The winters in Finland are dark but on the days the sun comes out it turns into a winter wonderland. Today the sun came out and when I noticed how everything was glistening I was in a hurry to make it outside before the sun would sink behind the trees. But with the little ones, going outside takes time. As we are getting ready, someone informs that they are hungry. A Quick snack and then back to dressing. Dressing properly is key to surviving here in the cold months. School children spend a fair amount of time outside during recess and when we shop for snow pants and jackets they always make sure to ask me if they are water resistant/ or water proof. I know, it gets a bit high tech but they use them everydat from late fall until the end of April.
But we made it out in time to capture the light! Even though I’m more of a summer person I really do like the snow. I love shoveling snow while the kids play. Since we have a fairly long driveway, I get a free workout while the kids play. When Mom’s happy and the kids are happy!
I promised the kids that after we come inside and organize the house we could do few Christmas things. During the holidays there is often a situation where a small present would nice to give. Nothing to break the bank but something personal and possibly handmade. Below are the recipes for an easy and delicious caramel sauce, a chocolate ganache and a strawberry and lingonberry or red currant melba. A Perfect gift for a teacher or a neighbor.
3 dl/1.3 c heavy cream
250 g/8.8 oz dark chocolate, chopped into pieces
Microwave the cream until it is boiling. Remove from the microwave and mix in the chocolate. Stir until smooth. Pour into a clean glass jar. Store in the refrigerator. This will stay fresh for about a week. When serving, heat up the ganache for just a few seconds in the microwave.
5 dl/generous 2 cups of heavy cream
4 dl/1.7 c brown sugar
1 vanilla bean partially slit open
2 tbsp butter
dash of salt
Place the cream, brown sugar and vanilla bean into a heavy bottomed pot. Allow to simmer for 20 minutes. Remove the vanilla bean. Rinse the vanilla bean and allow to dry. It can be reused the next time you make this recipe. Mix the butter and salt into the caramel sauce and stir until smooth. Pour into a clean glass jar. The caramel will stay fresh in the fridge for about two weeks. Before using, heat up the amount desired in the microwave for a few seconds.
Strawberry and lingonberry (or red currant) melba
This recipe is a bit different from the ones above. This is best eaten either on the same day or the next day. The lingonberries or alternately the red currants complement the sweet strawberries nicely with their touch of tartness.
250 g/8.8 oz strawberries (may be frozen)
1 dl/0.4 c lingonberries of red currants (may be frozen)
4 tbsp lemon juice
sugar or a light syrup according to taste