Ooh I had forgotten how much I love it! The husband paid a visit to the asian shop in town and bought everything he needed for Nam prik pao. It is a kind of Thai chili jam and you can have it with everything. He got a 0.5kilo bag of thai chillies so that will last us a while. First you roast the chilies in a hot pan, then fry garlic and onion in oil until brown, mix it in a food processor. Add shrimp paste, tamarind, palm sugar and fish sauce and boil down to a jam. I am telling the world -I am addicted to Nam prik pao! I don’t know what it is but all day we have both kept going out to the kitchen having a taste and coming up with new perfect combinations. I love it on Swedish crisp bread with lots of butter but dipping a fresh prawn aaaaah it’s like heaven. A few years ago when I opened my photography studio we offered all the guests Graham’s sourdough bread with Nam prik pao and Shropshire blue(which is like a stilton but nicer and yellow) cheese, some people still talk about it to this day. Imagine it glazed on smoked meat, on a cheese on toast sandwich or in a fry-up…can’t wait until end of summer and he can make one with the chilies that I have grown.
The pictures of the cemetery really blew me away (last post). I knew already that there were less trees and more fields but such a change! Yesterday I walked up there in the snowstorm to take pictures from the same angles but it was kinda hard because of all the trees. Amazing that the island has changed so much in 60 years!
I had a conversation the other day about death and history of the island. I wondered where people were buried before the cemetery at Hönö was built 1952. Apparently everyone was buried at Öckerö. It took a few more years even after the opening of the new cemetery at Hönö, for it to fill, because people thought the new cemetery looked too empty. Then yesterday I was very kindly given some photos of the opening day of the cemetery. Crazy to see how bare it was! Apparently there was a guy called Börjesson who planted trees all over the island. He used to borrow school classes to help him plant trees, even my mother remember planting some of the trees on the island! Asking around though no one I have spoken to have had a better answer to why he did it apart from -Maybe because it was pretty? Of course there is also another reason to why the island is now so full of trees, there are no cattle. A few years ago they had sheep at one of the nature reserves, to clear the land but what I’ve heard is people complained and they had to go. Before I was born my family, like most other families, had pigs and two cows. Every morning my grandmother would go milk them where they grazed(just by the cemetery). They also planted carrots and spuds there by the sea, I guess because the soil would be full of nutrients because of the cattle. I think it’s a great shame that there are no animals on the islands, apart from chickens and house pets that is. From now on I will make it a life long quest to bring the cattle back to Hönö, that’s a promise.
So I know I should be working on repairing the henyard but instead I ended up taking lots of chicken pics and swing, hamstring, painting and building other stuff. I will fix it but want to do it properly this time with big heavy wooden poles, concrete and metal nets so for now I’m procrastinating= putting it off for another day. Instead I measured out pieces of wood panel, cut it and painted för the inside of the hen house to rat proof it. Ran around the house looking
for a suitable shelf to use for my plants until I realised that I could easily build one! Half an hour later I have a sort of small bookcase for holding the extra light I bought for my chilis, luckily one of my darkroom lightholders fit perfectly with the new light tubes! For now there are two ”steps” I can put the lightholder on but I will do some modifications so that I can hang the light and easier adjust the distance from the plants. Finished off the evening with developing three out of five rolls of film that I’ve shot since Christmas.
When I’m not working as a photographer, holding workshops or spending time repairing the barn(and everything else that has blown down the past week) I work in the foodshop down the harbour, a couple of days a week. Erik Samuelsson started up the shop in 1884(!) and since then it’s changed names a few times but most of the old people call it ”Samwells” in Hönö dialect. It burned down in 1914 but was rebuilt and when they built the mainroad it moved further up land and was extended 4 meters on each side. Now it can’t grow anymore if you don’t sacrifice the parking lot which is not going to happen, the islanders love their cars and drive everywhere even if you could walk across Hönö in half an hour. I love working in the shop, not just the getting a break from my own business but all the interesting people coming in and of course having work colleagues. We always have a laugh, both customers and staff. It’s a very friendly and relaxed atmosphere. In summer about one third of the customers come in the shop barefoot straight off the boats. We also pack food every week for the fishing boats and for old people who can’t make it to the shop. Also if you miss something they will most likely order it in if you ask. The main business is of course during Hönö Konferensen and Christmas, then the shop turns in to a crazy inferno of customers but all in all it feels like it’s gotten busier since I started a year ago. With the majority of the staff being born islanders and all the old people coming in, I see it as a goldmine for finding out more about the history of Hönö, me being the source of a lot of laughter trying to speak Hönö dialect. I try my best to remember all the stories that I am told by the owner’s father who still comes in to work and he must be in his eighties(my apologies if I guess wrong). Samuelsson’s(now called Hemköp) is the only shop on the island who still has a cheese and meat counter, like in the old days. Now there are less cuts of meat and more salami, ham and cheese. My first time behind the counter I encountered a lot of for me strange requests like Spicke korv(or like they say Spegekörv) a salami packed in salt. Köttkorv(exact translation Meat sausage) is also a big seller, like the one I tried for Christmas that you boil and eat with a bechamel sauce, not only for Christmas apparently we are still selling loads! I asked one of my colleagues if she could think of anything special that we sell just because it’s an island thing but of course I should have asked a ”townie” instead, she gave me a very funny look. After a lot of thinking I did remember one thing, we do not sell tinned crab, but I’m sure there are more things that I haven’t thought about. Most but not least though I think one of the best things is to be able to sit at the till at work and look out over the barbour and see the fishing boats, the storms, rough weather or now rare occasions the sun.
Holy cow! Sat indoors yesterday I thought nope this is just another moderate storm but then we took a short walk and nearly got blown off our feet by the gusts of wind. The rest of the evening the wind picked up. They closed the bridge in town and the ferry to the outer Northern islands only brought passengers and no cars. I remembered how it was when we first moved out to the island. I used to be terrified that the house would fall down! The walls creaking, the handles to the old heavy bookshelf vibrate and the windows bend in like they are going to shatter into a thousand pieces. It wasn’t until my neighbour pointed out that if the house has stood for more than a hundred years there can’t be much more to blow off it. This really calmed me down and changed my way of thinking but I still can’t help to tense up a bit when the walls rattle. Towards midnight I wasn’t as calm anymore, I braved it and ventured out to check the damage. The hen yard had blown down again! Even after me reinforcing it the other day. The roof of the barn was flapping loose but I thought it’s better to let it blow off and then putting it back than being decapitated while trying to fix it in the storm. Since I went to work very early this morning I still haven’t seen how bad it is in daylight… Down the harbour some of the streets were completely flooded and the water level was the highest I’ve seen it. I spoke to one of the fishermen who couldn’t get on his boat because it was too high up! Another guy said they had measured winds up to 40m/s last night. Now they say there is another storm on the way later in the week so I might just leave the henyard as it is until it’s all over. Or build a new one out of concrete and bricks.
Well my food-loving husband was right about the Cronuts, see Baking bonanza. Now he’s predicted that Byalis will be the next trendy thing. Didn’t do any storm chasing with my camera because it pissed down most of the day. Instead I spend some hours on the sofa with my seed catalogues and a good book while my husband kept busy in the kitchen. He’s started with best-ever-bagels last night. After they are rolled out and shaped they sit in the fridge over night and today he cooked them for a minute in barley syrup and water and then baked in the oven. So for lunch I had warm bagels with homemade hummus and ajvar, yummy! Then it was time for the Byalis. They are apparently from Poland but are becoming a hit in New York and if he’s right, here in Sweden in a year. Personally I don’t see the big thing, it’s just a like a bagel with fried onions and poppyseeds in the middle but it was still very tasty. Now there’s a Pain Ancienne a cold fermented dough waiting to be put in the oven tomorrow. The list of breads that my husband succeeds in perfecting is getting longer by the day! My favourite is the Focaccia that he makes for special occasions like New Year or payday weekend. A light fluffy Focaccia brushed with garlic oil, halved and filled with mozzarella, charred spring onions, Serrano ham and of course lots of chilli, baked in the oven until the cheese melts. Oh and don’t get me started on the pizza… he’s managed the perfect pizza base, we had peperoni pizza 4 times over Christmas. Can you tell I’m getting hungry?