Thursday, 10 November 2011

Fish Potato Scallop ~ Silakkalaatikko

It's been a typical autumn day here (cool and cozy) so I decided to cook up a warming Finnish dish for Martin and I tonight. It is sooo yummy! My grandma or Mummo we call her, makes this for us around Christmas time so for me it brings back lots of childhood memories.

The recipe is taken from "The Finnish Cookbook", a cookbook Mummo gave to Martin as a wedding present.

1 pound fresh small fish (herring, salmon, trout, or smelts) (* I used salmon)
4 large potatoes, peeled and sliced
1 onion, cut into thin slices
1 tbsp salt (I used 1 tsp)
3-4 slices bacon
2 cups milk
1 egg
1/4 cup fine dry bread crumbs (*I didn't use any)
2 tbsp butter

Clean the fish, removing the backbone. In a well-buttered 2 quart casserole arrange alternate layers of potato, fish and sliced onion (begin and end with potatoes), and sprinkle salt throughout. Lay the bacon on top. Mix the milk and egg together and pour over all. Sprinkle the top with bread crumbs (I didn't use any) and dot with butter. Bake in a moderately hot oven (375 deg F or 190 celsius) for 
1 hour or until the potatoes are done. Serves 4 to 6 people. 

Hyvää ruokahalua!! Bon appétit!!

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Getting ready for Christmas! Orange Pomanders

Okay so I know it's only the beginning of November but I thought I'd try making Citrus Pomanders for Christmas.. I found this great book at the library called Country Christmas from the Country Living Magazine and in it there are some crafty ideas. I've never done this before so if it all goes pear shaped I may adjust this post, haha. So fingers crossed it all goes well. I'm all about DIY this Christmas.

Along with the pomanders, I'm also drying slices from the same fruits in the oven to make a spicy citrus garland or tree decorations. Once there all dried you can do all sorts with them, sprinkle a bit of glitter, tie cinnamon sticks to them with ribbon or tafata. You can hang these on your tree or all around your home to give it that lovely Christmas smell! It's pretty easy and very country chic. Perfect for our Nordic / Country theme! Also, I think the kids would really enjoy helping out too.. A great family project!

This is my how-to: 

Knitting needle or a small pliers (which is what I used, sounds silly but it worked)

Select your fruits and prick rows of holes in the peel with your chosen instrument. This is where you can get creative and make your own little design or even letters on each fruit to spell out a Christmas word like Merry, Joy, Noel, etc. I thought of this after finishing mine, doh. The guide says for a lighter scent leave more colour showing, marking the fruit into quarters or segments otherwise prick the entire orange. Now once that's done you can push the cloves into each hole, right up to its head and leave to dry in a warm place, such as in an airing cupboard or above a radiator, turning it occasionally to maintain an even texture to the skin. Allow three to four weeks for it to dry completely, then decorate with a ribbon. Sounds easy!

The next thing I did was slice an orange, lemon and lime thinly and put them on skewers and baked them at about 150 deg celsius until hard, this might take a good few hours. I just lay the apple slices on the rack and flipped them every now and then. I think if you blotted the citrus slices with a paper towel before putting them in the oven to remove excess juices it might help speed up the drying process. You can add cranberries too and dry them the same way.

You can also score any of the fruits, I did an orange, by cutting slits through the peel with a sharp knife  so that the flesh is visible. See top right picture of the orange. 

Once all your fruit are hard take them out of the oven and dry them the same way as the Pomanders, storing them for 3-4 weeks somewhere warm. 

After they've been drying, it's time to decorate them. Get some cinnamon sticks, some nuts, your fruit slices and the fruit that was slit and thread them with garden twine (drilling small holes through the nuts to take the twine, and tying bundles of cinnamon sticks at intervals). You can even turn this into a pretty little gift for someone special. The ideas are endless! 

What I hope mine will look like when it's all done:

I hope I have inspired you to try this out or by getting into the DIY Christmas mood.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Hollie xo

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Homesense... Need I say more??

Last weekend Martin and I drove into North Wales to a retail outlet that has our nearest Homesense. I had so much fun in there! I was in winter wonderland, hehe.. While I was there I just had to pick up a few Christmas treats to go with our theme this year, Nordic / Country Christmas. Just below you will see what I found.

 This was used for our halloween candy, but  I will be filling it with something Christmasy, like baubles or spruce & pine ones

I thought these were quite nordic looking and would go quite nicely on the tree 

These cuties should have been a set of 3 but the 3rd was missing, shame

I'll be doing a sampling of Nordic / Country Christmas soon, so stay tuned!