Life

Beautiful Stark Direwolves

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I sometimes browse DeviantArt and the realization hits me fresh in the face every time: There is so much good art on the internet.

What a magnificent tool to present, express and develop your talent in a way that was never possible before. You can promote yourself commercially, too. Freelance has never been easier. Work from anywhere, anytime. Offer your illustration services for a price, with quite a few examples for demonstration. No applications, no credentials; just plain old demonstration. Get paid in bitcoin. If you are good and make sure to be visible; pretty soon the jobs will come raining down on you. And it’s so … free. No publishing or paper costs (unless by choice, of course). 

Just look at these direwolves! Just like I imagine them. Their gazes are so intense and their pelts gorgeous. All in some undefined cold desolation – beyond the Wall, perhaps – with “Mormont’s Torch” lighting their way. Ahh.

Artwork: http://jessyr.deviantart.com/art/The-Direwolves-of-Westeros-327679135. By user Jessy Ross.

My intent is only display – hope this is sufficient 🙂

Coffee, Butter and Bitcoin

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My morning cup of coffee with grassfed butter in Amsterdam. This is such a luxury as there is not one single brand of grassfed butter in Norway (where I was born and still temporarily live). I guess I could find a way to mail order a box of Kerrygold, but places like amazon don’t ship edibles to Norway, and the customs system is a bureaucratic mess of high taxes … *le sigh*. Time to get out … anyway, I’m in Amsterdam for the bitcoin convention this weekend. Never heard of bitcoin? Ok, let me give you a quick introduction! 

Bitcoin allows you to pay with your smartphone instantly, with a few seconds delay, to anywhere on the globe completely without transaction fees. It is safer, faster and cheaper than anything like PayPal, Visa or Mastercard. Visa and Mastercard weren’t designed for the internet. Bitcoin is. Its security is based on cryptography rather than a third party like a bank or credit card company. Let’s not go into the detail, but you had to leave the fastest existing computer working practically eternally to guess the astoundingly large numbers protecting bitcoin.

Bitcoin

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If desired, bitcoin is anonymous. Bitcoin will make it possible to donate to charity so that 100% of the money will go to those who need it – because the donations happen without all the third parties who always need their share. Crowdfunding will be super easy. Sending money to loved ones in a distant country will be instant and free. WordPress (this web hosting service) actually accepts bitcoin as subscription payment. See bitcoin.org for more information (and a cool introduction video).

So back to the butter: it is both with unbearable delight and frustrated despair that I consume this golden, caffeinated brew. Imagine living in a dark cellar for most of your life – you know there is something called “the sun” up there, and that it is beautiful; yet you’ve never seen it. Then you’re let out for a few hours into dashing sunlight, but knowing it is only for a short time you appreciate it bittersweetly. That’s how I feel eating grassfed butter. See you guys!

A Taste of Provence

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French cuisine always had a special place in my heart. No, it’s not all about baguettes – it’s much, much more. Ingredients are mostly local: fish from the Mediterranean Sea; tomatoes, squash and salad from local farms; olive oil from centuries old mills; local wine and cheese; high quality meat etc. I love the fact that they don’t seem to save the good stuff in restaurants – whenever you get a salad, even just a couple of leaves next to the main course, it’s always sprinkled with a homemade vinaigrette. France is actually quite paleo friendly as long as you refrain from eating all the bread they keep throwing at you during restaurant visits. And the croissants. And the pain-au-chocolats. And the crêpes. But yes yes; very paleo friendly.

Here are some of the highlights from my very recent (in fact I am still there) gastronomic tour of southern France. Bon appétit!

Roasted, locally farmed chicken w/ratatouille:

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Selection of grilled mediterranean seafood w/salad and mashed potatoes w/olive oil:

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Salad of tuna and celery sprinkled w/olive oil and balsamic vinegar:
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Salad w/grilled squid:

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Omelet w/bacon and emmetal cheese, salad and a beautifully viscous vinaigrette of lemon juice and olive oil:

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Salmon mousse w/cream:

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Lamb w/herbs, mushrooms, vegetables and carrot purée:

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Chicken w/vegetables and a chive cream sauce:

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Salad of cured duck, fried duck, foie gras and roasted potatoes:

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… and the obligatory glass of rosé wine.

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I use Trip Advisor and instantly find the best restaurants nearby. I have been in the area before: see this delicious recipe for quail in raspberry vinegar that I made as a participant of a five day cooking school the last time I was in France.

Not paleo, but just I want to show you our breakfast table at the guest house. Isn’t it cozy?

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Garden Update: Crops Coming On

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Time for an update on my newbie botanical project! Trying to keep track of everything I’ve learned this year proves a challenge. I document some things and trust my memory with others, but … I’ll probably have to make some of the same mistakes again. And that’s ok. I have a lifetime for that.

And boy is this fun! Feelin’ dat dirt on my fingers, like there’s sum connection to mother earth, a greater meaning to it all, yo? No? I’m a huge fan of geometry and the slightly ordered chaos, so I’ve arranged my kitchen garden as a double hexagon – by way of digging down planks of appropriate length and at proper distance so I can reach out from both sides. The plants are somewhat arbitrarily placed in the resulting lanes, but as long as there is some framework it’s easy to maintain. Works like that with most things, really. And of course it looks good.

Earlier this year:

2013-07-05 12.16.58Now:

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Vegetables

I’ve exclusively chosen to grow what I would later like to eat. I always keep that in mind when caring for my veggies. Here are some of them:

2013-07-30 15.00.21Fennel.

 

2013-07-30 15.00.28Arugula.

 

2013-07-30 15.01.56Pumpkin. Hoping for a big one.

 

2013-07-30 15.05.03Strawberry.

 

2013-07-30 15.00.59Green squash.

 

2013-07-05 12.16.40Baby leaf salad.

 

2013-07-30 15.00.36Spaghetti squash. I have never eaten it, and can’t wait till they’re ripe. I shall make ALL the pasta sauces!

 

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Kale.

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Carrot.

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More salads: baby leaf, spinach and arugula.

 

2013-07-05 12.27.10Tomatoes. Not cultivated by me.

Herbs

My herbs are mostly perennial. I just love to bring a basket and scissors to collect some thyme, mint and oregano for the stew!

2013-07-30 15.04.08 2013-07-30 15.04.01Thymes.

 

2013-07-30 15.02.33Peppermint.

 

2013-07-05 12.16.33Flat leaf parsley.

 

2013-07-05 12.36.46Chives.

Nasturtium Love ❤

Ever since I saw The Hobbit I wanted to recreate a Shire garden. The flowers most notable were nasturtiums and hollyhocks. I ordered several strains of nasturtiums, and they’re doing well! Their flowers are edible too, and give a salad or dessert a beautiful finishing touch. Not exactly Bag End yet – but we’ll get there, we’ll get there.

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