tableofcolors

Simple pleasures

Tag: migration of geese

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

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Barnacle geese

by tableofcolors

Past my kitchen window fly the Barnacle geese. It is an annual event. They come in the thousands, 100,000 in fact according to our bird watching neighbor. They honk and squawk and the sound is a magestic cacophony as they every once in a while all take flight at the same moment, circling overhead and then landing once again just one field over. They are gathering before they start migrating and once they leave the countryside becomes almost a bit too quiet. So I’m enjoying the noise, it means that we can still enjoy autumn.

Every time the kitchen window or the door in our dining area is opened we can hear the geese. They become a part of our lives for a week or two. And everytime I feel like I need to run to the fields to try capture them with my camera and on video. Sometimes the light is just right and other times I have been a bit unpatient and the photos come out unclear.

Last time I promised to share a Latvian inspired recipe. Since I’m seriously sensitive to caffeine I often opt for tea and quite often for herbal teas. While in Latvia, I often was served a tea made with fresh herbs. Once I realized this, I would often request such a tea and they would use what they had on hand in their kithchen. I decided to use the last of the black currants and the leaves of the black currant bush to make my own version at home. Earlier this summer I had received a lovely gift card to Marimekko and after some thought, I decided on a few Sukat Makkaralla glasses. All of our glassware are of the everyday kind from Ikea and really are quite perfect for a family full of children. But sometimes it is nice to set the table with the nicer dishes. These glasses will be for those special moments or everyday moments meant to be made special. And I just love them.

 

Black currant herbal tea

Gather a handful of black currant leaves. Wash and pat dry. Roughly chop them and place into a tea pot. Place a small handful of berries on top of the leaves and pour over a half liter or a pint of nearly boiling water. Allow to steep for 10 to 15 minutes and sweeten as desired.

This post is a part of the In My Kitchen series hosted by the lovely Sherry from Sherry’s pickings.  Happy fall!

Tallenna

Tallenna

Tallenna

Tallenna

Tallenna

October

by tableofcolors

There is something quite soothing about October. There are still some leaves on the trees although they have become a bit sparse and the foliage has turned quite bright. In another two weeks those leaves will be gone. Up in the sky the geese are flying in a v-shape formation. It is as if nature is giving permission to turn in for the night a bit earlier. The sleep has felt so good and is deep in quality. It is dark in the mornings when I awake and start to make my rounds, gently shaking the shoulders of my sleepyheads. Some of them wake-up easier than others. I’ve thought of maybe buying a wake-up lamp (sarastuslamppu) that gently makes the room brighter replicating dawn. It might be the solution on dark mornings for the ones that just are not morning people.

migrating geeseIn October my kitchen has pumpkins and squash and a bright soup to warm up the chilly afternoons.

pumpkins and squashThe soup is quite simple. I peeled and removed the seeds from both the pumpkin and butternut squash and cut in into cubes. Then I just barely covered the cubes with water and added a container of stock that I had in my freezer. I allowed it to boil until tender. I then added some salt and freshly ground black pepper, a bit of smoked paprika and one container of cream cheese. I brought it back to a boil and thickened it with cornstarch mixed into water and allowed it to come back to a boil once again.

pumpkin soup collageWe have had some freezing weather during the nights. The kale is still in the garden as it can handle a bit of frost. Some say the flavor is better after a little frost. What is your experience with growing kale? After all of our attempts to grow little seedlings, we watched them get eaten by little black beetles and so we nearly gave up. We threw the rest of the seeds into the planting box and just let them grow even if the little bugs tried to get at them a second time. I guess we just needed to be patient as they have been growing big and strong into the autumn season. kaleThis past week has been surprisingly full of variety from the regular week. We had a chance to go hiking with my husband at the nearby national park, Repovesi. I will share those photos in my next post. It was a beautiful day. Sometimes the unplanned turns out the best. And this past weekend I had a chance to spend the day with my sister. We stopped by my favorite coffee roastery in Helsinki, the Kluuvikadun Kahvipaahtamo. They are selling their coffee online as well and you are able to select your own mix of beans. Perhaps soon their site will be in English as well. This past Sunday was the perfect kind of day for spelt scones with blueberry and their Autumn blend which is a medium roast coffee.

sunday spelt sconesIn the soft October light there are coffee cups for two, Antti’s is almost full and mine has just a little as I am so sensitive to caffeine. There is juice for the children. In the middle of the upper cupboards is a shelf for all of my favorite cook books and even the rough draft version of my own. Perhaps it will become an e-book or even printed on paper. I followed my Grampa’s recipe for the scones but made a couple of changes to fit the mood for the day. Two-thirds of the flour is spelt and the sugar I replaced with brown sugar as spelt has more nutty, wholesome flavor.

Spelt scones with blueberries

150 g/5 and 1/3 oz spelt flour
75 g/2 and 2/3 oz flour
2 and 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp brown sugar
110 g/4 oz butter, cold and cubed
2.4 dl/ 1 c milk
2.4 dl/ 1 c blueberries

Mix the spelt flour, flour, baking soda and powder along with the sugar and salt. Cut in the cold, cubed butter until it is about pea-sized in texture. Mix in the milk and stir until combined. Do not over mix. Last, add in the blueberries. Using a spoon, divide the dough on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake in the oven at 220 C/425 F for about 16 minutes or until golden brown.

autumn blend spelt scones

This post is part of Celia’s In My Kitchen Series that she host every month at Fig Jam Lime Cordial.

 

The migration of geese and an apple treat for the occassion

by tableofcolors

This week has been gray, rainy and even a bit drab. What made it unique was that right over our house and in the fields around us gathered hundreds of Barnacle geese. There were a few White-fronted and Bean geese in the mix. It was a real cachophony of sound and when they all took off to circle in the sky and to land a few minutes later, the flutter of the wings sounded as if an airplane took off. In past years they have flown over with only a few stopping to feed. This time our address was in their navigator and we even got some residue on the windows as a souvenir.

The flight of the geese

As you can probably imagine the event raised the interest of bird watchers and hunters (the Barnacle geese are protected). We actually had a bit more traffic on our country road. They would drive by slowly, peering out of the windows with binoculars do a U-turn and creep by again. But I really can’t blame them. I did the same thing!

The following recipe is perfect for those gray days of fall and best of all there are two ways to do it depending on what your schedule demands. The first version is a Crock Pot version.

Apple treat and two ways to make it

Peel and slice 1 kg/2 lb of apples. (I prefer to use Granny smith, they keep their shape better)

Place the apple slices into your slow cooker along with 50 g/1.8 oz of butter, the juice of half a lemon and a generous 1 dl or 1/2 c of brown sugar. Sprinkle a little cinnamon to taste. Turn your cooker on low and set the timer for 2 hours. Stir once while cooking. Before serving whip 1.5 dl/0.6 c of whipping cream until fluffly. Fold in 1 dl /1/2 c of turkish youghurt and 3 tablespoons of sugar or to taste. This recipe works great for those on a gluten-free diet.

The slow cooker version is great if you are having company over. It can be prepared a couple hours in advance freeing up your time to enjoy your guests.

Version 2: This version is slightly different in texture even if the ingredients are identical. Place all of the ingredients above (except for the cream and turkish yoghurt) into a wok. Wok the apples for a few minutes until the brown sugar and butter caramelizes and the apples have slightly softened. Do not overcook. Serve with the whipped cream-turkish yoghurt mixture. Enjoy!

The evening sun and migrating geese