Monday, 1 October 2007

Quiet Days!

Life is very different in Northern Norway compared to what life was like living in England. It took me a while to get used to the slow pace here, sometimes I even got frustrated with it. People take time to respond to emails and telephone calls, people are not interested in work outside working hours and life grinds to a halt at weekends and holiday times. Of course, there are many benefits to this lifestyle. Family is valued above anything else and sitting with friends over coffee is a huge past-time. When we first moved here I often forgot that the shops mainly close at 1400 on a saturday (I was used to taking a full shopping day on a Saturday back in the UK), I forgot that you cannot buy beer after 2000 hours. I forgot you can only buy wine at a governmnet outlet which closes at 1600 weekdays and 1500 on a Saturday. I forgot that nowhere except the odd petrol station is open on a Sunday. Compared to the UK where food stores are open 24 hours, Sunday is a day to travel to outlet villages for shopping trips or to go the the garden centre or DIY store. I wonder how much more frustrated I would have been in those early days as a vegan! I need to travel to a health store to get necessary items and if I forget I'm just stuck! So with a family it is important I know what I need, when I need it!

I have a local health food store now who I can use for limited items. I can get dried beans, organic rice, pasta, tinned veggie meatballs, veggie hot dogs and soya milk. I request things but it is so difficult for them as they tell me how much they throw away because people just don't buy it! They have kindly got in just for us, tofu and rice pasta and I'm trying to make a case for vegan sandwich spreads ('Tartex' and 'Tofutti' I can get if I travel for an hour and a half) and soya milk with B12. I'll keep you posted on my progress.

So, I find it is best for me to have plenty of raw ingredients at home so I don't find myself in a situation without food! Saying that I have noticed the huge benefits of a vegan diet is most things go into your cupboard and not your fridge and although I spend more on certain items, my food bill has come down.

Yesterday I spent some time in the kitchen. I have started to cook more and am really enjoying it. Heidi chips in too, she loves helping to kneed bread and stir casseroles. I had 2 new vegan cookbooks to hand and thought I'd try some new things. As you can't buy anything on a Sunday I was forced to adapt some of the recipes but thankfully things turned out really well. I'll not write down the recipes yet as I think I need to tweak them a bit to get them perfect but for a first attempt I was over the moon. The results were the most delicious soup I'd ever made (a Mediterranean tomato and veg soup), a variety of bread and a carrot, banana and walnut cake with orange topping. Heidi had a bit of everything and Miller had some bread and I made him some mashed potatoes with carrot and spinach. My husband Matthew commented on how impressed he was with both my cooking and my desire to do it!

So, now I am enjoying the quiet days here in Norway. I cook, I practice some yoga, I read or listen to podcasts - and yes I do actually have 2 children under 2 but when you are relaxed, so are your children...most of the time!

Signing off now as Miller wants to play!


Marina said...

Have you considered making your own spreads?

The only soy product we use is Silk creamer for my coffee, and frankly, I could probably do without. It's just an old habit from the days I used to put milk in my coffee. I've been making my own rice milk and almond milk for hot cocoa, cereal, and cooking.

As for the soy based foods (tofu, meatballs, etc.), we gave those up years ago about the same time we realized they're not needed for meeting protein needs (10% of daily intake - broccoli provides 45% all by itself). Nowadays, we may get the occasional veggie burger when eating out and nothing else is available, but we no longer buy them for home meals. Similarly, soy cheeses are so over-processed that they are anything but good for health, so, we don't bother with those either. I do confess having some soy parmesan crumbles in the fridge. :o) They've been there for ages, but every now and then I sprinkle some on pasta. Usually, though, I prefer dried chili peppers instead! Yum!

Jill Forrest said...

Yesterday I made a delicious mushroom and almond pate - also tried lentil based ones but not turned out that well yet! I actually like tofu and some substitutes so I can make things like spaghetti bolognese...and I think you are lucky to get a veggie burger if out, I went to a fast food place here and asked for a veggie burger when i first moved, she just gave me a bun with the salad and tomato on and charger me the same price, live and learn!

Marina said...

Aw, geez. That's not much of a sandwich. The pate sounds wonderful. If you have time, and if you feel like it, maybe you'll post the recipe? :o)

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