Dec 30, 2011

calm after the storm

there are a lot of fallen branches, some quite big, in the yard, but everything is very strangely, at least for the moment, very calm.

lake near the shack is flooding and the storm decided to land the neighour's deck. certain someone used to own a row boat but it's probably on the bottom of the lake since the stopper wasn't in its place.

snow still keeps us waiting, these tiny frosty hailstones are the closest to snow. the dog is eternally curious of everything i try to photograph.

all the ditches and streams and flowing like in the spring for all the rain we've had.

that particular stream has been splashing water around creating an ice-garden.

the compost is doing great, this time last year it there was one solid block of frozen matter in the composter...

fresh thyme, anyone? this is a first, fresh herbs from the garden at the end of december.

the dog was very restless during the storm, he doesn't like thunder, nor fireworks...

but he's happy about his new toy, squeeky sloppy squirrel (it said that in the package!)

Dec 27, 2011

stranded, or rather held hostage

as luck would have, one thing goes wrong, everything starts following...

i'm sure the fridge/freezer combo at the shack had heard about the big storm approaching and decided to start acting up, as in not keeping stuff cold/frozen. that started on xmas eve and finally in the evening of xmas day certain someone decided to "take a look"...

...fortunately, at that point, we could have the xmas food outside (+4C) and the dog guarding it, though, i think the dog would have loved to sink his teeth on the ham.

during the night between 25th and 26th, the power went off, came on again, went off and as i'm writing this, it's still not on...boiling water on 4 tea lights took only an hour...

...but boxing day evening tea with cake was cosy.

these fallen spruces on the power lines weren't probably the culprit alone for the power outage, but they did hinder us from getting anywhere from the shack for almost 2 days. the other "route" would have required a 4W all terrain vehicle we don't have, yet...

the storm ripped those tall trees with roots off.

fortunately the emergency services came today around noon to "free" us. at the shack the water will go but not come without electricity, so i was very, very happy to get to my apartment to have a shower. and a proper cup of coffee!

we are hoping for the power to come on this evening, but it could be days, there are tens of thousands of homes still with no power. one thing i'm not looking forward is to check the freezers, i'd hate to throw away all those berries and such!

Dec 23, 2011

rare moment of white wonder

wednesday brought some, well, very little snow to southern finland. nevertheless, the snow made everyhting nice and bright. i arrived at the shack just in time to catch the awsome clouds...

and played a bit with the big camera buttons.

"auto" setting of the camera

"my" settings

then it was time to go walking with the dog. the fog was creeping in on us along the fields

the dog's patience was wearing thin waiting for me while i took pics.

frosty field of sunflowers

i've been missing this pinkish blue winter light.

the dog wasn't the least interested in the frozen pods...

lights of an approaching car along the road

little pond at the damm along the walk, so still

now, where's my dinner?

Dec 22, 2011

mental health day in porvoo

as in "had to get away and see something else" kinda mental health day. us girls drove to porvoo to maybe shop for xmas and eat well. porvoo is a cute little town 50 km east of helsinki, very old, unfortunately (or fortunately, depends which way you look at it), also quite touristey...but then again, those old houses don't provide for themselves...

the weather wasn't that great, but then again, it hasn't been anything else for the past few weeks. the rains have risen the porvoo river almost to its brink...even spring floods aren't this high.

first stop was tuulan aitta (no website) from where i got this elf that now sits on the mantel at the shack. we were told that the lady who makes these elves (there were several different) has so many ideas but doesn't have the time to make them all...

porvoo city hall from 1771

cobble stone street up the hill to the porvoo cathedral. from wikipedia: "The church has been destroyed by fire numerous times; in 1508 by Danish and in 1571, 1590, and 1708 by Russian forces. On May 29, 2006, the outer roof collapsed after arson, however with the inner ceiling undamaged and the cathedral interiors intact. An eighteen year old black metal musician, was found guilty and convicted to three years and two months imprisonment on August 31, 2006.[2]".
so sad.

up on the hill is also the lilla chokladfabriken. i only bought two little boxes...

as the weather was so lousy, and the fact that one of us was on crutches, we needed something hot to drink, warm glög with gingerbread, almonds and raisins at café fanny.

i should not go to a shop like this...skafferi colonial store. the smell, or rather smells, in the shop were amazing and kept changing when browsing on in there, coffees, teas, spices, cookies, jams, candies and what not!

another store that i should avoid...teetee shop, the selection of yarns they have, and the colors!

manos del uruguay yarns. i tried to crochet the other day and noticed after 5 mins that it's not yet time to do even that, let alone knit.

after all that hard shopping it was time for lunch at restaurant walgren's. loved the decorative idea of framing the structural logs in the wall like this.

there were several interesting items on the menu, here is the appetizer of xmas menu I, beetroot terrine and mushroom salad, delicious i was told.

i had porcini soup with horseradish sour cream, very nice.

fried arctic char with saffron risotto

fillet of pork, dijon sauce and root vegetable puree

chocolate brownie and gingerbread ice cream

bailey's créme brûlée. could have just sat down for a while longer in the restaurant, but had to start driving home, it was getting dark and the rain kept falling. great outing all together, thanks girls!

Dec 3, 2011

my take on divan

anna olson's fresh is on tv again and as i don't have much to do in the afternoons i tend to watch it, when i rememeber it's on, that is. the other day anna was making a turkey divan. the dish looked interesting enough to try, since turkey isn't as readily available over here as it is in the US and canada, i decided to make one with chicken. i had not known that there is a dish called divan and that it is, in fact, usually make with and learn.

i wanted my divan to have more veggies in it, so i added a carrot, spring onion and zucchini. didn't use bell pepper, i do like the taste but i get serious heartburn from it.

started by sauteeing the minced onion, cubed carrot and finely chopped stem of the broccoli (waste not...) in some rapeseed oil and butter for a few minutes before adding the flour.

then added 2 cups vegetable stock (no chicken stock in the pantry nor freezer), ½ cup grated swiss cheese, ½ cup white wine (certain someone's unfinished bottle), ½ cup cream and 2 tsp dijon mustard, ½ tsp dried thyme and some crushed black pepper.

i found out from several recipes that a divan dish usually has serious amounts of mayonnaise in it as this one. not entirely a bad idea, but just calories you really don't need. i don't have anything against mayonnaise, but have it with something you can really taste it in, and not a whole cup (2,5 dl!)

i don't like mushy veggies, so i added the bite-size zucchini...

...and minced spring onion and parsley with chopped chicken (5 cutlets that i had browned earlier) to the pan and mixed well. turned off the heat but left the pan on the stove. some recipes suggest that you use any leftover chicken, or turkey, and why not? i guess you could even use tofu if you wanted to go vegetarian.

the broccoli got just a dip in boiling water, because boiled to oblivion broccoli is rather disgusting, i wanted it to still have some bite left when the dish came out of the oven.

after placing the quickly blanced broccoli in an oven dish, i poured the "sauce" on top...

...and added ½ cup grated cheese and 2 tbsp breadcrumbs mixture on top (left out the oil from anna's recipe).

20 mins in 200C oven and i had lunch. anna suggests that you serve this with either pasta or rice but i had it as is. i though that the added veggies made this a complete meal, but it would certainly feed more if served with pasta or rice. this batch fed certain someone and i twice with generous portions.

just because i haven't been posting (like, for ages) doesn't mean i've been idle ( might still be right if you thought that). i've been meaning to clean and organize the kitchen cupboards at the shack for the longest time. i figured that this type of cleaningn wouldn't include heavy lifting, the spice jars are light enough to manage with the left hand as well. this is the messy spice cabinet before...

...and after. i did go thru everything and tossed it if 2 yrs had gone since best-by date.

before shot of the canned goods fighting the machinery.

they look more at peace now...

while i was at it, i cleaned other cabinets as well. i did have to toss some items but not as much as i had feared. it's amazing how much more space there is when what you have is in order...sugars, nuts, teas and coffee here