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: Masala dosa

When I cook, I like to look up recipes, or get them off my darling mother, and then typically end up improvising in some way, usually because I don't have all the ingredients; but sometimes just to try something new out; this recipe is no exception - there are a million ways to make Indian dosa, but this is the only one I know that is foolproof. Unlike most of the Indian recipes that I'll put up, this one didn't come from my mum but is just a cobbling together of various recipes and ideas I had swilling around my head. I can't even remember where I got the dosa batter recipe from, but it's easy to remember as it as so few ingredients. I think the basic recipe might have actually been from Jamie Oliver, but I can't be sure.

Don't let the long(ish) list of ingredients fool you. Whilst there is a bit of work to do, this recipe is an absolute doddle.

As with all the recipes I write up, this one makes enough for two hungry people. As I cook for a Norwegian who has a fairly low threshold for spice, most people can kick it up a notch when it comes to chili ingredients. 


Ingredients

For the potato filling

  • 1 large baking potato, cut into 1.5cm cubes, skin on 
  • 1 sweet potato (equivalent in size to the potato), peeled and cut into 1.5cm cubes
  • 1 medium size onion, finely sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely sliced
  • 1 cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil 
  • 1½ teaspoons of mustard seeds
  • ½ teaspoon of cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of garam masala/chili powder
  • 1 fresh red chili (for an extra kick – it’s already quite spicy, leave out the chili if you want something milder), de-seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric
  • Good pinch of salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

For the dosa batter

  • 100g of gram (chickpea) flour
  • 100g of plain flour
  • ½ teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 teaspoon of mustard seeds
  • generous pinch of salt
  • 100ml of water (or enough to make a loose batter)
  • olive oil

Garnish

  • A few sprigs of fresh coriander, roughly chopped
  • Couple of slices of lime per person

For the coriander and mint chutney

  • Large, equally-sized handfuls of fresh mint and coriander (stalks removed)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 small clove of garlic, finely sliced
  • 30ml of extra virgin olive oil (or enough that you have a paste that just drips off the spoon)

Instructions 

Chutney:

The chutney is a good thing to get out of the way first as it's really easy to make and tastes better the longer it sits. 

Get all the ingredients and half the oil and blitz together in a hand blender. Add a little more oil at a time until you have a paste that just drips off the spoon. 

If you thin the chutney out with a little more oil, it makes a ridiculously tasty pasta salad dressing.

I usually make a whole load of it in one go and then keep it in the fridge. It will last for ages in an air-tight container.

Once the chutney is done, it's best to start on the dosa before the filling.

Dosa:

  1. Mix the dry dosa ingredients in a bowl  
  2. Whisk in 80 ml of the water. You're looking for a smooth, fairly loose batter, so add more water as you need.
  3. Swill a tablespoon of oil around in large frying pan on fairly high heat. You want to oil to be hot but not smoking.
  4. Ladel in enough batter so that you can just about coat the surface of the pan. 
  5. Once the dosa is cooked through on one side (it'll start to brown and crisp up and little bubbles will start to appear, flip it over and cook for another 30 seconds.
  6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 and cook as many dosa as you get make from the batter. Pile them up and leave them aside.

Potato filling: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C. Toss the cubed potato and sweet potato in a little olive and a pinch of salt, and bake for about 15 minutes, or until the potato mix is cooked through and starting to brown. 
  2. Whilst the potatoes are cooking you can cook the spice mixture. Heat two tablespoons of olive oil on fairly low heat and fry the onions until they start to brown.
  3. Add the garlic and fry for another couple of minutes.
  4. Toss in the turmeric, mustard seeds, cumin, grated ginger, the chilis and garam masala and fry until the seeds start to pop. Be sure to stir frequently.
  5. Once the potatoes are done, take them out of the oven and pour into the pan of spices. Give it a good stir, making sure the potatoes are evenly coated.

Heap a spoonfull of the potato mix in the middle of dosa, sprinkle over a little of the chutney and freshly chopped coriander, drizzle with a squeeze of lime, fold up, and tuck in.


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