Recipe for Chickpea Curry

This recipe was originally posted on my Norwegian food blog, but after serving it to some Irish folks, I have been begged (read: asked nicely) to make a translation into English. I was inspired to make the recipe after eating a delicious chickpea curry at the hotel I was staying at during the EasterCon in Bradford in 2013. This recipe is totally dairy and gluten free, so it is suitable for most people, even vegans!

Ingredients
1 teaspoon crushed ginger
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 teaspoon cummin
1 onion
1-2 tablespoons vegetable oil (e.g. rapeseed oil)
1 can (about 400-450 g) chickpeas
2 ripe tomatoes
1 can (about 400 ml) coconut milk

How to
Make a paste of the ginger, garlic, lime juice, chili powder, garam masala, cardamom and cummin in a bowl so that it is ready to be used. This is easily done by mixing it together in a mortar or small bowl.

Finely chop the onion in a food processor.
Heat the oil in a thick-bottomed saucepan.
Add the onion and sauté for a few minutes, until soft (not brown).
Finely chop the tomatoes in the food processor. It should look like a sauce.
Add the curry paste to the onions, stir well and sauté.
Add the tomato sauce, bring to a boil and let it simmer for a few minutes.
Add the coconut milk, bring to a boil.
Drain the chickpead well, them add them to the rest, and cook until the coconut has reduced.
Season with salt and pepper.
Remember to stir the curry every now and then so it doesn’t burn.

Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2015
The curry goes well with brown rice…
Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2015

Visiting Phoenix Park and Dublin Zoo

Tuesday 13 october 2015, corrigancj and I visited Phoenix Park and Dublin Zoo. Phoenix Park is the largest park in Europe, of 707 hectares. Dublin Zoo is located in the Phoenix Park, and is a 28 hectare park and home to some 400 animals.

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Flowers at the entrance of Phoenix Park.
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To get to the zoo, we had to walk through the park, which is a really nice walk. Even at autumn there are flowers around, as well as some evergreens. Many of the trees had started to change into their autumn colours, which made a beautiful frame. Phoenix Park is known for its fallow deer that roams about free, but unfortunately didn’t get to see any.

The Dublin Zoo has so many animals and is so large you can spend a lot of time there. We walked around for three hours, and even then we didn’t see all the animals. The zoo prides itself for being part of international breeding programmes for endangered species, and there are some rare animals to meet in the zoo.

One of the rare animals in the zoo is the okapi. At first glance it can look as if it’s related to the zebras, however, they’re related to the giraffe! The okapis are said to be shy, something that was easy to see in the zoo. They liked to almost hide among the trees.

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One of the okapis at Dublin Zoo.
Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2015

One of the cutest animals in the zoo, is the red panda. The red panda has become endangeres through human activity: Not only have they been hunted for their beautiful fur, but by cutting down their forest homes and the bamboo that forms the main part of their diet too. Dublin Zoo has managed to breed them, which is good.

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A red panda at Dublin Zoo.
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I really enjoyed Dublin Zoo, and there were many excellent things to see: the sleeping silverback gorilla, tigers, wolves, and many more. However, one of the highlights for me were the penguins. People who know me know that I love penguins, and in Dublin Zoo we got to see them up close. The penguins that are kept at Dublin Zoo, is the Humboldt’s penguins, a vulnerable spices. They are, like the red pandas, threatend by human activity.

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Humboldt’s penguin at Dublin Zoo.
Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2015

After hours of walking, we headed back to the centre of Dublin for dinner and to relax. We agreed it had ben a nice zoo visit.

Octocon 2015

9 – 11 October I attended Octocon, the National Irish Science Fiction Convention. It was helt in the Camden Court Hotel in Dublin, and stated Friday afternoon, and ended Sunday afternoon. Guests of Honour were Emma Newman and Maura McHugh, but there were several other guests as well.

The convention was kicked off with the opening ceremony, where chairperson Gareth Kavanagh wished us welcome and introduced the Guests of Honour. I had an opening after the opening ceremony, where corrigancj and I headed for dinner. My first panel wasn’t until 20, the Bodily Autonomy in YA panel, which I found very interesting.

There were actually several LGBTQIP+ themes panels for Octocon 2015, which I was very happy about, and I attended several of them. Though I attended several really good panels through the week end, my convention highlights were the Guest of Honour interview with Emma Newman, and the Tea and Jeopardy live show.

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Emma Newman at the Guest of Honour interview.
Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2015

The Guest of Honour interview with Emma Newman (who’s one of my favourite authors), was a warm and personal interview. I think Janet O’Sullivan did a great job, and there was tea and much laughter.

The Tea and Jeopardy live show was based on the Hugo Nominated Podcast of Emma Newman and Peter Newman. Being a fan of the podcast (I must admit I’m still a bit bummed it didn’t win the Hugo’s), I was thrilled to attend the show. I was offered cake by Latimer when entering the tea lair, but I politely declined. Author C.E. Murphy was Emma Newman’s guest for this episode, and it was muc fun. I laughed so much! I missed the chickens, though, but I totally understand they couldn’t be brought to Ireland…

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Emma Newman and Latimer at the tea lair of Octocon 2015.
Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2015

The only problem I had with the convention, was the inside jokes at some panels (not all), that went right above my head. I am not familiar with everything Irish, and there were moments there were things I didn’t understand.

All-in-all I enjoyed my week end, and it was nice to meet up with some convention friends that I know from EasterCon and/or Twitter again. Will I come back to Octocon next year? Only time will show…

Dublin: 8 and 9 October 2015

I left home early Thusday morning, to catch the 8:30 flight to Oslo, where I would have a connecting flight to Dublin. After having run away from my coffee because I was booked into an earlier flight due to my original flight being cancelled, I had a centre seat at the flight making me feel a bit squeezed. I then had some time at ardermoen, before I continued to Dublin. The flight was good, having lots of room, up until some person thought it was a good idea to spray perfume inside the plane. Needless to say, I got an allergy attack, but was thankfully moved to the front. The rest of the flight was spent trying to get back to normal.

I was met by corriganjc at the airport, and after a long and tedious journey to the hotel, I checked in, and got to relax a bit before we headed for food. We had lovely pizza at an Italian restaurant called Little Caesars, which according to corriganjc has the best Italian pizza in Dublin.

When in Dublin, do as Dubliners: Visit the pub! The pub called Against the Grain had been reccomended to me on Twitter, and it being fairly close to the hotel, we went there after dinner. It was a very friendly pub, with a smiling and helpful staff. It had an excellent atmpsphere, and a wide range of good beer. I enjoyed the pub very much!

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At Against the Grain.
Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2015

I woke up too early Friday morning, and after trying to go back to sleep, I gave up and got fed breakfast. I headed out for a walk after breakfast, and pretty much stumbled over a small park with some church ruins. It was very lovely. Turns out St Kevin’s Park is listed as an area of historical and archaeological importance by Duchas. So that was a fairly nice start of the day.

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St Kevin’s Park and church ruins.
Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2015

I had a nice rest after my walk, and dozed a bit before corrigan arrived, and we headed to get coffee at the Bald Barista. To be honest, I found it a bit disappointing, so I was very happy when we had hot chocolate at Butler’s Chocolate Café later on. I had a yummy hot white chocolate, which came with a complimentary praline. Yummy!

We did a bit of walking after being full of hot drinks, and all of a sudden it was lunch time, and we ate at the vegetarian restaurant Cornucopia, which had some really lovely food. Well fed we headed to Dublin Barista School, which has the best coffee I’ve had in Dublin so far.

To get back to the hotel, we walked through St Stephen’s Green, which is a lovely park. After a rest and some reading, it was time to register and get badges for Octocon, which will be given a post of its own.

BookCrossing Convention: Oxford 2015

It has been a while since I attended the bookcrossing convention in Oxford. Having arrived on Wednesday, and the convention starting friday afternoon, I had time to go down to the city centre of Oxford before the convention actually started, to have a look around, as well as having lunch at the Eagle and Child.

The Eagle and Child was the pub the Inklings used to meet up, so of course I had to make a stop here. Though the ale was excellent, I didn’t care much for the sandwhich. It had some sort of raising like chutney and cheese, and I really didn’t like the chutney…

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The Eagle and Child, Oxford.
Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2015

The convention took place Friday 10 – 12 April, and St Hilda’s College was the venue. This was also where several of us were staying, and even though the accomondation was pretty spartan, it was cheap and worked fine. If there was one thing I wasn’t too happy about, it was the Internet access – having two devices needing Internet, the system used didn’t handle this at all, which was quite frustrating.

The convention’s registration opened at 16:30 on Friday 10 April, and after receiving the goodiebag and out name tag, there was plenty of time before we headed to the buffet meal, which was pretty much afternoon tea. Very English! Being a vegetarian, the fruits were my favourites…

After having stuffed ourselves with food, we headed to the Jacquline Du Pre music building, where MissMarkey welcomed us all to the convention: It was now officially open!

At the convention there was a huge book buffet. I added some books myself, and had planned on not bringing many books home. Now, that didn’t ho as planned. I found out I was able to bring an extra suitcase on my flight home, without extra costs, so I ended up buying an extra suitcase, so that I could bring more books home. As if I needed more books…

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People browsing the book buffet.
Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2015

Friday night I went out with a group of Scandinavians. We have our own forum group over at the bookcrossing website, and most of us have been active there for years. It was good to chat with the people I’ve “known” online for years!

I had a rather slow morning on Saturday, and headed down to the city centre again. This was when I bought the extra suitcase, as well as having tea and reading my book. I even stopped by the library. It would have felt wrong to visit Oxford and not stopping buy the city library.

After lunch one of the (for me) convention’s high lights took plave: Morris Men were dancing on the lawn at St Hilda’s. It was so much fun! The audience even got to participate at the end, and I was among the lucky ones who got to dance along. I loved it, and was sad to see it end so quickly…

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The merry Morris Men at the lawn.
Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2015

After sitting (and dancing) in the sun, we headed inside to listen to Ann Granger speak. I must admit I haven’t read any of her books, but it was quite nice to listen to anyhow. And when she was done, they drew the raffle prizes, and then the next year’s Athen’s Convention was presented. The last scheduled event before we all headed out for a meal (I had Indian – yum) was the bid for the 2017 convention, and Oslo won! I’m very excited about a bookcrossing convention in my own country!

Even though Sunday was the last convention day, I left the college when we had to check out, and headed off. I had had a lovely time, but was tired after being social for such a long time (EasterCon + BC con = 10 days of socialising!)

See you all in Oslo in 2017!

The greatest gift

So, the other day my friend Øystein texted me asking me if he could e-mail me a song he had made. I said “of course”, and that I wasn’t afraid of telling him my opinion. Which he already knows, of course, he knows me well enough. After a bit I found time to sit down and listen, so I opened up my inbox, and downloaded the song, called “Flowing”.

I was listening to the song carefully, and not only did it give me goosebumps, but it also made me cry. I found it so sad… Songs hardly ever have that effect on me. I then texted Øystein, and I told him about my reaction to the song, and the he said “I wrote it to you”. Needless to say, I was speachless. It made me cry even more, though not of sadness. What a beautiful gift to get from one of your best friends! The song is online, and can be listened to for free on Soundcloud.

This is probably, by far, the greatest gifts I have ever been given. It might not have much value money wise, but to me, it’s worth everything. So, what’s the greates gift you have been given?

Photo © 2015
Øystein playing with Tønes at Rockefeller in Oslo, 14 March 2015.
Photo © 2015

Pre Bookcrossing Convention: The Cotswold Coach Tour

For the ones of us who arrived early to the bookcrossing convention in Oxford this year, they had arranged a Cotswold Coach Tour. The tour was simply wonderful, and the organizer MissMarkey had done an excellent job putting it together. Often on coach tours there’s not enough time to really look around at the stops, but this time we had plenty of time each stop, and we didn’t even have to stress when we had our lunch stop.

We set out from St Hilda’s college in Oxford in the morning, and after managing to get everyone on the coach, we headed for our first stop, Burford. Burford was a lovely small and cute town. I stopped by the library first, which was really small, but considering the size it was really good. I even had a chat with the librarian, and got some information on the building, fundings and such. There was also a fun book/hat shop in Burford. It’s the only combined hat and book shop I’ve been in, and it was called The Madhatter Bookshop.

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Burford
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Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2015
The Madhatter Bookshop
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Burford Church
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Our next stop was the small village Little Rissington, where you can find one of England’s telephone box libraries. Here you could pick up a book, or leave one. I neither brought any book or took any.


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The phone box library in Little Rissington.
Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2015

When we got to Bourton-on-the-Water, it was lunch time. I decided on doing this town on my own, and fist I did a bit of walking around. I found a nice pub called Kingsbridge, where I had a veggie burger. After lunch there was still time to walk around, before heading back to the coach.


Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2015
Buorton-on-the-Water
Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2015

At Snowshill Manor and Garden we got to see the collection of Charles Wade. He had bought a house for all the odd bits he collected through his life. While his collection had its own house, he himself lived in a small cottage. The gardens were quite large too, and since it was such a beautiful sunny day, it was a nice stop, and I ended it with coffee and cake at the tea room.


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Snowshill Manor
Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2015

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Sheep in the gardens of Snowshill Manor
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Our very last stop of the tour before heading back to Oxford was The Rollright Stones. The stones are megalithic monuments from the Neolithic and Bronze Age periods. There were several bookcrossing books released, but yet again, I didn’t release any.


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The King Stone
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The King’s Men
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We got back to Oxford just before 20, and it had been a great tour!

EasterCon 2015: Dysprosium

I signed up for this year’s EasterCon at last year’s EasterCon, and was very excited to go. Dysprosium was held at ParkInn by Raddison at Heathrow, so getting there would be the easiest convention for me to get to, with a lot of flights to choose from.

This year’s guests of honour were Jim Butcher, Seanan McGuire, Herr Döktor, and Caroline Mullan. The only guest of honour I had heard of was Seanan McGuire, simply because she was also a guest of honour at last year’s EuroCon in Dublin. To me, it’s not the guests of honour that are the important thing, though, but the fact that EasterCon gather a lot of fans from pretty much all over Europe. That’s pretty fun, in my opinion.

There were a lot of interesting panels and talks this year, but one can’t go to them all. I chose to attend a handfull, as well as being a lot more social than I have been previous years. All good. The panels I attended were all good, even though I had to leave The Unseen London panel halfway through, as I had a splitting headache, and needed painkillers, water and a nap. I siply couldn’t focus, and was sad not to being able to listen to such an interesting topic.

I find it hard to pick a favourite panel or talk this year. I really enjoyed the Guest of Honour interview with Herr Dötor. I am incredible fascinated by how he’s able to make the cool art. He had some pieces exhibited at the art show, and they were magnificent.

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Herr Döktor was inerviewed by Lady Elsie.
Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2015

Other than a lot of geeky stuff, there were lots of geeky people. This being my third EasterCon meant I knew more people this time around than two years ago, when I attended my first EasterCon, and Twitter helps too. I have probably been more social over the EasterCon week end than I have been in years. All good, though. There were great chats. Great company. And I had in general an excellent time.

The 2015 Hugo Awards – The Short List

So, the shortlist of the 2015 Hugo Awards was just announced, and I am, for the first time ever, eligible to vote. I forgot about nominating, but I have every intention to give my vote.

I am very much looking forward to read Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie, as I loved Ancillary Justice. However, there are books I will not read and not vote for, and that are the sad/rabid puppy selection. The reason for this? Well, the explanation I was given on Twitter says it all:

2015-04-04-twitter

Correction from @ClaireRousseau
Claire Rousseau has in the comments asked me to add the following correction:
Vox Day put up a post on his site in which he called NK Jemisin, who is a woman of colour, a “half-savage”. Because his blog was syndicated to SFWA social media, the post was tweeted from the official SFWA twitter. NK Jemisin put in an official complaint in accordance to the SFWA harassment policy that ultimately resulted in Vox Day’s SFWA membership being revoked.

Here is wikipedia for reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theodore_Beale#Conflict_with_the_SFWA

So, I will read the following novels:
Ancillary Sword, Ann Leckie (Orbit US/Orbit UK)
The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison (Sarah Monette) (Tor Books)

As for Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form, I have already seen Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and really should watch Edge of Tomorrow as well.

I think it’s really sad when some people think things like the sad/rabid puppies thing is all right. After all, it will backfire on the works listed, no matter how great they are.

All shortlisted nominations can be found HERE.

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The 2014 Hugo Awards winner, Ancilliary Justice by Ann Leckie.
Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2015

EDIT 05 April 2015:
I edited this post after The Puppy-Free Hugo Award Voter’s Guide was brought to my attention. I will not read any of the short stories, and have therefore deleted the section of short stories to read.

It’s Monday, what are you reading?

Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2015
Photo: Hidden in a Book © 2015
They say it’s the golden age for Norwegian fantasy. I’m not sure it’s true, but more Norwegian fantasy has been published the last few years. I’m currently reading Bian Shen by Torbjørn Øverland Amundsen that was published a couple of years ago, and I’m enjoying it so far. It’s concept is different from anything I have read before, and I am curious on how it continues…

So, what are you currently reading?