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: Norwegian cinnamon twist buns (Kanelsnurrer)

These contain an unholy amount of sugary goodness, but, then again, 'tis the season.

This recipe makes around 20 buns, which I assure you will disappear very quickly. It's based on this one (in Norwegian), but I've made a few (important) changes, specifically with the dimensions, spices and the filling.  


Ingredients 

For the dough:

  • 1kg plain white flour
  • 1 egg
  • 150g unsalted butter (room temperature, cut into small cubes)
  • 500ml whole milk
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 50g fresh yeast

For the filling cinnamon filling:

  • 150g softened unsalted butter (should be slightly warmer than room temperature; blitz it in the microwave for 20 seconds)
  • 100g light brown sugar (e.g. muscovado)
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 2.5 tablespoons ground cinnamon.

Decoration

  • 50g of pearl sugar (or enough for a generous sprinkling over each bun before baking)
  • 1 egg (lightly beaten)

Instructions

The dough needs to rise for a total of 2.5 hours, so this needs to be planned ahead a little time.

  1. Chuck all the dry dough ingredients (including the yeast) in a large mixing bowl and give it a mix. 
  2. Create a well in the centre and pour in the milk and whisked egg mix until it all comes together and no longer sticks to the bowl. If the dough feels a little stiff, just add a few more drops of milk.
  3. Knead the dough for at least 10 minutes. I’m a fan of kneading by hand- it’s half the fun of baking – but you can just whack it in a mixer on a fairly low speed.
  4. Knead small handfuls of the butter into the dough a little at a time, working the dough for at least another 10 to 15 minutes.
  5. Drape a tablecloth over the bowl and let the dough rise at room temperature for about 90 minutes.
  6. Roll the dough out on a floured surface until it's a rectangle about 40cm tall and 50cm long. The dimensions don’t really matter as long as it’s a rectangle and the rolled out dough is about 5mm thick. 
  7. Now for the filling. Mix the two sugars and the cinnamon in a bowl.
  8. Smear the butter all over the dough, making sure to cover every square millimeter. 
  9. Sprinkle over the sugar mixture, again making sure to cover the dough evenly. Gently press the sugar into the butter so it sticks. Use your fingers to sweep any sugar left on the surface over the dough until everything is covered evenly.
  10. With the long edge of the dough horizontal to you, fold one third of the dough into the middle from the right. Fold the remaining third into the middle from the left so that you now have three layers.
  11. Roll out the folded dough so that until it’s approximately 20cm wide and around 40 cm long.
  12. Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough into strips about 1cm wide (40cm long).
  13. Take each strip and roll it on the surface into a twist (2 or 3 rotations, tops). You need to be quite gentle with the dough from now on, otherwise the strips will stretch and the layers might separate. 
  14. Wrap the twist around two fingers, gently left it off your fingers and tuck in the remaining end of the dough into the hole where your fingers used to be. Don't worry about them not looking perfect (see below!)
  15. Place the buns on a lined baking tray with a couple of centimeters between them

16.   Drape tablecloth over the top and let the buns         rise again at room temperature for about 60             minutes. There’s a lot of waiting in between,           but it’s totally worth it for the lovely soft                 texture.                                                                  17.  Just before the hour’s up, pre-heat your oven           to 180C.                                                               18.   Brush each bun with the beaten egg and                  generously sprinkle over the pearl sugar.     19.  Stick the buns in the middle of the oven for              around 18 minutes, or least until they are                lightly golden.

An idiot-proof knitted skinny tie