Last visit to Finland before jetting off

Sorry about the blog silence I have been busy here in Finland. It has been wonderful too see everyone but tears are running down my face and goodbyes are difficult. The flight here was super easy. I could not believe it. Life has changed again, for better. My dear daughter was sitting nicely next to me, luckily the plane was not fully booked so there was a spare seat for her. She is still well under two so normally there would be no seats but we were lucky. I was looking at the other babies in the plane, a 6-month old and 9-month old and oh what a circus it was. I am so happy those days are over! My daughter absolutely loves flying and reading the safety instructions as you can see. Maybe she becomes a female pilot. She is brave and fearless.

koneessa

On Friday night I saw my lovely group of friends. I am really blessed I think. I have a wonderful girl group of primary school friends, a wonderful girl group of high school friends and a wonderful girl group of university friends. When I see them it is like time has not passed. two of us started with some champagne in the restaurant Kiila in the centre of Helsinki. I truly recommend this place. champagne glasses were 6 euros and the place is just great! Perfect for after works or for weekends.

shamppis kiila

It was emotional though. After the champagne we all met, cooked some food and drank some delicious wine. Well maybe time has passed a bit, instead of cheap bottles of wine we really bought nice stuff. It was nostalgic, we used to do this so often back in uni. We all are strong women, extremely feminist personalities, ambitious and I guess men would describe us difficult but we think we just have woman power. No man bosses us around that is for sure. I lasted all dinner and drinks wihout tears until the leaving time hit, oh dear what a flood of tears came out. It was so hard to say goodbye. I love these people so much and I have missed them every day whilst living in London. I think what has made it worse is that four of us have not been in the same country for a long time..one of us lived in Denmark, I lived in London and one of us travelled a lot. Two others and I did an exchange year at uni so now when finally three of them are living in Finland we could all be together again but no I leave to the other side of the world, ironic. I guess in the middle of this motherhood when I hardly have my own time I miss my dear friends even more and those times we spent together as free souls seem extremely unique. Well maybe after couple of years we are back in Finland and I can finally have some time with these special people.

Today my highschool friends will come to visit me and there may be more tears. Luckily we all have kids so it will be such a hassle that I hopefully cannot get too emotional. I baked some blueberry tart which we can enjoy with some vanilla sauce.

sauna 2

My dear daughter went to sauna with me. She loved the sizzling noise that water made when it hit the rocks. I love sauna, another funny thing I will miss. Couple of more days here and then we are back in London town for the final stress.

I hope you all are having a relaxing Monday. I will go back to do some more knitting, my daughter’s Norwegian knit is getting ready soon!

Gluten, dairy and egg free banana blueberry cake -Gluetiiniton, maidoton, munaton banaanimustikkakakku

banaanimutsikkakakku

Again this silence..I think I have no more excuses now, just being terribly busy. I am back to work now and after the working day there seems to be so little time left for anything! I am loving it though. After a year at home with the baby work seems like 5 days a week holiday! I know it probably sounds horrible but for me this is a perfect balance. I cannot handle being staying-at-home-mum, it really drives me crazy. I need my own life and  I need to have challenges in my life -my brain needs stimulation and what I do for work certainly does it. It is also so glorious to have my morning coffee peacefully before starting to work.

We found a perfect nanny for our little daughter and we could not notice any change in her behaviour when I started working -pretty amazing. She sleeps as well (as badly as usually :)) and she is not any clingier or more tearful when I finish the work. In fact she is the happiest baby you can ever imagine as the nanny does all sort of wonderful activities with her all day long. So all in all, this is the most amazing arrangement we could have ever hoped for. My husband has a happy wife and  we have a happy baby.

I was quite depressed the last couple of months staying at home only. Even though I have lots of friends with babies it was still not enough for me, I needed some balance and I wanted to see myself not as a 24/7 mother but also a capable career woman with a drive to work. I know it means less baking and cooking and therefore probably less frequent blog posting but it is better. My usually so positive and cheerful personality changed drastically by the end of the last year and I felt like I was not myself anymore. I was just sad and miserable all the time and every day seemed to just repeat itself. Same fights with the baby over eating (without any success!) and acting as a constant entertainment machine day after day, month after month. I know there are women out there who are at their happiest when they can stay at home full time and I certainly admire them but I am not one of those I get not only a cabin fever but huge anxiety. Now I feel so happy every day when I started working. I meet adults, I can communicate with people who do not throw themselves to the floor when they get annoyed and I can challenge myself in a working life. Wonderful..and my new job is great too!

As my baby still does  not eat I tried the” NHS approach”, the approach the dietician here in England suggested, that was ”feed your baby with pizza, cakes, crisps, ice cream, add sugar to everything..to get calories in”. Well, of course I cannot give dairy, eggs or gluten to her so I baked this banana blueberry cake.  It was super good..although she spitted it out straight away and threw rest of it to the floor -no success with the NHS approach either. So I won’t try this unhealthy suggestion any more.

Anyway, don’t believe my baby, her taste buds do not exist, this cake is really good. Our American friend who is visiting us here absolutely loved it. It was his birthday yesterday so it was kind of his birthday cake. I hope you enjoy the recipe too. It is simple and quick and of course you can use regular flour if you do not need a gluten free version.

4 1/2dl (2 1/4 cup) white flour (white gluten free flour)

2 dl (1 cup) sugar

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp vanilla sugar

3 dl (1 1/2 cup) blueberries (frozen are fine)

2 bananas

2 1/2dl (1 1/4 cup) rice milk or regular milk if you can eat dairy

1  1/4 dl (1/2 cup) dairy free melted margarine or regular margarine

1. Combine the dry ingredients.

2. Mash the bananas. Mix the mash with rice milk and melted margarine.

3. Combine the blueberries with dry ingredients and then banana mix.

4. Pour to the cake tin and bake 50-55 min in 175 Celsius degrees.

ENJOY!
Tip: Add some Betty Crocker icing on top and it is even more delicious!

 

 

 

 

Berryfull breakfast mousse -Marjainen aamiaismousse

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One of my favourite bloggers Deliciously Ella posted a while ago the recipe of a berry breakfast puree. I made a lot more simple version of it and I totally fell in love with it. It is super healthy but incredibly tasty. My baby was munching it with the smile on her face too.

One portion:

1/2 banana

1/2 avocado

Blueberries and/or raspberries depending on your taste. I used couple of tablespoons of blueberry puree as  it is hard to find fresh blueberries this time of the year.

Put the ingredients to the blender and mix well and you will have the silkiest mousse for breakfast. I eat it with fresh raspberries and raw oat porridge (oats soaked in rice milk and sweetened by Acasia honey).

Try and enjoy!

Blueberry Pie from the Forests of Finland

Tasty blueberry pie was a trademark of Twin Peaks, the famous TV-series shown on 90s. More and more eccentric people popped in the local coffee bar to enjoy its blueberry pie and coffee. Those scenes are hard to forget.

What can be better than just baked blueberry pie with some vanilla ice cream or sauce? Hardly anything, particulary if one has picked the berries from the forests himself.

Here is my favourite blueberry pie recipe. What makes the pie, and especially its base so nice is a secret Finnish ingredient: VIILI. ”Viili” is a Finnish sour whole milk -product. It is totally different from yoghurt. It is made by leaving a milk to sit in a lidded pot in room temperature over night. WHAT? REALLY? YES.

So if my dear aussieman who comes near the equator is afraid that milk goes off in room temperature, we Finns LOVE the milk which has gone off in room temperature -it is ”VIILI”! It is a delicious and precious dairy product not spoiled milk! To explain about its texture. Viili is a fluffy version of yoghurt and sour in a different way. It is glue-like and that’s why extremely challenging to eat. If you try to eat it with a spoon just when you thought you have caught one spoonful of it, it slips away. That fluffy texture however, makes VIILI an ideal ingredient for cake or pie doughs, it makes dough fluffy and juicy too!!!

So run to the nearest forest, pick some berries and bake a pie -today!

This blueperry will be the size of a baking tray! Have a party and serve it for  a massive group of friends!

8 dl flour

4 dl white sugar

2 tsp baking powder (baking soda)

200 g melted butter

2 eggs

2 dl VIILI, sour whole milk or sour milk

2 packages MAITORAHKA (which is also a Finniah product similar to French ”Fromage Blanc”, a different kind of sour milk product again)

2 eggs

2 dl white sugar

2 tsp vanilla sugar

blueberries

Preheat the oven to 200 c degrees. Combine 8 dl flour, 4dl sugar, 2 tsp baking powder, 2 tsp vanilla sugar and melted butter. It is a crublu at this point. Take 1/3 of it and place it to a plate for wait. Add 2 eggs and 2 dl of VIILI to  2/3 of the dough. Mix well. It turns to  a thick  dough. Press that 2/3 of the dough on a baking tray and form the base 1-2cm thick. Mix 2 packages of MAITORAHKA (fromage blanc, sour milk), 2 eggs, 2 dl sugar, 2 tsp vanilla sugar and blueberries. Pour the filling on the top of the base. Sprinkle 1/3 of the crubly dough on top. Bake for 30 minutes until the top of the pie turns golden brown. Enjoy with some vanilla ice cream or sauce! For me this pie gives a flavour of Finnish forests with its multitude of berries.

PS. I tried this recipe with red berries and I served it for our american friend who visited us last August. Surprisingly our american friend who is more used to doughnuts and cheesecakes, as americans quite often do, loved this combination! I loved it to. I discovered that actually otherwise too strong and maybe a bit too vinegary taste of red berries gives an amazingly piquant flavour for this pie! So be experimental and try different berries! HYVÄÄ RUOKAHALUA (Bon appétit) as we say in Finland!