All posts by tiiatintin

About tiiatintin

I'm a person who likes stuff.

Hello Again, Blog

Oh no, it has been a long time since this blog has been updated! A lot has happened in the meantime.

We moved to Lüneburg at last. First we had to say goodbye to our nice but awfully expensive apartment in Helsinki, then we lived at my parents for a few weeks and finally had our stuff moved to Germany before we got on a plane with the cats.

Aesculus hippocastanum

All in all, you could say the last weeks have been really exhausting – the day of the move and flying with the cats was just the tip of the iceberg. We had gotten rid of most of our furniture, clothes and other things, but still, I don’t really recommend moving house twice in a month’s time frame.

Lighting in Lüneburg
We had some amazing thunder, I took this picture from our balcony!

Unfortunately the apartment we moved into was in a not-so-nice state. It had a quite dirty once beige fitted carpet, dirty walls and basically no closet space. Getting rid of the carpet, plus the second carpet underneath (blue this time, with stains that looked alarmingly like blood) and having laminate flooring installed has been one of the most satisfying things in my life!

So we have been renovating the apartment for the last few weeks, and we are almost done with it. Now this place actually looks like home.

Am Sande, Lüneburg
Awful quality Instagram picture, I’m sorry! Anyway, this is our new hometown.

Bad news for this blog though: our home doesn’t have an oven and it’s impossible to install one. No more baking for a while! I have had bad time adjusting to this, I want to bake cakes! Cookies! Cupcakes! I do have some unpublished recipes, so this blog will still have some oven-involved baking – and maybe we can visit some friends with ovens… In the meanwhile, it’s time to get creative. I have plans! I’m fantasising about beautiful no-bake cakes, delicate white chocolate truffles and delicious strawberry parfaits.

All in all, everything is well and we’re adjusting to our new life. I’m studying German as much as I can and gathering courage to speak the language, so hopefully in the future I can properly integrate into this beautiful city. Stef already has a job she enjoys and the cats are as happy as ever. I miss people in Finland terribly, but it’s not like I won’t be seeing anyone ever again. There’s only 1161,9 kilometers in-between!

Life is an adventure.

Tiia

Jeera twisting his neck

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Dull & Drowsy Sunday

Dull & Drowsy Sunday --- 2women2cats

More often than I like to admit I fantasize of the weekend. I can finally get things done! All the German homework that I haven’t had the time for during the workweek, maybe I can paint, maybe bake something I’ve wanted to make for ages…

On Saturdays I’m fairly active. We go to the Helsinki centre for some shopping and cafés and at home I tackle the admiringly large pile of laundry. I feel productive and excited!

Dull & Drowsy Sunday --- 2women2cats
Saturday night games: Tridom!

Unfortunately the feeling doesn’t last to Sunday. I still have plenty of things to do but the drive is gone. I’m laying in the bed, blanket protecting me from the grey world outside with one cat laying on top of me and the other one under the blanket with me. None of us wants to move. It’s Monday tomorrow!

Oh Sunday apathy.

Tiia

Dull & Drowsy Sunday -- 2women2cats

Nostalgia is an essential part of a Sunday. The boys now and...
Nostalgia is an essential part of a Sunday. The boys now and…
...the boys in summer 2009!
…the boys in summer 2009!
They were cute as buttons.
They were cute as buttons.
And they played 90% of their waking time!
And they played 90% of their waking time!
Dull & Drowsy Sunday --- 2women2cats
Kookos doesn’t remember his childhood and thinks he has always been dignified.

 

Sahramipullat – Finnish Saffron Sweet Buns

Finnish Saffron Sweet Buns -- 2women2cats

My love for old fashioned baking continues. Saffron buns are something I have eaten all my life – first made by my grandma, then my mom and now me. Back in the days the way to make these was slightly different. Traditionally the buns weren’t made with almond flour, but I actually prefer the newer version, since pulla (sweet bun) is something eaten very often in Finland, and sometimes you just want some change in your life!

Finnish Saffron Sweet Buns -- 2women2cats

Saffron Sweet Buns (24 buns)

Ingredients

0,5 g saffron
1 sugar cube or 1 tsp sugar
150 g butter
250 ml milk
25 g yeast
100 g sugar
1 tsp salt
1 egg
50 g coarse almond flour
475 g plain white flour

some pearl sugar for decorating

Crush the saffron and sugar cube together in a mortar until it’s fine powder. Heat the butter and milk in a pan until the mixture is lukewarm (or a bit warmer, if you are using dried yeast) and add the saffron/sugar powder.

Crumble the yeast and add it to a bowl with the sugar and salt. Pour a bit of the warm butter/milk mixture on top and mix until the yeast is somewhat dissolved. Pour in the rest of the butter and milk mixture while stirring and add the rest of the ingredients. Start using your hands to knead the dough and continue kneading until it doesn’t stick to your fingers anymore. The dough should be stretchy and shiny. Cover the bowl with a cloth, place it in a warm spot and let it rest for 60-90 minutes until has more or less doubled in size.

Finnish Saffron Sweet Buns -- 2women2cats
Before resting time.

Take the dough out of the bowl and cut it into 24 pieces. Knead each into little buns (another traditional way is to braid the dough) and roll the topside in a bowl with pearl sugar.  Put the buns on a tray and let them rest under a cloth for 30 minutes while you’re heating the oven to 225°C. Let them bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes until they have gotten slightly darker in colour.

Enjoy!

Tiia

Finnish Saffron Sweet Buns -- 2women2cats

Finnish Saffron Sweet Buns -- 2women2cats

Finnish Runeberg’s Cakes

Runeberg's Cakes - 2women2cats

This is one of the Finnish desserts that probably every single Finn has had in their life. It is eaten on Runeberg’s Day on the 5th of February. Usually these cakes start to appear in the stores in January. The bought cakes are nice, but naturally nowhere near as good as self made ones. First of all they rarely have rum in them!

Runeberg's Cakes - 2women2cats

If you don’t like the flavour of rum, you can as well leave it out and replace it with lemon or orange juice. The Finn Crisps used in the recipe are a type of thin rye crispbread that is found everywhere in Finland. I’m not sure how common it is in other countries, but I know it is found at least in Germany. If you can’t get it anywhere, you can also replace it with gingerbread, speculoos or dark breadcrumbs.

Traditionally the cakes are baked in special Runeberg’s cake tins (cylinder shaped) but you can use a muffin silicone form or dessert rings. As you can see on the pictures I used different shapes for my cakes but I think the cylindrical ones looked the best.

Runeberg's Cakes - 2women2cats

The cakes should be really moist despite the amount of different crumbly ingredients. This is why they are moisturized with a water/sugar/rum mixture, and if you’re not eating the cakes on the day of the making, you should give them a small bath before serving.

Runeberg's Cakes - 2women2cats

Runeberg's Cakes - 2women2cats

Runeberg’s Cakes (6 pieces)

Ingredients

50 g almonds
45 g Finn Crisps
45 g breadcrumbs
90 g plain white flour
100 g butter (room temperature)
90 g sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 egg
100 ml heavy cream
2 drops bitter almond aroma

100 ml water
25 g brown cane sugar
1 tbsp rum

raspberry jam
powder sugar and water

Crush the almonds into a rough crumble with a food processor. Do the same with the Thin Crisps, but process them into a fine flour. Set them aside for later use.

Runeberg's Cakes - 2women2cats

Runeberg's Cakes - 2women2cats

Whip the butter and sugar into a foam and add the egg while whisking.
Mix the dry ingredients together and add them to the batter. Pour in the cream, add two drops of bitter almond and whisk just until everything is evenly incorporated.

Runeberg's Cakes - 2women2cats

Runeberg's Cakes - 2women2cats

Pour the batter into a muffin pan or your desired tins. Bake at 200°C for 20-25 minutes. While the cakes are in the oven, make the rum/water/sugar mixture. Heat up the water in a pan, dissolve the sugar in it and add the rum.

When you take the cakes out of the oven, pour some of the water mixture on them immediately and let them cool down in the pan. You can smooth out the tops with your fingers to give them a flatter look.

To make the sugar ring take a few spoons of powder sugar and add just enough water to make a paste. Don’t let it get too thin! Pour into a piping bag and decorate each cake with a sugar ring. Add a spoonful of raspberry jam in the middle.

Enjoy!

Tiia

Runeberg's Cakes - 2women2cats

Runeberg's Cakes - 2women2cats

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Well, here in Finland Valentine’s Day is not only for lovers, as it is called ystävänpäivä –  Friend’s Day. Children give cards and hugs to their friends, and adults post statuses on Facebook wishing everybody a happy Friend’s Day. And of course some tell everybody who is willing to listen, how this day is corporate bullshit.

Happy Valetine's Day -- 2 women 2 cats

I think life needs as many celebrations as possible, so I have obviously nothing against Valentine’s Day. Every excuse to eat cake, buy flowers and have a good time is appreciated!

So I wish everybody would switch their grumpy button off and have a great day with their loved ones – be that their friends of family, their romantic partner or partners or just their very special selves.

Tiia

Happy Valetine's Day -- 2 women 2 cats

My third cat Narri who lives at my parents' - she's a beauty
My third cat Narri who lives at my parents’ – she’s a beauty

Happy Valetine's Day -- 2 women 2 cats