Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Apple jam

My hubby's mom gave us a bag full of red apples last weekend. Receiving them, I must admit, I didn't have a very clear picture about where was I going to use them in, but the world is full of ideas and who could resist these:

So I decided for the first time ever to make apple jam, or in fact any kind of jam, myself. Internet proved itself once again to be an useful and a joyful invention as I was looking for a simple but delicious and preferably a quick recipe for a apple jam. The Martha Organization helped me once more, this time the answer was to be found in the discussion forums.

400 g of sliced apples
1 dl of water
4 tbls of sugar
1/3 tsps of vanilla sugar
1/4 tsps of cinnamon

The recipe was indeed very simple. I used an apple slicer to remove the cores and to cut the apples into slices. As 400 g, that was in the original recipe, was quickly done I doubled the portion. I put the sliced apples into a saucepan and added the other ingredients and let them simmer in mid-warmth. I don't have a recollection how long it took for the apples to mash, but I did have time to do other things in between. Finally, I mashed them to a even finer texture with a handblender and filled three glass jars with the jam.

The result is so deliciously pink because I boiled the apples with the skin. I have heard many a story about the benefits of a skin in domestic apples and decided to include those beneficial ingredients into my jam as well.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The birthday cake for a licorice fan

My husband's favorite candy is licorice. For a baking enthusiast, first girlfriend, now wife, this caused minor problems in the beginning. Chocolate, which is my favorite, is so much easier to use in baking than licorice. After the first couple attempts it even seemed that licorice is not suited for baking. Since then my eyes have opened to the possibilities and last Friday when I baked my husband his birthday cake, the theme was licorice. I adapted the licorice muffin recipe by Kinuskikissa.

1 ½ dl of milk
Kick bars
150 g of margarine
1 ½ dl of sugar
2 eggs
2 ½ dl of flour
2 tsps of baking powder
2 ½ tbls of cocoa powder
1 dl of
Tyrkisk Peber crush

At first I greased and sprinkled the cake form with breadcrump and took out the margarine from the fridge to soften. If you don't have Tyrkisk Peber crush, I would crush the candies at this point. My advice would also be to cut the Lakritsimatto in pieces at the same time and not do as I did, which was nearly forgetting the whole licorice bar.

Next I cut the Kick bars into pieces and put them in the saucepan with the milk. I used non-fat milk, but others are fine too as well as cream. I let them heat up mildly until the licorice had melted into the milk, which took surprisingly long. I let the mixture cool down, but the milk was still somewhat warm when I mixed it up into the batter.

I foamed the margarine and sugar and added the eggs. I mixed the dry ingredients and the Tyrkisk Peber crush and added into the batter with the licorice milk.

According to Kinuskikissa's recipe the batter makes 12-20 muffins and because of that I was confident that with the same amount of batter I could make a cake. In addition, I didn't make the frosting, because my plan was to serve the cake with vanilla ice cream.

I kipped the batter into the cake form and sprinkled the pieces of Lakritsimatto on top and pressed them deeper with a fork.

I baked the cake in lower part of the over in 175 C for roughly 40 minutes.

The result was loved by the birthday boy, which made the baker a happy wife indeed. We didn't miss the frosting as the soft vanilla ice cream replaced the need and complemented the flavor perfectly. Kick-milk provided ab all-round licorice flavor. The pieces of licorice inside the cake soften to wonderful lumps, that you can't see but will taste. The Tyrkisk Peber also gave a nice salty and strong touch. The biggest flaw of the cake was that it was so fulfilling that you couldn't possibly eat more than one piece, but thinking positively, now we have a licorice dessert waiting in the freezer for two more times.

After such a delightful experiment I'm also happy that the favorite candies of both of us seem to be well suited together. The first time I baked with licorice I made muffins with an ordinary white batter. Later I have discovered that cocoa and chocolate indeed go well with licorice.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Blueberry pie with strawberries by the Marthas

The day after the strawverry operation brought us guests that had more strawberries with them to give to us! I slightly changed my plans about dessert and blueberry pie ended up being a strawberry-blueberry pie. My favorite recipe for making a blueberry pie is the one I found online from the homepage of the Martha Organization. I came across it once as I was looking for a recipe for a big pie that covers to whole baking tray and I'm delighted about easyness and the foamy result.

The fantastic blueberry pie by Marthas (a whole tray)

1 egg
3 dl of sugar
1 cream viili, a form of
viili, but made of cream
2 dl of milk
6 dl of flour
3 tsps of baking powder
125 g of margarine (which I have often replaced with 1 dl of cooking oil)
ca. 7 dl of berries

Mix egg and sugar. Add the cream viili, milk and the mix of flour and baking powder and towards the end also oil or melted margarine. Spread the butter onto a baking tray covered with baking paper. Sprinkle the berries on top. Bake in 200 C for about half an hour.

Monday, August 4, 2008

A proper wife!

Last summer I was so new a wife that in many sense I was just learning the art. Naturally I still have a lot more to learn, but this summer I took a step further than last summer and freezed strawberries. In my childhoom I have been helping in cleaning and freezing the strawberries and those 5 kg boxes full of that red gold of earth have always associated to "home" in my mind. Now, having done the same thing in my new own home I feel even a stronger sense of home. In doing the same thing that my mother has done proves it again that I have my very own home now. It's at the same time a wonderfully self-sufficient and a dependent feeling. I have my own home, but I'm very much dependent on this home and family and extremely happy about it.

My husband started his summer holiday recently and as the celebration of it we had some of the fresh strawberries accompanied by thin Finnish pancaked and vanilla ice-cream. The pancake batter was a left-over from the previous evening and was sufficient for a one pancake, so there isn't a lot of pancakes, but it was all that we needed. The recipe is from my father-in-law and is indeed delicious:

4 dl of milk
1 egg
½ tsp of salt
2 dl of flour

Just mix it up and fry both sides with oil or butter. Make them thin and the size of the frying pan.

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