onsdag, februar 27, 2013

Our daily bread



First of all, let me reassure any of you worrying that this blog is about to into a baking/foodie blog, as it is not the case. The simple explanation for two food entries in a row is as follows:

1) it is still very much winter here in my neck of the woods, so little outdoorsy/gardening type of activity can take place (though I very much would love to).

2) baking is in fact what I have been doing lately... and little else (during the day, when photographing is a possibility, that is)



Now to today's post... our daily bread. I do have a confession to make. I am pants at baking bread. I am not a big bread eater either, but hubby is. This winter he has been making noises about the shop bought bread, and how it really did not agree with him. Could I please give bread baking a go. As I am very much drawn to the simple living/down to earth kind of lifestyle, it did kind of make sense.



So I made it my mission to master the noble (and very useful) art of bread baking. And let me tell you, it has been an uphill struggle. Maybe because I seem to refuse to follow any given recipe, and rather keep experimenting on my own... with somewhat dubious results, I might add. Today's loaves, on the other had, did not turn out half bad, me thinks... And to my hubby's credit, he claims that the dubious results still outweigh the shop bought ones ;-)

By the way, I found this site rather helpful, especially the Tips, Tricks & Troubles section (no more collapsing bread!)



Do you bake your own bread? If so, do you have any good recipes/links to share...?

mandag, februar 25, 2013

Bake day



What a glorious winter day we've had today; bright blue sky and sunshine. And what would be more natural (NOT) than to spend such a lovely day indoors... baking! I just happened to have a craving for the Karelian pasties from my childhood in Finland, so a bake day it had to be. Now these pasties are rather time consuming to make (but well worth the effort), so I kind of missed the beautiful day outside. But I hope for another lovely bright day tomorrow.

Should you like to give these traditional rice pasties a go, I will give you the recipe here. But do reserve a few hours for the whole process, from cooking the filling (rice porridge) till the finished pasties. The pasties are traditionally served with 'egg butter', but I (rather untraditionally) prefer them with butter and cheese.



KARELIAN PASTIES

(22 - 24 pasties)

2 dl cold water
1 tsp salt
5 dl rye flour

Filling:

3 dl water
3 dl uncooked short-grained rice ('porridge rice')
11-12 dl milk
2-3 tsp salt

To moisten:

melted butter


1. Add the flour and salt to the water and mix into a solid, compact dough
2. Heat the water and milk and sprinkle in the rice. Simmer for at least 20 min. to make a thick porridge
3. Form the dough into a bar and divide into 22-24 parts
4. Roll into balls and flatten into cakes
5. Sprinkle table and hands with rye flour. Roll the cakes into thin sheets with a rolling pin
6. Spread some filling on each sheet, turn the edges partly over the filling, and press to close
7. Put on a baking sheet and bake in 250C for 25 min
8. When the bottom of the pasties is slightly browned and the rice filling has a few brown spots, the pasties are ready
9. Brush them well with the melted butter
10. Place pasties in a bowl and cover with baking paper and a towel to soften the crusts
11. Serve warm with 'egg butter'


EGG BUTTER

150 g butter
2 hardboiled eggs

1. Soften and cream the butter
2. Chop the eggs finely and mix with the butter to spreading consistency



These Karelian pasties freeze beautifully, and are easy enough to defrost and warm up in the micro (or the toaster), whenever a craving occurs. Comfort food indeed!

fredag, februar 22, 2013

Tulip love



Just how happy can a bunch of fresh crisp tulips make me? Apparently happy enough for many a photo, for your enjoyment and mine (enough already, I hear you say... one photo would have been more than plenty). You are sure to recall that not long ago, in fact only a few posts back, tulips were a feature too. But such is the power of tulips...



Anyhow, a fresh new weekend is fast approaching. Tomorrow we will host a dinner party friends, so fresh tulips are really called for. And what will I serve...? Why, lamb roast, of course...



Not only do I have the dinner party to look forward to this weekend. I also plan to get reacquainted with my crochet hook. It seems like ages since I last held it in my hands. I so want to get this blanket finished some time soon. So a hooky weekend it is.



I hope yours will be a good one too, hooky or not.

onsdag, februar 20, 2013

Wordless Wednesday



OK... just a few words then. To say that 'Wordless Wednesday' seems to be popular in Blogland. So here is mine. First ever...

tirsdag, februar 19, 2013

On its way...?



It has been snowing like never before these last two days. And the whole of last week was rather gloomy (weather wise, that is). But today we woke up to sunshine and blue sky.



All at once it felt like spring would come, after all (never mind the generous amounts of snow on the ground...) And once again I had a spring in my step.



Our winters are ever so long, and I can't help but feel a little worse for wear. A bit like my poor tulips, that once were fresh and pretty pink.



But the days are lengthening, the sun is shining, and I can just feel it in me bones that spring is on its way.



Can you feel it too...?

søndag, februar 17, 2013

Meet the Arnold's



A week of wintry merriment is over. Lovely overseas visitors have come and gone. All that is left are lots of lovely memories... and the Arnold's.



Now Mr Arnold was created one afternoon when the temperatures rose just enough to enable such creative activity. A lantern was also made, to give him a bit of light through the dark winter nights...



... while he kept a beady eye on the house, making sure all was well with its inhabitants. But already after one night he told us that house watching was rather lonely activity, and that he sure would appreciate some company.



It was decided that his wish should come true. After all he was not asking for the moon, was he now...? So without further ado... meet Mrs Arnold. I can assure you we now have one happy couple to keep a watchful eye on our property.



I have enquired how long they plan they stay, but they really could not tell. They might be gone overnight, they said, if the wind turned southerly and the temperatures rose. Yet again, if the cool weather continued, they just might hang around for quite some time.



Whatever they decide to do I have assured them that they are welcome to stay as long as they please (weather permitting... ;-)

onsdag, februar 06, 2013

OK, I'll admit... rather pretty


Snow. A fair bit of it. That's what we've got. And I do have to admit, it does look rather pretty, all things considered. It is, after all, February, and this is what February is supposed to look like in Norway.


With a bit of sun and blue sky today (only a bit, mind you) I just had to grab my trusty little camera and record the beauty, for posterity, so to speak.


It looks like the snow is here to stay, so I will just have to put any springtime feelings out of my mind for now. And enjoy the snow. Spring will come, though, when it is good and ready. I will just have to wait...

tirsdag, februar 05, 2013

Cookbook love


I admit to having a particular weakness for books. Mostly decorating and gardening books. These two categories feature from time to time here in my blog. Cookbooks, though, not quite as often. But I do love them, all the same. Especially those with delicious photos and an enticing layout. I have been known to "read" cookbooks in bed ;-)


My latest cookbook love is Avoca's 3rd cookbook. Now I do love anything and everything "Avoca", and have enjoyed memorable lunches at various Avoca Cafes (The Fern House Cafe at Avoca Kilmacanogue, the cafe at Powerscourt House and the cafe at Mount Usher Gardens. Entry from my visit to the gardens here).


So "reading" the Avoca cookbook is a joy indeed, and my mouth waters just looking at the lovely pages in the book. I do love cooking (and, by the way, while doing so I do love using these fab spatulas I got for Christmas...)


Another cookbook love of mine is the books by Tessa Kiros. Especially the "Falling Cloudberries - A World of Family Recipes". Tessa´s mother is Finnish, and I do recognise many of the recipes in this book from my own childhood in Finland.


And now time for confessions... as much as I love "reading" cookbooks, it is actually all I tend to do. Read them. For some reason I seldom use any of the recipes in them. But I do get inspired by just looking at them. Am I the odd one here...? Can you relate at all...? "Read" any good cookbooks lately...?

mandag, februar 04, 2013

Oh no...!


It has been snowing heavily all day. So of course the spring feelings in my previous post turned out to be premature. I should have known, as this really is the norm in February, not the green grass and the spring in my (and the hen´s) step.


So what does one do to cheer oneself up on a snowy February day, when one really would rather have anything else but snow...? Baking some buns came to mind. So buns it is.


There really is hardly anything more comforting than the lovely scent of freshly baked buns in the air. Closely followed by a hot cup of tea, of course.


The buns (not all of them, but a fair few...) were enjoyed with homemade currant jam (black and red combined, from bushes in my garden). Comfort food fit for a queen ;-)


And now (seeing my bed is still unmade from last night, and the snow does not look like it is going to stop anytime soon) I feel like going under the covers again. Maybe it is as good a place as any to wait till the grass is green again and there is birdsong in the air...


What do you do to cheer yourself up on a snow day?