May 2, 2012

start of swimming season...

for the dog, that is! while were away most of the snow was gone and the ditches and streams are filled almost to the brim. along the walk one has to be on guard as the dog will dash to a ditch without a warning. one day i was brushing the dog, the amount of hair that comes off...for a moment i thought of saving the hairs and knitting mittens of them but decided that the birds, and maybe squirrels, will have more use of them as their bedding.

at and around this tree the dog usually becomes very restless, there is a feeding place for deer near by.

last week it was time to change the tyres, the dog had to check each and every one of them...

"a treat, please, pretty please?"

plenty of anemone nemorosa this year.

noticed this hole on a pine along the walk, seems like no one has claimed residence in there yet.

this old tree always looks so dramatic, no matter what time of year, or day.

the other day a pair of woodpeckers were making quite a racket in the trees.

the dog doesn't particularly like woodpeckers, but he surely likes dipping his paws in the ditches.

the catkins are a bit late this year.

right after certain someone got the dog from the orphanage, the dog fell into the water and went under a bridge that used be on this very place. certain someone jumped into the ice-cold water and got the dog by the neck. it seems certain someone is more traumatized of the incident than the dog, who will happily go into water. they have since built this dam where the bridge was.

"wonder if there is anything to eat in the water?"

trees are starting to show slightly green on the tip of the branches.

the daffodils were seriously late for easter. "is this edible?"

May 1, 2012

sima and hauskaa vappua / happy 1st of may

as my luck would have it, i'm working today so my celebration of vappu consisted of sima and tippaleipä. traditionally the eve of may 1st is the rowdiest it ever gets in finland, i bet that the parks in downtown helsinki are filled with tired people after...i'm hoping they don't wake up before i get off work.

when my brother and i were kids mom used to make sima for every vappu, with home made doughnuts. i think i've made sima once before, of rhubarbs...not my cup of tea. this year i wanted to have a go with sima and when i was looking for recipes i found one with ginger in it, recipe here. translation of the recipe:

4 liters water
3 cm piece of fresh ginger (peeled)
250 gr brown sugar
250 gr white sugar
1 lemon, thinly sliced (organic, or scrubbed really well)
1/5 tsp fresh yeast
4 tsp sugar
raisins and 4 one liter bottles

start by slicing the lemon...

...peel and slice the ginger. on hindsight i wish i had used more ginger, i would have liked the ginger to taste a bit more.

have two pots ready, one 5 liter pot where you measure the sugars (i used 500 gr of demerera sugar), and another pot where you measure 2 liters of water, add the lemon and ginger and bring to a boil. pour the boiling water on the sugars in the bigger pot.

measure the yeast and dilute it to small amount of water...

...add to the lukewarm liquid and mix well. place a lid on and let sit in room temperature for 24 hrs.

the next day, the liquid has started to bubble slightly and is ready to be bottled.

place 1 tsp sugar and a few raisins into each of the bottles.

strain the solids and pour the liquid into bottles.

as yeast and sugar tend do funny business when they meet, don't screw the lids on the bottles too tight, you'll want some of the pressure to have a way to escape. place the bottles in the fridge and wait for a couple of days. sima is ready when the raisins have risen to the top. you can eat the raisins, i never do, i don't like raisins. they feel like dead insects when you bite them. and for the record, i have not eaten dead (or live, for that matter) insects. it's just...well, i don't like raisins.

although some like to "brew" their own and sugar and yeast will eventually produce alcohol, i wouldn't advise to let sima brew for too long. first, your stomach will thank you if you don't and then there is the exploding factor...broken glass and sugary juices, not my idea of a fun clean-up job.

i love tippaleipä, or funnel cake. i like to eat it by placing it into a bowl and crushing it with a fork. the crumbles and confectioners' sugar tend to go all over, i find it easiest to eat with fork...i am very happy they sell these only around vappu.

happy spring to all!