teenage years travelling and living in Switzerland, France and Tokyo. Studied fashion design in Milano, then spent some time in Stockholm before spreading my wings and moving to the Dominican Republic in the caribbean. I studied Middle eastern studies, arabic hebrew and international relations in Malta and in the Us, before ending my "world tour" in San Francisco before returning to Norway, and wondering where I would fit in in this wonderfully big and beautiful world.

And so, while thinking of all the places I´d lived, I one day saw this little whitewashed cottage safely tucked inside a white picket fence, with a thatched roof and a hobbit entrance... and I knew this was my home...

I simply fell in love...

Have you ever had that very same feeling, that you just "know", and when you do there´s no need to ask any more questions, so you simply act... you sign the contract, get the keys and move in, trusting that time will answer all the why´s...

As the rain falls from the english sky, from gentle drizzle to wild storms that threaten to pull up by the root the ancient trees around my cottage, I feel more and more at home in this wet and foggy part of the world. 

It´s like it just fits, like a fine glove in the perfect size for your hands, or a shoe that doesn't knead your feet into a sore lump by the end of a wander in the woods, but rather hugs them and brings warmth and comfort with every step.

Theres also something to be said about the utter bliss of snuggling up inside when the clouds turn bleak and grey.

To simply sit there with a cup of tea or rather in the evening, a little glass of wine, waiting for the clouds to deliver as promised the refreshing rain, that encourages every garden to become a jungle in a matter of days.

I often celebrate these evening, and always feel like a treat is in order.

I´m partial to a cake with my afternoon tea, however with that glass of wine in the evening, it´s savoury treat I crave.

At 15 and 16 years of age, I spent my summers in Switzerland working on my german, where at every breakfast I would wander down to a table set for one with jams, honey, bread, tea and cheeses, one of the cheese was the classic Boursin with garlic and herbs.

The first few days I stuck to my bread with butter and honey, but then one day I reached across the table and had my very first encounter with the savoury cheese that instantly brought back memories of my beloved mother´s garden in Norway filled to the brim with her love for herbs.


Perhaps it was my young impressionable soul, or perhaps it was love at first bite, the very same way, I fell in love with my cottage, but ever since,  when feeling like a treat, I reach for that Boursin cheese in the store and carry it home the way one would with something a wee bit precious.

These days, ever since the wild garlic blossomed and filled the forest with that distinctive fragrance of garlic, I´ve cooked with it like there was no tomorrow, and in a moment of decadence, I reached for the cheese, a handful of wild garlic, created a savoury treat to go with that very glass of white cooling in the fridge.

It´s a savoury madeleine of sorts, with hints of the forest that goes perfectly well with a white wine with some sweet notes and on the not too dry side of things.

So when it rains, theres no need to go blue, just get baking, light the fire and lean back with that glass of wine.

And now that I´ve found my home in the green english countryside, if you pass by on a particularly grey evening, my thatched cottage will be the one with little smoke puffs coming out of the chimney, like smoke from the old steam trains, and with a warm glow from the fireplace beaming from its windows.

Savory wild garlic Madeleines


 45g of  all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon sea salt

1 large egg, lightly beaten

75g Boursin garlic and herbs or boursin pepper for a bit more bite.

50g freshly grated Gruyere

1 tablespoon finely minced fresh wild garlic (or chives)

1 tablespoon freshly ground pepper

A tiny bit of milk if the dough is too dry.




Preheat your oven to 425℉.

Butter your madeleine pan even if it's already labeled as nonstick.

In a food processor, combine all the ingredients, keeping the Gruyere and wild garlic till it´s all blended well, then add and combine till you have a smooth and creamy dough.

With two spoons, spoon the batter onto the madeleine molds and bake in the center rack of your oven for about 10-12 minutes or until firm and golden.

Beware they go from light golden, which is what you want, to dark brown in seconds, so keep an eye out.

Remove from oven when done, and cool them for a few minutes before serving on a rack.

Serve warm with a glass of wine.

                 A opinions, stories and recipes above are my own, made in collaboration with Boursin.                  To enter their competition in winning a dinner for two at the Le Gavroche, click  here.

                A opinions, stories and recipes above are my own, made in collaboration with Boursin.

                To enter their competition in winning a dinner for two at the Le Gavroche, click here.

Bon appetito!

A Tuscan artist villa, and prosecco for breakfast...

A couple of weeks ago, I visited my beloved Italy.

Ever since I studied Fashion design in Milano at the age of 19, and Art History and Caravaggio in Rome a few years later. It´s become my second home that I return to again and again.

This time around a wee trip to Tuscany, or paradise, either name fits, at least that´s what our driver told us as he skilfully manoeuvred the car through quaint little mountaintop villages and ridge lines, before turning onto an unassuming pathway of sorts, that eventually led us to the most charming retreat.

I´m not much of a resort traveller, I enjoy the more private and intimate, perhaps with a dash of old school history and with a bit of soul.

So I was pleasantly surprised at how tucked away and intimate it felt to stay at the lovely Villa Lena in the heart of Tuscany. A lovely hotel with soul.

Now, this place isn't just another Tuscan Villa, and perhaps that´s why I felt so at home there, as their main villa, a family house of sorts was filled to the brim with creatives, artists in residence that stay for a number of weeks or months to create, freely, from the heart however they feel inspired too.

They all have studios down a sandy path and to the right of an olive grove, but they all live together like one big family in the old villa.

So as a guest at the hotelI, with a beautiful room above the converted old stable, I thoroughly enjoyed the creative buzz that practically filled the air we breathed. 

In the gentle heat of a Tuscan spring on the verge of summer, I got up early and went to bed late, wandering slowly through the villa, and its surroundings, taking it all in, breathing deep and recharging.

Early one morning after an enchanting house concert the night before by one of the artists in residence the musician..... I raised with the sun, and accompanied only by a few birds singing in "Italian", I ended up taking a seat in the villa´s organic garden dreaming of my own garden, that one day hopefully will look a little like this one.

Beautifully laid-back, yet organised,  and filled to he brim with fresh vegetables that my mind translated into little dishes, the ones casually spread out on a table with drink before dinner with friends on a warm summers day...

And luckily, I found a kindred spirit that morning.

In chic leather sandals, that I secretly coveted, Alexis Delaney, the chef in residence from New York, greeted me warmly and walked me through the villa´s garden, talked about the slow food movement, and we may or may not have bonded over our love fore the brilliant Alice Waters and breton striped tops.

As the sun rose and morning began nibbling on noon, she heard my belly rumble a bit, as I had skipped breakfast for a wee hike to the top of the mountain on the estate that morning, and was indeed ripe for a nibble or two.

I followed her around the garden and we picked the loveliest butter yellow zucchini flowers, ready to be deep fried and dipped in an anchovy mayonnaise with a naughty little side of Prosecco.

I could only but smile as here was a woman after mine own heart

So after a few skilful minutes in the Villa´s restaurant kitchen over a refreshing pitcher of mint and cucumber water, Alexi mixed together a Prosecco batter for the zucchini flowers.

«Remember», she told me and lifted her gaze from the batter mixing, «without a bit of fizz, the batter doesn't get as airy and crisp».

I took mental notes, and thought to myself that a quality bottle of a local Prosecco was as good of a fizz as any.

With a bottle of the remaining Prosecco. some glasses, and the fried treat in hand we made our way to the villa´s backyard «family» table, took a seat and talked food like there was no tomorrow.

Luckily Alexis was willing to share her recipe with me, so here it is, in my case breakfast, but probably more suited as a wee apritivo snack, a starter or as a treat on its own eaten in the garden with dear friends as the sun sets.

It´s always such a treat to meet people and especially women who follow their own dreams, who keep walking and who make their dreams come true, without sounding too cheesy, one deep fried zucchini flower at a time, or in the owner of Villa Lena´s case, one artist in residence at the time.

What I think inspires me the most in addition to their vision, is their passionate faith in their dreams, the diligent and patient work in making  their dreams come true, and to never give up.

As I sit here in my wee english cottage writing this post, I feel excited about the future and ready to leap, once again, out of that comfort zone and into the unknown… 

Here´s to following ones dreams!

Don't forget to serve up the remaining precious drops of Prosecco with the zucchini flowers.

Chin, chin..!

Fried Zucchini Blossoms:


Vegetable oil for frying

Up to 2 dozen Zucchini blossoms, ideally with tiny zucchini attached

80 g flour 

60 g rice flour

325 ml prosecco 

sea salt 


Gently wash blossoms and baby zucchini in a bowl of water and remove to a towel to dry. Fill a pot with vegetable oil no higher than halfway, or you run the risk of boiling over. Heat the oil until a deep fry thermometer reads 350 degrees F or 180 degrees C. Prepare batter by whisking both flours and prosecco until just barely combined. Do not over mix. Working in batches of four or five, dip blossoms in batter until evenly coated and lay them in the oil. Avoid over crowding the pan. After a minute, flip the blossoms once with a slotted spoon, fry another minute, and remove to a paper towel. They should take no more than 2-3 minutes, and should be a golden brown. Season liberally with good sea salt and enjoy as soon as they are cool enough to handle. Serve with anchovy mayonnaise and a small glass of prosecco! 


Anchovy Mayonnaise:


1 egg yolk 

1 T lemon juice

3/4 c. vegetable oil 

1/4 c. olive oil 

1 clove garlic 

4 anchovy filets 

salt to taste 


Whisk egg yolk and lemon juice until light in color. Very slowly, drop by drop, stream in first the vegetable oil and then the olive oil. Pound the clove of garlic and the anchovy filets in a mortar and pestle until smooth. Whisk into the mayonnaise, let stand for one minute and then check the seasoning, adding a pinch of salt if needed.