Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Greetings from the Darkness

This is the most darkest time in finnish climate. There's only a few hours of daylight per day, and that daylight is dim. There's wet and cold out and slush ruins your shoes. Don't get me wrong, I love Finland since this is nice and safe country to live and we have plenty of cool things* coming from our tiny, dark and weird country, but I still would like to ask from my ancesters that what the heck they thought when they settled to live in this country with the cruel climate... they had to arrive during to summer, and in the autumn time they were too lazy to move again. Or too depressed. (Yeah, yeah, we are taking our D-vitamins with Mila and using light therapy lamps to avoid seasonal affective disorder symptoms...)

But, the photographing is quite impossible for me, when I don't know nothing about lightning, and I just love natural light. I just bought a better camera so I could get even some memories saved in this pitch black winter. Finnish winter feels like never ending. I miss the sun. We miss the sun.
Finnish winter feels like...

Few weeks ago I was just wondering...why exactly we should stay in Finland since I still have my maternity leave until it's spring and our baby is healthy? SO we got this crazy, once-in-a-lifetime idea... Let's spend this winter where there is sun at least sometimes, California! So in the end of next month we are going to start our ultimate few months holiday in Los Angeles. Yay! 

Send me your suggestions what to do or try on that trip, and we might give a try and blog about that. ;)

*Angry Birds -game. Sauna. Santa Claus. Rare exports -movie. Marimekko. Salmiakki (Salty liquorice). Esa-Pekka Salonen. Sibelius. Tove Jansson and Moomins. Vampira. Designers. Computer nerds. Artists. Composers. Musicians. Filmmakers. you name it. (List of Finns)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Scandinavian Spice Cake

Scandinavian food is usually mild and spiceless, but not this cake. The aroma of this cake is intoxicating. This traditional spice cake is great treat with the coffee and it's so easy to make. You need only one bowl to mix.

Dry ingredients: 

2 dl Dark Farin sugar (Brown sugar)
0.5 dl White sugar
(Or just 1.5 dl white sugar with 1 dl brown syrup. Mix syrup with liquids)
4.5 dl Flour 
1 ts baking soda
1 ts baking powder
(ground spices into a fine powder)
2 ts Cardamom
2 ts Cinnamom
2 ts Ginger
2 ts Clove
1 ts Allspice (Pimenta dioica)
1 ts Nutmeg (Myristica fragrans)
2 tbls Dark cacao powder
1/2 ts salt
                              (*ts = teaspoon, tbls. dl = deciliter)


2 dl Buttermilk or yoghurt 
2 eggs
1 dl Coconut Oil (Good quality.)

 Other veggie oils are ok too, and definitely more "scandinavian style", but I love cold pressed coconut oil. Even if you hate coconut smell and taste, from these flavors it won't pop up. 

Mix all dry ingredients well in big bowl with the wooden fork or spoon. And then, add all room temperature "liquids" once, and mix them well with the dry ingredients, but don't whip them too much. You just need to get smooth dough. Room temperature is really important with the coconut oil. If the dough is too cold, it solidifies. If that happen, don't worry. This cake is pretty much impossible to ruin. Just place your bowl over hot water bath and mix even. 
Pour into oiled cake mold and bake in the oven 175° (celsius, it's about 350° in fahrenheit) 45 minutes.

And here comes the hardest part: Turn mold over and let the cake settle . I know, I know, you would love to eat it right away, but it's better when it's cooled down. 

The plate is lovely Finnish design:
Iittala - Taika

Tip for measure conversions: 

1 cup = 8 fl oz = 2.4 dl = 24 cl = 240 ml

1 cup = 10 fl oz = 2.8 dl = 280 ml

1 deciliter = 6 (scant) tablespoons

I hope you steal this recipe and enjoy! :)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Lullaby for Mila

I'm often singing lullaby's to Mila. One night I just started to hum a little melody in my head. When Mila fell asleep I went to ask my hubby if he had heard that melody before, and where it might be from, or did I just made that up. He said it sounds like I made that. "Can we make a lullaby for her from that?" I asked. "Yes, sure. Or we could make a Broadway musical?" He replied. "Well...let's try that lullaby first." I laughed. 

So I made the melody for the verse, lyrics and singing, and my hubby did everything else and made my singing sound ok.  The song is called: "Tuulen tuutulaulu" (Wind's lullaby) you can listen it from here: Tuulen tuutulaulu            

The lyrics are in finnish AND loosely translated in to english. (click photo below). Lyrics are naive and quite daydream-like. I just found how hard it is to make, not just a translation but more like a transcreation, if you have made "creative" text like lyrics in another language. I'm not that satisfied with the english text, and don't even know if it's singable. But you get the picture from that. 

My husband is ridiculously talented composer and I'm just a educated music listener, who's still suffering from childhood trauma's from studying piano and flute for 10 years and sucking in that every minute. But with him I've started to enjoy about music more than in years. I'm still at my best in listening, but now I get it that joy of making music. My old music teachers would be very surprised to hear that. I love singing, even when I'm not that good in that. Luckily babies don't care. (And autotune is invented.)

I love to hear music in our home. Sometimes when he's composing film music, it's like we are living in movie. When Mila is going to be older, I'd be happy if she would like to play some instrument. Then I really have to face my own traumas. How to encourage child to do something and not to force to fill our own expectations? How to keep a joy in everything so they don't lose their natural interest and love for learning. I hope we know the right answers when it's time. 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Maternity moments: Baby-led weaning

The poor thing, formerly known as broccoli.
After our first meal experience so many of you suggested Baby-led weaning. It sounds really good and logical method, so I decided to give a try... 

The broccoli was never even near Mila's mouth. She picked it up into her little fist and just squeezed the life and fluids out of it like it was a sponge. She snarled to it. Then she decided to throw me with it. 

Well, we'll try this thing later again. She is now definitely ready to crab food, but the putting in the mouth -part needs some serious developing.