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North Norway + rhubarb pudding

About winter darkness, bikinisummers and magical dates

Life does not always turn out the way you wanted to
You did not catch the ferry although it was waiting for you
You are watching the lights on their way to Timbuktu
And your were only 4 minutes from starting anew

Silsand beach

Gå til norsk versjon

If you are up North then
there is more than a ferry to loose
You are not the only one she leaves
and you will not be the last
If you are up North then
If you are up North then

The harbour and the neighbouring island dressed in fogTo the harbour

Vacation. Nothing makes me more stressed out than going on vacation. The time when all pieces should fall into place and only the good times should roll.

Vacation up North. To the land where you need a ferry to travel. Where there is no difference between night and summer day. Where the dinner meant for 4 suddenly is for 8. Where there is always time, and a visitor is offered plenty of coffee and cakes.

To the North of Norway. Where autumn is orange not because of the leaves, but because of the cloudberries in the mires. Where the beaches are so sandy you could forget this is Norway, not Mexico or the Maldives, if you look beyond the red boathouses, the mountains and the cold water.

Where nature is magnificent but the weather is moody. Where mountains and beaches are wrapped in fog and storm. Where there is gratitude for the smallest glimpse of summer and 15 degree Celsius (60 Fahrenheit) is bikinisummer, worthy of sunbathing and smiles.

You never know what kind of weather awaits you when you are traveling to the North of Norway. My last summer vacation up North, the average temperature dropped to 8 degree Celsius (46 Fahrenheit). In July. The summer before was stormy, we mostly stayed indoors, my son was sick and we had a massive family quarrel.

Colour red
ViewStrawberries and ice on the beachRoom to rent

No sun in December, this is the law in this part of the country
Night devours the day and she is always hungry
The stars have gone, they are selling themselves in stores
The sky has no borealis, and you cannot see the Polaris

If you are up North then
Just let the darkness roll
Because one night the curtain will open up
and there will be a divine Light
If you are up North then
If you are up North then

StrandedRhubarb pudding with creamStranded car

This year’s vacation started with me traveling north with chickenpox (in its last phase, doctor said it was ok to travel). The 20th of July is a magical date on the island where I come from. At that time the first cloudberries ripen, but in return the midnight sun is starting to fade away.

I came to the island of my childhood just in time to see the first cloudberries mature. It was so hot most days I could pick cloudberries on the mires in my running shoes. Simultaneously the local strawberries were also ripe and my mother had green rhubarb in the freezer for me.

We made beautiful and traditional food I associate with my childhood and the island I left when I was sixteen. Rice porridge topped with sour cream porridge. Tart rhubarb pudding with cream. Waffles with cloudberries. Reindeer stew. Pan-fried coalfish with potatoes. Always potatoes accompanying dinner. And black pudding.

The two general stores on the island are not like other stores. They always keep in stock shaved reindeer meet and frozen blood. It was the first time I bought one. A bucket with blood, labeled ”for consumption”. My mother taught me how to make my childhood favourite, black pudding with raisins, and suddenly I was there. A kid in my mother’s kitchen, munching black pudding.

Waffle break
Cloudberry mireCloudberries and waffles

We sunbathed at Silsand most days. Silsand is one of the sandy beaches on the island, lying where the road almost ends. From here there is view all the way to the town of Harstad and its wooden houses. Just a stones’ trow away lies ”End of the rock (”Bergenden”), the place to stay if you want to gaze at the midnight sun casting its spell on the distant Senja mountains, turning them blue, pink, orange and in the end, deep red.

To Silsand we brought along homemade frozen yogurt ice cream with mountains of raspberries, a dessert I made several times up there. It was up North my little two year old son had his first real berry meal consisting of nordic strawberries. And it was here he learned to throw stones in the ocean, not the sea.

Back in Oslo again. The chickenpox has been replaced with insect bites. My camera is filled with almost 500 pictures. My son is rid of his fear of bathing in the sea, and he has gotten to know for real his family living up North. He has almost turned into a Northener. He has learned to say ”Oh my God” and has driven an all-terrain vehicle.

Running on the beach
Fugleberg, where the road ends

You do not reach land before the wind has turned
What you give is just not returned
But you are not alone, there are many of us out there
Our boats crossing paths in darkness on an open fjord

If you are up North then
The winter darkness is behind you
Spring has pushed you through
You are soon on the other side
If you are up North then
If you are up North then.  

Rhubarb pudding with cream

This is the Norwegian counterpart to the more known Danish berry pudding. Cooked berries and fruit thickened with potato starch is an old tradition in Scandinavia, and something I remember from my childhood.

about 500 g / 18 oz peeled rhubarb
about 100 gr / 4 oz sugar
100 ml water
2 tbsp potato starch (or maizena)
heavy cream to serve

1. Cut the stalks into pieces. Place in a pan with the sugar. Let the rhubarb rest for at least an hour – the sugar will produce rhubarb juice.
2. Add the water and bring to boil on low heat for 10 minutes. Adjust the taste with more sugar if you find it too sour.
3. Stir the potato starch in a little water and pour into the pan while stirring with a whisk. It is important you pour it gradually until the pudding has the consistency of thin porridge. (The pudding will thicken more as it becomes cold).
4. Pour in a serving bowl, sprinkle with a little sugar and allow to cool. Serve with heavy cream.

Frozen yogurt with berries (makes 4–5)

In the summer I would rather spend my time outside than in the kitchen. So this is frozen yogurt ice cream the easiest way, made without ice cream machine. This is unpretentious food for the beach, for the hammock, for the balcony, for summer.

400 ml thick Greek yogurt (preferably full-fat)
125 g / 4 oz raspberries or strawberries
3–6 tbsp sugar (depending on how sweet you like it)

With a fork smash 100 g of the berries together with the sugar. Add the yogurt and stir a little. I like to keep it rippled. Place in the fridge at least an hour. After an hour it is more like cold cream, not ice cream. If you want ice cream scoops, freeze for 2–3 hours while you stir once in a while, particularly the edges. (Do not freeze more as it turns into granita rather than ice cream). Top with the rest of the berries divided into two and three.

Travel more?

Athens, Greek salad and holiday memories
Jambalaya and greetings from New Orleans
Tips to London and Paris, which one is the best food city?

A taste of North Norway?

Almond meringue tart with butter cream (suksessterte)
Nordic BLT with scrambled eggs
Scandinavian waffles with cardamom
Creamy rice porridge with orange sauce
Rhubarb tart 1938
Black pudding with syrup

The lyrics in this post is “E du nord” by Kari Bremnes, my translation from Norwegian to English.

2 comment on “North Norway + rhubarb pudding

  • Catherine
    August 23, 2016 | 6:24 pm

    Thank you!
    It triggers good memories and a longing to be back .

    • nordicdiner
      August 31, 2016 | 3:39 pm

      Thank you so much for you kind comment 🙂 Trude

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