Happy Halloween!

October 31, 2016 § Leave a comment

Here’s our pumpkin for this year, carved:

Jack-o-Lantern 2016

Mr. E’s best work so far, I think. πŸ™‚

Happy Halloween!

Fire Starters with Wax and Fir

October 12, 2016 § Leave a comment

Amanda at House Revivals shared this lovely crafts project:

Amanda House Revivals firestarter_tutorial_christmas

Amanda at House Revivals.

Such cute – and fragrant, I bet – fire starters! Visit her site for more photos and full instructions. Thanks for sharing, Amanda!

(Note: I do not not publish sponsored content, or accept gifts or discounts to write about products. Blog posts are based on my personal opinion.)

Kitchen Rag Rug & Marimekko Poppy Curtains

October 13, 2015 § 2 Comments

Weslie and Kristina’s north Texas kitchen is not only lovely, it pings my Nordic radar. And no surprise: Kristina is Finnish.

Weslie Kristina selma-ikea-kitchen-after-3

Weslie and Kristina’s kitchen. Found via House*Tweaking.

I LOVE the rag rug on the floor! Lots of white and a little blue, green, and red, plus a dash of black, with varying stripe widths. Goes really well with the modern look, including the red Marimekko Unikko curtain fabric. Apparently it’s a handmade vintage piece which was a gift from their sister-in-law in Finland.

Found via House*Tweaking.

Independence Day Activities

December 9, 2014 § 1 Comment

Saturday was the Finnish Independence Day. We spent it in the kitchen – after a relaxing sauna bath – streaming a tv broadcast of the celebrations in Finland and making these Christmas yummies, among other things:

Baking Finnish Xmas Tarts

Here are my two Independence candles. (Traditionally, we display two candles in each window, or at least in one window, typically facing the street.) These windows face the back yard, but I wanted them where we could see them.

Independence Day Candles

Happy 97th! Only three years to go for the big 100.

Special Dinner: September 2014

October 20, 2014 § Leave a comment

Perhaps it was the cold temps, perhaps it was the fall flu season starting, but I’ve been functioning with less than a full battery pack for a while. On top of that, my laptop battery actually died. While the mechanical battery has been replaced, the human one is still putting at 42% efficiency. Hopefully the rest of the month will be better.

It’s taken me a long time to post September’s special dinner, but finally, here it is. For the 2014 special dinners, Mr. E suggested we should look at some of the less often used cookbooks in our household for inspiration. This time we chose Tastes of Anglo-Saxon England by Mary Savelli.

Sept 2014 Special Dinner

The starter was a hot root vegetable and cucumber soup. Yes, boiled cucumber! We used our own heritage cukes, supermarket onions plus local turnip and carrots. The soup also had a little beer in the broth. The mix was unusual, and improved from adding a little sour cream. The main course was fish cakes with buttered beets – yum! – and a dollop of sour cream, which Mr. E added to the recipe. As dessert Mr. E made baked apples stuffed with a mixture of pears, peach, honey, breadcrumbs, butter and cinnamon. To make it really rich, we topped it with a splash of thick cream. Ahh!

Sept 2014 Table

I decided to keep the table bare so that all of that gorgeous wood would show to its benefit. Bamboo placemats are in no way Anglo-Saxon, but I’m no purist, and they go nicely with the wood colors. Simple glasses and white bowls won’t detract from the fancier plates. A fast and free wild flower / leaf bouquet topped a cork hotpad.

Apart from the soup, which tasted a little funny to our modern palates, the dinner was great. Especially the dessert!

Special Dinner: August 2014

September 12, 2014 § Leave a comment

For the 2014 special dinners, Mr. E suggested we should look at some of the less often used cookbooks in our household for inspiration.

This August, we picked a collection of recipes from Louhisaari Manor in Askainen, Finland. The recipes and remedies were written down in the late 1700s to mid-1800s and read like family knowledge: there’s no need to share measurements or detailed information because everyone already knows exactly what size your pots and pans are. Mr. E had therefore to improvise a bit.

Aug 2014 Special Dinner

Mr. E made a simple omelet with salt, pepper, and parsley as a starter. The β€œtrick” was to whip the eggs into a light froth before adding the rest of the ingredients. For the main course, Mr. E wanted to try a smoked geese recipe, but we’re not equipped for smoking, nor did we have access to geese. Instead, he picked two small Cornish game hens and roasted them on the grille outdoors. The hens were served with a simple cucumber-tomato salad, which wasn’t called for in the recipe, but which we wanted to add anyway for extra veggies. The cucumbers came from our yard.

Aug 2014 Salad

As dessert, Mr. E chose a flourless lemon cake. It’s made on an almond paste crust topped with cooked rice flavored with lemon and sugar. I’d rather call it a pie, I think. Whatever you call it, it tasted very good.

Aug 2014 Table

For the table, I picked our blue willow China because the pattern was popular in the 18th century, making it a perfect historical fit. I then chose coordinating dishes and textiles to go with the plates, and I think the combination looks really good, even if I say so myself. For an additional Finnish touch, I placed our Iittala annual bird 2012 as a minimalistic centerpiece.

It’s another keeper of a dinner! Mr. E said he’d like to try the lemon cake another time to tweak it even better. Well, I’m not one to say no to that! πŸ™‚

Special Dinner: June 2014

July 14, 2014 § 2 Comments

For the 2014 special dinners, Mr. E suggested we should look at some of the less often used cookbooks in our household for inspiration. For June – to continue the historical theme – we chose the Viking Cookbook.

June 2014 Special Dinner

Mr. E made cabbage-beet-carrot soup as starter, served with a dollop of sour cream. The beets turned the soup red, of course, and tended to overwhelm the taste as well, but the sour cream worked as a surprisingly good neutralizer.

The main course was pork with apple. Mr. E cooked most of the meal outdoors on the grill (until he ran out of coal and had to finish inside on the stove), and that might be why the pork came out a bit dry. However, the mushy, cooked apples kept the dish juicy.

As dessert Mr. E made a blueberry oven pancake with whipped cream.

Viking-style Oven Pancake

(A note on pancakes: Even though we call them pancakes, Scandinavian / Finnish pancakes are not the thick, fluffy, flour-y American breakfast stuff. There’s actually two kinds of dishes called pancakes. One is baked in the oven, usually in a deep cookie sheet; Mr. E put his into a pie dish, though. These oven pancakes come out dense, eggy and rich. Oven pancakes are an especially delicious way to use up old milk. The other kind resembles American pancakes, but is cooked ultra thin like crepes. Both types tend to be enjoyed as dessert more often than breakfast, typically with fresh berries, jam, ice cream or whipped cream. One of our favorite restaurants in Finland serves the thin crepe-style pancakes with both savory and sweet fillings of your choice.)

I kept the table simple and incorporated traditional crafts, namely clay dishes and the runner (handmade in Finland from unbleached linen and dyed cottons). Our glasses are actually replicas of medieval drinking glasses that we got years ago at the Historiska museet in Stockholm (I believe) on a research trip for Mr. E’s dissertation.

June 2014 Table

Even though Mr. E had some qualms while cooking, I think this dinner came out really tasty. The pancake is definitely a keeper – he’s already made it twice more. Yum! πŸ™‚

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