Mette Barfelt Interview
Mette Barfelt is a Scandinavian author. After 16 years working for travel agencies and airlines, she educated in marketing and started writing books. She has traveled extensively throughout the world and visited numerous countries. Her passion for travels and cruises resulted in the non-fiction cruise guide “Alt du bør vite om cruise,” published by Aschehoug Publishing House in Norway. She’s now writing contemporary romances – sweet small town love stories with a dash of suspense. The books in the series are stand-alones. She lives with her husband and her two teens, outside Oslo, Norway.
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Hi Mette, thank you for taking the time to interview with The RAC (Reader/Author Connection) Magazine!
I read in your bio that you live outside Oslo in Norway. Have you always lived in that part of the world?
Yes, I’ve lived on the east coast of Norway for almost thirty years, but I was born and raised in Stavanger, on the west coast. I moved to the capital Oslo when I was offered a marketing job at Delta Air Lines. Many years later I met my husband there, and we moved outside the city before the oldest was born. I’ve never regretted it; it’s such a peaceful and beautiful place to live.
Please tell us more about your sweet romance books. Is the small town in the books based on a real town?
Yes and no. Solvik is part fictitious, part real. Although the town itself and its citizens are fictitious, everything else such as the surrounding area, distances, geography, nature, and weather are real. The idyllic Solvik is only half an hour’s drive southeast of Oslo, but the contrast to the noisy capital is huge. I picture Solvik situated by the sea, a mere ten-minute walk from where I live, surrounded by woods, farms, and fields in the relaxing countryside.
Mette, you have seven books published in Norwegian and four have been translated and published in English. Will all your books eventually be translated?
Yes! Book five and six will be published in English early spring. And book seven will be released next fall, seeing as it is a Christmas book.
Now, here is the question every reader of yours wants to know! The recipes in the books….where do they come from?
All of the recipes in the books are among my favorites, and I’ve baked them for years. They are very Norwegian, apart from the snickerdoodles, which I included in the Norwegian version of the book since it’s unfamiliar to most Norwegians. I love to bake, and on one of my trips to Washington D.C, I bought a cookbook called “Presidential cookies” by Bev Young. It’s a lovely book, with recipes from George Washington to Barack Obama, and that’s where I tried snickerdoodles for the first time.
What is next for you, Mette? Any new books or series?
Right now, I’m spending all my time getting book five and six ready for editing. But as soon as they are published, I’ll start writing a new series. It’s too early to tell, but I think I’d like to write stories set on a cruise ship, on the magnificent Norwegian fjords, and even up to Svalbard, which is an exceptional place. My writing career started with a cruising guide published by a big Norwegian publishing house, and I do have a love for cruise ships. So, maybe it’s time to write about it again, in another setting.
Thank you, Mette, for your time, we appreciate it! We wish you the best for your future endeavors.
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Mette’s book includes recipes! Here is the Vanilla Custard Bun recipe from book one, Time for Honesty. The buns are very Norwegian, and every bakery in Norway sell what we call “skoleboller” (school buns). You’ll also find them in all grocery stores, and people bake them at home. They are just as popular as the American donuts.
Vanilla custard buns (24 pcs):
32 oz. (900 g) flour
5 ¼ oz. (150 g) sugar
2 teaspoons cardamom
2 teaspoons vanilla sugar
1 pinch salt
2 oz. (50 g) yeast
17 fl oz. (5 dl) lukewarm milk
5 ¼ oz. (150 g) butter
Mix everything, except the butter, in a mixer, and keep on low speed for 10 minutes. Add soft butter, a bit at a time, and mix thoroughly for another 10 minutes. Leave to rise for 1 hour under a kitchen towel. Roll into buns, and leave to rise for another 30 minutes. Make a hole in the middle of each bun – not all the way through – and add 2 teaspoons of vanilla cream. Cook in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175 degrees Celsius) for about 15 minutes. Leave to cool before adding icing.
17 fl oz. (5 dl) lukewarm milk
3 ½ oz. (100 g) sugar
½ vanilla pod
4 egg yolks
1 ½ oz. (40 g) cornstarch
Pour milk and sugar into a pot. Split the vanilla pod, scrape the seeds out and add it all to the pot. Very gently heat it to boiling point. Whisk egg yolks and cornstarch together in a bowl. Pour the boiling milk over the mixture, while stirring continuously. Pour everything back into the pot and very gently heat it to boiling point. Make sure to stir constantly as not to burn. When the mixture reaches boiling point, pour it through a strainer into a bowl. Sprinkle a bit of sugar on top, to avoid a skin forming.
If you don’t want to make your vanilla cream, you can buy it ready for use in the store.
Water or milk
Mix powdered sugar with a tiny bit of water/milk to get the right consistency. Liberally brush sugar icing on top and all around the bun, before dipping it in lots of shredded coconuts.