I am Neuroscience PhD, a humanist, skeptic, feminist, avid reader, science enthusiast, woolly-liberal über-nerd, and, as of October 2015, father to the Lykketroll.

I moved from England to Norway in January 2012 and live in Lørenskog with my wife, the Lykketroll, and our two aging rescue cats, Socrates and Schrödinger. 

I am on paternity leave from the 4th of July to the 18th of November. 

The job I am on leave from is as an  Associate Professor and Head of Studies at the Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences. My background is in child neurodevelopment (my PhD looked into the relationship between fatty acids like omega-3 and cognitive development in young children) but I now work on a hodge-podge of things roughly within the field of Universal Design of ICT 50% of the time, the other 50% of my time I am Head of the 'General' Studies (Allmenn in Norwegian) Unit, which is comprised of around 24 academics within a range of fields, including mathematics, physics, Norwegian, and technology and leadership.

In between working and doing the usual dad things,  I like hiking and running in the beautiful Norwegian outdoors, cooking and playing video games. 

If I believed in souls I would say that mine was born in Norway. 

I plan to sleep when I'm dead.

Recipe: A shot by shot remake of a Shooter's Sandwich

This is my second beef-related post in the space of a couple of days, following my post on Saturday about the Apostasy Project (and how a Domino's pizza saved my life).

Now that I'm (slowly) turning towards vegetarianism - and, by extension, my wife, too, since I do all the cooking - every time we do eat meat, we try to make it different and interesting, so that we can kid ourselves into feeling better about doing it.

I found this recipe by Tim Hayward for Shooter's Sandwich (given a bump on the Guardian webpage last week after it was first posted in 2010), which looks like it had the right mix of new, simple and exciting. Being the special people that we are, we decided that it wasn't enough to recreate the recipe: we thought we'd recreate the photos that accompanied it too, inspired in part by those hilarious pictures that pop up on Facebook every now and then of people posting what their baking disasters should have looked like, and because, well, it seemed like a fun thing to do.

Given that it was a bank holiday in Norway, and that the decision to do this was a little last minute, we had to rely on the limited range of ingredients available in our small local supermarket, but we managed to get passable versions of everything we needed.

I cooked and my wife gamely played along and helped with the photos.

Ingredients:

  • A loaf of crusty bread
  • Two steaks the same size and shape of the loaf  (the best we could find on the day was shredded beef)
  • 500g of mushrooms
  • 200g of shallots (we just had regular onions)
  • 1 clove of chopped garlic
  • 75g of butter
  • Handful of chopped parsley
  • Horseradish (we did without)
  • Dijon mustard
  • Shot of brandy (we did without)
  • Worcester sauce (we did without)

Gather your ingredients:

Slice the top quarter off the loaf and scoop out the insides, saving it to make breadcrumbs for another recipe:

Dice your mushrooms and shallots/onion (I just went for plain old roughly chopped). Tim had bone marrow just lying around in his fridge. We obviously didn't and just made do with the recommended 75g of butter:

Cook down the garlic, mushrooms and shallots/onions in the butter until most of the moisture has evaporated. Add the parsley, and then the brandy and Worcester sauce (we didn't have either). Season to taste with salt and black pepper:

Season the meat and cook to medium in a searing hot pan:

Fill the hollow loaf with the meat, including any juices:

Scoop over the mushroom mix, pushing down and filling all the gaps:

Add the second layer of beef and spread with hot horseradish (we didn't have any, so we just went with Dijon mustard). Spread Dijon mustard on the inside of the lid (I would advise a thicker layer than you can see in ours - we had to err on the side of caution for the sake of my wife's taste buds):

No need to give instructions for the the next step:

Wrap in greaseproof paper, tie tightly with string and then wrap the parcel in two layers of tin foil. Place under a chopping board topped with a heavy weight (we went with a 10 litre bucket filled with water), to 'smush' (Tim's word, not mine) the sandwich together. Leave for 6 hours (or overnight if possible) in a cool area - we couldn't wait that long and went with five and a half:

Slice like a cake:

The recipe recommend accompanying the sandwich with 'something vaguely vegetable-based to assuage the guilt':

The verdict: Absolutely delicious (even without the horseradish, brandy and Worcester sauce) and perfect for a summer picnic!

Three stories of Muslim women that have given me cause for cheer

The Apostasy Project (and how a Domino's pizza changed my life)