Goddess of Cake


Harvest Party
October 14, 2010, 22:43
Filed under: autumn seasonal food, Baking, urban gardening | Tags: , , ,

I recently heard a quote from somebody (thanks, Tanja!) that in every project 1/4 of the money and energy invested in the project should be used to celebrate together. I think that is so true! In the Finnish culture celebration is easily undervalued: we don’t even have a really good word for it. A celebration can be a party or a carnival, but it can also be any kind of a gathering or ritual that values the work done and the people involved. In a celebration we are together, equal and sharing a mutual satisfaction in our community and what was experienced. A celebration turns inward, toward the center, a party turns outward, showing off.  Celebrations create social value and strenghten communities, and make people happy!

A harvest party is of course double important since it also the time to thank the abundance of the earth as well as for human people’s efforts. Being an urban gardener it does sound a bit dodgy to say: thank you Mother Earth. Should I say thank you Sister City instead? But I guess whether rural or urban, it is the same life – force manifesting itself in the beautiful vegetables.

There was a harvest party at the urban garden of Vallila, with grammophone – music, a fleamarket and of course pumpkin soup. A drizzling autumn rain finished the party, but there was just enough time to greet everybody and share the last of the huge marrows and pumpkins. It is wonderful to start gardens on empty lots: the neighbours learn to know each other and a public space becomes meaningful, a hub of interaction between the people of the neighbourhood as well as place to grow local food in a city. Present at the party was also the Editor in Chief of the fanciest foodie magazine in Finland, Glorian ruoka ja viini, since she lives in the neighbourhood.  Today, in the new issue of the magazine they nominate “urban gardening” as the Food Phenomenon of the Year, and my organisation and our projects are specially mentioned. I felt as if I’d been awarded an Oscar! Me, doing the Food Phenomenon of the year? Who would have thought? I was very happy that the culinary aspects of urban gardening are now formally recognised!

To honor that, an apple pie recipe:

Apple Pie with Calvados and Almond

Crust:

3 dl whole wheat flour

125 g vegetable margarine

1tbsp oat milk

1 tbsp sugar

a pinch of salt

On top:

4 dl sliced apple

2 tbsp calvados

cinnamon

Top crust:

100 g marzipan

100 g vegetable margarine

1 tbsp muscovado sugar

1 dl wheat flour

Mix the ingredients for the crust quickly in a bowl. Set the crust in the fridge. Slice the apples, and grate the marzipan, and mix it with the other ingredients of the top crust.  Cover a baking pan with a diameter of 24 cm with the rolled out crust, and place it in the freezer for 10 minutes. Then bake the crust in a 200°C oven for 10 minutes.

Sprinkle the crust with the apple slices, calvados and cinnamon. Crumble the top crust on top of that. Lower the temperature down to 175ºC and bake the pie in the oven 35 – 40 minutes.

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Apple Pie for Snow White
October 18, 2009, 12:04
Filed under: Baking | Tags: , ,

When I was in Fifth Grade at school we made a play on the fairy tale Snow White and the Seven Dvarves. I played the mean stepmother the queen, and I was quite proud of it. But I don’t think I learned my lesson that time. Would you rather be a wicked witch married to a king, or a timid princess that instead of resolving her problems escapes to the forest and ends up cleaning and cooking for a bunch of lame dvarves, and then has to be saved by a prince ? I think she totally deserves that poisonous apple! As far as I’m concerned, I have been many years that princess with no other means to deal with stuff but to escape, and only now I’m trying to learn the skills of a queen, and help me fate if that’ll  end me up as badly as the queen in the Grimm’s brother version of this fairytale!

But that’s the lesson life wants to teach us: to accept that poisonous apple, transform and transcend, and above all, to continue living our lives, instead of hiding in the woods. Any creative work can help with it, since it somehow becomes larger than your life. Sounds like cliche but it’s true, on a bad day this blog can be a hungry child that says to me: I am needy, go on, live your life so that you’ll have something to write about here! And so I’ll need to brazenly face magical mirrors, evil stepmothers and poisonous apples. So this is the little secret i promised you Kamomilla for giving me the Kreativ Blogger Award (thank you!). That when I was drowning this blog saved me, like Julie says in the movie Julie&Julia.

So my dear Snow White, in order to get you finally killed, I prepared this ve – ery nice apple pastry for you. Look at that luscious, red cheeked apple baked in with all this delicious stuff, doesn’t that make you hungry?

Apple and Lingonberry Squares

A while ago Bazu and Luciana, who are vegan bloggers from the States found me on a site of a hospitality organisation, and visited me one day on their way to Vienna. They brought me some amazing vegan goodies from America, like these strange butterscotch morsels that are meant for baking. I have no idea what they do with them in the States, but I decided to use them for apple and lingonberry squares. I simply sprinkled them on top the pastry and they melted in the oven. This type of pastry is actually what we call a pie in Finland, but the idea is quite far from the American fruit pies. Basically this kind of “pie” has a farely thick layer of batter, which is sprinkled with berries or fruits.

lingonberries and butterscotch

Ingredients:

3 dl wheat flour

2 dl whole grain spelt flour

2 dl muscovado sugar

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp vanilla sugar

2 tsp cinnamon

3,5 dl soy milk

200 g  oil

On top

4 dl sliced apples

4 dl lingonberries

3 dl butterscotch morsels

cinnamon, muscovado sugar

This is very easy:  just mix the dry ingredients, and then add the milk and the oil. Pour evenly onto a baking pan covered with baking parchment.Cover with apple slices and lingonberries, and then sprinkle with cinnamon, muscovado sugar and butterscotch. Bake in 200 °C for about 30 minutes.

apple and lingonberry squares



Hello Darkness, My Old Friend
September 15, 2009, 10:28
Filed under: Baking, Drinks | Tags: , , , , ,

I must admit it: the summer is over. Last week me and my neighbours finally put back the corridor windows that we have been repairing the whole summer (or, to be honest, my neighbours much more than me). The day was warm, but it didn’t feel like the last summer day, but like the first one in autumn. Suddenly, the night fell at half past eight, and it caught me up right when I was picking the apples and plums that lie all over my yard. The neighbours were fixing the last window, and the lights were on in the corridors. I stood in the darkness of the yard, and listened to the crazy autumn wind blowing all over the place, and to the faint traffic noises of my new home city. I am scared of the winter and the darkness it brings, and the long winter nights. How will I deal with it now that I live by myself?

windows

I was trying to cheer up by thinking: Colourful leaves! Lingonberries! Mushrooms! But it didn’t really help. I felt like the Tove Jansson’s Moomin – book character Nuuskamuikkunen, Snufkin. When the autumn comes, he lifts his backback, plays a little tune on his flute and leaves who knows where, to perhaps return with the sun. Don’t we all just love him, we who cannot leave our commitments.

autumn harvest

I shivered, even if it wasn’t cold, picked up the bucket of apples and went inside. There I saw my reflection in the mirror: a yellow leaf had stuck into my hair. There was no way but to admit the facts: I went to the calendar and turned the page from August to September, 10 days late.

Apple, Carrot and Ginger Juice

My mom brought me this juicer that I guess originates from the 70’s. It is a funky thing, though notoriously hard to clean. In the apple season I love it, since freshly made apple juice is just so good. This is my favourite flavour combination:

For 1 big glass you need:

1 carrot

3 small apples

2x2cm piece of ginger

Throw it all in the juicer, and then mix the resulting juice with a spoon. No need to peel anything. If you like ginger, you can very well add some. This works really well for that gloomy autumn feeling…

carrotjuice

Apple and White Currant Pie

This pie is like the apple pies made in the States, and doesn’t resemble a Finnish apple pie at all, since the Finnish pies are never covered like the American ones. This recipe is a vegan version of this recipe, though since the apples that grow in my yard are sadly not of the tangy variety, so I replaced some apples with white currants, in order to create a similar effect. For jams and similar things tangy and hard apple varieties are most suitable, and of the Finnish varieties e.g. Antonovka is good.

The Pie Batter

150 g vegetable margarine

1/2 tsp salt

2 tbsp sugar

4 1/2 wheat flour

1 dl ice cold water

The Filling:

10 small apples

2,5 dl white currants

1 3/4 dl sugar with added pectin

1/2 tsp nutmeg

2 tsp cinnamon

2 tbsp wheat flour

1 tbsp vegetable margarine

First, I made the pie batter. I simply mixed first the dry ingredients and then added the margarine and til last the cold water. Then I put the batter into the fridge for about half an hour.

Then I made the filling: I sliced the apples and removed the seeds. Then I mixed in the rest of the ingredients, except for the margarine.

Then I divided the batter into two, and rolled it out using a rolling pin so that it would fit a round baking tin (24cm in diameter) that I had greased and floured earlier. I had the batter in between two layers of baking parchment, and it helped a lot with the process. Then I filled the pie, added the margarine in a few lumps on top, rolled the other part of the batter, and covered the pie. The edges I squeezed together and then made a few holes on top the pie with a fork.

I grated the pie in the oven in 200°C for 15 minutes, and then lowered the heat to 175°C for 45 minutes.

apple pie2

As a footnote, I ran into this concept in the internet: a veggie trader! Isn’t that a good idea! In the harvest time those people with red currant bushes, apple, plum or cherry trees, or zucchini plants, are usually in trouble with all the produce, like me with the apples. At Veggie Trader you can find people to swap your produce with! We should have that here too, because that is also one way to overrule the wholesalers that dominate our food consumption today.