Sunday, June 24, 2012

Weekly Wrap-up: My laptop is dead

Happy Midsummer! I'm sorry to say that my laptop has died and I'm in the middle of nowhere at our summer cottage with no access to any kind of technology. I don't know when I'll be able to update my little blog next time, but I hope it will be sooner rather than later.

We had a lovely Midsummer celebration here and I made us a midsummer pole because we are close to the Swedish-speaking areas of Finland so I thought we can get away with it. I've eaten more sausages than I can ever dream of and I'm trying to get back to some kind of routines and normal eating again.

Enjoy the summer! I'll be back with a recovered laptop as soon as I can! You can read more about Finnish Midsummer from Lonely Planet.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Food Love: Tempura Cauliflower

Basically anything tastes good if you coat it with bread crumbs and fry it in olive oil. This recipe of tempura cauliflower discs is no exeption. I've never fried cauliflower before, I think I've only used it in salads or made it in oven in some vegetable casseroles.

In the original recipe the cauliflower discs are deep fried but I fried them in a pan with slightly less oil and I used Asian Panko bread crumbs instead of batter. This is no diet food. See how those florets sizzle in oil?

The crispy discs really are delicious with soy sauce. When reading the recipe I thought that soy sauce is a bit boring option for a dip, but those flavors go great together. This is definitely one of my summer favorites, and easy to make!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Weekly wrap-up: Bookwormish behavior

Not much has happened this week. We built a raised bed for our garden, visited Kauhava summer market and bought some delicious lemon buns.

The highlight of my week was all the reading I managed to do.  I can recommend all these three books:

The Song of Troy by Colleen McCullough. I love history and all the great tales, and this book tells a very detailed story of the Trojan War. Who knew Odysseys was such a sneaky man and the mastermind behind all things? This book manages to make war look glorious. Interesting story from several viewpoints. There must be some truth to all of this, at least I want to think so.

Blue Shoes and Happiness by Alexander McCall Smith. Oh how I love Mma Ramotswe, the lovely and traditionally built lady detective from Botswana. Her wisdom makes me smile, even though this book didn't have as much storyline as I would've hoped for. Even the new cases in No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency seemed to be much like the earlier ones. Still, it was a good summer read. Now I really want some cake and bush tea.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Schaffer and Annie Barrows. Potato Peel Pie? What on earth? The description of this book didn't make much justice for this book, it was way better than I imagined. I was afraid this would be some lame love story based on letter exchange but it was an interesting peek into history. This books tells about a little literary society found on Guernsey island during the Second World War. I can't reveal too much, just read this book. It gives a lot food for thought and describes war horrors in a heartbreaking way.

More book recs next week!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Pin It and Do It #11: Nail house number

It has rained for almost a week here at our summer cottage so I haven't been feeling very crafty. All garden projects are on hold but I decided to continue with the Pin It and Do It -challenge on my own. The official challenge was in May and now I'm making these just for fun because Pinterest is such a great source of inspiration!

My dad built our summer cottage 20 years ago. The house has been without a proper house number all that time, so it was time to make one. I found this great idea for house number via Pinterest, originally from blog Lotta Agaton.

All you need is some nails and a hammer. This is great anger management too. Just saying.

Use a bigger nail to mark the places for smaller nails. This makes hammering easier and you will have somewhat straight rows of nails.

Start hammering from the middle of each number and then move to make the outlines. Make sure all your nails are in place. It's difficult to hammer some missing nail into the center of the number afterwards.

Here's my finished house number plate. I haven't decided yet if I'm going to paint those nails darker later. Maybe some contrast would look better? It would be fun to make some texts with nails too.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Food Love: Nectarine Crumble

I was craving for oven apples the other day, but it reminds me of autumn and I decided to make a crumble with nectarines instead. I'm forced to cook all my foods on the grill while I'm at our summer cottage, and with this dessert it's a must. Grilling gives this some extra sweetness and flavor.

Combine sliced nectarines, muscovado sugar, cinnamon, rolled oats, butter, cashew nuts, honey and a bit of water in a casserole foil container.

Grill until caramelized. I served this with vanilla soy milk but some coconut milk would've been good too.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Weekly wrap-up: In Full Bloom

I love these first weeks of June when everything's in bloom at our summer cottage. I've been just sitting on the porch and taking in all this beauty.

I love all these flowers but Forget-me-nots are my favourite.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Food Love: Frozen yogurt pops

I was so happy last week when I was finally able to find a frozen yogurt pops mold from Lidl. Those molds are not easy to find, I've been looking for weeks and they've been either sold out everywhere or not yet in stock for summer.

Without much planning I mixed together what supplies I had in my kitchen, so my first ever frozen yogurt pop was a chocolate-strawberry one. I used natural yogurt, cacao powder, honey, strawberries and a bit of vanilla extract.

I don't use white sugar (ever) and for me the blend was fine. It's frozen yogurt so it's supposed to taste a bit tangy, right? My mom said those pops tasted "healthy", meaning she would've wanted some sugar with that. All I can say is if it tastes good after you've mixed all the ingredients in the bowl, it will taste good frozen too.

Another thing I've been trying to cut from my diet is dairy, but I didn't have any soy yogurt in fridge so this time I made these with natural yogurt. The problem with soy yogurts here in Finland is that they are usually sweetened, and like I said I try to eat as little sugar as possible. We don't have Whole Foods or other fancy stores here, so the selection is limited. But if I make a vegan version of these pops in the future, I'll let you know.

Next time I'll skip the vanilla extract, because I couldn't taste it at all. If you're not used to the slight bitterness of raw cacao powder, you might want to use sugared one. And if we had any fresh strawberries in Finland I would've used them, but now I was forced to use frozen berries. Still, these were super yummy!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Weekly wrap-up: After one nautical bachelorette party

This week was all about one day in particular, because a good friend of mine, Erika, is getting married this summer. A bunch of us threw her a very nautical bachelorette party yesterday. We spent the day at rainy and windy Helsinki, but had a fair amount of red wine to keep us warm.

After some surprise wake-up visit, a lovely brunch at Fanny, garden games at Kaivopuisto and coffee, cake and quizzes at Cafe Carusel, we were ready to own the nautical part of the day. We took a ferry to Uunisaari island, where the day continued with sauna and some bridal shower rituals.

There was a bachelor party going on in the other sauna next door, and someone had their wedding right across our sauna cottage on the same island. That was a bit weird, but surely not as weird as them having a wedding and watching from window how Erika was sprinting back and forth in only her bikinis belting out the names of her exes.

After some primping and prepping we took the one-minute ferry drive back to mainland and had a dinner at Glöd Bar&Grill. I had this perfect tender braised veal brisket with Vitello Tonnato sauce and spinach salad for starters. The meat was so tender it literally melted in my mouth. It's hidden under the sauce here so you can't really see it but believe me, it was amazing!

I chose bouillabaisse as my main course and it was good but nothing unforgettable. A bit too salty for my taste, and it came without a spoon. Maybe it's fine dining to eat soup with a fork these days? All in all this was a really good experience and I hope to eat more of that veal some other time.

Our party continued to nightlife and by the time I got home I had stayed up for almost 20 hours. If that day wasn't a good kick start for Erika's married life, I don't know what is. I hope she enjoyed it even if we embarrased her a bit!

I leave you with this food for thought from Glöd.