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I have always liked knitting, from time to time, especially in the winter time. I make socks and scarfs, sometimes even made a jumper. I seem to get excited doing something, then start and work on it for awhile, and then forget it again. Now, when I am supposed to be studying for a big exam I have in less than two weeks time, I am hooked on learning to Crochet!  It all started because I found this wonderful website, which is full of handmade stuff, and I could have bought oh so many things from there, but thankfully was able to restrict myself. But after finding things done in crochet way, and especially when I saw beautiful baby cocoons, (which I never knew existed before) I thought to myself that hey, I could make those! And perhaps even sell them online! So now I have watched YouTube videos of how to crochet, read blogs and of course ordered some yarn and I am ready to start! … and back to studying… Maybe I can do both at the same time? 😉 I found some lovely alpaca yarn from here.

What is a baby cocoon? Check here.

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Happy New Year to everyone! I have read a lot recently about the fact that everyone seems to make new year promises. Do you? If so, what is yours? I first thought that I am not going to make any promises, but have second thoughts now… But am not so sure what it is that I would like to promise to myself. I am anyway trying to eat healthy, be conscious about products that I use that they are environmentally as good as possible, I try to avoid consuming too much – meaning every time I buy something I consider if I REALLY need it or not or is it just something that makes me happy at that MOMENT, or does it actually make me happy for longer. I try to exercise regularly. I avoid eating meat. I try to keep my weight where it is. I try making my close family happy every day. Including cats and dogs and horses. So, what else is there to promise about? I try to be my best every day of the year, so…. isn’t that the best anyone can do? 😉

I think the better question would be what are my dreams for this year? Those I have a few.

1. Get pregnant. Easier said that done, unfortunately.

2. See more of my friends, especially those who live abroad.

3. Take my husband to Finland to meet my grandmother, again, as my grandmother is wonderful and I really miss her. And my mum and sisters. And the rest of the family.

4. Buy a cottage in Finland. This might not happen soon but is one of my biggest dreams.

5. One day, perhaps not this year yet, would love to have my own horse.

6. Decide which country we want to live our rest of lives in, and buy a house from there. Or perhaps just stay where we are. 🙂

7. Grow a vegetable garden.

… hmmmm big dreams! What are yours?

Christmas Dog

Here is our lovely Irish Wolfhound Muumi this Xmas, before she fell sick after eating too many bones.. Bit like me, eating too much chocolate!

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In Finland we celebrate Christmas already on the 24th December, with rice porridge in the morning, early morning/early afternoon SAUNA, then getting pretty and early evening Christmas dinner followed with opening the presents. And most of the time meeting the Santa Claus as well! For dinner we typically have ham, swede casserole, carrot casserole and potato casserole, and assortment of fish together with a salad. As I am celebrating my Christmas this year in England, in my Christmas dinner we had ham, salmon, Brussels sprouts and swede-, carrot- and potato casseroles. My favourite is the swede casserole, oooh so yummy!

Lanttulaatikko – Swede Casserole

  • 2 big swedes
  • 1 table spoon salt in the water
  • 1/2 litre water

Peel the swedes and cut into cubes. Boil until soft in salty water. Smash into purée.

  • 1 dl bread crumbs
  • 1 onion
  • 2 dl cream
  • 1/2 dl syrup
  • 1/2 tea spoon ground pepper, nutmeg and ginger

Cut onion into small purée, and soften in the pan for about 5 minutes. Add to the swede purée. Mix bread crumbs and cream and let stand for a few minutes so that bread crumbs have swollen. Add everything to swede purée, all the spices as well and mix well. Put into oven dish and bake in 200 degrees for one hour, and in 150 degrees the second hour. Let cool a bit and enjoy! You can also freeze this dish and enjoy later.

Porkkanalaatikko – Carrot Casserole

  • 1kg carrots
  • 2 dl porridge rice
  • 1/2 liter water
  • 1 litre milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tea spoon salt
  • 1/2 tea spoon nutmeg
  • 2 table spoons syrup
  • bread crumbs

First boil the porridge rice in 2 cups of water until the rice has used all the water, then start adding milk little by little, forming porridge. This will take about 40 minutes. Boil the peeled carrots that you have cut into smaller pieces in water, but just so much water that it covers the carrots. Boil until soft and then mash into purée. Add all the spices and syrup and mix with rice porridge. Transfer into oven dish, add some bread crumbs on top and bake in 150 degrees for about 1.5 hour.

Imelletty Perunalaatikko – (Sweet) Potato Casserole

  • 2kg potatoes
  • 2dl white flour
  • some butter
  • 0,5-1 litre milk
  • 2 table spoon syrup
  • 3 teaspoons salt

Boil peeled potatoes cut into cubes in little water (just to cover the potatoes) until soft. Mash into purée. Let cool until hand warm and then add white flour (this so that the flour doesn’t burn) Add some butter, mix and let stand over night in room temperature, covered with a lid. You are doing this so that the mixture would get a bit sweeter taste in the end. Don’t worry that next day when you open the lid it looks a bit grey, it doesn’t matter.

Next day, mix the mixture and add so much milk that the mixture is more liquid than typical porridge, but not too liquid. Add to oven dish, add some butter on top and bake 1/2 hour in 200 degrees, until it starts to boil, then lower the temperature to 150 degrees and bake another two hours.

These casseroles are served with ham. Enjoy!

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I just have to share with you my new most favourite “tea”. In tea pot, put a few slices of ginger, half the juice of red grapefruit and 3 (frozen) strawberries, add a litre hot water and let stand 5 minutes and enjoy! Fabulous healthy drink!

Merry Christmas!

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I really love the taste of swedes. Might be much a Finnish thing, as we eat swedes not only in soups but mainly in Christmas time as a swede casserole. (My Scottish husband was not used to the taste of swedes, still liked these) It is something that I hated as a child, and I believe many kids feel the same. I could not understand how my mum would love it so much. And then I grew older, and one day I noticed that my taste buds had changed! And I fell in love with the taste of swede. I will later give you a recipe for Christmas Swede Casserole, but today I will show you how to make Swede pastries, as I made these myself the other day. Remember when you buy swedes not to mix them with turnips, they look a bit alike. I made this mistake last Christmas, and while boiling them in the water and I was wondering why they looked so pale and didn’t smell the way they should… Swedes are quite yellow, and turnips white from inside! Taste is very different 😉

Filling:

  • 2 pieces of swede ( I had quite big ones)
  • 1 tea-spoon salt
  • 1/2 dl syrup
  • 1/4 tea-spoon ground pepper
  • 1/4 tea-spoon nutmeg
  • 2-3 table spoons white flour
  • (one egg, but is not necessary)

Peel the swedes and cut into cubes. Boil until soft. Add spices and mix. Next do the pastry.

  • 2dl water
  • 1/2 tea-spoon salt
  • about 3dl rye flour
  • about 1,5 dl white strong flour

Mix all the ingredients and form into dough. Roll into a snake form and cut into 16-18 pieces. Roll each piece into flat thin round form. Then add a tea-spoon of filling in the middle, and close to form a moon shape. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes until nicely brown, and then moisten the skin with liquid butter when you take them out of oven. Let cool a bit and enjoy! Also very nice to eat cold.

Swede pastries lanttusupikas

swede pastry

Today I have made Finnish Christmas Stars (Joulutorttu). They are what Finns eat instead of Mince Pies. They are made in puff pastry and filled with plum jam. They are d e l i c i o u s!!

Next week I will be doing vegetable casseroles, one with carrots, one with swedes and one with potatoes. These are traditionally eaten at Christmas with ham. I will share the recipes next week with you.

Christmas Stars:

pastry:

  • 3ooml cream (I used oat cream)
  • 300g butter (I used dairy free)
  • about 6,5 dl white flour
  • 1tsp baking powder

1. Mix the flour and baking powder. Add liquid butter and cream with the flours. Mix well and then put in to the fridge for at least 2 hours.

2. I used ready made plum jam. Roll dough for about 3mm and cut into squares. Put a teaspoon of jam into the middle of the square. Cut the edges and then fold every second one in to the middle. Here is a little youtube video I found so you can see how it is done, makes much more sense then 😉

3. Bake until nicely brown in 200 degrees (just a few minutes)

ps you can also make them look like moons, a bit easier! just use a glass to make round shapes, then add jam in the middle and fold over.

ps2 add some powder sugar on top!

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