Jamie’s chicken pasta

At the beginning of July, my brother came to Trondheim for a visit and I decided to greet him with one of Jamie’s pasta dishes. There isn’t a safer food than pasta when I have guests. It’s simple, clean and fast, yet the addition of vegetables makes this dish very tasty.

chicken-pasta You can find the recipe here.

Actually, the vegetarian ragu part of the recipe could stand on its own. Filled with vegetables and filled with flavors, it is the best elaborate pasta sauce I’ve ever had and a good way to eat more veggies. Jamie suggests using leek, celery, carrot, zucchini and red pepper, but I guess you can use whatever you have on hand. I plant to try adding eggplant in the vegetable mix next time I make it.

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I must be the only person on earth that didn’t eat bacon until I was well into adulthood. My mother never brought bacon home and the first time I tried it, I actually hated it. I forced myself buying bacon for this recipe and I’m still not bacon’s biggest fan. I guess I’ll always be able to live without it. That being said, chicken and bacon are a great combination.

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If you put this all together on a plate, then you have a very filling meal that can satisfy the most hungry guests, especially the ones that travelled all the way from Athens to Trondheim.

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All in all, this is a great safe dish that didn’t kick me much out of my comfort zone save for the bacon. Will I make it again? Absolutely.

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What’s your favorite pasta dish?

5 things to do in Berlin

I’m sure there are millions of things one can do in Berlin, but as a tourist I only had two and a half days to get to know the city and I feel I did a very good job at it. Berlin is a very welcoming multi-cultural city and I immediately felt at home. Maybe it has something to do with renting an apartment instead of staying in a hotel. In any case, Berlin felt like home. Here’s how I made the best use of my time there…

Visit the Museum Island

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In the center of Berlin there is an island with five museums. Even if you don’t have time to visit each and every one of them (I guess you have better things to do when the weather is perfect), you can walk around the area and enjoy the views. The garden is romantic enough to sit down with some bubbling wine (or orange jus), cheese and charcuterie. Just remember to bring the camera with you.

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Drink a coffee at Cafe Einstein

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There are two Cafe Einstein in Berlin, but only one of them is the original one. Go to Cafe Einstein at Kurfürstenstrasse 58, preferably after some shopping at KaDeWe, the famous department store nearby. If the weather is warm enough, sit in the back yard. You can order food, a coffee or a drink and relax in this beautiful setting.

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Take a selfie in front of The Wall

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It’s not the prettiest place in Berlin, but it’s definitely worth a visit. Berlin’s wall (a part of world history) is covered with all sorts of graffiti and people walk along, stand for a moment and get selfie with colorful artistic backgrounds.

Rent a bike

Berlin is the perfect city to bike in. It’s so flat and bike friendly that even I, who is not used to biking in the city, managed to find my way safely. My favorite ride was the one that went to Charlottenburg palace. You can pick the path near the Zoologischer Garten and bike along the canal (and further on along Spree) until you reach the palace. Then you can spend some time biking around the gardens.

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Go for a run

Last but not least, if you have some free time, especially on a Saturday morning before 9, when the city is just walking up, go for a run in the center. You’ll find many people doing the same and you’ll feel like you belong there.

I can’t wait to go back to Berlin at some point. I loved it so much!

ps. Click on the photos to see them big.

On diets

This is used to be a very difficult topic for me. As a teenager, I had huge weight fluctuations (going down 20kg and then up 25kg) and was flirting with eating disorders. I’ve tried every crazy diet my mind could make up, from eating a salad and an apple a day to a proper diet proposed by a dietitian. Then I tried the diet where I ate anything I wanted and didn’t care about the weight gain. Chocolate crepe at 2 in the morning? Yes, please! Pasta with french fries and bread? Carbohydrate overload for ever! And then I moved to Norway and everything changed. I’ve talked about my body image before, but I’ve never talked about how I lost the weight and kept it away for over a year now.

on-diets

It’s a topic that my real life friends find really interesting, as I didn’t follow a proper diet and I just ate what I felt was right. After a long search, I’ve found out what works for me and what doesn’t. Here are the very few rules I follow.

I never ever ever skip breakfast. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Even if you ate twice as much as you should have the night before, you should never ever skip a good full breakfast. This is important as it’s more likely that you’ll control yourself throughout the day. A good breakfast can be yogurt with fruits and granola, or an avocado toast and orange juice. A not so good breakfast is a croissant or a donut or anything containing too much sugar.

I don’t have a cheat day. I watch what I eat every single day, but I don’t get obsessed over it. If I feel like eating more one day, it’s fine, as long as I eat proper food (whatever that is) instead of a whole chocolate bar or a loaf of bread. I can have some chocolate or bread, but I have to eat proper food to satisfy my hunger. I follow this rule whenever I eat out as well and so far so good, there hasn’t been a need for a cheat day.

I look for healthy alternatives. If there is a healthier option, I go for eat. Case in point, this frozen yogurt that I love and has absolutely no sugar added. Or that time when I used humus instead of mayonnaise in my wrap. In some recipes you can partially replace butter with olive oil, or regular flour with whole wheat flour. Simple changes make a huge difference in the end.

I stop when I’m full. Most of the proper diets I’ve followed in the past, left me feeling hungry after each meal. This was very distracting as I could not work as well when the only thing I was thinking was how much time do I have left until my next meal. Now, I don’t watch how much I eat. I just stop when I’m full. No matter how good a dish is, I won’t eat more than I need to. This way, I rarely overeat and I’m never guilty about it.

Apart from that, I’ve mentioned before that I’ve quit eating sugar or any sugar substitute apart from honey and I’m still very happy with my decision. This simple rules have helped me maintain a healthy weight for over a year now without obsessing over what and how much I eat. What’s you experience with diets and food?

Jamie’s super smoothies

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, then you know I love smoothies. Through the years, I’ve made a pear and cinnamon smoothie, a strawberry smoothie and a berries and cocoa smoothie, which is still my favorite one. Jamie has a smoothie for every taste in his book, a really sweet one, a very green one, a sour one and I had to test them all. These smoothies are super easy for breakfast and take minutes to prepare. Let’s dig in!

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GREEN SMOOTHIE

This smoothie was a first for me, because it’s green. I usually like to make fruit smoothies and this is the right way to ease yourself in the world of smoothies. If you’d like to take it to the next level though, you have to try adding greens in the mix.

Jamie’s green super smoothie has only four ingredients: spinach, banana, lime juice and apple juice. Put it in a blender and let it run until you have a very green smoothie. Then make your “there is no way I am drinking that!” face, close your eyes and drink. I have to be honest, it wasn’t easy. I didn’t want to drink it. It was too green for me, but in the end it wasn’t too bad. It tasted OK, not like my favorite strawberry smoothie of course, but that was expected. It was a super healthy way to start my day. Will I make it again? One day when I feel adventurous enough. Not tomorrow though..

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PURPLE SMOOTHIE

Blueberries is my most used ingredient in smoothies and my favorite one. I buy a cheap frozen pack from the supermarket after my workout (sadly I don’t own a freezer) and I make myself a refreshing smoothie in seconds.

Jamie’s version of a blueberry smoothie requires frozen blueberries, pears and apple saft. I thought that the pears would make this smoothie too sweet, but I was wrong. This was a light and fresh smoothie, not too sweet, not too sour, just perfect.

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ORANGE SMOOTHIE

Jamie’s orange smoothie has ginger, orange juice, lime juice, a carrot and a mango inside. It’s definitely a sour smoothie where you can taste the ginger. I am not sure how I feel about ginger. I am not used to eating it. It’s one of the ingredients I learned about in Norway and had never tasted before raw. I had actually only tasted it with sushi, which is a completely different experience. Now, I’ve started adding a bit of ginger here and there in my soups, but still the taste of fresh raw ginger in my smoothie was strange. Otherwise, this was a smoothie packed with vitamins.

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WHITE SMOOTHIE

The last smoothie in Jamie’s book is an energy filled smoothie with bananas, almonds, milk and honey. Because I grown to dislike overly sweet things, I decide to omit the honey from my smoothie (plus this is a smoothie full of calories and adding the honey felt a bit too much for me). There’s not much more to say about this smoothie. Almonds and bananas go very well together and I could see myself drinking one of these each morning to kickstart my day.

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Have you ever tried a green smoothie? Was it mentally easy to drink it? Maybe I am exaggerating a bit, I don’t know..

An afternoon in Berlin

On my first afternoon in Berlin, I wanted to cross some things off my list. What’s the list, you’re going to ask. Well, whenever I am going to a place I’ve never been to before, my mother sends me a list of the things I should see. She arranges her suggestions as a plan for as many days I have available. I don’t necessarily stick to that plan, but I try to cross as many things as possible from the list, in this case, the Reichstag building with its imposing architecture, Unter den Linden boulevard, Brandenburg Gate, the museum island, Hackescher Markt and Oranienburger Strasse. That was a long nice walk that gave me a sense of the city. The next day though I decided to rent a bike instead…

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On wedding photography

Few months ago, my friend and colleague decided to get hitched and I was beyond thrilled. When she announced the news, I offered to be her photographer for the day. This was my second try at photography in a professional setting* and it was way harder than expected. There’s a reason why wedding photographers charge that much. I would definitely suggest you hire a professional photographer if you’re planning your wedding, but in case you want to ask your amateur friend, here’s what you and he/she should keep in mind.

on-wedding-photography

Get inspired

You can find millions of wedding photos on the Internet, photos of each and any style that can cross your mind. Rustic, modern, minimal or romantic, you can find someone who has done it before. Make sure you know what you like and what you want. This goes both for amateur and professional photography, you should know what style you want and ask for it. Especially when it comes to choosing a professional photographer, you should look at their portfolio and make sure that you like their style. If you go for an amateur photographer, show them some photos you like and explain the style you’re going for (and cross your fingers).

Bring back up

Professional wedding photographers have a back up camera, some lenses, extra batteries and so on. You don’t want to run out of battery midway through the reception. A back up battery is cheap and will make you feel more secure. Having an extra camera can be more tricky, but if you have one, then bring it. Also, two people are better than one. Ask for an assistant photographer, if that’s possible. A friend of ours was brilliant in giving instructions to the happy couple while I took the photos. We got some amazing shots that way.

Choose your lenses wisely

I have a 28-75mm zoom lens that works perfectly in a setting like this one. If I had the option I would also carry with me a 30mm lens, preferably one that has nice bokeh. My camera has a crop sensor, but if you’re lucky enough to have a full frame camera, then a 50mm lens would be the best choice.

Pose, pose, pose

One of the most difficult things, when shooting people, is to make them feel comfortable enough to behave naturally. I don’t like fake poses and in some cases it can take some time to loosen up. Be patient. It’s also wise to have some poses to propose. I’m not the best at giving instructions, but in this case, it’s useful to guide the bride and groom. “Move your head like this. Touch her shoulder. Look this way.”

Have fun

In any case, you should have fun. This goes both for the couple and the photographer. It’s OK to take 1500 photos, only to keep 100. Don’t stress over it, just shoot.

All in all, this was a nice experience. I learned a lot about me as a photographer, even some things I need to improve on, but I also enjoyed it very much. A big thanks to the happy couple for letting me photograph their wedding. Would you be the wedding photographer at your friend’s wedding?

* As a matter of fact, I shot the engagement photos for a lovely couple in Trondheim few weeks before my friend’s wedding.

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