As I write this, my eyes and mind are snow?-drifting off to the snowy scene outside my window. Yes it is March, I live in Spain and it is snowing. The last few months have been back to front, with unseasonably early warm weather and now unseasonably cold with snow. I can only hope that the precocious plants and trees are not going to suffer too much.
This winter scene also has me thinking of a relatively recent trip to Norway. Today’s recipe is from that trip……..
One March a couple of years ago I was invited to a cabin in Telemark, Norway. The cabin was situated in the mountains close to the town of Rjukan, famous for the hydroelectric plant that the Germans used in WWII for the extraction of heavy water. “Heroes of Telemark”, the most famous of several films, describes the area and the allied attempts to stop the production of heavy water. One of the most interesting evenings in the cabin was when an aged local told us the true story of the events there during the war. There were in fact four separate attacks on the hydroelectric plant. Interestingly, the attack that actually stopped production was performed by ten allied troops without a shot being fired. The majority of the film is dedicated to this last attack and there is considerably more lead flying. The true story is much more about survival against the elements and an entry into the plant via a route the Germans thought was impossible….. but I guess that doesn’t sell as well as bullets and blood!
There were nine of us invited to the cabin, by the owner who made up a total of ten people. We agreed to split up the tasks so one of us was responsible for the taking the snow scooter down to the river each day for water, as there was no running water. Another was responsible for lighting the candles, all fifty or so of them, as there was no electricity. Yet another was responsible for the firewood and keeping the fires themselves lit, as this was the only form of heating. Surprisingly to none, I volunteered to cook.
I had no real idea of what the kitchen would be like nor what utensils would be available. I therefore chose easy to cook meals that in theory could be made in any kitchen. We had telephoned ahead to the supermarket in Rjukan, to have all the ingredients ready, as we were to live five kilometres into the snowy mountains only accessible via snow scooter. It would be just the one trip to the shops, if we didn’t take it with us we would have to do without. We had a couple of snow scooters set-up, each towing three snow sleds. We loaded up and headed out into the wilds.
Given that I had time to think about what I was going to cook, I had time to think up a couple of recipes. I was looking for something simple but with a Nordic touch. One of the dishes which was best liked was my twist on rice pudding:
Rice Pudding with White Chocolate and Multer
Ingredients for 2 servings:
120g White Chocolate
60ml Multer (Cloud berries)
Cloud berries can normally be found in shops like Ikea, but often as a jam rather than the berries themselves. I would not recommend the jam though for this recipe as I think it needs something tart to offset the sweetness of the rice.
As I can’t normally get any cloud berries I just use red currants instead.
I first tried cloud berries when I was working in Sweden where they are called “Hjortron”. They are common in the Nordic countries and were a valuable source of vitamin C in an otherwise low vitamin C diet.
Put the milk into a saucepan and bring to the boil.
Add the rice into the milk and simmer gently for around 45 minutes. Add more milk if the rice becomes too dry. Simmer until soft.
Remove from the heat. Chop or grate the white chocolate and mix into the rice. Leave for around 30 minutes and stir in more milk until the desired consistency is reached.
Serve warm or cold. To serve, swirl in the a tablespoon of cloud berries and dust with grated nutmeg.
In closing I would just like to thank “J” again for an absolutely fantastic few days. I feel privileged to have been able to experience Norway in this way. THANKS.
As usual I hope you enjoy the recipe. Any thoughts or questions please just contact me via the comments section of the blog or click on the twitter button, again on the blog.
tsp – Teaspoon – 5ml
tbsp – Tablespoon – 15ml
2016 Lincoln W. Betteridge