Everyday life in January

by tableofcolors

The kids have returned back to school and the Christmas tree has been taken down. Life has returned almost back to normal. Our little two year-old is a night-owl and still very much on a vacation schedule and sleeps like a teenager. I’m sure as the days pass, she will start going to bed each day a little earlier. I love Christmas, the school Christmas programs and family time but there is something quite nice about regular everyday life. We’ve been having gray weather and a warm winter. It seems like all of the cold went to the northern states in the US. I would suggest that those of you, living in the midst of the bitter cold send us half and everyone would be happier. The kids and I are able to spend hours in the snow, skiing in the fields and just playing. But since there is only just a bit of slush outside, I’ll invite you into my January kitchen for a cup of tea and to flip through a cook book my daughter received as a gift and maybe for something delicious and cleansing after the rich holiday food.

clipper tea  and tea cozyI will admit that my discovery of the Clipper teas started from the packaging. My first thought when I saw them was that they were so pretty. So of course I bought one box. Much to my delight the contents matched the promise of the packaging. The tea cozy is a gift from a dear friend from a while back and it brings a little color into my kitchen. It is reversible and therefore it can match the mood and season easily.

suomen lasten leivontakirjaThe photos in this cook book for children are inpirational. It explains all of the basics to baking very explicitly. We have already enjoyed tunafish sandwiches made by Silvia one evening. The rough translation of the title of the book is, “A Baking Book for Finnish Children”, by Ulla Svensk.

After all of the date cakes, ham, casseroles and cookies the smell of sautéed vegetables is so enticing and indeed the perfect choice for the season of sniffles and colds that seem to fly about. Fennel has many characteristics making it beneficial for health as it is gentle to the digestive tract and may reduce inflammation.


Sautéed fennel

These vegetables can be eaten on their own as a side or tossed in with some pasta.

1 bulb of fennel
1 onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 tsp of piri piri (my piri piri contained chili, basil, garlic, onion and rock salt)
sea salt
black pepper
olive oil

Remove the stalks from the fennel and any bruised spots. Chop into fine slices. Chop the onion finely. Mince the garlic. Heat a frying pan to medium heat and add about two glugs of olive oil. Add the vegetables and seasoning and sauté for about 5 minutes.

sauteed fennel

The kitchen is the heart of the home and that is often where everyone congregates when they come home. The kitchen table is used for so much more than eating. Some might do their homework there while others draw and work on their art projects. It is a place to sit and talk about the day. As the family trickles back home after a day at work or school the first question is often, “What is for snack or supper?” I discovered this recipe on facebook from a blog called The Foodie Army Wife and decided to try it out. They proved to be very popular. And like the author said they almost jumped into the mouths of the hungry kids if I would not have rationed at all. We had them for supper along with some stewed rabbit meat, diced tomatoes, paprika, cheese, salsa and some freshly ground black pepper. In my husband’s family we always draw names among the siblings and sisters and brothers-in-law for Christmas. We usually complete the name-drawing at Christmas and everyone is informed even if they are not present and this way everyone has a whole year to think of a gift or perhaps do a little detective work to find out what might be pleasant for the gift receiver. I received this Peugeot pepper mill from my sister-in-law. It has been in daily use and turns with ease.

tortillas and vegetablesTortillas by The Foodie Army Wife

Tortillas or any type of flat bread is a symbol of an anciet food for me. I can imagine that just like I am making them for my school children, a mother hundreds or thousands of years ago might have made flat bread for their young ones that have returned after gathering herbs or berries. They might not have had formal education like we do today, but they had the school of life in order to learn the important skills for survival. The rules for survival in today’s world has changed greatly from times past. One thing has not changed though, children become hungry from time to time.

makes 12 tortillas

7 dl/ 3 dl flour
2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
170 g/ 3/4 c cold butter, cut into cubes
1.75 dl/ 3/4 c hot water

You may use a food processor, a stand mixer or make them by hand. I used a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Combine the flour, salt and baking powder. Add the cubed butter and mix until it forms a crumb-like texture. Pour the hot water in slowly and work into the dough so that it forms a ball. Do not overwork the dough. Cover in cling film and let rest in the refrigerator for a half hour.

tortilla doughAfter the dough has chilled, remove and cut into twelve pieces.

dough cut into pieces

Form balls and roll out into tortillas using a rolling pin. Fry on a dry pan at medium heat. Flip over once large bubbles start to form and there is some color on the bottom. Enjoy on their own or with your choice of filling.

This post is part of Celia’s In My Kitchen series for January. Check out her blog for links to many other In My Kitchen posts around the world.