Jul 25, 2009


i bet you thought of the chocolate bar! i'm talking about berries and other goodies that the earth gives us. the strawberry season is almost over, so i figured i better get some to freeze (now that there is some empty space in freezers). although some would say i'm borderline neurotic about certain things, organizing comes to mind first, i never seem to remember how much i froze berries, how i made jams and how much, etc. this year i did/will remember to write down the amounts in my calendar (now, will i remember where the notes are, is a totally another matter!)

since i mentioned the neurosis i've had, well, i have, i must tell that i'm totally aware of them and that i'm working on them, honestly. i'm not going into details (see!?) but the old me would freak out of amount of dust all over at the shack, not to mention all the dog hair, how the books aren't alphabeticized, or even organized by color, how there are clothes all over (in piles, i might add) and that i never find anything because, well things aren't always where they were the last time i found them. ok, i'm going to stop now, back to berries...

i got these from anttilan marjatila, the variety is "bounty"

how clever am i! i used the pastry blender to mash the berries, got the right amount of juice but there is still some shape in berries

just a touch of sugar and these are ready to be frozen

i had my doubts when planting peas in a round tin planter, but look how juicy they look! the planter is only approx 0.25 m2 so there weren't too many pea pods to pick

these carrots are in a same kind of planter. there won't be many but they taste great, already pulled one out to taste


last year i made vanilla flavoured plum preserve that i decided try to duplicate this year. i started by pitting the plums, that goes easy by quartering them and then just picking out the pits

i boiled the plums with jam sugar the box comes with instructions. after removing the pot from the stove i added 4 tps of nomu vanilla paste but i'm sure any natural vanilla will work (do not recommend any artificial vanilla flavourings)

my bamix came handy when mashing the boiled concoction, i wanted this to be quite smooth

i have quite a collection of glass jars, these had mayo in them. these are perfect size for jams and i love the fact that the product info just peels off the jar and there is no sticky, yacky stuff left behind, even the lids are nicely just one color

tucked under for cooling before storing them in the fridge

blueberries and raspberries, need i say more..

right out of oven, such a shame we didn't have any vanilla ice cream at the shack

Jul 24, 2009

sciurus vulgaris

there are a lot of hazels around at the shack, therefore there are bound to be a lot of sciurus vulgaris /squirrel as well. the dog doesn't much care for them, the little buggers jump right above his doghouse and wake him up, so no wonder. i should also point out that the scream-like yelping, that the dog produces when one of these buggers come close, is something out of a horror movie

there is a drey in an old spruce tree, besides the mother there are 4 young ones. we were on the deck week ago saturday when all four youngs were doing what young ones of all species usually do, playing around. it was a lot of fun, eventhough there were 2 thumps... not sure if it was the same one on both times that fell down. it seemed to be fine, climbed right back up

they were all over the branches

it was impossible to get all four of them in one shot, but i got three here

move over!

aren't they cute?

i'm aware that squirrels are considered to be pests, but they've been no trouble here. well, except for the dog. i think there is plenty of hazelnuts for them to eat so they don't have to go on scavenger hunts inside the buildings. hmm, now that i think of it, there was one troubled juvenile that got under the hood of my car... this pic appeared on may 2 entry, but i'll post it here as well

Jul 23, 2009

last of summer leave

the last week of summer leave was warm, had it not been for the almost constant wind by the lake at cottage, it would have been down right hot. the lake, however, was way too cold for me to swim in. that makes me wonder what has happened, since as a kid i never got to swim quite long and often enough. it's not that i still don't enjoy, even love, swimming, but i hate the feeling when you first get into water that's not quite warm enough (that would be over 24C...). i should mention that i didn't get to travel on this leave either, so certain someone has better come up with something sooner than later. i'd pack in a minute and just go, but that's just me

on the contrary to what is said about the amount of blueberries there will be this year (we hear not a lot) my mom is picking manically and says that there is no way she'll be able to pick all of them in the forest around the cottage. mom, you're not supposed to! not that i don't love the fact the she does the picking for me (thank you mom!) but the freezers will be bulging and where will you put all the moose meat? but back to blueberries. i mentioned talkkuna and blueberry mush on my june 11 entry. here is how you go about making blueberry mush, a bowl, some talkkuna, sugar and fresh blueberries and then you just mash

and you get this wonderful mush that is just oh-so-good with cold milk!

empty the freezer continues (how convient for the blueberries!) took out some lorchels / morels (one of these days i need to get the name right), first sauteed some leeks, then added the mushrooms

made a savory pie crust from modern baker. i did replace 1/3 of the all purpose flour with whole wheat flour to add some bite, and it did give a nice nutty flavor as well. sour cream & 2 eggs mixed went on top before baking, plus the usual salt and pepper

you might remember (or perhaps not) not so long a go when a pie took a detour due to the fact that the oven wasn't wide enough, or maybe the pie pan was too wide. that's why this pan is rectangular, it is a perfect fit to the oven at cottage. sadly, i only got a hot bakers sample of this one, i left for home that afternoon

i did stop at my brother's on the way and got to taste this "taco cake" / sandwich cake, which was layered like a regular cake but with bread, chicken, salsa and quacamole, frosted with cream cheese, topped with tomatoes, lettuce and spring onions and garnished with crushed nachos. it tasted like a soft taco, quite yammy!

on my first day back at the shack we took a trip and went all the way to downtown helsinki and the market square. we bought new potatoes from the weather beaten old man on the boat on the right

as rule, every summer there is hype about new potatoes. these potatoes were something else, i could go on for quite a while, but i'll just say that they were the best i remember i've ever eaten in my life, ever. as much as we ate, we couldn't finish all of them, but they were still delicious next day when i fried them

we got also some smoked herrings

and smoked eel...of which i had only the tiniest bite. certain someone insisted that i take a pic of his "mexican" drink as well (beer with lime), he ate all of the eel but it looked like with some effort

another day, another dish. here are the ingredients for a black trumpet risotto

another empty the freezer meat dish, deer filee browned on all sides, sliced, salt and pepper, anything else and it'd be spoiled