It’s breakfast time!

I Melbourne er frokost og brunch så vanvittig big deal!

Jeg har tidligere skrevet om fenomenet i denne artikkelen.

Frokost og/eller brunch er alles favorittmåltid, og nytes i fulle drag over hele byen, hver eneste dag.

Jeg må innrømme: det er mitt favorittmåltid også!

Å nyte en god frokost på en fortauskafe, med en deilig kopp kaffe ved siden av, og sol fra skyfri himmel – det blir bare ikke bedre!

Bon appetitt!

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Av og til

Av og til ønsker jeg at jeg stepper ut av huset mitt en tidlig, sol-full morgen. At døren låses automatisk bak meg mens jeg åpner porten og kommer ut på veien. At jeg tripper nedover gaten og kjenner at varmen fra solen allerede er sterk i ryggen. Jeg krysser veien, i skjørt og topp, mens en tynn cardigan ligger og hviler vesken. Jeg stikker ned en sidegate, den som er litt raskere, og trekker pusten dypt mens jeg smiler litt. Tenker at disse øyeblikkene, de må jeg huske den dagen jeg er tilbake i Norge og vinteren står på som verst. For selv om jeg er trøtt, og jeg skal på jobb, og det bare er en vanlig tirsdag i dag, så nærmest dirrer luften av spenning. Det er alle tingene inni mellom som gjør det, alle de små magiske øyeblikkene som følger en dag. Jeg er utendørs, det er sommer, og trærne er grønne, og jeg tenker at det huset der borte, det hadde det vært fint å bodd i. Kanskje en dag?

Jeg nærmer meg togstasjonen, stopper for en kaffe på hjørnet like ved. Jeg blir smilt til, snakket med, jeg venter mens jeg blar i dagens avis, sniffer inn lukten av ny brent kaffe og bacon, får med meg kaffen ut døren og traver opp på perrongen mens toget ruller inn på plattformen. Jeg smetter inn døren, er heldig og finner en sitteplass innimellom alle de andre som er på vei til jobb denne morgenen. Ørepropper i ørene, musikken på, smugtitting på de andre passasjerene mens soundtracket til livet mitt ruller avgårde.

Det er bare en ny dag. En ny dag i et fantastisk liv.

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Where’s that hipster cafe and where’s my coffee?

When I was living in Melbourne, it was never a far walk to my nearest hipster joint to pick up a deliciously prepared coffee every morning. Nor was it ever a far walk to a cafe that served to-die-for breakfasts on the weekend, or somewhere to grab a bite when you got home after work and realised all you had in your fridge was a piece of cabbage and an old jar of strawberry jam. The last suburb I lived in was Yarraville, a place booming with everything delicious and of course ‘hipster’ (the two just seem to have a lot in common). Just walking into the village on a sunday morning was an epic journey in itself, and you could smell the fresh coffee beans roasting from well beyond the train station. After breakfast, I’d pick up a lovely sourdough loaf from the local bakery, along with a cheeky croissant or two, and walk home in the early afternoon sunshine, contemplating where to have dinner that night. Ah the choices, the choices.

Going into the city and picking between sushi or laksa, Chinese or italian, Vietnamese or traditional British, Malaysian or Indian, contemporary Australian or Greek – the food choices are endless, in the multicultural hotpot that is Melbourne. Hell, I’m sure you could even pick up more authentic Japanese cuisine than in Japan. Melbourne is just that kind of city. Everything is real. Everything is awesome.

Now, anyone that has crossed my path would well know that I have been an Australian convert for many years. I have praised the laid back lifestyle, the open-minded and witty people, the fact that wine seems to compliment pretty much every meal (even breakfast at times), not to mention the rich multicultural society that gives Australia some of the best food and restaurants in the world (without a doubt!). And don’t get me started on the weather. I’ve never been one for snow, cold winters and rain. In other words, Australia has been my absolute Mecca!

Now that I’m back living in Norway, I’m having issues accepting that these wonderful things are suddenly gone from my life. Don’t get me wrong – Norway is great. It’s just different. For example, it’s hard to get a decent cup of coffee out of any major city. Sometimes it can even be hard to get a good one IN a major city . ‘Single, or double’ the waitress asks looking at me like it’s the most commonly asked question in the world. For some reason, coffee isn’t small, medium or large over here. All they want to know from me is whether or not I’d like a single or double shot of coffee. The size, or amount of milk poured in, is not even remotely up to me. One time, I got a coffee served in a soup bowl. I was confused to say the least. Another trend seems to be to serve a cafe latte with a plastic straw.  I guess the reasoning behind it is that it’s a coffee with much more milk therefore aligning it with the milkshake family.

Then there’s the food. Now I do love my Norwegian food, and I do getamungstit with both liver pate and brown goat’s cheese. It’s just that no matter where you live, it’s nice to change it up once in a while. Like go to a proper Italian restaurant for a wood fire pizza, or how about Greek for fried saganaki, and I’m simply hanging for some authentic Chinese dumplings. However, this is simply a no-can-do over here. These immigrants just aren’t around to set up their restaurants. Instead, we have a few Pakistani kebab stores, and a few Chinese restaurants that have clearly done the whole Norwegian interpretation of their food (making it more suitable to the Norwegian pallet), except all it does is break the heart of someone who actually knows how Chinese food is meant to taste (and let me tell you there’s much more to it than simply throwing in a bit of oyster sauce). So, you may ask, what’s all this whinging about? Why don’t you just try and make this at home? Just try and re-create some great Mediterranean or Asian dishes in the comfort of your own kitchen. Yes, of course, that is all completely possible, and it’s just what we’ve been trying do. It would just be nice, every once in a while, to have the option to go out. Other than that, I suppose we can always fly straight to Rome for pasta, or Paris for cheese. It is, after all, just a few hours away.

There is obviously a lot on offer in Norwegian cities. I’m sure Oslo has a wide selection of cafe’s and restaurants, and so does Bergen, which is the town I live close to. However, out here in the suburbs, around 30 kilometres from Bergen town, it is simply just not happening. There are supermarkets, check, shopping malls, check, petrol stations, check, but no hipster cafes or cool coffee bars. No wine bar down the road, or excellent Mediterranean restaurants close by. Sometimes this new mother would have loved to leave the house with my baby-in-pram, head down the road and immerse myself in an inspirational coffee house. Forget for a moment that my hair is unwashed, tied up in a hopeless bun, because I didn’t have time to wash my hair today; hungry and coffee craving, because it was just too hard to butter up a sandwich at home with an infant in tow; to see other new mothers there, with their jumpers on inside-out, no make-up and that desperate look on their faces saying ‘I need a coffee, and you better make it a strong one!!’

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pizza & old farms

When I lived in Melbourne, dinner at a restaurant was common practice several times a week, and Italian wood fire pizzas one of my absolute favourites. Now that I’m back in Norway, authentic wood fire pizza is unfortunately not so easy to come by, that is unless you make it yourself. So this Saturday, Matt bought a pizza stone, which is literally just a stone you heat in the oven and put the pizza on to bake. We made some the same day, and it was divine! I recommend simple toppings such as pepperoni, mozzarella, anchovies, parmesan and basil.

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We also visited an old farm on the weekend, that didn’t even have a road connected to it. The weather was warm & sunny, and we walked through a little forrest to get there. The main house was from 1868 and it was all so typically Norwegian that I almost wanted to buy it, get some goats and live happily ever after!

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it’s yours

“…that thing you want, that thing that feels like it’s a hundred miles away…it’s yours. It always has been. All you have to do is go and get it with starlight and butterflies…”

This week has been a reminder to myself that whatever it is that I’m seeking, all I need to do is to reach out and grab it. Too much effort is put into thinking about what we don’t have or supposedly can’t have, rather than what we actually have and are able to obtain if we try hard enough. Trust me, I understand, because I’m a master of this myself. I have since realised that the world consists of two types of people: the ones who do and the ones who think about doing. Which one are you?

I had the privilege of sitting in a beautiful little park in East Melbourne after work one night this week. It was 20 degrees and  comfortably overcast, with a mild wind carrying with it the smell of freshly sprung spring flowers, and I was in heaven.

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I discovered a little quiet street behind my noisy work street, where birds were chirping and I could sit down and recharge my batteries for 10 minutes before heading back to the busy workday.

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I stumbled across a divine Saturday morning Makers Market, where people were selling the beautiful things they had made themselves.

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I picked up these home made treasures for myself:

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Just remember. It’s yours.

a place on the river

Recently, I spent a day in Footscray, a suburb in Melbourne’s inner west.

There is plenty to be excited about in Footscray. Firstly because the suburb is characterised by a very diverse, multicultural central shopping area, which reflects the successive waves of immigration experienced by Melbourne, and by Footscray in particular. Once a centre for Italian and former Yugoslavian migrants, it is now a hub for Vietnamese, and increasingly, East African immigrants in Melbourne.

Interestingly, Footscray is named after Foots Cray, on the River Cray in Kent, England (UK).  For over 40,000 year, Footscray was home to the Aboriginal Woimurrung and Boonwurrung tribes of the Kulin nation.  In 2011, Footscray’s 13,193 residents came from an impressive 135 countries. Needless to say, the restaurant scene is booming with different cuisines and there are currently about 30 Vietnamese restaurants, 20 Indian, 17 Chinese and several African, Australian, Indonesian, Italian, Thai, Turkish, Malaysian, Portuguese, Korean and Japanese restaurants.

Stats from 2006 show that less than half of Footscray’s population (41.1%) was born in Australia, and the main countries of overseas origin are Vietnam, China, India, United Kingdom and Italy. In the 21st Century, Maribyrnong municipality of which Footscray is a part of saw a major increase in residents from Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Burma, including a large proportion of refugees.

At a first glance, Footscray may seem like a dirty, neglected and perhaps dangerous place. If you take a closer look however, there is evidence of great social connectivity all around. This is particularly evident in the way many residents know each other’s first names, and the many people chatting with each other in the streets. A friend of mine rode his bike through Footscray and told me that when his bike suddenly broke down in the main mall, several individuals came to his rescue and in a joint effort they were able to fix his bike. When going to the Footscray market, a widely known institution, there are plenty of conversations to be had with the various fruit and vegetable merchants. It’s all about establishing a relationship with your butcher or fruit vendor. In the restaurants, the hospitality is warm, welcoming and down to earth. At the various bakeries and cake shops, whether it’s Italian or Vietnamese, there is a sense of pride related to the sharing of cultures and traditions. To me, Footscray is where postcolonial Australia really takes form and demonstrates what a multicultural society is all about. Footscray intrigues me so much that I have started photographing life in the suburb. I’ll share more as I go, but for now I have some photos from my initial visit. Please click on the photos to view them in a larger format.

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hello winter

I’ve got the post holiday bluuueees…..no wonder, considering how cold it’s been in Melbourne lately! I thought spending July in Europe and Asia meant the worst of the coldness took place while you sipped mojitos in Bali. However waking up to extreme winds and rain this morning brought some serious doubt to that theory. Even though it turned sunny in the afternoon, the winds felt arctic and went straight through my glorious winter coat. I have to say that after 11 years in Australia, I still can’t get used to these freezing houses we live in! Al though I finally have ducted heating in my house (hurrah!), I still seem to spend my days sipping ridiculous amounts of tea & coffee, and jumping into a downward dog every now and then just to make sure the blood is still circulating! Anyway, here are some photos from my out & abouting today. I welcome the return of the winter boots and coat! Along with the jetlag, it’s really making my life complete!

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By the way, did you hear the news of how the Norwegian PM became a cabbie for the afternoon as part of the 2013 Norwegian election campaign? If not check it here.

Something for K Rudd and T Demolition to think about?

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Ai, ai ai, Norwegian Wood has been quiet for way too long! My sincere apologies to all you great people out there.

I’ve just been having too much fun! How you say? Well, it certainly involved leaving dreary, wintery Melbourne behind. So after a quick stop over for some much needed rays in Bali, we headed off to…  (drumroll)…Norway! Had a fantastic time; ate lots of untoasted bread with liver pate and hiked up mountains just for the sake of it. Norwegian living at its best!

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breakfast (638 ways)

Breakfast. It’s the new dinner. All over Melbourne, people are ditching the old classic ‘toast with vegemite’ for a deliciously cooked breakfast, and I’m not talking about the traditional bacon and eggs. The varieties are endless, and it seems the more unconventional, the more exciting. What may have started out as a bit of sassy avocado on the side, has now evolved into breakfast on steroids. There are Middle Eastern breakfasts, Spanish breakfasts, Mexican breakfasts and Singaporean breakfasts. There are croissants and baguettes, straight from the boulangerie, and various 1950s inspired fruit buns and scones from the hipster bakery around the corner (and yes, that is an apron from your grandma’s collection they are wearing). You can order the crocodile and emu sausage, cooked in a skillet with spinach and melted Yarra Valley cheddar, or the haloumi stack with potato hash, poached eggs and Egyptian dukkah. Or how about poached eggs on a lemon infused roquet salad with parmesan cheese, Tasmanian smoked salmon and smashed avocado (I once got a lemon wedge on the side of my breakfast, and got scared and chucked it on the floor because I didn’t know what to do with it). In fact, it shouldn’t really be necessary to eat anything else on the day of your chosen brekkie, because you’ve already covered lunch and dinner IN the serving (not to mention at least 5 of the essential food groups). Don’t get me wrong, I’m always happy to step away from the dry piece of toast first thing in the morning. I’m just really curious to see what’s next in the world of over the top (otherwise known as OTT) breakfast varieties. Perhaps it will be meatballs (3 ways) on sourdough with creme anglaise and a touch of peanut butter caramel sauce? Or twice cooked pork belly with poached eggs and fried porchini mushrooms? Every day of the week, and it doesn’t even have to be the weekend, people cram themselves into tiny inner city Cafe localities, containing more tables than they can really fit in, to enjoy the comfort of a fabulously cooked breakfast and barista quality coffee (btw, it’s no longer good enough to drink coffee from your $1000 coffee machine at home, ok?). Young families throw their kids into retro, vintage high chairs and tell them to save the crying for later, as the parents are on a quest for the perfect breakfast. While the kids are hanging off their chairs and whinging for brekkie at Maccas, their parents are frothing in whipped avocado, sourdough bakery goods and double smoked Italian pancetta, (organic of course), and free range, and ethically sourced and produced and, and hang on, if it’s made in Italy, doesn’t that mean a massive carbon footprint..?…Anyway, moving on, if you are one of those people who dare to whip up a brekkie at home, make sure you hide under your bed whilst consuming it, as the monster Cafe brekkies will point the finger at you and laugh in that ‘muahhhaaaahaaaaa’ kinda way. It could almost make you go nostalgic on instant coffee and toasted crumpets!

Meanwhile, my husband is still trying to supress his memory of breakfast in Norway, where he was forced (he says forced, I will only account for coerced) into downing liver pate on untoasted rye bread before 9 am on Sunday mornings, whilst nipping at the cold meats selection on hand (I think the special Christmas meats he referred to as ‘Frankenstein meats’ were his favourite) and getting thrown the occasional piece of mustard infused herring (or rotten fish as he so fondly nicknamed it). However by the way things are going, maybe this could be the latest trend to hit Melbourne? After all, that’s just what this city needs: another breakfast variety to make your head spin before 10 am on an otherwise peaceful Saturday morning!

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