Friday, 16 August 2013

Oslo...Late Summer Dinner In An Enchanted Garden

Summer in Oslo 
is beautiful.
Long days and short nights.
Warm but not hot with clear blue sky
 the entire city is 
out & about.
Flowers bloom everywhere, reaching to
the heavens in all their colorful
Even the city looks
  green & energized.
While the Oslo fjord is
a brilliant inviting blue,
sail boats in all sizes cruise by
the precious weather
is never taken for granted.
The truth of the matter is...
a good thing is never enough!
Recently on one such day,
our good friend
Bjorn Lapstun
invited us for dinner at his
communal garden,
right in the 
heart of the city.
The 30 minute walk 
along the 
a charming river that was used for 
various purposes during
the Industrial period,
was totally picture-perfect.
Wild ducks floating on the clear water,
illuminated with shafts of sunlight
seeping through the trees above,
gave the impression of 
the "joys" of 
the season.
Although the invitation was for 
 the day was not lost.
This was after all summer.
The sun was still bright
 as the photos show,
the sky was a tempting 
shade of blue.
A communal garden,
as the name suggests,
is run by a collective of different owners,
on a lease-hold basis.
It was devised more than a 
hundred years ago,
primarily for the working class.
It provided an opportunity to enjoy
the wonders of gardening 
to escape from the confined
quarters of urban living.
While it gave the populace a
chance to work with the
these projects also put
food on the table.
Parcels of land was set aside.
it's extremely trendy to
own such gardens
the waiting list is rumored to be in the hundreds!
There are many such plots all over 
Fortunately they were never built upon.
This one is called
has 60 parcels within
20,000 square metres.
Each with it's own distinct
look & feel.
you cultivate it according 
to your own 
whim & fancy.
you're only limited to your own
This is our host for the day...
Bjorn Lapstun.
And our 
meal was only minutes away.
All around us, 
we were surrounded by
fruit, vegetables 
flowing in abundance.
Busy bees everywhere,
ecstatically from
flower to flower, drunk with joy.
This place is precious
such an experience...priceless!

The table all set & ready!
While our host was busy
grilling over hot coal,
we ventured around taking in the
beauty of this "paradise-like"
The plots spill over onto each other
without any fencing.
Everywhere you look,
juicy apples, pears, cherries & plums hung
while wild raspberries & red currants
suspended in delicious clusters on delicate vines.
Flowers large & small,
added that burst of color.
 The land was full indeed!
Greetings all around!
As we wandered between the gorgeous plots,
each neighbor eager to show off
the bounty of their handiwork,
invited us over.
Home made marmalade 
squash & ginger!
An unusual & tasty
combination which was a perfect complement
to our meal.
Christian Sommerfelt & Gunnar Fon
enjoying chilled white wine
under the Norwegian sun.
Fish wrapped in foil
with garlic potatoes warming above.
Bjorn is a clever & innovative chef!
There's always an unusual twist to his
Sweet plums ready for the plucking.
Since there's so much of everything,
you're invited to taste as much
as possible.
Many fruits will eventually end up as jam.
A photo of Christian Sommerfelt
cutting vegetables
from the plot in the quickest way possible!
All grown within arms reach.
We sat down for dinner in a manner as
civilized as one possibly could in such a setting.
Little else was required in terms of props.
We were literally surrounded by
lush fragrant vegetation
in the most intense green!

Flowers in all shapes & colors 
made it
 magical & alluring.
I firmly believe the happiest moments
are invariably the simplest!
A group of friends enjoying
good weather
farm fresh produce...tough to beat!
Gunnar, Morten, Bjorn & Jacob
amidst the lush beautiful garden.
Potatoes from the land awaiting consumption.
Organic at it's best!
The first course was grilled scallops
on a bed of squash,
drizzled with a home-made
light orange balsamic sauce!
And honey harvested from the hive a few
feet away!
How great is that!
Sitting here with these intense colors as backdrop
far from city interruptions,
we shared summer holiday stories.
This could possibly be the best
meal I've had in the last few months.
Garlic potatoes giving off
the most delicious smell!
The fish was brushed with a light egg wash,

It was then placed over the hot coals 

steam cooked.
 In this manner, it preserved
the moisture,
while retaining the flavors.
tasty & satisfying!
A job done well Bjorn!!!
Dessert was an abundance of fresh red currants served
with vanilla sauce.

The currants exploded with every bite
soothed by the creamy sauce.
In their quest for greatness,
more chefs should return to the basics!
The garden was the perfect setting
for our
excellent dinner party.
There were no prized crystal glasses
nor bone china 
heirloom flatware,
yet this meal was beyond anything
any downtown restaurant could offer.
These establishments are so occupied
with interior decor that
they seemingly forget
that one important point:
the food.
Our late afternoon get together
was a no frills affair.
However, within it's 
simplicity & honesty,
we came away feeling truly
blessed to have enjoyed 
such hospitality.
Bjorn Lapstun
has spent long hours
working on this land
for many years.
His yield is plenty
his generosity 
holds no boundaries.

"Tusen Takk"
for an absolutely
unforgettable experience!

"A Thousand Words
Will Not Leave So
Deep An Impression
As One Deed."

Henrik Ibsen


  1. I am a bit envious - Hans and I had the pleasure to visit Bjorn in his garden the first Sunday of June, and had a fabuolous dinner with Bjorn. Later in the summer more vegetables and friuts are ripe, of course ;-)

  2. True beauty in any season...shines!


Nice of you to write!