About the changing world all around us

I am breaking up my Malta Posts to bring you Good Friday dinner :-) We are now in the Easter weekend and most of you should have the weekend off now. We are leaving tomorrow for Renny’s home town Porsgrunn for our annual Easter Bunny Egg Hunt, read about it here at RennyBA’s Terella. I spent half the day combing the stores for alternative Easter goodies and food to meet the needs of our 3 family vegetarians. Renny’s niece is a vegetarian, his son is a semi vegetarian and very health concious, and my darling boy Justin is Vegan – which means he don’t eat eggs, milk, honey, or any product coming from animals. So I had to fax the Easter bunny a list of acceptable foods. The Easter bunny is very understanding about this, being a vegetarian himself….

For the traditional Easter eggs we had to avoid milk and gelatin which is used in most of those gummy candies. So this year the Easter bunny will have to find milk free dark chocolate, bannana chips, nuts, lollipops (not containing bees wax) and hard candy (same). For the kids eating regular candy we have some of the usual fare as well. I think everyone will be pleased.

Then for the traditional Easter cookout on the fire. Since the veggi group aren’t big on hotdogs I made grilled vegetables. These are finished here in my oven and will be packed in foil and layed in the fire until they are rewarmed. This actually works out well because the seasonings I added have a day to mix into the potatoes and vegetables.
Here is the recipe. Non vegetarians like it too!

grilledveggies

Vegan Althernative, Grilled Vegetable Medley

Grilled Vegetable Medley
Ingredients:

1 red pepper, chopped
1/2 pound whole button mushrooms sliced
1 lb potato weges
12 whole cherry tomatoes
1 small zucchini, sliced
1 large Spanish onion
2 pieces corn on the cob cut into pieces
1 garlic clove chopped
salt and ground black pepper, to taste
parsley, to taste
oregano, to taste
basil, to taste
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 cup Italian dressing

Mix together and grill in thoe oven for about an hour.

friedhaddock

Southern Fried Haddock

Then I had the urge to make fried fish just like my mommy used to fix, of course she bought it on her way home from work freshly fried and didn’t actually involve herself in the frying of it but since I don’t have that option I learned to make it myself. And share the recipe with you too!

Southern Fried Fish

Marinated in creamy buttermilk, coated with a crispy cornmeal batter, and then deep friend to a golden brown, flaky fish prepared Southern-style is divine.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup water
salt and pepper, to taste
1 pound haddock fillets
1 1/2 cups fine cornmeal
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
seafood seasoning, salt, pepper, paprika to taste
vegetable oil for frying

Directions: In a small bowl, mix buttermilk, water, salt, and pepper. Pour mixture into a flat pan large enough to hold the fillets. Spread fish in one layer over bottom of pan, turning to coat each side, and set aside to marinate.
In a resealable plastic bag, combine the cornmeal, flour, and seasoning. Add fish to mixture, a few fillets at a time, and tumble gently to coat evenly. Heat oil in deep fryer to 365 degrees F (185 degrees C). Fry fillets until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Avoid overcrowding so fillets have room to brown properly. Fish should be slightly crisp outside, and moist and flaky inside. Drain on paper towels.

homemadecoleslaw

Homemade coleslaw

Then to add to the American flair of my Good Friday dinner I had the urge for coleslaw. Haven’t eaten that in ages and it really feels like a summery dish, and since the weather has been so good and the skys so blue…I wanted coleslaw with my dinner. The photo isn’t as good as the dish but it does show off my antique english china set hehehe. The red on top is paprika I sprinkled over to decorate it. Tasted wonderful! And again I will give you my recipe!

Diane’s Coleslaw

I head finely shredded cabbage
1 large shreaded carrot
2 tablespoons minced onion
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

Directions:

Finely shredd cabbage and carrots. Place cabbage and carrot mixture into large bowl and add minced onions.Mix dressing until smooth. Pour over vegetable mixture and mix thoroughly. Cover bowl and refrigerate several hours before serving.

Honestly I don’t think I’ve ever waited more then 15 min before taste testing this hehehe…but I do make it first so it gets chilled before eating.

Hope you all have a Happy Easter Holiday. Drop in and tell me what you are doing this weekend!!

As most of my readers know we recently were lucky enough to have a long weekend visit to Malta. I have to admit that before I went there I didn’t know very much about Malta. I knew it was an island state in the Mediterranean Sea, and that was about it. When I began researching this lovely island online I knew instantly it would be something very special.

threecities1

Three Cities viewed from the Harbour

The island is surrounded by crystal turquoise-blue waters and has sunshine throughout most of the year. I think what impresses me the most – besides the beauty of it all – is that amount of well preserved historical sites. Despite many wars which changed control over the island, and bombing in World War II many historical fortresses, churches, and buildings remain intact and one can wander in living history.

Ft St Angelo

Fort Saint Angelo with roots back to the Arabs in 870 AD

I used the time I had in Malta to see as much as I could manage in compact site seeing trips. I took a bus trip called the North Trip, which took me long inland into the countryside to see the oldest town in Malta, along with many charming villages and coastlines. Then I took the Grand Harbour Cruise in the capital area of Valletta.

Valletta1

The Capital City of Valletta built largely of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, also known as Knights Hospitaller

I think that the best way to see the beauty of Malta is to see it from the water. The limestone buildings do a wonderful job of combining different periods seamlessly so that architecture from different periods, including modern times passes wonderfully together.

Fort_St_Elmo

Fort St. Elmo built from 1530 and onward

Our trip to Malta was much too short. This lovely island deserves another visit, and I really only saw about one third of what I would have liked to have seen. None the less I am thankfull to have had the opportunity to travel with my husband RennyBA when buisiness took him to this magical place. We will have to plan a return trip to see the rest of it. My next post will show a bit of the beauty found on my trip inland!

Mobile blogging again from beautiful Malta! The weather is awesome and I am doing a good job of soaking up the much needed sunshine. I will be paying for that later. Totally white and going around the mediterranian without sunscreen is not advisable. Especially after a dark Norwegian winter.

To make the most of a short trip I took the tourist bus around the island. Stopping for a while in the medieval walled village of Mdina. I chose the North trip of the countryside because the cruise covers the sea towns quite well. It was the right choice. The countryside was amazing!

Traveling is addictive. As I am writing I am flying over Italy and have just seen the Alps from above breaking light clouds with snow covered peaks. The earth is really beautiful from a birds eye view. Soon we will see Rome and after that Sicily on our way to Malta.

Renny has buisiness in Malta and I did’nt want to miss out on that one. To be honest Malta was a country I had to look up. I knew it was little and in the Mediteranian. Thats about all. But what I found was a virtual paradise. The weather is supposed to be sunny and in the 70′s. A trip to the beach is a must. Which will be no problem since the Westin Dragonara resort has it’s own. Plus three swimming pools.

Whoops there goes Europe! We flew off the edge. Goodbye Italy, you are definately on my list of places to go. Next stop Malta. Hope my computer catches up with me so I can send photos! Shining off from my Nokia somewhere over the mediteranian.

Okay its spring and I have to just jump out into the water again, or rather jump out into the blog world. I have taken a sabatical, I have been in winter hibernations…and with the spring it is time to wake up.

blogger friends

Ginnie, RennyBA and Astrid

To all my old friends out there I usually avoid saying this, but I am sorry I haven’t been online in so long. To put it simply I have been tired for three months. As most of you know my job is very challenging and we have some challenges at home as well so I have really been lacking in energy and creativity. I felt like I could not keep up my blog, and then once you haven’t written in a while its hard to get started again.

I have recently received a boost though in the form of our blog friends Ginnie from In Soul and Astrid of Picturit who visited us this weekend…and of course our old friend TorAA and my darling husband RennyBA. We had a lot of good discussions about photos and blogging and all we get out of it and I found out it was time to get my feet wet again.

Oslo Opera House in the fog

Oslo Opera House rising up from the fog

Ginnie and Astrid came on Thursday night and were with us until Monday morning – and we had a wonderful time. It was more like being with family then having guests. Renny and Tor planned our site seeing well this weekend and the girls got to enjoy the benifits of the Oslo Pass with the best guides in Oslo. You can read all about it on their respective blogs, I am not going to steal the glory after spening a quarter of the year in hibernation. But I will post a few pictures from Sundays foggy excursion to Oslo Opera House!

She Lies 2

“She Lies” floating in the icy fjord outside Oslo Opera House

We can’t always guarentee sun in Norway, although our photos may often decieve you because we usually shoot on sunny days. However the fog and ice did add an element of interest to the photo shoot. Here you see the icey looking sculpture, a form of integrated art at the Opera House called “She Lies” it is a stainless steel and glass sculpture by Monica Vonvicini anchored in the harbour beside the Opera House.

Ginnie and Astrid are now on their way to new adventures in Norway. They traveled early this morning to Kirkenes and will take the Hurtigruten cruise from Kirkenes to Bergen. We envy them now, this is one Norwegian adventure we haven’t experienced yet. But the reputation of this cruise is legendary….so I wish them all “the worlds most beautiful adventure”.

Happy New Year from DianeCA

Well my friends its been awhile since I last blogged. I am sorry to have been away so long. The last part of 2010 has been tough and I have been overworked and tired much of the time. It’s hard to find your motivation when you are dead tired….but I am still here.

Happy New Year 2011

Happy New Year 2011

2010 has been a year to remember. A lot of great things happened in our lives this year. We had of course Oslo Blog Gathering. A dream which was born in 2009 and took a whole year to come to a reality, and it was worth it! We had a really great time and met really wonderful people. People who were just as nice and interesting as I had imagined them to be, and in many ways it was more like getting together with good old friends then meeting new people. In the fall as many have read, we evened ventured all the way to Portugal to meet up with Lele Betita again and experience the fair city of Lisbon with her and her husbands warm guidance.

Happy New Year

Happy New Year

There have been other travels this year as well, we were in Bucharest in the spring, and Brussels in the fall, not to mention countless trips to Sweden. We have had many guests too, among others my dear old Dad and his wife Teri came to visit us this summer and spent some good times with the family.

I want to thank all my good friends for being with me throughout the year for sharing the laughter and sometimes the tears. Without my friends and my family the old year and the New Year would have no meaning. Because time is just a physical calculation, a forward movement of our lives. What really matters is what you choose to fill that time with, and most of all I choose to fill my time with people. People I love, people I help, people I enjoy being with – there are almost none which don’t fall into those categories, and well that is something to be thankful for too.

Happy New Year everyone. May 2011 bring you happiness, wealth and wisdom – and most of all good people to share it all with!

Round and about Lisbon

On the first day of our tour in Lisbon RennyBA and I explored the city on our own in the daytime, and later met up with Lele Batita and her husband for a memorable dinner together. The dinner has been well documented by RennyBA and I recommend you visit his post. We went to a unique restaurant and had a meal we won’t soon forget.

Our first day on many of our trips we find a tourist bus which can give us background information and show us around the local area. We joined the local hop on hop off trip of Lisbon’s center which gives us a panoramic sightseeing tour of all the major tourist attractions, and helps us get a taste of what we would like to see more of. We could easily spend a couple weeks in Lisbon, having only five days we can’t see it all, so here you have to pick and choose and remember that you can always come back another time.

Renny carried away
RennyBA Carried Away onboard our Bus

Here is just a little bit of what we experienced the first day discovering Lisbon on our own! The bus tour took us first up the “Champs-Elysees” of Lisbon Avenida da Liberdade which is crowned at the top by Marquês de Pombal Square, a monument to Lisbon’s rebirth, the statue of Marquês de Plombal honors the prime minister who was responsible for the rebuilding of Lisbon following the Great Earthquake in 1755. The Great Earthquake did extensive damage to Lisbon, and we can enjoy many of the older sites today because of the choice to rebuild them and keep their heritage rather than destroying and replacing with new structures. So we salute the Marquês de Pombal as well.

Marquis of Pombal
Marquis of Pombal

Opposite the statue Parque Eduardo VII, a park named after Britan’s Edward VII who visited Lisbon in 1903 and reaffirmed the Anglo-Portuguese alliance. Typical for this park is its neatly clipped box hedging flanked by mosaic patterned walkways. The park stretches uphill from Marquês de Pombal Square to a belvedere at the top with fine views.

Parque Eduardo VII
VII EduardoPark

Along the bus route we also saw Campo Pequeno’s bullring which was built in Moorish style in 1892. It features small cubolas atop its four main towers. The bullring accommodates up to 9,000 spectator, and I might add that the bull is not killed in the bullfights in Portugal as it is in Spain. The building appears quite modern, so I admit I was surprised to learn it was as old as 1892.

Campo Pequeno's bullring
Campo Pequeno’s Bullring

Mostly hidden behind its high pink walls we got a glimpse of Belem Palace. This is the official residence of Portugal’s president since 1910. It previously has been a royal palace built in 1559 and further altered and built out in the 18th century by King João V.

Belem Palace
Belem Palace

Crowning the river and facing out to see we find the famous Discoveries monument. A newer structure it was built in 1960 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the death of Prince Henry the Navigator. The monument resembles a three sailed ship ready to depart and decorated with sculputers of important historical figures such as King Manuel I carrying an armillary sphere, poet Camões holding verses from The Lusiads, Vasco da Gama, Magellan, Cabral, and several other notable Portuguese explorers, crusaders, monks, cartographers, and cosmographers, at the bow we see Prince Henry the Navigator holding a ship in his hands.

Discoveries monument
Discoveries monument

At Restauradores Square we find an obelisk decorated with representations of liberty and freedom. Restauradores does not mean restaurants, although there are no lack of them here, it means restorer of the Independence. On the 1 of December in 1640, a group of nobles killed the regent of Portugal which then was under the control of Spain for a period of 60 years. In killing the regent at the time they restored Portugals freedom as an Independent nation. So it is called “restauradores” because they gave Portugal its Independence back!

Restauradores Square
Restauradores monument

Figueira Square we have a fine view up to St. Jorges Castle. Close to the center is a bronze equestrian statue of King João I, usually smothered by flocks of pigeons and surrounded by teenage skaters as it was when we visited it. Here on the south side we had a taste of some of Lisbons wonderful pastries at the charming Confeitaria Nacional, considered to be one of Europe’s most elegant pastry shops dating back to 1829.

Figueira Square
Figueira Square

Rossio is the liveliest square in the city, where people stop to sit and relax, or for a drink at the outdoor cafes. While we were visiting they were setting up the Christmas display which we would visit the last evening we were in Lisbon. On both sides of the square are baroque fountains, and in the center is a monument measuring 27 meters in height. It consists of a pedestal with marble allegories of Justice, Wisdom, Strength, and Moderation. The monument at the time was flanked by cranes which were setting up the decorations which is the reason why I don’t have a photo of the entire square. However I could not resist getting a close up of one of the gorgeous fountains, each figure on these was a work of art in itself.

Rossio square
Fountain figure.

Lastly I set in a youtube video which is sightseeing tour of Lisbon so you may experience for yourself. It is even accompanied by some traditional Fado music, which you may read more about at RennyBA’s Terella.

All of the sights on the video are places we have been. We did a good job with excellent hosts in such a short period of time. Some of them we will go deeper into, and therefore are not included now, but saving some good stuff for later!!

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