May 24, 2012
Coming back and cleaning up the dust (*cough cough* look out for the allergies!) from the blog! I disappeared for a while, yes I know… too much of everything happening at the same time.
But hey! I am here and with a new bento! Wow!!!!
My 6yo had a “Spring celebration” at her pre-school today, lots of outside activities for the kids and parents. Mr Mies joined her and I stayed home to take care of little daughter who was still sick from flu she caught earlier this week from her big sister (ha! complicated stuff! Well hmm, we´ve been sick…). I prepared these bentos for us to eat when they´d get back home. You can notice the portions are quite big, to be shared properly among four not-so-hungry people :).
And… the theme: Pokémon! As for normal children, my girls keep changing what they like every now and then. They had seasons of adoring Anpanman, Kirby, My Little Pony and lately it is Pokémon… partly my fault this time… I allowed them to play my DS game “Pokémon Diamond Version” and they were introduced to the world of the pocket monsters… (blame me blame me). Their favorite ones at this moment are Pikachu, Jigglypuff and Squirtle.
So Pikachu bento, that is!
Contents of the boxes: Round onigiris (rice balls), tamagoyaki, raw carrot sticks, steamed broccoli on a lettuce bed. Nectarine slices, cucumber, green grapes, strawberries and raspberries. Pikachu made with cheese, nori details, carrot cheeks and pepperoni mouth. I also crafted a pokéball sticker to decorate the onigiri wrap ^_^, nice isn’t it?
* Gotta Catch ‘Em All!!!*
Oops, no ketchup this time! ;)
May 1, 2012
Today is May Day, Vappu in Finnish. Vappu comes from the Swedish term ”Valborgsmässoafton” (Walpurgis Night) a traditional festival for Spring. The celebration actually begins on the evening of last day of April and continues to 1st of May.
Vappu can be compared to a big street Carnival in Finland, everyone is soooooo happy, go out to have picnics and party outside. People wear decorative clothes, children get huge colored helium balloons, you can throw serpentines and wear your “yliopilaslakki“, the cap you receive when you graduate in High School (lukio). The same cap is used for “crowning” statues in towns around the country.
Also, as part of the tradition, people enjoy Sima, a sparkling drink that you can make yourself at home, usually accompanied by tippaleipä (a traditional Vappu fried cake), rosette (fried pastry) or munkki (donuts).
According to Finnish Wikipedia sima is considered to be mead but differs a lot from its counterparts by being much more sweeter and flavored with citrus fruits. Its alcohol content is very low too.
Honey might have been used to make Sima in the old times but nowadays the flavors are given the most by brown sugar and lemons. Believe me, it is a very refreshing beverage!
Sadly, I didn’t have time to make Sima last year… The beverage needs to be prepared in advance, takes about one week for it to become ready.
Sima – Traditional Finnish Mead
Recipe adapted from here
- 4 l water
- 500 g brown sugar (because I prefer a darker sima with deep flavor. If you want lighter, use 250g brown sugar and 250g caster sugar)
- 1/2 dl honey
- 2 organic lemons (juice and zest). Alternatively, remove the rinds and slice the lemons.
- 1/5 tsp fresh yeast (about the size of a pea)
- sugar and raisins for the bottles
- a big clean bucket (I used a 10L bucket) or a big pan with loosen lid
- 4-5 bottles with caps (if you don’t have glass ones, use clean plastic soda bottles, well washed and dry)
Boil 2 litres of water and put the sugar into the bucket. Pour the boiling water over the sugar and stir to combine. Once the sugar is totally dissolved, add the rest of water, honey, lemon juice and zest (or the lemon slices)
Let cool to lukewarm, then stir in yeast (dilute it in a small amount of water and add to the mixture). Cover and allow to sit at room temperature for 24 hours (and up to 48 hours), until surface begins to bubble slightly.
On the second or third day you can bottle the sima. Strain the liquid into clean glass bottles or plastic ones. Add to each bottle a couple of raisins (3-5) and 1 tsp of caster sugar. Make sure the caps or lids are barely screwed on. Don´t close too tight!! Leave space for the gas to escape otherwise you will get too much pressure to your bottles.
Sima is ready when the raisins float on the surface (on day 5 or 6): takes about 3 days at room temperature or a week refrigerated (the temperature affects how quickly the beverage ferments).
Once ready, tighten the caps and put the bottles in the fridge. If you fear it is getting too much carbonated, release any gas from bottles that are too tight.
Keep in cool and serve chilled!
Consume in one week
You can easily double the recipe. Use 1/4 tsp fresh yeast for 1kg of sugar (half white half brown).
The raisins are added in the “secondary fermentation” to control the amount of sugars and to act as an indicator of readiness for consumption — they will swell by absorbing carbon dioxide and rise to the top of the bottle when the drink is ready (from Wikipedia article on Sima)
Hauskaa Vappua! Happy 1st of May friends!!
April 28, 2012
It has been a while I know… sickness in the family to blame my disappearance! We caught a terrible stomach flu (or viral gastroenteritis, before my sis corrects me :P) and as usual, after making rounds I am the last one suffering from it. Ugh!
Well, enough from that (ugly subject!). I made this tart sometime ago but took me a while to write the recipe down and transfer the photos to my computer…! See… I am lazy… (*slap* *slap*)
The tart was very good… I liked the fruity taste the emmental cheese gave to it… but please! It is an OD, eat lots of salad with it! ;)
Ham and tomato tart with emmental cheese
Yield a ∅ 24 cm pie. Serves 8.
For the pastry
- 175 g flour, plus extra for dusting
- pinch of salt
- 75 g butter
- enough cold water (I needed about 2-3 tbsp)
- 150g smoked turkey ham, cut into strips
- 150g grated emmental cheese
- 2 eggs
- 150g crème fraîche (I used Valio hyla)
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/4 cup fresh chopped basil
- 1 spring onion,chopped
- fresh cracked black pepper
- 2 tomatoes, sliced (gently pat dry with a paper towel)
- fresh basil leaves to garnish
Roll out the pastry on a light floured surface and line a 24cm pie dish. Chill again.
Preheat oven to 200C.
Remove the pastry case from the fridge. You can bake blind for 20 minutes before adding the filling but I skipped this step this time (< lazy again!)
Sprinkle the ham strips into the pastry base, the cheese, chopped basil and spring onions.
Combine the eggs with the crème fraîche in a bowl and season with paprika and black pepper. Pour over the ham and cheese.
Arrange the tomato slices on top of the tart and bake for about 30 minutes until set (and gets golden)
Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Garnish with basil leaves and serve with salad.
Simple isn’t it? You can use ready pastry if you don’t want to make it yourself. Pikkusiili just eats this crazily… she adores cheese. On the other hand… Luonnonvoima is not a big fan >.<! Sisters, so similar but so different!
April 17, 2012
Back to writing with a crafty post!
It is quite funny I know… a chicken drumstick?
Well… all started with a request from my youngest daughter (and I am so lame to say no to them…): “can you make a meat-food to my Bowser toy? You know mommy, Bowser needs to eat, you could make that chicken thingie.”
(little intermission: Pikkusiili got a Bowser plush toy on her birthday. It is one of her favorite plush characters so far and she treats him like a teddy bear >.<. Oh! And you know who’s Bowser, that one from the Super Mario bros video games! )
Took me a while to understand what she wanted exactly. I asked her to draw an example and then I figured out it was a Chicken Drumstick, an item from the DS game Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story. I bought the game to myself but eventually my girls ended up playing it more than I (*mimimi*) !
Here´s the screenshot with the item:
So, you can use different types of Drumsticks to restore the health of Bowser during the game. The “spicier” the item, the more it heals :D.
I wasn’t so sure about the size of the Drumstick so I just free styled the pattern and started sewing it right away. Must say, my daughter was very pleased with the result!
Not bad right?
April 4, 2012
Trying to enjoy the wonders of Spring, we decided to grow our own Easter grass this year. There´s no sign of green outside yet (we just had snow this week!) so I thought girls would be delighted to get their own piece of green for Easter.
We usually travel to my in-laws on Easter holidays, main reason I didn’t encourage my daughters to have their own baskets at home before (they often get pretty ones from their grandmother!).
You see… it was really exciting for them to watch the grass grow from seeds to “bush”. Too bad our lack of experience resulted in irregular surfaces :P. Next time I figured we need to use more seeds (even if the package says the opposite!).
Anyways, girls acquired a new skill and had fun at same time :D.
A beautiful package right? This was made by Luonnonvoima in her pre-school. It has barley grass in. Yep, I admit, it is prettier than ours >_<!
Girls trying different styling: LV has the orange basket and little PS the purple :) *the chick is flying mommy!*
We are off for the holidays and as you might have guessed already, we are spending the long weekend with my girls´ grandparents.
Wish you all a very Happy Easter! Hyvää Pääsiäistä! Feliz Páscoa!
April 4, 2012
I did a couple of fun guest posts for my sweet Brazilian friend Nathy from Bistro Pregui. The blog is in Portuguese but please take a look, we are currently talking about onigiri! (I even made clumsy pictorials showing how to make them ;)
I love her blog (she is very talented with graphics!) and being invited to write there made me very happy ^^.
Oi gente!! Eu fui convidada pela minha querida talentosa amiga Nathy do blog Bistrô Pregui para fazer alguns posts sobre oniguiri e com muita honra eu os fiz :). Passem lá para dar uma olhadinha, estamos falando sobre o famoso bolinho de arroz japonês. Tem até passo-a-passo com fotinhos para vocês verem, aqui e aqui :) !
March 28, 2012
Yep, the first Spring bento that I make after a long “bento-break”! Actually… I can’t even consider we have Spring yet! *lol*
There is still plenty of snow everywhere but surprisingly it is melting relatively fast. Uh, I really hate this time of the year… everything is still so brown, dusty, slushy and all kinds of ugly stuff gets uncovered when the snow goes away. I am totally looking forward to see green, sprouts and flowers :)
Until the time comes, we need to cheer up ourselves with imaginary bunnies and chicks >_< …
Inside the boxes: Lettuce bed with a bunny onigiri (cheeks made of carrot and nose made of sausage), tamagoyaki chick with carrot beak, steamed broccoli, mini plum tomato, spinach with ponzu sauce, nitrate and msg free pan fried hot dogs. Smaller box contains sweet corn, raw carrots, broccoli, red grapes and a clementine.
Note the cute new bunny pick I got! Thanks to a special bento friend ^_^.
How´s the Spring / Autumn where you live? Hope nice!!