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Some Interesting Facts About Iceland

  • Most Icelanders do not have a family name (such as Johnson, Smith, etc). So children have a given name and then father’s-name-son or father’s-name-daughter. Thus:
    1. Jon has a son named Thor Jonsson and a daughter named Hafdis Jonsdottir.
    2. Thor Jonsson has a son named Bjarni Thorsson and a daughter named Frida Thorsdottir.
    3. And so forth.
  • Icelandic women don’t take the husband’s name when they marry, chiefly because the husband doesn’t have a family name to take.
  • Because they don’t have surnames, Icelanders are listed in the telephone directory alphabetically by first name.
  • Because they don’t have surnames, it is not appropriate to call an Icelander by Mr. or Ms. Almost all Icelanders use the first name with everyone—including the president of Iceland.
  • The English word geyser comes from Icelandic (perhaps the only Icelandic word imported into English). Geysir is the name of a famous geyser in Iceland (which, sadly, no longer erupts).
  • The Icelanders speak the Icelandic language, which is used only in Iceland and among Icelandic expatriates—chiefly in Scandinavia and North America. Icelandic is very similar to old Norwegian of about 1,000 years ago.
  • There are only about 270,000 Icelanders in the country. About half of them live in the capital Reykjavik and its suburbs.
  • Iceland is the world’s oldest democracy. Its parliament (Althingi) was founded about 1,000 years ago.
  • Iceland has vast amounts of water—because it rains so much. Icelandic water is so clean and pure that it is piped into the city and to the kitchen taps in the home without any treatment (no chlorination needed).
  • Urban Icelandic homes do not need a water heater or a furnace for heating. Steam and hot water are piped into the city from natural geysers and hot springs for use in homes and buildings.
  • Because of its bountiful water supply and many rivers, Iceland has vast reserves of hydroelectric power. Electricity is so inexpensive that aluminum ore (bauxite) is shipped in to the country, made into aluminum, and the aluminum ingots are shipped out again. (Smelting aluminum requires vast amounts of electricity.)
  • The weather in Iceland is not as cold as you might think. (Winter is a heck of a lot colder in Minnesota than it is in Iceland!) The climate is relatively mild because of the influence of the Atlantic Ocean’s Gulf Stream. Average winter daytime temperature in Reykjavik is 31 degrees F. (−1 degrees C.)
  • Iceland is very green, because there is so much water and the climate is mild. (There are not many trees however.) People like to say that Iceland should be named Greenland and Greenland should be named Iceland. I used to tell my Icelandic friends that they should change the name of their country from Iceland to Waterland.
  • Iceland lies just south of the Arctic Circle. Winter nights and summer days are long. On December 21 in the capital, the sun rises at 11:30 a.m. and sets at 3:30 p.m. On June 21 the sun sets about midnight and rises at 3:00 a.m. It never gets darker than twilight at night during the late spring and early summer.
  • During a recent survey, Icelanders ranked the highest of all European countries in expressing general satisfaction with their lives.
  • Icelanders rank near the top of world nations in the per capita rate of connection to the Internet.
  • Iceland has no army, navy, or air force. It does have a Coast Guard.

A paranoid is someone who knows a little of what’s going on.

— William Burroughs

Canada (Listeni/ˈkænədə/; French: [ka.na.da]) is a country in the northern part of North America. Its ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic to the Pacific and northward into the Arctic Ocean, covering 9.98 million square kilometres (3.85 million square miles), making it the world’s second-largest country by total area and the fourth-largest country by land area. Canada’s border with the United States is the world’s longest land border. Canada is sparsely populated, the majority of its land territory being dominated by forest and tundra and the Rocky Mountains; about four-fifths of the country’s population of 35 million people live near the southern border. The majority of Canada has a cold or severely cold winter climate, but southerly areas are warm in summer.

The land now called Canada has been inhabited for millennia by various Aboriginal peoples. Beginning in the 15th century, British and French colonies were established on the Atlantic coast, with the first establishment of a region called “Canada” occurring in 1537. As a consequence of various conflicts, the United Kingdom gained and lost territories within British North America until left, in the late 18th century, with what mostly geographically comprises Canada today. Pursuant to the British North America Act, on July 1, 1867, the colonies of Canada,New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia joined to form the autonomous federal Dominion of Canada. This began an accretion of provinces and territories to the self-governing Dominion to the present ten provinces and three territories forming modern Canada. In 1931, Canada achieved near total independence from the United Kingdom with the Statute of Westminster 1931, and full sovereignty was attained when the Canada Act 1982 removed the last remaining ties of legal dependence on the British parliament.

Canada is a federal parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy, with Queen Elizabeth II being the head of state. The country is officially bilingual at the federal level. It is one of the world’s most ethnically diverse and multicultural nations, the product of large-scale immigration from many countries. Its advanced economy is the eleventh largest in the world, relying chiefly upon its abundant natural resources and well-developed international trade networks. Canada’s long and complex relationship with the United States has had a significant impact on its economy and culture.

Canada is a developed country and has the tenth highest nominal per capita income globally, and the ninth highest ranking in the Human Development Index. It ranks among the highest in international measurements of government transparency, civil liberties, quality of life, economic freedom, and education. Canada is a Commonwealth Realm member of theCommonwealth of Nations, a member of the Francophonie, and part of several major international and intergovernmental institutions or groupings including the United Nations, theNorth Atlantic Treaty Organization, the G8, the Group of Ten, the G20, the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.

This recipe was kindly given to us by Pete, one of our lovely engineers and without a doubt F&P’s finest barrista!  Today is Pete’s first day back at work after 5 weeks away in Europe.  This morning I got a brief run-down on how his trip went, however I am yet to interrogate him about the beautiful food he sampled on his travels. I think I’ll have to corner him next time he comes in to make one of his fantastic coffees.

Over to Pete.

If I had to choose a favourite type of pasta it would definitely be fettuccini for 2 reasons, firstly it’s substantial. I must always be really hungry when I make this dish so I like that when you load up your fork you get a full solid mouthful, it’s not half air like penne or macaroni, and it stays on the fork better than spaghetti. Secondly it works really well with rich creamy sauces, what could be better!

Pasta alla Carbonara is based on eggs, cheese, pork and pepper and a key feature is that it relies on the heat of the pasta to cook the eggs.

This recipe makes use of easy to source ingredients, is super easy to make and tastes fantastic. Enjoy!

 

SERVES 6
  • 8 – 10 rashers bacon
  • 500ml cream
  • s & p
  • 2 eggs
  • 30g parmesan
  • 750g fettuccini
  • chopped parsley to serve

  • 1. Cut the bacon into 1cm strips and fry over a medium heat.
  • 2. Place the fettuccini into a pot of salted, boiling water and cook until al dente
  • 3. In the mean time, once the bacon is cooked add the cream and salt and pepper to the pan and simmer to reduce until thick and creamy.
  • 4. Whisk together the egg and parmesan
  • 5. Once the pasta is cooked, drain and add it to the pan and stir it through the cream sauce.
  • 6. Finally, add the egg and parmesan to the pan and stir again.
  • 7. Serve immediately garnished with parsley.

garlic fried rice

Makes 2 servings

ingredients:

1-1/2 tbsp cooking oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
300 g cooked rice, cold
1 stalk spring onion, chopped finely
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp soy sauce

directions:

Heat oil in a wok over high heat. Add garlic and stir fry till fragrant, tossing and turning quickly to avoid burning, about a minute
Add the rice and stir them vigorously, turning the bottom part of the rice to the top and do the same to the sides till all the grains is mixed well with the garlic and oil. Do this for a minute or less
Toss in chopped spring onion and season with salt and soy sauce. Mix well and remove from heat
Serve warm with other dishes

Chocolate Puddle Cookies

I’ve used both 365 organic powdered sugar from Whole Foods, and Hain organic powdered sugar with success. I prefer to use non-alkalized cocoa powder (Scharffen Berger or Dagoba) but also tested with Droste, which is a Dutch-process cocoa powder. All with success. On the nut front, be mindful of how you toast your walnuts – it’s the single factor that impacts the personality of these cookies most. Using deeply toasted walnuts makes for a much more intense, nutty cookie. Lightly toasted walnuts can sometimes be mistaken for chocolate chips, and make for a much more mild cookie. Both good! Also, cooking time – you don’t want to over or under bake here – over bake, and your cookies will cool too a crisp, under bake, and they are too floppy and crumbly. Also, underbaking makes it more difficult to remove the cookies from the parchment paper after baking – you get the swing of it after a batch or two. Use large eggs, I suspect if you use extra-large, the batter will run, and you’ll have to compensate with more powdered sugar.

3 cups / 11 oz / 310 g walnut halves, toasted & cooled
4 cups / 1 lb / 453 g confectioner’s (powdered) sugar

1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons / 2 oz / 60 g unsweetened cocoa powder

scant 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
4 large egg whites, room temperature
1 tablespoon real, good-quality vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 320F / 160C degrees and position racks in the top and bottom third. Line three (preferably rimmed) baking sheets with parchment paper. Or you can bake in batches with fewer pans.

Make sure your walnuts have cooled a bit, then chop coarsely and set aside. Sift together the confectioner’s sugar, cocoa powder, and sea salt. Stir in the walnuts, then add the egg whites and vanilla. Stir until well combined.

Spoon the batter onto the prepared sheets in mounds of about 2 tablespoons each, allowing for PLENTY of room between cookies. These cookies are like reverse Shrinky Dinks – they really expand. Don’t try to get more than 6 cookies on each sheet, and try to avoid placing the batter too close to the edge of the pan.

Bake until they puff up. The tops should get glossy, and then crack a bit – about 12 -15 minutes. Have faith, they look sad at first, then really blossom. You may want to rotate the pans top/bottom/back/front.

Slide the cookies still on parchment onto a cooling rack, and let them cool completely. They will keep in an airtight for a couple days.

Makes 18 large cookies.

Prep time: 20 min – Cook time: 15 min

 

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