Jamie’s smoky maple pancetta pancakes

Best breakfast ever! I don’t know how I lived without eating this for breakfast. Sure, it’s not your everyday quick breakfast, but it’s so perfect for a special morning.

pancetta-pancakes You can find the recipe here!

I’ve made pancakes before, but nothing as good as thing. First of all, I was always making sweet pancakes, but there don’t have any sugar. Secondly, I used to make them quite smaller, but this size is much better for this style of toppings. The only thing I changed in the recipe was replacing milk with buttermilk, just because I had some leftover. I also think buttermilk makes them fluffier, but I’m not a pancake expert.

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As far as the topping are concerned, there’s avocado, tomatoes, fresh koriander, corn (I used canned), cheese, yogurt, chili sauce and amazing maple glazed bacon. The recipe calls for fresh chili as well, but I know well that spicy breakfast won’t be a success in my home.

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Let’s take a moment to talk about that bacon. I’ve said before that I am not a big fan of bacon. That was before I tried maple glazed bacon. I use the water method for cooking crispy bacon (because it works and it’s straightforward) and then I glazed it with a teaspoon of maple for less than a minute. I only made two pieces and I really regret not making more. It was the best thing ever.

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I served the toppings separately and we chose what to put on our pancakes on our own. I have to admit that putting all the toppings made the best pancake, so I suggest that you do it that way. If only I had made more bacon…

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Maple glazed pancakes have since become my go-to breakfast for special occasions. Will I make this recipe again? Yes! Aren’t you paying any attention here?

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Andros

Greek islands are my favorite summer destinations. This summer, my friends and I went to Andros, the northernmost island of the Cyclades archipelago. We decided to see and do everything we could fit in five days in the island, but there’s just too much to see, places where you can’t get with a car and hikes you can’t do when it’s 36 degrees and sunny. One thing we managed to do was visit the biggest city of Andros, conveniently also named Andros, almost every single day. We loved it. Here’s why.

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On working and living in Norway

It’s been over three years since I first came to Norway and this weekend I’ll be voting for the first time in the Norwegian regional elections. Lately, I’ve been reflecting a lot about how it is to live and work here. Apart from all the friends I’ve made and all the memories I’ve created, here’s what I love about living and working in Norway.

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We celebrate good weather. Because the winters are long, cold and dark, when spring and summer come, we celebrate them by talking a day off when the weather is exceptionally good, having barbeques, sunbathing in our underwear (!), floating down the river (it’s on my list!) etc. It’s something special and it makes you feel grateful when it’s finally here.

There is no bad weather, only inappropriate clothing. And my mother agrees. You can buy the best thermal underwear, a good winter jacket and a good all season jacket and you’re good to go on any adventure. Because we don’t only celebrate good weather in the summer. Sunny days are celebrated all year long. With skis and without.

Family comes first. This is more relevant to people with kids, but it affects everyone living in this country. There is a comfort in knowing that if something happens, your family can and will be your first priority.

Weekends are respected. This may vary in different working environments, but chances are you won’t get a work related email on a weekend. You are supposed to relax, socialize and enjoy nature during this time and no one will disturb you.

Good working environment is important. Since the first day I started working in Norway, I feel like my boss cares about me, if I am OK, if I have any troubles at work etc. They want me to be happy and this reduces my stress levels. A lot.

What do you love about the country you live in?

ps. One day I’ll post about what I hate about Norway…

Jamie’s lamb meatballs

As per usual, this is another one of Jamie’s recipes that pushes me out of my comfort zone, this time by cooking lamb. In Greece, I am used to eat my mother’s lamb, but I had never attempted making any lamb recipe on my own since I moved to Norway. How did it go? Next time I’ll double the recipe. It was that good!

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I am a big fan of meatballs in general, so this was one of the recipes I wanted to try since I first bought the book. I was a bit reluctant due to the choice of meat, but I gave in a bought some lamb and some garam masala to season the meat.

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The salad that goes with this dish is a simple romaine lettuce salad with tomatoes and radishes. The only thing that I would do differently would be adding some balsamic vinegar to the dressing. Otherwise this was a salad that can accompany well any meat dish.

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I really like the addition of the yogurt sauce on the side. I mixed it with the tomato sauce in my plate and it played very well with the rest of the ingredients.

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Being honest, this is clearly a winter dish and it suits better colder weather than warm, but, in my defence, 10 degrees and rain (which was the weather of the day, in July, mind you) is not your typical summer weather.

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All in all, I loved the combination of chickpeas with the meatballs and the heat in the sauce. This was a delicious recipe! Will I make this again? Yes, definitely, in the winter!

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Beaches of Andros

This summer, my friends and I went to Andros, a beautiful island in the Cyclades archipelago. Andros is not the typical Greek island, but it’s definitely worth a visit. It has beautiful beaches, stunning nature and amazing architecture. Today I’m going to show you the few beaches that we had time to visit. We only had my poor car with us, but if the weather permits and you’re willing, you can also rent a boat and visit some other famous beaches that we couldn’t approach.

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So here we go.

Tis grias to pidima

The name of this beach is literally translated in English as “the old lady’s jump”, which we found very funny. As we hiked our way down to the beach a guy informed us that the beach next to it is called “the young lady’s jump”, which we found even funnier. This was hands down the best one of the beaches we visited in Andros and is situated near a village called Korthi (photos to come!). The color of the water, the temperature, the fact that there was shade, all that pretty nature. There was nothing wrong about this beach, apart from the fact that you have to hike your way down there.

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Gialia

On the other side of the island, near the town of Andros, you can find two beaches. The first one is called Gialia and it’s prefered by families. There is a nice restaurant by the beach where you can have dinner after a day at the beach. However…

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Piso Gialia

The second beach is called Piso Gialia and it has a less family oriented crowd. The beach bar hosts famous DJs all summer long and the party starts early in the afternoon. There’s a perfect atmosphere and everyone is dancing and drinking. The water is clean (most of the time) and the sea is a dream to swim in.

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Chrissi Ammos

By far , Chrissi Ammos is the easiest beach to reach. You can eat, sleep and swim there, which makes it the perfect beach when you’re lacking sleep or have a hangover. These nights in the islands can get out of hand. Chrissi Ammos is the place to go the next day. The beach has beautiful sand (that’s what the name of the beach implies anyway). If you go swimming in this sea, you’ll forget to come out. At least that’s what happened to me.

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Pisolimionas

This was the beach that we liked the least on our trip. There are big rocks inside the sea that you can’t see unless you’re already inside and this makes the whole experience very unpleasant.

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Have you ever been to Andros? Any favorites?

Books I read this summer

After the huge success I had last summer with reading books, I decided to continue this year with some more summer reading. I don’t read that many books through the years, mostly because I read too much for work and when I finally relax I try to be active or cook or read blogs. During my summer vacations, I have the time to do all of the above and some more free time that I can read whatever book I’ve bought the rest of the year. However, this year I decided to go Norwegian and that means that I only had the time for two books (I’m an awfully slow ready, especially in Norwegian). Here’s what I read this summer.

Civilization and Its Discontents – Sigmund Freud

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I have a list of writers I want to read in the future and Freud is one of them. I know his ideas are not fresh and new, but his books give a hint of the history of psychology that I really like. On the plus side, people keep asking me about the book I’m reading.

Police – Jo Nesbø

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I love a good Harry Hole book. This was the first one I’ve read in Norwegian and I am so proud I did it. I won’t give any spoilers in case you want to read it. It took me a long time to finish because of the language, but I feel so much more comfortable now. When is the next book of the series coming out?

What have you been reading lately?

ps. Books I read last summer.

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