24.2.2013

pieni tauko / little break



Pidän pienen blogitauon ainakin maaliskuun aikana, ehkä palaan tänne huhtikuussa.  Minulla ei ole tällä kertaa suomenkielisiä sanoja, olen siis toisin sanoen liian laiska kääntämään sanat suomeksi.  Lupaan palata tänne valmiina kirjoittamaan suomeksi ja englanniksi. Unelmoin silloin tällöin keväästä.  Kaikki nämä kuvat ovat viime toukokuulta.  Ihanaa tulevaa kevättä teille jokaiselle!

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I find myself dreaming of spring now and then, all of the photos above are from last May.

Each time I go to write something here, I think of a subject and go.  I mull it over in my mind, edit myself a few times, then write it down slowly, striking the keys diligently yet cautiously.  Tap, tap, tap.  And then I backspace.  Tap, tap, tap.  The thing is, for one, there isn't too much to write about.  Inspiration is missing, like it usually is during this time of the year for me.  I don't know why it decided not to stick around, or where it might be lurking, but I'd like to think that my inspiration's just taken a small vacation.  For all I know, my inspiration's just dipping its toes in the sand on an island beach, drinking a coconut-flavored drink with a mini umbrella stuck in it.  If this is the case, I admit jealousy.

It's funny how as I go through the seasons, my creative process and ideas change.  I'd like to say I'm constantly making and writing and doing, but this is just not the case.  And that's also the thing, I don't remember sometimes how to just go and do.  I don't remember how to stop second guessing things, how to not make myself scared of these things, and how to throw myself out there into the world. That's me, though.  I let myself get in the way far too often.  That's another one of my weaknesses, one of the things I don't like to admit about myself.  Now you know.

With my lack of inspiration, I'm not taking too many photos, either.  Or I guess I take pictures, but I'm usually not happy with them.  So I think it's time for a little blog break.  I probably won't post anything here in March, but maybe I'll be back in April.

P.S.  I'm also strongly considering deleting my Pinterest and Flickr accounts.  I have such long rants about each site.  I like Flickr, but I've seen a lot of my images from Flickr floating around the Internet, being used where they shouldn't.  (I'm looking at you, Chinese Elle website.  Not your photo.  Ahem.)  And then I've seen my images floating around Pinterest with no link back to this blog or credit to me.  (And no, I don't believe WeHeartIt counts as a proper photo credit.)  I always try to pin from an original source, but why should I contribute to a website that allows for the kind of image stealing that happens all of the time, especially when people are pinning and repinning right and left from tumblr?  So much hair-pulling when I see this happen.

I will however keep posting to my Instagram whenever I have something to post, see you there!

14.2.2013

vi som älskar semlor



Ei ole mikään salaisuus että rakastan ruokaa, mutta rehellisesti sanoen rakastan vielä enemmän ruoan ihmeellisyyttä. Mitenköhän se osaakaan tuoda mukanaan niin paljon muistoja?  Ruoka vie minut takaisin niin moniin hetkiin, tunnelmiin ja muistoihin, ikään kuin pieni Polaroid-kuva ilmestyisi mielessäni heti edes yhden lusikallisen syötyäni. Esimerkiksi omenat muistuttavat aina syksyisistä päivistä, jolloin menimme hakemaan pieniä, kirpeitä sellaisia naapuritytön takapihalta.

Laskiaispulla muistuttaa Helsingistä. Ihan aina. On helmikuu ja talvi on parhaimmillaan, lumipyry on tänään luvattu, tulee varmaan myöhemmin.  Nyt on lauantaiaamu ja olen hereillä kylmässä asunnossani. Keitän itselleni teetä ja lueskelen uutisten läpi ruisleipää syöden. Mitähän tehdä tänään? Katson ikkunasta ulos. Taitaa olla hyvä kahvilapäivä. Poistun asunnosta paksun talvitakin, huivin ja repun kanssa. Repussani on kirja, lapaset ja tarpeeksi rahaa yhdelle täydelliselle laskiaispullalle.  Astun sisään kahvilaan, sen tuoksut tanssivat ilmassa. Tilaan kahvia ja yhden mansikkahillotäytteisen laskiaispullan. Laskiaispullaa syödessäni lumi ja kylmyys unohtuvat vähäksi aikaa. Kesä tulee takaisin hetkeksi kun mansikkahillo maistuu niin tuoreelta. Tämä pieni fika-hetki on jotenkin niin upea. Taas se tuli, ajattelen itsekseni. Taas se tuli, vähän arjen kauneutta päivääni.

Mitähän tämä tyttö tekee kun iskee kova ikävä leivoksien täytteisiä talvipäiviä Helsingissä? Kyllä, hän tekee laskiaispullia. Laskiaispullat ovat kai minun uusi herkku sillä en pysty lakkaamaan ajattelemasta niitä ja niiden ihanuutta. (Ne kun ovat niin kauniita!) Käytin tätä ruotsinkielistä reseptia joka on minusta aivan mainio. Lisäsin mansikkahilloa mantelimassan sijaan, mutta kumpikin tietysti käy hyvin. Toivon että tekin kaikki nautitte laskiaispullasta laskiaisena!

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I think one of the reasons I love food so much is because of the fact that it brings up so many memories with just one bite. It can take you back to a moment instantly. The smells and textures of a dish are little Polaroids that appear in a flash in your mind, resurfacing the past. One bite into an apple, and I remember fall days, ones where we picked little apples from the tree in our neighbor girl's backyard.

One bite into a semla bun, and I am back in Helsinki. It is February and the winter is harsh, there's going to be a snowstorm later. On a Saturday, I wake up to a chilly apartment. I pour myself some tea, read the news, and eat some rye bread. What to do today? I look out the window and know instantly it's a café day. I leave the apartment with a heavy coat on, scarf, hat, and backpack. In the backpack are a book, mittens, and just enough money to buy a perfect semla. I step into a café, its sweet smells waft and dance around. I order a cup of coffee and one semla filled with strawberry jam. As soon as I bite into it, I forget the snow and cold. Summer comes back for a little while, the strawberry jam is fresh. There it is again, I think. There it is, beauty in my everyday.

So what's a girl to do when she longs for those pastry-filled Helsinki winter days? That's right, make semlor. If you've ever had these in Finland, Sweden, or anywhere in Scandinavia, I promise it will take you back to that place, at least for a little while. Semlor are traditionally made for Fat Tuesday, and well, it seems fitting. These sweet buns are already a little on the heavy side. Add the whipped cream and sweet strawberry jam, and you've got a snack fit for two, or three, or maybe just one hungry girl on a very cold day.

The semlor I made are from an old Swedish standby cookbook called Sju sorters kakor. You can find the original recipe in Swedish here. The original recipe uses almond paste instead of jam, but I'm a jam kinda girl. Here's my adaptation:

Makes about 16 buns

For the dough:

100 grams butter
3 deciliters milk
4 teaspoons dry yeast
1 deciliter sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
about 1 liter flour

Brushing:

1 egg

For the filling:

about 2 deciliters heavy whipping cream
1 jar strawberry jam

powdered sugar for dusting

Melt the butter and milk in a saucepan until it reaches about 37 degrees.  (You don't want the mixture to be too hot, otherwise it will kill the yeast.)  In a bowl, combine the yeast with the butter and milk mixture, then add the sugar, egg, and salt.  Mix in the baking powder, then add the flour, about two deciliters at a time.  Finish mixing the dough with your hands, then knead.  Place the dough in a bowl to proof under a kitchen towel for about thirty minutes.

Once the dough has risen, knead again on a floured surface.  Divide the dough into two, then from the smaller sections, make eight small rolls.  Place on a greased baking sheet and leave to rise well again under a towel (about another hour).

Brush the buns with the slightly beaten egg, then bake at 250 degrees for about ten minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool.  While waiting for the buns to cool, whip the cream.

Once cool, cut a "hat" off the top of the bun.  Scrape out some of the bun's inside in order to make room for the jam and whipped cream.  Add a spoonful of the jam to the bottom of the bun, spread well.  Pipe the whipped cream on top of the jam, then place the hat back on top of the whipped cream.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar.  (And don't forget to serve with coffee!)

4.2.2013

see the light



Helmikuu on tullut ja täällä tuntuu keväältä. Kaikki tuntuu valoisalta, kevyeltä. Kaikki tuntuu hyvältä.  Minulla on perjantaina työhaastattelu. Minulla on ihania ystäviä, olen niistä niin kiitollinen. Ihanaa helmikuuta teille jokaiselle!

P.S.  On vielä lisää kuvia arjestani Instagramissa, sillä käytän sitä päivittäin.

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February's come and it feels like spring around here. Everything feels light. Everything feels good. On Friday, I have a job interview. I have lovely friends, and I'm so grateful for them. I hope you all have a great February!

P.S.  You can see even more of my everyday on Instagram, I'm using it quite a bit lately.