Simple pleasures

Tag: fathers day

A day for Fathers

by tableofcolors

The Birthplace

Here further up the mountain slope
Than there was every any hope,
My father built, enclosed a spring,
Strung chains of wall round everything,
Subdued the growth of earth to grass,
And brought our various lives to pass.
A dozen girls and boys we were.
The mountain seemed to like the stir,
And made of us a little while-
With always something in her smile.
Today she wouldn’t know our name.
(No girl’s, of course, has stayed the same.)
The mountain pushed us off her knees.
And now her lap is full of trees

-Robert Frost

Today in Finland we celebrate Father’s day. We celebrated the night before because our Dad had to work today. The weather has been really rainy but in the evening when darkness descends and the candles are lit, the grayness disappears and a soft light and coziness comes into the home.

father's day

our family
I just had to share this card made by our Marian. It was her Father’s day card and she had put so much effort into the detail, giving everyone their own expression and hair style that match real life.

november candles

The other week I attended a course for making ice cream at the dairy institue in Hämeenlinna. For four days we made ice cream, sorbet and sherbets. My absolute favorites were the classic, creamy ice creams and tangy sorbets vibrant with the flavors of the berries and fruits. Sherbets were a bit too sweet for me. I guess I prefer clear flavors.

tahini honey ice cream sauce

One of the ice creams that I made during the course was a rich vanilla ice cream with a tahini honey sauce. It was the perfect combination of sweet and savory, and the tahini brought a lovely nutty flavor to the ice cream. Inspiration for this recipe I found from Katie’s Butterlust blog. I tried her version of tahini ice cream at home and it was lovely. But since tahini is made with sesame seeds which is an allergen for some we were not allowed to make the ice cream at the course but I was able to mix in the tahini honey sauce after the ice cream was made. And so I had to become a bit creative and change the sauce recipe a bit to fit the purpose. The original recipe you may find here, and my version is below.

Tahini Honey Ice Cream Sauce

1.75 dl/ 3/4 c honey
1/2 dl / 1/4 c heavy cream
1/2 dl/ 1/4 c tahini paste (Make sure to stir the tahini before measuring as the oil often separates during storage)
1 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
generous pinch of salt flakes to give little bursts of saltiness

Place the honey, heavy cream and tahini into a small, heavy bottomed pot. Cook until everything has melded together and allow to simmer for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the butter, vanilla extract and salt.

The the intention of the original recipe was that it would be a rich caramel that hardens a bit after cooling. This recipe is intended to have a thinner consistency so that it can be poured (once cooled) directly on the fresh ice cream and then frozen. It should remain somewhat soft even after it is frozen. That is why the cook time has been drastically reduced.

And since it is Father’s day, I thought it would be appropriate to return back a few weeks when we had 300,000 geese all gathered in Elimäki, about thirty minute drive from our place. My father-in-law is an avid nature photographer and he drove down for the day. I’m a complete novice when comparing experience and gear. But I think the experience was mutual. It felt like a natural wonder to have so many birds in one location. Like my father-in-law commented, the barnacle geese are partial to group hysterics. If one of them takes off, pretty soon the rest follow. The din was absolutely magnificent.

capturing the geese

elimäki geese immigration hanhien muutto

But now they are all gone as we have had a bit of snow and then rain again. It is the time of year to light candles. Happy Father’s day to all of you special dads!

mass immigration of geese elimäki hanhien suurmuuttoself portrait 3

Elimäki 181


November Light

by tableofcolors

The day before yesterday, the kitchen was full of little people. Everyone wanted to participate in some way and I was needing to use my imagination in creating cake-making jobs of equal importance. Equality was the theme of the day. One of the kids remembered who had made most of the Mother’s day cake and in her opinion it would be unfair if this wrong was to be repeated again. Diplomacy skills were in need and of course a bit of organization. And I wouldn’t be surprised if she became a human right’s lawyer.

father's day breakfastIn November my kitchen is full of soft light that quickly disappears in the afternoons and yesterday we had a Father’s day breakfast that supposed to be prepared quietly but in fact, but due to the excitement the children didn’t always remember to be so quiet. Erik asked at one point if he could go wake up Bella, as she would prefer to sleep in every morning, just pulling the blanket a little higher and requesting for just another little cat nap before getting up for the day. He crept upstairs, and climbed to the top bunk to wake her up. She must have not protested this particular morning as soon I heard a giant thump and a scramble as they were probably racing to see who reached the stairs first. But they did creep down the stairs again, to try not wake up Isi this morning.

isänpäiväHe probably was awake when we finally made our way upstairs with our tray of breakfast and a song, but he did his best to pretend to be asleep so that the children could wake him up. Happy Father’s day! You are so very important to us ❤

making no-bake mango cheesecake

Lemon-Mango No-bake Cheesecake (to be made the day before serving)

about 14-16 digestive cookies or 12-13 graham crackers, crushed
50 g/1.8 oz butter, melted
3 tbsp sugar


2 dl/1 generous cup of heavy whipping cream
400 g/14 oz marscapone cheese
500 g/17.5 oz quark
1 dl/ 1/2 c sugar
Juice of 1 large lemon
2-3 tbsp lemon curd
zest of one lemon
five gelatin leaves

(boiling water to dissolve the gelatin leaves with)

mango topping
250 g/9 oz puréed mango
1 gelatin leaf

mango no-bake cheesecakeThe Father’s day cake had to be simple enough for the kid’s to make by themselves with a little help and guidance. This cake is easy.

Place the gelatin leaves into a bowl full of cold water to soak for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile crush the graham crackers or cookies and line a 10 inch spring-form with baking paper on the bottom. Place the cookie crumbs in the lined form along with the sugar and melted butter, stir to combine and them pat down using the bottom of a glass to form a crust. Next whip the heavy whipping cream until thick and fold in the marscapone cheese, quark, sugar, lemon juice and zest and lemon curd. Taste and add sugar if you prefer a sweeter tart.

Boil water in a teapot or saucepan and while it is coming to boil, remove five of the gelatin leaves from the cold water. Squeeze the gelatin leaves to remove excess water and place in a very small dish. Pour in just enough boiling water to dissolve the leaves and fold in the hot gelatin mixture with the filling. Pour the cake filling on the prepared cookie crumb crust and smooth the top.

Take the last gelatin leaf and squeeze it free of excess water. Repeat as done above with the boiling water, making sure not to use too much water. Mix the gelatin mix with the puréed mango and spread over the cheesecake filling. Refrigerate.

father's day breakfast 2Father’s day breakfast menu: Popovers, one filled with a dab of butter, Maasdam cheese, lettuce and tomato and other filled with a dab of butter and cloudberry preserves. Blueberry smoothie with kale, mango cheesecake and the coffee was freshly ground Kaffa Roastery’s Indian Monsoon Malabar Barista Blend.

While the children where making the no-bake cheesecake, I decided to roast my two pumpkins I had on hand. One was of the Hokkaido variety, which I tried out for the first time. The pulp was much more denser in comparison to my other pumpkin. The other pumpkin had served double duty as a decoration waiting to be oven-roasted, drained and then puréed. They will become our Thanksgiving and Christmas pumpkin pies.

I noticed that the one pumpkin was filled with little holes made with pen or pencil one morning. I asked the kids, who might have made little holes into my pumpkin? Our two-year old Hugo heard the question, walked over and proudly showed me with swinging motions of his arms of how he had made the holes into the pumpkin. He doesn’t speak much yet, but he understands everything and manages quite swell with a few words, expressions and impressive sign language that he has made up himself. His smile was so wide and his bright blue eyes shone. How could I be mad. Afterall they were going to be roasted and the outer skin was going to be discarded anyways. Recipe for making homemade pumpkin purée can be found here.

roasting pumpkinsroasted pumpkinMy kitchen in November is full of yellows and oranges, candlelight to light the dark mornings and evenings and the soft light from outside. Sometimes the outside light is a shade of gray as it was today and sometimes it too, has golden hues and bright blues.

morning sunNovember morning sun from our dining room window. Happy November!


This In My Kitchen post is part of Celia’s monthly series hosted on Fig Jam Lime Cordial, providing links to kitchens around the world.

My kitchen in November is dark and candlelit

by tableofcolors

When I wake up on November mornings, the house is quiet and dark as we are now into the darkest part of the year. There is no snow to reflect the light and so it is even darker than the shortest days of mid-winter. I often light candles and we eat breakfast in the soft light. There is a large window that faces the road in the dining area and I like to think that if someone drives by they will see the light and maybe it will help their day to a good start as well.
Something about the darkness ignites a desire for gingerbread and it is a task that the kids love to help with.
2013-11-01 10.42.062013-11-01 10.49.51
In my kitchen on the wall between the kitchen and dining area is a painting to brighten the bleak days of November. It is painted by my Grampa, Jim Wuollet and it is one of my treasured possessions. The Anemones provides a beautiful contrast to the misty scene outside.
misty morning
Father’s day is celebrated in November here and this succulent cake could be the perfect choice for Dad this Sunday. We will try to make breakfast as quiet as possible on that morning, even though I’m quite sure that with six kids he will hear the sounds coming from the kitchen. He will just have to pretend to be asleep as we tiptoe up the stairs, as it is important for the kids to be able to wake him up. It is a part of the ritual.
slice of almond pear and fig cake
The recipe below makes a cake fairly similar to the one I ate at Fleuriste a few weeks ago. The one alteration is that the recipe below is made with almond flour and therefore is gluten-free. The original recipe is from the great blog Momma’s Gotta Bake to which I made some alterations adding figs and chocolate and even a little rose water for flavor.

Almond Pear Cake with Fig and Chocolate–Gluten Free

25 cm/10 inch springform pan, lined and sprayed
3 pears, one for the batter and one for on top
generous 4 dl / 1 and 3/4 c sugar + 3 tsp
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
7.7 dl/3 and 1/4 c ground almond meal
8 eggs at room temperature
1 tsp rose water + 1/4 tsp
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp oil
100 g/3.5 oz fig (fresh or dried) cut into slices
80 g/2.8 oz dark chocolate cut into chunks
dark chocolate
Peel and core the pears cutting two of them into chunks and the third into slices. Place the pear chunks into a small sauce pan along with the lemon juice and three teaspoons of sugar. Allow to simmer on medium heat for about ten minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Mash the pears with a fork after cooling. Meanwhile place the almond meal and sugar into your stand mixer with the paddle attachment in place. (You may also use a food processor for this) After mixing the almond meal and sugar add one egg in at a time, whipping strongly after each addition. Add in the rose water. If rose water is not available you may use vanilla extract. Fold in the roughly mashed pears into the batter.

In a separate small pot or pan, heat the oil, honey and rose water just until it bubbles. Turn off the heat and add in the third sliced pear so that the slices are coated with the honey mixture.
Pour the batter in to the lined and sprayed springform pan. Stick the slices of figs and chunks of chocolate into the batter and lay the honey-coated pear slices on top in a pinwheel shape. My pears did not stay on top, rather they sunk through the batter. It didn’t affect the flavour, just the appearance.

Bake the cake at 175 C/350 F on the middle rack of the oven for about 55-65 minutes or until a skewer comes clean when poked into the center of the cake. I covered the cake for the last 15 minutes of bake time to prevent it from becoming too dark. Remove from the oven and spoon the rest of the honey mixture over the cake. Allow to cool for a half hour before removing the sides.

I was racing the clock as it was already getting quite dark outside and so I cut a slice before the thirty minutes were up. It cut beautifully even if it was still warm. And it tasted even better than it looked.

Happy Father’s day to all of the special Dad’s and Grampa’s near and far.

This post is a part of Celia’s, In my Kitchen series at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial

Happy Father’s Day

by tableofcolors

Tomorrow is Father’s day in Finland and I thought that this would be the perfect opportunity to introduce the great father of our five children. Over the years it has been wonderful to watch him grow into fatherhood. Every parent grows into parenthood at their own pace. There are the rewarding moments and sometimes mistakes are made. I think the most important part of that process is being able to say to your child that I made a wrong decision in haste. I really don’t think it undermines a parents authority. It’s really all about showing your children problem solving skills and accepting your imperfection without letting it get you down. It is all right to try again. Each child is a separate little person with their own personality waiting to shine in their own way. Finding that way for them to shine is the reward for a parent. I have enjoyed having you, the Father to our children, by my side to help discover what makes each of our unique children shine.

I’ve decided to call him Hunter, since that is his passion. I must admit that even though I am the official author of this blog and do write each post, he has been nearly as involved. Coming up with many great ideas and letting me know if the swans or the cranes are on the fields next to our house or stopping the car quick because the light was “just perfect” for a shot.


The kids have been bringing home cards and little gifts that they have made at school for Father’s day. They are all put away in our little secret place to await Sunday morning when Mom and the kids creep downstairs to make breakfast and coffee for Dad. We try to be extra quiet. 🙂 Then we all creep upstairs to our room where he is sleeping, or at least pretends to. We sing him a song to wake him up and then he gets to finally look at the all of the cards and little packages and enjoys breakfast in bed. The kids truly enjoy this ritual. They have no trouble waking up on this particular morning.

Some of the kids were asking to make gingerbread cookies. They are our first batch for this holiday season. Since Hunter is huge fan of gingerbread I thought that this could double-up as baking for Father’s day. We follow a recipe that is from a cook book from Hunter’s childhood. It has become my favorite. (Tule Mukaan, Leivomme Anni-Helenan kanssa)


2 dl/0.8 cups molasses
2 dl/0.8 cups sugar
4 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons ginger
2 teaspoons cloves
(I only put in half of the spices above)
250 g/8.8 oz butter
2 eggs
10 dl /4.2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda

I usually make a double batch and freeze half. As the holiday season progresses and suprise company show up, the dough is ready to roll out after thawing for a little while.

Bring the molasses, sugar and spices to a boil. Take off heat and add the butter to the hot sugar mixture, mixing meanwhile. Allow to cool a bit.
Next mix in the eggs one at a time. Add the baking soda to the flour and mix it into the warm sugar mixture. Cover and refrigerate until the next day. Bake at 200 C/390 F for about 7-10 minutes. Since I used the convection oven and I like a lighter cookie, my bake time was only 4 minutes. Remember if using the convection oven to decrease degrees to 180 C/360 F.

Little helpers

Cut-out cookies

The little taste tester

Our little one-and-a-half year-old pumpkin assumed the role of master taste tester. She made a few “rock-shaped” cookies and ate the rest of her dough, which kept her happy and occupied.

Gingerbread cookies

Cookie jar

There is a reason for the ribbon around the cookies, other than it makes them look cute. I can be fairly certain that those cookies will remain untouched until Sunday. Mom is trying to be smarter than the kids.

Traditional filled cakes are not Hunter’s favorite and so I decided to make cream puffs with a lemon-flavored cream filling. After making them, I just popped them in the freezer. There they will stay safe and not get eaten. They are very fast to thaw. I will take them out before making breakfast and they should be ready to go by the time we head upstairs with the kids.

The recipe is from an old book, The American Peoples Cookbook, published in 1956. The introduction tells that the book was the result of a recipe contest that was organized by the Peoples Book Club and Sears Readers Club. The result was a book 600 pages long full of recipes, some simple and some a little more intricate.

Cream Puffs

Bring 1 cup/2.4 dl water to a boil. Add 1/2 cups/110 g butter, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt and one cup of flour beating vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture leaves the sides and forms a smooth ball. Remove from heat. Quickly beat in eggs, one at a time. Continue beating until thick and smooth.

Dough after the addition of eggs

Cream puffs before baking

Using spoons drop dollops of dough onto a lined pan. Bake at 450 F/230C for 15 minutes and then reduce heat to 350 F/175C and bake for another additional 5 minutes. Allow to cool on a rack.

Lemon flavored cream filling

3.3 dl/1.4 cups heavy whipping cream
1.2 dl/ 1/2 cups lemon curd

Whip cream and fold in the lemon curd. Fill cooled cream puffs and refrigerate or freeze for later use. Enjoy with coffee.

Filled cream puffs

Part of keeping the family is happy is taking care of our relationship. We have opportunity to take off for a few days next week, just the two of us. I’ll try to post some photos of the landscape and nature from northern Sweden. Hunter has been there numerous times, but it is a first for me. Let’s hope for a little sunshine and clear skies.

Happy Father’s day to all of the special Fathers near and far! Hope your day is a special one!