tableofcolors

Simple pleasures

Category: vegan

Five years ago

by tableofcolors

It is just a few days over five years ago that I started my blog. There are many reasons why I started writing. Perhaps one of the main reasons is that I am writing for my children. I don’t do the best job of keeping baby books. Although every once in a while I do get a few photos printed and my husband fills in the blanks better than I do.

boy and his fishing rod

Amongst the millions of people in the world, we all are connected to a larger chain. It is a chain that includes our forefathers from hundreds of years ago and the generations from a bit closer, our grandparents and our parents and finally our own children that will continue from where we left off. Not that I’m planning on leaving off any time soon. My dream has always been to live until very old. Perhaps I will be spry. I’m not sure if I would have a sharp tongue as it does not come so naturally to me. Some might think that I’m not firm enough with my children. But I have my ways, they usually do what I want them to do. But I have learned to become more direct and say what I mean and want. For this I can thank my husband. He has taught me that skill. We really do balance each other out. Afterall, the world is not full of mindreaders and really the worst that can happen when one goes asking is that someone says, No. And people rarely bite. Fish might though.

wilderness fishing

With all of the children home I have been trying to think of a variety of snacks that are  delicious, healthy and easy to make. We’ve even had some lovely warm weather even if  there have been cooler days tucked in between.

cherry berry nondairy popsicle

 

Cherry berry popsicle (dairy-free)

400 g/14 oz fresh strawberries of which 1/3 are set aside and sliced
250 g/9 oz fresh cherries of which 1/3 are set aside and sliced
small fistful of fresh mint (minced) of which 1/3 is set aside
400 g/14 oz coconut milk
1 tsp mint extract (optional)

Place all of the ingredients into a blender, except for the berries and mint that had been set aside. Blend until smooth. Stir in the rest of the ingredients and spoon into molds and freeze.

cherry berry

Not only do I write for my children, for them to someday look back at and find moments from their childhoods but also glimpses into the lives of their grandparents and great grandparents and great great grandparents, I also write for you my dear friends. I have met so many lovely people all the way from the other side of  the globe. Perhaps someday I will make my way to Australia and meet some of you. And really I also write for my family that live so far away across the Atlantic. Perhaps now you might get a glimpse and see the expressions in the faces of the children, see how they skip with joy and the posture of their back and the twinkle in their eye.

Below is a list of all-time most popular blog posts.

The number one most popular post that get searched time and time again is my Grampa’s Almond Braid recipe. Pulla is a traditional Finnish sweet bread that is enjoyed with coffee. Thank you Grampa for sharing ❤

 

Hundreds of Dewdrops greets the dawn but only one mother the wide world over

A blog post about Mother’s day and the delicious recipe for popovers.

 

In My Kitchen in the bleak midwinter. Photos of winter in the nordic, a glimpse into family history and a recipe for whole-grain bread with cherries and walnuts. Perfect for toasting on a cozy morning.

 

Following Elma’s footsteps. One in the many blog posts that follow the footsteps of a very colorful Aunt Elma living her life in the 1930s and making sourdough with starters from two very different parts of the globe. One starter is from Celia, the writer of Fig jam Lime cordial and the other is from my Dad.

 

Expat weekend has the recipe for a simple home-made slowcooker apple cider. Perfect recipe if you happen to have apple trees in your yard and an abundance of apple every fall.

Granola bar for solitary moments is blog post from my very early blogging days and has a luscious recipe for homemade granola bars. Perhaps I might just have to make them again from the kids on summer vacation. They would be perfect beach fare.

 

And last but not least, Jamie Oliver’s recipe for a simple sponge has been popular and it has been made over and over again at our house as it is so very versatile. Hope you enjoy!

In My Kitchen, March Sweetness

 

Happy Midsummer’s my dear friends from the land of the midnight sun!

anemone sylvestris

 

Christmas comes whether you are ready or not

by tableofcolors

Four days before Christmas the children were all home and full of anticipation and excitement. It was the kind of excitement that warms your heart and makes you want to pull your hair out of your head, all at the same time. I remember when I was that age, and here I was thirty years later creating Christmas for my family. But it four days before Christmas Eve according to the advent calendar and I had not done any Christmas baking or food preparation. Actually I didn’t really start until the day of.

My husband had started though. He butchered, cured and roasted our ham. I had work related things that needed to be completed so that I could take a few complete days off. And then there was the Christmas cleaning. I know that there really is no requirement to clean cupboards for Christmas, afterall no one spends the holidays in the cupboards, but there were a few things that I really wanted to get done. Some of the things had been waiting for months to be done. Christmas is just a natural deadline and I was happy that we got a few things accomplished. I wanted to visit a couple of elderly ladies a few days before, that have a special place in my heart. And you know what, we got everything done and had plenty to eat even if we didn’t start until the day of. But I can’t take all of the credit as everyone helped out and some of kids are getting so old that I can delegate them tasks and trust that they get them done in a thorough manner.

gingerbread-for-breakfast-collage

I knew that Christmas Eve would be long day and full of new and old tradition. I decided that I would eat my breakfast in peace before starting. As I took out a jar of freshly made apple and raisin compote to eat with plain yoghurt, received as a gift from a friend, our three year-old Hugo requested a gingerbread cookie. I gave my permission. It was Christmas.

We had our traditional rice porridge with prune sauce for lunch. Dinner would not be until quite late.

christmas-eve

At best we had fourteen around the table. I think that is one of the most delightful things that we all look forward to, Christmas guests. The children start asking in September if we have invited our guests and if they might have replied. And they remember to ask me often. With such a large crowd, making a larger quantities is the best decision. This means that there will be leftovers to be used for future meals. In Finland, Christmas is celebrated for three days. Christmas Eve is the highlight with Christmas sauna sometime during the day, dinner and Santa Claus. And in our family we serve Christmas coffee late in the evening. Children are able to stay up and play with their new toys and put on their new pajamas. The following days follow a similar pattern but are more relaxed. It is very typical in our family to serve coffee and treats at nine or ten o’clock in the evening. On the morning of the 26th, we still had about a liter of left over rice porridge. I decided that it would be the perfect base for a persimon and orange pudding. Perhaps this new tradition will be something to do again next year.

persimon-and-orange-rice-pudding

Rice pudding with Persimon and Orange

1 liter / 2 pints cold rice porridge (See below for the rice porridge recipe using a slow cooker)

5 dl/1 pint heavy whipping cream

2 tsp vanilla sugar

2-3 tbsp agave or to taste

1 ripe persimon, peeled and cubed

1-2 orange, peeled and cubed

Whip the cream until a stiff foam is formed. Fold in the cold rice porridge. Flavor with the vanilla sugar and agave. Mix in the cubed persiom and orange, saving a few to use as garnish.

Slow cooker Rice porridge

This makes a large quantity, enough for eight generous servings. If preferred you half the quantity.

5 dl/2 c pearl rice

2,5 liters/2,5 quarts of water

3 dl /1 1/4 c heavy cream

2-3 tsp salt

Spray the slow cooker with non-stick spray. This makes for easier clean-up. Place the rice in the pot and pour the water over it. Set the slow cooker on low for 2.5-3 hours. It is done when the rice is tender and there is just a bit of water remaining. It should not be dry in any case. The rice will continue to absorb water even after the cook time is complete. Add the cream and season with salt. It is ready to serve immediately if you wish or you may adjust the setting so that the pot just keeps the food warm and serve within a couple of hours.

rice-pudding

Earlier in December I tried a dairy-free chia pudding that could be made as an alternative festive dessert or snack. Don’t you love the little glass bowls I found on an facebook fleamarket from a local gal. The set of two bowls cost only a euro and they have been in use everyday! The kids love to use them if they wake up before anyone else for a “fancy breakfast”.

chia-pudding

Chia pudding

0,6 dl/ 1/4 c chia seeds

1 can (4 dl/2 c) coconut milk

4 dl/2 c water

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tbsp agave syrup

Place all of the ingredients in a bowl or glass jar. Cover and place in the refrigerator over night. Enjoy the next day with a garnish of ripe persimon and walnuts.

joulupukki

Happy Holidays to all of you, my dear readers.

seven-lovelies

 

 

March, the best days of winter

by tableofcolors

The kids are on ski break this week and the weather has been treating us great! The best days of winter have arrived. This week we have taken the kitchen outside and on Monday the whole family went on a skiing and sledding trek to a laavu, or a classic Finnish lean-to that can be found in the wilderness all over the country. They can be resting spots on a hiking or a berry picking trip and are usually open for public use. In front of the laavu, there usually is a fire pit and so we roasted sausages for lunch with the children.

laavu and finnish winter

laavuretki finnish winter

The children were also hoping for a special snack, something out of the ordinary. I decided to give the vegan avocado-chocolate pudding a try. I found a recipe on the kitchn ‘s website.

It was a simple recipe and quick to make although I ended up having a little mishap in the process. As I was whipping the coconut cream for the topping, my phone rang. I left the immersion wand standing upright in the bowl and the second I turned around, the bowl fell on the floor and into two pieces and I had coconut cream all over the kitchen. Amateur mistake, I know. And I spent the next half hour with one of my daughters cleaning the kitchen. In the end, I did not have any more coconut cream left and but did have some regular heavy cream in the fridge. And so our pudding was only partly vegan. For our crowd, I doubled the recipe.

vegan chocolate pudding 3

Vegan Chocolate pudding cups with Coconut Cream recipe created by Gina Eykemans

pudding cups:

15 Medjool dates, soaked in warm water for an hour
1 ripe Hass avocado
1/4 raw cacao or semisweet cocoa powder
1 c full-fat coconut milk
pinch of sea salt

Coconut cream:
395 g/ 1 (14 oz) can of chilled coconut cream
2 tbsp maple syrup

Soak the dates for an hour in warm water. Drain the dates and remove the pits and place into a blender. Peel the avocado and remove pit. Cut into big chunks and place into the blender along with the cacao, coconut milk and sea salt. Blend until a smooth consistency. I was pleasantly surprised how pudding like the consistency was. Spoon into cups. I made fairly small portions as kids sometimes have a hard time finishing large servings and I hate when food goes to waste. I prefer to start with small servings and give seconds, plus the serving does not look as overwhelming to them and they have an easier time finishing it. This is one thing I learned from my Mom!

For the coconut cream, make sure it has been chilled. Whip with a hand mixer until thick and creamy and swirl in the maple syrup. Top each pudding with a spoonful of coconut cream. Serve immediately or chill and serve later.

vegan chocolate puddingThe kids had their comments. They thought it looked like something that just makes your mouth water, but they would have liked it a bit sweeter and came for another spoonful of cream after they were half way through their puddings. So perhaps next time I’ll add just a bit of sugar.

vegan chocolate pudding2This post is a part of the In My Kitchen series now hosted by Maureen from the Orgasmic Chef. Stop by her blog to find links to kitchens all around the world!